Catherine Downen builds a dystopian fantasy with an interesting connection to our own world in The Markings! On an island where the king enslaves people with special powers known as the Gifted, young Adaline must flee prison or face slavery herself. It’s only then that she discovers her family has a secret, one that will change the world. I always love both unique fantasy and dystopian worlds, and Downen captured the charms of both with The Markings! Adaline was an interesting character, the system of the Gifted was intriguing, and the mystery of the whole thing and how it connects to our world was compelling. If you love fantasy or dystopian lit, definitely come discover your powers in The Markings!
Asbury High and the Thief’s Gamble
Kelly Brady Channick
Kelly Brady Channick brings us a brand new cozy mystery set in high school with Asbury High and the Thief’s Gamble! Four friends begin their career in high school doing what they can to fit in. But when one of them is framed, the four must band together to figure out who really dunnit. I loved the lighthearted feel of Channick’s writing harkening back to the classics like The Hardy Boys! This charm and the endearing characters really made this one a fun read! If you love cozy mysteries and more lighthearted high school lit, come test out your detective skills at Asbury High!
Grant Price catapults us into a dystopian sci fi future in the thrilling Reality Testing! In a climate ravaged future, Mara Kinzig is paid to be put in stasis. But while she’s under, the deal goes south. Awakening with an extra voice in her head, she must battle her way through corporate controlled Berlin in her search for answers. I love the throwback feel to classics like Total Recall and Minority Report, all dressed with some new surprises that Prince crafted using realistic issues from today! This one’s actiony, thoughtful, gritty, and all around a cyberpunk-esque experience I really enjoyed. If you loved the corporate dystopian nature of Blade Runner, definitely come claim your carbon credit with Reality Testing!
Telepathic Dolphin Experiment
Ron Nolan gives us a really interesting twist on the Cold War thriller genre with Telepathic Dolphin Experiment! Dr. Sandra Grant seeks to collect scientific data on paranormal events and ends up working on a military project with dolphins. But when a general hellbent on destroying the USSR activates his crazy plan, it weirdly falls to Grant and her dolphins to save the world. The premise sounds absolutely insane, but Nolan always does an amazing job of grounding his stories in fact and making them believable. I really loved Sandra and her dolphins and the heartfelt nature versus technology feel of this one! Nolan’s new take on the Cold War was both absurd and addicting, and I thoroughly enjoyed this strange genre blend! If you love the Cold War, dolphins, or speculative fiction, come try out your telepathy with Telepathic Dolphin Experiment!
Doug Fricke takes on an adventure at sea and shows us that not all sailing is smooth in Catamaran Crossing! At the invitation of his friends, our protagonist flies to the Canary Islands to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. But when they encounter a storm, their lighthearted adventure becomes a harrowing one. Having sailed the Atlantic myself, I really loved how beautifully Fricke brought the adventure of the open sea back to life for me! This book was thrilling, deep, and just plain fun (similar to the ocean itself)! If you love sailing or real life travel adventures, definitely hoist the mainsheet and set out with Catamaran Crossing!
As Maryam’s Tree Stood Witness
Ali Kasem gives us the perfect blend of romance and thriller with As Maryam’s Tree Stood Witness! Suffering through the tragic murder of his sister when he was younger, Salem moves to England where he meets the love of his life. But when new danger appears, Salem must act quickly to ensure the violence of his past doesn’t destroy his future. Kasem cuts the perfect balance between tense thriller and heartfelt drama/romance, and all the wonderfully deep characters truly bring this one to life! I really felt for Salem and was on edge as he struggled to save his family. If you love thrillers packed with depth, come stand witness with Maryam’s Tree!