Omniscience by Janine Frances

Omniscience by Janine Frances
Publisher: Green Gables Publishing
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Review by Poppy

A family seek refuge in the Australian outback as tyranny takes hold, but who can they trust?

The world is at war and an authoritarian government has taken control in Australia. A terrorist group known as Day One is attempting to destroy civilisation so humanity can start again.

Shareen Miller gets caught up in a bureaucratic nightmare when she’s detained by an Auto-Enforcer for not having the right travel permit on the way to a job interview. Shareen’s detention sets off a chain of events that lead to her five-year-old twins being taken by the government.

With her husband Daniel, grandmother Alma, and sister Layla, Shareen seizes her children and escapes from the city. On the road, she reveals a secret about her missing mother Veronica that she’s been hiding from her family for five years.

What follows is an intense journey into the harsh Australian outback where nothing is as it seems, and no one can be trusted.

As they fight for survival, Veronica’s family finally learn the truth about why she left them. The stakes couldn’t be higher as the future of humanity hangs in the balance.

I know it’s a bit cliched to say this, but honestly–this book grabbed me from the first page and just didn’t let go. And that was a big deal to me. I’ve been in a bit of a reading rut lately, where the books I’ve picked have been a little “meh”. Not bad, but just not that great or memorable. So, to finally find a book that I didn’t want to put down, one I thought about when I wasn’t reading it and couldn’t wait to get back to it? Yeah, that was huge.

The author writes her descriptions vividly, and from the first moment I could see the world I was reading about. The oppression and non-stop oversight by the government is a bit terrifying, and I rooted for Shareen and her family from the start. I also really enjoyed that this wasn’t a book about a teenager who saves the world. Because the plot revolved around adults and family, it felt a bit more real and possible, which also made it that much more terrifying.

The plot is filling with twists and turns I didn’t see coming, which isn’t typical for me. I love that I wasn’t several steps ahead of the characters in the book, and that I was basically living the story right along with them.

Truthfully, one of the better books I’ve read this year. The author has a vivid, unique and talented way of telling a story that I greatly appreciated and crafted a world and characters that felt real, and she made me care about them. I’m very glad I was able to read this book and I recommend it to any fans of the genre.

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Temptation Trials Revolution by B. Truly

Temptation Trials Revolution by B. Truly
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi (Dystopian), Romance
Length: Full (326 pgs)
Heat: Hot
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

There are always two sides to a story. Can love withstand the ultimate temptation?

A new Regime has arisen from the havoc and destruction of World War III. Society now has to follow the strict mandates, reign under the dictatorship of His Highest Eminence or suffer the consequences.

Tobias and Kincade are part of a cryptic organization that’s trying to uncover the secrets behind the Regime. Something is suspicious with the new world order—why else would they want to control the most powerful emotion of love? With mandatory arranged marriages at the age of twenty-one, the only way to fight for love is through the Temptation Trials—a government-sponsored reality TV show.

Kincade and Tobias know the rules, but after they meet the women of their dreams, they face a difficult decision. With their impending birthdays around the corner, the guys have to decide if they will bend to the Regime’s will or fight for their relationships.
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Lust, mistaken for love, will lead to down a treacherous path. They soon learn that the spirit may be willing, but the flesh is weak.

Can love save their souls, or is lust too tempting?

After reading the first book in this series (told from the women’s POV), I was interested to get the other side of the story. Years ago, there was a failed reality show named “Temptation Island” which basically put people in committed relationships into deliberately sexy circumstances with others to see if they’d cheat. This book series reminds me of that show … on steroids.

As with most dystopian novels, the government is bad here. I’m still not 100% certain why the government chose this particular “rule” for their own, but I’m suspending my disbelief here and running with it since that is sort of the mystery the characters are trying to solve themselves. In the first book, I actually liked the guys better than the girls, for the short time I saw them, so was glad to get to see them again. One thing I enjoyed was the guys’ sense of humor and snark about things. It’s pretty typical (especially for “tough guy” Tobias). However, there was a lot of emotional stuff with them thinking sappy thoughts about the girls that felt a little off. Not that guys aren’t romantic or loving, but it’s not typically the focus, the be-all-end-all of their thoughts.

I suppose this can stand alone in the series, but I think the world-building in this one wasn’t as strong. Possibly because the author assumes the reader has read past books in the series. Other that that (and wondering what was going on with the women) though, I think this could be read alone.

Since Tobias and Kincade were undercover to find out what was going on with this governmental rule, there was a little more digging into the mystery of “how” and “why” here. We got it in the women’s book, too, but not as frequently.

Also, in my own personal set of preferences, I hate romances about cheating. Here, though, it doesn’t feel wrong, exactly, and I’m not sure why that it. Maybe because the guys aren’t around their women here? I’m not sure why. Also–and I had this same issue in the women’s book–I’m not entirely certain I want our main characters to end up with the women they originally loved. It’s true! The author has done a good job selling the other characters here.

While perhaps not as violent and bloody as most dystopian novels, it’s still a decent entry into the genre. Add in plenty of sex and sexual innuendo, and you have a book any adult could enjoy. It’ll be interesting to see where the story goes next.