Dear Readers, April was a good month for reading and catching up on my TBR,   I read 7 books this month. I exchanged Instinct for The Brief History of the Dead for Instinct because was released this month and I missed it when making my TBR, The Brief History of the Dead will be read next month as I am half way done with it.   I read no graphic novels this month, 3 books in a series, 2 dark mysteries, 1 classic, 5 advance reader copies (thanks to Netgalley).  I read 6 books published this year. I only started 1 new series Starwars the High Republic and finished all books published in The Murderbot Diaries.

Five Star Reviews:

Network Effect by Martha Wells is Murderbot Diaries number five. This is the only full novel in the series with the rest being novellas. I have read and loved the character of Murderbot for 4 previous novels. The series has had highs and lows, I felt the formula was getting a little predictable, then Network Effect came out and changed the narrative making this book my favorite in the series so far. It took the best parts, intense action, witty dialogue, human interaction, and character growth, and expand them. The pace of this book is pretty fast it slows down a little in the middle but after intense scene after intense scene I welcomed the slow down. Network Effect brought back my favorite character from the series ART (an acronym for “Asshole Research Transport”) from Artificial Condition book 2.

Four Star Reviews:

The Lost Village by Camilla Sten Is a atmospheric horror that is slightly unnerving. The Lost Village is a Swedish book that has been translated to English. The descriptions make it feel like characters are constantly being watched by the village, it makes the reader feel pretty unnerved. The mystery is pretty captivating, and the way the story is told by amateur documentarians, really works since they bring their own problems, to a place that feeds off those problems. The Lost Village reminded me of parts of Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery meets the film The Blair Witch Project. I was slightly underwhelmed my the climax, but the rising action to it was so cool I thought of all these other cool scenarios that would have made it epic, and the climax was just good. Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press through Minotaur books for letting me have early access to this title. The Lost Village by Camilla Sten was published in Sweden in 2019 and translated/published in America on March 23 2021.

Light of the Jedi (Star Wars: The High Republic) by Charles Soule is a fantastic introduction to a new timeline taking places 200 before the Phantom Menace. This is the first book in the new cannon (that started when The Force Awakens came out) that has told a new story not involving events that film and television have touched on. Yoda is the only character from the Skywalker Saga. The book starts out introducing a dizzying amount of characters all dealing with a crisis, thankfully it slows down and lets you get to know the characters a little. This is an ensemble piece with no main character, which got on my nerves at first, but it worked well at the end. The villain’s plan is pretty genius, the way it unite people through manipulation and lies. The new Jedi I came away having some mixed feelings

Near the Bone by Christina Henry is one part Emma Donoghue’s Room and the other part The Relic by Preston and Child. This off mix of kidnapping slash survival works really well to the theme of one woman beating her demons literally and physically. This is the third Henry that I have read and this one was my favorite so far. I enjoyed it but there is a lot of trigger warnings on domestic abuse, kidnapping, child endangerment, and manipulation/gaslighting. This is a really fast paced novel, that is deeply psychological. Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley books for the advanced reader’s copy, Near the Bone by Christina Henry is published on April 13th 2021.

The Dinner Guest by B. P. Walter is a good who done it? mystery. You know right up  front there was a murder, and you know the who said they did it is lying. The narrative moves  really fast supplying the reader with a little bit more information at each turn. This is not a big twist novel but a series of twist that add up to tension and betrayal. The novel does look at the British class system which I found the weakest part of the novel. I haven’t read a mystery in a while and this novel was just what I needed a good quick mystery that kept me guessing. I’m really liking these domestic mysteries that focus on a small knit family that is driven apart by a dark secret. The Dinner Guest is very LGBTQ friendly as the family that is torn apart is a gay couple. Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK , One More Chapter for giving me this ARC. The Dinner Guest was published on April 1st 2021.

Three Star Reviews:

Instinct by Jason M. Hough is small town thriller. Where small town folks start to suddenly lose their survival instinct, like a person that never goes outside will go on a massive hike, and the guy scared of animals will face down a bear. It reminded me of Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter where in the last 25 % of the book goes to a crazy place. The finale is good but it is one slow build up to that point. The character’s are quirky with conspiracy theories running deep until the town is in one. Instinct is a good idea, but the execution is lacking. The end is fun but I don’t know if everyone will get there with every beat of action and odd occurrence nothing happens in between; we don’t spend enough time with these characters to see them acting out of place. Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery Books – Skybound Books for the opportunity to read Instinct. Instinct by Jason M. Hough was published on April 6th 2021.

Two Star reviews:

Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells is Murderbot Diaries book 6. This time Murderbot plays detective investigating a murder at Preservation Station that only it can solve. After the epic Network Effect that was my favorite in the series comes the sadly lackluster Fugitive Telemetry that is my least favorite so far. The plot is okay, it’s not really a murder that can be solved but the right beats are there, The problem with this one is Murderbot doesn’t have that much interaction with anyone, and the action is really limited. This has been one of my favorite series but this book just didn’t gel with me. I read Fugitive Telemetry through advanced readers copy curtesy of Netgalley and Macmillion-Tor/ Forge books. Fugitive Telemetry is published on 4-27-21.

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