Wrap Up: May 2021 Book Reviews

Dear Readers, May was an good month for reading I got a little behind on my TBR,   I read 7 books this month out of 9 Local Woman Missing will be read next month as I am half way done with it, it is very excellent as well as a book I didn’t get to The Apocalypse Seven.   I read one graphic novels this month, 1 book in a series, 2 dark mysteries, 2 advance reader copies (thanks to Netgalley).  I read 4 books published this year. I read another Stephen king making him the dominate the most books read by an author.

Five Star Reviews:

The One my John Marrs is great science fiction, where a scientist has found a gene that links you to one over person on the planet that you’re supposed to be with, your one and only love. That scientist of course cashed in and makes it a website that you send your DNA to get the results. This premise gets black mirrored showing the horrors and doubt that can arise with this technology. It gets you the reader to wish this technology exist then shows the horrors that go with it. We follow five people that use the website, some in reluctance , some eager, and some with trepidation. What I enjoyed is that the stories all have twist some come right at the beginning, some in the middle and some at the end. So as one story will slow down another will have a huge twist and totally change it. The One has been made into a Netflix show

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 4 by Stan Lee, is the best yet since the original volume. Spiderman grows a lot in this comic, PeterParker is no longer a high schooler but a college Freshmen. In this volume Peter meets his future best friend Harry Osborn, and his controlling dad Norman Osborn. Peter meets a woman that could rival Mary Jane in blonde vixen, Gwen Stacy. Peter and the readers almost see Mary Jane but she remains blocked. Peter and Betty Brandt finally call it quits when they have a blow out, that ends in Betty leaving Peter and the Daily Bugle. Peter is unmasked by his biggest rival the Green Goblin, which unmask himself when he has him captured. Doctor Octopus, Kraven the Hunter, The Green Goblin and Molten Man, who is actually becoming one of my favorite of the B list bad guys, all come back in these issues to terrorize Spiderman.

Four Star Reviews:

Later by Stephen King is a really fun ghost story, about a boy who can see ghosts and talk to them is it a gift or a curse. I would say it is the Sixth Sense meets combined with a short story he wrote in if it bleeds Mr. Harrigan’s phone, this story went in another direction and it was good. Later was part of the Hard Case Crime series, that not really a series but more of a style of books. This is my fourth so far and favorite. I have read the three that Stephen King wrote and one by Brian DiPlama. Later is a good fun ride that gets exciting and a little gruesome. King will always create characters that you can connect instantly to and Jamie the lead is no exception. The pacing is fast I was able to read it in a day and had moments where I could not put it down.

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse is a tightly wound thriller at an isolated hotel with it’s own horrific past. The thriller gets off to a fast start with a murder. we later learn the significance of it and when it happened. This is a novel of a lot of twist that will mess with your head as to is behind all this. The setting is unique a former Sanatorium that treated female tuberculosis patients that is turned into a swanky hotel in the Swiss Alps. This book was on Reece Witherspoon’s book club which gave it some extra hype. The Sanatorium is a solid mystery, with easy to remember character’s.

Three Star Reviews:

Goblin by Josh Malerman is a collection of 6 novellas all featured in the town of Goblin. The town of Goblin is a little different with police that look and sound the same, the dead are buried standing up, and a witch live in the forbidden North woods. The stories are interesting and barely intertwined for it being in the same town. The most interesting things the police, the dead buried standing up, and the witch, are barely explored. The book focuses on the history of the town which is just okay but not nearly as interesting as the other things I had mentioned. The novellas are okay, there was only one really good one, one really predictable and the rest fall into the good category. I wanted the stories to come together more. The writing does some clever things but the pacing, and focus on the history of the town will try the patience of the reader. 

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier is where there is a whole city of the dead that are still remembered by the living, which sounds a lot like Pixar’s film Coco. This is no Coco. There is a plague that wipes out all of existence except one person to our knowledge who is isolated the city of the dead shrinks to one city where all are connected in some ways. The story is more metaphorical than straight linear. The words written are beautiful, but man does this story get boring, the last person doesn’t seem to want to do really anything that makes sense. Mostly it’s wondering and you get to know her character through the people she knew. I thought it was an interesting story, but it could’ve been something more. The dead world was interesting and a metaphor for living your best life even if you’re dead.

Girl in the Walls by A.J. Gnuse is both haunting and full of heart. This is not a ghost story but a story of a girl who literally lives in the walls of her former home after tragedy strikes. She lives life trying to go unnoticed by the new family that lives there. The best part of this book is the descriptions, since the girl remains hidden she has to describes sound and only get glimpse, she paints a picture with descriptions. The novel goes in some interesting places, it does take a while to find it’s direction, but in the I was satisfied by the end. The climax is exciting and the villain is scary in a interesting way. I wanted more interaction between the girl and the family, and we don’t get enough flashbacks of the girls family. I thought the story was rather unique, but my emotional connection was lacking at times

Book Review: Goblin by Josh Malerman

Goblin by Josh Malerman is a collection of 6 novellas all featured in the town of Goblin. The town of Goblin is a little different with police that look and sound the same, the dead are buried standing up, and a witch live in the forbidden North woods. The stories are interesting and barely intertwined for it being in the same town. The most interesting things the police, the dead buried standing up, and the witch, are barely explored. The book focuses on the history of the town which is just okay but not nearly as interesting as the other things I had mentioned. The novellas are okay, there was only one really good one, one really predictable and the rest fall into the good category. I wanted the stories to come together more. The writing does some clever things but the pacing, and focus on the history of the town will try the patience of the reader. This is my 3 Josh Malerman book, I loved Bird Box and A House at the Bottom of the Lake, and I had the same problem with Inspection that I did with Goblin, pacing and focusing on the wrong things that make the story interesting. I think Malerman is still great at thinking outside of the box and creating good story ideas, the execution of those ideas doesn’t always land for me. Thanks to Netgally and Del Rey publishing for giving me this ARC. Goblin is published on May 18th 2021.

The Plots and Rankings:
The Prelude: which is a story a bout a man from another town having to deliver a package to Goblin, with a very specific instructions, if you hear any noise don’t stop, if you fail to deliver at the exact time destroy package. The driver doesn’t follow all the orders, a good introduction to a creepy town of Goblin 4 out of 5

Man in Slices is about a guys creepy best friend, who gets a creepy girlfriend who wants him to show love like Vincent Van Gough, by cutting off body parts. Friendship is put to its limits. The story was okay but the twist ending was really rushed, I gave this story 4 out of 5 stars.

Kamp is a story of a man that fears a haunting so bad he knows it will kill him. His whole family has been haunted, and he’s the last one left. I liked the bits about the history of Goblin the town. The story itself was not all that interesting and I knew how it was going to end. I did like the art work, that seems right out of Tales from the Crypt. I rate Kamp 2 out of 5 stars.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HUNTER! was a good story about a hunter’s birthday party. The greatest Hunter in Goblin wants to hunt what hasn’t been hunted before a great owl, who lives in the forest that is forbidden. The ending was a great one filled with irony. the history of the owls and how they came to Goblin was interesting. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.

Presto is about a magician that can do the impossible, move object with his mind. is it a trick or something more. I liked this story the most so far. really interesting backstory and intriguing present day story. The ending twist was pretty good. This story had the best flow and was always interesting. I rated it 5 out of 5

A Mix-up at the Zoo is exactly like the title a lonely man works at the Zoo which he loves and at a slaughter house, you can’t blame him if he gets mix -up from time to time. This story had the most potential, but the pace was sometimes to slow. The dreams which were interesting overstayed there welcome and lasted too long. The ending you see coming, but it was good. I rated it 4 out of 5

Te Hedges is about a big hedge maze that can not be beat, only until a young 8 year old solves what is at the center of the maze, and is horrified by her findings. She confronts the maze maker this heads to the police. I liked parts of this story a lot, the thing the little girl was horrified at was pretty lame, which was a bummer, because I was all about this story until that point. This story has the best pacing but really failed to deliver on the mystery. I rated The Hedges 4 out of 5.

What I Liked: Presto is my favorite story hands down it has a mystery that leads to the hype, and has a killer ending as well. The Hedges made you feel every dizzying turn in the maze with the little girl until she reaches the center. The Mix Up at the Zoo was probably the scariest because you see it coming, and you fear for what is going to happen when the mix up happens. The Idea for the Man in Slices is my favorite, that story had the most potential. Happy Birthday Hunter had the better ending, it wasn’t flashy but I thought it worked on a psychological level.

What I Disliked: I wanted to see a lot more connectivity in stories. I thought the town could have been a lot creepier. I fell like the police and the buried standing up are the most interesting things and they are not explored at all. the pacing could have been better in a lot of these stories.

Recommendation: I’m barely going to recommend this collection, Presto is the highlight, read that story before you give up. I’ve seen real mixed reviews and mine is pretty mixed as well, there’s good and there’s bad i this collection I feel the good out weighs the bad. If you don’t like the novellas you do have to admit that the stories are really clever. I rated Goblin by Josh Malerman 3 out of 5. I struggled on the rating more of a 3.5 than a 3, when I am so torn I rate it lower on Goodreads then higher on Amazon splitting the difference. I will continue to read Josh Malerman and will read Malorie the sequel to Bird Box next.

Book Review: Girl in the Walls by A. J. Gnuse

Girl in the Walls by A.J. Gnuse is both haunting and full of heart. This is not a ghost story but a story of a girl who literally lives in the walls of her former home after tragedy strikes. She lives life trying to go unnoticed by the new family that lives there. The best part of this book is the descriptions, since the girl remains hidden she has to describes sound and only get glimpse, she paints a picture with descriptions. The novel goes in some interesting places, it does take a while to find it’s direction, but in the I was satisfied by the end. The climax is exciting and the villain is scary in a interesting way. I wanted more interaction between the girl and the family, and we don’t get enough flashbacks of the girls family. I thought the story was rather unique, but my emotional connection was lacking at times, where the girl is so guarded we rarely see what is in her head, other than being unnoticed and surviving. I did enjoy the theme of home is where the heart is, it’s the safe place. Thanks to Netgalley and Ecco publishing. The Girl in the Walls is published on May 11 2021.

The Plot: Elise lives in a house that is not hers, anymore. The Mason’s own the home she lives in. The Mason’s don’t know she live there, because she lives in the walls. She lives like a mouse scurrying around eating what she can and reading what she can. The house is here when they go to work and school. She does not leave the house. Eddie the youngest Mason can feel her presence, he doesn’t know if she’s real or a ghost, he just wants her gone, and to stop taking his stuff. The trouble starts when the older brother starts noticing, and is more proactive about it.

What I Liked: The uniqueness of the story, it blends the line of is she a ghost or not for the first couple of pages. It was a beautiful story of a house and it’s meaning, but it’s also a creepy story for a home owner, it made me think of the horror movie the People Under the Stairs. I liked the brother Eddie, it didn’t say he was exactly autistic but definitely in the spectrum, he senses the girl and protects her as well as puts an ode to her in his legos. The descriptions at the beginning when Eddie has a piano lesson was so good. The villain is terrifying as he fights his childhood fears that there was someone in his house, and he’s determined to find what goes bump in the night. I liked the stuff about Odin, Thor and Loki.

What I Disliked: The ending initial ending was good, then we get two more that were unnecessary because they didn’t provide any information, if you show the girl when she was older, but don’t tell anything about her past life or current really. I was left with more questions than answers with the first I was satisfied. We don’t see enough into Elise’s mind, we don’t get her thoughts on much I had a hard time connecting to her. I could feel for her circumstance but not for her as a person.

Recommendation: I will barely recommend this for the young adult audience it was made for, but as an adult I respected the unique story line but not the character development. I found some parts beautiful, but so of it just pain boring as nothing happened and developed. I rated Girl in the Walls by A. J. Gnuse 3 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 4 by Stan Lee

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 4 by Stan Lee, is the best yet since the original volume. Spiderman grows a lot in this comic, PeterParker is no longer a high schooler but a college Freshmen. In this volume Peter meets his future best friend Harry Osborn, and his controlling dad Norman Osborn. Peter meets a woman that could rival Mary Jane in blonde vixen, Gwen Stacy. Peter and the readers almost see Mary Jane but she remains blocked. Peter and Betty Brandt finally call it quits when they have a blow out, that ends in Betty leaving Peter and the Daily Bugle. Peter is unmasked by his biggest rival the Green Goblin, which unmask himself when he has him captured. Doctor Octopus, Kraven the Hunter, The Green Goblin and Molten Man, who is actually becoming one of my favorite of the B list bad guys, all come back in these issues to terrorize Spiderman. The only new villain is a robot creator, who is kind of lame. Kurt Conners returns not as the Lizard but as a reformed scientist that owes Spiderman a favor for discovering the antidote that cured him. The stories are mostly connected taking 3 and 2 issues to complete the arc. This was good fun, web slinging action, with a lot of heart and some heartbreak.

The Plots: Aunt May is sick and in the hospital on Peter’s first day of college. He’s not really there and most believe his stuck up because he won the science grant and is ignoring everyone. Aunt May is sick with a radioactive isotope is May’s blood. Peter blames himself as he donated blood to save her life a little while ago, now his radioactive blood is killing her. He searches for KurtConners who owes him a favor, he agrees to help Spiderman, and orders a rare chemical that is needed, but another bad guy needs it for a power source. The bad guy steals the chemical, they fight, Spiderman is pinned with the chemical just out of hands reach, as the ocean water seeps in (the picture on the cover is that moment). he must take everything he has to save himself and Aunt May. Kaven is determined to beat Spiderman once and for all. The Green Goblin comes up with a plan to take away Spiderman’s Spider Sense so he can watch him unaware, which he does and knows his secret identity.

What I Liked: I loved when Peter Parker is captured by the Green Goblin, he tries to use his web slingers that aren’t there because he is Peter Parker. I liked the Peter Betty drama and how hard it is to me Spiderman. The pulling the machine off his body and gathering the internal strength to keep going after his muscles are almost gone from the fatigue, and just using will power. I liked seeing Curt Conners back on the side of good. I liked the Green Goblin reveal and the backstory behind it. Molten Man really surprised Spiderman, and his story was fun. J Jonah Jamison dealing with all the secretaries that quit because of his bad behaviors that Betty could put up with. The long stories were good and add the anticipation, that made them flow over a couple of issues.

What I Disliked: There’s only two new villains the Meteor and a jailed robot maker, both were really lame.

Recommendation: This was my favorite volume since the first. I totally recommend you read this awesome volume, that steps up the long form storytelling, ratchets up the emotions, and maintains the excitement. This volume is not as funny as the last couple but makes up is serious more mature storytelling. I rated Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 4 by Stan Lee 5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: The One by John Marrs

The One by John Marrs is great science fiction, where a scientist has found a gene that links you to one over person on the planet that you’re supposed to be with, your one and only love. That scientist of course cashed in and makes it a website that you send your DNA to get the results. This premise gets Black Mirror-ed showing the horrors and doubt that can arise with this technology. It gets you the reader to wish this technology exist then shows the horrors that go with it. We follow five people that use the website, some in reluctance , some eager, and some with trepidation. What I enjoyed is that the stories all have twist some come right at the beginning, some in the middle and some at the end. So as one story will slow down another will have a huge twist and totally change it. The One has been made into a Netflix show, that I can’t wait to check out. This the 4th book I have read by John Marrs and it did not disappoint in the least. The technology in The One is mentioned in The Passengers and The Minders which are books about future technologies, that hackers try to hack and manipulate. The book does have an LGTBQ storyline which is done really well

The Plot: A gene is found that links you to the one you are to belong to, your one true love. A website is started where you can send in DNA to have it analyzed. We follow five people, Mary who has been showing everyone her match, but something happens before they can meet, Jade who lives in England is matched with a Australian farmer with a catch, Christian is a serial killer of women that has just been matched, Nick and his bride to be dare each other to take it, when Nick does he’s matched with a man, and A super rich women with no time to date, becomes matched with a regular guy, she must keep secrets to see if this is real.

What I Liked: The premise and the story arcs are great. I liked that the characters never meet each other, it would have been to much of a stretch to make this happen. The characters are great and you know and understand them in the end. The twist are really good, each story has a major twist, and they are all plausible. My favorites were Christian, Mary, and Nick. Their are some happy endings and some truly messed up endings. The end twist was a great one that made you question every thing and every couple.

What I Disliked: The only tale that I never connected with was Jade’s, I did enjoy the twist but it took a while.

Recommendation: I really enjoyed this story as I have enjoyed all John Marrs so far. If you have never checked out his work I would recommend this story The One and What Lies Between Us. Marrs is If he king of domestic thriller, every book he writes is a page turner. I rated The One by John Marrs 5 out of 5 stars.

Book Reviews: The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse is a tightly wound thriller at an isolated hotel with it’s own horrific past. The thriller gets off to a fast start with a murder. we later learn the significance of it and when it happened. This is a novel of a lot of twist that will mess with your head as to is behind all this. The setting is unique a former Sanatorium that treated female tuberculosis patients that is turned into a swanky hotel in the Swiss Alps. This book was on Reece Witherspoon’s book club which gave it some extra hype. The Sanatorium is a solid mystery, with easy to remember character’s. I did guess the killer, but it wasn’t for the reasons that I thought, my guess was more a shot in the dark, so the narrative was still fun. The killer’s lament was too long and didn’t have the reason I felt were grounds to murder so many. I enjoyed it the ending could of been a little more satisfying, but all together a solid mystery from Sarah Pearse.

The Plot: A former sanatorium that treated female tuberculosis patients in 1920’s is getting turned into a swanky new hotel in the Swiss Alps. The town people protest the remodel and want know one to take it over, one of the builders checks out the construction as he is stalked and stabbed by someone in a old gas mask and a rubber suit, like the doctors wore when treating the TB patients. Is this a former patient, an angry townsperson, or someone else with a grudge. Despite the murder the hotel is opened on time Elin Warner is a detective on leave that got invited to celebrate her estranged brother Issac who is engaged to her childhood best friend she stopped speaking to. Elin is a brilliant detective but suffers panic attacks thanks to her last case, since going on leave. The meeting is awkward because of a past trauma that Elin believes that her older brother killed her younger brother when they were younger. Issac’s fiancé goes missing and an avalanche snows them in Elin is left to investigate, but can she do it. A body then bodies start piling up with nowhere to go Elin has to find out the truth.

What I Liked: Elin was annoying at first but I grew to really like her character and her observations. The other characters are interesting enough that I could remember who they were when the mystery really starts. I do like how the culprit was caught what feature lead Elin to them. The pace is really fast, and made a pretty good little page turner. I liked the killers garb and the connection to the past. The hotel’s backstory was really interesting. I liked that the hotel found out that Elin was on leave and not in fact a detective.

What I Disliked: The killer’s lament was too long and it ruined the past of the hotel, that the was interesting and was made to be so important, was really diminished.

Recommendations: I recommend you to check out this fun little isolated thriller. This was Sarah Pearse’s debut and it is a good one. If you like thriller that make you isolated, and can’t trust the detective’s sanity, then you will like this mystery. I rated The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Later by Stephen King

Later by Stephen King is a really fun ghost story, about a boy who can see ghosts and talk to them is it a gift or a curse. I would say it is the Sixth Sense meets combined with a short story he wrote in if it bleeds Mr. Harrigan’s phone, this story went in another direction and it was good. Later was part of the Hard Case Crime series, that not really a series but more of a style of books. This is my fourth so far and favorite. I have read the three that Stephen King wrote and one by Brian DiPlama. Later is a good fun ride that gets exciting and a little gruesome. When rating Stephen King books you can’t help but compare to his other works. I have read 26 King books so far, and this one is good. When looking at the 2000’s King books it looks better. King will always create characters that you can connect instantly to and Jamie the lead is no exception. The pacing is fast I was able to read it in a day and had moments where I could not put it down. I really enjoyed the neck out of this book.

Jamie Conklin is writing about his life as a child through teenager, he will explain some things now and somethings later, hence where the title comes from. Jamie can see and talk to ghosts, he has some power where the ghost always have to tell the truth. He uses this power for good the only one who knows about this is his single mother. His mother starts dating a cop who Jamie generally liked but in desperation his mom reveals the secret to save her career as her client dies while completing his last manuscript in the series. Jamie talks to him and gets the plot points. He fills bad about this one, and doesn’t want to use this power anymore until he is forced to.

What I Liked: This novel is so fun and easy to read. I liked the connections other books to IT through the ritual of Chud and to Different Seasons with the descriptions of Shawshank Prison. Jamie the lead character you were so easily connected to and cared about. I like that King acknowledges that Jamie is just like the kid in the Sixth Sense, he acknowledges right at the start then moves on. I liked the gruesome moments and how they were described where I could get a good mind picture. The climax was exciting, I knew where it was going but was still surprised in parts. The structure and how it kept building, It was like small short stories about Jamie building up to the conclusion. The novel within this novel about Roanoke sounds so interesting I kind of low key want Stephen King to write it with all the tawdry details.

What I Disliked: This novel was focused more than most, but their was some details that were not needed. I really disliked the ending after the conclusion, I felt that could have gone a different way.

Recommendations: Read this really fun Stephen King Novel. With his big catalog of books and me reading 26 I would say this in the top 15. He has so many five stars this on was close. I rated Later by Stephen King 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: the Brief History of the Dead

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier is where there is a whole city of the dead that are still remembered by the living, which sounds a lot like Pixar’s film Coco. This is no Coco. There is a plague that wipes out all of existence except one person to our knowledge who is isolated the city of the dead shrinks to one city where all are connected in some ways. The story is more metaphorical than straight linear. The words written are beautiful, but man does this story get boring, the last person doesn’t seem to want to do really anything that makes sense. Mostly it’s wondering and you get to know her character through the people she knew. I thought it was an interesting story, but it could’ve been something more. The dead world was interesting and a metaphor for living your best life even if you’re dead. Really bad pacing problem stops what could have been a great novel. The novel flips back and forth between the city of the dead and The last human? Maybe Laura. The city of the dead is way more interesting.

The Plot: Laura is on a base in Antarctica working on a campaign for Coca-Cola. They want to go back to have penguins enjoying a coke. Laura’s team go out to meet the other team after they can not get contact. The city of the dead, is a city made up of people who live because they are remembered by the living, well everyone in this city starts disappearing, those that come to the city speak of a plague wiping out all of humanity. Laura starts losing power at her station and decided to find her team at the other station. The city of the dead is shifting and people start realizing they’re connected to Laura. Everybody who comes through wants to know about Laura. Is she humanity’s hope?

What I Liked: The word used to describe city’s and I’ve of Antarctica are beautiful. I don’t know if I liked Laura but I liked the dead’s memories of her. I did think it interesting the look of religion that went on in the city of the dead. I liked the restaurant worker who always wanted to run a restaurant they way he wanted but had no means, but got to in the city of the dead and was so happy about it. I liked that the dead had a newspaper about what the recently dead reported on. I do like the drum beat you hear when you died compared to Earth’s heartbeat. I like what it says about human interaction, and how we need more of it to live our best life.

What I Disliked: The pacing is really bad the city of the dead is fun and Laura is all ice and survival, there is a rare flashback thrown in which was always welcomed. I felt we needed three city of the dead chapters for every Laura chapter not switching back and forth where nothing happens. The end is metaphorical it is okay, but I wanted concrete as well.

Recommendation: While I find the afterlife interesting, and this is a unique take on it for sure, I cannot recommend this book. If you want a book that is beautifully written and described but lacking in story and substance then this might be your book. I rated The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier 3 out of 5 stars. It was close to 2.5 but the descriptions and metaphors are really well done.

TBR: April 2021

April 2021 TBR Last month I read all seven books, but upped it to 9 this month.  I have my one hold over from the past two month that I kept switching out will get read.  I’m reading my first Stephen King of the new year with Later.  I’m reading my first Mary Kubica with Local Woman Missing she has been recommended a lot.  I have a lot of fun reads in store for myself.

Later by Stephen King  is his newest novel and a part of the Hard Case Crime series.  I have read the first two the Colorado Kid which I hated and Joyland which I did enjoy.  A couple of people I trust said Later is the best of the bunch.  With King I will always get a little enjoyment out of it and am guaranteed to connect to a couple of characters.  Later is about a kid that can see and talk to ghosts.

The One by John Marrs is one that I’ve wanted to read for sometime I have enjoyed the three John Marrs books I’ve read so far.  The One is about a match-making site that can tell you who the one is with out question, until hackivists take it over and make who they want a match.  The One has been turned into a Netflix series that I really want to watch but will wait until I read the book first.

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica the author has been recommended to me a lot with her last novel the Good Girl.  I got and ARC to Local Woman missing and can’t wait to dig in.  The tagline is: People just don’t disappear without a trace. ARC thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin published on May 18

Goblin by Josh Malerman is a rerelease that features 6 novellas in one book. I have read 3 Malerman novels 2 five stars and 1 three stars.  I like his ideas; they are always one of a kind. Bird Box is what he’s most famous for. Copy Thanks to Netgalley and Random House

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse is about a isolated getaway in the Swiss Alps called Le Sommet, a detective need a break and comes to her estranged brothers engagement party.  On the night of the storm the finance goes missing. This book is part of Reece Witherspoon’s book club.

The Apocalypse Seven by Gene Doucette  has the tagline: This is the way the world ends,. Not with a bang, but with a whatever.   The description sounds pretty crazy  I can’t wait to read this ARC. This ARC is thanks to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin it is published on May 25th .

Girl in the Walls by A. J. Gnuse  has a good description: A mesmerizing and suspenseful coming-of-age novel about an orphan hiding within the walls of her former family home—and about what it means to be truly seen after becoming lost in life. ARC is thanks to Netgalley and Ecco. Girl in the Walls is published on May 11.

he Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier my other holdover form last month it reminds me a lot of the plot of Pixar’s Coco. Where there is a whole city of the dead that are still remembered by the living.  But the City has started rapidly shrinking.  It has been on my TBR for a while, and I’m committed to reading it, and already started it.

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spiderman Volume 4 by Stan Lee is full of new and old villains. I features the unmasking of the original Green Goblin. I has on of of the most famous panels featured on the cover where Spiderman uses all the strength he has to save himself and Aunt May. It features Doc Ock and Kraven the Hunter.

Wrap Up: April 2021 Book Reviews

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.