Hello Readers! I’ve done a fair amount of reading in the past few months, and many of those books were new releases that I want to tell you about. These were titles that I got on NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.
The Future is Yours by Dan Frey
Published: February 9, 2021
This was a fast-paced sci-fi book that posited the potential impacts of technological developments that could predict the near-future. In this case, one very smart dude named Adhi develops a technology that can be used to search for events one year in the future, and his friend Ben helps him build a company around this idea and begin marketing it. It addresses all of the typical predicted pitfalls of future forecasting, most notably, as our two main characters attempt to test whether the future can be changed once it has been predicted. The story was a wild ride and a quick read. It’s also told as a modern epistolary novel (in the form of texts, emails, and records from a Congressional hearing), which helps keep the pace up while also keeping the reader guessing. The Congressional hearing is taking place in the present day and the emails, texts, and other items are being introduced as flashbacks, but also as evidence for the hearing. There’s a mystery at the heart of everything and I really liked how the book dealt with the practical and emotional sides of this oft-written sci-fi concept. I rated this one 4 stars, and other than some mild language, I would widely recommend this title for sci-fi fans.
The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor
Published: February 9, 2021
This book tells the story of a female vicar named Jack Brooks who moves to a town that is best known for burning eight people at the stake as Protestant martyrs 500 years before. Interwoven with the history of the town is the fact that 30 years before, two young girls went missing and have never been found. On top of all of that, the only reason that the new vicar has been summoned to this town is that the previous vicar appears to have killed himself two months ago. There are a lot of threads to this story, including a sinister subplot following the new vicar, Jack. As she and her teenage daughter get settled in to this very small new town their interactions with the locals are rarely positive, and both women appear to be having brushes with the supernatural. This is my third C.J. Tudor book and I’ve come to expect a few things from one of her novels: the plot will be much more complex than I think it is at first, there will be a plethora of likely suspects, the victims will be deeply flawed people, and I will not see the ending coming. I have also come to expect that there will be at least one deeply disturbing scene in each of the books that makes it difficult for me to recommend as widely as I would like, and this book was no exception. Nonetheless, I gave this one a 4 star rating and would recommend it for fans of Simone St. James and Riley Sager.
Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson
Published: March 2, 2021
I was so worried going into this book about the dreaded second book syndrome, but I needn’t have worried. In my opinion, this book is even better than the first one was. In Good Girl, Bad Blood we pick up with Pip only a few months after the events in A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder have concluded. After the dangerous events tied to her first investigation, Pip has promised her family that she will not lose herself to an investigation like that ever again. That promise is tested when someone she knows goes missing and she is approached by the victim’s family to help after the police refuse to investigate. The reader really gets a great sense of the mental struggles Pip is going through as she delves into another investigation. So many people are telling her how she should feel and how she should act and are criticizing her for both. The emotional depth to this story far outweighs the first book, in my opinion, and I will definitely be continuing on with the series. I rated it 4 stars as well and would recommend it for fans of the Truly Devious series and fans of YA mysteries in general.
Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay
Published: March 2, 2021
I’ll admit that I wasn’t as enthusiastic about this one in the first few chapters. There are a lot of cliched characters in this book and it felt like it took a long time to get to the central premise of the mystery. The story begins as Matt Pine discovers that his family has been found dead on a vacation in Mexico, which the Mexican authorities initially rule an accident, but that is only where the story begins. The Pines have been in the news before, primarily because Matt’s brother, Danny, is in prison for the murder of his high school girlfriend. Danny has always claimed he was innocent of the crime and most of the Pine family has spent the last several years fighting to get him a new trial or have him released from prison. Ultimately, the plot line with Danny is what puts the rest of the events in motion, but he plays very little active role in the story itself. The story is told in varying perspectives from Matt in the present, and his father, his mother, and his sister’s points of view in the past. Each are experiencing the hardships of Danny’s incarceration in different ways. I predicted the killer at about the 60% mark and accurately assessed the killer’s motives at that time as well. Ultimately, whether it was the pacing or the character development, this story just didn’t feel that special to me. The FBI presence didn’t feel necessary and some of their actions are nonsensical (such as flying Matt out to the prison in a helicopter to make him inform his brother of the deaths). I gave it three stars and would recommend it to thriller readers, but it wouldn’t be my first recommendation for them.