Published September 24, 2015
Mystery , RAC , Realistic Fiction
Tags: algorithm, betrayal, computer, encryption, friendship, math, plan, plot
# of Pages: 374
Robert “Smiles” Smylie is the son of a very wealthy and important man who began a computer software company when Smiles was a baby. Smiles has always felt like a disappointment to his father since he is not a math genius. His mother ran out on him when he was a baby and his loving stepmother died suddenly in a car accident shortly before the story begins. He is struggling to find his place when his quiet neighbor, Ben, asks for his help getting to an encryption conference. Once there, Ben cracks a previously thought to be uncrackable code that if sold could breach the top secrets of every organization while also bankrupting his father’s company. Ben creates an elaborate plan to protect the code but still get him and Ben some of the profits from discovering such a code. Is this his shot at greatness? Can he and Ben pull off such a big plan and get away with it?
This title reads like a heist movie in that there are lots of aspects to their plan and there are many players in the game who have plans of their own. Smiles learns a lot about his dad’s past and the truth about the beginning of his company and why his mother really left him. There are many surprises and plot twists, but the story definitely has some slower moments as well. Recommended for fans of heist movies.
# of Pages: 386
Nearly lives in a crappy trailer with her mother who works as an exotic dancer. She is trying desperately to keep her head down, work hard, and hopefully earn a special science scholarship. She reads the missed connections ads every Friday in the hopes of finding a message from her father who abandoned her years ago. Nearly has an unusual talent where she can feel what people are feeling simply by touching them, so she tries not to touch anyone ever. One day she sees a mysterious ad in the missed connections section and doesn’t think much of it until a cheerleader, whom Nearly tutored, from her school is taken and attacked at an away basketball game. After the attack, the clues in the ad suddenly make sense. She goes to the police, but they do not believe her story and instead decide to follow her and see if she had anything to do with the attack. Each week a new ad with clues come out and each week there is a new attack of someone that Nearly tutors. Can she find who is doing this before it is too late? Who could be capable of such crimes and what do the numbers written on the bodies mean?
This mystery combines several elements to make a fairly complicated story. There are many characters and sometimes they can be a bit confusing, but in the end they are all fairly memorable. Nearly has many things going on besides the attacks in her life which makes it unclear which part of her life is actually behind trying to frame her for these terrible crimes. Most readers will not put together the final resolution, but the pieces do indeed fit together. Mystery fans will be satisfied.
# of Pages: 327
Maddie has been able to see numbers on everyone’s foreheads since she was a little girl, but it isn’t until her father dies suddenly that she realizes what they are: deathdates. After her father’s death her mother struggles with sobriety and stability and Maddie must become the caretaker and even the breadwinner when her mother strongly encourages her to give “readings” in which she tells people their death dates for money. Maddie hates doing this because it often causes pain, but she does not know how else to help her mother cope. After a reading with a wealthy woman asking about her sick daughter, Maddie is horrified to have to tell her that it is in fact the woman’s young son who has a quickly approaching death date. The woman does not take Maddie’s advice and feels she is threatening her young son. Maddie’s best friend even calls to warn her to keep a close eye on him in the hopes that his death date can change. Instead, Maddie and her best friend become prime suspects when that little boy goes missing after school one day. Things continue to get worse for Maddie and her best friend as more people linked to Maddie start disappearing. Is someone trying to frame her? Could it be someone who is close to her and knows what she can do? How can she stop anyone else from dying?
This premise is executed really well as you see how problematic and troubling this gift has been for Maddie and her family. Her uncle, a big shot attorney, tries his best to keep her out of jail for the suspicious disappearances that she seems to be predicting, but the evidence just keeps mounting against her. The reader cannot help but feel connected to Maddie and feels her fear as what is left of her meager world comes crashing down around her. The mystery itself comes to a very satisfying conclusion that will leave readers wanting more. Recommended for fans of mystery.
# of Pages: 310
Grace knows she saw a man with a scar on his face standing over her mother’s dead body three years ago. Yet, everyone tells her that her mom died of an accidental fire in her antique shop. For three years, Grace has seen countless doctors and retold her story to many well meaning people who think she’s simply going crazy from the trauma of losing her mother. Grace’s father has been stationed overseas and so she is forced to go live with her grandfather where he works as the U.S. ambassador to the tiny country, Adria. Returning to her mother’s childhood home brings back many feelings and fears for Grace, none of which are helped when she sees the man with the scar she saw that fateful night. Will anyone believe her story now? Can she prove her mother’s death wasn’t an accident and prove her sanity?
Fans of Ally Carter books will like this new series as well. It’s fun, unique, and has some clever plot twists. The characters are interesting, but will get more engaging with each installment. Grace’s post traumatic stress is described vividly and helps the reader understand why everyone around her feels she’s an unreliable witness. Recommended to readers looking for a quick read.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery
# of Pages: 225
Cady, Johnny, Mirren, and Gat called themselves the liars every summer they spent together on the elite Sinclair island. The Sinclair family was wealthy, beautiful, and envied everywhere they went. Cady, the narrator, explains how her grandparents built a house for all three of their daughters on this island so that they could all spend every summer together. Cady, Mirren, and Johnny were cousins, while Gat was the nephew of their aunt’s boyfriend. Two years ago something terrible happened that no one will tell Cady about. All she knows is that she was found in her underwear on the beach with no memory of how she came to be there or what happened. Her family has decided to shield her from whatever harsh truth she has chosen to block out and even refused to let her come to the island the following summer. When she finally returns the summer of her 18th year she finally gets to see all of her fellow liars again and they seem exactly the same, but even they won’t tell her what happened that fateful night when everything went black for Cady. How can she learn the truth if no one will help her? What could have happened that would cause all of this chaos?
Cady is a very unique character who is desperately trying to find out what happened to her two full years ago that her mind simply can’t handle. The ending of this one is amazing in that not only does it completely fit with the rest of the story, but no one will see it coming. The characters are well developed and all help Cady remember that traumatic day, but ultimately it’s Cady who needs to put the pieces together. Recommended for everyone, but especially reluctant readers.
# of Pages: 340
In this sequel, Veronica learns of a case in which a young girl was last seen in the Neptune Grand Hotel and then turned up beaten almost to death and left in an abandoned field. No one knows how she was taken from the hotel since she was not spotted on any of the security cameras. The girl claims to have no knowledge of what happened to her. Meanwhile, Eli Weevil Navarro is on trial for allegedly attacking Mrs. Kane with a gun when her car stalled. He denies this and says the gun was planted on him by the police. Logan Echolls is supposed to be on shore leave for several months, but Veronica always wonders when he’s going to be called to active duty again. Can Veronica juggle all of these issues and still aim to end the corruption that has plagued Neptune for a long time?
This sequel is very engaging for readers familiar with the TV series. Many references are made to the Manning family which featured heavily in the early seasons of the show. The mystery itself is very interesting and difficult to predict, which is what all mystery lovers want to see. Mixed in with all of this drama Veronica handles several personal issues, including dealing with her boyfriend and father over relationship expectations. A fun, light read that any vacationer should have!
Published January 16, 2015
Mystery , RAC
Tags: copycat, FBI, serial killer
# of Pages: 375
In this sequel to The Naturals, all the main characters are back and still reeling from the very scary encounter Cassie had with a serial killer in the first book. It isn’t long before another case draws in the naturals even though the FBI has sworn to leave them out of any active cases in the future. A young college student’s body appears on the lawn of the campus, but the method mimics that of Dean’s father and that immediately complicates things. Dean’s father will only answer questions for Dean so he has to come face to face with his dad for the first time since he was arrested for heinous crimes. Meanwhile, Cassie, Michael, Lia, and Sloane all try to help but everything they try seems to get them in more and more trouble with the FBI. On top of all that, a new FBI agent has been brought in to oversee the naturals programs and she seems determined to end the program one way or another. Can they find out who is copying Dean’s father and how that person is getting information? Can Cassie and her friends prove how valuable the program is so that it doesn’t get cut by the FBI? Will Cassie ever choose between Dean and Michael?
This is a solid followup to the first book. The mystery itself is engaging and is more complicated than most readers will think at first which will keep them guessing until the end. The characters grow and develop more in this book and makes the naturals program seem more useful and interesting than before. The love triangle between Dean, Michael, and Cassie finally gets resolved, but will most likely be revisited in the next installment. Fans looking for a fun mystery series will enjoy this.