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Friday, May 11, 2012

Two and a Half Reviews

I'm back in  mystery and mayhem mode.

Beneath the Shadows by Sarah Foster is a Netgalley read.

"In this thrilling gothic suspense debut by Sara Foster in the tradition of Rosamund Lupton and Sophie Hannah, a young mother searches Yorkshire's windswept moors for the truth behind her husband's mysterious disappearance." 

 I didn't find is suspenseful and the characters were one dimensional.  Awash in details that didn't further the plot or the characterization.  I love the setting on the Yorkshire moors, but the rest, not so much.   (Release date June 5)

Dead Scared by S.J. Bolton, another Netgalley read.  

 "When a rash of suicides tears through Cambridge University, DI Mark Joesbury recruits DC Lacey Flint to go undercover as a student to investigate. Although each student’s death appears to be a suicide, the psychological histories, social networks, and online activities of the students involved share remarkable similarities, and the London police are not convinced that the victims acted alone. They believe that someone might be preying on lonely and insecure students and either encouraging them to take their own lives or actually luring them to their deaths. As long as Lacey can play the role of a vulnerable young woman, she may be able to stop these deaths, but is it just a role for her? With her fragile past, is she drawing out the killers, or is she herself being drawn into a deadly game where she’s a perfect victim?" 

Bolton can do suspense.  I like and dislike exactly the same things I've noted about her earlier books, great tension and rushed conclusions.  Her plots are kind of out there, and the heroes always have to deal with evil, not just murder, but creepy, spooky, gruesome evil. Bolton does keep my nose in the book whatever criticisms I may have; she skillfully builds tension and keeps the reader on edge...even after you know exactly where things are going.  I also liked seeing Dr. Evi Oliver from Sacrifice take a role in this one.  (Release date June 5)

The Receptionist (an ARC from Algonquin) by Janet Groth is a memoir of Groth's years as a receptionist at the iconic New Yorker.  It starts out well and has two very interesting chapters about John Berryman and Muriel Sparks.  She drops a lot of names, as she had contact with some very important literary figures, but the chapters on Berryman and Sparks are much more detailed.  Unfortunately, the book slows down, and although I have only about 70 pages left, I haven't picked it up again.  I will finish it...eventually.  (release date June 26)

I've more than completed the Once Upon Challenge journey I chose, but may continue to read a few more in the fantasy/fairy tale genre.  I also watched Red Riding Hood with Gary Oldman, but it was pretty bad.

All I really want to read at the moment are mysteries.  :)


  1. Glad to hear your comments about the first two books. Have been looking forward to reading both of them. I've got all of S.J. Bolton's book that have been published so far and haven't read a single one. I truly need to start them. LOL

  2. Kay - Bolton is always suspenseful. There is one that I haven't read, but I'll get to it!

  3. I'm taking a bit of a break from my Reading Challenges, which I haven't finished, to read a mystery. I just longed to immerse myself in one so I have almost finished Jacqueline Winspear's new Maisie Dobbs' Elegy for Eddie. I like Winspear's books. They aren't quite as harsh as they once were. I accidentally bought this book so, in my way of thinking, it doesn't violate my reading from my own library intention.;-)

  4. Teresa - :) I can't resist mysteries! I love the Maisie Dobb's series, but haven't read the most recent one. Maisie had to work her way out of the effects of WWI eventually, but I love the way Winspear accurately portrays the periods--from post-war to pre-war.

  5. I've got The Receptionist to read, here, too. So far, I haven't read any enthusiastic reviews but I'll give it a chance. Thanks for the warning that it slows toward the end.

  6. If the woman's husband is missing, why put that black baby carriage on the cover? :<)

    I can't do 'gruesome' and 'evil.'

    But the third book greatly appeals to me. Since it hasn't come out yet, I wonder if you read a copy that hadn't been fully edited?? Maybe the 'real' book will be better. I am known to go on ad nauseum about the only ARC I ever read. It put me off the author forever.:<)

  7. I've only read one mystery by Bolton (Awakening), which I thought was good but not great. My mom enjoys her mysteries, so I'm sure she'll be thrilled to learn of this new release. I still have Blood Harvest waiting in my stacks.

  8. I'm all about anyone that worked at The New Yorker...I think I would love that book.

  9. Nan - You wouldn't like Bolton if you don't like gruesome. She does suspense well, but her taste for bizarre murders is unpleasant.

    The Receptionist is an advanced reader's copy, not an uncorrected manuscript, so it is the edited book. I've recently read part of an uncorrected manuscript that I couldn't even get past a few short chapters.

    Les - Bolton goes for weird and complicated!

    Bybee - The first part that deals mostly with the The New Yorker is really interesting. Once Groth moves to what is going on in her own life, however, I started losing interest.

  10. What a shame about The Receptionist--I was hoping that it would be a solid read.

  11. Stephanie - Others may enjoy it more than I have, but my interest was mainly in the New Yorker "gossip" than in the author's life. And since I have not finished, maybe the narrative returns to the New Yorker. I'll have to skim and see!