Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead is a historical fiction of hustling in the late 50’s early 60’s Harlem, New York. The scenery and atmosphere of the times feels so genuine and accurate. The novel is broken down into 3 interconnected novellas that are years apart, the stories keep the same characters and we see those characters change and evolve over time. Even though Harlem Shuffle takes place 70 years ago there are stark similarities to present day, protest over police / race relations, riots, and corruption of politicians. The language feels authentic and real, and was one of the best parts, I was bummed there weren’t more scenes of it. This is my first Colson Whitehead novel, the Underground Railroad and Nickel Boys have been on my radar and TBR for quite sometime. I have been told that Harlem Shuffle is not his best. I had a love hate with this novel, I loved the scenery, the way landscape was described, I loved the dialogue, how easily it flowed, but I did not care enough about these characters, I felt a lot of the conflict was resolved to easy and not very smart. I liked the first story the best and did not know that the novel was broken up by novellas, I felt there was more to the first story. I wanted more from this novel. Harlem Shuffle was published on 9 – 14 – 21.
Plot Summary: Ray Carney is a legitimate business man in Harlem in the late 1950’s. He learn’s fast and hard lesson’s from the streets. His Father was a tough no nonsense hustler that Ray has tried to distance and remove from his life. But being a business man in Harlem means you have to get your hands dirty, robbing, pay offs to cops and criminals, getting rid of bodies, and murder. He will use the skills that he never wanted to live in success.
What I Liked: I liked that Ray lives in the grey area but always thought he was good, but now his circumstances change and he realizes I’m not so good, but this is now just part of business. I liked how we get backgrounds to almost all characters no matter how small, at first this was a little overwhelming, because I’m not used to it, then I saw what Whitehead was doing, connecting all these characters some from circumstance, others had family connections, and some where connected to the birth of Harlem. I really liked the first story, and wished it continued.
What I Disliked: I felt like the conflict was over to fast, characters were still talking and then someone shoots them before we get any explanation, there was no ratcheting of tension. I t made me not care about the character because I felt no real danger for him, and what is frustrating is there was so much potential for the character and the stories. I liked one of the novellas way more than the other 2. The last one had potential when it was getting interesting it was over quick.
Recommendations: I really wanted to like this book but we just didn’t gel. There’s was really great dialogue but too few of it. I have heard great things about both The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys which I plan to read eventually, but this book I can not recommend, and would try one of those instead. I rated Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead 3 out of 5 stars.
Star Wars: The High Republic, Vol. 2: The Heart of Drengir by Cavan Scott is an action packed adventure that is brutal at times with really great imagery. This volume has 2 main storylines the war with the Drengir race and going undercover to stop the Nihil’s next attack. I was really pleased with how the Drengir storyline ended, and how it could effect the Star Wars Universe. The Undercover to join the Nihil will take the reader into the next volume, it ends in a cliffhanger. We get introduced to a new Jedi Orla Jareni who is a Wayseeker who follows her own path and not just the one the Jedi Temple says she can. I liked the character but I wanted more since they don’t stay long, but believe the character could do more in the Star Wars Universe. Since Cavan Scott wrote the novel The Rising Storm we have the big event in that book set up as a catalyst for events in this book. The ending of the Drengir saga was exciting in a very Jedi way. The Nihil story line has a good twist. The heart of these issues is still the padawan and master relationship between Keeve and Sskeer. Star Wars: The High Republic, Vol. 2: The Heart of Drengir collects issue 5 -10 of Star Wars: The High Republic by Disney and Marvel Comics. Star Wars: The High Republic, Vol. 2: The Heart of Drengir by Cavan Scott was published on December 7th 2021
The Plot Summary: Keeve tries to separate The Drengir who has taken over her master Sskeer. After days of fighting with it the only solution she can come up with is let it infect her so she can talk to him with the force. Te Hive mind of Drengir does not like this and tries to take Keeve out. Meanwhile Aver Kriss and the most unlikeliest ally the Hut syndicate goes planet to planet in the outer rim trying to drive the Drengir away. Keeve and one of the force twins go undercover to join the Nihil, which is smart because the other force twin can feel every action with the force, until he’s cut off, with a device we know the Nihil developed.
What I Liked: the epicness of The Drengir taking over a Rancor and making it theirs to use against the bad guys. This book as some great art panel that I really enjoyed, for my WordPress review will try to find and awesome one with Avar Kriss losing to the Drengir in a dream. I still really like the Keeve and Sskeer master and padawan relationship, it is still the best part of the book by far. The cliffhanger of them finding out why Sskeer is losing the force. I like the Hutt and Jedi relationship and how tense it becomes at times.
What I Disliked: The Way new Jedi Orla Jareni who is a Wayseeker was used, she has such a cool look and one or two moves but doesn’t add a lot to the story. I liked what I got of the character and wanted a lot more. (Orla Jareni is the Jedi in white on the cover). I wanted more of force twin who are barely in these issues, for a second I was like did they die since they were not in this book until the end.
Recommendation: This graphic novel series still has the most so far in the High Republic series, and it is good action with consequences and meaning. I rated Star Wars: The High Republic, Vol. 2: The Heart of Drengir by Cavan Scott 4 out of 5. I did enjoy the first volume a little bit more but felt the standard and action were kept up. I liked the Art in Volume 2 better.
The Maid by Nita Prose is a warm hearted mystery that is all about character in a really strong debut novel. What makes this novel so unique is that you have a main character that can not read emotion. We see everything through that person’s eyes so a conversation can feel innocent but can be sinister, some things will be instant red flags, but most will have you guessing the intent of the character. The mystery is good and filled with lots of layers, that kept my interest. Molly the maid has so much charm that so just can’t help but root for against all the odds she’s up against. The Maid reminded me a lot of The Curious Incident of the Dog in Nighttime by Mark Haddon which is good company. The beginning took a little while to get going, I thought the chapter lengths at the beginning were too long. The final twist takes a little too long after the main stories conclusion, it was a good twist not for the narrative but for the character of Molly. People have described this as a cozy mystery, which I think fits there is a murder but not a violent one, Molly is a very likable character full of empathy. This book is getting a lot of buzz lately, the author was interviewed on Good Morning America, and GMA book club selection for January, Florence Pugh (Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Little Women) is producing and starring in the movie adaptation, which I can’t wait to see because the book is so character driven, there’s a lot for a good actress to play with. I got to review this book thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books I feel thankful to get since I requested it so late. The Maid was published just days ago on January 4th 2022.
The Plot Summary: Molly, 25, is a maid at the Grand Regency Hotel she is on the spectrum as light autistic where she can not read facial queues or intent. Molly loves being a maid, it is her whole life, she loves to clean even after she is off she has a rigorous list of cleaning for her own apartment. Molly was taught her routine and how to clean from her Gran, who passed away 9 months ago, but her words of wisdom and cheery attitude have stuck in Molly. Molly has just discovered her first body of Mr. Black a powerful, rude, business man who frequently stay at the hotel with his second wife. Mrs. Black has befriended Molly but is she taking advantage. The police can’t tell if Molly is playing the innocent act or she is genuine, because she is the main suspect.
What I Liked: The character of Molly is a stand out, a really sweet character but with some secrets. The humor in this book is great, the staff call Molly a Roomba. Because she can’t read facial queues she makes inappropriate jokes because she literally can not read the room. There’s a scene when she’s getting interrogated and makes a joke, that is so funny given the context. Molly and the relationship with her Gran is really special and will pull at the heart strings. There’s a lot a moments where you the reader know someone’s intention and have to go with Molly into the darkness that doesn’t recognize the danger. The twist at the end was good and fit the character of Molly. This is one of my first feel good mysteries and I was pretty smitten with it.
What I Disliked: There’s a lot of cliched saying by Molly that are a little bit annoying until we get the context which is 30 pages in and is basically an embodiment of her Gran, and is almost a 70 year-old trapped in a 25 year-old’s body. This adds to the beginning being a little slow. There’s also a lot of repetition but it is only at the beginning which contributes it to being slow. I liked the twist but it didn’t need to come 30 pages after the conclusion, the reader knows there’s a piece missing and Prose takes her time delivering the information.
Recommendation: I think this is a great debut novel, it has one glaring new novel trope which is repeating its self but since Nita Prose is a book editor, it is smaller than most. If you are open to read a good heart warming mystery filled with charm and not too much conflict then this is the book for you. Like I said this is my first cozy mystery and I was smitten. The character of Molly is a standout, and even if there was not a mystery I would have had fun and laughed at those inappropriate moments. I rated The Maid by Nita Prose 4 out of 5 stars. I look forward to what Prose will come up with next.
All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman is a Young Adult Fantasy with magical elements and death. This is book one in the All of Us Villains Series. The story is The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter’s Triwizard Tournament. A player must kill everyone else to win, and all the players are teenager of magicians famlies, the playing field is full of enchanted items and enchanted locations. What makes this novel is the four angsty teenagers who deal with society, death, media, and hormones. Their are seven champions but only four are followed, I almost feel like we could have followed all but that makes some characters wild cards. The relationships are strong, when alliance’s are broken you know the reason why, even if you’re a little sad it did not work out. I enjoyed the pace of the novel even though it takes a really long time for the champions to start doing what they were put into the tournament to do, which is try to kill each other. As much as I did like this book I was disappointed with the ending, because this story did not have any real ending it just stops with you the reader knowing there’s another book. There were a couple of twist towards the end but no closure in the story or characters. I think there is enough to hang out with the villains again, but that ending was a big step in a great book.
The Plot Summary: Every 20 years 7 reigning families of magicians have a tournament to the death to decide who holds the horde of the most powerful magic. But this tournament is different one of the lowest families has written an anonymous book all about the tournament that has drawn media attention, which has complicated things for the small village. Every winner has committed suicide one to two years after the tournament not being able to live with what they did while competing. We follow Allister who’s family has won for the last 100 years, has all the pressure to be as vicious as everyone expects him to be. Isobel The first champion announced and receives the most of the media attention. Briony former best friend to Isobel has been training her whole life to be champion. Gavin the poorest and lowliest champion, will give anything to win even his life, his family is suspected of writing the anonymous book, telling all the families secret to give his family some kind of advantage. All champions could be villains, but it is there choice. Thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for teens. All of Us Villains was published on Nov. 21 2021
What I Liked: the character’s are all really great, I loved when they were being wicked, and loved them even more when they resisted. The moral dilemma of having someone you are crushing on, or is you former best friend that you then have to kill is pretty brutal, to paraphrase A Streetcar Named Desire, It’s tearing them apart. I think it took the Hunger Games/Battle Royale formula and made it more intimate, with having all the families know each other and having the low number of 7. Each attempted death feels personal, and we feel each time it happens or is attempted. A really good start had me intrigued early.
What I Disliked: Saw the major twist at the end coming a mile away, it can kind of change the tournament but only one person knows before it ends. The ending killed a lot of momentum there was only the smallest bit of any closure for one out of the 4 characters. I took a little too long for the first death attempt.
Recommendation: This book is good and worth your time I wish the ending landed, but I did read the advanced reader’s copy so maybe it got fixed. There is still a lot of potential in this series and these amazing characters. I will recommend you read this devilishly fun YA novel. I rated All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman 4 out of 5 stars.
January 2022 TBR list: last month was almost successful I read all 5 and a half of the 6 books. I’m going to stick with 6 because I feel it works best for me. I hit my reading goal for the year of 80 books by reading 83. I’m trying to catch up on a couple of the ARC’s that I missed.
All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman is a book I’m half way through it is the Hunger Games meets the Harry Potter Triwizard Tournament in this is a bloody Science Fiction/ Young Adult novel that is getting a lot of buzz and sounds devilishly good. The plot is a fight to the death for 7 families to control high magick. This book review is thanks to Netgalley and Macmillion-Forge.Tor Teen I twas published on November 9 2021
The Maid by Nina Prose sounds like a fun who done it, that is getting a lot of buzz right now. This novel has Florence Pugh from Little Woman and Black Widow attached to star in the movie. I don’t want to know too much on plot but it sounds great. Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books it is published on January 4 2022.
Misery by Stephen King this is a book that has been on my TBR for some time I always want to read more King. I have seen the movie and Kathy Bates incredible Oscar performance as Annie Wilkes. But having just read On Writing by Stephen King and analyzing how he crafted the ending, I really want to read it.
Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce is the sequel to the lovely Dear Mrs. Bird that charmed me so much, just 2 years ago. Following the events of Dear Mrs. Bird where Emmeline had been giving advice to the rejected letters sent to Dear Mrs. Bird column in 1941 wartime England. She takes on new challages heading up her own wartime column. This book is thanks to Netgalley and Scribner it was published on August 10 2021.
Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-man Volume 11 by Stan Lee is one of the last volumes that Stan Lee wrote on. This volume introduces the anti hero Morbius the Living Vampire which is soon to be played by Jared Leto this winter. This book also features The Amazing Spider-Man issue 100 where Spiderman grows extra arms.
Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditorium by R.L. Stine is Goosebumps book 24 in the original book order, this continues my quest to read all the Goosebumps books then give to my eager nephews. This story is a modern day retelling of the Phantom of the Opera with a Goosebumps twist.
December 2021 TBR list: last month was so successful I read all 6 books plus 3 more, I’m going to stick with 6 because work is picking up. I am 2 books away from hitting my reading goal for the year of 80 books.
Wool (the Omnibus edition) by Hugh Howley This is book one of the Silo series. It is science fiction in the apocalypse. The opening chapters are one of the best openers for a book, it messes with your perceptions, of what you think is going on so masterfully. I love the story of how this book got published, as Howley would write chapters at a time online and built up his base.
All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman this is a bloody Science Fiction/ Young Adult that is getting a lot of buzz and sounds devilishly good. The plot is a fight to the death for 7 families to control high magick. This book review is thanks to Net galley and Macmillion-Forge.Tor Teen
On Writing by Stephen King this book is one of the most inspiring books about writing from the master storyteller Stephen King. I’ve gotten the writing bug lately as I’ve been working on my short story writing here and there. I have read this book before and loved it. I can’t wait to read it for the blog and learn from it as well.
Station Eleven By Emily St. John Mandel is science fiction meets the pandemic. This is a book that has been on my TBR for so long, I’m finally ready to take the plunge. The trailer to the HBO Max show is what got me it looks super interesting.
Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 10 by Stan Lee takes Spiderman into the 1970’s. This comic has a death that will rock Peter Parker to his core it feature the return of the Green Goblin, and Doc Oct.
Goosebumps: Return of the Mummy by R.L. Stine is Goosebumps book 23 in the original book order, this continues my quest to read all the Goosebumps books then give to my eager nephews. This story continues the adventure in The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb.
Dear Readers, November was a great month, I read all my TBR list for the month and added 3 off the list. I read 9 books this month. I read 2 graphic novel, 2 horror, 2 mystery, 1 new release thanks to netgalley, and 1 fantasy. I Read 6 books from a book series with Temple of the Winds book four in the Sword of Truth series, Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spiderman Volume 9 , Goosebumps book 22 Ghost Beach, The House on The Cliff, which is book 2 The Hardy Boys series and I added 2 new book series Hellboy omnibus series and The Black Echo the first book in the Harry Bosch Universe . I read two 5 star books, three 4 star books, two 3 star books, and two 2 star books.
Five Star Reviews:
We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker is a slow burn mystery that looks at how one mistake can define a future of hurt. This mystery balances being being heart breaking, yet so so full of a beating heart that drives the narrative. You feel every death and every reveal will change your perception. This is a mystery that is character driven, I feel like if there was no mystery I still would have been interested in the characters. The characters and circumstances will give you chills and it gave me an ugly happy cry. There’s a lot of Darkness in this story but a light at the end of the tunnel that burns bright with hope. We Begin at the End reminded me of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in the characterization of Duchess who could easily be a modernized version of Scout. The plot moves a little slow at times but the fantastically broken characters moved me past the slow parts. The novel lays out all it’s twists and turns at the end that will hit and hurt the reader with each one.
Ghost Beach is by R. L. Stine is Goosebumps book 22 in original published order. Ghost Beach is scary, in both its nightmare scares and real life scares. This book is hauntingly atmospheric. It sets the tone early and will give the reader goosebumps. The twist are really clever and it ask you the audience what is going on? The final twist could be the best one yet, I loved it so much. The book is paced so well and a really fast read, that is hard to put down. The Scares that really work are the hands grabbing from the grave, finding a dead body, skin peeling off bones, ghost that can kill, and the final twist. This is a good story around the campfire.
Four Star Reviews:
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix is a slasher mystery, that uses a mash up of all our favorite final girls from the movies. It was fun to find out the girls origins and from what movie franchise they were from. The movie slashers depicted in this book are Halloween, Friday The 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Scream, and the outlier is Silent Night, Deadly Night. I like what was done with each character, and how these events were eventually made in to Slashers themselves. The dialogue is really fresh and flows so well. There’s a good deal of humor that lands for the most part. The mystery is good I don’t know if everything lined up, but it was fun. The flow of the novel is steady, when there’s slow moments in the action, the fun witty dialogue made up for it.
Temple of the Winds by Terry Goodkind is an epic high fantasy with dark desires and tough choices. Temple of the Winds is book 4 in the Sword of Truth series. This book was light on the action, but filled with so much high stakes drama instead. These last two books The Blood of the Fold and Temple of the Winds has some of the best writing your characters into corner writing. Goodkind perfected that kind of writing with this story; He will have a scenario that is life or death with two options both are bad one involves this bad thing happening this betrayal and the other option is even worse. Goodkind masterfully handles his characters suffering with a pin prick of light at the tunnel. This book flowed better than the others in the series
The House on the Cliff by Franklin W. Dixon is the second Hardy Boys adventure/mystery. This book is way more adventure while the first Hardy Boys The Tower Treasure was more mystery. The House on the Cliff features their Dad, Detective Fenton Hardy more, you understand a lot about the Hardy Boys and why they are so enamored by their dad and want to be just like him. The Hardy’s friend’s Chet and Biff really help them out and have their own chapter, after getting briefly introduced in the first book. This book is filled with danger, kidnapping and drug smuggling.
Three Star Reviews:
The Black Echo by Michael Connelly is the first appearance of detective Harry Bosch and the birth of the Harry Bosch Universe. The story for The Black Echo is used for the main story of Bosch Season 3 on Amazon Prime. I recently watched that season and wanted to know the original story. I had read The Black Echo 15 years ago, I still remembered some beats to the story but was still shocked by the twist and turns in the story. The thing I like about this book is we get to detect with Harry Bosch, the reader discovers all the clues with him, the story is very detailed, sometimes too detailed. I liked the twist and thought they fit with the narrative. The Black Echo overall story was good and compelling
Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 by Mike Mingola is about Hellboy’s is short stories from his discovery in 1947 with stories through to 1961. My knowledge of Hellboy is based solely on watching the films. I liked half of the stories, some felt like repeats of stories I had just read. The art is fantastic I love, love what is done with shadowing and I love the uniqueness of the art of Hellboy. Almost half the book takes place in Mexico in 1957 and I feel the art was the best here.
Two Star Reviews:
The Woman on the Pier by B. P. Walter is a drama pretending to be a mystery, there are some mystery elements but far more drama. This is my second B. P. Walter, the publicist actually reached out to me to read this one, thank you Netgalley and Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter for the opportunity to read this book, The first book I read The Dinner Guest was a great “who done it” mystery, which The Woman on the Pier is not. The Woman on the Pier is more of a “I think you’re are responsible, but can’t punish who is so I might punish you if you did what I think you did” kind of mystery. The main character Caroline is totally unlikable, I think I rarely felt sorry for her. I have never read a mystery that involved ISIS, but can not say that now.
Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 9 by Stan Lee is an okay collection of Spiderman stories. This is the weakest volume so far in terms of story and memorable action and storylines. There’s a lack of long form storytelling, which is explained and does make sense, if you had a long form story and miss one issue there were no comic book stores in the 1960’s to get the missed issue, but it was definitely a step back in storytelling. The adds to the Marvel universe in this issue are the The Prowler who is not bad just misunderstood, he ends up donning the spider suit once in this volume and to a greater effect later, we also meet Vanessa Fisk the woman behind The Kingpin, and The Black Widow makes an appearance where she changes costume which is pretty close to the outfit she wears today. The only villains in Spiderman’s rogue gallery appearing in these issues are Electro, The Chameleon and the Kingpin.
We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker is a slow burn mystery that looks at how one mistake can define a future of hurt. This mystery balances being being heart breaking, yet so so full of a beating heart that drives the narrative. You feel every death and every reveal will change your perception. This is a mystery that is character driven, I feel like if there was no mystery I still would have been interested in the characters. The characters and circumstances will give you chills and it gave me an ugly happy cry. There’s a lot of Darkness in this story but a light at the end of the tunnel that burns bright with hope. We Begin at the End reminded me of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in the characterization of Duchess who could easily be a modernized version of Scout. Walker or Walk reminds me of the James Mangold written and directed movie Cop Land as small time cop has to break and bend rules he has always followed and lived by. The plot moves a little slow at times but the fantastically broken characters moved me past the slow parts. The novel lays out all it’s twists and turns at the end, that will hit and hurt the reader with each one. The story is filled with great little moments but there are some big moments that will stay with you. This book was not even on my radar but thanks to Goodreads Choice Awards nomination in Mystery and Thrillers and seeing friend’s and followers vote for it, I had to check it out. We Begin at the End did sadly not make it into the final round.
The Plot Summary: Vincent King is being released after 30 years in prison, he was 15 and tried as an adult for a drunk driving incident that ended up killing his girlfriend at the times younger sister. Walk was his best friend that turned him in, is now the towns chief of police. Vincent inherited a piece of property from his long dead parents that is now prime real estate and blocking a condo development. Star, Vincent’s girlfriend, when he went to prison is a struggling drug addict with 2 kids Duchess a rebellious 12 year old and Robin an innocent 4 year old. The Family is threatened by Darke the local drug dealer and the man behind the condo deal, he is a violent man and threatens the family when Vincent who has been watching the house intervenes. Star does thank him just wants Vincent out of her life. He bonds a little with Duchess behind her mom’s back, where he gives her a gun. Duchess Want Dare to pay and burns down his business a strip joint, she steals the security tape. Darke knows it’s her he needs the tape or the insurance won’t pay and he threatens the family. The next night someone from the family is dead when Walk investigates he finds Vincent with blood on his hands and a body. Walk has to make a decision does he cover for his friend or play it by the book?
What I Liked: The character of Duchess was fantastic and refreshing. You liked her, you sometimes were like mellow out, please change course, but through all these different emotions you understood her and why she acted this way. I loved the Duchess’s relationships with people and they way she was so guarded but slowly showed the way she cared. The character of Walk who always follows the rule to the law by the letter is having his doubts and starting to bend or break the law to see outcomes he know he is right about. I also lie the personal demons he was dealing with and how they infected his choices. Their a twist at the end that is so beautiful so self sacrificing, and then the final twist comes and it makes it even more heartbreaking. I can’t remember the last time I teared up at a mystery or if it has ever happened but man this one has one of those moments at the end. The atmosphere is dreary and constant until you see light.
What I Disliked: The plot of the land deal was hard to follow. I felt it lost me at times, I kind of understood it at the end but it took a while and could have been explained a lot better. I’m glad it was only a small part of the larger story or this star rating would not be so high.
Recommendations: This book is great it is slightly depressing, but has a lot of heart. I fully recommend this book but just be prepared for what kind of novel it is. I rated We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker 5 out of 5 stars.
The Woman on the Pier by B. P. Walter is a drama pretending to be a mystery, there are some mystery elements but far more drama. My example was you wouldn’t call Hamlet a mystery we find out early how hamlet’s father dies but there is a whole lot of drama surrounding that death. The Woman on the pier is much the same way the mystery of the death is solved fairly easily, but it open repressed memories, and a lot of secrets. This is my second B. P. Walter, the publicist actually reached out to me to read this one, thank you Netgalley and Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter for the opportunity to read this book, The first book I read The Dinner Guest was a great “who done it” mystery, which The Woman on the Pier is not. The Woman on the Pier is more of a “I think you’re are responsible, but can’t punish who is so I might punish you if you did what I think you did” kind of mystery. The main character Caroline is totally unlikable, I think I rarely felt sorry for her. I have never read a mystery that involved ISIS, but can not say that now. Walter likes torturing his character’s all his characters it worked better in the Dinner Guest but not so well in this book. There’s a couple of good reveals, but there really no twist that change the narrative. There’s lots of character reveals but really lacking on character motivation. This book does have some trigger warnings : sexual abuse, rape, child abuse, and drug abuse. The Woman on the Pier was published in the US on November 11 2021.
Plot Summary: Jessica a teenager is planning on secretly meeting a boy, she makes of a train ride to somewhere else. Jessica has to play her unhappy parent against each other to go, which she does but causes a bigger rift between her parents. England is attacked and like any good parents want to reach out if their daughter is okay, but get nothing. The day goes by and they haven’t heard from Jessica. Then the police inform them that their daughter was killed in the terrorist attack. Caroline and Alec but deal with losing a daughter with out any answers, 3 months later Caroline goes through her phone and see the messages from the boy she was supposed to meet. Caroline finds out the boy Michael lives and takes it on herself to confront and maybe kill him? Will she kill a teenage boy to fulfill her grief?
What Liked: The humor, there’s a scene where Caroline briefly losing her memory and sees what she’s doing with fresh eyes and thinks she’s lost her mind which she actually has. I loved everything with the big TV. I liked the family reveal at the end which made the most sense. I liked the scene with Caroline and Michael’s family.
What I Disliked: It takes Caroline 3 months to throughly look over her daughter’s phone after she died. You find the messages between your daughter and the Michael the guy you blame for killing your daughter and only read the last part, not the beginning. You resent your husband for doing the exact thing you were doing. Not enough character motivations for how crazy this story gets. The their is big reveals involving brothers one was good and the other was so unnecessary.
Recommendation: This book was not for me and I can not recommend it. I will recommend you check out The Dinner Guest but skip The Woman on the Pier. There is no mystery angle and just too many missed variables. I will give B. P. Walter for doing something totally different than his first, but B. P. Walter is better than the writing in The Woman on the Pier. I rated the Woman on the Pier by B. P. Walter 2 out of 5 stars.
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix is a slasher mystery, that uses a mash up up all our favorite final girls from the movies. It was fun to find out the girls origins and from what movie franchise they were from. The movie slashers depicted in this book are Halloween, Friday The 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Scream, and the outlier is Silent Night, Deadly Night. I like what was done with each character, and how these events were eventually made in to Slashers themselves. The dialogue is really fresh and flows so well. There’s a good deal of humor that lands for the most part. The mystery is good I don’t know if everything lined up, but it was fun. The flow of the novel is steady, when there’s slow moments in action, the fun witty dialogue made up for it. Mystery aside the real meat of the story is hope do these women cope with the loss of friends and the choices they made that fateful night. This is my second second Grady Hendrix novel, the first was My Best Friend’s Exorcism, which had plenty of witty dialogue and was totally 80’s but not as strong of a plot of The Final Girl Support Group, which I ended up liking quite a bit better.The Final Girls Support group has been nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award in Horror. I got to read The Final Girl Support Group thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group. The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix was published on July 13 2021.
The Plot: Women who survived mass murders were left the final girl in their massacre have all started a support group. The group has existed for 16 years seems to be barely held together, they don’t so much talk about the tragedy but the film series that have been inspired by them and internal squabbles. One member Adrienne failed to show, Dani says this is her last, Lynette tries to hold it together, and says Heather needs this, and is close to using again. The group turns on Lynette saying we were here cause we thought you needed this, it is revealed that Lynette was not a true Final Girl she didn’t stand up to her bad guy she played dead and the police killed him. Lynette is falling apart when the group finds out that the missing member Adrienne was murdered by a mass murderer and Chrissy a new final girl murdered him. Soon all the women are targeted, will this be Lynette chance to be a real final girl?
What I Liked: I like that the characters are inspired by movie final girls Dani represents Halloween, Marilyn represents The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Adrienne represents Friday the 13th, Heather represents A Nightmare on Elm Street ,Lynette represents Silent Night, Deadly Night, and Julia represents Scream. I loved the fun chapter titles all inspired by a title from a slasher franchise. The idea is smart, I don’t know if it was inspired by the current Halloween and what they are doing with the character of Laurie Strode, but it is interesting seeing where every character ended up. The dialogue is really witty and fun. The fast moving pace made this book a breeze.
What I Disliked: The twist are fun but it doesn’t all make sense, once you know everything. This is a big pet peeve for me. I though the visit to the lost final girl was good for action and making Lynette not be a victim, but it felt like it was from another book, it didn’t gel with everything that came from before.
Recommendation: Do yourself a favor and check out this book, it has a fun meter of 11. I had a slight issue with some plot points but, the fun out weighed my apprehensions. The Final Girl Support Group was released weeks away from another Slasher novel My Heart is a Chainsaw from Stephen Graham Jones which I would easily pick The Final Girl Support Group. Where I feel both added to the Slasher genre, the flow, the characters, and dialogue make The final Girl Support Group the winner in my opinion. I rated The Final Girl Support Group 4 out of 5 Stars. I will add We Sold our Souls by Grady Hendrix a little bit hire on my TBR.