Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Last Time I Lied (Riley Sager)

Author Riley Sager had a big hit last year with Final Girls, and now he returns with the equally thrilling The Last Time I Lied. While I found the plot slow and meandering at times, as a whole, I thoroughly enjoyed Sager's newest book.

Fifteen years ago, Emma Davis spent a summer at Camp Nightingale. She was the youngest camper in her cabin, sharing it with friends Vivian, Natalie, and Allison. One fateful night, the three of them disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again. In present day, Emma is a promising artist when she is contacted by the camp's old director telling her that the camp is being reopened. Emma is asked to come back to teach art, and she wants to use this opportunity to find out once and for all what really happened to her friends. But incredibly, another mysterious incident comes about, and Emma is looked on with suspicion once again
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As I mentioned, some of the narrative really meanders as the reader races to the conclusion. But the actual ending makes up for that. The best types of books are those that totally surprise you, and this finale definitely did. I never saw that one coming!

MY RATING - 3.5

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

I Let You Go (Claire Mackintosh)

I am always on the lookout for books with great twists. I actually prefer to know if a book has a twist before I begin reading it. Then I can have fun trying to guess what it is throughout. Claire Mackintosh's I Let You Go appears on many "Books With a Twist" lists, and I can honestly say that I NEVER saw this one coming.

There's not much I can say here without giving anything away. This is what I'll tell you: The lead character, Jenna Gray, is living a nightmare and escapes to a remote village where everyone knows everybody else. She finds love there, but eventually, as it always does, her past comes back to haunt her in a big way.

That is the absolute most I can tell you without spoiling anything. The twist and ending are magnificent, but I Let You Go is also a powerful tale of grief, guilt, and unimaginable horror. 

MY RATING - 4

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Guess Who (Chris McGeorge)

Filled with a few surprises and interesting twists, Chris McGeorge's debut Guess Who has as its core a  fresh plotline that you don't read about every day.

Ever since he solved a murder when he was the tender age of 11, Morgan Shepperd has become a star detective on TV, figuring out such Jerry Springer type cases like "Who's the father?" He lives a famous life, but a shallow one, filled with lies, drinking, and harmful substances. He wakes up one day drugged in a hotel room, only he's not alone -- five complete strangers are also waking up at the same time, and worse, they soon discover a corpse in the bathtub. A mysterious figure tells Morgan that someone in the room is the killer, and it is up to Morgan to solve the crime in three hours or the hotel will be blown up.

It sounds implausible, and it probably is, but that doesn't mean it's not a page-turner. The ending to me felt a little ridiculous, which is why I gave Guess Who a 3 rating, but I did greatly enjoy the process of getting there.

MY RATING - 3

Friday, May 11, 2018

When Life Gives You Lululemons (Lauren Weisberger)

Emily Charlton was always one of my favorite characters in Lauren Weisberger's megahit The Devil Wears Prada. I also loved Emily Blunt's portrayal of her in the movie: the sass, the snark, the eye rolls, etc. However, in When Life Gives You Lululemons, Weisberger's latest Prada novel, Emily is written so one-note and shallow that she becomes practically a different character, at least in my eyes.

Lululemons takes readers into the very uppity lives of its three main characters living in Greenwich, Connecticut. Emily, as we know, is Miranda Priestly's ex-assistant, who has reinvented herself as an image consultant to the stars. Karolina Hartwell needs Emily desperately, as she is a supermodel married to a senator and currently going through the aftermath of a DUI arrest. Miriam is friends with both of them, and up until recently had a very successful law career, but moved to Connecticut to stay at home with her children.

Unfortunately, I found myself not particularly liking any of the characters this time. From Karolina and her arrest to Miriam and her husband, each successive plot event became more and more unbelievable. I do realize that Weisberger's books are meant to be escapist, but they do need to have some semblance of reality. I did enjoy the appearances by the fabulous Miranda, but they were too few and far between.

MY RATING - 2

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Song of Achilles (Madeline Miller)

Up until now, Greek mythology was something I never had one ounce of interest in. I knew Zeus and Achilles were supposed to be big shots, but that was the extent of my knowledge. And then there was all this buzz about Madeline Miller's Circe, so I figured I better read her previous book first. Wow! This author has such a way with storytelling, that it makes me want to learn everything I can about the subject now!

In The Song of Achilles, we see the Trojan War through the eyes of Patroclus, who has been exiled to live with King Peleus and his son Achilles. Achilles soon grows fond of him as a friend, and before long, love blooms between them. But soon comes much strife, as Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped and a war begins to rescue her. Prophecies and tragedies ensue as gods and humans work together or against each other.

Look for a review of Circe here very soon, for if that one is as heart-thumping as this one, I'm in for an exciting read.

MY RATING - 4

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

I See Life Through Rose'-Colored Glasses (Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella)

Over the years, I've had the pleasure of meeting Lisa Scottoline a few times, and believe me when I tell you that she is one of the nicest people you will ever come across in your life. She greets her fans not with handshakes but with hugs, and the word that comes most to mind when I think of her is "genuine."

Her daughter, Francesca Serritella, is exactly the same way. Lisa, of course, has written numerous mysteries, but the two of them have also come together to develop a series of essay books, their newest being I See Life Through Rose'-Colored Glasses (that's the wine!). Whether it's Lisa's or Francesca's essay you're reading, I promise that you are in for a treat. From pets to exercise to dating, they write about life in such a way that every woman can relate to. Most essays are hilarious and witty, but every once in awhile they throw one in that's beautifully poignant.

One warning -- I read this book on my Kindle while my husband was asleep next to me. If you value your marriage, you may not want to do that. I laughed out loud too many times to count.

MY RATING - 4


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Lies (T.M. Logan)

I've been running my blog for a long time, and over the years, I've written hundreds of reviews. I could probably count on two hands how many 5-star reviews I've given. The criteria for a 5 is simple: "Excellent. I would read it again in a heartbeat." I'm happy to report that T.M. Logan's Lies is one of the award winners. I simply couldn't stop reading, and you probably won't be able to either. Once you think you guessed the twists correctly, the author is proud to show you that you didn't.

Joe Lynch lives a simple, happy existence with his wife and young son. However, have you ever done one thing that seems innocent enough, but then things completely snowball? That's what happens to Joe when he sees his wife's car in a hotel parking lot and decides to stop. After that, nothing is ever the same. Logan certainly didn't pick his title out of thin air; it's called that for a reason, and it would do the reader a lot of good if he or she would remember that.

Logan is an absolute master with cliffhangers, and every chapter ends with one. I'm purposely not going too deeply into the plot explanation because the layers are deep in Lies. This is a book you'll read long into the night, enjoying every single page while you try to guess where the author will take you next.

MY RATING - 5