Review: Riley Sager’s The Last Time I Lied

TheLastTimeILied

“Everything is a game, Em. Whether you know it or not.
Which means that sometimes a lie is more than just a lie.
Sometimes it’s the only way to win.”

Synopsis
Camp Nightingale is a summer sleepaway camp for the prestigious elite. At least, it is until three girls go missing, leaving their thirteen-year-old bunkmate, Emma, behind. Fifteen years later, Emma is still haunted and decides to return to Camp Nightingale to uncover the truth about that summer. Yet, she quickly realizes the truth may be harder to unearth than she thinks, especially when its buried underneath some lies of her own.


The Last Time I Lied is for fans of:

  • slow burn suspense novels
  • books that alternate between past and present timelines
  • sleepaway camp settings

Spoiler Free Review
What I liked:
Honestly, I kind of loved everything about The Last Time I Lied. The plot of missing girls at a sleepaway camp drew me in from the very beginning. There’s just something about camp settings that screams suspense to me. Add in Emma, an unreliable narrator, and a group of untrustworthy characters and everyone became a suspect.

I enjoyed the alternating time lines and found both the past and present interesting and eerie. Both timelines were compelling and provided clues to truth about the girls’ disappearance.

There are so many twists and turns in this one that I was kept on the edge of my seat from the beginning until the very, very end. I had many theories, yet I was still so far off from the reveal(s) at the end.

 I loved The Last Time I Lied. 5/5 stars from me. I continue to be impressed by Riley Sager.

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Ratings:
My overall: 5/5
Suspense: 5/5
Character Development: 3.5/5
Ending: 5/5

Goodreads: 4.06/5


Get More Information:
The Last Time I Lied is a thriller, and it was published on July 3, 2019. It’s available to purchase here.

Links: connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; read my review of another Riley Sager book, Final Girls


About the Author: Riley Sager is the pseudonym of a former journalist, editor and graphic designer. Now a full-time writer, Riley is the author of FINAL GIRLS, an international bestseller that has been published in 25 languages, and the New York Times bestseller THE LAST TIME I LIED. His latest book, LOCK EVERY DOOR, will be published in July. A native of Pennsylvania, Riley now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.


This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links.

Review: Alex Michaelides’ The Silent Patient

TheSilentPatient

“Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband.”

Synopsis
Alicia, a famously talented painter, lives an idyllic life with her husband, Gabriel — at least she does until she decides to brutally murder him. Yet, the circumstances surrounding the murder remain a mystery as Alicia refuses to speak since his death. Theo, a criminal psychotherapist, is determined to work with Alicia and unravel the truth about that night…word by word.


The Silent Patient is for fans of:

  • thrillers with an intense psychological component
  • slow-burn thrillers
  • books with epistolary elements

Spoiler Free Review
What I liked:
To say this book starts off with a bang would be an understatement. It captured my attention from the very first sentence (quoted above) and kept it throughout the novel. Personally, I enjoy when thriller novels hook me in and then slowly simmer (slow-burn style). I understand that for a big twist to pay off, a solid foundation needs to be built. I’m ok with waiting like here in The Silent Patient.

I also enjoyed the setting of “The Grove” which is a kind of mental care facility. I don’t read too many thrillers with this setting so it felt unique and gave the story a certain edge.

Additionally, I have to talk about the writing style here. I thought the author was very talented and clever. The writing is gripping and certainly page-turning. I finished this entire book in about a 48 hour period. The Silent Patient demands to be read.

I also really liked the epistolary elements. I wasn’t quite sure how we would really get to know Alicia (as she refuses to speak). The diary entries were interesting and provided a unique perspective on the contrast from Alicia back then vs. Alicia in the now.

What I didn’t like:
While I thought the ending was clever (and clearly a majority of people loved it/enjoyed it due to the mostly positive reviews and ratings) I figured it out just before the reveal. This is always a bit dissatisfying to me as a reader and especially as a lover of the genre. For it to fully make me go wow I need to still be guessing until the author reveals the twist to me.

It’s always a bit of a risk when a book depends on the reader not guessing the one twist for it to pay off. However, I will say there were certainly some elements I didn’t guess and I found them satisfying. For readers who dabble in thrillers, you’d likely really enjoy this one. I think this fell a bit short for me because I have so many other reads to compare it to (and let’s face it, I’m an unusually suspicious reader).

Overall, I would still recommend this one. It’s a quick read and still felt satisfying in the end. I just wouldn’t call this one my favorite. 3.5/5 stars from me.

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Ratings:
My overall: 3.5/5
Suspense: 3/5
Character Development: 4/5
Ending: 3.5/5

Goodreads: 4.05/5


Get More Information:
The Silent Patient is a thriller, and it was published on February 5, 2019. It’s available to purchase here.

Links: connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter


About the Author: [written in author’s pov] Born in Cyprus to a Greek-Cypriot father and English mother, I studied English literature at Cambridge University and got my MA in screenwriting at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. I wrote the film The Devil You Know (2013) starring Rosamund Pike and co-wrote The Con is On (2018), starring Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Parker Posey and Sofia Vergara. THE SILENT PATIENT is my first novel.


This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links.

Review: Alex’s North’s The Whisper Man

TheWhisperMan

I’ve told you many times that there’s

no such thing as monsters. I’m sorry that I lied.”

Synopsis
After his wife’s death, Tom and his young son, Jake, move to Featherbank for a new beginning. Yet their new beginning morphs into something darker, more sinister, and frankly something unnerving. Jake begins to hear voices — whispers — and it appears The Whisper Man, a notorious serial killer, has returned to Featherbank once more.


The Whisper Man is for fans of:

  • complex family dynamics, specifically father/son relationships
  • thrillers intertwined with (fictional) local folklore
  • books with multiple point-of-views

Spoiler Free Review
What I Liked:
I loved the father/son dynamics in the novel. Each relationship was so complex and interesting. I loved how the author drew parallels and distinctions between each pair. At its heart, I think this novel is about complicated, intense, and emotional relationships.

Jake and Tom’s relationship was my favorite because of its realistic portrayal. It might not have been easy between them, but they tried because they loved one another. I enjoyed that the author portrayed Tom as a strong parental figure, but a flawed one. He often wondered if he was making the right choices or doing what was best for his son. These are fears parents have, and I loved the realistic portrayal.

I also loved the folklore aspect of the book. It felt haunting, and it felt unique to their small town. It truly felt like a disturbing tale that could be passed down in a small town. The imagery in the book was certainly enough to keep me up at night and double checking that my doors were indeed locked.

Additionally, I enjoyed the police/procedural aspect of the novel. I love feeling like I’m in on the investigation and picking up clues alongside law enforcement. In general, it makes the hunt for the killer(s) more realistic for me. I thought the author did a great job of showing this side of the story.

What I Didn’t Like:
The ending. I’m sorry! I truly think this is a classic case of it’s not you, it’s me. I only bought this book because I saw it was super hyped up on bookstagram and it had high reviews online. I am always on the hunt for my next thriller and this one seemed perfect. I think I went in expecting it to be traditionally twisty with a larger focus on the “horror.” This was not the case.

I found the ending predictable, but I don’t think it was meant to be particularly twisty. I kept waiting for the next twist and turn and had a running list of theories in my head. None turned out to be correct even though I thought it would have been cool if they were (they were particularly dark/twisty theories). I think I just thought this book was going to be something it wasn’t, instead of just enjoying it for what it was – a haunting take on local folklore with an emphasis on complex family dynamics.

Overall, I really did enjoy The Whisper Man and certainly recommend it if you’re in the market for a unnerving read this fall season. It gets a 3.5/5 from me.

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Ratings:
My overall: 3/5
Suspense: 4/5
Character Development: 5/5
Ending: 2/5

Goodreads: 4.21/5


Get More Information:
The Whisper Man is a thriller, and it was published on August 20, 2019. It’s available to purchase here.


About the Author: Alex North was born in Leeds, England, where he now lives with his wife and son. The Whisper Man was inspired by North’s own little boy, who mentioned one day that he was playing with “the boy in the floor.” Alex North is a British crime writer who has previously published under another name.


This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links.

Review: Riley Sager’s Final Girls

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As soon as I read the synopsis for this book, I went to the store to purchase it. I love thriller/suspense (my favorite genre next to romance), and I love scary movies. Seriously, horror is my favorite movie genre. I love it. This book sounded like it merged the thriller/suspense genre and the “final girl” concept seen in horror genre. Yes, please.

Final Girls tells the story Quincy Carpenter, a final girl. In college, Quincy went on a vacation with a group of friends, but just like the horror movie massacres, she was the only one who made it out alive. She unofficially joins the final girls club alongside Lisa and Sam. Yet, as the years have passed Quincy finds herself settling into normalcy thanks to her prescription medication, loving fiance, and popular baking blog. Everything is normal…until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead. Quincy is forced to relive and remember her past as she fights for her life in the present.

You might like this book if:

  • you enjoy horror movies/the final girl concept
  • you enjoy murder mysteries
  • you like reading dynamic characters that are unreliable/untrustworthy

You might not like this book if:

  • you dislike reading flashback scenes
  • you don’t enjoy suspense books that have a slower build up

Ok y’all I actually really loved this one. It had me hooked from the very first chapter. I actually enjoyed that Quincy could not remember much from the night of the massacre. While I understand why some readers don’t enjoy the repressed memory device in stories, I thought it worked here. Just imagine going through something that traumatic and seeing all of your friends be killed…I can definitely see how this would be something a person would block out. So, I enjoyed this plot device!

Usually I’m not a fan of flashbacks in stories (I like the story line to be linear), but again I really enjoyed it here. I loved how I was unraveling the story of the past while trying to get to the bottom of what was happening in the future. It kept my attention all the way through.

While I thought the suspense was good (there was somewhat of a slower build up), the ending is really what made this book for me. The last 20% of the book had me reading like crazy to get to the end. Truly, I didn’t know what was going to happen until the very end. I had my theories and suspicions, but they were way off! Then, looking back once you know the ending…it all makes sense. These are my favorite and most fulfilling suspense/thriller endings as a reader.

Overall, I give this a 5/5. I really enjoyed it and flew through this one. I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know what happened. The ending was totally worth it for me that I didn’t mind the slower beginning. Please let me know if you’ve read this one and what you thought!

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Ratings
Goodreads Rating: 3.8/5
My Overall Rating: 5/5
Suspense: 3.5/5
Ending: 5/5
Characterization: 4.5/5

Get More Info: visit Riley Sager’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Final Girls on Amazon

Final Girls is adult thriller/suspense, and it published on July 11, 2017. It is available to purchase here.

About the Author: Riley Sager is the pseudonym of a former journalist, editor and graphic designer. Now a full-time writer, Riley is the author of FINAL GIRLS, an international bestseller that has been published in 25 languages, and the New York Times bestseller THE LAST TIME I LIED. His latest book, LOCK EVERY DOOR, will be published in July. A native of Pennsylvania, Riley now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links.

Review: Kimberly Belle’s Dear Wife

Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin for providing me with an advanced copy of Kimberly Belle’s Dear Wife in exchange for my honest review. I was really excited to read this one as soon as I read the synopsis. I am a sucker for thrillers.

Dear Wife is told through multiple POVs as we follow the stories of two missing women and the people they left behind. Beth Murphy is on the run from her violent husband. She’s skipped town and she won’t stop running for fear that he’ll catch her. Sabine Hardison is missing, and she’s left behind a husband and a sister who will do anything to find her. As the story unravels, the truth behind these women’s disappearance gets harder to find.

spoiler free: I really enjoyed Dear Wife. I loved the premise of following two different disappearances and the effect they had on a multitude of characters. One of my favorite things about this one was the unreliability of each character. Everyone seemed like they were telling the truth and everyone seemed like they were lying. The story unfolds with various twists and turns and no character is exactly what they seem. This made the story feel fresh and exciting.

The only reason this wasn’t a full 5/5 was that I figured out the large plot point at about 75% in and then at 85% the author kind of lets you in on it. The rest of the story is suspenseful for sure as the story wraps up, and I was still turning the pages until the very end, but I kind of wish I hadn’t figured it out so soon.

Overall, I gave this one a 4/5. I enjoyed the multiple POVs and how the story was interwoven between all the characters. I loved how the author built the suspense up and the unreliable narrators kept me flipping through the pages.

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Dear Wife is a suspense/thriller novel, and it releases on June 25, 2019. It’s available for pre-order now.

get more info: Visit Kimberly Belle’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Dear Wife on Amazon

 

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. Netgalley and the publisher were kind enough to provide me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Carol Wyer’s The Dare

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Alright y’all I have got to talk about one of my new favorites, Carol Wyer. I actually came randomly across Carol Wyer’s The Dare while browsing on Netgalley, and was immediately intrigued by the premise. I of course had a blonde moment and requested the book without realizing it was actually the third in its series. (Side note: thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for allowing me early access to this ARC!) Luckily, I was able to read the story without feeling like I missed out on anything. Wyer does a great job of explaining any plot/character growth that may have occurred in the past that is relevant to know. I didn’t feel left out at all. Even so, I’m quickly going back and reading the first and second in the series, so hopefully I can eventually review the series as a whole.

Long intro aside, I loved Carol Wyer’s The Dare, the third book in the Detective Natalie Ward series.

spoiler free: There was so much that I loved in The Dare. First, I can’t praise Carol Wyer enough regarding the quality of writing. I genuinely felt as though I was a part of Ward’s investigation team. I actually felt as though I was in the midst of a serial killer. Wyer lets you (the reader) in on each stage in the investigation and it makes it feel hauntingly real. If you’re a fan of Law and Order, CSI, Criminal Minds or true crime/police investigations – you will love this book.

I also loved reading through the perspective of Natalie Ward. She was an amazing character to focus on. She felt so well rounded – like I could actually walk into a police station and find her sitting there. I also really enjoyed the contrast between the intense situation in her work life and the drama of her home life. Wyer shed light on just how difficult it is to have a demanding career and balancing the intricacies of being a parent (especially a parent to teenagers). Natalie Ward was complex, flawed, and fiercely dedicated. This made for a compelling main character.

Lastly, let us talk about, you know, the actual mystery here. I truly flew through his book – it had be hooked from the very first chapter. The plot is fairly complex, and I didn’t know the killer’s identity until the book revealed it (and then of course, I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it.)

During the middle of the book, the plot did feel a bit slow as the case felt somewhat hopeless as the team was left with so few clues. Yet, I felt this was intentional. It was slow and a bit frustrating as a reader, because it was slow and frustrating to the team. This just added to my connection with the story. I felt like I was in the thick of it with them.

Overall, I gave this one a 5/5. I recommend this fully, however if you’re new to Carol Wyer – I may suggest starting at the beginning of this series as I’m about to now!

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get more info: Visit Carol Wyer’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find The Dare on Amazon

The Dare is Carol Wyer’s third book in the Detective Natalie Ward series. It is classified as a thriller, and it releases on April 25, 2019. It is available for pre-order now.

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. Netgalley and the publisher were kind enough to provide me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Peter Swanson’s Before She Knew Him

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Hi y’all! I am happy to announce I am a proud new member of the Book of the Month (BOTM) club, a book box subscription. Each month BOTM chooses five (hardcover) books and allows each subscriber to choose the one they are most interested in reading. The book choices vary in authors and genres so there really is something for everyone.  It’s $14.99/month and shipping is always free and you can skip any month you want. What I love most about BOTM is the sense of community it creates. Seriously, check out Bookstagram. It’s flooded with BOTM choices. But, I digress. The point of this long intro is that Peter Swanson’s Before She Knew Him was my March BOTM and I was very excited about it. (*not sponsored lol*)

Before She Knew Him follows Hen. Hen lives with her husband, Lloyd, and they have just moved to a quiet suburb outside of Boston. Hen is an illustrator and artist, and she finally feels her life is at a point of peace. Oh, and she also suspects her neighbor, Mathew, is a murderer.

spoiler free: Before She Knew Him was an unconventional thriller read for me. I remember thinking within the first thirty or so pages that I knew everything there was to know about the story. I felt like the author let me in at every angle, so I always felt like the other shoe was about to drop. Around the fifty page mark, I remember thinking ok so I know x, y, z…where is this story headed? For me, that was exciting. I felt like the author freed up the second half of the book to go anywhere. It felt like a very fresh take on a whodunnit.

In that same vein though, I felt like the beginning of the book was a bit slow. The suspense really picked up in the last third and it was great. However, I felt like the suspense was a little lacking at the beginning just because of how much I (thought) I was “in on” regarding the story. But this was my only complaint.

I was impressed by the ending and truly did not see it coming. I think I was so focused on the fact that I (thought) I *knew* everything, that I was constantly waiting for something to pop up out of nowhere. Due to this, I felt like I missed so many signs that were right in front of me. I didn’t know the reveal until the author showed me, and that’s an impressive feat. I enjoyed the last 1/3 of the book the most.

Overall, I this was a 4/5 for me. I really did enjoy it and I can’t wait to read more from Peter Swanson in the future. The only reason it isn’t a full 5/5 is because the beginning was a bit slow for me, but I still highly recommend this one!

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Before She Knew Him is an adult thriller, and it was published in March of 2019.

get more info: visit Peter Swanson’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Before She Knew Him on Amazon; visit Book of the Month

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links.