Three Little Lies by Laura Marshall || ARC Review

So I have to admit that I am very behind on reading this Advanced Reader Copy of Three Little Lie by Laura Marshall. I received it from NetGalley after it was released last September, but I have no good excuse for why it took me so long to get to it.

Date Published: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Thriller
Number of Pages: 352

Synopsis

When Sasha disappears, Ellen fears the worst. Then long-buried secrets resurface, Ellen realizes she may not know Sasha — or what she’s capable of — at all.

2005: 17 year old Ellen falls under the spell of glamorous newcomer, Sasha. As Ellen is welcomed into Sasha’s family, she doesn’t see the darkness that lies beneath their musical, bohemian lifestyle. At a New Year’s Eve party, events come to a dramatic head, resulting in a court case (in which Ellen is a key witness) that means family life at the Corner House will never be the same again.

2018: Now 30, Ellen and Sasha are still entwined in each other’s lives and sharing a flat in London. When Sasha disappears, Ellen fears the worst. She has gone missing like this before and the police won’t take it seriously, but long-buried events in their shared past mean that Ellen has good reason to be frightened – not only for Sasha, but also for herself. Finding out the truth about what really happened on New Year’s Eve twelve years ago puts Ellen in terrible danger, and forces her to confront not only the past, but how well she really knows her best friend.

My Review

This was the novel that I needed to get me back on my reading game. Three Little Lies was a quick read. I started at around 9:45 AM and was finished by the time I went to bed in the evening after working a shift at the bar. This was the first novel that I’ve read by Laura Marshall. I enjoyed the pace of the story and how she developed her characters, especially the storyline of Ellen. I was impressed by the way Ellen’s perspective changed throughout the novel — a once loyal best friend learns that maybe her best friend isn’t exactly as she always seemed. You can see how friendships and family’s shift in times of grief and tragedy.

Three Little Lies touches on a tough topic, but it was handled well. Seeing the perspective of a mother in the courthouse watching her child sitting on the stand was stressful for me as a reader. Reading Olivia’s thoughts as she hears all of the terrible things her son, Daniel, is accused of, really brings to light the struggle of family trust. Do you always believe your child? Or do you believe the law? How do we know if the criminal justice system is flawed?

I will say that the reason I wasn’t completely blown away by this book is because the ending fell flat to me. As a reader, I was trying to guess how it was going to end, and Laura Marshall was able to pull off a huge twist — but then there were more pages to the novel and it didn’t end as strong.

Overall, I liked this book. I’m going to check out Laura Marshall’s other novels as well because I enjoyed her writing style and the flow of the novel.

Rating

⭐⭐⭐

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Screen Shot 2018-07-31 at 6.49.08 PM

Release date: May 24, 2012

Publisher: Broadway Books

Genre: Fiction/Thriller

Premise: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Thoughts + Feelings: I did it. I finally freaking did it. I finished Gone GirlI went into Gone Girl with way too high of expectations. Everyone, everywhere, told me how incredible of a book it was, so my expectations were through the roof.

I’d like to clarify: I really enjoyed this book. I was expecting a fast-paced thriller mystery novel, but what I found was a slow-burning psychological thriller.

Amy Dunne. Amazing Amy. She is such a unique character. Portrayed in one sense, and they portrayed at the same time from a completely different perspective. Gillian Flynn is an incredible writer and artistic soul. There are so many twists and turns; complicated characters with bold, outrageous story lines. You find yourself rooting for Amy and Nick. After all, it’s their fifth wedding anniversary and they are going through some hard times. You make guess after guess of what you think is going to happen next… and guess what… you are wrong.

I’m going to be honest – I hated the ending to this book. My initial reaction to this book was “WTF?!?!”  It fit the bill of what looked like was supposed to happen, but I wanted so much more for the characters. They’re crazy. Nick Dunne and Amy Dunne are absolutely maniacs. They ultimately deserve each other, which is sick and twisted. I have such conflicting feelings about Gone Girl. I wanted to love it like all of my friends, but I am just struggling to love it. The writing was dark and twisted – I love myself some dark & twisted. But this took it to a whole separate level.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

into the water

Release date: May 2, 2017

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Genre: Fiction/Thriller

Premise: A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.


Thoughts + Feelings:  Into the Water was an average book. It is helping me climb out of my reading slump as I finished it in three nights on the couch. I actually preferred to read it instead of watching a movie that was on television. There was nothing incredible about Hawkin’s writing in this novel. It was just an average, enjoyable book. I have developed a love of thriller novels and while this was definitely an attempt at being a thriller, it just didn’t do it for me.

One of my initial points of apathy for Into the Water was how many characters there were throughout the novel without a lot of introduction. It seems that some names were just thrown in and you read and flipped through the book trying to figure out if they served some type of importance or if they were just there to be there. Some of the main characters such as Helen and Nickie weren’t even granted full story lines, but they played a key role throughout the novel. And then there is Louise Whitaker who has way too much of a story line. It was a challenge to keep track of all of the characters because there was no clear cut language or personality differences between them. There was not a single good character in the entire book. Mark Henderson = bad; Lena and Jules = bad; Robbie Cannon = bad. You need someone to root for in a 400 page book and there was not a single character that I could stand behind as a good person.

Jules Abbott is a bad sister, but so is Nel. I appreciated how their relationship developed throughout the novel and how Jules came to mother Lena in Nel’s absence. Sean is a cop for goodness sake, and so was Patrick. They are just so unlikable and awful.

I feel like there are some novels that do suspense  and mystery very well and others that just flop. That being said there were parts of the novel where I was on the edge of my couch… and other parts where I fell asleep on said couch with my iPad in my hands. Although it was labeled as mystery, Into the Water was relatively predictable. Many of the thriller novels that I’ve read recently do a good job of keeping main points of the plots secret until you’re ready for the big twist, but in this book some of the plot points were given away in early chapters. Maybe you didn’t catch them; that’s okay. If you did catch it; that’s okay for you too!

Into the Water was an easy book to read – the language was smooth and well-written. If you are looking for a huge twist at the novel, this book is not for you (unless you missed it!). You’ll likely be left disappointed (I was). I was missing the stories of the women who died in the drowning pool. The original legend, while later tied back to the point of the story, would’ve been great to read more about. I want to know more about the women who committed suicide or were killed in the Drowning Pool. Give me more of that and less of the grief of a mom.

Other thoughts: I have not read The Girl on the Train which everyone raves about, so this was my first jump into Paula Hawkin’s writing. I am glad that I started with this novel because from reading other reviews and thoughts I have a feeling that I will enjoy The Girl on the Train even more.


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Recommend? Into the Water wasn’t a bad book. I enjoyed reading it and would suggest it to someone who was looking for a book to try who doesn’t mind a lot of miscellaneous characters.

ARC Review: Providence by Caroline Kepnes

providence

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release date: June 19, 2018

Publisher: Lenny

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Premise: Growing up as best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe are the only ones who truly understand each other and their intense connection. But just when Jon is ready to confess the depth of his feelings, he’s kidnapped by his substitute teacher, a discredited scientist who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity.

After four years in captivity, Jon finally escapes, only to discover that he now has an uncontrollable power that endangers anyone he has intense feelings for. He runs away to Providence to protect Chloe while he searches for answers. Across town from Jon, Detective Charles “Eggs” DeBenedictus is fascinated by a series of strange deaths–young, healthy people whose hearts just . . . stop. Convinced these deaths are a series of connected, vigilante killings, he jeopardizes his job and already strained marriage to uncover the truth.

With heart, insight, and a keen eye on human frailty, Kepnes whisks us on a journey through New England and crashes these characters’ lives together in the most unexpected ways, exploring the complex relationship between the powerful and the powerless, love and identity, self-preservation and self-destruction, and how the lines are often blurred between the two.

Thoughts + Feelings: I was incredibly drawn to push through and finish this novel quickly. Kepnes made you want to know the characters and feel how they were feeling in the moment. I don’t know if I read the summary prior to requesting this on NetGalley, or if I liked the cover and saw that it was a thriller. I had no idea that Jon was going to get kidnapped and it says it flat out in the summary. While I really loved the novel, I felt like something was missing – so I gave it four stars. I was left wanting to know more about H.P. Lovecraft and Roger Blair. While I thought the plot was fascinating and fairly fast moving, I would’ve felt more in-tune with the novel if I truly understood where Blair was coming from with his experiments. I was waiting and waiting for more of an explanation… and it kind of came in the end, but I was left wanting more.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Review: Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell

IMG_1820.jpg

I came across Silent Victim in February 2018 when it was one of the books offered through Amazon First Reads. I was intrigued by the cover art and by the tagline: “Sometimes the truth hurts more than a lie.”

Release date: March 1, 2018

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Premise: Emma is married to Alex. Alex wants to move away from Emma’s childhood home and into the city because he has the opportunity for a new job. However, Emma has a secret. For years she has been a devoted wife and a mom, but she also believes that she’s committed murder. For years she’s been hiding the dead body of the teacher who seduced her as a teen.

Emma ends up telling her husband when he goes to sell the house and it opens up a whirlwind of feelings, secrets and absolute chaos in their lives.

Thoughts + Feelings: First thing first… I couldn’t put Silent Victim down. In eighty-one mini chapters, my heart was ripped out of my chest and stomped on. I never knew what direction the story was going to go, and I needed to get through the pages to know how it ended. The novel took place in three different years: 2003, 2013 and 2017. Some chapters were 2-3 pages, others were longer. The length of the chapters didn’t change that they all held cliffhangers(!!)  My one complaint about the mini chapters is that sometimes there were two Emma chapters in a row that took place in the same time frame. From a reader’s perspective, this threw me off because I was looking for a different environment, not just a continuation of the same scene.

I loved the way that Caroline Mitchell developed her characters. I loved the progression that can be seen in Emma from when she’s a child in high school to the grown, married woman she becomes. The strongest part of the story is the parallel in Emma’s mental health from the torment she goes through with Luke in high school to the fear that is instilled in her when she thinks that he is back in her life and stalking her.

When Alex begins to question Emma’s sanity, it made me begin to question Emma’s sanity, as well as the rest of the story. Mitchell wrote each piece of this story so succinctly — it just makes you want and need to read through the rest of the novel in one sitting.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Recommend? Do you love a good thriller novel? If yes, then this is a good book for you. It went in so many unexplainable directions that I could recommend this book for most people.