Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

29939148Never Let You Go
Chevy Stevens
Goodreads

Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to jail and Lindsey started over with a new life.

Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with her own business and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When Andrew is finally released from prison, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties and left the past behind her. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But has he really changed? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

Review:

I’ve been on a bit of a thriller kick lately so the summary of this book caught my attention.  Don’t read me wrong, I don’t yearn to read about abusive relationships and the such but I was intrigued because I knew that the book wouldn’t be as cut and dried as the summary and I was interested to see how the author could make it both mysterious and affecting.

Lindsay escaped an abusive husband but just barely.  She and her daughter, Sophie, disappeared into the night, leaving Andrew, the abuser, behind.  Ten years later, Andrew is out of prison and he ends up in the same place as Lindsay and Sophie. When strange, scary things start happening to Lindsay and around Lindsay’s house, she naturally thinks it’s Andrew.  I didn’t think it was ever going to be Andrew because that would be too obvious and while I picked the person behind the whole thing pretty early on, the reason why they were doing what they were doing caught me off guard.  My eyes widened and I blinked a few times so congratulations on getting me with that twist.  I was impressed.

The only real nitpick I had was that I could never really connect with the Jared character.  I kept waiting for him to turn out to be some murderer just by how he treated Sophie and how he was being set up.  It was probably a false flag, something to make the reader think he could be the one doing the tormenting but every single time he was around, I was uncomfortable.  Sophie was too good for him.

Overall, an enjoyable book with a pretty good twist.  It’s an easy read, not something you have to really use too much brain power to understand but still a fast paced thriller that makes you want to keep turning the page.

 

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Sister Sister by Sue Fortin

33654421Sister Sister
Sue Fortin
Goodreads

From the bestselling author of The Girl Who Lied

Alice: Beautiful, kind, manipulative, liar.

Clare: Intelligent, loyal, paranoid, jealous.

Clare thinks Alice is a manipulative liar who is trying to steal her life.

Alice thinks Clare is jealous of her long-lost return and place in their family.

One of them is telling the truth. The other is a maniac. Two sisters. One truth.

Review:

With the last book I read being a disappointing mess, I really wanted to find something that was both enjoyable and fast paced to keep my attention.  Glad to say that this book did it and did it pretty well.  It’s not a new idea, someone coming into a protagonists life and trying to take it over, but it still reads suspenseful and interesting.

At a young age, Clare Kennedy’s father took her sister Alice away.  This is the story of Alice’s return.  It’s what should be a joyous occasion but it turns out to be anything but that.  Alice worms her way into Clare’s life in a way that makes Clare incredibly uncomfortable.  She flirts with Clare’s husband, ingratiates herself to Clare’s kids, and wraps Clare’s mother up in a way that turns her against Clare herself.

The reader instantly knows that something is amiss.  That this person, Alice, grew up to a terrible person or that this person isn’t Alice at all.  It’s hard to read some of this and see how deep the mistrust and disbelief goes when it comes to Clare’s family and her assertions about Alice.  Of course, they’re not experiencing what Clare is but I was visibly wincing at how Clare’s husband, Luke, treated her.  Harsh words, aggressive posturing and calling her crazy were just awful things to read.  Again, I can’t really put myself in his shoes because the story’s told from Clare’s point of view but I don’t know if a simple apology would have made me forgive Luke.

Overall though, this is a good twisty story that’s dark and disturbing and interesting.  It’s an easy read, making it easy to pick up on a moment’s notice and dig into.  I enjoyed the ride and while there are parts that I don’t agree with, it was an overall satisfying book that erased the bad taste the last book left in my mouth.

Shooter by Caroline Pignat

26048538

Shooter
Caroline Pignat
Goodreads

A lockdown catches five grade 12 students by surprise and throws them together in the only unlocked room on that empty third floor wing: the boys’ washroom. They sit in silence, judging each other by what they see, by the stories they’ve heard over the years. Stuck here with them–could anything be worse?
There’s Alice: an introverted writer, trapped in the role of big sister to her older autistic brother, Noah.
Isabelle: the popular, high-achieving, student council president, whose greatest performance is her everyday life. 
Hogan: an ex-football player with a troubled past and a hopeless future.
Xander: that socially awkward guy hiding behind the camera, whose candid pictures of school life, especially those of Isabelle, have brought him more trouble than answers.
Told in five unique voices through prose, poetry, text messages, journals, and homework assignments, each student reveals pieces of their true story as they wait for the drill to end. But this modern-day Breakfast Club takes a twist when Isabelle gets a text that changes everything: NOT A DRILL!! Shooter in the school!
Suddenly, the bathroom doesn’t seem so safe anymore. Especially when they learn that one of them knows more about the shooter than they realized…

Review:

I had high hopes for this book because I enjoy books that put characters into one single setting and see how they shake out.  I think it can make for interesting interaction especially if the characters are written strongly and there’s a plot thread that’s keeping them together.  Unfortunately, this book fails on each of those points.  The characters are cliched and the plot, while relevant to today, is presented in a fantastical nature that makes little sense.  While I finished this book in one day, it was spite reading more than anything else.

The first thing that stuck in my craw about this book is how absolutely cliched the characters are: the popular girl, the quiet nerd, the ex-jock with a troubled past, the plain girl.  They were all there and there was absolutely nothing special or memorable about any of them.  I grew to absolutely hate, Isabelle, the popular girl first and the rest soon thereafter.  They were cardboard cutouts of the highest degree.  If the author’s intended effect was to make me not sympathize with the characters, then mission accomplished because I did not.  I didn’t feel fear for them, didn’t want them to pull through, didn’t want anything to happen but the book to end because I knew that everything was going to be tied up with a neat bow (and I was not wrong).

Then, we have the plot.  A lockdown traps them together and, in what could have been a tense, tightly woven plot about kids trying to survive a shooter and each other, turns into a group of kids using something as terrible as a lockdown to reveal deep, dark secrets to each other.  It just didn’t work for me.  I cannot see using a lockdown as a means to grow closer to your fellow students.  And then, to top it all off, the group turns into the Scooby Gang and figures out who the shooter is and what he has planned and manages to stop it all.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to read a book about a school shooting taking place but again, it just seemed implausible and fantastical in nature.  These kids managed to bond and then stop a tragic incident all in sixty minutes.

I think this subject matter was handled much better in Violent Ends.  That book was much more real, much more nuanced and affected me in a much deeper manner than Shooter.

This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston

23341252

This Is Our Story
Ashley Elston
Goodreads

Five went in. Four came out.

No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them. 

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the district attorney’s office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she investigates with Stone, the aging prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot, she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own. 

Review:

This is one of those books that you can’t really put down while you’re reading it but you probably won’t remember in a week or so.  It’s a good book, well paced, and interesting but nothing really stuck with me and there wasn’t anything hugely unique about it either.  It was a fun, popcorn-y book with some solid cliffhangers, decent twists and a satisfying ending.

This book is a basic whodunit revolving around Kate Marino, a high school senior, and five well to do boys who become four well to do boys when one of their group dies suspiciously.  And therein lies the mystery.  Which of the group show their friend?  What was the motive?  Why did it happen?  And will the boys group crumble or remain strong in the face of possible murder charges?

I’ll admit that the ending and the culprit weren’t who I guessed.  I’d been going down another route and had actually been waiting for some super duper twist because I’ve been burned by a lot of books that pull something nonsensical out of their hats to try and shock the reader.  This book didn’t do that and it has that going in its favor.  It doesn’t try and make the audience gasp.  One of the boys did it and that’s that.  The author sticks with that and makes the reveal at the end.

The love story between Kate and one of those well to do boys was a bit contrived and a little too candy sweet for me but it didn’t offend me.  I was actually waiting for the boy, Shep, to be the actual killer.  Was I right?  I won’t tell.

There were several plot points that were dangled but never resolved which irked a bit.  What was going on with Logan?  What was going on with Lori and Henry and Grant?  Who were the guys that Logan was in trouble with?  Did Stone ever hire Kate back?  So many.  Again, nothing too integral but after setting those things up, I would have liked to see them knocked down.

Overall, this is a good, quick read that kept me interested until the end.

You, by Caroline Kepnes

20821614You
Caroline Kepnes
Goodreads

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

Review:

I’m so conflicted by this book. I’m upset at how much I enjoyed it. I hated that I got so into the main character’s narrative, to the point where I was feeling sympathy for a MURDEROUS STALKER.

Caroline Kepnes does some great writing here. It’s gross, to be immediately thrust into the mind of someone like Joe, but it’s not like he’s outright disgusting. He’s not immediately thinking about murdering people. His thoughts are a twisted snarl of fantasy and delusion, all turned on Beck from the moment they have their first interaction.

The worst part, THE WORST PART, is that there were moments I was on Joe’s side. This is half way through the book, when you know the depths of crazy to which Joe will dive. This is after he’s already killed someone. This is wincing and holding my breath, hoping Joe doesn’t get caught during a tense scene when he’s STALKING BECK.

I felt so dirty for devouring this book in a single day, and despite that I can’t wait for the Lifetime TV show. It’s going to be an amazing hot mess.

The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

23553419The Ice Twins
S.K. Tremayne
Goodreads

A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives.

But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity—that she, in fact, is Lydia—their world comes crashing down once again.

As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past—what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died?

Review:

The summary was better than the book was.  Don’t get me wrong, I had moments of enjoyment in the book because I did give it three stars but the I was super intrigued by the summary and only somewhat satisfied with the book.

The biggest reason for this was that I absolutely loathed the main protagonist, Sarah.  I think we were, at first, supposed to see her as a sympathetic figure because of the loss she sustained but good gracious, my sympathy did not last long.  She was overbearing, overwhelming, self righteous, and just shitty, to be blunt.  Every single time the book threw back to her, I groaned because I did not want to read her inner thoughts on how she was so maligned and mistreated and just right right right about everything.

The actual plot of the book was okay.  It had been talked up as an intense psychological thriller and while there were facets of that, I kind of saw the eventual denouement coming from a mile away.  There were some good twists and I did fall for one particular plot point (for a few chapters) but there weren’t any huge surprises and I wasn’t left with any particular tension either.

There were also some weird grammatical things that sometimes made me pause, stare and thus, tossed me right out of what was happening.  There were commas in wrong places and the semi colon was both overused and misused a lot.

The one thing I did really enjoy was the setting.  It sounded absolutely beautiful and I did like how it was almost like a secondary character in how often the wind, water, and weather came into play.  It made me want to take a trip there though I wouldn’t have to worry about a horrible protagonist in my ear.

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

33230889The Good Daughter
Karin Slaughter
Goodreads

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville’s notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever…

Review:

I’m of two minds about this book: one story line I liked a lot and one I wasn’t so fond of.

First, I’ll get into the part I liked.  I really, really loved the sibling relationship of Charlie and Sam Quinn.  There aren’t very many books where you can find such a strong depiction of a relationship between sisters but this book had it.  Sisters are messy and complicated and they don’t always get along.  You could see that these two people loved each other a lot but that it wasn’t easy to maintain that love.  They went through a horrific and shocking event early on in the book that permeates their relationship throughout.  I enjoyed that both Sam and Charlie were unreliable narrators and that you found out different details of the event piece by piece.  These were two very, very messy characters who were doing their best to keep it together and I would have loved more about them.

The part I didn’t like was that the overarching mystery, the school shooting, was glossed over towards the end.  It was set up well in the beginning and I knew that it wasn’t as open and shut as we were being led to believe but the resolution of the whole thing was done very quickly and, in my opinion, cheaply.  Giving this story line the time it deserves would have made the book longer but it just seemed that when one part of the book was wrapped, the author realized she had to wrap the other plot thread and did it too quickly.  I wasn’t asking for a long, drawn out description of a trial but more than what we got would have been satisfying.

Despite that, I enjoyed this book overall.  I liked the characters, liked the way they were written and would recommend this book in spite of what I didn’t much like.