Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

4 / 5 lilies

As a proud self-proclaimed history enthusiast, I have been anticipating the release of Walk on Earth a Stranger for months. Rae Carson is the author of the widely-popular Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy and really has a thing for trilogies. Walk on Earth a Stranger is the first novel in her newest series, the Gold Seer trilogy.

The story follows Leah Westfall during the height of the California gold rush in the mid-nineteenth century. After a harrowing loss in the first few chapters, Leah must decied whether or not she will strike out West from her small town home in Georgia. But Leah has a very valuable secret that she must keep hidden–she has the magical ability to sense gold.

As a character, I really enjoyed Leah. She is extremely intelligent, brave, and perseverant. She doesn’t let gender stereotypes constrict her actions–in fact, she very often works against them. In a word, Leah is a badass. She doesn’t make stupid, unrealistic decisions either. In a world where everything is working against her, Leah makes the most of what she has.

Carson also very clearly did her research on the time period, and the novel and tidbits of the language read very authentically. While she avoided popular, obvious historical references, she created a very developed and believable setting and cast of characters.

I also really appreciated the lack of emphasis on the love plot in the story. While I like reading about a whirlwind romance as much as the next person, not ever love begins so passionately. This is definitely a slow-burning romance that’s almost painful to wait for. I am a fan of the romance, and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds in the next two novels.

My only real issue with the novel is with how quickly Leah deals with the tragedy that happens in the beginning of the book. I realize she is a very strong character emotionally, but it seems that it would realistically take longer to overcome such a loss than the time allotted in the book. Furthermore, I understand wanting to avoid pages of sorrowful descriptions, but her attitude was just a little unbelievable to me.

The magic element in this book–the gold sense–adds many different layers to the story that I enjoyed. It is both a help and a hinderance to Leah. It will be very interesting to see how her gold sense helps her in the journey West.

While a little slow at times, Carson’s descriptive writing gives the story a nice pace throughout the entire novel. She reconstructs such an interesting time in history in a very personal way. Though Leah is only fifteen at the start of the book, her character reads mostly like a woman in her younger twenties. Carson’s thoughtful work makes all of the characters, especially Leah, very relatable. I felt very attached to Leah, actually having a hard time reading through some of her struggles.

If you like historical fiction or Westerns then I definitely recommend this book. Walk on Earth a Stranger is a great stepping stone into both genres. I’m very glad I picked this one up when I did. The untitled second installment is set to come out in 2016.

Happy reading, lilies.

Amazon ~ Goodreads

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

4.5 / 5 lilies

Me Before You is one of the best contemporary novels I’ve read all year. I laughed out loud (well, more like giggled to myself so my roommates wouldn’t think I was crazy) and I teared up more than once.

This story is about an unlikely bond between twenty-six-year-old Louisa and thirty-five-year-old Will, a recent paraplegic. It’s about family, love, loss, and what it really means to be alive. Me Before You is the kind of novel you read and then immediately feel like going skydiving or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

My favorite thing about this novel is how raw and realistic it is. I saw so much of myself in Louisa and she is one of my new favorite fictional characters. We’re all leading ordinary lives until suddenly we’re not. It’s never too late to start over if only you are willing.

I will say that the ending is heart-wrenching and not what I was rooting for. Still, I see why Moyes made the certain literary decisions she did. Without sadness, this novel would not have been as powerful as it is.

Even more excitingly, this novel is going to be a movie! Coming out in 2016, it will star Emilia Clarke (which is, awesomely, very close to fictional Louisa’s last name, Clark) and Sam Claflin. I don’t know how I feel about Emilia Clarke playing Louisa because she is a very dear character to me and the actor’s appearance doesn’t exactly match what I had pictured, but Sam Claflin will make a perfect Will in my opinion. I mean, who didn’t love Finnick Odair?

me before you cast

When this movie releases next year I will definitely be posting a book talk comparing the book and film. Even while I was reading the book I was thinking what a great movie it would make. So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that it is in fact going to be a film. You definitely don’t want to miss this novel before the movie comes out!

Happy reading, lilies.

Amazon ~ Goodreads

 

The Queen of the Tearling & The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

3 / 5 lilies

For such an intriguing premise, the execution of this story really let me down. Both novels follow the kingdom in New London. 300 years after the fall of America as we know it today, society has regressed to a medieval structure. Queen Kelsea of the Tearling inherits a kingdom at age nineteen that is near ruin. Threatened by an invasion by Mortenesme, Kelsea must save her kingdom and overcome corruption and internal strife.

I find myself more on the minority side of opinion, but getting through 900 pages in the Tearling was a chore. The writing was dull, and at times it felt like reading from a dense textbook. Even at the close of the second installment I was detached from all characters, barring Lily Mayhew. Unfortunately, Lily’s story is not even introduced until the second book.

I do appreciate Johansen’s effort to break away from some traditional overused tropes. For example, there was no love plot in the first novel at all. I also enjoyed the focus on court and religious politics–something I rarely get the chance to read about. Still, many of these sub plots (especially in the first novel) felt superfluous. I found myself skimming over certain sections to reach the parts about Kelsea. Many sections were brutally honest and unabashedly descriptive. While I liked some of the bold risks taken–such as the harshness of the Queen of Mortenesme–they were not interesting enough to engage me fully in an otherwise somewhat boring story. My favorite sections of the series were Lily’s. I have not read much about domestic violence, and I think this issue was dealt with especially well by the author. Finally, however, even the slivers of mystery revealed in the second novel relating to Kelsea’s lineage were not all together that surprising or intriguing.

In addition, the world-building was also pretty shaky in the first novel. Johansen avoids an information dump on the background of the Tearling, but in doing so I was left confused for over half of the book. For such a unique and complex world, some things should have been explained much earlier on in the first novel.

Overall, there is no one single reason that these novels were a miss for me. I just wasn’t excited to pick them up, and I was not satisfied with the ending of the second novel. I will still be reading the third and final installment when it comes out (presumably next year). This trilogy will also be a movie series starring Emma Watson. I love Emma Watson, so of course I will be watching the movies when they come out. This trilogy will make far better movies than books in my opinion.

Unless you are a huge fan of political fantasy, I would skip this series and wait for the movies.

Happy reading, lilies.

Amazon ~ Goodreads

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

4 / 5 lilies

“Free yourself. Have the courage.”

Let me first say that the main character in this novel drinks a bat. You read that right. A bat. As in the winged flying night creature.

Last year I read King’s Everybody Sees the Ants which I loved. Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future, King’s latest novel, was not quite as good, but I was still very impressed. This novel also utilizes magical realism–so rarely accomplished well, if at all, in young adult. A.S. King is brilliant. Her writing style is clipped and direct; each sentence serves a purpose and nothing superfluous is added. Still, in such a short amount of space, King accomplished so much. She is able to manipulate language so artfully. I reread dozens of sentences even three times while the weight and beauty of them sunk in.

Glory O’Brien is our main character here, and yes, she does drink a bat. Not only does she drink bat dust mixed into a crappy beer, but this bat powder gives her the power to see visions of the future. The entire novel only lasts for the week surrounding Glory’s graduation from high school, but it deals with much more far-reaching themes.

This novel is really only around three hundred pages, so I don’t want to give much more away about the plot. If you haven’t read any A.S. King yet, I strongly recommend that you do. While her writing may seem a little bit pretentious at times, it definitely works for Glory as a character. Also, A.S. King is a super eccentric and awesome person herself. Read a little bit about her on the internet, and I guarantee you’ll want to read anything she writes.

For a young adult book, this one is pretty profound. I’m currently taking a class about growing up stories, bildungsroman, and I think this would be an excellent one to study. I felt very connected to Glory and her father by the end. It deals with some really important topics like suicide and what it’s like to graduate, forced to grow up. I learned so much about photography, and the metaphors and language King uses to describe all of the photographic elements in the novel is so lovely. Plus, I love Sylvia Plath and there is a big shout out to her genius in the form of one of the characters in the novel.

If you have a spare two or three hours (depending on how fast you read), I definitely recommend this darker contemporary. Just suspend your disbelief about the bat thing… It’s a metaphor anyway, right? It all depends on how you look at it.

I can’t wait to pick up more from this author. If you’re not a fan of John Green then just ignore his claim on the cover here. I can vouch for A.S. King myself.

Happy reading, lilies.

Amazon ~ Goodreads

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

4.75 / 5 lilies

Fun fact: this is my first Rainbow Rowell novel, but I have owned all four of her five novels for nearly an entire year… I can’t believe I waited this long to pick one up! This novel was so lovely and I can’t wait to pick up more from this author.

I really like Goodreads’ description of this novel:

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Rainbow Rowell has such a fluid writing style that is extremely addicting. I definitely neglected writing a paper for one of my classes in order to finish this book. My only problem with this novel was the excerpts of the Simon Snow fanfiction or excerpts from the fictional novel. At the end of every chapter there is a small section of Simon Snow before the next chapter begins. While I can appreciate Rowell drawing literary parallels between Simon’s experiences and Cath’s, I found myself hurriedly reading these sections in order to get back to the real story.

The strongest point of this story is definitely the characters. Rowell creates such realistic and lovable characters in Cath and Levi. I finished this book a few weeks ago, and I still can’t stop thinking about them! All of the characters in this novel are so unique and distinct in their personalities, quirks, and mannerisms. It takes an especially talented author to so greatly distinguish side characters memorably. I felt so attached to Cath and Levi by the end and even to more minor characters like Wren, Reagan, and Cath’s father.

This isn’t your typical fluffy contemporary romance either. The romance actually doesn’t even begin to develop until nearly halfway through the novel. This book is really about Cath and her realistic experience of starting college and all of the problems that go along with it. Being a sophomore in college myself, I found so much of Cath’s narration so relatable. Rowell also deals with some pretty heavy mental health topics and divorce (or abandonment).

If you haven’t yet read a Rainbow Rowell novel, I think this is an excellent place to start. There is a reason this book has been on the New York Times bestselling list for two years!

Rowell also just released her newest novel, Carry On, in the last two weeks. This novel is entirely about Simon Snow and is a kind of Harry Potter spin-off. Even though I found the Simon excerpts kind of interrupting the main story in Fangirl, I am so excited to read Simon’s own novel. So many people are saying that this is Rowell’s best work yet. And who doesn’t want a little more of anything Harry Potter-related in life? I’m on the waiting list at my library for Carry On, and as soon as I can get my hands on it I will read and review it for you all.

Hop on the Rainbow bandwagon, guys! I promise she won’t disappoint.

Happy reading, lilies.

Amazon ~ Goodreads

Shatter Me, Unravel Me, & Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

4 / 5 lilies

Full disclosure here: The Hunger Games pretty much burned me out on young adult dystopian, but last summer I decided to give Shatter Me a chance. I flew through it in just two or three sittings, but I somehow couldn’t finish Unravel Me. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. This July I decided to finally read through the entire trilogy so I could share my thoughts. I read the first two installments in under one week and finally finished Ignite Me a few days ago.

The series follows seventeen-year-old Juliette Ferrars after the Reestablishment has replaced American government and society as we know it has fallen into disarray. Juliette’s touch is lethal and she is placed in an asylum by her parents, left to fend for her own survival. A boy named Adam is introduced into her cell and offers her freedom on behalf of Warner, the leader of Sector 45, in return for the use of her power for political torture. All three novels follow Juliette’s journey through through a war she didn’t know was waging. The rebellion wants her power just as much as the Reestablishment. Of course, there are love interests. Juliette not only needs to decide what she is fighting for, but for whom.

I will say that Tahereh Mafi has a beautifully distinct writing style. It is very poetic and in the first novel, especially, many lines are crossed out. I really enjoyed this stylistic choice because it so well mirrored Juliette’s own thoughts. The entire trilogy is told through Juliette’s first person perspective, so some character development of Kenji, Adam, and Warner is lost. That said, there are three accompanying novellas to the series that tell of events in all three novels from Adam and Warner’s perspective, respectfully. The strongest aspect of this trilogy is definitely the writing.

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I am a little tired of the theme of the fate of an entire country falling to the hands of a teenage girl. Of course, I love seeing badass female lead characters in novels, but the idea that one girl can save the world has always been a little unrealistic to me. I just wasn’t able to fully immerse myself in the Shatter Me world for this reason. However, I do think the world building was very well thought out and executed.

My main problem with the series really links to Juliette as a character. While she has her brave moments, she spends an inordinate amount of time whining or complaining without much action. I understand that she has never known much human contact and she has been kept in solitude for the past year, but I still see inconsistencies in her character. Obviously, none of us has a lethal touch, but even past this fact I found it hard to relate to her or to sympathize with her. For starters, there is the dreaded love triangle in this series. I didn’t initially have a problem with this fact, but by the third novel it was a sort of lagging annoyance. While Juliette is only seventeen, I think she could be more mature. That is to say, I found a certain disconnect between the girl sulking on the sidelines and the girl taking a bullet to the chest. I will say that Juliette does experience some pretty major character development and growth, but something about her just kept me a little distanced from the story.

Kenji is by far my favorite character. He is funny, witty, and modeled slightly after Mafi’s own brother. I like the idea of many of the side characters, and I think this story could have been stronger with a multiple perspective narration style. I would have loved the second and third books to have been told from the perspective of Castle, the twins, Adam, James, Kenji, or even Warner. I also think that a chapter from the perspective of Warner’s father, the leader of the Reestablishment, would have been extremely interesting.

To my understanding, Shatter Me is going to become a television show on ABC sometime in the near future. If this is true, I am very excited! I think this series would make an excellent show and will flesh out so many of the characters that I saw as lacking a little bit in the novels.

Mafi’s next novel, Furthermore, comes out in 2016, and I will definitely be picking that up. I really do love Mafi as an author. The dystopian idea is just a little bit overdone for me at the moment. If you like dystopian reads, The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc. then you should definitely pick up this series. The covers are stunning and the books move so quickly–easily each one can be a one or two sitting read.

If you have read this series, let me know your thoughts!

As always, happy reading, lilies.

Amazon ~ Goodreads

Black Iris by Leah Raeder

4.75 / 5 lilies

“We’re all saddling horses in the night trying to outrun the darkness.”

Black Iris follows eighteen-year-old Laney over the course of a single year in non chronological order. I can best describe it as a dark contemporary, dealing with difficult issues such as addiction, suicide, bullying, mental illness, and sexual labels.

This novel reads more like beautiful, engrossing poetry than a traditional novel. In a single word, Black Iris is atmospheric. It is so tender, heartfelt, and lush. I enjoyed so many aspects of this story and it was a giant leap outside of my comfort zone. Raw and unapologetically real, Leah Raeder will rip your heart out with her semi autobiographical tale of revenge, love, and loss.

I would like to give a big round of applause to Raeder for creating a nonconformist female lead character–understated beauty, an addiction to alcohol and a cornucopia of prescription and non prescription drugs, and a questionable moral character. My only issue with Laney is the way she so blatantly breaks the fourth wall in a few chapters throughout the novel to remind the reader that she is an unreliable narrator and not a true, traditional heroine. I would have liked if these revelations were more subtly constructed, but such declarations do fit with Laney’s character. I have never read about a female main character that sleeps around so freely and is so emotionally exposed. In so many dark ways I saw parts of myself reflected in Laney and I think many readers will experience the same uncanniness. It was so odd, for lack of a better word, to see thoughts so similarly jarring and emotional to mine own expressed on paper.

In essence, there are two main plot lines to the story: Laney’s revenge saga on her previous bullies and her love story–if it can so be called–with her two best friends. I loved that the real focus of the novel is on these two romances. The question of whether Laney’s revenge actions are justified is consistently reevaluated and she is neither black nor white on the moral scale. This ambiguity is mirrored in her relationships with her two best friends, Blythe and Armin. For most of the novel she is never completely sure what she feels for either of them and can’t even define her sexuality for herself. In the acknowledgements section, Leah Raeder talks about how she can’t identify herself as bisexual because her sexual attraction is not based so much on gender than on a specific person. For this reason, she was bullied insessently when she was younger, and in many ways, this book is a giant middle finger to these people in her past. If Raeder felt anything like Laney does throughout the novel, I applaud her so very loudly for publishing a piece as bold as Black Iris. She is an incredibly strong woman.

This novel is so, so beautiful and such a powerful read. It is one of the best books I have ever read based on just how deeply it affected me. The dark underbelly of human nature is stark and exposed in so many ways in this story and for such good reason. I think this is an important read for any new adult.

I can’t wait for more from this author. As a side note, she should definitely publish a book of poetry because just about every single page had a quote-worthy sentence. Love, love, love this novel and author. Seriously, this is one you can’t miss.

Happy reading, lilies.

Amazon ~ Goodreads

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

4.25 / 5 lilies

At the Water’s Edge is Sara Gruen’s fifth novel published earlier this year. I read and absolutely adored Water for Elephants a few months ago and couldn’t wait to pick up her latest book. This one definitely did not disappoint.

After a disgraceful incident at a high society party with Philadelphia’s finest, Ellis Hyde is cut off from his family fortune. Ellis and his best friend, Hank, decide that the only way to win back his father’s favor is to restore his father’s public name and find the Loch Ness monster (a quest which his father tried and failed). With Ellis’ wife Maddie in tow, the trio make their way to war-torn Scotland. In a remote village in the Scottish Highlands, Maddie meets a group of locals that help to show her that nothing is as it seems and that the Loch Ness monster isn’t the only monster to fear.

Going into this novel I was expecting a lot after Water for Elephants. Many of the negative reviews of this novel blame a lack of focus on adventure and the budding romance as pitfalls. While I originally thought that the hunt for the monster would take center stage, this novel is much more of a character-driven work than plot-driven. The monster hunt is really only an avenue through which Gruen explores her characters and the deeper issues of the novel so I was fine with it taking a backseat. I will admit that I didn’t foresee the romance in the novel and it wasn’t perhaps adequately led up to, but it became more believable and beautiful as the novel wore on. I will also concede that the ending was a bit too perfectly tied up, but, deep down, it was everything I wanted to happen for Maddie so I was satisfied with it in theory.

I loved the WWII setting and the harsh reality of the war that is presented to the trio of high society Americans while in Scotland. The only structural issue with the war was the way that Gruen tended to info-dump at chapter intervals. At times it seemed that the plot was interrupted by a short history textbook type entry about the historical facts of the war disjointed from the characters. I wish that the events of the war were a bit more seamlessly woven into the plot, but I still did really appreciate this backdrop and setting.

Sara Gruen has a talent for writing characters and that is her strongest accomplishment in this novel as well as Water for Elephants. Characters that I liked in the beginning completely transformed to show their true nature by the end, but in subtle ways. Maddie is truly a woman of her time and is a bit naive to finding faults in the men in the novel and seeing just how far she will go to overlook their discretions was so interesting and heartbreaking. It is hard not to feel connected to Maddie and the side characters in Scotland who are wonderfully developed.

Gruen is able to tackle serious issues such as extreme domestic abuse, mental health, and addiction in a historical setting without being preachy. The horrific situations that occur in the novel made me very emotional and I definitely teared up more than once.

Although there are definitely flaws in the novel’s construction, it was a slower-paced book and I still couldn’t put it down. I finished it in only two days. If you are a fan of historical fiction, WWII literature, character-driven novels, or Gruen’s other books then I definitely recommend At the Water’s Edge. It is raw, real, and even laugh-out-loud funny at times and I can’t wait for more from this author.

Happy reading, lilies.

Amazon ~ Goodreads

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

5 / 5 lilies

The long-awaited sequel to The Diviners has arrived! I absolutely loved the first novel in this series which I read over a year ago. If you missed my thoughts on the first installment, you can see read them here.

Lair of Dreams picks up where The Diviners left off, but this time we are following a new mystery. The year is 1927 and a so-called sleeping sickness has gripped New York City with roots in Chinatown. Those afflicted fall asleep and become trapped in a dream world that quickly becomes a nightmare. On the outside, their bodies slowly become covered with rashes and burns as if the body is burning from within. A new character introduced in this novel, Ling, possesses the power to dreamwalk. Not only can she see and talk to the dead, but she can lucidly dream and exert a certain level of control over the subconscious. As more and more people fall prey to the sickness unable to be helped by doctors, it falls to the Diviners to solve the case before it is too late.

Libba Bray has delivered once again. I was worried that her second installment would fall short after such an amazing first novel but it definitely stands strong on its own. As I said, it had been quite a while since I read The Diviners and I forgot many of the intricacies of the plot. Bray does a fantastic job of weaving in reminders from the first book flawlessly into this novel in such a way that doesn’t seem like an information dump.

A fair warning: this book is chunky. The American hardcover clocks in at just over 600 pages. I’m fairly certain this is the longest book I’ve read so far in 2015. However, I do believe that every page was necessary. Each chapter is from a different perspective and serves a purpose developing both the plot and characters. In my opinion, there is no filler anywhere in the novel and the pacing was fantastic and engaging. The main mystery from the first novel–the purpose and role of the man in the stovepipe hat–continues here. Even after finishing this book I have no idea who or what he is. Some mysteries are wrapped up at the tail end of Lair of Dreams but so many more remain open-ended.

Bray’s writing is so atmospheric and descriptive and never in a boring way. The amount of historical research she did to really bring the setting and time period to life is outstanding. As both an english and history major I really appreciated the events she alludes to throughout the novel. It really does seem like the events in these books could have been woven into the historical timeframe. It is a paradox that something so otherworldly becomes so tangible through Bray’s hand.

I also believe that this is the first true YA novel with a love triangle (although it is more so a square) that does not annoy me or detract from the plot. The story and mystery are so strong that Bray does not have to rely on cheap romance to fill pages. The romance in these books is so believable and a slow-burn– so slow, in fact, that it is almost painful, but in a good way. I really applaud this aspect of the novel for breaking through the typical YA romance stereotype.

This series, according to Goodreads, is to have four books total. I have so many unanswered questions and I cannot wait for the third book! Unfortunately, great writing takes time and the third book probably won’t be released until 2017. Nevertheless, do not let this release date stop you from starting the series! These books are perfect for the fall season with just the right amount of paranormal suspense and horror balanced by humor and history.

If you enjoy paranormal books or historical fiction (or both!) then you can’t miss this series. Every aspect of these novels is so well thought-out and developed. This is one new release you won’t want to miss. It’s jake, baby.

Side note: the only flaw with these books is the American cover change. If you’re going to buy these, I suggest the Australian covers (pictured above) which are stunning.

Second side note: there is a small appearance from Gemma Doyle for all of you Gemma Doyle fans.

Happy reading, lilies.

Amazon ~ Goodreads

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

4 / 5 lilies

Having finished Gone Girl a few months ago I was in a bit of a book hangover and needed another mystery in my life. I was browsing my local used book store back at home and saw this one on the bestseller table and decided to give it a try. If you love Gillian Flynn then you will definitely enjoy this thriller.

The story follows twenty-five year old Mia who meets a stranger named Colin in a bar one night after her on-again, off-again boyfriend stands her up. Mia follows Colin home for a one-night stand but ends up kidnapped and part of a plan much bigger than herself. Instead of following through with the plan, Colin takes Mia to a remote cabin in the Minnesota woods. What follows is a man-hunt involving her parents and a detective that uncovers secret entanglements that could bring down Mia’s entire family.

Like Gone Girl, The Good Girl is told through multiple perspectives, but, interestingly enough, not from Mia until the very end of the story. It is also told both before and after the kidnapping which offers room for a lot of character development and set-up. This narration choice definitely ended up shifting my character loyalties by the last chapter which is always exciting. A lot of things I thought about characters and plot ended up being wrong which made the story that much more enticing.

That said, I wasn’t all that attached to either Mia or Colin throughout the story. Since we don’t really get any major storytelling form Mia’s perspective, it is harder to connect with her. There are also two huge twists in the final pages of the book that I didn’t see coming. The first twist was shocking but made sense. The second twist actually brought down my entire rating of the novel. I felt like the author was reaching too much–trying too hard to create a twist that didn’t really need to be there and which undermined the character it involved. I was very pleased with the entire story, plot, setting, and pacing until the final chapter. If the final chapter was not included I may have even given this a 4.5.

Let’s be honest, it’s no Gone Girl. It is still a good addition to the adult thriller genre, but if you have to choose between this and Gone Girl, choose the latter. I ended up finishing this one in about three sittings so it was compelling and intriguing, but tried a bit too hard. I will continue reading more from this author soon as her new release, Pretty Baby, just hit shelves in the last month or so.

Happy reading, lilies.

Amazon ~ Goodreads