4/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, M, Maggie Hope, RATING, Read in 2017, SERIES, What Should I Read Next

Review: Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary
by Susan Elia MacNeal

Mr Churchill's Secretary

Copyright: 2012

Pages: 349

Read: Dec. 9 –15, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchased new

 

 

Blurb: London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined—and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.

Ensnared in a web of spies, murder, and intrigue, Maggie must work quickly to balance her duty to King and Country with her chances for survival. And when she unravels a mystery that points toward her own family’s hidden secrets, she’ll discover that her quick wits are all that stand between an assassin’s murderous plan and Churchill himself.

In this daring debut, Susan Elia MacNeal blends meticulous research on the era, psychological insight into Winston Churchill, and the creation of a riveting main character,  Maggie Hope, into a spectacularly crafted novel.


Review: So this was my December pick chosen by you dear readers! I was really looking forward to digging into it! So what did I think? ……

Well. The beginning was excruciatingly slow. EXCRUCIATINGLY. No joke. To be completely honest, had I not been also reading this one in conjunction with a Goodreads challenge that required the book to be finished by Dec. 15th, I have a pretty good feeling I would have walked away from this one.

But. But. But! …. I am very glad that I stuck it out because it got really good around the halfway mark and was a lot better from that point on. The first 100 pages or so was really setting the scene. I understand that. But it just didn’t grab me like I wanted it to. So once I got past that 100 page mark it got a lot easier, and by the halfway mark I was fully invested in the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed Maggie’s character. She felt very real to me. And the supporting characters were all well-developed with their own backgrounds. This book is very character driven and I personally enjoy that. I like series where I can get invested in the characters. So just that alone makes me look forward to continuing on in this series!

Like I said, once you get past the first 100 or so pages the pace really picks up and the book gets a lot more interesting from that point on. I would definitely recommend this book to historical fiction lovers as well as mystery lovers and even espionage lovers too! It’s a good book that will appeal to a variety of readers. And I’m really looking forward to reading more from this series in the future.

So, dear readers …. you did pretty good for me this first go around! I’ve got another three selections coming up for you to vote on for my January version of this! Hopefully it’ll be another good read! See you next week!

MyTBRList-1024x661

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2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, N, NetGalley, RATING, Read in 2017, Review Book

Review: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Before I Let Go
by Marieke Nijkamp

Before I Let Go

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 372

Read: Dec. 16 – 22, 2017

Rating: 2/5

Source: NetGalley

 

 

Blurb: Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. When Corey moves away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return.

Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town’s lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she’s a stranger.

Corey knows something is wrong. With every hour, her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter…


Review: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

So this was totally an impulse request on NetGalley. The cover really drew me in. The blurb made is sound so creepy. I don’t read a lot of YA, but this one really sounded great to me.

But. It fell flat. Very flat for me. There were times I considered just DNF’ing it. The writing  itself was good, but the actual structure of the book was strange. There were flashbacks and then there were chapters that were written like a script. It was just a strange set up for a book in my opinion.

And the overall plot/storyline? It fell flat as well. I think I expected more from it somehow. It started out extremely slow. Like slower than slow. And it was a little bit all over the place and really confusing.

I didn’t really care for how Kyra’s bipolar illness was portrayed. If you or someone you know has a mental illness issue of any kind, I do not feel like you should read this book at all. The way it is presented was just very disheartening to me.

Bottom line? This book just didn’t work for me.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, P, RATING, Read in 2017

Review: Oath of Office by Michael Palmer

Oath of Office
by Michael Palmer

Oath of Office

Copyright: 2012

Pages: 464

Read: Dec. 2 –8, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Purchased used

 

 

Blurb: In a suburb of Washington, DC, Dr. John Meecham goes on a shooting spree in his office, killing his associate, staff, and two patients before killing himself.

On a quiet country road, a housewife finds herself compelled to drive recklessly, nearly killing herself and her passenger.

In a quaint restaurant, a kitchen worker wields his knife, unable to stop himself from almost severing his hand.

What is the connection? How can Dr. Lou Welcome clear his friend Meecham’s name? And what is the unspeakable conspiracy that leads all the way to the White House?


Review: I’ve had this one on my shelf for quiet some time, but had been putting it off for whatever reason. Well, to be honest … it’s probably because I’m not usually a fan of medical thrillers. I figured it was time to get to it or get rid of it. (Remember, my shelves are at critical levels….)

So this one started out with a bang for me. I read the first couple hundred pages rather quickly. And then the book started to take a more scientific route and I kind of ran out of steam. I can handle medical storylines, but you really start to lose me with science.

Overall this book was a decent read for me, but not necessarily a favorite. It was interesting enough, and the storyline itself was quite believable. I look forward to reading more of Michael Palmer’s medical thrillers in the future.

3/5, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, NetGalley, RATING, Read in 2017, Review Book

Review: The Undertaker’s Daughter by Sara Blaedel

The Undertaker’s Daughter
by Sara Blaedel

The Undertaker's Daughter

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 320

Read: Nov. 26 –28, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: NetGalley

 

 

Blurb: Already widowed by the age of forty, Ilka Nichols Jensen, a school portrait photographer, leads a modest, regimented, and uneventful life in Copenhagen.  Until unexpected news rocks her quiet existence: her father–who walked out suddenly and inexplicably on Ilka and her mother more than three decades ago–has died.  And he’s left Ilka something in his will: his funeral home.  In Racine, Wisconsin.

Clinging to this last shred of communication from the father she hasn’t heard from since childhood, Ilka makes an uncharacteristically rash decision and jumps on a plane to Wisconsin.  Desperately hoping to gain some insight into her father’s life, she plans to visit the funeral home and go through her father’s things before preparing the business for a quick sale.

But shortly after her arrival, one of the bodies in the morgue is vandalized. The dead man, Mike, was suspected of killing his girlfriend in high school, but disappeared from Racine and was never seen again–until recently. Disturbed by the attack, Ilka resolves to find out what really happened all those years ago….


Review: I hadn’t signed on to my NetGalley account in probably more than a year … I’m not exactly sure what made me log in randomly one day last week, but I figured why not? I browsed around a little bit and checked out my auto-approved options … this book was one of those. So I figured I’d give it a shot – the blurb appealed to me almost immediately. Plus I have a friend who lives like 30 minutes from Racine, so I thought it would be interesting to read a book set there!

So what was my opinion? This book was extremely easy for me to read. I flew through it in 2 days flat. But …. it wasn’t necessarily compelling I suppose you could say. I think I was expecting this to be more mystery/thriller than this ended up being. I expected Ilka to follow through on the “find out what really happened” part mentioned in the blurb. That whole aspect of the book seemed to take more of a backseat. Yes, we did “find out what really happened” but it was not because Ilka solved the case – like I was sort of expecting.

I enjoyed Ilka’s character to a certain extent. I didn’t care for her very relaxed opinion towards sex at all. And I didn’t find it very believable that someone who had been a school photographer back home could suddenly start dealing with dead bodies (some in pretty nasty shape) with little to no problem. I did appreciate her drive and resolve to turn her father’s funeral home around. But honestly, she’s still sort of an enigma to me. The character development was a little bit all over the place. Every character had their quirks that were discussed at some point, but I never really felt like I got to know any of them. They were all still shrouded in mystery…. maybe that was supposed to be the draw of this series?

I’m not exactly sure what more to say. It really wasn’t a bad book … it just wasn’t what I expected it to be. I needed just a little bit more mystery in this book. And more character development. Plus … it ended in a cliffhanger – just, no! A huge pet peeve. I’m not sure I’ll read more in this series as it is released, but I do look forward to trying out Ms. Blaedel’s Louise Rick series in the future.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017, SERIES, Stone Barrington, U-V-W

Review: Reckless Abandon by Stuart Woods

Reckless Abandon
by Stuart Woods

Reckless Abandon

Copyright: 2004

Pages: 342

Read: Nov. 18 –23, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: Stone Barrington is, once again, right at home in New York City. But this time he’s joined by the tenacious Holly Barker – the lady police chief of Orchid Beach, Florida. She’s come to Manhattan hot on the trail of a fugitive from her jurisdiction. And Stone is, well, glad to see her, right up until the moment when her presence creates a great danger to both of them – and to their surprise, she becomes the pursued instead of the pursuer…


Review: I say this every time – Stuart Woods Stone Barrington books are no literary feat by any means. They are simply good fun escapism. Nothing more than some brain candy for a few days. And that’s okay. Sometimes that’s exactly what a reader needs!

This particular installment (#10 in the series) introduced me to Mr. Woods’ other recurring character, Holly Barker. And I’m not entirely sure I liked her. She came off as Stone Barrington in a female body and I don’t know exactly how that translates in her own series. Ed Eagle, another of Mr. Woods’ characters also has a small role in this book so I was introduced to two new characters.

This book had Holly on the hunt for a particularly nasty fugitive. The FBI wants him in Witness Protection so he can testify in some cases for them while Holly wants him for something like 12 murders back in Florida. I think most of my issue with this book is that Stone is not stupid. Woman-crazy, sure. Stupid, no. So the mere fact that he went off with Holly (who was half-cracked over catching the fugitive) really didn’t translate well for me. I think I just didn’t care for Holly as a character. Or maybe I just didn’t like the character crossover – I know they do that sometimes with the TV shows I watch and I very rarely like those episodes.

Either way, not a terrible book, but not one of my favorites in this series either. On to the next one … there’s only 30 something books to go!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie

About Garden of Lamentations

• Paperback: 448 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (November 14, 2017)

Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are drawn into separate investigations that hold disturbing—and deadly—complications for their own lives in this powerful mystery in the bestselling series.

On a beautiful morning in mid-May, the body of a young woman is found in one of Notting Hill’s private gardens. To passersby, the pretty girl in the white dress looks as if she’s sleeping. But Reagan Keating has been murdered, and the lead detective, DI Kerry Boatman, turns to Gemma James for help. She and Gemma worked together on a previous investigation, and Gemma has a personal connection to the case: Reagan was the nanny of a child who attends the same dance studio as Toby, Gemma and Kincaid’s son.

Gemma soon discovers that Reagan’s death is the second tragedy in this exclusive London park; a few months before, a young boy died in a tragic accident. But when still another of the garden residents meets a violent end, it becomes clear that there are more sinister forces at play. Boatman and Gemma must stop the killer before another innocent life is taken.

While his wife is consumed with her new case, Kincaid finds himself plagued by disturbing questions about several previous—and seemingly unrelated—cases involving members of the force. If his suspicions are correct and the crimes are linked, are his family and friends in mortal danger as well? Kincaid’s hunch turns to certainty when a Metropolitan Police officer close to him is brutally attacked. There’s a traitor in the ranks, and now Kincaid wonders if he can trust anyone.

As Gemma begins to see a solution to her case, she realizes she holds a child’s fate in her hands. Can she do the right thing? And can Kincaid rely on his friends, both inside and outside the Scotland Yard force, to stand beside him as he faces the deadliest challenge of his career?


Review:

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review; all opinions expressed are my own.

I was thrilled when I was offered this book for review. I had read and reviewed the 15th book in the series, The Sound of Broken Glass, back in 2014. I thoroughly enjoyed that book and was looking forward to jumping back in with Gemma and Duncan.

It’s always hard to pick up a book in the middle of a long running series and not be a little lost. Looking back at my review for the previous book I mentioned that, but it didn’t really affect my opinion on the book all that much. For this installment, while I still enjoyed the book …. I definitely missed something big in the 16th installment. Practically the entire case that Duncan is working on throughout this book is heavily influenced by something that happened in the 16th book. It was definitely frustrating, but not a deal breaker by any means.

Gemma’s case she was working on was a lot easier for me to read, because it had nothing to do with the previous books. It was fun to work the case with Gemma. And I enjoyed unraveling the who-dun-it with her. But it felt strange because she wasn’t working with her normal crew, she got pulled into the nanny case because she happened to know someone who knew the victim. She found herself working with someone she obviously had a history with …. but once again, that seems to have been something a previous installment touched upon.

See a trend here? This is why I hate to pick up a book in the middle of the series. Because it just makes me want to go back and read the entire series from the start so that I can get a good base … but at the same time you hate to do that because you already know things that are slightly spoiler-ish. Such a conundrum when dealing with a long running series!

I did enjoy this book. I just happened to prefer the storyline Gemma was dealing with more than Duncan’s storyline. So definitely give this book a chance…. but I highly recommend reading at least the 16th book first!

And now I’ll be going back to the beginning……. 🙂


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Deborah Crombie

Deborah Crombie is a New York Times bestselling author and a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She now lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, three cats, and two German shepherds.

Connect with her through her website, Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

tlc tour host

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017

Review: I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Mary Higgins Clark

I’ve Got You Under My Skin
by Mary Higgins Clark

I've Got You Under My Skin

Copyright: 2014

Pages: 371

Read: Nov. 4 –9, 2017

Rating: 5/5

Source: Grandmother

 
Blurb: Five years after watching his father brutally gunned down, eight-year-old Timmy Moran is still haunted by a killer’s piercing blue eyes. His mother, Laurie, is troubled by the man’s threat as he fled the scene: “Tell your mother she’s next, then it’s your turn…”

As the producer of a true-crime television show, Laurie is no stranger to murder. Her new series will feature the twenty-year-old unsolved case of a socialite who was found suffocated in bed following a graduation gala for her daughter. The sensational murder made news nationwide. Reopening the case in its lavish setting with the cooperation of the fatal night’s surviving guests, Laurie is sure to have a hit on her hands. But when filming begins, it becomes clear her subjects are hiding secrets … small and large.

And a pair of blue eyes is watching events unfold, too…


Review: Mary Higgins Clark is the epitome of murder mysteries. Her books are always so good! Entertaining, suspenseful, clean …. just good fun! This particular book was no different.

I went back and forth between all of the subjects throughout the entire book before the killer was finally revealed in the last few pages. The killer wasn’t even someone I had even given a second thought to! I thought I had it all figured out …. but nope! I wasn’t even close! That to me is what makes a perfect murder mystery. I shouldn’t be able to peg the killer early on in the book. Even though looking back on it, this person should have been more suspect to me … they weren’t. Wasn’t even really on my radar!

Apparently this is the beginning of a series, one featuring Laurie Moran continuing to find and produce her television show showcasing old unsolved cases. I didn’t realize that going into this one, but I will definitely be looking forward to reading more of Laurie’s story in the future!

So another backlist book that I definitely highly recommend! If you love a great murder mystery this one is definitely for you! Just Mary Higgins Clark at her finest!

A, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, F, Fiction, H, Lucas Davenport, M, Mini Review, Nina Reilly, O, Read in 2017, S, SERIES

September & October 2017 Reads

Well….. it’s obviously been awhile 😦 September saw a HUGE reading slump…. I went from reading anywhere from 6-9 books to a whopping 3 in September…. October wasn’t that much better….. Here’s to hoping November is better 🙂

So I’ll do a quick mini-review round up of my September and October reads. It’s so impressive, I tell ya …. ::eyeroll::

Sate of the Onion
Title: State of the Onion
Author: Julie Hyzy
Read: Sept. 3-6, 2017
Pages: 325
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: This is the first in the White House Chef Mystery series …. it was a fun read that I enjoyed! It was cute, but not cutesie …. if that makes sense? I definitely am looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

Where They Found Her
Title: Where They Found Her
Author: Kimberly McCreight
Read: Sept. 10-19, 2017
Pages: 326
Source: Purchased New
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: So this one I found in the bargain bin at Barnes & Noble. I had my eye on it when it first came out because I had read and LOVED her previous book, Reconstructing Amelia, so I think I had high hopes for this one. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t grab me right off the bat and I struggled to really get into it. And when it was all revealed in the end, it wasn’t as surprising as I had hoped for. So good, but not great.
Obstruction of Justice
Title: Obstruction of Justice
Author: Perri O’Shaughnessy
Read: Sept. 20-29, 2017
Pages: 512
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: This is the 3rd book in the Nina Reilly series. I have read and enjoyed the previous two so I was looking forward to this one! I enjoyed it and it definitely left me wanting to read the fourth book … if only they weren’t so long, I often find myself too intimidated by longer books these days….
Her Last Breath
Title: Her Last Breath
Author: Linda Castillo
Read: Oct. 2-5, 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: This is the 5th book in the Kate Burkholder series. I read and LOVED the first 4 in 2016 and had tried to pick this one up shortly after I read the 5th, but realized that I was a little burned out on the series. In fact, I can recall feeling like the books were all too similar to each other. So I set it aside and decided I’d come back to it later. Apparently a year later I decided it was time …. I’m glad I waited because I thoroughly enjoyed it! I had no trouble jumping right back into Kate’s life and I can’t wait to see where her and Tomasetti go in the future. I definitely recommend this series!
Pop Goes the Weasel
Title: Pop Goes the Weasel 
Author: M.J. Arlidge
Read: Oct. 8-13, 2017
Pages: 390
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts: I read the first book in this series, Eeny Meeny,  back in January of this year and I absolutely adored it! So I had high hopes for this one, but I wanted to let it sit for awhile (series burnout is real!) … and while I did enjoy this one, it definitely didn’t grab me as fast as the first book did. It was gruesome and a roller coaster ride, but I felt like it was a letdown from the first book. Yet I still want to continue on with this series, so it wasn’t terrible either. A solid thriller.
Beautiful Storm
Title: Beautiful Storm 
Author: Barbara Freethy
Read: Oct. 6-25, 2017
Pages: 321
Source: B&N Serial Reads
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts: This book was October’s selection for Barnes & Noble’s Serial Reads…. I don’t read a lot of romantic suspense, mainly because I don’t read a lot of romance. So I was a little unsure going into this one, but I was immediately intrigued by the storyline – the missing person’s case. If only it had been a little more on the intrigue and less on the romance (which really, wasn’t overbearing honestly…) it would have been a lot more interesting to me. So not something I would ever pick up on my own, but definitely a decent freebie read.
Winter Prey
Title: Winter Prey
Author: John Sandford
Read: Oct. 21-27, 2017
Pages: 400
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: I remember very clearly thoroughly loving the previous book in this series, Silent Prey, so I was looking forward to getting to this 5th book in the Lucas Davenport series. Why did I wait so long between books?!? I really enjoyed this book. It was so creepy and suspenseful. I know I’m only on the 5th book in the series, but other than #2 they’ve all been home runs for me! Definitely makes me look forward to continuing on sooner rather than later!

Book Review, Fiction, Mini Review, Read in 2017

Mini Reviews … again!

I just keep getting more behind than ever in my reviews. One thing I’ve noticed is that when I had a really strong reaction to a book, I wrote out a full review…. these books, while (mostly) all pretty good, didn’t leave me with very much to say. So maybe I’ll just make this more of a habit – when a book really leaves me with something to say about it, I’ll do a full review. Otherwise, you’ll probably be seeing more of these mini-reviews 🙂 Anyhoo, on to the books!

Men in Blue
Title: Men in Blue
Author: W.E.B Griffin
Read: Aug. 4-9, 2017
Pages: 352
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 2/5

Thoughts: This one was …. weird. I went into it thinking it was going to be a detective type story, but it’s not even close. The reader is presented with a murder within the first chapter but then it never followed the detective work to solving the crime. It was more a background history of the police department itself. This one just wasn’t what I was looking for.

Cross My Heart
Title: Cross My Heart
Author: James Patterson
Read: Aug. 7-10, 2017
Pages: 432
Source: Purchased new
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: I’m a sucker for a James Patterson novel. He’s usually something I pick up when I need a good, mindless read that I can knock out in a couple of days. This one fit the bill, but it also ended with somewhat of a cliffhanger. I hate those – bleed more money out of us, why don’t you? Just a pet peeve – finish the book in the book, don’t stretch it to a second book. Especially when it’s a part of a series anyway! Ugh.

Mistletoe Murder
Title: Mistletoe Murder
Author: Leslie Meier
Read: Aug. 13-17, 2017
Pages: 240
Source: Purchased used
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: This one was an impulse purchase at my favorite used book store. I read it in August because I needed it to fulfill a challenge callout in one of my Goodreads groups. And it was a cute book! It is billed as a cozy, but it’s not as “clean” of a cozy as I was expecting – which was a nice sigh of relief for me. I enjoyed it enough to go ahead and order the next two in the series from Paperbackswap!

Dirty Work

Title: Dirty Work
Author: Stuart Woods
Read: Aug. 19-22, 2017
Pages: 336
Source: Library book sale
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: These are no literary feats, but I enjoy a good Stone Barrington novel anyway! This one is the 9th in the series and a good fun read. I’m definitely looking forward to many more Stone Barrington adventures (and I’ve still got a lot ahead of me 🙂 )

Officer Down
Title: Officer Down
Author: Theresa Schwegel
Read: Aug. 23-27 , 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Purchased used
Rating: 2/5

Thoughts: I’m still flabbergasted that this won an Edgar Award. I mean overall the book is not bad. But I just didn’t find it believable. My brother-in-law is a police officer and I didn’t find the main character, Sam, to be a very good representation of a police officer. Perhaps my expectations were a little too high, but it fell below the mark for me.

Mortal Stakes
Title: Mortal Stakes
Author: Robert B. Parker
Read: Aug. 28-31, 2017
Pages: 328
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts: Spenser is growing on me. I didn’t like him in the first book, but I thoroughly enjoyed the second book. This is the third installment and I once again enjoyed it. I am looking forward to reading more of Spenser (and again, I have lots more of this series ahead of me!)

 

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2017

Review: The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

The Perfect Girl
by Gilly Macmillan

The Perfect Girl

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 464

Read: Aug. 1 –26, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Barnes & Noble’s Serial Reads

 


Blurb
: Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same.

Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead. In the aftermath, everyone—police, family, Zoe’s former solicitor, and Zoe herself—tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see.

Unfolding over a span of twenty-four hours through three compelling narratives, The Perfect Girl is gripping, surprising, and emotionally complex—a richly layered look at loyalty, second chances, and the way secrets unravel us all.


Review: I was excited to see this as August’s selection on Barnes & Noble’s Serial Reads (especially after not being at all interested in July’s selection…). I had never read anything by Ms. Macmillan, but I do have What She Knew on my shelf. So I was eager to jump right into this one!!

Overall, I enjoyed the book. But I did have some issues with it. First, there was all this build-up to the climax and then I was ultimately let down. I mean, you have all these people telling the story how they saw it and then you just end it with a brief mention of an arrest and sentence … and that’s it? It was a little disappointing to me and I felt like there could have been just a little more to the story.

There was also the entire side story with Sam’s character – what was the point of him being mentioned at all? Ok, I take that back…. as Zoe’s attorney for her “incident” he definitely did deserve a mention. But beyond that it felt totally unnecessary.

I keep going back and forth wondering if the fact that I read this book in spurts every day with it being part of Serial Reads hampered my opinion of this one. Maybe then the flow of it would have felt a little more natural? I’m not sure. I’m still pretty sure that when you spend 95% of the book with the entire lead-up to the who-dun-it then you’re going to have a little bit of a let down no matter what because 5% is not enough time to wrap it all up without feeling rushed.

I never really felt entirely vested in any of the characters. Zoe was very off-putting to me. Chris was a slime-ball from the beginning. Tessa was irresponsible. Lucas was just kind of there. Richard was ridiculous. Sam was pointless. It was all one big cluster…. ha! I don’t know. I’m still scratching my head as to how I did enjoy this one so much. I did find it to be very readable. And I was very interested in knowing what happened to Zoe’s mom, Maria.

Either way, I did ultimately like this book and am definitely looking forward to reading more from Ms. Macmillan.