Tell Me Lies

By Carola Lovering

Tell Me Lies: A Novel by [Lovering, Carola]

5 out of 5 stars

Girls always love the bad guy. Isn’t that what they say? Lucy definitely loves the bad guy. The bad guy in this story would be Stephen. I have to say that I detested him from beginning to end. There is not one redeeming quality about him. Not one single one. That is not a bad thing when it comes to this story. It makes for a fully thought out life for our Lucy, who at times, was hard to like too. They meet in college. He is with another girl but they have a sexual attraction that they don’t fight. (There is sex in this book just so you know) He plays with the girls’ emotions. He plays with everyone’s emotions. He seems devoid of any emotion. Lucy has changed since an “unforgivable thing” with her mom. It has left her depressed and not herself. I wanted so many times to shake her and say that she was so much better than this. This is how this book works; it leaves your emotions all twisted up in a knot. You so want her to realize her full potential without this loser and yet she keeps going back to him. I think we all have met someone like him in our lives. He is the walking definition of a narcissist.

I think I am still trying to understand the depth of emotions I felt while reading this book. I was angry. I was sad. I was genuinely happy. I was in tears with a scene between Lucy and her mother CJ. That was written so beautifully. The ending, well, I won’t give it away, but you will not be disappointed. You will not be disappointed in anything in this little gem. This is not a typical boy-meets-girl story but we have plenty of those. Every once in a while, you need one that is twisty and dark. This definitely fits the bill. Thank you Carola Lovering for sending this story out into the world.

Thanks to Netgalley and Atria for a copy of this book.

When Life Gives You Lululemons

By Lauren Weisberger

When Life Gives You Lululemons by [Weisberger, Lauren]

4 out of 5 stars

Emily Charlton is back! Years after working for Miranda Priestly at Runway, she is now an image consultant. She gets celebs out of scrapes and back into the public’s good graces. Unfortunately, things aren’t looking to good when another consultant starts poaching her clients. Emily heads to Greenwich, Connecticut to the home of her old friend Miriam. Miriam is struggling with the stay-at-home mom life and wondering if her husband is happy. Karolina Hartwell is not happy. She has just been arrested for a DUI with her stepson in the car and her husband, an up and coming politician, seems to have forsaken her. Karolina swears she was not drunk and it does seem like a con job of the highest proportions. Enter Emily and Miriam to the rescue. These three women will work together to find exactly what they need.

It was fun to reconnect with Emily. She has come a long way and yet, she is still the same Emily. Nobody messes with her. (Of course, in my mind, I picture Emily Blunt the whole time) I have to admit that I was not drawn in right away. It took some time but once I did, I could not put it down. I wanted to see some comeuppance and I was glad I kept reading. I found the ending very satisfying. It all played out perfectly. I feel as if I just caught up with old friends (there was even an Andy sighting and good old Meryl, I mean Miranda) This is definitely a fun beach read.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for this delicious read.

Bring Me Back

By B.A. Paris

Bring Me Back: A Novel by [Paris, B. A.]

4 out of 5 stars

B.A. Paris has a wonderful way around a mystery/thriller. I enjoyed her last two books and this one slid easily with the others.

Finn’s girlfriend Layla disappeared one night from a rest stop. The details are sketchy because Finn has not told the police the whole truth, which you will find out as you read. Years later, Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister Ellen. Ellen is the polar opposite of Layla but Finn has found a somewhat peaceful life until….(cue the dramatic music) a little Russian nesting doll appears and then emails from Layla appear. Now, if only Layla will appear….

I really enjoyed the back and forth between Finn and Layla’s emails. It was such a cat and mouse game. I have to admit though that I felt it started to drag in a few places and I was wanting to fast forward to what happened after. But I didn’t and the ending was worth the price of admission. It is one you will not see coming.

I look forward to whatever she writes next!

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for letting me read this book early.

Paper Ghosts

By Julia Heaberlin

Paper Ghosts: A Novel of Suspense by [Heaberlin, Julia]

4 out of 5 stars

This book has such an interesting concept; is Carl a serial killer or just some old photographer with dementia? Grace wants to know what happened to her sister and Carl is the likely suspect in her mind. His photographs are eerie and have hints of girls who have gone missing, never to be found again. She plans a road trip hoping to find her answers but it is hard to tell what is real in his mind or not.

I took care of my mom, who suffered from Lewy Body Dementia, for four years. Ms. Hearberlin wrote perfectly of the struggles of someone who has it. My mom had people that talked to her. One was very evil and wanted to kill her. She was terrified. One was a sweet nurse who did not want any harm to come to her. Carl’s friends reminded me so much of what my mom dealt with. She also remembered a lot about her past and then in other moments, not at all. The way Grace dealt with him was a lot of how I felt (well except I didn’t think she was a killer!). You are patient and then you are not. You don’t know what’s real or not. But then again,, I think Grace had a thin rope that she was hanging onto anyway. She is definitely one of the most complex characters I have read it a while.

You will be completely wrapped up in Grace’s search and her slow and painful realizations. Such a good read.

Thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine for this wonderful read.

Emergency Contact

By Mary H.K. Choi

Emergency Contact by [Choi, Mary H. K.]

4 out of 5 stars

Penny Lee heads off to college and leaves behind a lot of things that she just could not relate to or even like. Her mother is a MILF and that drives her crazy. She has a boyfriend that is the polar opposite of her, that would probably thrill any other girl in their high school, but not Penny. Penny is different. When she meets her roommate’s “uncle” Sam at the coffee shop, there is something that draws her to him. Maybe it’s his curly hair or all his tattoos. She happens to be on the scene when he suffers from a panic attack (he is sure it is a heart attack) and helps him through it. She becomes his emergency contact. That starts a string of text messages that evolve throughout the story.

Sam is dealing with his on/off girlfriend. They go through a few things which you will have to read to find out about but he finds himself wanting to talk to Penny more than anyone. The texts become phone calls and then evolve into much more. Will they realize what it is they both really want?

I have read a few books that were told in texts or emails but what I really loved about this one is that it wasn’t only that. The texts were like the icing on the cake because we learned so much about them throughout the whole book, not just in their messages. They were the cutest couple and if you do not root for them to get together, I wonder if you even have a soul. I admit I almost cheered when Penny’s facade started to crack a little. I admit I cried when she would open up to other people, her fear was so palpable. This is just such a lovely book and I am so glad that I saw someone on one of my online book groups rave about it.

You Think It, I’ll Say It

By Curtis Sittenfeld

You Think It, I'll Say It: Stories by [Sittenfeld, Curtis]

4 out of 5 stars

I really enjoy a book of short stories. Of course, most of the time, I tend to love a few stories and not really feel anything for the rest. That was not the case here. I really liked every story and felt they completed a circle with each ending. I did not feel as if I was cheated for the short amount of time each story took. The characters were all fully fleshed out in each tale and I totally got what each of them was feeling. From the woman who thought her game of You Think It, I’ll Say It was leading her into an affair to a lawyer meeting up with a woman from her old high school on her honeymoon, I truly understood where they were coming from. It is a fascinating read and I heard that Reese Witherspoon is making a series based on the stories. I cannot wait to see them on the screen and see if I envisioned them the same way.

Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for a copy of this book.

Our Little Secret

By Roz Nay

Our Little Secret: A Novel by [Nay, Roz]

4 out of 5 stars

How far does anyone go for love? It is a tricky question and when you have such an unreliable narrator as Angela Petitjean, you will really have to wonder.

Angela is what I would call a narcissist. She seems to have a very high esteem of herself and a very low tolerance of others. As she sits in an interrogation room with a detective, we learn about her past with HP. They grew up together and were first loves. Now, his wife Saskia is missing and all fingers point to Angela. She feels otherwise and leads the detective on a little cat and mouse game until the very end.

Angela is one of the most fascinating characters I have read in a while. She is so unlikable in her attitude but you feel sorry for her. And then you don’t. And then you do. It goes back and forth with this wonderful writing. Then the end comes. That final chapter that makes you go “Wow”. It is written so it flows very quickly and you are wrapped up in what is happening.

If you love an unreliable narrator (and really, who doesn’t) and a book with that little edge of doubt and suspense, this is the read for you.

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press (my favorite publisher) for this wonderful read.