One Perfect Lie

29939066 One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date is 4/11/17.

Summary from Goodreads:

On paper, Chris Brennan looks perfect. He’s applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he’s ready to step in as an assistant baseball coach, and his references are impeccable.
But everything about Chris Brennan is a lie.
Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a high school pitcher so athletically talented that he’s being recruited for a full-ride scholarship to a Division I college, with a future in major-league baseball. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving her son in a vulnerable place where any new father figure might influence him for good, or evil.
Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who lives for her son Justin’s baseball games. But Justin is shy, and Heather fears he is being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man from an affluent family whose fun-loving manner might possibly conceal his violent plans.
Mindy Kostis succumbs to the pressure of being a surgeon’s wife by filling her days with social events and too many gin and tonics. But she doesn’t know that her husband and her son, Evan, are keeping secrets from her – secrets that might destroy all of them.
At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he there? What does he want? And what is he willing to do to get it?

My thoughts:

Lisa Scottoline never disappoints me. I really enjoy her family mystery/thrillers each time I read them. This one was no different. I have been ill (see previous post) and this is the first book I picked up and read in over 2 months and I finished it pretty quickly. I’m glad I chose this one to get me back into the swing of things. Anyway, Chris Brennan is a likable character even though you have no clue what he’s up to for quite some time. Sometimes, he seems evil and I almost didn’t forgive him for something that I thought he did (vague, I know, but can’t give away spoilers), but still likable regardless. I enjoyed the whole cast of characters, especially Jordan’s mother, Heather. She was a woman you wanted to root for for some reason. I went into the book not knowing any details and person and Scottoline kept me guessing throughout. I had no clue that certain people would be involved. It was pretty fast-paced, but highly detailed as well. I highly recommend to friends and family. I do buy these for my high school library as well, because a lot of our teachers enjoy my recommendation of this author.

My rating: 5/5

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29218968.jpg Forever, Again by Victoria Laurie

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley.

Summary from Goodreads:

Lily Bennett is less than thrilled to be the new kid as she starts her junior year in high school.
But soon after classes begin, she meets a classmate, Cole Drepeau, with whom she forms an immediate and intimate bond. As Cole and Lily grow closer, Lily learns about the murder that divided the town more than thirty years before. In 1985, graduating senior Amber Greeley snapped, killing her boyfriend Ben—Cole’s uncle—and taking her own life.
Lily feels inexplicably linked to Amber, and she can’t help but think that there’s more to the girl’s story. Determined to investigate the truth about Cole’s uncle’s death, Lily and Cole are pulled into a dark mystery—one that shakes the constraints of the world they’ve always believed in.

My thoughts:

I really, really enjoyed this book! I read another title by this author a few years ago and liked it as well, and I thought the synopsis of this one was interesting. I wish I had finished it before the release date, but here I am a little late. From the beginning, the story was entertaining as it flipped back and forth between current day (Lily) and past (Amber). Lily can’t figure out why everything in her new town seems so familiar and why she recognizes people that she couldn’t possible know. She learns about a girl named Amber, who was accused of killing her boyfriend and then herself several years ago. She then meets Cole, and figures out that he is related to Amber’s boyfriend and they set out together to figure out what actually happened all those years ago. I really liked how the stories went together so well…just as Lily was figuring out something to do with the murder, the story would switch back to Amber and what was happening during her time along the same lines. I was excited to go to bed each night and pick this one up, and even though I wasn’t all that surprised at the ending, I still hadn’t quite figured it out until I got there. I will definitely be recommending this one to my high school students. It’s an interesting take on a classic type of mystery. Though I don’t think I really believe in reincarnation, it was fun to read about.

My rating: 5/5

One Was Lost

28321033.jpg One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards

**This review is based on an ARC from the publisher (received at BEA) and e-ARC from Netgalley, release date 10/4/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

Murder, justice, and revenge were so not a part of the plan when Sera set out on her senior camping trip. After all, hiking through the woods is supposed to be safe and uneventful.
Then one morning the group wakes up groggy, confused, and with words scrawled on their wrists: Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Their supplies? Destroyed. Half their group? Gone. Their chaperone? Unconscious. Worst of all, they find four dolls acting out a murder—dolls dressed just like them.
Suddenly it’s clear; they’re being hunted. And with the only positive word on her wrist, Sera falls under suspicion…

My thoughts:

I had read other books by this author and enjoyed them. I was able to meet her at BEA in Chicago this past May and had a talk with her about her books, recommending them to my students, and this title in particular. Natalie was super sweet and easy to talk to, letting me know that this is the kind of book that might keep you at night (in a good way!). 🙂  I was excited to read it and figured it would be a quick read, which it definitely was, thanks to the suspense level. It was pretty unpredictable and kept me on my toes. I kept going back and forth with who was responsible for the stalking/hunting and was surprised at the answer. This is a book I will definitely be able to sell to a lot of readers, reluctant or not, my teen students LOVE suspense so it will be an easy book talk. I will definitely be ordering it this week for my library. I also enjoy the creepy cover, makes it even more appealing.

My rating: 4/5

Quick Review: Damaged

28203746 Damaged by Lisa Scottoline

My thoughts:

This is exactly what I have come to expect from a Lisa Scottoline book. I wasn’t sure about reading it because I have not read the others in this particular series (read almost everything else by her though!), but I found it was not necessary to have read the ones before this. I just love Lisa’s writing style and storytelling skills. I am not normally much of a mystery fan, but I always pick up her new titles immediately. I liked Mary as a character, and I particularly liked that this book focused on a special education case since I am in the education field also. It was a bit of a heart-breaking story; but, unfortunately, all too real and possible. I will highly recommend this book to my colleagues, most of which I have already gotten hooked on Lisa’s books.  Lisa has quickly become one of my favorite, go-to authors over the past 2 years.

My rating: 5/5

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 8/16/16.

Baby Doll

27415371 Baby Doll by Hollie Overton

**This review is based on an ARC I picked up at BEA in Chicago from the Hachette booth, release date is shown as 7/12/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

Held captive for eight years, Lily has grown from a teenager to an adult in a small basement prison. Her daughter Sky has been a captive her whole life. But one day their captor leaves the deadbolt unlocked.
This is what happens next…
…to her twin sister, to her mother, to her daughter…and to her captor.

My thoughts:

I just picked this book up as I walked by it at BEA because it just had a cover on it that said “Escape is just the beginning”, so I was intrigued. I am trying my best to read all the ARCs I picked up, and this was a short one, so it was easy to sit down and read it quickly. It was interesting enough that I read it in 2 sittings, but it did have its flaws. I’ll get to this in a second.

At the beginning of the book, Lily escapes from her captor of 8 years, makes sense with what the cover said, so that was fine.  However, I think her escape seemed a little too easy…but that’s just me wanting some suspense I guess. She makes it back to her family and the story goes from there, focusing on the aftermath for Lily, her daughter Sky, her twin Abby, and her mother mostly. There are some other characters that you hear from, as the story is told in the different viewpoints each chapter.

I do feel that some of the things that happened in this book were fairly far-fetched for how I would imagine things would really be like…but, also, how would I know what it would be like, right?  The middle part of the book could have been a little more interesting, but I’m not sure how, so I’m not going to critique it much. Things started to get pretty intense toward the end and I thought that it ended nicely. I like that the captor was someone that people would have never thought, which made things interesting. All that being said, this book was obviously good enough to keep me reading half of it at a time, so I would recommend it to those who like suspense, kidnapping stories, etc.

My rating: 4/5

 

All the Missing Girls

23212667 All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 6/28/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

My thoughts:

Obviously, this synopsis got my attention, because I requested this book even though I hadn’t read the author before. I knew she was a young adult author writing this novel for adults, which doesn’t always work out so well…but it was good here. This story made you think all the way through since it is told in reverse. It starts at Day 15 and works back to Day 1. Since you read it this way, you have to remember what the characters know and don’t know yet all the time, which makes for an interesting read. There are also flashbacks thrown in, which can get quite confusing if you aren’t focusing enough. All that being said, the mystery was quite compelling and wasn’t really predictable.

This book was compared to Gone Girl, Girl on a Train, etc. and I have to say that was a pretty fair comparison in my opinion…not nearly as dark as Gone Girl, but still a good mess-with-your-head book. The author did a good job of making the characters very real, some extremely unlikable (Corinne) and some kind of creepy. I wasn’t majorly into it at first, but at about the 60% point, I couldn’t put it down…good thing I’m off work for the summer and can stay up late reading. I was satisfied with the ending, but it wasn’t exactly how I wanted it to work out. I realize this review is pretty vague, but I don’t want to give away any details.

I would recommend this to my friends and family, but probably won’t buy for my school library.

My rating: 4/5

The Leaving

26073074 The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 6/7/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.
Until today. Today five of those kids return. They’re sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn’t really recognize the person she’s supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they’re entirely unable to recall where they’ve been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn’t come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max’s sister Avery, who needs to find her brother–dead or alive–and isn’t buying this whole memory-loss story.

My thoughts:

I wasn’t sure about this one ahead of time and there were mixed reviews on Goodreads from those that had already read ARCs, but I decided to go ahead and give it a try. I almost quit reading about 10% of the way through, because the galley eBook was pretty confusing as far as formatting went. I thought it was an interesting concept though, and it wasn’t super long, so I went ahead and read the whole thing.

I am not super impressed, but also happy that I finished it to find out what happened. I wasn’t sure where this mystery was going and I’m not entirely sure that I’m happy with where it went, but I’m also still kind of processing I think. Perhaps, when I see the finished copy with correct formatting, it will make more sense. The story was told in an interesting way, from a few different viewpoints of those that had different experiences with “the leaving”–Scarlett, Lucas, and Avery mostly– so that kept the pace quick. I read the whole thing in about 2 days and I think a lot of my students would find it to be a fast read as well. I wish we had heard more from some of the other characters, like Kristen for example. I think she would have had some interesting experiences to share. I think this is a stand-alone title, so I’m not sure that will happen, but I would be open to reading it if I had time. I will buy this book for my high school library, and will probably recommend it to those that like mysteries…if I can remember it by the time school starts again. Book nerd problems! 🙂

My rating: 3.5/5