Review: Since We Fell by @dennis_lehane

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Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths. By turns heart- breaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, Since We Fell is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best.

It’s no secret that Dennis Lehane is one of my favorite authors. His detective books and his gangster series are amazing, as well as some of his standalone novels like Mystic River or Shutter Island.

My dear friend Renee sent me his latest book (thank you so much ❤!), a psychological thriller called Since We Fell, and although I had a lot of scheduled reads, I decided to start it and it took me only two days to read it. Actually, I read 80% of it in a sitting but I had to go to bed and, believe me, I didn’t want to. I finished it the next evening and I seriously wanted more.

Most reviews I’ve read claim that the first part of the book isn’t as good as the second section. I must say I really loved both: I think Lehane’s writing was simply wonderful when he told us Rachel’s story and I was so immersed in her life that I didn’t care there wasn’t much action during the first 50% of the book. However, the last part of the novel suddenly turned into a cinematic thriller filled with suspense and action and I really enjoyed it too. Was it believable? Not really. But it was lots of fun. Oh, and I can’t forget about the prologue. Probably one of the best I’ve come across lately.

I think part of the reason why I loved this book so much was that I actually cared for Rachel. She was a good person and I wanted her to be happy. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I were her, that’s for sure. And I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I was rooting for her and Brian to end up together. I was interested in Rachel’s family troubles (her search for her father) and later, I  wanted her to investigate what was going on. I don’t think I can tell you anything about the plot because I want you to find out for yourselves.

And, as I said, Dennis Lehane’s writing is  gorgeous. He has a way with words and he had me completely hooked from the very first page. I never lost interest when this could’ve easily happened had it been another writer. I’m not going to lie, maybe I would’ve wanted more of a surprise when the revelations came, but I still think this is one of the most enjoyable novels I’ve read lately.

Little Brown, 2017

 

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Mini Reviews #9 Heaven’s Crooked Finger & Lie To Me

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Happy Saturday! Today I’ll talk about my most recent reads.

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Earl Marcus thought he had left the mountains of Georgia behind forever, and with them, the painful memories of a childhood spent under the fundamental rule of his father RJ’s church–a church built on fear, penance, and the twisting, writhing mass of snakes. But then an ominous photo of RJ is delivered to Earl’s home. The photograph is dated long after his father’s burial, and there’s no doubt that the man in the picture is very much alive. As Earl returns to Church of the Holy Flame searching for the truth, faithful followers insist that his father has risen to a holy place high in the mountains. Nobody will talk about the teenage girls who go missing, only to return with strange tattoo-like marks on their skin. Rumors swirl about an old well that sits atop one of the mountains, a place of unimaginable power and secrets. Earl doesn’t know what to believe, but he has long been haunted by his father, forever lurking in the shadows of his life. Desperate to leave his sinful Holy Flame childhood in the past, Earl digs up deeply buried secrets to discover the truth before time runs out and he’s the one put underground in Heaven’s Crooked Finger.

This was a novel that really caught my attention because of the creepy/amazing cover and, of course, the intriguing blurb. I usually love this kind of southern-gothic-horror novels about families and dark secrets. I was sure I was going to enjoy it. And I certainly did, but unfortunately, not as much as I had hoped.

Don’t get me wrong, this was an ok book. The mystery was appealing enough, it was easy to read and it didn’t drag. There were some twists and turns and the setting was undoubtedly a great one. However, I never felt that “spark”, I never really connected with the characters or the story, I felt mostly uninterested when it should’ve been the opposite. In the end, I guess this happens sometimes. Some books win you over and others don’t.

Heaven’s Crooked Finger was a good gothic mystery and an interesting beginning for what it seems it’ll be a series featuring Earl Marcus. Don’t hesitate and give it a chance if the blurb catches your eye. You might love it (I know some have!).

Netgalley, Crooked Lane Books, 2017

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Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. The couple seems made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her. Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.

Lie To Me is a gripping and easy-to-read domestic thriller that is perfect for fans of Gone Girl and toxic marriage books. Is it entertaining? Definitely! Did I love it? I’m afraid not.

It seems like I’m in the minority once again. I enjoyed the first half of Lie To Me, although I kept thinking I had read too many similar books in the past. However, I expected something much more unique and special based on some reviews I had read. I think this is merely a case of not being the right reader for this book, at least not at this moment. The first part of the book was fun and I was definitely curious. What was going on? Should I believe Ethan? Or was he lying? Who’s the mysterious narrator? Unfortunately, it all fell flat for me when I began reading the second half. I found the ending part too unbelievable even for my taste. I never bought the villain’s motives and I thought the whole final act was over the top, it never clicked for me. Plus, the last chapter made things even worse.

Gone Girl is one of my favorite books and I think it’s also because the genre wasn’t so popular back then. I loved the psychology of it all, the way Gillian Flynn made each twist believable because of every character’s personality. I’m sad to say I never felt this with Lie To Me.

Netgalley, MIRA Books, 2017

#ThrowbackThursday Before I Go To Sleep by @SJ_Watson ‏

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Renee @It’sBookTalk began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of our old favorites as well as sharing books that we’re FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. I’ve wanted to join this meme for a long time and I thought it would be a great idea because it forces me to read books from the TBR and not only new releases. And, of course, I can also include some old favorites!

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Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love—all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story. Welcome to Christine’s life.

After some years reading mostly YA (thank you Hunger Games) and chick-lit (hello Sophie Kinsella), this was the book that made me fall in love with the “suspense” genre all over again. I was tired of reading Mary Higgins Clark, you see. I needed something more exciting. And Before I Go To Sleep was the book that made me go look for more similar novels.

I remember loving the concept and finding the book so fascinating that I spent the whole afternoon devouring its pages. And yeah, had I read it now, I might not have loved it so much, but it was one of those stories that I read just at the right moment. I thought it was smart and unique, although now there seems to be too many similar books out there.

I remember a particular scene, I believe it was a phone call, there was a jaw-dropping moment where I actually gasped. And sure, there were some things that I didn’t like that much but the general feeling was overwhelmingly positive. I haven’t read another book by the author, though (and I’ve just realized it’s a man, why did I assume this was written by a woman?).

Anyway, Before I Go To Sleep was a really great read and a fine psychological thriller for those who haven’t read many “memory-loss” books yet.

#ThrowbackThursday Sharp Objects by @TheGillianFlynn

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Renee @It’sBookTalk began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of our old favorites as well as sharing books that we’re FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. I’ve wanted to join this meme for a long time and I thought it would be a great idea because it forces me to read books from the TBR and not only new releases. And, of course, I can also include some old favorites!

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When two girls are abducted and killed in Missouri, journalist Camille Preaker is sent back to her home town to report on the crimes. Long-haunted by a childhood tragedy and estranged from her mother for years, Camille suddenly finds herself installed once again in her family’s mansion, reacquainting herself with her distant mother and the half-sister she barely knows – a precocious 13-year-old who holds a disquieting grip on the town. As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims – a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

I still consider Gillian Flynn one of my favorite authors, even though she hasn’t written a full-length novel since 2014. I love her three books A LOT, but her first one is my absolute favorite: Sharp Objects. I read this book after reading Gone Girl and Dark Places and found it her creepiest one yet. And how I love that feeling…

This is the story of a journalist who moves back home to Missouri and starts investigating the sudden murder of two young girls. Camille is also haunted by her relationship with her mother and the death of her sister many years ago… Oh, and she cuts herself (hence, the title).

To say that this book is dark is an understatement. It’s deeply disturbing and it covers certain topics that I knew nothing about. In addition, the mystery itself was fascinating and the family dynamics were so creepy I had to choose a happy story after finishing this one. Disturbing alert. The ending gave me the creeps and I promise you I still remember that last sentence.

 

Mini Reviews #7 Yesterday & Working Fire

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Hello there! We’re back with a Mini Reviews post. This time, I bring you two books that I read during my vacation. I thought they were really entertaining but they won’t leave a lasting impression…

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Imagine a world in which classes are divided not by wealth or religion but by how much each group can remember. Monos, the majority, have only one day’s worth of memory; elite Duos have two. In this stratified society, where Monos are excluded from holding high office and demanding jobs, Claire and Mark are a rare mixed marriage. Clare is a conscientious Mono housewife, Mark a novelist-turned-politician Duo on the rise. They are a shining example of a new vision of tolerance and equality—until…a beautiful woman is found dead, her body dumped in England’s River Cam. The woman is Mark’s mistress, and he is the prime suspect in her murder. The detective investigating the case has secrets of his own. So did the victim. And when both the investigator’s and the suspect’s memories are constantly erased—how can anyone learn the truth?

Yesterday had a fascinating premise and I couldn’t resist requesting it. What if you could only remember what happened yesterday? What if there was a crime and you only had today to solve it?The book featured four different voices from very different characters. Monos and Duos. Husband and wife. Lover. Detective. This was a psychological thriller based on a sci-fi premise and it’s an interesting concept, no doubt.

At first, I couldn’t understand why Duos thought they were so much better than Monos. How is remembering two days so much better than remembering one? Then I realized this was exactly what the author had been trying to imply. In our world, this happens with racism and sexism and it makes no sense whatsoever. But some people still believe they’re superior.

As fun as this book was, I couldn’t help but find the plot a bit predictable. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters either, so while I liked it, I can’t say I loved it. In my opinion, there was something missing.

Netgalley, Headline, 2017

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Ellie Brown thought she’d finally escaped her stifling hometown of Broadlands, Illinois; med school was supposed to be her ticket out. But when her father has a stroke, she must return home to share his care with her older sister, Amelia, who’s busy with her own family. Working as a paramedic, Ellie’s days are monotonous, driving an ambulance through streets she’d hoped never to see again. Until a 911 dispatch changes everything. The address: her sister’s house. Rushing to the scene, Ellie discovers that Amelia and her husband, Steve, have been shot in a home invasion. After Amelia is rushed to the hospital, Ellie tries to make sense of the tragedy. But what really happened inside her sister’s house becomes less and less clear. As Amelia hangs on in critical condition, Ellie uncovers dark revelations about her family’s past that challenge her beliefs about those closest to her…and force her to question where her devotions truly lie.

Working Fire is a contemporary novel with a touch of mystery. This is the story of two sisters and is told from both perspectives: Ellie’s and Amelia’s. We know that Amelia has been shot, so the present narration helps us understand Ellie’s grief and determination to find out what happened. At the same time, we learn about Amelia’s life before the shooting and what exactly leads to that moment. I loved the relationship between the sisters and the family tragedy, their love for their father and the sacrifices they had made. I despised some of the other characters but found them interesting nonetheless. The writing is subtle and engaging and the book touches various themes like family, love, marriage, and lies.

I was always interested and wanted to know what had happened, but I thought there were too many unnecessary details and I struggled a little, skimmed through some pages because of that. The ending was unpredictable and introduced some interesting discussions. What would have we done?

Netgalley, Lake Union Publishing, 2017