Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

aka the time I finished this one on audiobook

 

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Have you ever played two truths and a lie?


Emma has. Her first summer away from home, she learned how to play the game. And she learned how to lie.

Then three of her new friends went into the woods and never returned . . .

Now, years later, Emma has been asked to go back to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale. She thinks she’s laying old ghosts to rest but really she’s returning to the scene of a crime.

Because Emma’s innocence might be the biggest lie of all…

 

I’m sure you’ve all heard about this one, as everyone and their grandma was talking about it for weeks before and after its release date. It was one that I was extremely excited to be approved for, and I started it with all intentions of finishing it within a few days…and then, I got distracted. But, here I am. I’ve done it, and these are my thoughts.

 

The characters

 

Emma

Her motivation was a big question mark for the majority of the book. No one understood why she was so invested in solving this mystery and reliving what was an obviously traumatizing experience 15 years later. It felt like even she wasn’t sure of her motives.

Aside from her sketchy reasoning, which eventually becomes clear, she is a picture in questionable decision making. The first in a long line of girl why moments was agreeing to go back to Camp Nightingale. Then she follows someone, who may or may not hold a grudge against her, into the woods. Alone. Without telling anyone. She is too trusting for someone as suspicious of others as she is.

As a character, she’s… Okay. She wasn’t the reason for me finishing this…in the least.

 

“There’s something worse than death.”

“Such as?”

“Not knowing.”

 

 

Franny & Lottie

What a strange friendship. At first, I was convinced that the two were in a secret romantic relationship (and I’m still convinced that there’s something there). But then you find out that Lottie’s family worked for Franny’s for GENERATIONS and it makes it all a bit squicky, almost Stockholm-ish.

Just as with Emma, none of their motives were clear. Why reopen a camp that ruined your family? Why perpetuate a familial servitude and to do so with such fierce loyalty?

I neither liked nor loathed them.

 

 

Vivian

This is a young woman who is inherently manipulative in a way that makes her both dangerous and spectacular. To be able to pull so many strings in so many intricate ways…

She may have been the most interesting character and unfortunately the only bits of her that we get are through Emma’s memories.

 

 

 

The plot

 

The one thing that Sager does really well is keeping you guessing right up to the last few chapters. Every single time you think you have a piece of the puzzle figured out, he throws a wrench in that plan right away. The only thing that I was sure and actually right about, was that x-person wasn’t guilty, though if I’m honest, my faith was shaken for a bit.

 

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Me to these characters.

 

This book has a lot of little puzzles that work together towards solving the overall extremely tragic and confusing mystery. But, the more levels you uncover, the less you truly know. Then when you find out what really happened…why it happened? That’s just some twisted shit.

 

Perhaps the diary was just another lie.

 

This book was morally grey: characters, motives and actions alike.

 

My thoughts

I genuinely don’t like the way Sager portrays his female characters, for instance, Emma’s first period and the way it’s spoken about is discomforting, or the fact that Vivian and Miranda are blurred into one because they’re popular and sexually confident. No bueno.

Sager also seems to have an extreme hatred of camps (Final Girls and now this?! Cut them some slack, huh?). I’ve decided that camps are the worst invention and that I no longer ever want to play two truths and a lie.

 

“Right before they left, I said something. Something I regret. Somthing that’s haunted me ever since.”

What I liked:

I was invested all the way through this book. Emma’s obsession became mine, even if it didn’t make sense.

The back and forth between the stories, which I had enjoyed in Final Girls, proves to be equally as captivating.

This book was a mind trip, where nothing was clear, and almost every theory that Emma came up with was wrong. So. Convoluted. So many accusations that were logical at the time but didn’t pan out when it was all said and done. Her hallucinations also meant that you couldn’t trust anything that she was seeing, hearing or remembering.

 

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Characters: 3. All of these characters have some serious issues, all of them are hiding something, and none of them made me want to side with them.

Mystery: 4. What. The. Hell. Is. Happening. Here?!

Thrill/Horror: 3.5. Disturbing, for sure. But not anything that would leave me panicky or unable to sleep.

Plot/Reveals: 4. Well…I did not expect it to turn out quite the way that it did.

 

 


TL;DR: If you’re in it purely for plot and the mystery of it all, then this one is worth your time. If you can’t look beyond the toxic female relationships, this one might not be for you.

 

 

Amazon: 4.5

Goodreads: 4.14

My rating: 3.6 not too shabby stars.

 

 

See you soon

Dee ^_^

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spookathon 2018 TBR

TBR Main

If you haven’t heard of this challenge before (um, welcome to the book world, it’s nice to meet you) this readathon is based around spooky/halloweeny books, with one main challenge: read a thriller. There are always a few other challenges which aren’t compulsory, but usually easy to complete (and doubling up is fine).

OCT 15 – 21

Challenges:

1. Read a thriller

Any and all of the books on this TBR counts

 

2. Read a book with purple on the cover

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1990. The teen detectives once known as the Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon) are all grown up and haven’t seen each other since their fateful, final case in 1977. Andy, the tomboy, is twenty-five and on the run, wanted in at least two states. Kerri, one-time kid genius and budding biologist, is bartending in New York, working on a serious drinking problem. At least she’s got Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the team. Nate, the horror nerd, has spent the last thirteen years in and out of mental health institutions, and currently resides in an asylum in Arhkam, Massachusetts. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star. The problem is, Peter’s been dead for years.

The time has come to uncover the source of their nightmares and return to where it all began in 1977. This time, it better not be a man in a mask. The real monsters are waiting.

As someone that grew up with Scooby-Doo, how can I pass this one up?

 

3. Read a book not set in our time period

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Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

The 60s definitely counts! I won’t hear otherwise.

 

 

4. Read a book with a spooky word in the title

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“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.

I enjoyed the original, and zombies can only improve it. Right?

 

5. Read a book with pictures

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Since Ichabod Crane woke in present day Sleepy Hollow, New York after dying on the battlefield in the Revolutionary war, he and police lieutenant Abbie Mills have come to expect that evil always finds its way into the town of Sleepy Hollow. But they will learn that sometimes, it’s already there, waiting to be unlocked and unleashed on the souls unlucky enough to find it. Items as harmless as a music box or grandfather clock can be used as weapons in the ongoing war to bring about the apocalypse. Abbie and Crane will have to rely on each other if they are both to make it out alive.

I used to follow this tv show once upon a time. Maybe this might bring me back to it.

 

Group read (optional):

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A young adult fiction anthology of 15 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely–has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.

It’s intriguing…but I’m not sure my schedule can take it.

 


Are you planning to participate? What would your TBR be?

 

Dee ^_^

 

 

ARC Review: If I Die Before I Wake – Emily Koch

aka the time I suspected everyone is guilty, including our MC.

 


 

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Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: January 11th 2018 by Harvill Secker

 

How Do You Solve Your Own Murder?

Everyone believes Alex is in a coma, unlikely to ever wake up. As his family debate withdrawing life support, and his friends talk about how his girlfriend Bea needs to move on, he can only listen.

But Alex soon begins to suspect that the accident that put him here wasn’t really an accident. Even worse, the perpetrator is still out there and Alex is not the only one in danger.

As he goes over a series of clues from his past, Alex must use his remaining senses to solve the mystery of who tried to kill him, and try to protect those he loves, before they decide to let him go.

 

Imagine having to solve your own murder. How terrible, and painful, and frightening that would be. Trying to piece together memories, overheard conversations and basic intuition. Having to rule out the people you knew and once trusted, and having to stand by as your family, your life, the world moved on without you. Poor Alex.

Also, don’t expect too much coherency in this one, because this one scrambled my brain for a while. Continue reading “ARC Review: If I Die Before I Wake – Emily Koch”

Friday Reads!

aka that time I didn’t have a post ready so I went with this one.

 

This week, actually this month, has been pretty slow reading wise for me, so maybe telling you what I’m reading this weekend will motivate me to actually read.

 

So…enough stalling,

 

This

 

Weekend

 

I’m

 

Reading

 

 

 

 

I feel like everyone and their grandchild knows the synopsis of It, but for the few of you who live under a rock –

To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live.

It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .

The adults, knowing better, knew nothing.

Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality

I haven’t gotten very far into this (this shit is MAMMOTH) but I see why people say this is one of his most memorable pieces. It’s a lot to take in.

 

Wicked River is set to come out in May 2018, and it’s also very intense. If it does it right, this one could definitely be a top contender in its genre.

Synopsis:

Six million acres of Adirondack forest separate Natalie and Doug Larson from civilization. For the newlyweds, an isolated, back country honeymoon seems ideal: a chance to start their lives together with an adventure, on their own. But just as Natalie and Doug begin to explore the dark interiors of their own hearts, as well as the depths of their love for each other, it becomes clear that they are not alone in the woods.

Because six million acres makes it easy for the wicked to hide. And even easier for someone to go missing for good.

As they struggle with the worst the wilderness has to offer, a man watches them, wielding the forest like a weapon. And once they are near his domain, he will do everything in his power to make sure they never walk out again

 

Tell me that doesn’t sound intriguing to you?

 


 

Anyhoo, I’ll get back to it.

 

Dee ^_^

 

 

Spookathon Wrap-Up

Up until 8pm last night, I was sure that I wouldn’t have completed all five challenges. But, I managed it???

 

 successssss

And I only made one change to my original TBR (which is a miracle in and of itself).

 

Thriller

 

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero Continue reading “Spookathon Wrap-Up”

Spoopy Book October

Maybe-TBR.

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Before I get into what I want to read/might read, I just want to say thank you for your patience. Real life is hard, so thank you for sticking with me through it all. Things haven’t gotten back to normal yet, but they’re close enough.

Aside from my Spookathon TBR (coming later), I’m hoping to get to a few ‘spooky’, ‘paranormal’, ‘magical’ books this month.

Continue reading “Spoopy Book October”