Monday, September 30, 2019

Still I go home again in my heart: PAST PERFECT LIFE.

Past Perfect LifePast Perfect Life by Elizabeth Eulberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ally Smith has a happy life in Wisconsin with her dad and her friends. Her only worry is her college applications, but that’s normal. But when Ally officially filed them, they send up a red flag due to her social security number. It seems that Ally Smith isn’t Ally Smith. Her real name is Amanda, and now her happy life is no more. Is her whole life a lie? And what’s going to happen now?

If you’re looking for a captivating and emotional read, look no further than PAST PERFECT LIFE! I won this book via a LibraryThing giveaway, and it was so enjoyable! I found this to be a totally mesmerizing book. If I could have, I would have stayed up all night and read it in one sitting (believe me, I tried. Darn responsibilities.). Ally’s voice was unique, sweet, and just so well-done. The book has a teen style, but this Mama couldn’t stop reading. I loved that it was character-driven yet there was almost a tinge of mystery. It’s emotional, funny, romantic, and completely compelling! Highly recommend! 4 stars.

Thanks to LibraryThing and Bloomsbury YA for my copy.

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

View all my reviews

Friday, September 27, 2019

When you spend your whole life wishing: AKIN.

AkinAkin by Emma Donoghue

My rating: 4+ of 5 stars

Touching. Witty. Heartbreaking. Emma Donoghue’s latest is all of those and more. This was such a wonderful read that I found myself savoring it, reading only a chapter or so a night, making it last.

Noah is a retired chemistry professor living in New York. His wife, Joan, passed away nearly a decade ago. Noah is originally from France, and he’s finally planned a trip to his birthplace, Nice. But shortly before his trip, he receives a call from social services: he is the only available relative able to take care of Michael, an eleven-year-old great-nephew he’s never even met. Noah reluctantly agrees to take Michael on his trip. This unlikely pair take on Nice together: looking at France through two very different lenses. But Michael’s tech savvy helps Noah as he attempts to unravel some details about his family’s past, and Noah can’t help but see some of his late troubled nephew in this funny, acerbic boy.

I fell hard for Noah and Michael. Donoghue captures them perfectly. Their wit, their banter, and their various insecurities. This book is alternately hilarious and heart wrenching. It’s beautifully written, touching, and just a lovely read. 4+ stars. Highly recommend!

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Behind the prison tower: BELIEVE ME.

Believe MeBelieve Me by J.P. Delaney

My rating: 3.5+ of 5 stars

Claire Wright is young British actress. But she's struggling in New York City--she's in an acting program, but she has no green card and no job or money. So when she's offered questionable work by a law firm, Claire agrees. She serves as a decoy to trap cheating husbands and catch them on tape. But when one of Claire's clients is violently murdered, the police need a suspect. They seem to be considering her husband, whom Claire saw--in the name the job--just that evening. They want Claire to try to lure him into a confession. Claire is sure she can do this: she's a great actress. But soon she's wondering who the police really suspect.

This one got off to a slow start, but once it picked up, it drew me in. After reading Delaney's recent book, THE PERFECT WIFE, which I really enjoyed, I knew I had to go back and read this one. I'm glad I did. It was just a fun, twisted ride, and an enjoyable quick read.

There's no one to really root for in this tale, but that's okay, because the journey is interesting enough to keep you hooked. Claire is a fascinating character: you're never sure how much to trust her, what's she's telling us, or what she's doing. At first, I found the confusion a little off-putting, but I soon learned to go with it and just enjoy the ride. And what a crazy one it is.

"I want to be other people. I've never wanted anything else."

This is a dark, bewildering read with some great twists and turns. There's a literary aspect with the work of the poet Baudelaire woven throughout. Claire is a focused actress and the whole "decoy" idea is turned on its head several times. I don't want to tell more and ruin anything. Just know that this book kept pleasantly surprising me, and I loved that--even when I thought I had things figured out--I was never sure where things were going.

If you're looking for a crazy, quick thriller that will keep you on your toes, you'll definitely enjoy BELIEVE ME. 3.5+ stars.

I received a copy of this novel from Random House-Ballantine and Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

View all my reviews

Monday, September 23, 2019

Feels like the glass might break: THE FURIES.

The FuriesThe Furies by Katie Lowe

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Violet joins Elm Hollow after the death of her little sister and father. It's a private girls school that has a history of magic and witchcraft thanks to an association with the 17th century witch trials. Violet finds herself drawn to three girls--Robin, Grace, and Alex. She becomes close with them, particularly Robin, and finds herself invited to an advanced study group led by their art teacher, Annabel, which goes into more depth about the witchcraft practiced at the school so long ago. The girls seem to think the magic is real, and that they can harness it. Always lurking in the background is Emily Frost--Robin's former best friend--who died before Violet came to Elm Hollow. She and Violet look very similar. As time passes, Violet starts to wonder if the witchcraft is real. And what really happened to Emily?

The girl is found dead on a swing on a playground on Elm Hollow Academy property--no known cause of death. That's how this novel opens, and then we have Violet, who tells us the story looking back, recounting her time at Elm Hollow. So the story opens dramatically and we know something has terrible happened. And that Violet makes it out okay.

"Inconclusive, they said, as though that changed the fact of it, which was this: a sixteen-year-old girl, dead on school property, without a single clue to suggest why or how."

This book should be been really good--I'm a sucker for private school tales (I thought it was a boarding school one, as well, but it wasn't)--but it just didn't work for me. I thought about putting it aside several times, but I just couldn't. I need to work on my DNF skills.

There is a lot here: two dead girls; witchcraft and the occult; mythology; friendship and coming of age--and none of it feels fully explored. A lot of the book focuses on mythology as Annabel teaches some of it to the girls (I felt myself skimming over that, and I like mythology). There's the focus on witchcraft, but it never seems fully embraced. There's a lot of violence (won't go too far for spoilers) but there are never really any consequences. It's very strange, and honestly, not the sort of YA book I'd encourage for teens.

And, then, I just didn't care for these characters. Robin is hateful, and I couldn't form a bond with Violet, our narrator. That would be all well and good if the action was enough to keep my interest, but it wasn't. The book just felt jumbled, and I wasn't interested in picking it up. Even a few late twists didn't really redeem things for me.

Lots of others have found the story powerful, however, so if you like mean girls with a side of possible witchcraft, you may enjoy this more. 2 stars.

I received a copy of this novel from St. Martin's Press and Netgalley in return for a honest review. It is available 10/08/2019.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 20, 2019

You're wasted in the great unknown: THE GRACE YEAR.

The Grace YearThe Grace Year by Kim Liggett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For Tierney and the other girls in Garner County, their sixteenth year is when they are banished from the county. Their grace year. In the county, women have magic, and the girls are sent away to rid themselves of it. While away, they could supposedly be nabbed by poachers any chance they get, who sell their parts on the black market. Many don't return home, or if they do, they are missing body parts (ugh, I know). Tierney has always wanted a different life. Not an arranged marriage, nor a world where women are inferior to men. But she realizes as the grace year nears, her fellow girls may pose the greatest threat of all.

"No one speaks of the grace year. It's forbidden."

I really liked the premise of this book. I'm sure you've heard all the comparisons by now. This is "The Handmaid's Tale" plus "Lord of the Flies." Throw a little "Hunger Games" in. Sold, right? The idea that society sends girls away at sixteen to rid themselves of their "magic"--it sounds really cool. A society that fears women and takes away their status, yet relies on their parts (literally) as medicine. Yes. So much of this book is really amazing. I highlighted so many powerful lines.

But, I don't know, guys... I am still wrapping my brain around this one. I just couldn't get into it. I never wanted to pick it up--I should have cared deeply for Trinity, and I did. Sometimes. Part of the reason I had problems going back to the book was because it stressed me out. These girls were mean. Sometimes I was confused. We were thrown into the story without any backstory--what time period, why they think women have magic, why medicine consists of body parts, who are the poachers, what are the outskirts, why is the original language flowers, etc. I guess that adds to the mystique, but I don't like reading when I can't figure anything out.

"But not all of us will make it home... not in one piece."

It seemed like this was going to be a power anthem. The girls rise against society. Or maybe just Trinity escapes and the outskirts rise against society. Someone should be revolting, right? And yes, Trinity definitely had her awesome moments. But it also seemed like there were lots of moments that involved rescue--by men. There's also a really convenient insta-romance in here. Everything just seemed a little jumbled and crazy for my taste. There's some amazing, underlining worthy lines and then some that just make you cringe a bit.

So, overall, I'm not totally sold, though there's potential here. I rate based on my enjoyment, so this is a 3-star read for me. But it's getting lots of rave reviews from others, so don't let my review necessarily hold you back.

I received a copy of this book from Wednesday Books and Goodreads in return for an honest review; it is available on 10/8/2019.

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

There's nothing left to break: THIS IS HOME.

This Is HomeThis Is Home by Lisa Duffy

My rating: 4+ of 5 stars

Libby lives with her father, Bentley (Bent to nearly everyone) and their oversized, lazy dog Rooster Cogburn. And then there's also her Aunts Lucy and Desiree, who live in the apartment above them. And now there's Quinn. Quinn's husband John and Bent served together in Iraq. Bent invites Quinn to live in the basement apartment after John goes missing, suffering from PTSD. Libby feels the place is crowded enough already. And Quinn's not too thrilled to be there either. But, before either of them realize it, they are thrust together and slowly become friends.

This is one of those quiet, unassuming books that sneaks up on you, pulling you in with its beautiful writing and wonderful characters. There's no wild plot, insane mystery, or major twist--just elegant prose, a troubled cast, and some real and raw moments that will stick with you long after you finish the last page. Lisa Duffy is an excellent writer, and I so enjoyed her book.

"He'd come home from from the war a different person. A stranger to her. Someone she moved around carefully, gently, as if he were a bomb, ready to explode."

There is a lot going on here--the aftermath of war; family issues; a budding teen romance; marriage problems--but it all works. Libby and Quinn each tell their own story, and as their lives begin to intertwine, it's very heartwarming to watch each come into their own a bit. They each have their own unique voice, and it's hard not to fall for both of them. Libby, especially, tugged at my heart. (But I loved Quinn, too!)

There is, of course, darkness here. This novel offers a very thoughtful exploration of the aftermath of war, not only on the soldiers, but those who love them. It's not always an easy read, but I think it's a valuable one. It gives a very unwavering look at the PTSD these men and women face and how it can not only can ruin them, but their families as well.

Overall, I found this to be an excellent and poignant read, and I'm sorry I let it sit on my Kindle so long. Easily 4+ stars.

I received a copy of this novel from Atria Books and Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

View all my reviews

Monday, September 16, 2019

They can say it all sounds crazy: 29 SECONDS.

29 Seconds29 Seconds by T.M. Logan

My rating: 4+ of 5 stars

Sarah's life is ruled by her horrible boss. Yet he's untouchable due to a sizable grant and his famous TV show. Driving to get her children from school one day, Sarah rescues a young girl from harm. She does it out of the kindness of her heart, expecting nothing in return. But her act puts a very powerful man in her debt, and he decides that it must be repaid in his own way. He offers Sarah a 72-hour deal: he can make someone disappear with a simple phone call. No traces to her, no repercussions. Sarah's life with her boss is nearly intolerable, but can she really make that call?

"You give me one name. One person. and I will make them disappear. For you."

I went in to this one a little dubious about its premise, and yes, it's wild and crazy and implausible, but it's also one of those fun, addictive reads that you get caught up in and can't put down for hours. It was a whirlwind read, and I totally loved it. The book's story is very timely--Sarah's boss, Dr. Hawthorne is a terrible, despicable character: a poster child for the #metoo movement. Her success and livelihood are tied into sleeping with him. He sexually harasses her, threatens her, and basically does everything awful thing he could do. Your blood will boil when you read this story, and it was honestly stressful at times. Yet the man is untouchable thanks to protective male colleagues and the money he brings in.

"What happened is that it's a business and they've got too much invested in their prime asset to let him go. People like us are just the collateral damage."

Once Sarah is offered her "deal," it seems like the book will go a certain way, but there's nothing predictable about this novel. It's mesmerizing and completely addictive. There are a ton of twists and turns that keep you completely off guard. It's really easy to root for Sarah, as our bad guy stands in stark contrast to her, even if you question a few of her decisions. (And she's awfully lucky to have her father, who sure takes her kids on with no complaints.)

"She saw it now for what it was: a deal with the Devil."

If you're looking for a fun, unpredictable escape, this thriller is for you. It's really an awesome read, and I, for one, loved the ending. 4+ stars.

I received a copy of this novel from St. Martin's Press and Netgalley in return for a honest review.

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

View all my reviews

Friday, September 13, 2019

It's a beautiful day for flying: THE FRIENDS WE KEEP.

The Friends We KeepThe Friends We Keep by Jane Green

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Evvie, Topher, and Maggie become best friends at university. They can't imagine their lives without one another. But, as time passes, they drift apart. Evvie is now a former supermodel besieged by eating disorders and unhealthy relationships--and she's spent a good part of her life keeping a big secret from her friends. Maggie finally married Ben, the boy she carried a torch for at university. But their life together isn't all it cracked up to be thanks to his drinking problem. And Topher, while a successful actor, is plagued with demons from his childhood. When their thirtieth university reunion comes up, the friends find each other again. Can they reclaim the closeness they once had?

"I wish it could be the three of us just like this, forever."

This is a pretty easy read, though a little slow at times. If you like getting caught up in the somewhat twisted existences of others, you will probably enjoy this one. It covers the trio's lives from university and graduation up to the reunion--and then discusses what happens after they, well, reunite. So there's no big story here, just the tale of three friends and the stories and secrets they share. But it's an interesting read, if not a bit melodramatic at times.

You may have to suspend some disbelief at various points, but I did think it was a good portrait of friendship overall. I found it to be a satisfying tale of relationships, and I certainly felt a part of everyone's lives. 3.5 stars.

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

I'll go back to the city lights: A MEANS TO AN END.

A Means to An End (Cold Case Investigation #3)A Means to An End by Lissa Marie Redmond

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cold Case Detective Lauren Riley is back on the job after being stabbed in the line of duty. She and her partner, Shane Reese, find themselves investigating a body dumped in the woods in the exact same site as a victim from one of Lauren's previous cases. She quickly recognizes the tie to David Spencer, a clever kid whom Lauren helped get off on a murder charge while she was working as a Private Investigator. Once he was acquitted, Lauren realized he was a cold-blooded psychopath, and she's been haunted by it (and him) ever since. Lauren is put on a Task Force investigating the killing--and the unsolved murders of two cops--but she quickly realizes she may be the only one who can stop David, for once and for all.

I really like the character of Lauren Riley--she's a tough yet vulnerable cop who knows her stuff, and I've been following her since the beginning of this series. This book tied up some things, but left others hanging, and I have to admit, I hope there is a book four out there? I also have to say, to prove my devotion to Lauren, my ARC copy had issues with the "f"s in the book (e.g. Sheriff = Sheri; office = offce; files = les, etc.) and none of the text messages were in there, and I still read it, because I needed to know what was happening to Lauren. A final copy will be fine--just pointing out how much I care about these characters!

We have a small cast here, but do get some new blood, mainly in the form of the task force gents. Two, of course, suspect Lauren for the cop killings that happened in the second novel, but one, Jack Nolan, seems to be a good guy. Poor Lauren, she can't catch a break. I would mention that this book will make more sense if you've read the first two. Redmond explains things, but the backstory is easier to comprehend (and those first two books are good). Still, don't let that scare you away from this one.

These cases are personal for Lauren, and I found some of this book stressful, as I care about her and Reese, and I was worried about them both! If you're less invested, you may not be as concerned. No matter what, it's an interesting book--we think we know our suspect (David), but we're never quite sure, and there's a lot of angst and intrigue in trying to track him down. I always enjoy how the city of Buffalo is almost another character in these books, and it's very clear that Redmond knows her police procedures.

"She'd been waging a one-person war against him, and she was losing. She had to take this further before anyone else got hurt."

Overall, I definitely recommend this one, especially if you've read the earlier books, enjoy a good police procedural, or are on the hunt for a strong female protagonist. Redmond's stories are always interesting and sure to suck you in. 4 stars.

I received a copy of this novel from Midnight Ink and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

View all my reviews

Saturday, September 07, 2019

The storms of life leave a few lines: THE LONG CALL.

The Long Call (Two Rivers, #1)The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

My rating: 4+ of 5 stars

DI Matthew Venn is watching--not attending--his father's funeral when he receives the call. They've found a body on the beach of Crow Point, and it appears as if the victim has been stabbed. Crow Point is right where Matthew and his husband, Jonathan, reside. As Matthew begins digging into the case, he's pulled back into his former life--one he thought he left behind. He also finds himself in a world filled with secrets and lies; a world where some might do anything to kept those secrets buried.

"The day they found the body on the shore, Matthew Venn was already haunted by thoughts of death and dying."

Well, this was an excellent police procedural; one of those mysteries that you get caught up in from the start. I'll be honest that I've never heard of Ann Cleeves or any of her previous series. That's clearly my loss, and I'm definitely interested in her other works now.

I won't go into too many details here and spoil the plot, but I'll say that this is a great read, filled with all the little details and nuances that you get from a strong writer. I was heartened from the beginning to find our protagonist, DI Venn, to be gay. You don't get a lot of that in the mystery world. His sexuality is a part of the book, but not the focus, and it was just really nice to read about a gay detective. Matthew is a fascinating character, who is grappling with facing members of the Barum Brethren, a religious sect that he grew up in, but of whom he is no longer a member. He is also a straight-laced policeman, and a strong leader who can admit his faults. It will be nice to follow him in a new series.

His team is interesting as well--quirky Jen and annoying Ross are the main two--and I hope they come along in the second book. Cleeves is quite adept at creating her characters, and all are easy to imagine. There's a wide cast of characters in this one, and plenty of suspects, but not so many as to get confused or lost. There's a main plotline (murdered man) and a secondary one--that may be related--and both are intriguing and keep you guessing. We learn things along with the team, as they investigate, which is always a favorite of mine. It's a small-town setting, and many folks are complicated, many have secrets, and it's difficult to work out which secret may have led to murder! (Though I'm proud that I had an inkling about some things!)

In the end, this was a really strong mystery. It quietly keeps you guessing and invested in the story. The characters are excellent, and I'm just so heartened to find a gay lead! It's thoughtful and smart, without any gimmicks. Definitely recommend. 4+ stars.

I received a copy of this novel from St. Martin's Press and Netgalley in return for an honest review (thank you!).

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

View all my reviews

Thursday, September 05, 2019

I guess when you love someone, you just gotta let it be: THE FLATSHARE.

The FlatshareThe Flatshare by Beth O'Leary

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Tiffy needs a place to stay. Leon needs money. Leon puts an ad in the paper, Tiffy answers it, and viola. While everyone else (read: their friends) think it's a little crazy, the flatshare seems to make perfect sense. Leon is in the flat while Tiffy is at work; she lives there while he works night shifts. He clears out on weekends. But, of course, life isn't always so simple. Tiffy is carrying baggage--a lot of baggage--from her previous relationship. And then there's Richie, Leon's brother, who is in prison. And you know, the fact that the Leon and Tiffy have never met, with the whole arrangement being facilitated by his reluctant girlfriend, Kay. But nothing could go wrong, right?

"Flat (and room/bed) to share with twenty-seven-year-old palliative care nurse who works nights and is away weekends. Only ever in the flat 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday. All yours the rest of the time! Perfect for someone with 9 to 5 job."

It's been two months since I finished this book, but I still remember it fondly. This was such a funny, sexy, and sweet read, but balanced out by its serious themes, too. I was a little wary at first, because Tiffy seemed completely obsessed with Justin, her ex, and utterly lacking in self-esteem, and I wasn't sure I'd care for her. But it quickly becomes apparent that there is/was more to Tiffy and Justin's relationship than meets the eye, and that our heroine is battling a lot.

And then there's Leon, our quiet nurse, who I liked nearly immediately. I'm sure it had nothing to do with that the fact that he doesn't like to talk to people. I didn't recognize a kindred spirit or anything. Leon, too, has a lot on his plate, with a brother in jail whom he feels was wrongly convicted.

With Tiffy and Leon having never met, we receive their communication via notes they leave in the flat, which is actually way more charming and witty that it might sound. We also get dialogue from each, told in their own style, which made them both very much seem their own person from the start. Tiffy quickly became funny and enjoyable--she just had a million miles of personality, and it was hard not to love her. And, Leon, of course, was incredibly lovable in a way that's hard to describe. (He's a nurse who took care of the elderly and kids in such a kind and tender way, okay?!)

So, O'Leary gives a wonderful surface layer of funny, quirky, and sweet. I mean, we know what we are getting, right? These two flatmates are going to fall in love via notes or something. But there's such a deeper, serious layer underneath due to Tiffy and Leon's own troubles. It brings such a nice addition to the usual formula and just gave the story so much more. Sure, a few coincidences abound, but it doesn't diminish the fun and enjoyment in reading Tiffy and Leon's tale at all.

Overall, this book made me smile. It's endearing and fun. I loved both Tiffy and Leon and their supporting cast--Leon's brother; most of Tiffy's friends; and the gang where Leon worked. The format was different and unique and easy to read. A real winner here. 4.5 stars.

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

I honestly never imagined we'd get this far: THOSE PEOPLE.

Those PeopleThose People by Louise Candlish

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Lowland Way is the place to live. Just ask the slightly smug and well-off group of residents who live there. But all that changes when Darren and Jodie move in. They don't adhere to the unwritten set of rules and suddenly their neighbors find themselves subjected to loud music at all hours, Darren's endless construction projects, and what appears to be a car business run out of their private home. Then, one weekend, a horrific death occurs on the street. The already high tensions reach a boiling point as the police start looking for witnesses, and the neighbors share their many grievances.

"He's the proverbial neighbor from hell."

So I was really excited to read my first Louise Candlish novel and while I found this one interesting enough, it wasn't as intriguing as I'd hoped after all the hype over OUR HOUSE. I'm all for neighborhood tensions and drama, but my goodness, it feels like this book took forever. And while I get that this was probably the overall point, these people were mostly all so insufferable that I really didn't care if they all just killed each other!

The book makes some good points about social class, but it does it all so slowly. There are a few twists, yes, but they don't come often enough, and I had a decent idea about a few of them. Maybe the drawn out element was meant to mimic the neighbor's "agony," but good grief. The book is told via police reports and narratives. We learn early on there was an incident in the neighborhood, but don't know what happened or who was involved. I was definitely interested in knowing what went on, which is why I kept plugging away. It's pretty clear early on that nearly everyone has a reason to harm everyone else; kind of makes me glad for my eight acres.

So, overall, while curiosity kept me reading on this one, and I enjoyed a few of the twists, it was definitely a slow read filled with a lot of annoying characters. Maybe if I'm brave enough to pick up OUR HOUSE, it will be more my jam. 2.5+ stars.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

View all my reviews

Sunday, September 01, 2019

If I could pretend, if I could lie: PRETTY GUILTY WOMEN.

Pretty Guilty WomenPretty Guilty Women by Gina LaManna

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four women—old college friends—are reunited at the elegant Banks wedding. They haven’t been in touch in ages and some hold grudges. There's Ginger, a receptionist and weary mom of three. Ginger's former college roommate, Emily, now a marketing manager. She and Ginger no longer speak and Emily seems to be harboring a pile of secrets. There's Kate, a beautiful and well-off lawyer, whose boyfriend breaks up with her the day before the festivities. They all knew the bride, Whitney, in college. At the resort where the wedding is being held, Ginger, Emily, and Kate meet Lulu, a wealthy woman in her sixties. Her husband is related to the groom; Lulu may have wealth, but she's worried about her marriage. By the end of the rehearsal dinner, a man will be dead. Even more intriguing, four people will confess to the deed.

PRETTY GUILTY WOMEN was a really interesting and dramatic read. I was caught up in these women’s tales. I have a group of close friends from college (thankfully not estranged!) and also could relate to the harried mom, Ginger. I was fascinated by all that was going on in everyone’s lives (a lot of drama). There's a lot going on here--a college feud, the wedding, a mysterious young mom, each woman's own issues, but LaManna makes it all work. The book is told partially in police reports and then narrative from all the women. It's certainly fascinating, as details unfold slowly, and it keeps you guessing.

Overall, this was a quick read and perfect to finish up on my beach trip! I'm looking forward to reading more from LaManna!

I received a copy of this book from Sourcebooks and Bookreporter in return for an honest review.

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

View all my reviews