Good Girls Lie

I was happily surprised by how much I enjoyed Good Girls Lie. Typically, I find boarding school stories droll but this was a truly exciting thriller. Ellison_GoodGirlsLie_FinalCover
After the devastating loss of her parents, Ash Carlisle leaves her home in England to attend a prestigious all girl boarding school in the United States. Goode comes with all the typical high school drama but there is more lurking behind the corners of this historic school. Ash tries to keep her head down but when her roommate dies horrifically, Ash knows there will be no escape from her past.
I was highly engaged on this story. It’s not your typical boarding school story or even a mean girl thriller. Each chapter egged me on trying to guess what each character was hiding. I loved guessing even when I was wrong and loved, even more, the twist I never saw coming. I was disappointed that in the end, the story ended so quickly from its build up. Luckily, each character is given a conclusion keeping away from pesky loose ends that annoy me so as a reader.

JT Ellison Author Photo credit Krista Lee Photography - vertical

J.T. Ellison

The writing isn’t overly complex but J.T. Ellison gives the overtures needed to keep the reader engaged. The only true issue is that the perspectives and narration changes between chapters in a jarring way. The goal is clearly to hide certain aspects of the characters and keep the reader from knowing everything at once, but there is one perspective in particular that causes me to stop reading because it clashes and I have to realize it’s an entirely different narration even though it’s so similar to another.
Good Girls Lie is more than just your typical girl’s boarding girl story. Packed with deceit and twists, Good Girls Lie is tense story about identity and the way we react to our environment.

Publication Date: December 31, 2019

I received an ARC from the publisher; all opinions are my own.

Trace of Evil

trace-of-evilTrace of Evil gets a solid 3.5 stars. I enjoyed the story but any of the writing elements could be tightened.
Natalie is a rookie cop working on her first murder investigation, a collection of cold cases. But when one of her friends is killed in cold blood, Natalie must navigate the reality of the world without forgetting those that suffered in the cold cases.

I loved the story. I was pulled in from the moment they celebrate Grace’s death anniversary. Natalie was a character that didn’t hide much so you were able to really get into her head. The story then unfolds with witchcraft, abuse of nature, murder, and lies. How Natalie deals with each of these are shadowed by Grace so I was glad to see here come full circle by the end of the book.

The writing itself needs some work. The biggest issue is the pacing. The author throws in way too much background information slows the story and keeps the suspense for building up. I skimmed over many paragraphs because I wanted to stay with the rhythm. The other issue was there was a lot of creative freedom that ignored police procedure. A classic example is Natalie handling voodoo without gloves even though she knows it is evidence.
Alice Blanchard has a lot of potential. I want to read more of her work and see her grow into an author.

 

Publication Date: Dec. 3

I received an ARC through teh publisher; all opinions are my own.

Hunting Annabelle

Hunting Annabelle is gripping, suspenseful and wonderfully twisty. I finished this in one night!
Sean has been out of the psychiatric prison for three years. He has been trying to learn to deal with schizophrenia and keep to himself. He has isolated himself from relationships heard-wendy-hunting-annabellein fear that he will kill someone again. He spends his days at a local amusement park in Texas drawing people he sees filling his day with his art and burying the monster that lives in his mental illness. Then he meets Annabelle and things change. Even though he knows not to get involved with her, he can’t help it as he truly does want a human connection. When he witnesses her abduction, he must deal with his own demons as well as the local police and he tries desperately to find her.
I love books about killer’s and their psychology and this novel runs the gambit. I cheered Sean on every step of the way.  Wendy Heard captures his mental journey enduring him to you. You want to forgive him for his past sins and wish a happy ending for him.
In many books I can see most twists coming but not in this one and I give Wendy Heard kudos for not going the obvious and stereotypical path with this. The end is emotional and keeps you thinking for hours after reading the book. There is so much great material to ponder and think about.
I loved Hunting Annabelle; I couldn’t go to bed until I had finished Sean’s journey.

Publication Date Dec. 25

I received an ARC through NetGalley; All opinions are my own.

Jack Reacher is a Great Thrill Ride

I love a good thriller book. The crime thriller genre may not be the best or mot well written but it keeps you on the edge of your seat with outrageous plot twists, beautiful romance, and killer excitement. The film Jack Reacher brings that genre to life on the big screen.
In the adaptation of Lee Child’s One Shot, Tom Cruise plays an ex-military investigator who stays off the radar. He is a ghost, and when he suddenly appears after a mass shooting, the authorities clue into the idea that there is more to the shooting than meets the eye. Hired by the defense counsel, Reacher delves into what actually happened the day of the shooting.
The movie is written like a thriller novel. No scene lasts too long and there are perfect pauses for release as if it had its own built in chapters. The movie is focused more on current action with some background. There isn’t too much character development to drag the action down. These characteristics make Jake Reacher a great novel adaptation.
I personally have never read any of the 17 Jack Reacher novels, so I really enjoyed Tom Cruise in the title role. No mater how crazy he may be in his personal life, he is a good actor oozing charm and embodying the characters he becomes. He becomes Reacher and a force to be reckoned with. What is really cool is that is character has so much training that his size dose not matter when facing enemies. It is impressive to see 5’7” Cruise beat up a group of big burly guys. This lends to extra excitement in the fight sequences.
jackreacherrpRosamund Pike is excellent as the DA’s daughter who hires Reacher. Pike never once lets her English come through and is both vulnerable and tough as nails at the same time. These are the characters Pike excels at, and I hope to see her more on the American screen.
For fans of the novels, Reacher was terribly miscast. Reacher is a 6’5” blond muscle man. This is completely different from Cruise’s frame. Miscasting can often ruin a movie for fans. How I feel about Twilight is how most probably feel about Cruise’s casting. But hopefully, fans can put that aside. Jack Reacher has the potential for a movie franchise.
While this is not a marvelous action movie, it’s a great way to pass time. Instead of picking up a book on a Sunday afternoon, go see this one. It brings to life those thrillers that you would be at home reading.