Tag: 3.5 stars

He Said/She Said

Author: Erin Kelly
390 pages in Paperback

To Be Published: June 6, 2017
Dates Read: May 10-29, 2017

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

In the summer of 1999, Kit and Laura travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun. Kit is an eclipse chaser; Laura has never seen one before. Young and in love, they are certain this will be the first of many they’ll share.

But in the hushed moments after the shadow passes, Laura interrupts a man and a woman. She knows that she saw something terrible. The man denies it. It is her word against his.

The victim seems grateful. Months later, she turns up on their doorstep like a lonely stray. But as her gratitude takes a twisted turn, Laura begins to wonder—did she trust the wrong person?

15 years later, Kit and Laura married are living under new names and completely off the digital grid: no Facebook, only rudimentary cell phones, not in any directories. But as the truth catches up to them, they realize they can no longer keep the past in the past.

From Erin Kelly, queen of the killer twist, He Said/She Said is a gripping tale of the lies we tell to save ourselves, the truths we cannot admit, and how far we will go to make others believe our side of the story.

My Review:

The premise of He Said/She Said intrigued me, so I was excited when I received my ARC in the mail.  I made sure to fit it in and have it read by the release date on June 6th.  The two narrators are Kit and Laura and we get both of their perspectives of what happened.  We also go back and forth in time starting in 1999 at an eclipse festival and fast forward to 2015.  As the description says, Laura stumbles across a sexual assault and from there everything changes for Laura and Kit.  The fallout from the events of that festival changes everyone’s lives who are involved.

The description of He Said/She Said really had me wondering what was going to happen in this novel.  Why would Kit and Laura go to such extremes to stay hidden away from a sexual assault victim?  This curiosity is what pulled me into the novel and kept me reading. I wanted to know how it was going to end!

He Said/She Said is a book that very slowly builds itself up to the fast paced ending.  I will admit, I had difficulty with it until the halfway mark.  I did debate stopping it, but some earlier reviews I read stated that it is worth it to keep reading, which ended up being true for me.

There are twists throughout the novel.  I continually changed my mind on who to believe.  This novel is truly a ‘he said/she said’ situation and I found myself having no clue who to believe.  He Said/She Said is being marketed with #WhoDoYouBelieve and even after reading it I am still blown away by the ending.  You continue to guess and have doubts up to that final shocking paragraph! Even with the slow beginning Erin Kelly had a purpose with her writing throughout the novel. I never saw the twists that she wrote coming and when you think you have it figured out, she goes and throws another twist at you.

I give He Said/She Said 3.5 stars as I did struggle for half of the novel.  If you are struggling with it, keep going as it will be worth it in the end.

He Said/She Said is recommended.

**Thank you to Minotaur Books for my ARC copy and my solar eclipse glasses to use during the solar eclipse on 8/21!

 

 

You Will Know Me


Author: Megan Abbott
AUDIOBOOK

Published: July 26, 2016
Dates Read: January 30- February 10, 2017

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

How far will you go to achieve a dream? That’s the question a celebrated coach poses to Katie and Eric Knox after he sees their daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful, compete. For the Knoxes there are no limits–until a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community and everything they have worked so hard for is suddenly at risk.

As rumors swirl among the other parents, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself irresistibly drawn to the crime itself. What she uncovers–about her daughter’s fears, her own marriage, and herself–forces Katie to consider whether there’s any price she isn’t willing to pay to achieve Devon’s dream.

My Review:

You Will Know Me is my first book by Megan Abbott. She does a great job of pulling the reader into the very cliquish and highly competitive world of gymnastics. Katie and Eric Knox’s daughter Devon is a gymnastics prodigy. They bring Devon and their whole family into this world and it overtakes them. Their whole lives become about gymnastics. They pay exorbitant gym membership fees and take out a second mortgage on their home that they can’t afford. For them, Devon, and her coach it becomes about one thing: Olympic gold. And they will do whatever it takes to get there.

The Knox’s also have a young son, Drew, who is smart, yet left to his own for the most part. Eric and Katie’s focus is solely on Devon. I listened to the audio book and had some issues with the voice of Drew in the narration. The narrator gave him a bit of a lisp, which I did not like. I could understand him with no problem, I just did not like that part of the narration.

Things seem to be going fine until there is a death that stuns everyone at the gym where Devon is training. It appears to not be an accident and this is the mystery of the book. I was not in suspense while listening to the book. It was more of a mystery for me. I had an idea of who I thought the killer was, and I am glad to report I was wrong. The book did go in a direction I did not see coming, which Megan Abbot did a great job with. I was shocked as one character was with a few twists that occurred. She expertly revealed the passion, jealousy, and merciless ambition these girls and their families have in this world.

(**SPOILER**: Ultimately I was not satisfied with the ending as the killer is not caught or punished for the death. I do see why Megan Abbot wrote the ending the way she did. But I can not go into this without giving away who the killer is. **END SPOILER**)

I have mixed feelings with recommending this book. I did enjoy getting a look at the world of gymnastics, but with the unsatisfying ending, it keeps me from saying, read this book. This will be one I will leave to you if you choose to read.

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The Second First Time

Author: Elisa Lorello
224 pages in Kindle

Published: November 15, 2016
Dates Read: December 5-11, 2016

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

Novelists Jonathan Moss and Sage Merriweather should be a perfect match. They share not only the same publisher but also a deep friendship full of mutual respect and encouragement. But when an ill-fated attempt at taking their relationship to the next level fails in spectacular fashion, it appears as though that once-treasured bond is doomed for good.

One year later, however, the duo gets a chance to salvage their relationship when Jonathan invites Sage on a do-over road trip from Phoenix to Tacoma—the same trip that ended before it began the year before.

Reeling from the sudden death of her estranged father, Sage finally agrees, and the two embark on a journey that will change their lives forever. As the pair moves ever closer to the truth about their feelings, both Jonathan and Sage have to decide what they really mean to each other…or risk losing it all.

My Review:

Jonathan and Sage are best friends who both happen to be authors and share the same publisher. After Jonathan’s marriage falls apart, they decide to take a road trip to see what could possibly happen. This doesn’t work out, the road trip does not happen and Sage ends up with a broken heart. They stop speaking and a year has gone by. This is where The Second First Time begins.

Sage’s estranged father passes away and she needs someone to talk to and she decides to call Jonathan. It is almost like nothing has happened and they begin talking again and Jonathan suggests they actually go on that road trip they planned a year ago. Sage debates this but she does decide to go. This changes everything for Sage and Jonathan and they have to decide what they really want.

The Second First Time is a journey for Sage as she comes to terms with loss on several levels: Dealing with her father leaving her, her sister and mother when she was ten years old, then his death and the loss of the closure she can never get, and losing her best friend Jonathan the year before. We experience her thoughts and are torn with her as she tries to decide what she should do and how she feels about Jonathan. Should she take a chance on love again and possibly be hurt again? More importantly, what are Jonathan’s feelings about Sage? Can they salvage the relationship they had and realize what could have been a year ago, or are the decisions that were made then permanent?

While on their road trip they learn more about each other. You can see Sage debating with herself and we can see how Jonathan feels about Sage. Sage just needs to see it herself. At times I found myself saying, “Hurry up and get together!”.

The book is like a When Harry Met Sally story: Can a man and a woman just be friends or will romance eventually happen? The Second First Time was just okay for me, but it was well written. I did not find myself really attached to the characters. The first chapter does pull you into the story. I can’t really recommend The Second First Time, but I would give Elisa Lorello another chance and read another of her books.

I received a copy of The Second First Time from NetGalley.

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