Posted in book reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Behind Every Lie by Christina McDonald

BOOK REVIEW: Behind Every Lie by Christina McDonaldBehind Every Lie by Christina McDonald
Published by Gallery Books on February 4, 2020
ISBN: 1501184040
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Synopsis

If you can’t remember it, how do you prove you didn’t do it?
Eva Hansen wakes in the hospital after being struck by lightning and discovers her mother, Kat, has been murdered. Eva was found unconscious down the street. She can’t remember what happened but the police are highly suspicious of her.
Determined to clear her name, Eva heads from Seattle to London—Kat’s former home—for answers. But as she unravels her mother’s carefully held secrets, Eva soon realizes that someone doesn’t want her to know the truth. And with violent memories beginning to emerge, Eva doesn’t know who to trust. Least of all herself.
Told in alternating perspectives from Eva’s search for answers and Kat’s mysterious past, Christina McDonald has crafted another “complex, emotionally intense” (Publishers Weekly) domestic thriller. Behind Every Lie explores the complicated nature of mother-daughter relationships, family trauma, and the danger behind long-held secrets.


This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

I received this book for free from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

If you read my review of The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald then you know why I was excited to read Behind Every Lie. I absolutely loved the way McDonald portrayed the mother-daughter relationship in The Night Olivia Fell. It was emotional, complicated and made the characters come alive for me. I expected the same kind of emotional thriller novel in Behind Every Lie, but it was much more of a straight-out suspense/mystery than being emotionally driven.

Normally, I talk about what I loved about a novel first, but this time I want to get what didn’t work for me out of the way first – mostly because it has a lot to do with how I’ve reviewed the book. I enjoyed the story itself and the characters, but there was a lot that was just hard to believe. I’m a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan so my ability to suspend disbelief is pretty high up there. Behind Every Lie requires that you believe in a series of consequences that, taken by themselves may not be that unbelievable, but when combined just ruined my ability to pretend what I was reading was anything other than make-believe.

Another problem I had with this story wasn’t so much to do with the writing itself, but because I had recently listened to the audiobook Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil. While the plots of the two stories are nothing alike, the characters and their relationships are essentially the same. The result was that I figured out almost every plot twist just because I knew how the relationships were going to play out.

All that being said, I still really enjoyed this book. I’m definitely a fan of the way Christina McDonald writes and this would probably be a full 4- or 5-star book for me, if not for the issues I pointed out above.

I’ve become a fan of books written from different perspectives, but it’s hard to pull this off well and so there are few stories I can even read like this. But Christina McDonald has perfected this way of storytelling. In Behind Every Lie, the story goes back and forth between Eva and her mom, Kat. Kat has been murdered and Eva is suspected of being the murderer. The relationship between Kat and Eva had recently become more strained than usual and we’re slowly let in on the reasons for this most complicated of mother-daughter relationships.

It’s hard for me to say much more about the events or people in the novel itself because SO MUCH happens and is interconnected that this entire review would just be spoilers. So I’m gonna go ahead and wrap this up…

This book is worth the read for anyone who enjoyed The Night Olivia Fell. I know I’ll definitely be picking up the next novel Christina McDonald writes.

I’m curious… has anyone else read both Behind Every Lie and Silent Child? If so, did you see the similarities like I did?

If you’ve read Behind Every Lie, what were you’re thoughts? Agree with me? Disagree? Leave a comment below!

three-half-stars
Posted in book reviews

The Devil’s Apprentice by Kenneth B. Andersen – Ultimate Blog Tour Review

The Devil’s Apprentice by Kenneth B. Andersen – Ultimate Blog Tour ReviewThe Devil's Apprentice (The Great Devil War, #1) by Kenneth B. Andersen, Kenneth Bøgh Andersen
on October 8, 2018
Pages: 311
Source: The Write Reads
Goodreads
five-stars
Synopsis

Philip is a good boy, a really good boy, who accidentally gets sent to Hell to become the Devil’s heir. The Devil, Lucifer, is dying and desperately in need of a successor, but there’s been a mistake and Philip is the wrong boy. Philip is terrible at being bad, but Lucifer has no other choice than to begin the difficult task of training him in the ways of evil. Philip gets both friends and enemies in this odd, gloomy underworld—but who can he trust, when he discovers an evil-minded plot against the dark throne?
The Devil's Apprentice is volume 1 in The Great Devil War-series.


I received this book for free from The Write Reads. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

It’s my day on the Ultimate Blog Tour hosted by The Write Reads and I’m so excited to finally be able to scream at the top of my lungs (or tip of my fingers, really) about how much I loved The Devil’s Apprentice by Kenneth B. Andersen! After reading the description, I was intrigued. It sounded like something I’d enjoy, but to be honest, I expected to be disappointed. I haven’t had much luck lately in the sci-fi/fantasy genre (I’ve DNF’d the last 3 – and I HATE DNFing a book) and worried this would be the latest let down. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

I LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED this book! I’m gifting it to at least three people for Christmas!

Now, where do I even begin…?

The Story

In the beginning, we’re introduced to goody-two-shoes Philip being bullied by another child whose nickname is “Devil Sam.” If one of these kids was destined to end up running hell after the devil kicks the bucket, Philip is definitely NOT who you’d choose! But through a crazy turn off events in which Devil Sam’s bullying somehow saves himself and confuses Death, Philip winds up in hell, studying as the devil’s apprentice.

When Philip was alive and walking the earth, he was about as close to being an angel as a human can be. He didn’t even lie when his best (and only) friend needed him to – and he lost his only friend as a result. Because for Philip, being honest and good was more important. Yet, before this honest boy even makes his way fully into hell, he begins to give in to sin and lies to spare the feelings of a demon.

Emotions run high throughout the entire book, but overall it’s a very humorous tale. Even in moments where my heart was pumping hard with fear, I found myself laughing out loud and getting funny stares from those around me.

The Characters

The Characters in The Devil’s Apprentice are incredibly well developed and real. I found myself cheering for demons and even the Devil himself at different points in the story and felt as if I knew every single one of them. These aren’t cookie-cutter characters! Each one has their own unique personality. Some are funny, some are serious, but all are now in my heart.

Philip himself goes through huge changes as his journey unfolds. The longer he’s in hell, the more sins he falls prey to. Soon, he realizes (after it’s pointed out to him) he’s committed all but one of the deadly sins. This would have devastated the old Philip, but by that time he no longer seems to care much. He’s changed forever.

I think it’s a great parallel to real-life – simply allowing ourselves to constantly be exposed to what we know is wrong, we will eventually be de-sensitized and fall prey to it ourselves.

Conclusion

This will be on my best books read in 2019 list and I definitely recommend picking up The Devil’s Apprentice and reading it ASAP! I can’t wait to start on the next book in the series!

Have you read The Devil’s Apprentice? What did you think? Leave me a comment below!

About The Author

Kenneth B. Andersen is Danish author who has written over thirty-five since their debut novel in 2000, ranging across multiple genres. His books have been translated into more than 15 languages, and his film on Netflix based on his book “Antboy”, with an animated TV series currently in development.

He currently lives in Copenhagen with his wife, two boys, a dog named Milo and spiders in the basement.

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five-stars
Posted in book reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl in White Gloves: A Novel Of Grace Kelly by Kerri Maher

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl in White Gloves: A Novel Of Grace Kelly by Kerri MaherThe Girl in White Gloves by Kerri Maher
Published by Berkley on February 25, 2020
ISBN: 0451492072
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 384
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Synopsis

A life in snapshots…

Grace knows what people see. She’s the Cinderella story. An icon of glamor and elegance frozen in dazzling Technicolor. The picture of perfection. The girl in white gloves.

A woman in living color…

But behind the lens, beyond the panoramic views of glistening Mediterranean azure, she knows the truth. The sacrifices it takes for an unappreciated girl from Philadelphia to defy her family and become the reigning queen of the screen. The heartbreaking reasons she trades Hollywood for a crown. The loneliness of being a princess in a fairy tale kingdom that is all too real. Hardest of all for her adoring fans and loyal subjects to comprehend, is the harsh reality that to be the most envied woman in the world does not mean she is the happiest. Starved for affection and purpose, facing a labyrinth of romantic and social expectations with more twists and turns than Monaco’s infamous winding roads, Grace must find her own way to fulfillment. But what she risks--her art, her family, her marriage—she may never get back.


I received this book for free from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Yes, I’m actually posting a book review. You can close your mouth now!

It seems 2019 has been the year of reading books about things I know little to nothing about and The Girl in White Gloves by Kerri Maher continues that theme. I knew the name Grace Kelly and had seen some old movies with her in them but I knew absolutely nothing about her. For instance, I didn’t even know she married the Prince of Monaco!

I thoroughly enjoyed this peek into the life of Grace Kelly. It’s written in such a way that you actually feel as if you’re spying on this icon. The story felt intimate and almost too real. I loved every page of it!

The story goes back and forth between Grace’s struggle to make it on Broadway and her life after she’s left Hollywood behind for life in the palace in Monaco.

Grace spends so much time chasing after approval and dreams. Unfortunately, the two don’t always compliment each other. Her family, and more importantly, her father, don’t approve of her ambition to be a Broadway star. But she’s determined to have it all… Family, friends and a successful acting career. If only the men in her life would agree to let her have them!

If I was going to sum up this book in one word, it would be “brilliant.” Like all great historical fiction, it blurred the line between fact and fairytale and has made me hungry to read more about it’s subject. In this case, I want to watch every movie referenced in the story and find out more about the real life of Grace Kelly.

I recommend The Girl in White Gloves to anyone with even a passing interest in Grace Kelly!

four-half-stars
Posted in book reviews

Beautiful Revolutionary by Laura Elizabeth Woollett

Beautiful Revolutionary by Laura Elizabeth WoollettBeautiful Revolutionary by Laura Elizabeth Woollett
Published by Scribe on July 30, 2018
ISBN: 1947534637
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 416
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program
Goodreads
four-stars
Synopsis

The thrilling new novel inspired by Jim Jones’s Peoples Temple from the author of The Love of a Bad Man.

Following her conscientious-objector husband Lenny to the rural Eden of Evergreen Valley, California, Evelyn wants to be happy with their new life. Yet as the world is rocked by warfare and political assassinations, by racial discrimination and social upheaval, she finds herself disillusioned with Lenny’s passive ways — and anxious for a saviour.

Enter the Reverend Jim Jones, the dynamic leader of a revolutionary church called Peoples Temple. As Evelyn grows closer to Jones, her marriage is just the first casualty of his rise to power.

Meticulously researched, elegantly written, and utterly engrossing, Beautiful Revolutionary explores the allure of the real-life charismatic leader who would destroy so many. In masterful prose, Woollett painstakingly examines what happens when Evelyn is pulled into Jones' orbit — an orbit it would prove impossible for her to leave.

I received this book for free from LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


I just finished reading “Beautiful Revolutionary” by Laura Elizabeth Woollett and it’s put me in a very weird mood. I don’t even know what to say about this book right now.

Before reading this fictionalized story about the events surrounding the Lyndens, Joneses, Peoples Temple and Jonestown, the only thing I really knew was that a bunch of people drank some poisoned generic Kool-Aid and died because their leader, Jim Jones, told them to.

After reading “Beautiful Revolutionary,” I feel oddly compelled to learn everything I can about these disturbing events and how so many people were led so far astray.

The book opens with the Lynden’s on their way to start a new chapter in their life. Newly out of college, newly married, and their dreams of a happy life fully possible. But Evelyn Lynden quickly grows tired of her housewife duties and her husband. Their lives take a dark turn when Evelyn, a minister’s daughter, takes them to Sunday service at Peoples Temple. It’s here where they, and so many others, meet and fall under the spell of Jim Jones.

Even knowing where the characters in this story would ultimately end up, I still found myself dumbfounded when I got to the end. I recommend “Beautiful Revolutionary” for anyone who has a fascination with cults, Jonestown, or who is just looking for a fascinating historical fiction novel.

Have you read “Beautiful Revolutionary” or have any thoughts about Jonestown or book recommendations based on this review? Leave me a comment below and thanks for visiting!

four-stars
Posted in book reviews, Tackle TBR Read-a-thon

2019 Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon Wrap Up

When I started this thing, I said I’d be okay with only getting one book finished… Unfortunately, I came up a few pages shy of even doing that!

So here are my final stats for the 2019 Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon hosted by Wishful Endings:

Pages read on days I havent already posted about:

Day 3: 41; Day 4: 69; Day 5: 50; Day 6: 50; Day 7: 24

Total Pages Read: 343

Total Books Finished: 0 😢

Oh well. I guess there’s always next year…

Posted in book reviews

Day #2 Update – 2019 Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon

I managed to read a little bit more yesterday than in Day 1 of the 2019 Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon hosted by Tess at Wishful Endings. Here are my stats at the end of Day 2:

Books Read:

Beautiful Revolutionary by Laura Elizabeth Woollett

This was the only book I read yesterday (other than some very short children’s books). I don’t actually know much about Jim Jones and his cult, but so far this story is amazing in a creepy sorta way.

Read-a-thon Totals as of Day 2:

Books Read Day #2: 1

Pages Read: 67

Total Books Read: 2

Total Pages Read: 109

Finished Books: 0