The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review!

So … I am majorly behind when it comes to my ARC list and I have been a bit too overwhelmed by it to really catch up. But all of that ends with this book! This has been the first ARC I have read in a while and hopefully, it will signal the first step in my goal to improve my Netgalley approval rating (because it is super low right now)! But enough about that, let’s get on with the review:

35620124Summary (Goodreads): When an explosion rips apart a Chicago building, the lives of three women are forever altered.

A year later, Cecily is in mourning. She was supposed to be in the building that day. Instead, she stood on the street and witnessed it going down, with her husband and best friend inside. Kate, now living thousands of miles away, fled the disaster and is hoping that her past won’t catch up with her. And Franny, a young woman in search of her birth mother, watched the horror unfold on the morning news, knowing that the woman she was so desperate to reconnect with was in the building.

Now, despite the marks left by the tragedy, they all seem safe. But as its anniversary dominates the media, the memories of that terrifying morning become dangerous triggers. All these women are guarding important secrets. Just how far will they go to keep them?

 


Review: As much as I wanted to love this book, sadly, I just didn’t. And I think a lot of it has to do with the approach the author took for writing this story.

Let me tell you some of the things I liked about this story first:

I really like that the story featured 3 very different female characters. Usually, I find that most authors create very similar main characters, but with this book, Cecily, Kate, and Franny all had their own distinct voice and mannerisms. I also liked that the story was told from their perspectives: Cecily and Kate had their own chapters, whereas Franny’s POV was presented in an interview format; I really liked the inclusion of this latter style because it created a nice break from the conventional writing format and kept me interested.

But now, it’s time to talk about why this novel ultimately didn’t work for me …

Initially, this book was presented as a thriller. Now, I love thrillers, and read a TON of them (as you can probably tell from my reviews)! But with this novel, there was a huge element of the story that focused on the emotional side of things, and there was a big focus on depression. I like that the author attempted to highlight the emotional toll that losing a partner can take, and how guilt carries on and prevents people from moving on. But for some reason, it just didn’t work for me. Even though there was all of this emotional character development, I still felt very detached from the characters; it almost felt like I was being told what the character was feeling and why they were feeling rather than shown, and I would have preferred the latter because it would have allowed me to empathize and connect better with them.

I also don’t think this story really should be classified as a thriller because it just wasn’t that thrilling. The twists weren’t that big and the whole emotional aspect of the story detracted from any feelings of … well … suspense. Whenever there was a potentially thrilling occurrence, it was either dropped too quickly or not followed up on and I found that quite disappointing. The few twists and turns that were there also just made me frustrated because they weren’t really shocking reveals as much as just going back and forth about the same thing. My train of thought the entire time was just “Ok, here’s something suspicious that someone said, but oh nope turns out it’s wrong, and then wait nope we are back to that again and apparently we were right the first time” and that gets old reeeeaaaal quick. To me, that isn’t a thriller, it’s just a heap of confusion masquerading as a thriller and it makes me really frustrated.

I know it seems like I really hated this book. While there were things that were wrong with it, I still ended up finishing it and wanting to know how the story ended – so that must mean there was some level of success in the author’s ability to pique my interest. Either way, this wasn’t the best thriller I have ever read … but I’ve read a lot worse. I think that the premise was interesting and the writing style was good, but if this novel had been branded differently and not as a thriller, I would have had different expectations from it and probably enjoyed it more. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

2 star

Happy reading ~

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Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings – Killing Eve #1

I was drawn to this novel because of the hit new TV show Killing Eve. I saw a trailer for the show ages ago and immediately knew I wanted to watch it – it looked so cool and featured some very strong female actresses! Now … I still haven’t gotten around to watching it because … life is busy and my TV binge list is just as long as my TBR list. But I decided to do the next best thing – I read the book that inspired the creation of the show!

36546651Summary (Goodreads): Villanelle (a codename, of course) is one of the world’s most skilled assassins. A catlike psychopath whose love for the creature comforts of her luxurious lifestyle is second only to her love of the game, she specializes in murdering the world’s richest and most powerful. But when she murders an influential Russian politician, she draws a relentless foe to her tail.
Eve Polastri (not a codename) is a former MI6 operative hired by the national security services for a singular task: to find and capture or kill the assassin responsible, and those who have aided her. Eve, whose quiet and otherwise unextraordinary life belies her quick wit and keen intellect, accepts the mission.
The ensuing chase will lead them on a trail around the world, intersecting with corrupt governments and powerful criminal organizations, all leading towards a final confrontation from which neither will emerge unscathed.

 


Review: So …. I finished reading it. And while I didn’t hate it, I didn’t go crazy over it.

The story is interesting but I have to admit, there was really nothing new when it came to this book. Villanelle is a psychopath who does a great job as a spy. But her character just wasn’t that unique to me. Maybe I read too many messed-up books but I could name quite a few psychopathic characters that were a lot better than her! The only thing that stood out for me about Villanelle was the way the author always used cat-like descriptions of her … and I didn’t really like that.

The story also wasn’t really that interesting. It was similar to Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews by Jason Matthews, except that all the main characters were female. Even then, I preferred Red Sparrow because the main character there had an interesting condition and was intelligent whereas Villanelle really didn’t have anything going for her.

I will say that I enjoyed the description of the events; they had the right amount of violence, and showed the cold, calculated behaviour that you would hope and expect from a killer.

Overall, this novel came off as a bit generic and didn’t really excite me too much. I will be watching the TV show soon, however, so hopefully I will enjoy that more. For now, this book gets a 2/5 stars from me.

2 star

Have any of you read this book? Who has watched the show Killing Eve? Is there a difference between the two? I would love to know so share your thoughts in the comments section!

Happy reading ~

Sadie by Courtney Summers

When I read the synopsis for this book, I thought this would be right down my alley. You know how much I love reading books that are seriously messed up, and a revenge story with this premise DEFINITELY fit into that category. But after reading this novel, I must say that this is so much more than that. Here are my thoughts:

34810320Summary (Goodreads): Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.


Review:

Wow. This book. Wow. I’m struggling to write this review because there is just so much I want to say about this novel. To say it messed me up would be an understatement because it SERIOUSLY messed me up. And I mean that in the best way. This novel has a lot of triggers for child abuse and assault so please do keep that in mind if you plan on picking it up.

The story has a very unique writing style in that it is told mostly through Sadie’s perspective but also through a podcast, where you can read the transcripts (or listen to them, if you have an audiobook version – and I really recommend that experience). This allows the reader to see the story from an outsider’s view, which is very much appreciated because it just added more depth and realism to the story.

There is so much going on in this story from an emotional perspective. As the plot shows Sadie’s journey to get justice for her sister’s murder, we also see Sadie handle her grief and get a glimpse into what her life has been like. And let me tell you, it is heart-wrenching. The author does not hold back the punches when delving into dark material like abuse, murder, pedophilia, and sexual assault. Readers get to really understand the experiences that Sadie has been through and how she has tried to stay strong and be mature for her sister. I loved Sadie’s character, even though there were times when I didn’t feel like I could connect with – at times, her reticence made her distant to the reader. But the rawness of the emotions, and the significance of the message of the story were so real and I was completely drawn into Sadie’s world.

There aren’t very many books that I say everyone should read. But this is one of those books. It is gripping, it is heartbreaking and it is completely relevant. If you haven’t tried this novel, I highly recommend that you do. I’m giving this book 5/5 stars!

5 star

Happy reading ~

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Lisa Jewell is an author whose work can be a hit or a miss with me. But when I read the premise of this novel, I knew I had to read it. It was just so unusual and I could tell it would give me the tension and thrill I was seeking. So here is how my experience went:

35297426Summary (Goodreads):

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s
golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?

 


My feelings when it comes to this novel are very divided. There were things I felt were very well done, and things I thought could definitely have been improved.

Let’s start with the positives:

I really liked the writing style. It was very easy to read this book because it had a very good flow. I had no trouble at all getting through this story, and I thought the descriptions of the various scenes was apt. I also loved the way the author drew up the emotional elements of the story. This is where Lisa Jewell shines. She is able to make the reader connect so well with the characters and really feel the emotions that they are going through. Clearly, there is no problem with this writer’s ability to write.

But then there comes the negatives:

This story was just so predictable. The mother-daughter relationship in this book is nothing unique. I’ve seen it a million times already and while I’m not expecting some crazy variation, there just wasn’t anything there to set this one apart. I also didn’t like that the first few chapters contained all of the major revelations. It didn’t leave a lot to the imagination.

Now I’m pretty bad at guessing what happens in thrillers. In fact, that’s why I like them so much: they always have me barking up the wrong tree. But in the case of this story, I had it pegged from the very start. Every prediction I made turned out to be true. And that was really disappointing. Predictability is never a good thing when you’re trying to serve up a mystery or thriller because it will make the reader bored. And that’s what happened with me. I just wanted to get through the story quickly to see if I was right, and when I did, I felt nothing at all. There were also some parts of the story that didn’t really make much sense and that also affected my enjoyment of the novel.

Overall, I have conflicting thoughts on this novel. On the one hand, the writing and the emotional elements of the story are really well done. But the actual plot suffered due to its lack of originality. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

2 star

Happy reading ~

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

I’ve had a very interesting relationship with Shari Lapena. What I mean is I have pretty much disliked all of her previous books. And yet, I am always intrigued by the premise of whatever books she puts out and I find myself gravitating towards them. I was a little worried when I decided to give this book a chance. What if it ended up being another dud. But let me just say …. THAT WAS NOT THE CASE! Here are my thoughts:

38240386Summary (Goodreads): It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing – maybe even romantic – weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off all electricity – and all contact with the outside world – the guests settle in and try to make the best of it.

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead – it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, everyone starts to panic.

Within the snowed-in paradise, something – or someone – is picking off the guests one by one. And there’s nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm – and one another

 


One of the first things I noticed about this book was that it was very reminiscent of Agatha Christie. I could imagine this story in a Poirot or Miss Marple case. And you know what? I’m not mad about it. It’s a style that works and if it’s doing a good job, then why knock it? So I really enjoyed the style of the story.

I liked the different characters and their interactions with each other. Were they all very unique? No. But they weren’t extremely redundant so I wasn’t too upset about it. I thought that their POVs were well done and it definitely took me a while to figure out the identity of the killer. The idea of there being another person in the hotel was intriguing and I wish that had been explored more; it was mentioned at one point but then it disappeared from thought.

I also thought the plot moved along at  a very good pace, with killings happening often enough to keep me interested. Each death brought on more intrigue and more erratic behaviour from the remaining guests. I think this could have been ramped up, too, with everything becoming a crazy mess near the end. Although the tension and fear was palpable, everyone was still quite composed and I would have preferred to see a disintegration of their carefully maintained behaviour.

Altogether, I had quite a good experience with this novel, which is different from my experience with other books by Shari Lapena. I thought the story was solid, the motives were interesting, and the tension kept increasing as the story went on. This wasn’t perfect: there could have been more of a breakdown, and the characters could have been more unique with less repetitive dialogue. But for the most part, I enjoyed the story. For that reason, I’m giving it a 3/5 stars!

3 star

Happy reading ~

Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

In accordance with my plan to read books about marriage (yes, I’m still doing that), I decided to give this one a shot. What made it more interesting was the fact that it centered around more than just one woman. I wanted to see all of the different issues that could be brought to the forefront by each character. So let’s get on with my review:

40787693Summary (Goodreads): What causes a woman to murder her whole family?

Jo’s idyllic life would make most people jealous. Until one day her daughter is abducted and the only way to find her is to unravel her dark past.

Ellie is a devoted wife… until she discovers the pain of betrayal. Now vengeance is all she can think about.

Party-girl Shayla knows how to hide her demons. But when she’s confronted with a life-shattering choice, it will cost her everything.

June knows suffering intimately, though the smile she wears keeps it hidden.

Soon the lives of these four women intersect and one of them is about to snap…

 


This book started off with a bang. Too bad it didn’t continue that way.

My first major problem with this novel were the names of the main characters. Okay, I know this may sound petty at first. But think about it: Jo. Jayne. Jude. Janyn. June. Seriously, why?! The names did NOT have to be this similar and it made it so hard for me to distinguish them. Not only did their names sound the same, it was also hard to differentiate their personalities at times. It became cumbersome for me to read this book, so much so that I needed to make a little flowchart of who everyone was and how their story line was developing. That is way too much work for a reader.

I also had a problem with their “problems” with their marriage and role as mothers. Now, I’m not a wife or a mother so there’s a limit to how much I can understand about the pressures of both of these roles. But some of the problems they mentioned just seemed so bizarre. For instance, one mother described taking care of her kids as a thankless and suffocating job. And I get the suffocating part because I know (from my own mother’s exasperation with me and my sister) that kids can completely consume one’s life. But do you honestly expect your little children to constantly thank you? In that case, all children are thankless, terrible monsters. Some of the perceptions about marriage and children seemed a little too naive, or rather, too dramatic. I just couldn’t understand why the women were making certain complaints about things that are honestly very common? But like I said, I’m not a mother or a wife. Maybe once I get to that stage, the emotions that these women were feeling would make more sense to me. But there was just something about it that was overly dramatic and I didn’t enjoy that. I guess I just don’t like characters that are materialistic and whine a lot.

I think the writing style and the plot itself were both interesting. Despite the negatives mentioned above, I did want to know what was going to happen and how things would be handled. I thought the writing was very poetic and flowed nicely. The pacing was spot-on and the twists were well executed. Some of the parts of the story were quite predictable, but while the ending took me aback, I wasn’t as convinced with the motive behind it; it just seemed so weak and could have done with some more development.

This novel just didn’t work for me on a lot of fronts. I think the writing style was good but the final reveal combined with the lack of connection with the characters was a real downfall. For that reason, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

2 star

Happy reading ~

Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Ever since the release of The Party, Robyn Harding has been a buzzing name in the thriller-writer world. So many people loved that book – but I was not one of them. Nevertheless, I wanted to give her another shot and see if maybe I would see the spark that everyone else was seeing. Here is my review:

36373379Summary (Goodreads): Frances Metcalfe is struggling to stay afloat.
A stay-at-home mom whose troubled son is her full-time job, she thought that the day he got accepted into the elite Forrester Academy would be the day she started living her life. Overweight, insecure, and lonely, she is desperate to fit into Forrester’s world. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.

Until she meets Kate Randolph.

Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. And for some reason, she’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart…because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunick. And she’s a murderer.

 


Review: 

The best way to summarize this book is that it is about friendships and past secrets. And I know this sounds intriguing. I mean, it’s what drew me to the story in the first place. And in the beginning, it really was quite good. There was that typical start that I’m noticing in a lot of thrillers, where a woman who feels like she doesn’t belong with other “moms” meets a glamorous “mom” who becomes her best friend. The author also created a good amount of tension that pulled the reader into the story.

But ultimately …. nothing really … happened.

I mean, it was just so predictable. You’ve got these two women who both have “dark secrets” but it is quite obvious from the start who is the more “dangerous” one, just from the way the author relies on overused tropes. Now, I don’t necessarily have a problem with this. It’s a tried-and-tested trope that works so if it ain’t broke, why fix it? But there was nothing unique about the story. There was lack of depth in plot and character interactions, and I didn’t even really like the main characters.

But when I mean nothing happened, I literally mean that NOTHING HAPPENED IN THIS STORY. One character discovers the truth, and when the information gets out …. well, that’s pretty much how the story ends. It just felt like there was all this buildup and it led to pretty much a pointless story. The other character also had a “resolution” of her ghosts but it was quite disappointing; it basically happened in the last 15-20 pages of the book and there was no introspection or depth to it. And I know that the whole point of hyping this character’s past was to make readers suspect her intentions, but it was such a disappointing truth that I felt cheated out of an experience.

I know it seems like I hated this book. But my main problem was just with how things ended. I still think the idea behind the story is very interesting, and it reminded me a lot of the story of Karla Homolka (and that is all I’m going to say because NO SPOILERS). The actual writing of the story was quite good and it was a quick read. However, the ending left me unsatisfied and because the author had so hyped it up with all the tension, I just couldn’t get over the disappointment. For that reason, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

2 star

Happy reading ~

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Well, I was super excited by this premise and I was very happy to have received an eARC. But after reading it, I must say that it did not live up to my expectations. Here is my review:

32187685Summary (Goodreads): Twenty years ago, Dennis Danson was arrested and imprisoned for the brutal murder of a young girl. Now he’s the subject of a true-crime documentary that’s whipping up a frenzy online to uncover the truth and free a man who has been wrongly convicted.

A thousand miles away in England, Samantha is obsessed with Dennis’s case. She exchanges letters with him, and is quickly won over by his apparent charm and kindness to her. Soon she has left her old life behind to marry him and campaign for his release.

When the campaign is successful and Dennis is freed, however, Sam begins to discover new details that suggest he may not be quite so innocent after all.

But how do you confront your husband when you don’t want to know the truth?


 

Review:

Like I said, this story has a very interesting premise. I’ve heard numerous stories about people falling in love with prisoners on death row who have committed some horrendous crimes, and how they believe that the prisoner is innocent. I thought it would be interesting to see the author’s take on this situation, especially since in this story, the prisoner is said to be wrongly convicted.

But the story left me disappointed.

Everything just felt rushed. The initial contact between Samantha and Dennis that led to them “falling in love” was extremely unbelievable. It was definitely a case of insta-love – even if it didn’t happen instantaneously. There was no proper buildup; over the course of a few letters, they declared their feelings for each other and that was that.

The story showed some promise when Dennis was released and Samantha started having her doubts. It made me think that the story would finally redeem itself and be full of the tension I expect in a thriller.

And then it let me down again. The ending was rushed, and quite anticlimactic. It didn’t really make much sense, and I felt like I had been taken on a long ride that didn’t have any fun parts to it.

Overall, I thought the premise was interesting but the story’s execution left a lot to be desired. I know a lot of people really liked this book and it has won some awards as well but I just couldn’t love it. For those reasons, this book gets 2/5 stars from me.

2 star

Happy reading ~

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Well everyone, here I am, back again with my reviews! I’ve actually been reading all of these books during my hiatus but I just didn’t have the time to put everything into a blog post. But it’s here now, so I hope you all enjoy!

35410511Summary (Goodreads):  Sweetness can be deceptive.
Meet Hanna.
She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

 


Review:

To say that this book was creepy would be an understatement. It was INCREDIBLY creepy. I really thought that the premise of this story was intriguing (and messed up – in a good way) and I’m really glad that I got a chance to read it.

The strongest aspects of this story were the development of the characters and the way the plot developed. I thought writing the story from the perspective of both Hanna and Suzette was a clever one, as it gave us a lot of insight into what was happening in their heads. I wish the author hadn’t spent so much time describing all of the details of Suzette’s medical condition – even for me, it was a bit dull and I found that it didn’t necessarily add all that much to the story. A brief mention of the condition would have sufficed. I definitely preferred reading from Hanna’s perspective and the author captured her voice perfectly.

In terms of the plot, it was really well executed with a gradual building of tension that eventually led to the main climactic event. There was just the right amount of tautness to keep the reader on edge, wondering how the story would unfold. I think that there were moments that had the reader questioning whether everything was really as simple and clearcut as initially presented – was the mother really the victim, and was the child really evil? – but this idea wasn’t developed further. I wish it had been because it would have added more depth and nuance to take the story to that next level.

With all that being said, I really enjoyed reading this novel. It was a very interesting concept and the author definitely delivered on the tension and creepy factor. For me, this story gets a 4/5 star rating!

4 star

Happy reading ~

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

I have been meaning to read more books about marriages, as a special challenge to myself. There are so many novels that are about this topic or that have the word “marriage”, “husband”, or “wife” in their title, so I thought it would be interesting to make reading these books a priority on my list, just to compare and contrast all of the different ideas that are out there. This story caught my eye, not only because of its title, but also because of its premise.

31748890Summary (Goodreads): Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact, and most of its rules make sense: Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .

Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples–and then one of them breaks the rules. The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life, and The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule. For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.


My Rating: 2 star

Review: This is another case of a novel that started off in a very interesting way but eventually just kinda let me down. I really really loved the premise of this book. The idea of there being a society that is all about preserving marriages and making them last is really intriguing, and seeing a diabolic side to this club was something I was really looking forward to. However, I didn’t really get everything that I wanted from this book.

First of all, this story is told entirely from Jake’s perspective, which I thought was really interesting since most books I’ve read about marriages are told from the wife’s perspective. I think the author did a really good job of writing in a male voice and I really feel like I got a good understanding of Jake’s character and the way his marriage worked with Alice. Alice and the other characters in the book were a bit lackluster compared to Jake, but I was prepared to forgive that for the sake of this intriguing story.

But the story turned out to be quite boring. It revolves around Jake and Alice being a part of this elite and secret club and they find out soon enough that the club is very serious about its members following their mandates. There’s a lot of punishments involved, but for a large part of the story, we are just told about them and not really given a chance to experience it from the POV of our MC. The story plods along at a slow pace with nothing much happening, except for Jake’s constant worries about how things are going for Alice with The Pact. I was really hoping for there to be a lot more of a sinister air to the story with a lot more action. I was mostly just bored and could not wait to get to the good stuff.

The ending was an interesting twist, I suppose, but it felt just as lackluster as the rest of the story. There was nothing to really enjoy … except for the fact that this book was finally coming to a close.

So, while the writing was good, the pacing of the story was awfully slow and the lack of tension and intrigue made this a very boring novel. For those reasons, I’m giving it a 2/5 stars.

Happy reading ~