Review: One Night at the Lake by Bethany Chase

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

A tragedy on a hot summer night at a lake house forever alters the lives of two best friends–and the man they both love. But the truth isn’t as simple as it appears in this intricate novel of love, friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness in the tradition of Miranda Beverly-Whittemore’s Bittersweet.

Leah Tessaro has been waiting for this moment for a long time: Her boyfriend, Ollie, is taking her to his family’s home on Seneca Lake for a week of lazy summer bliss, boating, and barbeque. The couple has been together for four years, and Leah is convinced that Ollie is finally going to pop the question. And Leah can’t wait to share the joyous news with her best friend, June Kang, who is joining them on their getaway, and whose presence will make everything feel more real.

Seven years later, the moment June has been dreading has finally arrived: Her fiance, Ollie, is taking her to his family’s lake house. But this is not an ordinary visit to an ordinary place; it is a house haunted by June’s long-buried memories of her lost friend, Leah–and the connection that appears to remain between Leah and the man for whom June’s love is as deep as her sense of foreboding.

Alternating between the two women’s vibrant voices, One Night at the Lake is a gripping novel that explores a complex tangle of friendship, loyalty, and betrayal, all driving toward one question: What exactly happened to Leah on that hot summer night?

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

One Night at the Lake will be available June 18, 2019. 

Well, this book was not for me. A small part of it might be that I have been in the mood lately for mystery and suspense. I knew this was not that type of book, but I feel like the synopsis suggests there is at least a hint of a mystery and there really wasn’t. It was more of a character-driven story about love and guilt and I found it repetitive and pretty boring.

I really hated almost every character in this book, especially the three main characters – Leah, June, and Ollie. The story is told through alternating first person POV by Leah and June. I found both of these women insufferable. I didn’t like or connect with either of them and it made the book very hard to get through. I liked Ollie until I didn’t. And once I didn’t, I really despised him. The great love story this book is supposed to have came off as a little scumbag-ish, to be honest, and I couldn’t get behind it.

Overall, One Night at the Lake just didn’t work for me. I find that if I’m going to find this type of story enjoyable, I either have to like the characters or love-to-hate them and neither are true here. I found them self-indulgent and annoying. However, I have read many great reviews on this one, so I’m obviously in the minority here. I am upping my rating from 1 star to 2 because there were occasionally some good banter.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars

Review: In the Darkness (Zoe Bentley Mystery #2) by Mike Omer

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

A forensic psychologist fights a mental war against two serial killers in this disturbing thriller from Mike Omer, Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author of A Killer’s Mind.

An online video of a girl clawing at the ceiling of her own grave could be the worst thing FBI forensic psychologist Zoe Bentley has ever seen. Perhaps even more disturbing is the implication of the video’s title: “Experiment Number One.”

Zoe and her partner, Special Agent Tatum Gray, work as fast as they can to find the monster behind the shocking video, but soon another one shows up online, and another girl turns up dead. Meanwhile, a different murderer is on Zoe’s mind. Rod Glover has been tormenting her since childhood, and his latest attack is a threatening photo of himself with Zoe’s sister. As Glover’s threats creep toward action, Zoe’s torn between family and duty.

Zoe must think fast to prevent another murder. With her own family’s safety on the line, Zoe feels she’s never been in more danger. And while she’s always known her job could send her to an early grave, she always assumed she’d be dead first.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

In the Darkness will be available June 25, 2019. 

What I Liked

  • I’m not sure what it says about me as a person, but I love a good serial killer novel and Mike Omer definitely delivered. In the Darkness is an entertaining mystery that managed to surprise me.
  • The story is told through multiple POVs. We get chapters from both Zoe and Tatum, as well as the serial killer and several other supporting characters. I often times prefer a story to be told through first person POV, but the third person really worked for this story.
  • I really enjoy Zoe’s partner, Tatum. He pretty much makes this series for me. He’s smart, protective, and often times brings the comic relief. I also like his relationship with his crazy grandfather, Marvin.

What Didn’t Work for Me

  • I have a hard time connecting with Zoe. I feel like there’s been a fair amount of character development done with her throughout the series so far, but for some reason she still feels a bit one-note and cliched. Her reactions to things are often inconsistent as she swings between almost total lack of empathy and major emotional melt downs.
  • While I found the story pretty entertaining, I felt like the writing could have used just a bit more editing. The dialogue sometimes felt a little off. It also felt a little longer than it needed to be.

Overall

Overall, I enjoyed In the Darkness. Though I thought the writing could use just a bit more editing at times, the mystery was well done and I was a little surprised with who the serial killer turned out to be. I like the partnership between Tatum and Zoe and look forward to seeing how it evolves as the series continues.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

WWW Wednesday: June 5, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?

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The Proximity Principle by Ken Coleman. I actually put this one on hold and read a couple other books, but it’s currently the only book on my Currently Reading shelf. My mom bought it for me because she was tired of hearing me complain about my job (and the job before that and the job before that…), but it’s really more geared towards people who already know what their dream job is, which is not me.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Marriage for One by Ella Maise and Trashy Romance Novel by Jacqueline E Smith. I recently signed up for another 2 months of Kindle Unlimited and these were first up.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I’m not really sure, but I did just get The Water Cure from the library, so I might try that.

What are you reading?

Review: Those People by Louise Candlish

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the author of the international bestseller Our House, a new novel of twisty domestic suspense asks, “Could you hate your neighbor enough to plot to kill him?” 

Lowland Way is the suburban dream. The houses are beautiful, the neighbors get along, and the kids play together on weekends.

But when Darren and Jodie move into the house on the corner, they donʼt follow the rules. They blast music at all hours, begin an unsightly renovation, and run a used-car business from their yard. It doesn’t take long for an all-out war to start brewing.

Then, early one Saturday, a horrific death shocks the street. As police search for witnesses, accusations start flying–and everyone has something to hide.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Those People will be available June 11, 2019. 

Those People started off very strong for me, but lost a little of it’s steam along the way. However, it was still a highly entertaining story that I enjoyed.

Who hasn’t had a horrible neighbor? As a long time renter, I’m used to sharing walls and ceilings and though I do get frequently frustrated, I have a pretty high tolerance for other people’s noise. There has only been one neighbor that was so awful I complained to management about, but it was nothing compared to what happened with the people on Lowland Way. The street is idyllic with neighbors that all know each other and get along. They even have a standing agreement to close off the street every Sunday so the kids can play without fear of cars. Everything gets turned upside down, though, when the Booths move in. They play loud music while working on noisy home renovations at all hours of the night and take up all the parking spots on the street with their questionably legal car business. They also don’t care at all what anybody else thinks of them. They are completely unapologetic about the mess and the noise they make or how it effects anyone else. This causes all the “sensible” people on the street to lose their minds a bit.

The story is told through multiple POVs, rotating mostly between Ralph, Tess, Ant, and Sissy. For about the first half of the book, each chapter begins with a short excerpt from a police interview. It gave me serious Big Little Lies vibes and I loved it. I loved seeing how the neighbors all interacted with each other and the gradual reveal of the mystery of who was killed. Where it started to lose momentum for me was after the victim was revealed and the investigation took over the focus. I wasn’t terribly surprised by any of the reveals after that and I felt it was a little longer than it really needed to be. What I did like, though, was seeing how the situation started to drive everyone to madness. It was fascinating seeing how different people reacted to the stress.

Overall, I enjoyed Those People. I loved the multiple POVs and the inclusion of the police interviews. I wish that format would have been kept up the whole way through. Though it did end up being a little longer than it needed to be and the little surprise at the end does not compare to the twist at the end of Our Houseit was still a really enjoyable and addictive read. I definitely look forward to more from Candlish.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

May 2019 Recap

I got some good reading done in May, but that’s about all I can say for it. I was informed my rent is being raised by an extra $55/month. I’m already paying a ridiculous amount of money for my crappy one-bedroom apartment and I just don’t feel like I can stay here anymore. The other rental options really aren’t much better. I thought maybe it would be a good time to re-evaluate buying a condo and I went to talk to a loan officer and ended up being really disappointed in what my price range would be. I work so hard at saving money and deny myself so many things and it just all feels so pointless right now. There are also crappy things happening at work and I’m just feeling very disappointed with life. Anywho, onto the important parts of this post…

Celeste Ng Book Signing

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Amanda and I went to see Celeste Ng on the paperback tour for Little Fires Everywhere. I haven’t actually read it yet, but it’s set in Ohio and she is a former Ohioan, so attending seemed like a no-brainer. It was interesting, but she made a couple of political statements that kind of put a damper on the whole experience. However, I’ll still be reading the book.

Books Read: 12

Adult: 10
YA: 2

Favorite Book I Read This Month:

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Truth or Die (DS Imogen Grey #5) by Katerina Diamond. Watch for my review in July!

  Books Reviewed: 7

The Killer Across the Table by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker – 4/5 Stars

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang – 3/5 Stars

Just One of the Groomsmen by Cindi Madsen – 4/5 Stars

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda – 4/5 Stars

Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L Armentrout – 4/5 Stars

The Honeymoon by Rona Halsall – 2 Stars

Sweet on You (Bradford Sisters Romance #3) by Becky Wade – 3.5/5 Stars

Books Read in 2019 Overall: 60

Funny Fridays:

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May 3

For the most part

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And my poor ex-husband got the wrath of this. Perfect book boyfriends = unable t

May 17

Other Posts:

April 2019 Recap

WWW Wednesday – May 8, 2019

WWW Wednesday – May 15, 2019

Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2019

Book News

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The Hating Game is being made into a movie!  It’s going to star Lucy Hale and Robbie Amell. The casting wouldn’t be my first choice, but I don’t hate it. Super excited to see what this ends up looking like.

Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2019

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Her Pretend Billionaire Boyfriend (Clean Billionaire Romance #1) by Bree Livingston. Read April 26-May 1. 3 Stars. 

This was suuuuuuuper cheesy, but it had some good moments, too. I got this as a free e-book because I am a sucker for fake relationship stories. I probably would never have read it otherwise, but despite the cringeworthy title and cover it was overall entertaining. Belle drove me crazy for most of the book. I’m definitely not someone who often stands up for myself, but even I wouldn’t have let myself be walked over as much as she did. It was a little much. I liked Tristan much better, though.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

(I read mostly NetGalley books that aren’t published until June or July this month)

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Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer – 4 Stars

Those People by Louise Candlish – 4 Stars

In the Darkness (Zoe Bentley Mystery #2) by Mike Omer – 4 Stars

Truth or Die (DS Imogen Grey #5) by Katerina Diamond – 4 Stars

One Night at the Lake by Bethany Chase – 2 Stars

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan – 3 Stars

A Stranger on the Beach – 4 Stars