Review: The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor

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Review from Goodreads:

The thrilling second novel from the author of The Chalk Man, about a teacher with a hidden agenda who returns to settle scores at a school he once attended, only to uncover a darker secret than he could have imagined.

Joe never wanted to come back to Arnhill. After the way things ended with his old gang–the betrayal, the suicide, the murder–and after what happened when his sister went missing, the last thing he wanted to do was return to his hometown. But Joe doesn’t have a choice. Because judging by what was done to that poor Morton kid, what happened all those years ago to Joe’s sister is happening again. And only Joe knows who is really at fault.

Lying his way into a teaching job at his former high school is the easy part. Facing off with former friends who are none too happy to have him back in town–while avoiding the enemies he’s made in the years since–is tougher. But the hardest part of all will be returning to that abandoned mine where it all went wrong and his life changed forever, and finally confronting the shocking, horrifying truth about Arnhill, his sister, and himself. Because for Joe, the worst moment of his life wasn’t the day his sister went missing.

It was the day she came back.

With the same virtuosic command of character and pacing she displayed in The Chalk Man, CJ Tudor has once again crafted an extraordinary novel that brilliantly blends harrowing psychological suspense, a devilishly puzzling mystery, and enough shocks and thrills to satisfy even the most seasoned reader.

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

The Hiding Place will be available February 5, 2019. 

What Worked For Me

-I’m a big fan of Tudor’s writing style. I love the banter, the dark humor, the well-executed multiple timelines. Even though I felt like the pacing was a little too slow for much of the book, I still wanted to keep reading. There’s just something compelling about it.

-Joe. Joe was not exactly a likable character, but I actually liked him a lot. He comes across as an underdog and how can you not root for the underdog? I loved his sense of humor, even it was kind of dark. He’s had a lot of bad things happen in his life and I liked that even though he kept making a lot of bad decisions and was pretty cynical, he still had a sense of hopefulness.

What Didn’t Work For Me

-So, you all know how much I hate it when a surprise supernatural element pops up in a story. I go from reading a believable mystery/thriller to something I can’t take seriously. I honestly think this would work much better marketed as Horror instead of Mystery. I mentally just put it in the Horror category and so it didn’t bother me as much as something like this normally would.

-While there were some surprises at the end of the book, I didn’t really see the point in some of them. It’s hard to explain it without getting spoilery, but I really felt like what happened in Arnhill when Joe was young and why he’s back were the heart of the story, and tacking on an extra reveal at the end that you didn’t even realize you were supposed to be trying to figure out seemed unnecessary.

Overall

Overall, I did enjoy The Hiding Place. I liked the writing and the characters – namely Joe. However, the supernatural angle and the unnecessary final twist did sour me a bit. Still, I think fans of Tudor’s previous work will enjoy this one, as well.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: November 2018

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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The Supervillain and Me (Morriston Superheroes #1) by Danielle Banas. Read November 3-5. 3 Stars.

I wasn’t terribly impressed by this one. I thought the story was a little too drawn out. Very little happened until the last couple chapters. The characters were ok. I thought the mystery of the Iron Phantom’s identity should have been wrapped up sooner. It was written to make you think it was so obviously one person that you knew it couldn’t be that person, so it obviously had to be the other person. And it just took way too long to reveal it. It looks like this is supposed to be a series, but I don’t know if I’m interested enough to pick up the next book when it comes out.

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The 100 (The 100 #1) by Kass Morgan. Read November 6-8. 3 Stars. 

I kind of just want to write a long, drawn-out list of all the ways this book and the tv show are different. I feel like a bad bookworm for mostly preferring the show. However, if I read this first I might feel differently. But maybe not, because the book really wasn’t anything special. I thought Glass was a completely useless character that could have been eliminated. I understand that she was there to still have a connection to the ship, but honestly I just didn’t care. Let’s be real, though, the reason I read this and will continue to read this series is for some Bellarke shipping that won’t end in frustration.

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The Faithful: Heroes of the Old Testament by Priscilla Shirer, Kelly Minter, Beth Moore, Jennifer Rothschild, and Lisa Harper. Read October 11 – November 13. 4 Stars. 

This was a different type of devotional than I’ve done before. It’s a 5 week study and each week is from a different person, on a different topic. There is also a video for each week. Each session comes from a more detailed Bible study and sometimes it felt like this was put together just to sell more books. However, there were some really great sessions and lessons that I really needed to hear. Jennifer Rothschild on Hosea and Beth Moore on Esther were my favorites and I will definitely be looking into more from them.

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Marriage of Inconvenience (Knitting in the City #7) by Penny Reid. Read November 16-18. 3 Stars. 

I think I would’ve enjoyed this a little more if I read the previous books in the series. Though this is one of those series where each book can be read as a standalone, it involves characters from the previous books and they all got a lot of page time. I had a hard time keeping them all straight and other than one or two I didn’t really care about them. I thought the whole marriage of convenience plotline was a little far fetched. We also didn’t get a lot of the cute fake relationship aspects I was expecting. They basically tell their friends the whole story whenever someone asks and everyone else just goes with it right away. The relationship also became real very fast. The book was about 200 pages longer than it needed be. I thought Dan could be pretty crass at times so I never really fell in love with him. However, there were some cute, romantic moments and there were also several humorous moments. I’m giving this an extra star just because I was invested enough to finish it.

*****Book with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing – 4 Stars

The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor – 3 Stars

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt – 2 Stars

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella – 4 Stars

Lovestruck by Kate Watson – 3 Stars