Review: The Last Good Girl (Anna Curtis #5) by Allison Leotta

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

In the bestselling tradition of Jodi Picoult and written “in a style that’s as real as it gets (USA TODAY), this ripped-from-the-headlines novel features prosecutor Anna Curtis as she finds herself again at the center of a national story involving a freshman girl at a prestigious university who disappears after filing rape charges against a young man in a powerful fraternity.

Emma, a freshman at a Michigan university, has gone missing. She was last seen leaving a bar near Sigma Pi, the prestigious and secretive fraternity known on campus as “the rape factory.” The main suspect is Dylan Brooks, the son of one of the most powerful politicians in the state. But so far the only clues are pieced-together surveillance footage of Emma leaving the bar that night…and Dylan running down the street after her.

Anna Curtis is on the case when she discovers the video diary Emma kept over her first few months at college, exposing the history she had with Dylan—and accusing him of rape before she disappeared.

Emma’s disappearance gets media attention and support from Title IX activists across the country, but Anna’s investigation hits a wall. Now Anna is looking for something, anything she can use to find Emma alive. But without a body or any physical evidence, she’s under threat from people who tell her to think hard before she ruins the name of an “innocent young man.” Inspired by real-life stories, The Last Good Girl shines a light on campus rape and the powerful emotional dynamics that affect the families of the men and women on both sides.

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

The Last Good Girl will be available May 3, 2016.

I love this series so much! Leotta writes such realistic characters and intense situations that keep me glued to the pages. I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while and it definitely didn’t disappoint me.

Anna is still in Michigan, living with her old friend/current love interest Cooper, her sister Jody, and Jody’s baby and working remotely from her job as a prosecutor in the US Attorney’s office. She had taken some time away to go home to Michigan to defend her sister in a trial – and get away from her recently broken engagement. Then her ex-fiancé, Jack, calls her to say he’s in Michigan and needs her help on a case. A young college girl has gone missing and the last person she was seen with was the boy she accused of raping her.

This book really starts off running and never slows down. There was never a chapter I didn’t feel was important or a moment where I wanted to set the book down. Interspersed with Anna’s POV, we get a few scenes from Wyatt, Cooper’s younger brother and pledge at the fraternity that Dylan, Emily’s accused rapist, runs. There are also entries from Emily’s vlog where we learn all of the events leading up to her disappearance, and legal letters and documents regarding Emily’s accusation of Dylan. I really enjoyed the style and the use of non-traditional narration with the vlogs and letters.

In addition to the mystery of the missing Emily and the sexual assault allegations against Dylan, Anna is forced to confront the uncertainness of her own life. Her ex-fiancé Jack is in town, working along side her again and trying to win her back. Meanwhile she’s still living at Cooper’s and meeting his family. She never meant for her relationship with Cooper to be serious, but she cares for him more than she ever planned to. She tries to envision what her life would be like if she went back to DC with Jack or if she stays with Cooper, but neither one seems exactly right. This is actually a very small portion of the story, but since I am strongly Team Cooper, I was really invested in it. I also really enjoyed seeing Anna come to some realizations about herself and her relationships and making decisions. She’s such a likable character and I loved seeing her develop even more in this installment.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Last Good Girl. It’s a steadily paced, solid mystery with surprises along the way. Like all of Leotta’s novels, the crimes involved are very relevant to the world today and her own experience and insight into the legal world really brings an authenticity to the story. I definitely recommend this series to everyone who enjoys the mystery/suspense/crime genre.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

4 stars

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 2016

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. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

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What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Read March 29-31. 4 Stars.

So I technically read this one in March, but it was after I posted my Reviewing the Unreviwed for the month.

I really liked this book. The pace is pretty slow, but it’s a very intensely character driven story and I really cared about all of them. I really liked Alice and I loved Nick (and then hated him a little and then loved him and then got just as mixed up as Alice). I loved their kids and their whole slightly dysfunctional family.
I feel like people who are married and have kids (or are trying to have kids) would be able to relate a little more to the story than I did, but I still found a lot of the themes relatable.

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The Last Good Girl (Anna Curtis #5) by Allison Leotta. Read April 12. 4 Stars.

I love this series so much! Leotta writes such realistic characters and intense situations that keep me glued to the pages. I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while and it definitely didn’t disappoint me. Full review to come closer to release date.

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The Wishing Season (Chapel Springs #3) by Denise Hunter. Read April 13-17. 3.5 Stars.

I liked this one. Both PJ and Cole were likable characters and the story didn’t drag like some of the other books in this series does. I thought the premise was a little unrealistic, but it worked well enough. Overall an enjoyable read with a slow-burn, cute romance.

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The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik. Read April 19-21. 2.5 Stars.

I didn’t really care for this one. The characters were unlikable, spoiled, and shallow. I didn’t like the casual drug use or how the clothing of EVERY character was described in EVERY scene. There were a few cute moments, though, and a few of the parallels to Persuasion were well done enough to keep me reading.

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Cure for the Common Breakup (Black Dog Bay #1) by Beth Kendrick. Read April 21-23. 3 Stars.

I didn’t like this one as much as the other book I’ve read by this author, but it was still ok. My favorite thing was the relationship between Summer and Ingrid. I never felt like we got to know Dutch enough for me to ever really buy into the romance. I mostly liked Summer, though I found her hard to relate to most of the time. Overall, a quick, easy read that had some funny and cute moments.

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Dancing with Fireflies (Chapel Springs #2) by Denise Hunter. Read April 23-24. 3.5 Stars.

I really liked Daniel. He was so sweet. Jade was a little selfish and is probably my least favorite of all the McKinley kids, but she grew on me by the end. A cute, quick read.

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Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan. Read April 25-28. 3 Stars.

After completely falling in love with Brennan’s Lynburn Legacy series, I was so looking forward to reading more from her, but I found myself pretty disappointed with this book. The quick-witted humor and banter that I had come to expect from Brennan was missing. Perhaps I would have liked this better if I had read A Tale of Two Cities?

The one thing that made me keep reading was Carwyn. In the beginning he reminded me a bit of Jared Lynburn and was the only one with the humor I was expecting. But as the story went on, his character really developed and I just love him. There were several chapters in the middle of the book where he wasn’t involved and it almost made me stop reading, but I am glad I kept on. He’s the reason I’m rating this 3 stars and not something lower.

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RE-READS

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The first three Raven Cycle books in order to gear up for the release of The Raven King. You can see thoughts on my re-read HERE.