REVIEW – The Friends We Keep by Jane Green

The Friends We Keep

Published June 4, 2019 by Berkley

 

This was my first read from Jane Green, but it DEFINITELY won’t be my last.

The year is 1986 and Evvie Williams has just arrived at university. She sees the other students getting settled in with help from their parents. Evvie is alone as her mother had to work, but she knows her mother is proud of her. Evvie is feeling good. She’s happy she lost weight before school started. She is most comfortable when she is “skinny Evvie”.

It’s not long before Evvie meets Maggie. They hit it off immediately. Neither of them has much in common with their current roommates.  Maggie takes control and has it switched so they can room together.

“We’re going to be best friends, aren’t we?” said Maggie. “I can feel it.”

They become fast friends who tell each other everything. Well, almost everything…

Soon they meet a handsome young aspiring actor named Topher. The three become inseparable and vow to always have each other’s backs.

Evvie gets a job bartending at a local Pub. That is where the group first meets Ben…or “Evil Ben” as they call him. Evvie really doesn’t care for him. But Maggie falls hard. She has a thing for difficult men.

After University they begin living separate lives. But they make a pact. If they happen to be on their own when they are fifty they will live together again.

We see what becomes of the friends during the “in-between years”.  They all have their own personal struggles. They all have secrets.

As time passes, they continue to move in different directions. Will these friends find their way back to each other again?

I thought this was an enjoyable read, an interesting character driven novel.

The story is broken down into three parts and was easy to follow. The beginning (1986-1992), the in-between years (1992-2016), and present day (2019).

I enjoyed reading about these characters as they went through life.  The ups and downs, mistakes, and all their other experiences. I thought the characters were well-developed, likable, and relatable.

The story made me think of some of my old friends. We may not speak often but when we do it’s like no time has passed.

An engaging novel that deals with many important issues. Friendship, addiction, self-esteem, love, forgiveness, and more.

I really am looking forward to reading more from this author.

 

I’d like to thank Berkley Books for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

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Throwback Thursday – Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

throwbackthursday

Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk to share old favorite books rather than just the new shiny ones. This is a great idea to bring back to life some much-loved books. Please feel free to join in.

My choice for this week is:

 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies

(Click the book cover to read Goodreads description)

Published July 29th, 2014 by Berkley

 

No lie…I loved this book. It was the first book I read by Liane Moriarty. I’ve since read almost all of her other novels and I am definitely a fan for life.

 

Murder at a school trivia night

I loved the characters and story-line and it kept me guessing right up until the very end. Full of wonderfully brilliant characters, lots of school gossip and politics, drama, mystery, and humour.

One of my favorite novels.

I chose this novel for this week’s Throwback Thursday as Season 2 of the TV Series “Big Little Lies” is premiering this Sunday, June 9th. I am REALLY excited as I loved the first season.

 I highly recommend this novel (and the TV series!)

Have a great weekend all!

REVIEW: Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Blood Orange

Published February 19, 2019 by Grand Central Publishing

 

I had been seeing this book everywhere and thought the synopsis sounded intriguing.

Alison seems to have it all. The perfect family and a great job. Her future is bright.

But right from the start, we see that Alison most certainly does not have it all together. She’s drinking too much, working too much and….well let’s just say she’s doing too much of almost everything. What she’s not doing is spending any time with her family. Her excuse is that she’s working hard to support her family. But after a night of partying with some co-workers and passing out in her office, we see that Alison is more than a bit out of control.

Alison is a criminal defense lawyer and she’s just been given her first big case. A woman is accused of murdering her husband. The woman doesn’t deny she killed her husband and thinks she should go to jail. But Alison feels like there is so much more to the story.

Then Alison finds out that someone knows what she’s been doing and that someone wants her to pay.

Not everything is quite as it seems in “Blood Orange”

It did take me a little while to get into this story. However, after a slow start, I became absorbed in Alison’s wild private life and the murder case she was trying. I thought the characters were fairly well-developed, flaws and all. Alison wasn’t the most likable character and I cringed at her self-destructive behavior, but in many ways, she was still relatable. I eventually found myself rooting for her.

Overall, I enjoyed this dark and gritty audiobook. The narration was good and although I did guess a few things before they were revealed, the twisted and intense ending had me on edge and was a complete surprise.

“Blood Orange” was a clever and compelling debut novel about betrayal, control, addiction, and obsession.

I’m curious to see what Harriet Tyce has in store for readers next!

REVIEW – Wolfhunter River (Stillhouse Lake #3) by Rachel Caine

Wolfhunter River (Stillhouse Lake, #3)

Published: April 23, 2019 by Thomas & Mercer

 

**If you plan on reading the first two books in the “Stillhouse Lake” series, you might want to hold off on reading this review.

I will tell you that this is a series that I highly recommend.

I have been looking forward to reading this since finishing “Killman Creek“, the previous book in the series.

The book starts with the shocking kidnapping of a six-year-old girl. I was pulled right in.

The story then turns to Gwen Proctor. Gwen is staring into the dark eye of a TV camera. The camera reminds her of very bad things. It reminds her of her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal.   “I see my ex and his horrible smile. I see blood.”  

The newspapers are still reporting what happened months earlier. “Shootout in murder house!”  The newspaper always mentions that Gwen was once arrested as Melvin Royal’s accomplice, but they almost never remember to say that she was acquitted. She has decided she wants to set the record straight. She chose “The Howie Hamlin Show” because Howie appeared to have a good reputation.

Unfortunately, the interview does NOT go as planned. It’s more like an interrogation. Then Howie asks Gwen if she knows about the documentary…

What documentary?

When he introduces his next guest, things go from bad to worse.

All Gwen wants is for her family to be happy and safe. But the normal life she craves seems so far out of reach. Then there’s Sam.  There’s so much they need to talk about.

When the landline rings one night, Gwen is hesitant to pick it up. Most of the calls she gets are people making threats and yelling abuse.  But she also gets calls from people asking for advice or help.

“Please, I’m begging you. Please answer me. I don’t know where else I’m supposed to turn.”

Gwen listens as the woman leaves a message. Just as the woman is about to hang up, Gwen picks up. The woman, Marlene Crockett is from a small town called Wolfhunter. She sounds terrified but she’s vague when answering Gwen’s questions. When Marlene suddenly hangs up, Gwen wonders if she was trying to lure her to Wolfhunter.

Gwen tries to put the call out of her mind. But a few days later, the phone rings again. What Gwen hears shocks her. Soon she’s heading for Wolfhunter. She wants to help.

“You can’t take on trouble in a strange town. You don’t know the players or the people. And you’ve got no stake in this thing”

Will Gwen be able to help and keep herself and her family safe?

I really enjoyed this book! It has a great plot with a lot of excellent characters (old and new). Quite a few of the characters from books one and two make an appearance.

The majority of the storyline is told from Gwen’s point of view but there are also a few chapters from other characters. I thought that the multiple storylines were interesting. Some very intense moments had me holding my breath.

I think the book could be read as a standalone. However, a lot happened in books one and two so readers might enjoy it more if they read the entire series.

This was another great chapter in the “Stillhouse Lake” series. I can’t wait to read more!

 

I’d like to thank Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.