Review – One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

One Perfect LieOne Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

Published April 11, 2017

St. Martin’s Press

5  STARS!!!

Lisa Scottoline has written some of my favorite books. I was really looking forward to reading “One Perfect Lie” After reading the book description, I was very intrigued. After reading the first page I knew I was going to have a hard time putting this book down. If real life hadn’t gotten in the way I probably could have read this in one or two sittings.

Chris Brennan is applying for a teaching job at Central Valley high school and is about to have his final interview. He has passed the criminal background checks and filled out all appropriate forms. On paper Chris looks perfect. He’s also made sure to dress like the other teachers. Appearances are important. But they can also be deceiving. Especially when it comes to Chris Brennan….

Chris Brennan is a fraud.

Everything about him is a lie.

An expert liar, Chris charms the principal. He also applies to be the assistant baseball coach. Chris has already researched the coach and team for his own purposes….especially the team. He needs to befriend a quiet, insecure boy who doesn’t have any good father figures. The same profile that a pedophile would have, but Chris is not a pervert. His manipulation of the boy is only means to an end.

Chris is thrilled when the principal tells him he’s got the job.

It’s now time for him to set his plan in motion.

Step one.

Only eight pages into this book and I so badly want to know what this Chris Brennan is all about. What are his intentions? What does he mean by only the means to an end? I needed to know! It may have crossed my mind to skip ahead but I didn’t want to ruin the story for myself and I could tell already that there was much more to come.

Chris will be teaching AP Government which will come in quite handy in helping him gain more information. He’s researched each student, and has gained a boat load of knowledge just from social media (Kids really do give out way to much information!! ) but he needs to know more.


“Don’t volunteer so much to complete strangers. Don’t tell them the most personal things. Don’t post every detail about your private life. You have no idea who is out there, preying on you, using that information to their advantage. Like me.”

He starts his experiments in the very first class. These will help him see how the kids negotiate and who has the most power in the class. It will give him insight into their personalities and who may or may not be easy to manipulate.

There are three boys that Chris is paying extra attention to, and all are on the Musketeers baseball team. Evan Kostis is a very popular, rich, and good-looking kid. Jordan Larkin is a nice and quiet kid whose father is not in the picture. Then there is Mike (Raz) Sematov. Raz is goofy and a bit wild. His father passed away from cancer not that long ago. Chris needs to see who is friends with who and use that knowledge to determine the best candidate to help him carry out his plan.

Chris has been given a warm welcome by the other teachers. However, there’s one chatty/nosy teacher who keeps asking a lot of questions about his past. This teacher may be a problem for him.

The story is told from multiple points of view. Most of it is from Chris’s perspective. However, we are also given parts of the story from Heather Larkin (Jordan’s mother), Mindy Kostis (Evan’s mother), and Susan Sematov ( Raz’s mother).

Heather Larkin is a single mother who is very proud of her son, Jordan. But she does worry that he may be easily led by some of his other teammates.

Susan Sematov is a recent widower and mother to Raz and his brother, Ryan. She’s very proud of Raz whose talent may land him in the majors. But the entire family has been struggling since the death of her husband.

Then we have Mindy Kostis.  A surgeon’s wife who seems to spend a lot of time socializing and is finding more solace in her gin and tonics than anything else. Lately her husband has been staying out later and later and even her son,  Evan is keeping secrets from her.

Everyone is keeping secrets. However, some may be deadlier than others. So where does Chris Brennan fit in? What does he want with all of these people? The answer may surprise you. I know it surprised me. And it was just one of the surprises that Lisa Scottoline had in store. The twists started early and I didn’t see them coming. I thought the story was well paced, with quite a few characters, and I had no problem keeping up.

ONE PERFECT LIE is an emotional domestic thriller with the perfect amount of secrets, intrigue, crime, and maybe even a dash of romance? I love the author’s style of writing and how she develops her characters. I grew to care about and became invested in many of them. This was an exciting, action packed story with intriguing characters and an original plot. All of the individual stories were interesting and it was exciting the way everything came together in the end.

I am already looking forward to Lisa Scottoline’s next book.

Highly recommended!

Thank you, St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a finished copy of “The Perfect Lie”. All of the opinions expressed in this review are my own, honest and unbiased opinions.

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Review – It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany

It Happens All the TimeIt Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany

Published March 28, 2017

Atria Books

 

 
4 STARS

IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME is my first read from Amy Hatvany. I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to find her. I’m certainly looking forward to reading more from her after reading this novel.

When I requested this book, I had no idea what it was about. I saw a few five-star reviews and requested it without even reading the reviews or descriptions. Even if I had known what it was about, I am sure that I would still have found this to be a very engrossing read. It’s an honest and unflinching look at some important issues that desperately need addressing.

Twenty-four year old Amber and Twenty-five year old Tyler are best friends. Both have had their own personal struggles, and they have been there for each other for many years, helping each other throughout some of the roughest times in their lives.

But one night everything changes for Amber and Tyler….their friendship and their lives will never be the same.

The very first sentence grabbed me and didn’t let go. The story is told alternately from Amber and Tyler’s perspectives. The chapters alternate following two timelines, the past and the present. With each chapter more information about the night in question and their history is unveiled.

IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME deals with many heavy issues. Amy Hatvany is a fantastic writer and draws from personal experience in regards to some of the things addressed in this novel. It’s brutally honest, compelling, and almost impossible to put down. I think that many necessary conversations could and should be started about these issues. This truly was an excellent, emotional, and very important read.

Thank you NetGalley, Atria Books, and Amy Hatvany for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

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Throwback Thursday – Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

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: Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain 

Necessary Lies (Necessary Lies, #1)Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

Published September 3,  2013

St. Martin’s Press

5 STARS!!!

 

Diane Chamberlain has been a favorite of mine for some time but I think it may have been this book that pushed her towards the top of my list. I just love the way she tells a story with her writing.

Before I read this, I had no real knowledge of the Eugenics Program. I vaguely remember reading a magazine article years ago but that was pretty much the extent of what I knew.

One definition of Eugenics:

“the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics)”

I’m going to try to keep this short. Many have already read this book but for those who haven’t I don’t want to spoil anything.

The book takes place in 1960. Fifteen-year-old Ivy Hart lives with her grandmother, her sister and her nephew on a small tobacco farm in rural Grace County, North Carolina. Her parents have passed away and she is struggling to take care of her family. With her sister’s mental illness, her grandmother’s aging, and her own medical condition (epilepsy), she is having a hard time keeping it all together.

Social worker, Jane Forrester is new to Grace County and is just beginning to realize how much help is needed. Jane quickly finds out how hard it is for her to remain detached and not become emotionally invested in her client’s lives.

She finds it hard to shut off and leave her work behind when she goes home to her new husband. Jane’s boss frequently reprimands her for becoming what she feels is overly involved with her clients. But Jane can’t ignore the secrets she’s learning about the Hart family. Decisions need to be made but how can she be certain she will make the right choice?

“How can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it’s wrong?”

This was such an emotional read for me but I’m still glad I read it. From the very first chapter I was pulled into the lives of all of the characters. You can’t help but root for all of them. This book had me thinking about all of my own opinions on many different subjects. Subjects like poverty, social work, mental illness, welfare, and especially sterilization.

The book flows so well and is told in alternating first person perspectives, between Ivy and Jane. You can tell Diane Chamberlain does her research. Although the characters are fictional, the fact that they are based on true cases is chilling.

In my opinion this is a must-read! A truly compelling story that I know I won’t forget.

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Review – Almost Interesting

Almost InterestingAlmost Interesting by David Spade

Published October 27, 2015

Dey Street Books

 

4 stars!!!

I didn’t know that David Spade had written a book until I came across a friend’s review. She read the book and her review convinced me I needed to read it as well.

I thought I would try the audio since I really do love his voice. This is my fourth or fifth audio book now. I still love to read my books but I’m finding it handy to have a few of these on hand for when I can’t sleep (and don’t want to read in the dark), to listen to while housecleaning, or for in the car.

However, listening to David Spade did not help with the not sleeping. But it DID distract me from caring about the fact that I wasn’t able to sleep. I really enjoyed this audio-book. I would probably have enjoyed it just as much if I’d read the book too.

David Spade is one funny guy. Yep he swears a blue streak and tells a whole lot of dirty stories but I loved learning about his early years and his days on SNL with Chris Farley and the rest of the comedians I love so much.

Some things I learned about David that I wouldn’t have guessed:

 

He’s into coins collecting, chess and guns (courtesy of his step-father)

He can speak German (he took it in High School step-father convinced him)

He even made it to state finals playing chess but unfortunately got German measles (which he says almost killed him).

Read 47 books in one year (most in his class).

He was a Spelling bee champ – winning word was Apparatus (Should I be embarrassed to say that I had to double-check the spelling on that word?)

He was almost cast as Uncle Joey on Full House. I think I would have LOVED that. When I first heard him say it though I thought he said Uncle Jesse, and I’m not sure how I would have felt about that.

His older brother Brian had a whole lot of reptiles. Seriously 5 rattle snakes, a boa constrictor and a python!!! (I give so much credit to mothers of boys).

There were so many times while listening that I was laughing out loud for real.

There is a chapter where he gives dating advice. He REALLY advises against tickling a girl if she has diarrhea (I’m sorry but potty humor gets me almost every time).

His description of the fancy crayola crayon box, that one of the “rich” kids had:

“It had a balcony, clear color (like coloring with a booger he says) AND a sharpener in the back”

Oh and there’s a whole lot more!

In my opinion “Almost Interesting” is in fact pretty darn interesting 😉

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