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review 2017-11-17 17:04
The Good Liar
The Good Liar - Catherine McKenzie

An explosion has just taken down a building in Chicago, killing 513 people. Cecily Grayson was supposed to be inside that building but was running late. She watched the explosion knowing her husband and her best friend were both inside. Kate escaped disaster and is now living thousands of miles away, praying her past won't catch up with her. Franny is a young woman who is searching for her birth mother. While watching the morning news that day she knew that the woman she was desperate to meet was inside the building. The tragedy once again dominates the news now that it's the one-year anniversary. And these three women have their own secrets and lies that are becoming impossible to keep hidden.

Another five star read by Catherine McKenzie. She's one of those authors that I don't really have to read what the book is about because I already know it's going to be great, whatever it is. She creates such vivid characters and lives for those characters that it's impossible for me not to feel as though I'm part of. Her writing is so effortless that I can't believe how many pages I've read when it's (sadly) time to put the book down. I loved it!

Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC.

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review 2017-11-10 16:15
The Liar's Girl
The Liar's Girl - Catherine Ryan Howard

When Ali is nineteen she begins college at St. John's and meets charismatic, attractive Will and they become inseparable. Ali is shocked when she learns that Will is the Canal Killer - having stalked and drowned five young women in the muddy waters of the Grand Canal, including Ali's best friend, Liz. Will has been sentenced to life in jail. But it's been ten years and Will is locked up in the city's Central Psychiatric Hospital, so when a young woman is found in the Grand Canal the Garda detectives visit Will in hopes that he can help them solve the copycat killing. But Will won't speak. The only way he will is if Ali comes to see him. The last thing Ali wants is to leave her anonymity and the Netherlands to return to a time she's worked so hard to forget. But the right thing to do is to go back and so she does.

I really had to think about what to rate this. The first chapter was great, it was strong, it pulled me in. I loved the setting. I really enjoyed the chapters about Ali's past, about the excitement about going to college with her best friend and how everything is so new to them. The characters were three-dimensional. But I felt like in the present chapters there was just a whole lot of the same thing going on which also made it feel as though a whole lot of nothing happened. Ali was brought back to Ireland to solve a case - really? The detectives are trained to do this sort of thing, that's their job and they had to bring in someone else to do it for them? It just didn't sit well with me.


Thank you to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for an ARC.

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review 2017-11-01 09:27
Very Brief Thoughts: The Liar's Dice
The Liar's Dice: A Lotus Palace Mystery (The Lotus Palace Mysteries) - Jeannie Lin

The Liar's Dice by Jeannie Lin
The Pingkang Li Mysteries, #2.5 (novella)



Tang Dynasty China, 849 A.D.
Lady Bai, called Wei-wei by her aristocratic family, has always been the perfectly obedient daughter--but only on the outside.  Inwardly she dreams of freedom.  When she dares to pay a forbidden visit to a public tea garden in men's clothing, only Gao looks close enough to notice her borrowed robes.  Alas, looking closely at the enigmatic Gao tells Wei-wei only one thing: he's a scoundrel.

When the pair witness a fatal stabbing, Gao surprises her by staying at her side as she investigates the brutal crime.  Together they uncover more secrets, somehow tied to her brother and the seedy gambling dens he's been visiting on the sly.  Gao seems to know far too much about the brutal ways of the street, but Wei-wei is drawn to him and his habit of seeing through all her disguises.

Wei-wei revels in her newfound independence and her growing feelings for her mysterious companion, but all too soon she's faced with a cruel choice -- discover the truth and bring the killer to justice, or protect her family at all costs.

A lovely short read for a character I'd been interested in since the first book.  Wei-wei is wonderfully crafted to be smart, bold, and beyond her times; while at the same time she's unassuming enough to understand her own faults.  I wish the "disguised as a man" part of the story would have been a bit more fleshed out, since it is one of the classic romance tropes I love; but as a novella, I suppose it'll have to do.

The romance in this novella was understated, with the focus being more on Wei-wei's self-revelations about herself and her role in her family.  I would love to see more of Wei-wei and Gao, as their relationship is one that would definitely be disapproved of enough in the traditional, historical Chinese sense to be an interesting development if allowed to progress.



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review 2017-10-16 13:24
Less Than High Jinks
The Liar - Stephen Fry

This debut novel by the loquacious Stephen Fry was always likely to be embraced enthusiastically, emanating as it has from the pen of a popular polymath. One also gets the impression that SF has adhered to the old adage of 'write what you know', since the book is largely set in the world of public school and Cambridge, as it tracks the journey of Master Adrian Healey from boyhood, through turbulent adolescence, to the nurturing embrace of the middle class establishment. Certainly the writing style is engaging and shows a sure-footedness that the reader might have expected. However, whilst the main character is mildly interesting in his precocious, brash confidence and quick one-liners, Healey is surrounded by rather cliched caricatures of schoolmasters, college dons and the spy-set, which overall destined this novel to disappoint.


Fundamentally I had expected more originality and though there were humorous elements, for me, these were offset by the dependence on the crudely sexualized description of Healey's experiences, which might equally establish the central character as a victim and perpetrator of abuse. In such territory, light-heartedness is a double-edged sword, even if meant to be tongue in cheek. A very English brand of humour? Possibly. The book may also draw on autobiographical material, but must surely also cast doubt on the character-building qualities of such apparently entrenched institutions, for our youth.

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review 2017-10-15 15:54
Liar (Kindle Worlds: Imperfect Love) by Stephanie St. Klaire
Liar - Stephanie St. Klaire


Is the facade more important than the person underneath? Liar is a true gem. Ms. St. Klaire uses humor and heart to deliver a message of powerful self - worth. We all have struggles to face, but obstacles have a way of destroying how we view ourselves. The truth has a tendency to get lost in the shuffle. Dominic and Cori are not perfect, they're human and both author and characters use that as a stepping stone to encourage living our own truths. Inspiration can be found in the most unexpected of places. Liar is evidence of that.

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