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review 2017-05-23 02:02
Review: Come Home by Lisa Scottoline
Come Home - Lisa Scottoline

Quick review for a somewhat lengthy read. I'm actually asking myself in the hours after finishing the book: What on Earth did I just read?

I haven't read many of Lisa Scottoline's books, but admittedly it's been a while and this is the most recent example I can go on. It's...definitely not the first book I would recommend anyone read from this author. I feel like it was an entertaining read but also a complete waste of time. (That sounds like a contradiction in itself, but I'll explain shortly.) So much of this book annoyed me to heck and back - mostly for how over the top and non-cohesive it was. The dialogue in some stretches is completely unrealistic and cringe-worthy. I guess the entertaining aspect of it lies in that it plays out like a soap opera - with the main character running to and fro searching for answers that absolutely no one asked, and one calamity building upon another to ramp up the action and conflict to march forcefully through its conclusion. There are times when I like this kind of story if it can poke fun at itself or just proves entertaining to watch with the characters who make the story more than the bones it stands upon. But "Come Home" was the true definition of a false advertisement of a book if I ever started one.

The story centers around Jill, a pediatrician who's adjusting to life with a new fiance and her daughter. Yet, Abby, Jill's estranged ex-stepdaughter comes bounding to her doorstep one rainy night to proclaim that her father's dead and that someone killed him. This sets off a chain of events that lead to Abby's disappearance, and Jill's desperate search to find her. Only...the search for Abby takes up a good portion of this story, but it's just one thread among several microconflicts that don't really reach satisfying conclusions. "Come Home" dangles false carrots of conflict in front of you, leading you in one direction, but just when you reach a climatic point that promises some answers, the answers lead in another direction that doesn't really have much to do with the original thread of conflict and seems to get weaker and less intriguing as it goes on. I felt like part of it was Jill's utter recklessness and stupidity in approaching every mystery around her, and what she finds just happens to hit the mark in some way without really having any kind of payoff.

In retrospect, I really didn't like most of the characters in this novel, including Jill. I did like Sam and Jill's friend (mostly because they were the ones who had the most sense), but everyone else was annoying as heck in speaking voice as well as contributing to the microconflicts and unreliable narrators here. I wish I could've believed in them or had a good laugh at them, but in the end, the dramatics were lain on far too thick - and the characters far too grating - for me to enjoy this more. I will say it kept me reading and wanting to see what would happen, but I took far too much time on the audiobook and overarching story than the story paid off in the experience. I probably wouldn't pick up this book again, once was enough.

Overall score: 1.5/5 stars.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-11 14:08
This Book Was Terrible
Come Home - Lisa Scottoline

Why did I give this book five stars even though it was laughably bad? Cause I could not put it down. Seriously. Besides the terrible plotting, the paper thin daughter and stepdaughters, the ridiculous fiancee, etc. and the dumb main character, I could not put this down. I have been sick all week so maybe that's a factor too. But buckle up, cause I am about to spoil some stuff that I found freaking hilarious. 

 

The main character in this book is Jill. Jill is a pediatrician and also widowed and divorced. Her first husband died of a brain aneurysm (as they do) and she divorced her second husband over something so horrible and awful that she dare not speak it's name. Believe me when you find out what it was that led to the divorce it had all of the impact of a baseball bat made of cotton balls. 

 

Jill is enjoying herself in the kitchen one rainy night (of course it is) with her fiancee Sam. Yes that makes three dudes now that Jill is planning on tying herself to. One wonders if Jill should just get a hobby or something, but thank goodness Sam isn't evil. In fact, Sam is the only damn character in this book that has any common sense. I wanted Sam to repeatedly go bye girl to Jill due to her ridiculous crap.

 

Anyway, back to Jill. Jill hears a voice crying out her name and she already knows it's Abby. Well as a reader I didn't have a damn clue who Abby was cause she wasn't introduced. Jill runs out into the rain and there finds her stepdaughter Abby that she hasn't seen in years since the divorce. Abby is shaken, drunk, etc. and cries to Jill that she has to help her cause her father was murdered.

 

Cue dramatic music.

 

Seriously, this whole book read like the short stories my nephew writes right now. They tend to be about a boy falling down a hole and chasing his dog, but hey, they still make more sense than this book.

 

So Jill who has not seen Abby in three years at this point takes her in and starts acting motherly. Sam who is not a moron has issues with Abby showing up drunk and also that Abby was driving drunk as well. Jill just ignores that and agrees to let Abby stay the night and puts her in her teen daughter's room without discussing it with said daughter first. 

 

When Jill's daughter Megan comes home and is all why is Abby in my room, in my bed, wearing my nightgown, Jill just ignores any issues her daughter may have with that and is instead worried about hearing about how her evil stepdad who didn't even stay in touch and wouldn't speak to her after the divorce will affect Megan. 

 

Honestly most of this book is just Jill ignoring everyone that tells her to stop doing what she's doing (her fiancee, the police, the freaking FBI, her other step daughter Victoria who hates her) and trying to find out what happened with her ex husband who someone is turned into a good guy (he's not) in the end cause if you love someone you forgive them their transgressions or some such nonsense.

 

I think the book hit peak stupidity when instead of caring for a patient who may possibly die because Jill was so wrapped up in playing Sherlock (or Dr. Watson who gets mentioned a lot in this book) that Jill starts to realize that maybe, just maybe she's gone too far. 

 

And honestly Jill's best friend is probably the only other person in this book who had any sense besides Sam. 

 

Jill investigates cause she's Abby's mom/stepmom and doesn't know how to stop loving her. Mind you, she has not spoken or talked to Abby or her sister in three years due to her ex taking out a restraining order against her from contacting his kids. Jill ignores things going on with her own kid and Sam and is angry that Sam is making her choose between him/Megan or Abby and her dead father. There is no real sense of danger in this book at all. Jill figuring out things that somehow the police and the FBI did not was a joke. You find out how much of a joke when surprise the FBI shows up and reveals they pretty much knew all so Jill putting herself in harm's way was 100 percent for nothing.


Oh I am going to tell you the stepdad and Jill divorced because he kept stealing money from her, demanding that she use her dead husband's insurance money and give it to her, when she refused, he started stealing prescription pads from her office and selling them to people to buy drugs. So she could have lost her license and her practice could have been in big trouble. Frankly the whole book makes no sense since when he is confronted he apparently screamed, yelled, took his two daughters and never spoke to Jill again. Why she didn't have him arrested astonishes me and I am shocked her practice would not have taken this to the police. 

 

The writing was bad. Every chapter ended with Jill stressing out about either Abby or her patient who is sick and she can't figure out why. It didn't even make sense with the preceding sentences that came before it most of the time. 

 

The main plot about what happened to Abby's father was something out a James Patterson book. That was not a compliment. 

 

And the dialogue between characters was terrible too. Plus the timelines in this book didn't add up. At one point we find out that Jill hasn't seen these kids in 3 years and when I started doing the math because of other people's ages and all I just gave up. 

Nothing made sense, I rolled my eyes the whole way through. And I have a lot to say about the terrible ending which resulted in some random dude proposing to Victoria. And then Sam randomly coming around cause love is the answer and even if you are a stepparent after you get divorced, you don't stop loving the stepkids. I understand the sentiment, but it just felt like Jill went right into overly involved in these two kids lives and this is even after the one stepdaughter asked her to rightfully back off. 

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review 2017-04-18 02:19
One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline
One Perfect Lie - Lisa Scottoline

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I have to say that there were a few surprises along the way in this story and I really like surprises. Especially in books. I started reading this book thinking that things were going in a certain direction until everything changed and I had no idea where this book would end up. That is exactly the kind of reading experience that I like to have. This was one of those books that kept me guessing.

Chris Brennan is seemingly perfect. But everything about him is a lie. He is hired to teach at the local high school and he is also going to be the assistant baseball coach. He has his story worked out and everyone seems to love him right from the start. Now he just needs to figure out which kid is going to be the best choice to fit into his plan.

The characters in this book grew on me. I had a hard time connecting with anyone at the beginning of the book but by the time I had reached the end of the story I thought they were great. Most of the characters are just really good people although imperfect. They all have things going on in their lives that impact their behaviors but they seemed to be doing the best that they could under the circumstances.

I loved the writing. There was a lot of action in this book that really kept the pace moving. There were a lot more twists and turns than I was expecting which really kept the story interesting. This story felt very real. While it is a fictional story, everything that happened in this story felt like something that could really happen which was actually quite scary. This was a big story and the fact that it felt authentic was a big plus.

I would highly recommend this book to others. It was a very fast paced story that could be hard to put down at times. I have been a fan of Lisa Scottoline for a number of years and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
This book took a few turns that were a complete surprise. This was a very entertaining read.

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review 2017-04-05 22:59
One Perfect Lie
One Perfect Lie - Lisa Scottoline

By: Lisa Scottoline

ISBN: 978-1250099563

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 4/11/2017

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 4 Stars

 

Lisa Scottoline returns following Most Wanted landing on my Top Books of 2016 with her latest, ONE PERFECT LIE. A mysterious new teacher lands at a high school. Is he a fraud?

A twisty suburban crime thriller, keeping you on the edge-of-your-seat, classic Scottoline style.

“Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others." — Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Chris Brennan is applying for a teaching job at Central Valley High School, but he is not forthcoming about his past. He had scoped out the school and the teachers in advance.

After all, everyone liked a clean-cut guy, and they tended to forget that appearances were deceiving.

 



Even a fake resume. His resume says he went to Northwest College in Wyoming. He even picked a housing development nearby, Valley Oaks.

The small town is located in south-central Pennsylvania, known for its outlet shopping. No one would imagine what he was up to. His story was his parents passed away five years earlier in a car crash (drunk driver). An only child he says, so he decided to come to the area for higher pay and he loved kids.

Chris led the officials at school to believe he wanted to be accessible to his students on email, social media and believed in personal contact and mutual respect. He also said he coached. He even applied for the assistant baseball varsity coach position.

What better way to get connected? He was setting up a plan. Chris is not who he pretends to be.

What is his motive?

Chris bonds immediately with students. Can he fool the other teachers? Can he be trusted?

We meet a variety of moms, students, and teachers. Susan, Raz, Heather, Justin, Mindy, and Evan. The baseball team. Chris keeps abreast all the families and all the activities. Will he accomplish his mission? He puts his plan in place.

Mr. Y (Abe Yomes) gay, African American who teaches eleventh grade. He also lived in the town with his partner Jamie who owned a realty company. He is from Wyoming (for real).

Soon enough, however, Mr. Y is dead, an apparent suicide, and Chris is ready to move forward with his plan. There are certain people he needs to befriend. They are all part of his plan. Chris targets three teenage boys.

Absorbing and entertaining, you never know what is going on in suburbia. Domestic terrorism? Justice? Take a walk down Wisteria Lane. Domestic suspense is all the rave today. What goes on "behind closed doors" in normal neighborhoods. The lies we tell ourselves as well as each other.

Action-packed family drama, a thriller complex ride with lots of twists, turns, secrets, cover-ups, and suspense. Scottoline once again surprises her readers with contemporary issues and topics which filter into our lives.

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

Praise  

 

"Scottoline keeps the pace relentless as she drops a looming threat into the heart of an idyllic suburban community, causing readers to hold their breath in anticipation." –Booklist
 
"Readers can be assured that the author nails the high school milieu, from athletic rivalries to sexting...they're in for one thrilling ride." –Kirkus Reviews
 
"Entertaining...This fast-paced read culminates in a daring chase that would play well on the big screen." –Publishers Weekly
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/04/One-Perfect-Lie
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review 2017-04-05 17:12
One Perfect Lie/Lisa Scottoline
One Perfect Lie - Lisa Scottoline

A handsome stranger moves to the small Pennsylvania town of Central Valley, and his name is Chris Brennan. He’s applying for a job as a teacher and varsity baseball coach at the local high school, and he looks perfect, on paper. But his name is an alias, his resume is false, and everything about him is a lie. And he has a secret plan - for which he needs a pawn on the baseball team.

Susan Sematov loves her younger son Raz, the quirky and free-spirited pitcher of the team. But Raz’s adored father died only a few months ago, and the family is grief-stricken. Secretly, Raz is looking to fill the Daddy-shaped hole in his heart.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who’s dedicated to her only son Justin, the quiet rookie on the team. But Justin’s shy and reserved nature renders him vulnerable to attention, including that of a new father-figure.

Mindy Kostis is the wife of a busy surgeon and the queen bee of the baseball boosters, where her super-popular son Evan is the star catcher. But she doesn’t realize that Evan’s sense of entitlement is becoming a full-blown case of affluenza, and after he gets his new BMW, it’s impossible to know where he’s going – or whom he’s spending time with.

The lives of these families revolve around the baseball team – and Chris Brennan. What does he really want? How far will he go to get it? Who among them will survive the lethal jeopardy threatening them, from the shadows?

 

Well, this book really surprised me time after time. Scotterline has a knack for thrilling books that also present some interesting thought about life, and this was indeed the case here.

 

And this one definitely threw me for a total loop. I'm used to not being able to guess what will happen in a book; however, I'm not used to books crossing over to entirely different genres than I thought they were in.

 

Chris as a character had much more depth to him than I initially thought. The way that his background led him to be the type of person he was really sad to read about but made him a more well-rounded person. At first, I definitely thought that he'd be pretty flat and predictable, but he was far from it, and the kind of psychopathic tendencies he had were fabulous.

 

I can't say I adore Scottoline's writing style; there's something a little bit too fatalistic to it though I can't place my finger on why. However, the curves this threw me for (one so much so that I had to reread five pages to make sure I hadn't missed something) were a lot of fun. Still, though there was some gore, I didn't feel completely on edge.

 

There were politics to this also that were intriguing. I'm not going to add much more so as not to spoil anything, but yeah.

 

This is a pretty solid thriller. Would recommend.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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