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review 2018-11-07 18:30
An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena
An Unwanted Guest - Shari Lapena

A special thank you to Edelweiss and Penguin Publishing Group for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Lapena's debut The Couple Next Door was an instant hit and received rave reviews and I thought it was a solid effort.  Admittedly, I was underwhelmed by her second book, A Stranger in the House, and was unsure if I was going to give this one a go.  An Unwanted Guest is on par with The Couple Next Door and that was a 3 out of 5 stars.  It takes place at a secluded hotel and what unfolds is a thriller that is reminiscent of a classic mystery—think Agatha Christie.  


Mitchell's Inn, nestled in the Catskills, boasts a cozy atmosphere.  The stately rooms feature woodburning fireplaces and have just the right amount of nostalgia to be quaint, including no Wi-Fi or cell service.  


When a winter storm knocks out the power, all contact with the outside world is cut off.  The guests try to make the best of the situation until one of them turns up dead.  At first it appears to be an accident, but then a second guest dies and panic sets in.    


With everyone being a suspect, the guests have no choice but to weather the storm and each other.  


I liked how Lapena juxtaposed the violence of the storm against the violent acts of murder and thought the premise was very good.  The atmosphere and description saved the book because I was simply tired of the repetitious thoughts about who the killer is—the reader does not need to be reminded that each character needs to figure out which one of them is the killer.  Isn't that the whole point of the book?  



What baffles me is how removed Lapena is and this is the difference between 3 and 4 stars (to which she absolutely has the potential).  Given that it is told from multiple points of view, this should be a character-driven novel because the characters ought to have enough depth and ultimately are responsible for propelling the narrative.  But there is simply not enough distinction between their voices and for the most part, it feels like there is only one narrator.


I haven't given up on Lapena yet—she does has a way of engaging the reader right of the bat.  For the most part, her characters are well developed but their inner dialogues need work and she needs to ensure that they have a distinct voice if relying on their perspectives to tell the story.     

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review 2018-09-13 05:44
An Unwanted Guest - Shari Lapena

An isolated luxurious hotel in the mountains, assorted secretive people who have come to spend a weekend, away from it all. All is great until an ice storm hits, cutting them off from civilisation, then all hell breaks loose. Reads very much like an Agatha Christie type of book, so great for people who like “whodunnits” with a slightly sinister feel. Sadly the way it was written really let the story down - it was stilted and awkward and with so many people having their say, a bit muddled. I read it all as I enjoy murder mysteries but I was left feeling disappointed by this book.

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text 2018-09-05 13:46
My August 2018
The Couple Next Door - Shari Lapena
Romeo and Juliet - Crystel S Chan,William Shakespeare
Wilde About The Girl - Louise Pentland
The Couple Next Door - 3.5 stars
Romeo and Juliet - dnf
Wilde About The Girl - 5 stars


Favorite book(s) of the month: Wilde About The Girl


Books started this month but haven't finished yet: Harry Potter, Moxie


Apparently the less books I read, the more time I need to actually post my wrap up. When it comes to reading this year, I just feel off. I love reading, I read all the time, but I don't finish any books and it's driving me up the wall. I mean I'm still one/two books ahead on my reading challenge, so I'm not THAT bad, but it still bothers me a lot.

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review 2018-09-03 13:04
An Unwanted Guest
An Unwanted Guest - Shari Lapena

Mitchell's Inn is a secluded mountain lodge. What seemed cozy in the brochure ends up being a nightmare when a storm hits and cuts off the electricity and with it all contact with the outside world leaving the guests and small staff trapped with a killer.

Of course I couldn't wait to get my hands on this. I loved The Couple Next Door and A Stranger in the House. It sounded great - an old mountain lodge nestled in the woods, no wi-fi just enjoying nature and one another's company. But this one was disappointing right from the get-go. I understand there were lots of characters so we could guess who the murderer was and who'd be the next to die but I had a hard time remembering who was who. The writing was juvenile, repetitive and choppy.  The sudden change in character point-of-view was jarring. The story was unbelievable. The reveal was anticlimactic. I can't believe this is written by the same author.

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review 2018-08-17 13:51
The Couple Next Door!!!
The Couple Next Door - Shari Lapena

German and english review (spoilerfree)
First things first: I received this book through NetGalley.


Inhalt: Jedes Paar hat seine Geheimnisse. Manche sind tödlich ...

Deine Nachbarin möchte nicht, dass du dein Baby zur Dinnerparty mitbringst. Dein Ehemann sagt, das sei schon in Ordnung. Ihr wohnt ja gleich nebenan. Außerdem habt ihr ein Babyfon und könnt abwechselnd nach der Kleinen sehen. Deine Tochter schläft, als du das letzte Mal nach ihr siehst. Doch jetzt herrscht Totenstille im Haus. Du rennst ins Kinderzimmer - und dein schlimmster Alptraum wird wahr: Die Wiege ist leer.

Es bleibt nur eins: die Polizei zu rufen - doch wer weiß, was sie finden wird ...


Fangen wir mal mit dem Positiven an. Ich mochte den Schreibstil total, es war spannend und es war wirklich sehr unterhaltsam. Vor allem ließ sich das Buch wirklich unheimlich schnell lesen, man ist nur so von einem Kapitel zum Nächsten geflogen. Gerade ich als Fan von kurzen Kapiteln, war super zufrieden. Ich fand das sich die Spannung bis zum Ende hin gehalten hat, es gab so viele Wendungen, die man zwar teilweise hat kommen sehen, die aber trotzdem schockierend waren, dass sich die Story wirklich in die Richtung bewegt.


Für mich persönlich ist es ein Buch, dass ich von der Story her total klasse fand und das mich wirklich begeistert hat. In dem Buch geht es für mich nicht um die Charaktere, denn die waren einfach sowas von unnahbar. Ich mochte keinen von ihnen. Die Entscheidungen die getroffen wurden, die Geheimnisse, die offenbart wurden, und die Dinge, die getan wurden. Nope.


Trotzdem werde ich auf jeden fall weitere Bücher der Autorin lesen. 'A Stranger In The House' ist schon auf meinem Tablet. Ich finde den Schreibstil einfach wirklich gut.




Summary: It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors--a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all--a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family--a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.


Let's start with the positive. I really liked the writing a lot, it was suspenseful and just really entertaining. This book was such a fast read, I just flew from one chapter to the next. I'm such a big fan of short chapters and this book delivered. I think the suspense was there until the very end, there were so many twists and turns, most of them I saw coming, I still think it was shocking that the story developed like that and went there.


For me personally, this is a book that I loved for it's story and that really intrigued me. It wasn't about the characters, cause they were just unapproachable. I didn't like a single one of them. The decisions that were being made, the secrets that got out, and the things that were done. NOPE.


Still, I totally wanna read more books from the author. 'A Stranger In The House' is already on my tablet. I just really like her writing.

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