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review 2018-06-04 01:12
Leave No Trace - Mindy Mejia

 After reading “Everything You Want Me to Be” last year, I knew this was an author I would follow. In this outing she gives us a very different book but with equally compelling characters.

 

The blurb gives a great snapshot of the story so I won’t get into the plot too much. The MC’s are 2 damaged people who have more in common than you initially think. Maya Stark is a speech therapist at Congdon Psychiatric Facility. Her youth, innovative style & maroon hair set her apart. She lives with her dad Brian who really wishes she worked somewhere else. Especially after her…em…spot of trouble a few years back.

 

Lucas Blackthorne is Congdon’s infamous new resident. After vanishing with his father 10 years ago, his sudden reappearance has caused quite a stir. The media & groupies are camped out at the gates waiting to hear his story but Lucas isn’t talking. Then he meets Maya. And one struggling outsider recognizes another.

 

Don’t go into this expecting a thrill-a-minute ride. There are moments of action but that’s not what this is about. Like the previous book, it’s about the characters & the effect of the ripples they cause as they pass through each other’s lives. On one hand, it’s a compelling mystery as we slowly learn the MC’s histories. On the other, it touches on deeper themes such as family, loss, memories & the grey area around right vs. wrong.

 

Strong secondary characters flesh out the story as we follow Maya & Lucas on their deeply personal search to understand the past. The last quarter has some reveals that may make you rethink what you thought you knew. And while a couple of them may stretch disbelief a teensy bit, it’s all part of the journey in this strong, well written tale.

 

             

 

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review 2017-10-24 17:00
The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia
The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman - Mindy Mejia

Seventeen-year-old Hattie Hoffman is a talented actress, loved by everyone in her Minnesotan hometown. So when she's found stabbed to death on the opening night of her school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of the community.

Local sheriff Del Goodman, a good friend of Hattie's dad, vows to find her killer, but the investigation yields more secrets than answers; it turns out Hattie played as many parts offstage as on. Told from three perspectives: Del's, Hattie's high school English teacher and Hattie herself, The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman tells the story of the real Hattie, and what happened that final year of school when she dreamed of leaving her small town behind . . .

Wonderfully evocative of its Midwestern setting and with a cast of unforgettable characters, this is a book about manipulation of relationships and identity, about the line between innocence and culpability, about the hope love offers and the tragedies that occur when it spins out of control.

 
**********


The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman is such a bittersweet story. I found the hardest thing about reading this book was that I liked Hattie so much. She was such a likable character, such a sweet girl, full of life and with the whole life ahead of her. And, then she was brutally murdered. Someone took her life, but why?

For sheriff Del Goodman is this case especially hard, he has known Hattie all her life, her father is a good friend to him and now he must find her killer. I loved that the story is told through three different perspectives, Del's, Hattie's and Peter, Hattie's English teacher. By giving Hattie a voice does the story come to life, this is not an anonymous dead girl, this is a girl that dreamed about Broadway, about becoming a star. It's the saddest thing reading this book, knowing that she will never ever fulfill her dreams.

I have to admit that the ending took me by surprise, I had the killer all figured out when the truth came out and I was astonished. It was not at all whom I had thought it would be.

Mindy Mejia has written a heartbreaking thriller with strong characters and a great ending. I look forward to reading more from Mejia in the future! PS. Love the cover for the book!

 

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

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photo 2017-06-11 10:17
Everything You Want Me to Be: A Novel - Mindy Mejia

Received an email from the publisher about their special offer on the eBook, June 12-19, 2017.... Here is my review of the book....

 

Amazon

 

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iTunes

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review 2017-03-14 16:09
The Last Act Of Hattie Hoffman - Mindy Mejia
Everything You Want Me to Be - Mindy Mejia

When 18 year old Hattie is found dead in a barn in her rural little hometown in Minnesota, everybody is shocked. Everybody loved Hattie. She is the perfect daughter, a great listener for her friends, and an exceptional student. Who could have wanted Hattie dead?

But who is Hattie really? She played a role for everybody in her life. Everybody got the Hattie he wanted to see. She was a master-manipulator and played everybody to serve her interests. But she wants to be her real self. I kept asking myself if there really was a real Hattie. Had she really a personality of her own or was she just – that. A girl who was just acting all the time because there nothing else there inside her. She showed all signs of a sociopath. Her lies and deceptions came back to her and literally killed her.

The story is told from 3 different points of views. There is Del, the sheriff who wants to find the one who did this to his best friend’s daughter; Peter, Hattie’s English Teacher and Hattie herself. First I found it disturbing to read from Hattie’s POV, knowing that she would be dead by the end of the book. I don’t like to get close to a character when I know their fate. But it turned out that I did not like Hattie. I could not connect to her and the story did not really tough me, It is a tragic story indeed and it is well written and an easy read. Hattie is an interesting and very realistic character. I just happen to dislike her. Her lack of personality and her manipulative way of threating people was just not very appealing.

It was an entertaining read. The story is not very unique; there are tons of books where young girls in rural towns get killed. But was an easy read and the author did a good job. 3,5 stars

I received a copy from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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review 2017-02-26 13:20
Everything You Want Me to Be - Mindy Mejia

I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and Quercus Books in return for an honest review.

This novel is a murder mystery set in a small Minnesota town. 17 year old Hattie was an inspiring actress who had plans to move to New York as soon as she could. However, when she is found murdered, its up to family friend and Sheriff Del Goodman to solve the murder.
This novel is told through three points of views. We follow Del as he solves the murder in the present day, and we also read Hattie and her English teacher's perspectives from the months leading up to her death. This split perspectives works well in this novel, the split timeline also leaves the puzzle unsolved for a long time, it takes a large part of the novel before all the pieces fit together.
This novel definitely has elements of the psychological thriller about it. The split perspectives, which create a tension and mystery in the novel, and the mystery around Hattie and her 'true' persona created this feel to the novel, and I have seen this novel compared to Gone Girl, and there are similarities, not in plot but in the thriller aspects.
Hattie is a fascinating main character, because she isn't honest to anyone you never know whether you are actually seeing the 'real' Hattie in her perspectives or not. This unreliable narrator adds another layer to the narrative as you have to take everything you are told with a pinch of salt! Mejia also deserves praise for her excellent writing of a 17 year old girl. Some authors struggle to accurately replicate the voice of a 17 year old, but I think Mejia has got it exactly right in this instance.
If you are looking for an exciting 'who-dunnit' this isn't the novel for you. There are very few suspects from the beginning of the novel, it is more about piecing the events together, and less about the big reveal of the murderer.
This novel also wasn't the quickest read, the first 70% or so was quite slow, the pace of the novel only picked up in the last 30%, and I was a little disappointed that I wasn't drawn further into the story than I was.
Overall I enjoyed this novel, it was an interesting story about a murder in a small town where everyone knows everyone, with some interesting twists and turns within. However it just didn't draw me in, it felt slow paced and laboured at parts.

Source: acascadeofbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/book-review-last-act-of-hattie-hoffman.html
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