Review: The Last Time I Lied // So Frikkin Good

By Riley Sager

Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Community Rating: 4.18

Genre: Psycho Mystery / Thriller

Publication Date: July 3rd 2018

Format Read: Kindle Ebook

Goodreads Summary: Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.

Continue reading “Review: The Last Time I Lied // So Frikkin Good”

Review: Final Girls (Holy Shit My Head’s Still Spinning)

By Riley Sager

My Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Goodreads Rating: 4.23

Genre: Psycho Thriller/Mystery/Slasher 

Publication Date: July 11th 2017

Format Read: Phone Ebook

Goodreads Summary: Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.  Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.  That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Overview…

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! It was one of the most incredible psycho thrillers that I’ve ever read, kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, and had a very, very good ending that helped pull the entire piece together.  I first came across this book when Stephen King (yes, THE Stephen King) recommended it via Twitter, and I cannot explain how excited I was to receive an e-ARC and have the opportunity to read it.  The best possible compliment I can give the book is that it reminded me somewhat of a Gillian Flynn novel, and was definitely up to her standards, although of course it was uniquely Riley Sager.  But, if you enjoyed the likes of Sharp Objects and Gone Girl, I can promise you that you will adore this can’t-put-down read.

The Plot…

Wow.  Just wow.  That’s really all I have to say for this section.  Sager did such a good job of creating a plot which moved quickly enough to be an edge of your seat read, but not so quickly that you felt as though it was rushed.  Although there were elements of “action” throughout, there were also plenty of scenes which took their time to unfold, and the fast paced scenes were all the better for it.

Although there were plot twists, very good ones, it always seemed realistic, and in fact probable, after the fact.  That’s something that I love about this book.  It never felt like they were stretching to create a plot and thereby doing something which didn’t fit with the natural character flow.  Twists were VERY, VERY surprising, but in hindsight you could see how/why.

What I think made this book special was that throughout the book, Quincy can’t remember what happened to her at Pine Cottage, the place where all of her friends were killed by a psycho named Joe and she was brutally injured.  Because of the way it unfolds, you know that there is something more to the story but you don’t know what.  To pull you in, Sager occasionally utilizes flashbacks to Pine Cottage so that you see what is happening slowly, as present day occurs.  I think this offered a good change of pace and kept you hooked the entire time.

The Characters…

The main character, Quincy, has a lot of issues that she attempts to cover up throughout the novel.  She seems afraid of facing her real self in a way that makes her at once vulnerable and strong.  Even though she is a Final Girl– supposedly the toughest and the strongest– she has a plethora of weaknesses, and everything seems real.  

Sam, the other mainest character, is a deeper, more mysterious personality, and that helps add a lot to the book.  Whereas Quincy’s emotions are all laid out there for the readers to see, Sam is a mystery who you struggle to uncover, and yet she somehow seems so developed the entire time.

Reasons I Loved It…

It was overall an amazing read.  Thrillers are always exciting, and I loved this one because the whole premise was likely to happen.  3 mass murders, 3 female survivors, all lauded by the media…. It’s just so cool and such a 21st century thing.  After the general concept, Sager did a great job at actually DOING something with her plot and bringing it to life.  It would have been easy to make a flat story line, but Sager did the opposite.

Ugh Moments…

Umm this is a 5 star review so I don’t really think there are any?  Like I honestly can’t think of any flaws whatsoever and that’s worrying me slightly? I’ll edit this if I think of anything.

Diversity and Triggers…

I can’t really think of any diverse characters in this novel whatsoever, so you aren’t going to get any of that.  

As far as triggers, there are TONS of mentions of mental illness.  Quincy has anxiety and just a generally messed up brain and has to take Xanax for it.  Her mental disorder causes her to steal things and drink too much wine, but IMO this is a normal reaction for someone who saw all of their friends murdered in college??  It never stereotyped or grouped all illnesses together, so it wasn’t making a comment on mental illness in general.

There was also a boy named Joe who was locked up in the mental institution, escaped, and murdered all of Quincy’s friends at Pine Cottage.  That being said, once more it is not stereotyped and there is other development with this character.

Obviously, the book contains violence, including many deaths, stabbing, and strangulation which, although to me that sounds exciting, may be worrisome to others.  Also there are drug and alcohol references.

Summary…

IF YOU READ ONE THRILLER THIS YEAR IT HAS TO BE THIS ONE.  I know it’s early to say this, but I think it might be one of my favorite reads of 2017, and it most likely would have been in the top 5 of 2016 as well.  I will be on the lookout for more of Riley Sager’s books in the future, because it was that good.

Oh Also Look at the Other Cover…

I used the cover up top of the one I actually read, but there is another (prettier) one that I couldn’t resist sharing.30215662

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Disclaimer: Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! Also, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you are interested in purchasing this book (which you totally should be) use my link and I will receive a small comission 🙂

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