Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Fifteen years ago, summer camper Emma Davis watched sleepily as her three cabin mates snuck out of their cabin in the dead of night. The last she–and 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 NYC art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings.. They catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of the very same Camp Nightingale–and when Francesca implores Emma to return to the camp as a painting counselor, Emma sees an opportunity to find closure and move on.

Yet, it is immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by surfacing memories, Emma is suddenly plagued by a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca, and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian apparently left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. And as history begins to repeat itself and three girls go missing again, Emma must face threats from both man and nature in order to uncover all the buried secrets–including what really happened all those years ago.”

REVIEW:

Riley Sager has become an instant read author for me, so I’ve been slowly working my way through his novels. The Last Time I Lied has an interesting premise and was a perfect summer thriller.

The Last Time I Lied follows Emma Davis. Her life was forever changed with one stay at summer camp when the rest of the girls in her cabin go missing. The camp never reopened and Emma has been secretly pouring her trauma out into her artwork for the last fifteen years. Camp Nightingale has reopened and Emma has been invited back to teach art. Now, Emma has a chance to gain closure and find out what really happened to the missing girls.

Riley Sager does an unreliable narrator incredibly well and Emma is definitely unreliable. This definitely ended up being the perfect summer thriller with its summertime setting. We jump back and forth in time, with chapters bouncing between present day and that fateful summer. We also have the Riley Sager staple of a mysterious attractive guy who is also the lead’s prime suspect for the murder.

I couldn’t put this book down since all I wanted to do was figure out what happened. Sager’s reveals are somewhat hit or miss for me, but this one really works. I didn’t really see either of the big reveals coming and I loved how they played out. I definitely recommend if you are looking to close out your summer with a great thriller or building up your TBR for the spooky months.

RATING: 4/5

Review: The Siren by Katherine St. John

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“In the midst of a sizzling hot summer, some of Hollywood’s most notorious faces are assembled on the idyllic Caribbean island of St. Genesius to film The Siren, starring dangerously handsome megastar Cole Power playing opposite his ex-wife, Stella Rivers. The surefire blockbuster promises to entice audiences with its sultry storyline and intimately connected cast.

Three very different women arrive on set, each with her own motive. Stella, an infamously unstable actress, is struggling to reclaim the career she lost in the wake of multiple, very public breakdowns. Taylor, a fledgling producer, is anxious to work on a film she hopes will turn her career around after her last job ended in scandal. And Felicity, Stella’s mysterious new assistant, harbors designs of her own that threaten to upend everyone’s plans.

With a hurricane brewing offshore, each woman finds herself trapped on the island, united against a common enemy. But as deceptions come to light, misplaced trust may prove more perilous than the storm itself.”

REVIEW:

I picked The Siren up on a whim while exploring the bookstore and it was a perfect summer read. It gives off if The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo were a thriller vibes. If you like Hollywood and tabloids, you will enjoy this book.

The Siren follows three very different women as they arrive on the set of the new film The Siren. Each woman has a different motive for taking this job. Stella has struggled for the last decade and is trying to revive her failing film career. Taylor, the producer whose career has taken a beating, is hoping for a scandal free shoot so she can bury her past scandal. And Felicity, Stella’s new miracle worker assistant, harbors a secret that could ruin everything.

We have three dueling perspectives that help to move this story forward. This book sucks you in as you try and put all of the pieces together. All three female leads are unique and interesting and make this book fly by. This book has a little bit of everything and the last 100 pages are wild. The setting beautifully transforms as the plot moves forward. Tensions grow just as a hurricane arrives offshore. There are also various tabloid articles interested throughout to help give the public perception of these characters. We know their inner workings and their side of the story, but all the facts aren’t always shared with the public. This helps to really understand the stakes for these women and their careers.

Katherine St. John writes three very flawed women who even if they initially, seem unlikable you are ultimately rooting for them by the book’s end. I enjoyed that these women come together and end up working incredibly well with each other. You think they will be oil and water, but with them being able to work together they have a real chance of saving themselves.

This book is the perfect beach read, and I definitely recommend grabbing this for the Labor Day holiday.

RATING: 5/5