The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager | Review

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Star-Divider

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Release Date: July 3rd, 2018

Trigger Warnings: suicide mentions, mentions of death, mentions of drowning, ableist slurs, mentions of cancer

Pages: 384

Publisher: Dutton

Genre: adult, mystery, contemporary, thriller

Goodreads blurb:

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.

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July Wrap Up 2018

I can’t even be like ‘wow this year is going by so fast’ because July was the slowest month for me ever. July was a super shitty month for me in terms of my personal life. I don’t think I got a break at all. My mum had three seizures and ended up in the hospital again a week later for almost having a heart attack (all before her 44th birthday). I was left to help care for mum alone while also trying to balance my full semester of uni that I signed up for. I also got diagnosed with mild arthritis so it’s been a mess of a month.

Don’t get me wrong, some good things happened. We finally caught up on our rent. My mum had a great birthday. My mum made a full recovery and there was no heart attack. I got to go see the Masterchef Australia judges with one of my favourite people, as well as have a great day with her and her partner. I also now being treated for my mild arthritis (which is good!) and I got the work experience opportunity I wanted.

Some major highs and lows this month.

I also upped my Goodreads goal and managed to hit 100 books this month! Yay!

You’re not here to hear about my highs and lows of July 2018 though. You’re here to find out how many books I managed to get through. I managed to read nineteen books in July. Here they are. A lot of the reviews haven’t been posted yet, so prepare for them over the next month or so.

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Final Girls by Riley Sagar | Review

3/5 Stars.

Goodreads Review here

Genre: mystery, thriller, adult

TRIGGER WARNINGS: graphic violence, suicide, alcoholism, eating disorder (anorexia), drug addiction, ableism language (the word ‘crazy’ is used)

Goodreads Blurb:

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.

I went into Final Girls with quite a few exceptions. Why? Well, my copy of the book had a quote from Stephen King on the front. I have never actually read anything by Stephen King, but many of my friends have and I have seen a few films which are based on his books. All made me shit my pants. Hence, why I expected great things from this particular novel. Though I did also go into this book thinking the girls were a team and killed people together. I know, I should read blurbs.

After being incredibly curious about what a Final Girl actually was, it was explained in this book. A Final Girl is a term coined when there is a soul survivor of a massacre and, well, they’re a girl. In case you didn’t get that, it’s mentioned a few more times throughout the book so you’re all good.

This novel didn’t deliver for me. I guessed the “twist” within the first chapter while going to sleep. It was easy. It wasn’t even that this was a bad book. It was just, simply, that this book took a while to truly start. I believe the plot didn’t truly begin until around 60%. Before that, we simply go through pointless interactions with the main character, Quincy.

C H A R A C T E R S 

Quincy 

Quincy is the main character of this book. We follow her story in both present time and the night she became a Final Girl.

Our main character is determined she has recovered from what she experienced ten years ago, the massacre of all her friends. In fact, she can’t remember the night. Pretty convenient right? Quinn runs her baking blog and hangs out in her apartment that was bought for her through a victim fund set up for her with her boyfriend, Jeff (I’ll get more into him later, because BOYYYY).

Quinn is not okay. She battled anorexia after she survived and now lives her day to day life stealing shiny things, drinking and taking Xanax. Definitely not what I would call, okay in the great scheme of things.

Basically, I hated Quinn. She was a pushover of a character. She let everyone walk all over her (which is obvious even in the flashbacks) and simply was not a great character. But, I guess we aren’t meant to like her? Especially when we get introduced to one of the other three Final Girls, Samantha Boyd.

Sam 

Sam completely walks all over Quinn, and Quinn takes it (shocker). She also has a great habit of taking ‘babe’ on the end of all her sentences. It got annoying pretty quickly. I was definitely rolling my eyes when it happened three times one chapter.

I wish I could say more about Sam, but everything I would want to say are classified as spoilers. Obviously, this book hasn’t been out of long and there aren’t spoiler warnings on WordPress, so I’ll leave it at that.

Jeff

Jeff was probably the worst book in this book, even taking into account the murderers. He was controlling and wanted Quinn to fit his cookie cutter mould of grief (though, in my belief, grief is portrayed in a strange way throughout this novel).

Add him to the list of characters I hate and wow that’s all of them so far. So fun.

Coop

I didn’t like him. He was creepy and rubbed me in a strange way. I just didn’t feel like he was a very good police officer, or whatever his job since he was basically running straight to Quinn at every text she sent.

P L O T 

Now, here’s my real problem with this book. There was a severe lack in the plot. In the first chapter, we learn that one of the Final Girl’s has committed suicide. Shocking since she was doing so much in her community and, overall, doing well. Quinn doesn’t really react, in fact, she never really feels anything the entire book. That’s where I felt like the plot should have begun.

Does it?

Nope.

The story drags on while we follow Sam and Quinn drinking Wild Turkey every night. At some one stage, this book felt like an advertisement for the alcohol. The pair simply drinks and have the same conversation over and over, with Jeff and Coop flitting in and out when it is convenient for our main character to have pointless conflict.

The snippets from Pine Cottage, where Quinn became a Final Girl, truly aren’t that engaging either. You’ll get a small part that wants you to hurry to get to the next part and then another which simply makes you go “is that it? when will the murder happen?”

However, I will say when the plot picks up (a few chapters from the end of the book), I was completely engaged. I threw away all ideas of doing a university assignment and sat on my bed fully wanting to read more.

O V E R A L L 

I will definitely be reading more of the authors work in the future, I am definitely curious to see how they develop as a mystery/thriller writer. It’s also not that this was a bad book either, I did give it three stars which is an “I liked it” on my rating scale. My problem was simply that it was filled with a lot of scenes that, I felt, didn’t add to where the story eventuated.