Twenty-nine-year-old Ella Ingraham is a best-selling novelist. She's also a murderer. At least that's what most of the world thinks after her bastard ex-boyfriend brought a tabloid frenzy and a civil suit down on her for "negligence" following the stillbirth of their unplanned child at eight months.
Her New York - California drive is meant to be an escape after the hell of the trial, and Horatio, AK is just another random exit off the highway. Until she meets Josh Devereaux, part-time farmer, full-time tech genius holed up in his hometown after a few years in New York turned him into a bigger asshole than he ever thought he'd be.
Ella finds Josh Fascinating, capital "F". Followed immediately by unnerving. He knows too much about her and, quite frankly, he tries too damn hard. That's a red flag if she's ever seen one. Or at least it would be if she were thinking with her head and not the more irrational parts of her anatomy. Like her heart.
So it’s my opinion that not enough of you have read Brenda St. John Brown’s work yet. Swimming to Tokyo was among my favorite reads last year so I was chomping at the bit to get my hands on her latest, Lies We Live.
When Brenda asked me to read it I got all excited and a little bit scared if I’m being honest… that’s how much I loved Swimming To Tokyo… could she live up to the expectations I have for her with her new story?
The short answer to that question is a resounding YES.
I honestly was barely able to put this down. I started it at bedtime on Sunday and I had to make myself put it aside at 56% because I knew I’d be crap at work if I kept going. But I wanted to keep reading, and if I hadn’t had the previous week off, I just may have considered calling in sick and finishing this story!
I’ll be honest, Lies We Live is filled with DRAMA. Ella Ingraham is a best-selling author who was sued by her ex for the death of their stillborn baby. See … Drama and incredibly sad drama at that. But I’m telling you, it all works. Now, legally, I don’t know if this would ever fly, but I didn’t even care I was so entranced with the characters that Brenda has created.
Ella ends up in a tiny town in Arkansas and has an immediate connection with the town golden boy – Josh Deveraux. Josh is a little cagey from the start… you know he’s keeping secrets, you just don’t know exactly why or to what extent.
All I could think was I had to know everything and that kept the pages turning and the story moving.
I’ll be honest though, it wasn’t complete perfection for me… I struggled with a few things. First, the timeline and flashbacks. Admittedly, I always struggle with the type of story that goes back and forth on a random timeline. I struggle with placing certain things and I find that the story flow doesn’t work that well for me when this happens in a story. I completely understand why this was done in this case… we had to learn about the relationships and the full story somehow, I just struggled to stay in the flow of the story when I had to stop and try and place the chapter on a timeline.
Also – I have to say that I was hoping that Josh would come clean… especially since Ella’s life is basically an open book due to the press and coverage of her trial, and I got a little frustrated at the piecemeal way that he revealed some things.
The cliffhanger had me wide-eyed and searching for more pages. I had a feeling the end was going to go where it went based on a clue earlier in the story, but I’m DYING to get my hands on the second book here. Also – I wouldn’t mind a bit more … ahem … sexy times. But that could totally be me, I’m kinda dirty like that.
Brenda St. John Brown creates amazingly layered & complex characters and if you’re like me, you’ll love getting to know each one… digging deeper and reading faster to get to know them better.
Okay, so if you haven’t read Swimming to Tokyo, GET ON IT. Read that while you wait for Lies We Live and then open this one as soon as it releases so we can chat about that ending … YOU GUYS THAT ENDING.
Thank you so much to the author for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest thoughts… this did not influence my opinion in any way.