Monday, September 7, 2015

Guest Review: The Lies We Tell by Meg Carter

Today I'd like to introduce you to my newest reviewer Joanna! I really enjoy reading her reviews and I'm sure all of you will love them as well. Here's her bio:

Joanna Franklin Bell is a writer living outside Baltimore, MD. Her articles can be read in "Baltimore Magazine" and various sites; her award-winning short story can be found on the "Single Dad Laughing" blog; and her books can be found on Amazon. "Muse: A Cat's Story" is her children's chapter book, "Mrs. Just-So" is her children's picture book, and "Take a Load Off, Mona Jamborski" and "That Birds Would Sing" are her novels. Her third novel, "See No Demons, Hear No Demons" will be released in 2016. Catch up with Joanna on Facebook at: 

Now onto the book review!


Can we ever escape our past?

The last time Katy saw Jude was on a school trip, when Jude was attacked by a stranger and Katy ran away. Twenty years later, Jude is back, and her reappearance coincides with a series of unsettling incidents: a stranger appears in the downstairs flat; one night Katy’s house is vandalised; her mother is mugged and her home ransacked. And Jude seems to know an uncomfortable amount about Katy’s current life...

For fans of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, THE LIES WE TELL is an addictive, complex and completely gripping psychological thriller in which present and past intertwine to devastating effect. Forced to revisit the same rocky waters of friendship and power they inhabited when they were fifteen, as the story reaches its explosive climax, Jude and Katy realise that when it comes to memory, truth and family – nothing and no-one are what they seem.

Publication Date: August 17, 2015

Joanna's Review:

"The Lies We Tell" by Meg Carter started out with a bang: the ending. This is because the complimentary copy I received on my Kindle from the publisher loaded on the very last page, which I read quite closely and earnestly because I thought I was reading the quote which began the whole story, and not the one that ended it. So my experience reading this book was no doubt unique.

Once I got smart and started at the beginning, I discovered that what the ending had given away did nothing to detract me from the growing intrigue of the plot. The book does owe a lot to the forces that create story lines like, "I Know What You Did Last Summer." Two grown women (Jude and Katy) are Carter's protagonist and antagonist, and their teenage selves in flashback reveal what they did, didn't do, may have done, forgot doing, are conflicted about, are vengeful over, last summer. Or in their case, many summers ago. Oh, and for the record, I quite liked the antagonist (Jude) while I good-n-loathed the protagonist (Katy). Is this how I am meant to feel about the characters? It's a question I wouldn't mind asking the author. I kept hoping Katy would take the third overly-long step off a dangerous precipice in her life. Since, in the book, she's already taken two and unfortunately survived them both, neither of which have diddly to do with the plot nor character development.

Other things that have diddly to do with the plot: 1. Pages and pages and pages of skim-worthy prose. 2. Overuse of repeated phrases and words that the author apparently forgot she already used and no editor was kind enough to point out. 3. Lots of bald typos, but perhaps the copy I read wasn't through its final proofread, even though there was no such disclaimer, so I think it's probably just sloppy. 4. Characters who berate the world for the exact same shortcomings, without any intentional parallel drawn among them: it's more like the author could only think of one thing that would really hurt, so she assigned it as a backstory, indiscriminately, to everyone (I'll call it the "Who's Your Daddy Drama"). That said, the author can actually write. She can craft a sentence and sometimes a good one, and she can build a simmering intrigue. She can also throw in gratuitous sexytime which -- in keeping with many other pages -- does nothing to further the plot nor character development, but does stick up like little nippley coming-of-age gems in what's otherwise often a bland whitewash of exposition.  Her fault is that she simmers for too long, and the story gets tiresome -- I finally just skimmed and skimmed to get to the ending of, to find out what all the last secrets are. However: that is also her greatest strength. I skimmed and skimmed to get to the ending, because I wanted to know the ending! I cared! I was ready for some answers and some justice and the big Scooby Doo-style reveal! Of course, I already knew one of the secrets, since my book loaded backwards, but there was plenty else to learn.

The first third of the book showed much promise. After that, it dragged and became quite repetitive and fell apart, losing stars along the way. I'd like to see what the author writes next, since much of this could be a first-book-flaw. And I would read another of her stories; however, I'd just hesitate to recommend this one.

As I mentioned, I did receive a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

3/5 Stars


  1. OMG I actually laughed out loud when I read this review. Awesome! :) I'm looking forward to seeing more. Also, I love the word "diddly." Just saying. :)

  2. Welcome to Heather's blog, Joanna! Loved your review and I'm going to download a sample of the book now on the Zon.