Cover Image: Seven Lies

Seven Lies

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Member Reviews

I did not find this book suspenseful or a thriller.
It definitely did not live up to  the blurb provided.
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Thank you greatly to the publishers and to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Seven Lies! I have decided to not continue with reading it, but I so much appreciate the chance to. I originally felt pulled in and intrigued by the synopsis of this book, but upon reading the first couple of chapters realized it is not for me. Domestic thrillers can be a big hit or miss for me, and I think if I don't feel interested in the story right away, I generally am not as I continue through it. 

I don't feel this is a fault against the book or the author, the writing was absolutely well done and I have no complaints or issues! It just was not my cup of tea, and I don't want to continue through a book I know quite early on I may not personally enjoy, even though many others may! 

Thank you again!
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**copied and pasted from my review on Goodreads**

Rating: 3.5 / 5

So...*deep breath* let's talk about subtlety for a moment, shall we? The dictionary definition(s) read as follows: "delicacy or nicety of character or meaning / acuteness or penetration of mind; delicacy of discrimination / a fine-drawn distinction; refinement of reasoning:". From this, I would like to point out the "acuteness or penetration of mind" part of the definition and expand on that as it pertain to a literary work.

The whole point of being subtle, as I'm sure all readers and writers are aware, is so as to be a mixture of cryptic and expository, to present things in such a way that they're not too hidden but not too obvious either. They are "acute" in the penetration of the mind of the reader, and really get the reader to think in order to understand the many layers of information that the author is presenting to us. It's a middle line that's very thin and difficult to walk, so for any authors that even attempt it, regardless of whether they succeed or not, I think that there's due credit in store.

However, it's only the ones who succeed in subtleties that can truly be regarded as geniuses of their genre and of their writing style, and unfortunately, Elizabeth Kay is not one of those geniuses--or, at least, she has not proven herself to be as such in this novel.

What do I mean by this? Why, I'm glad you asked!--Tone. Narrative tone and voice. To reveal not only who the narrator/protagonist is, but also what their agenda is (if applicable), what we can expect from their narrative, and, via subtleties, whether they are trying to get the reader to think or perceive things in a certain way. This is something consistent in almost all first person POV narratives, and, in a thriller/drama/mystery, because it is also a limiting element, it increases the tension all the more and is an excellent narrative choice.

If done properly, it engages the reader to such an extent that we overlook things like consistencies, sanity, and whether what they're reading is reliable information or not. Those of us who have studied literature, whether academically or otherwise, will be familiar with the unreliable narrator. Not just the term, but as a persona within the literary realm itself, someone that most people will shy away from due to the ambiguity of the content, whereas others are fascinated by this persona and wish to dissect it down to the bone and marrow composition. In any case, it's a tricky person to admit having as your narrator.

Now, some try to make an unreliable narrator seem reliable by having them be a neutral party in the story they are telling--i.e. Nick Carraway in [book:The Great Gatsby|4671], whereas others can claim some form of innocence--i.e. Jem from [book:To Kill a Mockingbird|2657]--or insanity--i.e. Pi from [book:Life of Pi|4214] to make themselves seem reliable--or, at least, to excuse the aspect of their unreliability in narratives that, like it or not, readers just have to take their word for. In the end, perhaps the unreliable narrator does not matter so much since we don't get any other narrative voices anyway. (Some rare instances, like in Wilkie Collins's [book:The Moonstone|6138] and [book:The Woman in White|5890] do accomplish this, but we're talking here about a master whose mysteries are not diminished by this, but rather aided by it. Don't ask me how he does it, because I don't know; I just appreciate and love it.)

But then there are those rare instances of a narrator who doesn't care so much about unreliability, but rather about sympathy. The best example of this is none other than Humbert Humbert from Vladimir Nabokov's [book:Lolita|7604], whom I like to particularly point out as a unique narrator that not only engages the reader in a direct dialogue, addressing the reader as "you", but also tries from start to finish to elicit sympathy for the story and for his actions, painting what is basically a twisted obsession as a tragic love story.

I bring up Mr. Humbert in particular because he is the character that I kept thinking of while reading through the narrative of this novel. The unreliable narrator, Jane, is similar to Humbert in both of the aforementioned aspects, justifying everything she thinks and does into a love story between friends. If anyone happens to read both books, even back to back, I guarantee you'll feel the similarity of the narrative voice.

However, whereas Nabokov was an unquestioned master of subtleties, that is precisely where Ms. Kay fails. Not only are Jane's justifications and thoughts too straightforward and direct, but she literally tries to "guess" what the reader will think and then tell them exactly what to think otherwise. Rather than be clever or elicit the sympathy that she's so obviously going for, I think this diminishes any tension or suspense from the story and thus make the story itself fall...well, rather flat.

Now, I'll grant you that I'm not the biggest fan of Lolita--in fact, I tried reading it several times all the way through and each time got bored somewhere in the middle and had to stop--but I will give Nabokov the due credit he deserves as a brilliant writer and master of subtle prose. While Ms. Kay held my attention for the majority of this story though, that's about all I can say. My attention was held, but no excitement encouraged, no tense moments, no sympathy elicited, and no general caring for what happened to the narrator. There was simply no...substance to it besides the premise, and "a dark gripping novel" it most certainly was not.

However, despite this, I still round it up to four stars because it is not an average 3-star read for me. Three stars is generally where I cap off something that's completely average and forgettable, generally something I'd forget as soon as (and if) I finish it. While Seven Lies was borderline into that category though, in the end I decided that because it held enough of my attention for me to get through it fairly quickly, I'd sooner round it up than down. Call it a spurt of generosity on my part, perhaps.

As for recommendations, I guess I'd recommend it to all fans novels in general, but I'd hesitate to call it a "thriller" or "suspenseful" or anything like that. Take a try at it if you'd like, but I wouldn't say it's a mandatory must-have or anything. Better than average, but only just.
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When it is snowy and cold outside (and my car is buried under 2ft of ❄️ ), superspeed readers like me can read 150 - 200+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. LOL

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.  

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

It all started with just one little lie. But we all know that it never ends there. Because, of course, one lie leads to another...

Growing up, Jane and Marnie shared everything. They knew the other's deepest secrets. They wouldn't have had it any other way. But when Marnie falls in love, things begin to change.  Because Jane has a secret: she loathes Marnie's wealthy, priggish husband. So when Marnie asks if she likes him, Jane tells her first lie. After all, even best friends keep some things to themselves. If she had been honest, then perhaps her best friend's husband might still be alive today...

For, of course, it's not the last lie. In fact, it's only the beginning...

Seven Lies is Jane's confession of the truth--her truth. Compelling, sophisticated, chilling, it's a seductive, hypnotic page-turner about the tangled, toxic friendships between women, the dark underbelly of obsession and what we stand to lose in the name of love.

What a fabulous book!!! I inhaled it in one fell swoop - I don't have any life-long friends but I can see how this dynamic would work with one little lie starting it all off. But is Jane's truth the actual truth? Or Marnie's? Well, I am not going to give you one tiny clue about what happens in this incredibly written book - you will have to take it to the beach and find out for yourself. Be sure to pack lots of sun screen as you will be there until you finish it.  

Can I call it? FIRST BEACH READ OF 2020!!!!

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🌊 🏖️🐚👙🐟
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