Cover Image: Not So Perfect Strangers

Not So Perfect Strangers

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Member Reviews

Not So Perfect Strangers is an intriguing domestic thriller about two strangers who met by chance that changed their lives. Maddison and Tasha both wanted to end their marriages but differently.

Tasha was stuck in an abusive relationship. She was literally a prisoner in her house and she couldn’t leave her 17 yr old son behind with her abusive husband. She often thinks life would be better without her husband. Maddison suspects her husband is cheating on her. She didn’t want to settle down with prenup money by divorce, she wanted him dead but not by her hand. When fates bring them together, Maddison thinks they can solve each other’s problems and get away with it. But it goes down the hole, making it a huge complicated mess.

I absolutely enjoyed the plot. Writing is gripping and steady-paced with alternative perspectives and intermittent ‘before’ and ‘now’ chapters. ‘Now’ chapters made the ‘before’ chapters even more intriguing.

There are many layers in the book- racism, abusive relationships, abandonment issues, the impact of abusive childhood on the person, religious and spiritual abuse by parents, drug addiction, manipulation, stalking, trauma, and mother’s unconditional love.

Both women are developed. They came from different backgrounds. Tasha was a middle-class black woman while Maddison was a rich white woman. Their differences were shown throughout the book not just by financial and social status but also by race.

Tension is palpable throughout the book. Twists and turns are interesting. At some points, it looks predictable but the author had big surprises in the last 20% of the book. The end was perfect, clever, and out of the box. It made me change my mind about a particular character.

Why 3.5/4 stars-

I was frustrated with Tasha at many points. I’m not a fan of the indecisive characters who would take ages to finally act on something they should have long ago.

What I didn’t exactly get is Ghalen. I couldn’t figure out how he can love his father and look up to him when he could see he beat and abuses his mother! How he couldn’t see wrong in him! I can’t believe it takes Tasha to word it and see a therapist to make him see how wrong his father was.

Overall, Not So Perfect Strangers is an intriguing, tense, and relatable domestic thriller with heavy themes and layers.
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Let me say this first I am not a thriller or mystery girl but when I saw this book was written by L.S. Stratton, I knew I had to read it she is an amazing writer. The way she weaves a story grabs your attention and keeps it on every page is amazing also. I like how she introduces us to characters and how it flows from there. To me the story is cohesive and it held my attention considering I am not a thriller/mystery girl. I have read a few other title buy this author and have not been disappointed. If you have a chance to read this one please pick it up.
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We have domestic violence and revenge, love and power, and enough surprises to keep you constantly changing what you thought you knew. There are a lot of differences between the characters, from religious beliefs and social class to the color of their skin. Both have been well-developed and have the same desire, they just go about getting what they want differently. This page is called One More Exclamation so I get the exclamated writing but it was unusual to see so many in a novel. This debut author’s physiological thriller will keep you up reading way too late. Well done.
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Not So Perfect Strangers is an effective domestic thriller . Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers On A Train, this mystery follows two very different women that everything separate, but sadly united in abusive marriages. The background story is well elaborate, digging into subjects such as sexism, racism, and domestic abuse.
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This book had me HOOKED from start to finish with its intense storyline and complex characters. The concept of two women with different backgrounds teaming up to take down their abusive husbands was so intriguing. I love how the story introduces us to the characters and storyline. Although both ladies had their own motives; Tasha and Madison were complex and flawed characters that  I was rooting for even though I probably shouldn't have. This psychological thriller had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I can't wait to read more by this author. 

Thank you Netgalley and Union Square & Co. for providing me this ARC.
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Thank you to Union Square & Co for this ARC copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was gripping, exciting and full of twists and turns. 

I found this book very easy to get to and found myself looking forward to reading it, it didn’t take long for me to finish this book, when I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it and what was going to happen. 

I loved the multiple POV’s and the different timelines throughout. Despite several different POV’s and two different time settings, I did not find it confusing and found it very easy to know who’s chapter it was and when it was happening. 

I thought the hard topic of abuse was handled in a way that did not romanticise it and really made you feel what the character was feeling during these moments. 

I gave this book 4 ⭐️ and would 100% recommend it.
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4.5 Stars

Read: 03/27-03/28
Pub date: 03/28

Thank you Netgalley and Union Square for this digital ARC!

As Tasha is reluctantly driving home after a failed attempt to leave her abusive husband, a woman suddenly pounds on her car window. She is begging to be let inside as she is seeking refuge from her own husband, and Tasha decides to let her in. This event sparks a number of events that will change Tasha’s life as she knows it. 

Not So Perfect Strangers is an exciting thriller told in multiple POV and dual timelines. This book grabbed my attention right from the start, is fast-paced, and tackles some tough issues of racism and abuse. This book is very reminiscent of Strangers on a Train, but has some updated social elements, as well as some twists and turns along the way. If you’re a fan of domestic thrillers, this one was released on 03/28, and I’d definitely recommend giving it a read.
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This was an interesting read! It deals with issues of racism, sexism, && domestic abuse. The fact that Tasha is an African American women and Madison is a white women dealing with similar issues was interesting because we get to see both sides. The author does a good job showing their differences without it being too obvious! Tasha struggles with the proposal of killing each others husbands though. I didn’t like Madison too much. I loved Tasha and the fact that she’s a good mom and it’s her top priority! It was easy to root for Tasha. I enjoyed the book and do recommend it! 

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. Book comes out March 28th!
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of Not So Perfect Strangers. I really liked the opening of this book, I was hooked for the first 50 pages or so. Sadly I felt the story kind of fell flat about one third of the way in and I did not continue reading it. I was not very invested in the story.
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This is my second read of this novel… it was just as good as the first time. When i tell you I found every available moment to pop open my kindle and read another paragraph— could not put it down. 

This book has everything I love about a crime fiction thriller/ suspense— a hero/heroine I want to root for,  a character  (or two) that I love  to hate, a timeline that snaps, and high HIGH stakes. If Tasha doesn’t keep up her end of the bargain, more people will die and it’ll be her fault. It’s DELICIOUS. 

Add in a character I want to sympathize with but also drives me up a wall, a few surprise twists and you have a highly enjoyable thrill ride. 

I love everything Stratton has published as Shelly Ellis and Shelly Stratton, so it’s no surprise that I really enjoyed this novel, but I’m MOST enjoying her renaissance as a domestic suspense author. We saw shades of it in the BRANCH AVENUE BOYS, then she gave it to us straight in THE THREE MRS GREYS and TRUTH LIES AND MR. GREY.  NOT SO PERFECT STRANGERS is a cut above- using all of her finely honed talents to bring hours of entertainment to our faces. 

Stratton is driving the train directly where I want to go and I’m hanging on for the ride. If this book doesn’t have an audio release, I will RIOT. I would love to hear this book brought to life by stellar voices.
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This book was a journey to read! At first, I was considering DNFing because everyone in it was just so miserable and it was very unpleasant to read! But about halfway through, after some of the main events take place, I felt like it got much better. I started feeling more engaged with the author’s writing and I thought the way the two protagonists were contrasted was interesting. However, by the end I started losing interest again. I think it felt a little too long and dragged out, but it had some good things too.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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Not So Perfect Strangers definitely delivers a strong thriller vibe, but it's grounded in characters and motivation. It features Tasha and Madison's POVs allowing us to gain insight into these two women. And what I loved the most about this is that you can see all the things people think about our lives, our ambitions, and their own manipulations from the outside. Silent predators. When we are just living our lives, there's all sorts of secret stories being written about us. It features two women whose marriages are crumbling, or broken, for very different reasons. Comparing the timelines of before and now, Stratton introduces another layer of tension. We wonder how things skewed so far off the tracks of what we thought our life, our future, would be.
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It's a standard thriller, based on a premise we've seen before. That's fine, who hasn't read thrillers with the same premise? What we have with this book is a thriller about two strangers who, after a chance meeting, form a plan. But the plan is one sided, for one of the women doesn't provide a definite response. And it's that equivocation that propels the story.

The first chapter set up a great hook. It was amazing, but the majority of the story did not have the same atmosphere or tone. Much of that is because the plot loses focus at times, and there are many paragraphs of detail that do nothing but try to show Madison as over-pampered. The second thing is the characters felt more than a bit cliche. I don't mind the author wanting to inject some social commentary into the story. I think it probably should be done more often, especially across different genres. But I'd be more impressed if it were achieved without resorting to cliche, especially in a thriller such as this, where it would not matter who was rich or poor, and who had a physically, emotionally, or financially abusive husband. It felt a little lazy. Did it make me think less of this book? A little, but not so much that I would rate it lower than I felt it deserved. Because the situations of the two women, how they are described are still powerful, and I think readers will engage with both characters.

The reason for a three star rating is this is a book where the beginning and the conclusion are the best sections. Much of the middle of the book falls short. It's not terrible, but it falls short. The character behaviours are not consistent, especially Tasha. Her insistence to repeat the same behaviour over and over got tiring. You know that saying, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the first sign of madness? That's what it felt like with this behaviour. Instead of drawing me into the book, it drew me out of the story. The chapters with the two detectives added little to the story overall. While we had a few tense scenes between Madison and Tasha, the book needed more. Despite their situations, they are both written as strong characters, and more scenes where they face off against each other would have given this book a much higher thrill rating.

Despite me not thinking this is a fantastic book, I think it will appeal to a large audience.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for provided a free copy of this book for an honest review. All views are my own
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Madison and Tasha have terrible husbands.  After a chance encounter Madison has an idea but Tasha doesn’t keep her end of the bargain.  Chaos ensues. 

Loved the first half, it lost me a bit in the second half.  Loved the premise, but a little slow for me.
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The explosive prologue of L.S. Stratton's book is electrifying. It is one of the best hooks I have read. Add the blurb that this is a reimagining of Strangers on a Train written by a Black author and featuring a Black protagonist. Sign me up!

Tasha Jenkins is leaving her abusive husband but is forced to go back to him because her 17-year-old son refuses to leave him and Tasha refuses to leave her son.  It is as Tasha sits at an intersection on the way back to her ex that she meets  Madison Gingell, an aging trophy wife,  who just caught her husband cheating and is running away from him. Tasha agrees to give her a ride, and as these two women from completely different lifestyles and backgrounds talk, they realize that money and race cannot protect you from awful men. Madison tells Tasha that they should both take out each other's husbands, and Tasha, not realizing that Madison is serious, agrees.  The rest of the book is watching Tasha try to avoid Madison's ever-widening net while attempting to keep her son from following in his father's abusive footsteps. 

The chapters alternate between Tasha and Madison's perspectives and their cat-and-mouse games.

Tasha makes so many mistakes, and it was hard for me to suspend my disbelief with many of them. Her actions seemed helmed to move the plot instead of actual actions that went with her character, especially when her former flame appears. 

Even though it kept me on my toes, the rest of the book did not match the prologue's energy or the book description's intrigue, 

Thank you Netgalley and Union Square for this ARC  in exchange for an honest review.
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This is my first time reading a story by this author. I stepped out of my Romance box and it proved to be a good move. This story that involves three married couples, one of which is an African American couple, is truly a Domestic Thriller that will have you turning pages. A fateful encounter begins the up and down storyline that is like an Alfred Hitchcock script. 
Tasha Jenkins , married to Kordell Jenkins, an abuser, has no idea how her life will change when she gives Madison Gingell a ride one fateful night. Madison is married to Phil who is a cheater. Madison’s friend Summer and her shaky marriage is also added to the mix. Three marriages in trouble, and a whole lot of missteps, and craziness. The ending, alone, makes this story worthy of 5 stars.
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If you're a fan of fast-paced domestic thrillers with a runaway train or cat-and-mouse dynamic, I definitely recommend picking this up!

I love stories that take a spin on Strangers on a Train (and do it successfully) even though I am admittedly not familiar with the original story - I should rectify that!

This book was compulsively readable and carried a great subtle social commentary throughout the story as well. You see Tasha and Madison juxtaposed in this story as foil characters to contrast the differences in how a story like this goes depending on a character's race, class, and privilege. Very well executed and very entertaining!

Thank you to the publisher for granting me access to an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Tasha keeps trying to leave her abusive husband, but keeps getting sucked back in when she meets Madison. Madison comes up with an idea that will help both women with their man problems, but what they have in mind for justice is different.

I think I was missing the suspense I wanted here. It could've sucked me in more from the start, but didn't quite do that.
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Thank you Netgalley Union Square & Co for an ARC of Not So Perfect Strangers by L.S. Stratton in exchange for an honest review. 
This story follows two woman looking for a way out of their marriages. Tasha has finally left her abusive husband as a woman pounds on her car window asking for help. In comes Madison. The obvious unlikeable character in the book but I was finding myself wanting to know more about her and her past. Madison comes up with an idea to get them each away from their husbands…..but Tasha is against it. What lengths will Madison go to in order to get Tasha on board with the plan? 
This book over all was an interesting and twisty ready. Although, at times I felt it was to wordy and I had to skim through it.
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The writing was very very weird for this one. I didn't like the fact that each and every character's race was mentioned, it just seemed off putting in a way. I wouldn't recommend this one.
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