Member Reviews

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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This is my first book by L.S Stratton, I did some research and it looks like she’s written other books under pen names. I’ll have to check some of her other work out.

I enjoyed this story way more than I thought I would. It kept me captivating from beginning to end. I finished it in two days. Maddie was a fascinating character to me. I always enjoy the complicated characters or the characters that technically could be considered the villain.

I had fun reading this one. .

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Loved NOT SO PERFECT STRANGERS. Couldn't put it down. Great reveals along the way. I tend to be pretty jaded when it comes to surprise twists but LS Stratton found ways to surprise even me. The two main characters, Maddie and Tasha were well-crafted, and the way the story toggled back and forth between the two of them was interesting and propulsive.

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Not So Perfect Strangers is a dual-perspective, dual-timeline novel centered around two women who both feel they would be better off without their husbands in the picture. When they come together via a fateful interaction, the path that both of their lives— especially Tasha’s— takes changes dramatically. As is common with the dual-timeline narrative, we know from the start that there is a fire in a mansion home, and that Tasha is the one who calls 911 about it. The rest of the book leads us on the journey of finding out exactly what happened there.

Stratton did an excellent job of writing both of these characters to feel believable and real; I felt their pain while I was reading their sections, and given that they were often at odds, this made for a strange but delightful reading experience. When reading from Madison’s perspective, I felt that I understood where she was coming from. Yes, this woman was a bit unhinged, but that is the time honored Gone Girl tradition of psycho-thriller books today. Rich, successful white women are always a bit unhinged, especially when their husband is a cheating piece of shit. That’s what makes the story interesting. I have a habit of falling a little bit in love with these types of women.

Then, we have Tasha, a Black woman in an abusive relationship who is just trying to do what is right for her 17-year-old son. She’s an obviously likable character. Even when she behaves in a way that makes me scream with frustration— which she does frequently— the frustration is a result of the affection that I feel towards her. I want the best for Tasha, and despite this being dual-perspective, it’s obvious from the start that this is her story, not Madison’s. When you read from Tasha’s perspective, Madison in the villain, and that colors everything that we read from Madison’s perspective from that point onwards. These dueling perspectives are truly the most fascinating aspect of the book. It was a big swing, and Stratton pulls it off to tremendous success.

At the end of the day, I feel that the Present Day Police Man & Flashback Damaged Woman narrative structure is a bit played out, but within that structure I deeply enjoyed the book. While there was a “good police man” storyline, the incompetence and racism of the police force was also made clear. Stratton captured the racial dynamics at play between Madison and Tasha incredibly well without dwelling on it. One of my favorite lines from the book was when Madison announced that she needed to take things into her own hands, because she had read in an anti-racist book that white women should take the initiative to be good allies. It was humorous while perfectly characterizing Madison.

This book does go into detail about the abuse that both Tasha and Madison suffer. There are dark themes related to domestic abuse, child abuse, and rape. While it is not a light read by any stretch, it was an incredible book whose plot twist I didn’t guess until nearly the very last page.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC. This poignant thriller about the abuse cycle of a woman of color and what happens when she is offered a way out. But things aren’t what they seem. Freedom and safety come at a high price. There is a mind-bending twist around every corner that makes you think how much more can one woman take. Our main protagonist reminds us to never mistake kindness for weakness.

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Thank you NetGalley and Union Square & Co. for the copy of Not So Perfect Strangers. The first third and the last third of this book were great. The middle was slow and felt long and drawn out. It felt like the book lost its focus and threw in a bunch of other stories about the characters. The book wasn’t bad, I just don’t think it was the book for me.

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Okay I’m not sure how I feel yet. I think right off the cuff I need to address some of the racist remarks in this book? They were super unnecessary and I really just didn’t like how it was handled. Definitely left a bad taste in my mouth. Saying things in passing ‘jokingly’ like “what just because they’re black means they can’t be guilty now?” did not sit well and just spoiled the book for me..

As for the book itself, it’s definitely an interesting premise. Think girl on the train but where only one person agrees… I did like how it all played out but I think I needed a bit more context early on in Madison’s life to understand her issue with her husband. I definitely felt compelled to find out what happened but the characters were just so unlikeable that I didn’t really feel THAT invested about how it ended.

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Thank you for the opportunity to preview Not so Perfect Strangers.
Two very different women meet and conspire to kill each other husbands
Sound familiar. But this is not the same story. Stratton has brought a diverse cast and a new spin on a old story.
Sometimes a bit wordy but it’s a good book with a not so typical ending. 3.5 stars

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3.5 rounded up. The first half of this was pretty slow moving but. I was very curious about how this was going to go so I kept reading and I'm glad I did. I did not see the twist coming and I'm glad it wasn't what I was thinking it would be.

I didn't love it, Morris was very annoying to me, but this was a good read. I don't really have strong feelings about it any particular way but I'm glad I read it.

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My thanks to Net Galley Union Square for this EXCELLENT page turner read.

Tasha Jenkins is on the run from an abusive husband with her teen age son. When she finds her son left to go.back to his father and friends she goes back to get him. On the way Madison Gingsell a privileged woman escaping her husband is offered a ride by Tasha. As the women talk they find a common bond of wanting to be rid of their husband's. Madison then proposes the idea that each kill the other ones husband.

For fans of Strangers on a Train, you'll love this. Many twists and turns.

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3/5 star limited review. So, let me say, that I found some issues with this book. It felt like there were a lot of unfair, discriminatory tones in this story. I thought it had been written by a white author and was ready to vent when I realized the author is a black woman. Because of this, I don't feel comfortable stating it as 'right' or 'wrong' since I'm not a member of the population being described poorly in the book. So I'm going to give this an 'average' review so the score doesn't affect the ratings, but so that people can read. my thoughts and take them into account if they felt similarly.

I received an advance review copy for free through NetGalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily

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