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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

#CJSReads REVIEW: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware @gallerybooks @ruthwarewriter

The Lying Game
by Ruth Ware
Gallery Books / Scout Press

🎆 Happy Publishing Day! 🎆

See what Jessica, Sam and I had to say about Ruth Ware's latest!  
Scroll past our reviews for a special Q&A with Ruth herself!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel.

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister...

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.  

My Review:

They met at boarding school: Isa, Fatima, Kate and Thea. Kate and Thea teach newcomers, Isa and Fatima, The Lying Game. There are rules to be followed and points to earn. This game makes many enemies for them, but they don't care - they're a fearsome foursome to be reckoned with and as long as they have each other, they don't need anyone else. An unfortunate incident surrounding the death of their art teacher (Kate's father) has the girls expelled from school in their final year. They promise to always come if one sends a message, "I need you." And years later, they get one from Kate and head back to the area where they all met. Seems their past is catching up with them when a body turns up.

I've been a fan of Ruth Ware since In a Dark, Dark Wood and Woman in Cabin 10 so I was more than thrilled to receive an early copy of this book. I love Ruth's writing style - the short chapters, the concise back and forth in time and the characters that she creates. She did a remarkable job of reminding us of our childhood friends and how our "cliques" felt powerful and the bond that you create with them. This particular book had me flipping pages with a need to know urgency. But then I found myself quickly losing interest. Told strictly through Isa's POV, I didn't feel myself connecting with any of the characters. The ending was a bit rushed for me and the twist for me was that I saw the entire ending coming! I've seen a few people compare this book to the show Pretty Little Liars. Not my favorite show, which may be why this isn't my favorite book either. Hard to say! 

No matter what, I will always continue to pick up Ruth Ware's books. This is a moderately paced thriller that's an easy, quick read. While it didn't quite hit home for me like her other two books did, it may for you!


Jessica's Thoughts:

Here is the anticipated third book from Ruth Ware! THE LYING GAME is definitely different than her other two books (IN A DARK DARK WOOD and WOMAN IN CABIN 10) - I love her writing style and this one was very fast paced. If you're a fan of Pretty Little Liars then this will be on you'll have to look up!

We start out with a body being discovered by a woman walking her dog - when the dog jumps into the water to retrieve what appeared to be a stick and ended up being sometimes much more horrific. Shortly after the body is discovered, three old friends, Fatima, Thea, and Isa, all receive a text message they hoped would never come. Three simple words from their friend Kate, "I need you".

The four friends had met when they were in Salten boarding school. They were notorious for playing a game they called, The Lying Game. There were simple rules to The Lying Game:
Rule 1: Tell a lie.
Rule 2: Stick to your story
Rule 3. Don't get caught.
Rule 4. Never lie to each other.
Rule 5. Know when to stop lying.

This game had major consequences when they were all expelled in their last year of school. They were expelled under suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Kate's father - who was the school's art teacher.

This book had great pacing throughout. It's definitely one that sucks you in right away! This book is told completely through Isa's point of view. We're brought through events of their past and there were plenty of shocking moments. The ending though was kind of a let down in comparison to the rest of the book.

I think that I enjoyed this one more than IN A DARK, DARK WOOD and about on par with how much I liked WOMAN IN CABIN 10. If you want a lighter suspense book then I'd say this is perfect for you! A great summer read.
I give this one 4/5 stars!

Sam's Thoughts:

I’m just gonna come right out and say it.  I have never read a novel by Ruth Ware.  I know, I know, what kind of thriller lover am I?  I have them all purchased, sitting on my shelf, waiting patiently for me but I am a slave to my TBR pile and hadn’t been able to read them yet.  So, I was more than thrilled when #cjsreads made The Lying Game by Ruth Ware a July title.

The novel opens with a body being discovered and Isa, a new mother, receiving a text from her childhood friend.  A text she knows to always respond to.  A text she hoped she would never get.  Travelling to Salten, a boarding school she spent a year in, she meets up with Kate and two other friends who all went to the school; notorious in their time, they were known for playing The Lying Game.  A game blurred with reality, and soon, the girls realize that their past is not as buried as they had hoped.

From the first pages, I was pretty much hooked. It sort of had that chick lit, Pretty Little Liars vibe that I enjoy in a thriller.  Imagine Big Little Lies and a sort of darker Gossip Girl.  I really enjoy where I can get that sort of “feeling” from a piece of fiction for an adult, especially since it usually can only be found in the realm of YA.

I found myself flying through the pages, which were narrated by Isa, and was gripped trying to figure out what had went on in their past (which was also explored).  I had plenty of theories.   This one peaked for me in the middle, it had a sort of “SAY WHAT” moment and I was completely perplexed.

However, I found the ending to be a little lackluster.  It sort of went the tired and true route and I felt a little disappointed. 

Overall, I felt like this one was fast paced and juicy enough to be a perfect read for the beach.  I gave it a 4/5 stars!  

Big thank you to Gallery Books / Scout Press for these copies in return for our honest opinions.

Name: Ruth Ware
Where from: East Sussex, in the UK
Books written, blurbs. In a Dark, Dark Wood; The Woman in Cabin 10; The Lying Game (forthcoming)

Twitter: @ruthwarewriter

What does your writing process look like? P

People often assume that I write out of order, or spend ages piecing my books together, because they tend to be chronologically quite complicated (as with the back and forth timelines in IADDW, or the newspaper extracts and emails in Cabin 10). However the truth is that 99% of the time, I write as you are reading it, in that order. I just use my instinct about when to swap storylines / time frames.

How many hours a day do you write?

I have school age children, so I start after I have dropped them off at school, and stop when it's time to pick them up. It's a great way of focussing the mind!

What is your least favorite part of the writing / publishing process? Favorite part?

For me, the hardest part is when the book is completely finished - written, edited, typeset, printed - and you are waiting for it to come out. You can't do anything to change it, and you don't know whether people are going to love or hate it. That's always when the anxiety dreams start for me! The best part? That's really hard... I love the honeymoon stage, when you're just toying with a new idea and it seems like this could be The One, the best book you've ever written. And the bit where you type "the end" is pretty satisfying too. I also love the editing process, although this definitely isn't true of all writers!

How many unpublished/half-finished books do you have?

I am pretty tenacious and I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of unfinished projects I have. I don't tend to get started on an idea until I am pretty committed to it. Unpublished however is another story - I started writing book-length things when I was a teen, I think the first proper "book" I wrote was when I was about 13. It was a pretty terrible fantasy / sci fi epic. And I didn't really seriously try to get published until I was 30. So... you do the maths. That's a lot of projects in the bottom drawer in between!

Do you read your reviews?  Do you respond to them, good or bad?  Any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I try not to read them - not because I don't think they have anything valuable to say, or because I think I have nothing to learn, but because on the whole I think reviews are for readers, and on some level reading them feels a bit like eavesdropping. Also, they don't seem to make me a better writer. The good ones make me big headed, and the bad ones make me self-loathing, and neither of those mental states is very conducive to good writing, even when the reviews have a point. It's better for my writing (and my mental health) to figure these things out for myself.

What's the best money you ever spent as a writer?

My writing desk and chair. I was fairly broke when I bought them, and it was a chunk of change I couldn't really afford, but I was writing on the sofa before that and ruining my back, and every time I sit down at my desk, I remember why that was a good decision. A good big desk with room for a proper screen and keyboard, and a chair that properly supports your back, is an investment your body will thank you for in 5 years time!

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