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Friday, November 30, 2018

REVIEW: Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak @brenda_novak @harlequinbooks

Before We Were Strangers
by Brenda Novak

Thanks so much to the author and MIRA for this gorgeous copy.

Publisher: MIRA
Publish Date: December 4, 2018
400 Pages
Genres:Contemporary, Mystery

Something happened to her mother that night. Something no one wants to talk about. But she's determined to uncover her family's dark secrets, even if they bury her.

Five-year-old Sloane McBride couldn't sleep that night. Her parents were arguing again, their harsh words heating the cool autumn air. And then there was that other sound--the ominous thump before all went quiet.

In the morning, her mother was gone.

The official story was that she left. Her loving, devoted mother! That hadn't sat any better at the time than it did when Sloane moved out at eighteen, anxious to leave her small Texas hometown in search of anywhere else. But not even a fresh start working as a model in New York could keep the nightmares at bay. Or her fears that the domineering father she grew up with wasn't just difficult--he was deadly.

Now another traumatic loss forces Sloane to realize she owes it to her mother to find out the truth, even if it means returning to a small town full of secrets and lies, a jilted ex-boyfriend and a father and brother who'd rather see her silenced. But as Sloane starts digging into the past, the question isn't whether she can uncover what really happened that's what will remain of her family if she does?

My Review:

Well hello there Brenda Novak.  My first book by her and I was a little hesitant because of the romance part.. while I do like my rom-coms, I tend to not like romance mixed in with my thrillers - but Novak has decidedly changed my mind on this with Before We Were Strangers.  While the romance is a bit heavy, the plot is as twisted as the characters and this book is a breeze to read!

I absolutely admire Sloane's tenacity and as I'm rooting for her throughout this entire read, I was also like, "Oh no girl, just WHAT are you doing?!"  Her character pulled me in right from the very first few pages.. and boy oh boy, in my last review I was discussing about how these books steer me clear of the desire to have ever grown up in a small town and this one also just proves my point... though if I had Micah waiting for me... well, hell.... 😉

There were a couple things that kind of stood out to me - I was giggling through one of the sex scenes because WOW I don't think I've ever seen so much dialogue happen in a sex scene before.  I didn't mind it, it just seemed a bit... odd.  And then there was just one typo with the reference to the Menendez Brothers being written as Melendez and you bet your sweet ass I googled it to see if there were other killers that I somehow did NOT know about because I used to research the crap out of this topic!  Also, I'm reading an uncorrected proof so I digress.

What I especially love about this book is that I was going through all the ups and downs with Sloane and figuring things out WITH her rather than trying to piece mail everything together myself during my read.  Ya get me?  And I did let out a bit of a WTF gasp during the last few pages when something was discovered.... if you've read the book then you know what I mean.  If you haven't then, well, GET ON IT.

Don't let the romance part deter you from this read - and keep an eye out for Novak.  I just found another author to pile on to my bookshelves.


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