Book Review – All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Book Review – All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
Book Review – All The Missing Girls by Megan MirandaAll the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
Published by Simon & Schuster
Publication date: June 28, 2016
Genres: Adult, Suspense
Narrator: Rebekkah Ross
Length: 10 hrs and 4 mins
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
4 Stars

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.

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Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. Thank you! ♥

Quietly suspenseful with an ending that left me glued to the page, All the Missing Girls was an absolute hit for me. The draw of this book is its non-linear narrative, a mystery told in reverse, a countdown to the beginning. I didn’t know how it was going to work, but Megan Miranda pulled it off well.

Ten years ago, Nic’s best friend, Corrine went missing, seemingly gone without a trace. Without any solid leads, the case went cold. After returning to Cooley Ridge to prepare her childhood home for sale, the memories of what happened ten years prior inevitably come rushing back. Then, Annaleise Carter goes missing, forcing Nic to delve into a past she tried to repress. To solve one case is to solve them both.

I had to focus, make sense of this house, and get out. Before the past started creeping out from the walls, whispering from the grates. Before it unpacked itself from that box, layer after layer, all the way back to the start.

The structure of the story was one that I wasn’t entirely sold on initially. Is it a gimmick used to attract readers? I didn’t think so. In the end, I really liked the way the author used this unconventional device to tell this story. Normally with mysteries like this one, the reader is fed clues chronologically and left to draw conclusions based on the evidence gathered—whether those conclusions are right or wrong. But here, the reader is given conclusions or part of a finality and then asked to reverse engineer it.

Nicolette is haunted by her hometown. She carries it with her everywhere she goes. That feeling of being emotionally tethered to a town and the people in it. I felt those emotions, that ever-present heaviness that Nic felt, which is a testament to Miranda’s writing.

Missing girls had a way of working their way into someone’s head. You couldn’t help but see them in everyone—how temporary and fragile we may be. One moment here, and the next, nothing more than a photo staring from a storefront window.

I really enjoyed the deconstruction of Corrine’s personality throughout the novel. Corrine, Bailey and Nic were almost like the small town mean girls, with Corrine being the ringleader. Over the years, Nic romanticized Corrine and their friendship, shaping her into a fictional character who didn’t exist.

I think Corrine believed that life could break even somewhere. That there was an underlying fairness to it all. That the years on earth were all a game. A risk for a payoff, a test for an answer, a tally of allies and enemies, and a score at the end. I know now that everything we did or said, and everything we didn’t was kept in a ledger in her mind—and almost int he back of ours, too.

Reading this book was definitely a brain exercise, as I was constantly trying to hold on to information. I can’t imagine how hard this was to plot and construct. New information still had to be introduced in an order the reader would understand, but also in an order that makes sense chronologically. Since I wasn’t given information in order, I tended to look way too far into things that didn’t matter because I didn’t know they wouldn’t matter. In the end, there were still several questions that were left unanswered or plot points whose importance were lost in the shuffle that I wish were given more explanation. (karen on Goodreads outlined these beautifully in her review)

All in all, this book was a well-written mystery about how the truth, lies, and omissions shaped their lives and change the trajectory of their future. For a good portion of the book, I could NOT put it down, especially the countdown to the last few days. Holy crap! There were some surprises on the way that left me applauding Miranda’s cleverness.

I really want to read this book in chronological order. I wonder what I would focus on this time. Highly recommend this book!

* I received an advance copy and audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Audiobook Comments: 

That’s right, I read this book twice. The audiobook for this book was really great! Rebekkah Ross (you might also know her as Elizabeth Louise) is one of my absolute favorite narrators. Her delivery is always done perfect, drawing you right into the scene. For you audiobook junkies, I listened to this book at 2x speed with no problem.

TEASER - All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

4 Stars
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Book Review – How Not to Fall by Emily Foster

Book Review – How Not to Fall by Emily Foster
Book Review – How Not to Fall by Emily FosterHow Not to Fall by Emily Foster
Published by Kensington
Publication date: June 28, 2016
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
1 Stars

Data, research, scientific formulae--Annabelle Coffey is completely at ease with all of them. Men, not so much. But that's all going to change after she asks Dr. Charles Douglas, the postdoctoral fellow in her lab, to have sex with her. Charles is not only beautiful, he is also adorably awkward, British, brilliant, and nice. What are the odds he'd turn her down?

Very high, as it happens. Something to do with that whole student/teacher/ethics thing. But in a few weeks, Annie will graduate. As soon as she does, the unlikely friendship that's developing between them can turn physical--just until Annie leaves for graduate school. Yet nothing could have prepared either Annie or Charles for chemistry like this, or for what happens when a simple exercise in mutual pleasure turns into something as exhilarating and infernally complicated as love.

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How Not to Fall is written by a New York Times Best Selling author of a non-fiction sexual education title. This book is her fiction debut. This book is very clearly written by someone with a Ph.D. in Health Behavior with a concentration human sexuality with its detailed and almost-clinical sexual descriptions. What the synopsis promised was a steamy forbidden romance between a college senior and her advisor, but what was delivered was an extremely derivative erotic romance that was lacking in story and characters.

Annabelle is on the verge of graduating college and going off to an intense graduate school dual degree program (PhD/MD). For the last two years she has been lusting over her advisor, Dr. Charles Douglas. With nothing to lose she asks him to sleep with her. At first, he declines, but agrees to talk to her about their “Thing” after she finishes finals. Following finals, they can ethically be together and Charles confesses he’s been equally attracted to her. After finding out Annie is a virgin, Charles requests to go slow with start their no-strings sexual relationship. In the month leading up to Annie departure, she starts to fall for him. But ghosts of Charles past make it impossible to reciprocate her feelings.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m such a huge fan of forbidden romances, so when I came across this New Adult title I wanted to give it a try. In the beginning, I enjoyed Annie’s witty inner dialogue and awkwardness; I was hopeful that I was going to enjoy this. But it didn’t take long for me to get annoyed with her and the turn of events.

Charles is British and portrayed as being very restrained and awkward but with crazy sex appeal. Almost instantly, Charles turns into a sexual alpha male after finding out Annie was a virgin, chomping at the bit to teach Annie the sexual ropes. He confesses that he’s wanted to sleep with her for over a year. The rest of the book is all sex scenes and a few fights on the topic of “I’m broken” and “You can’t change me”.

This book was very derivative of Fifty Shades of Grey to the point where I wondered if this was fanfiction, rather than a wholly original work as its being touted. This really bothered me. There were some differences to the characters, story, and setting. For example, Annie is much more confident than Ana and Charles isn’t a dominant like Christian. But there are shockingly similar plot points, character traits, and situations taken from Fifty Shades of Grey. Here are just some of them:

  • Annie = Ana, Charles = Christian
  • Prior to starting their sexual relationship, Charles picks up a a drunk Annie and allows her to sleep peacefully with him.
  • Annie, like Ana, was a virgin yet becomes a sex goddess on her knees in from of Charles. After Annie’s last final, Charles goes to town on Annie spend most of their time between the sheets.
  • He ties her up and brings out the Ben Wa balls in their sexual escapades.
  • For her graduation gift, Charles gives Annie a very valuable first edition book of Origin of Pieces. Annie struggles with whether to accept this gift.
  • Like Christian, Charles is emotionally broken from childhood trauma and won’t allow himself to fall in love with anyone, leaving an in-love Annie frustrated and desperate to fix him.
  • View Spoiler »

But even putting the blatant similarities aside, there was really very little plot to the story. The author tried to inject plot with scenes outside the bedroom, including rock climbing and dancing lesson scenes but it wasn’t enough to be compelling. The sex scenes were numerous, long, and highly descriptive to the point that I began to question whether this was new adult or erotica. Further, Charles’s British dialogue was almost painful to read. His pet names for Annie were strange and archaic—”my termagant”, “my shrew”, and “my harpy”. Charles social status as a viscount was also ridiculous and unnecessary.

I didn’t know this going into the book but rather discovered about 60% in that this was going to be duology. The next installment of Charles and Annie’s story is called How Not To Let Go and will be out later this year.

1 star

* I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

1 Stars
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