Tuesday, September 18, 2018

HIDDEN PIECES by Paula Stokes

Rating: D-
Embry Woods has secrets. Small ones about her past. Bigger ones about her relationship with town hero Luke and her feelings for someone new. But the biggest secret she carries with her is about what happened that night at the Sea Cliff Inn. The fire. The homeless guy. Everyone thinks Embry is a hero, too, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Embry thinks she’ll have to take the secret to her grave, until she receives an anonymous note—someone else knows the truth. Next comes a series of threatening messages, asking Embry to make impossible choices, forcing her to put her loved ones at risk. Someone is playing a high stakes game where no one in Embry’s life is safe. And their last move...is murder.

My thoughts on the book:
I really wanted to like this book. The synopsis had me hooked, and I couldn't wait to dive into it. However, this is one of the lamest "thrillers" I've ever read. The writing is subpar - all telling and no showing, the characters aren't likable, and the mystery/thriller aspect isn't very mysterious or thrilling. The only reason I gave this book a D- instead of an F is because I was actually able to finish it. 

Embry is not a likable character at all. She whines and insults herself constantly. She thinks she's a terrible person all the time, and she sounds like a broken record about it. Because of this, she makes stupid decisions and is too scared to be up front and honest with anyone in her life. There isn't much to respect about her, really. She's not very strong, even though she had been through a lot before the book started. Holden was a nice enough guy, but he changed mid-book, and it didn't really seem to fit. It seemed like two completely different people, and that was jarring... the change was pretty much for no reason, too. No transformative experiences happened to him. The secondary characters are all clichés, so I'm not even going to waste time talking about them. Even the creepo of the story is boring. 

The writing for this book isn't that good. This author didn't actually show anything. No pictures were painted. It was all Embry telling us stuff. There were very few scenes where she wasn't just going on about whatever her problem was for that minute. It was too much in her head and not enough in the outside world. The pacing is ridiculously slow. The person who is asking her to do absolutely stupid things comes up with even dumber "punishments," and there was no edge of your seat feeling to it because the whole concept felt thrown together at the last minute. It was like Jiminy Cricket had gone rogue or something... the whole "just be honest" message was too strong and ridiculous for anyone to buy into. It just didn't feel like a scary situation. It was just stupid. The supposed climax of the storing was boring and ridiculous. The ending was dull. 

Overall, I'd say skip this book. There are a lot of other thrillers out there that have deeper characters, better writing, and a plot that isn't just ridiculous. 

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