ARC Review: Girls’ Night Out by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

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description

For estranged friends Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren, it’s time to heal the old wounds between them. Where better to repair those severed ties than on a girls’ getaway to the beautiful paradise of Tulum, Mexico? But even after they’re reunited, no one is being completely honest about the past or the secrets they’re hiding. When Ashley disappears on their girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren have to try to piece together their hazy memories to figure out what could have happened to her, while also reconciling their feelings of guilt over their last moments together.

Was Ashley with the man she’d met only days before? Did she pack up and leave? Was she kidnapped? Or worse—could Natalie or Lauren have snapped under the weight of her own lies?

As the clock ticks, hour by hour, Natalie and Lauren’s search rushes headlong into growing suspicion and dread. Maybe their secrets run deeper and more dangerous than one of them is willing—or too afraid—to admit

review

**** Thank you to Lake Union Publishing for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review ****

Trigger Warnings: Abuse

I’m always up for a good mystery/thriller in the summer so this book set in Mexico about three women’s “girls’ trip” seemed perfect! While I enjoyed reading this one and it kept me hooked until the end I wasn’t as shocked or thrilled by it as I expected to be. Overall an okay read but nothing new and nothing that blew me away.

PLOT

The overall drive of the book is around Ashley’s disappearance and the two other women, Natalie and Lauren, who are searching for her. The story is told in alternating POVs and timelines switching between Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren respectively as well as their POVs before Ashley’s disappearance. I personally really liked the jumping back and forth here, I thought it added more suspense to the narrative and kept me reading! Though I could see some readers being annoyed by this or have a hard time trying to follow it.

Along with the search for Ashley we also get to see the events leading up to her disappearance as well as the purpose of the entire trip: for the three women to all make amends and bond closer together. Mostly this entails Natalie and Ashley arguing about a big decision for their shared company and Ashley and Lauren arguing about a fight they had over a year ago. This was a part of the story I didn’t enjoy so much, after initially discovering what exactly each woman was fighting with the other about it was just tedious watching them argue about the same thing over and over again. On top of that the discovery of these “secrets” wasn’t all that shocking, there wasn’t anything “good or juicy” so essentially there weren’t many plot twists. I felt like the authors could have found something a bit more interesting for them to all disagree about.

One of my biggest let downs with this book was the ending, it was extremely unsatisfying. I mean I read the entire book to find out what happened to Ashley thinking there would be this grand twist that would blow my mind and all I got was THIS? Obviously I won’t discuss what THAT actually was but it was not surprising or clever at all. When I spend my time on a mystery/thriller I want to be surprised at least once! This just ended up making me feel like I wasted my time!

I did really enjoy the setting though the whole “vacation in Mexico” was really interesting. My favorite part was when they visited the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and we got to hear a little about it from the tour guide, so neat!

Overall I did really enjoy the writing, it kept me reading and the pacing was fairly even as well. Also the way the story unfolded was very interesting even if the ending disappointed me. I would give these author’s another try for sure, it’s just this one wasn’t the biggest hit for me.

characters

This is easily a very character driven story since we enter the head-spaces of all three characters at different points during the trip and the focus is more so on them than anything. Once again there wasn’t anything that was really impressing me, I thought they were all kind of…whiny.

Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren are all on this trip with the purpose to reconcile their friendship but run into a few struggles with letting things go. I personally started to get really irritated with them by the end of the book, they were acting like children. The stuff they were all arguing about may have been a big deal and it made sense for them to be upset but their reasons behind “not wanting to give in” were ridiculous. And when I say ridiculous I mean it, their reasons made ZERO sense! It made me want to tell them to grow up and act like adults and quit holding grudges.

Apart from all of that I didn’t find much to like about any of the characters especially Ashley. She seemed to be super self absorbed and manipulative, which can make for an interesting character but the potential there was lost. To be honest I don’t know WHY Natalie or Lauren wanted to reconcile their friendship with her, she seemed to be a kind of crappy friend. Overall though they were all pretty spoiled and immature, so maybe they were all perfect for each other.

Then there was the addition of Marco, a local who ends up snatching all of Ashley’s attention away. He’s also charming and manipulative and adds tension to the group since Ashley keeps insisting he accompany them or ditching the group to hang out with him. Also Ashley is married, hmmmmm. Once again though I felt the potential Marco held as a character to shake things up a bit was wasted and there are so many unanswered questions about him, I was super upset with this!

My favorite characters were the sweet hotel receptionist, Maria, and Marco’s dog, Spencer. We see them a grand total of like 6 times but she was a nice lady and dogs will always win out for me! I find this sad that I was more impressed by these minor characters than the main ones, but oh well.

in conclusion

What I Loved:

  • Even pacing
  • The setting especially the inclusion of Mayan ruins
  • Interesting writing
  • Different POVs and alternating timeline

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Immature, whiny characters
  • No great plot twists or reveals
  • The ending was unsatisfying and very disappointing
  • The characters arguing about the same two things the ENTIRE book

RECOMMEND

Overall this book was straight down the middle for me with the good and bad weighing out pretty evenly. I will say if you’re looking for a more character focused mystery/thriller and want a fun setting then look no further, though I will say I wouldn’t look forward to any giant twists or anything like that!

Links: Goodreads / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Amazon

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The Sassy

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7 thoughts on “ARC Review: Girls’ Night Out by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

  1. stephaniesbookreviews July 25, 2018 / 1:48 pm

    Totally agree with you! These characters were just awful and the “twists” and secrets were so disappointing. I did like the alternate timelines, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek July 26, 2018 / 2:00 pm

      Yes, thank you haha it’s so good to know I’m not the only one thinking that! I was extremely disappointed with the “twists” they just didn’t have enough of a shock factor but yeah the alternate timelines and POVs made things interesting at least! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Norrie July 25, 2018 / 10:11 pm

    I was interested in this one, but based on your review i wouldn’t enjoy this too much. 🤔 I don’t mind tge occasional whiny character but i can’t take a whole book filled with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek July 31, 2018 / 12:23 pm

      I feel the same way, these three women were too much for me to handle unfortunately. Glad I could save you some precious reading time though! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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