Rainy Day's Books, Video Games and Other Writings


the lying game series

Book Review: Seven Minutes in Heaven (The Lying Game #6) 

Rating: 4 stars

Warning: This book review may contain spoilers that are pertinent to the overall plot of the story. Read review at your own discretion. 

My sister wants the truth.

But sometimes the truth hurts.
For months, my long-lost twin, Emma, has been living my life and trying to solve my murder. She’s unearthed dark secrets about my friends, my family, and my tangled past. But when it comes to finding my killer, she keeps running into dead ends.

Until my body shows up in Sabino Canyon. Suddenly everyone knows there are two girls who look like Sutton Mercer – and that one of them is dead. At first the police assume the body is Emma’s. But as questions and accusations start flying, it’s harder than ever for Emma to keep playing me. The truth is bound to come out eventually. And when it does, Emma will be suspect number one in my murder investigation. If she can’t find my killer before time runs out, she’ll end up behind bars… or worse.

This book is my favorite overall in The Lying Game series. I enjoyed it because Shepard really picked up the pace of the story. But she did it in a way that didn’t rush the plot forward and made it enticing enough for me to finish reading within a couple hours from when I started. It was to the point where I couldn’t put this book down until I learned who killed Sutton and why. 

Along with being well-written, it was a very emotional book too. As you follow Emma on her journey to discover her twin’s killer, you as the reader begin to feel like you’re a part of their lives. In many ways, the reader is very similar to Sutton because we are also on the sidelines watching all of this unfold and can’t do anything to help Emma find the killer. But we are just as much a part of her journey as Sutton. We experience everything Emma feels and find ourselves feeling emotionally involved in the story. So when all of the pieces finally come together, you are both happy and sad. Happy because Emma is finally getting answers, but sad because the one person she trusted so much since she came to Tucson turns out to be the person who hurt her the most. You experience her pain when the family she’s come to know and love kick her out because they think she’s responsible for Sutton’s death. You feel sympathetic to Emma because she’s had to work for everything she has and it still isn’t always enough. And these emotions make you want to continue reading to see if Emma gets the happy ending she deserves. 

It turns out the person who killed Sutton is the person I suspected from the beginning. This makes me sad because I was really hoping someone else was involved, not the one person she trusted the most and went to when things got really bad. But there are many reasons why I suspected this character. One of the reasons I suspected Ethan’s involvement was because of his reaction to when Emma told him that she wasn’t Sutton. He didn’t seem as surprised as I’d expect, considering all of the information she confided in him through the short period of time they knew each other. I felt like he just accepted her as she was too easily and by being that way with her, he was able to keep his eye on her to make sure she didn’t slip up. I also felt like he was one of the characters in the story who didn’t have a real solid alibi. In the series, Emma suspects everyone around her until she is able to get an alibi from them. Except she never gets one from Ethan, even when she suspected him when they first met. But she doesn’t question him because of the feelings she had for him. It’s because she trusted him that when she discovers Ethan has a file at the hospital in Cross My Heart, Hope to Die, she asks him about it because she thinks he’ll tell her the truth. This file is one of the things that made me suspect him because it shows there’s something wrong with him even though he’s acting rationally. I also suspected him because she conveniently received those notes from the killer when he wasn’t around. He also manipulated himself into her life very easily, which made me question his intentions when I started reading this series. Then, there’s where she wants to look for clues and every time she does, Ethan tells her what she’s doing is dangerous. You think it’s because he wants to protect Emma from harm. But it turns out that’s far from the truth once Sutton finally has a flashback of her last moments. 

I’m sad Ethan killed Sutton because he and Emma were really great together. As a couple, they seemed perfect. Both of them were outcasts with difficult lives, which was why Emma felt like he understood her. He seemed like a great guy who loved Emma very much and was the only person by her side when things really got rough in the series. He was the person she trusted the most to have her back, but turned out to be the person who did her the most harm. Then again, he was the one person she never suspected while she was searching for clues. But I also enjoyed finding out he was the killer because he played the part very well. Emma never doubted Ethan’s love for her because she cared about him so much that she wanted to protect him from being hurt. But it turned out she was the one who needed protection from him. Even though Ethan being the killer is considered a predictable move, I love it because it makes the series come together perfectly. 

The one thing with Seven Minutes in Heaven  I didn’t like was that it ended. I felt emotional after I finished reading this book because it was finally over for Emma. Her real family now knows who she is and she can finally be herself again. It was also really touching to see the tribute Sutton’s friends did for her at her funeral and I was happy to see Emma get the happy ending she deserved. I just enjoyed it so much that I didn’t want it to be over, especially considering the person who killed her sister. But it’s also nice that she’ll finally have a family of her own. 

As a whole, my rating for The Lying Game series is 3.5 stars. I loved the characters, the plot of the story and all of the suspense behind finding out who killed Sutton. I also enjoyed the supernatural element of Sutton being on the sidelines, experiencing flashbacks about the day of her murder because it added a completely different element to the story. But I felt like the set up of each of the books in the series became predictable. I really disliked that in each book, Emma suspected someone of killing her twin only to discover evidence contrary to her suspicions. Then the person she ends up believing to be her killer in the final book is completely innocent and she doesn’t find out until it’s almost too late for her to help herself. Having the books play out this way almost took out the fun of guessing Sutton’s killer, even though I already knew who the killer was and didn’t realize it. It made it that much easier to eliminate people who were just as capable of killing her, which allowed me to continue following my instincts on who I suspected. 

However, I really enjoyed reading this series and am completely glad I stuck with it. I definitely recommend reading it to those who like reading suspenseful stories and people who enjoy young adult literature as much as I do. I know I’ll definitely be reading it again in the future. 

Book Review: Cross My Heart, Hope to Die (The Lying Game #5)

Rating: 3 stars

It’s not easy being me.

But my twin sister has no choice.

When I died two months ago, my killer told my twin sister to become me – or else. Now Emma has it down to a T. She tosses her hair with the signature Sutton Mercer flip and can lead a Lying Game prank with the best of them. She’s even repairing my relationship with my adoptive family. The only thing she hasn’t done is solve my murder.

Then our birth mother, the woman who abandoned us, showed up in Tucson. Emma hasn’t seen Becky in twelve years, but Becky recognizes Emma immediately – as Emma. Is it mother’s intuition… or does Becky know I’m already gone?

Out of all of the books in the series so far, I’d have to say this one is my least favorite. Now, it’s not a bad read or anything. I just wasn’t able to immerse myself into it like I could the rest of the books in the series. But before I talk about why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the rest of the series, I’d like to mention what I did enjoy with Cross My Heart, Hope to Die.

One of the aspects of this series I continue to enjoy is how Shepard develops her characters. In this book in particular, Emma has become close to Sutton’s family. She’s repaired Sutton’s relationship with Laurel to the point where they aren’t arguing anymore. The Mercer family is finally acting like a normal happy family, somewhat. Yes, there are some secrets and lies being told. But they are doing a whole lot better than before. I think the family’s development is important in this book in particular because this book is heavily focused on their family, which is something I do like. When Becky comes to town, you know there’s going to be some trouble. You as the reader just don’t realize how much. 

Along with her character development with regards to Sutton’s family, her friendships also continue to grow and be tested. When Emma allows her twin’s rival to help with a prank, she befriends another person her sister wouldn’t have thought of giving a chance. You’re also introduced to a new girl to the school named Celeste whose character is pretty strange in some ways. She supposedly is very in tune spiritually and warns Emma several times throughout that she’s in serious danger. I really like her character because despite her odd personality, I honestly believe she cares about people even those she’s not friends with. I have a feeling Celeste is going to play a significant role in the final book, though I don’t yet know how that’s going to take shape. 

One of my favorite parts of this book is how it ends. Emma is having a really happy moment with her family when she receives some really bad news, the type of news nobody wants to get. Then the story ends with you wondering how Emma and her family are going to react and how this all plays into what’s going to happen next in the story. I love it because you’re reminded that Sutton’s killer is still out there watching Emma’s every move and that the killer is far from being done with her. 

What I don’t like with Cross My Heart, Hope to Die is that I feel like the plot is really slowing down. Out of all the books in this series, the pace in this book moved too slow for me. It was like Shepard put brakes on this book so that the story wouldn’t move too far along. I didn’t like it because it made me not want to finish this book, even though I really want to know how this all will end. 

But even though the pace was slow, it’s not my least favorite thing in this book. I absolutely hated how mental illness was portrayed through Becky in this book. It’s pretty obvious that she has mental health issues with the way Emma was raised by Becky before she abandoned her. But I feel like the way Becky’s illness is portrayed is really terrible. What made it so awful to me is that she’s never given the help she really needs. In the book, she escapes from the hospital only to find Emma so she can tell her she’s leaving Tucson. She apparently also finds Mr. Mercer to tell him the same thing, yet they are both completely okay with her leaving them despite that she really needs help. Yes, Emma does show more concern for her well-being, but it’s very obvious that neither of them are trying to get her any help. I get with Mr. Mercer that he doesn’t want his wife to know Becky is back, but to me it just seems like he doesn’t care about his daughter’s well-being. He knows she’s very sick, but does very little to really give her the help she needs. 

I also find the portrayal of mental health in this book to be awful because Emma does suspect her mother of killing Sutton at one point. This brings up the stigma that only really sick people with mental health issues are the only ones capable of killing someone, though there’s no way her mother was capable of the crime Emma was suspicious of her committing. And it also uses mental health as an excuse for why people do terrible things, which makes it even harder for people with mental health issues to actually want to get help. This is pretty apparent when Emma finds out Ethan has a file at the hospital and wonders why he kept it secret from her. While I appreciate Shepard writing about mental health, I don’t necessarily think she portrayed it properly. Or in a way where the reader could really sympathize with Becky and understand what she’s going through. 

But despite these problems with Cross My Heart, Hope to Die, I’m still planning on reading the last book in the series. Since the next book in this series is the last one, I’m planning on talking about the series as a whole and give you my thoughts on who I thought could’ve killed Sutton and why. I have a couple people I suspected and really can’t wait to share with you my thoughts on this series as a whole. 

If We Were Having Coffee: The Hours Pass Quickly on Daylight Savings

Woah, it’s been awhile since I’ve done another one of these. Sorry for that, by the way. It’s because I didn’t feel like I had a lot to say. I haven’t really been quite as productive lately, due to being off from work because of Spring Break. But after this week, I feel like I can feel you in a little about what I’ve been up to since I last did one of these posts.

So a couple Sundays ago (I want to say it was the weekend before last week, but not entirely sure), I went to Dreher Island State Park with a friend. We walked around, spent the day there and just had a really good time. I’ll put up some of my pictures below of the trip so you can see some of what I experienced.

This was probably one of my favorite parks to go to along with the other park I went to many weekends ago where I took quite a bit of photos. There was just quite a bit to see at Dreher, and I wanted to share a lot of the photos I took from that trip before I really get started because I enjoyed a lot of the park I captured in these photos. It’s definitely a place I’ll want to visit again soon. 

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you my Spring Break was actually pretty boring. I was mostly at home, hanging around the house. Though I did start picking up Okamiden to play again, hoping to finally beat it after all this time I spent away from it. I also have continued watching Criminal Minds, though I’m sad to announce I’m on the last season of the show that can be found on Netflix. Daylight savings also occurred on my last day at home before I started to work on Monday. I didn’t even realize it was daylight savings until later, but it made sense to me because it felt like Spring Break went by so slow for me until the end. But with my last day off came an unexpected snow that while it didn’t stick was quite a beauty to behold. 

While I knew the snow wouldn’t last, it was a nice beginning to my last morning at home. 

If we were having coffee, I’d also mention I started this new wonderful book series while I was at home called The Lying Game. I know you all already know about it, since I’ve posted my reviews of the books in the series I’ve read so far and quite a few of you liked them. It’s been quite an enjoyable read for me, which completely surprised me. When I first started reading the books, I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy them. But since reading past the first one, I’m happy to say I’ve been enjoying what I’ve read of them so far. I know I still have two more books in the series left to read, which I haven’t had the chance to do since returning to work, but I’m really looking forward to them and seeing how the author ends the series. 

Speaking of work, one of our co-workers had a job interview this week and it sounds like she’s been offered the position. This means now her position will be available and while it’s not exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life, I might consider looking into it. But I think before I do that I want to talk to her when I go into work this week and find out more about it. Because if it’s a full time position and I can work during the summer, I just might consider it. I need a job this summer and if this job is something I can do where I make more money, why not try it and see? But first, I need to talk to her first and get the answers I need before doing anything at all about it. 

Before I’m done with this post, I’d like to quickly thank everyone who reads/follows my blog. Earlier in the week, my blog reached up to 100 followers, which is something I take pride in. I know when I first started this blog, I wasn’t completely sure how I was going to go about creating it. I had a very basic idea of what I wanted to write about, but no exact plans of how I was going to make it all a reality. Now, I feel like everything has fallen into place and it’s become more than I expected from it. In many ways, I feel like I’ve created a home here on WordPress, made out of words waiting to be shared with like minded and welcoming individuals. Since being here, I’ve received nothing but kind words and acceptance from those who’ve commented on my posts and those whose blogs I’ve enjoyed. And I always find myself inspired to continue writing on here even on my darkest of days. 

And it’s all thanks to you. Because as long as someone reads my work and enjoys what they see, I want to continue writing. So thank you for taking the time out of your busy days to read my blog. Your welcome to come back anytime and leave a comment too, if you’d like. I promise I won’t bite. 

But now I think it’s time for me to go. I really have nothing new to say and should probably be getting ready for the St. Patrick’s Day party I’ll be going to at 6:30. But I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend and chat with you soon! 

Book Review: Hide and Seek (The Lying Game #4)

Rating: 4 stars

My friends and I used to play lying games. Now my twin sister is living one.

When I was alive, my family seemed picture-perfect. My adoptive parents adored me, and my little sister, Laurel, copied my every move. But now that my long-lost twin, Emma, has taken my place to solve my murder, we’re both learning just how flawed my family really is.

Laurel is shooting Emma nasty looks and sneaking around with my ex-boyfriend. And it turns out my parents are keeping a huge secret – could it be the reason I’m dead?

How far would they go to keep the truth buried? No one can harm me now, but Emma is still fair game. And if she’s not careful, she’ll end up buried, too…

Like the rest of the series, I found Hide and Seek to be such an enjoyable read. After ruling out Thayer as Sutton’s killer, some of those she holds dear become the next suspects on Emma’s list. Each has a potential motive for killing Sutton, but when Emma finds out what they’ve been hiding, she learns more about her and her twin than she knew before. But knowing these truths helps her realize there just might be someone she never expected to be behind Sutton’s death. 

I like this book in the series for different reasons than its predecessors. For one, you learn more about Emma and Sutton’s family, secrets you didn’t expect to uncover about their mother and how Sutton’s adoptive parents are connected to her. I like how this is included in this book in the series because we as readers actually don’t know too much about their family at all. I also think it gives this story more character development because Sutton continues to grow as a person when she realizes how little effort she put in to try to connect with her family. I honestly think family is the central theme in Hide and Seek because as Emma begins to bond with Sutton’s parents, she forms a stronger connection with them, which opens up to her being able to have a family to call her own for the first time. I find it to be a part of the story I truly enjoy because family is one of the most important things to me. So I’m rooting for her to finally have a home to call her own. 

Another aspect in this book I enjoyed is that there were a lot of surprising moments I didn’t see coming. These moments in the story made me want to continue reading in order to see Emma and Sutton’s reactions to what was going on. You discover the secret Sutton’s parents are keeping and how it reveals a new suspect to them that we all didn’t expect, someone who plays an important role in this series. 

I find with each page I read how much I love Shepard’s writing. The story is intense, full of mystery whenever it needs to be and she does a wonderful job of bringing detail through the flashbacks we experience. I find them to be interesting because she does a good job using them to bring new information to light. What I do wonder with them though is if Emma experiences them too, or if Sutton is just slowly recalling memories to unlock her murder. From what you read, I don’t think Emma is a part of those moments, since Emma and Sutton can’t communicate on their own right now. It’ll be interesting though as I get closer to the end of the series to see how Shepard decides to end Sutton’s part of the story. 

The one thing with Hide and Seek I don’t like is the same thing I don’t like with the rest of the series. The reason I hate this pattern so much is because I feel like she’s revealing a little too much to us. Because with each person eliminated as a suspect, we have less of a chance in feeling surprised when the suspect is finally revealed to us. It also makes these books a little predictable too because the reader already knows to suspect the person Emma and Sutton are suspicious of to be innocent of the crime committed. However, there is still a good side to this too. We get to know these people a little better, watch their character develop as the story reaches its climax. We get to better understand why this character is important in Sutton’s life while watching Emma learn something new about her lost twin everyday. It also eliminates people she knows, taking us one step closer to the actual killer. So while at times this pattern can be so predictable, it does have its benefits too. 

However, despite this one flaw in this book/series, I’m still enjoying it and can’t wait to see what befalls Emma next. It’s definitely been worth the read to me. 

Book Review: Two Truths and a Lie (The Lying Game #3)

Rating: 4 stars

Sutton Mercer watches from the afterlife as her long-lost twin, Emma Paxton, takes over her identity to solve her murder. But after ruling out her early leads, Emma still hasn’t found Sutton’s killer. A lot of people wanted her dead—but one name keeps popping up: Thayer Vega. When the gorgeous and mysterious Thayer returns to town, Emma has to move fast to figure out whether he’s back for revenge…or if he already got it.

When I first started reading this series, I wasn’t sure how I was feeling about it. The Lying Game was an intriguing read, but it lacked direction and character development, making me wonder if deciding to give this series a chance was a mistake. But I continued on anyway, knowing I could call it quits if I felt the need. Never Have I Ever upped the ante, bringing with it stronger writing, the character development The Lying Game was missing, and moving the plot further in ways I wasn’t expecting. As a reader, you finally could see where Shepard wanted the story to go and we’re looking forward to go on the journey. 

With Two Truths and a Lie, I still feel like the story continues to be enthralling. In this book, Madeline’s mysterious brother Thayer returns to town. While Emma doesn’t know too much about him, she’s heard of him and is immediately suspicious of him. She wonders whether he’s involved with her death, doing whatever means necessary to figure out what connection he has with Sutton the night she’s murdered. 

What I like about this book in the series is the reader gets introduced to Thayer and learns more about him. He’s someone we don’t really know too much about so it’s exciting to see him reappear and see how everyone reacts to his return. It’s also good he’s come back because you learn he’s with Sutton briefly on the night she’s killed and that it’s possible he could hold the key to who killed her. I also like his character because he’s the bad boy guy in this series.  You can also tell from the flashbacks that he had a strong connection with Sutton, to where you have a better understanding of his character and all he’s gone through to get to the point where he decides to return. 

I continue to enjoy Sutton’s flashbacks. They provide an interesting perspective on the characters. And when she has one, I always wonder what we’re going to see, what piece of the puzzle that’s Sutton’s death will be revealed. I also like that she’s been going through her own development while these events unfold. While Sutton was alive, it’s clear she didn’t cherish the life she had. But since her death, she seems to realize her own shortcomings and becomes better because of it. 

I also continue to enjoy the plot in this series. I think it’s continuing to move forward in incredible ways, bringing plenty of conflict for the reader to want to read more. It’s also well-written because I’ve yet to truly figure out who killed Sutton. I have a couple potential suspects in mind, but want to wait and see how this series ends before voicing them aloud.

I still don’t like Emma and Sutton’s process of elimination when it comes to who killed her. While it intrigued me because we get to learn more about the people Emma suspects killed Sutton, her suspects are never solid, sure picks. In many ways, suspecting these people has begun to show signs of Emma being paranoid because she feels like she can’t trust anyone around her. But then she finds a small amount of proof, believing she’s cleared someone’s name and everything becomes all right in her universe. Until she stumbles upon more information that makes her paranoid all over again about someone else. I don’t think this is the best way for Emma to find her sister’s killer, though I understand there’s only so much she can do to find this person without putting other’s lives at risk. But I think this is the pattern in this series, from what I’ve read so far. 

Even with this key issue for me, I still really enjoyed reading Two Truths and a Lie. It was a page turner that just kept me going because I want to find out what really happened to her and how this series will ultimately end. 

Book Review: Never Have I Ever (The Lying Game #2)

Rating: 4 stars

My perfect life was a lie.

Now I’d do anything to uncover the truth.

Not long ago, I had everything a girl could wish for: amazing friends, an adorable boyfriend, a loving family. But none of them know that I’m gone–that I’m dead. To solve my murder, my long-lost twin sister, Emma, has taken my place. She sleeps in my room, wears my clothes, and calls my parents Mom and Dad.

And my killer is watching her every move.

I remember little from my life, just flashes and flickers, so all I can do is follow along as Emma tries to solve the mystery of my disappearance. But the deeper she digs, the more suspects she uncovers. It turns out my friends and I played a lot of games–games that ruined people’s lives. Anyone could want revenge . .. anyone could want me–and now Emma–dead.

When I finished reading The Lying Game, I initially wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue reading this series or not. But after reading Never Have I Ever, I realized this is a story I want to continue. 
This book is so much better than its predecessor for a number of reasons. For one, the story telling has drastically improved, almost as if Sara Shepard already had a plan in motion of what she wanted her characters to do next. I found myself following Emma and Sutton along on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what would happen next. 

The characters are another reason I want to continue reading this series. In The Lying Game, Shepard did a horrible job at developing them in a way that made me want to learn more about them. However, in Never Have I Ever, she truly brings the characters to life via Emma’s dialogue with Sutton’s friends. In this book, I felt like Shepard did a really good job of making these characters more relatable to where I understood their problems and wished I could comfort them. She made me feel really sympathetic to them, which made me want to continue reading. 

The mystery surrounding Sutton’s death also drew me further into the story. I felt like the flashbacks Sutton experienced helped better understand her character while also helping eliminate potential suspects to her murder. So far, every person Emma suspects killed her twin has been proven wrong, making you want to continue reading to find out who her killer could be. 

What also makes me interested in wanting to continue reading this series is the amazing progress Shepard has made in moving the plot of the story along. A lot happened to Emma in this book than in the first one that added excitement to the story. The amount of conflict that occurs really spices things up, to where you think you have it figured out, but then another suspect is eliminated. This all makes you wonder whose going to appear in this series next, which is both exciting and annoying.

The reason I find this annoying is because there are so many people who could’ve killed Sutton. While I find it nice Emma has been able to eliminate some people as being her sister’s killer, I feel like we still aren’t anywhere close to getting the right suspect. This worries me because I’m concerned that this could drag the series on in a way to where I’m not going to want to read it anymore. I also think that even though she’s been able to eliminate some people, she should still be suspicious of them anyway, because they still have a motive, even if Emma and Sutton don’t see it that way anymore. 

Another thing I don’t like is how this book ended. I hate that she ended this book with a cliff hanger, because now I feel like I need to know what happens next. 

But despite these two things, I really enjoyed reading Never Have I Ever  much better than The Lying Game. I hope the next book in this series is just as good because I can’t wait to read it. 

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