Monday, July 9, 2018

[Book Review] The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

The Last Time I Lied blog tour

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager is an intense thriller that will keep you totally immersed while it continuously throws you for a loop! Just when you think you know what's going on, something else will happen that you did not see coming.

Pick this one up on a day off. You won't be able to put it down!

I so incredibly thankful to have been part of the The Last Time I Lied blog tour. I had previously read Final Girls by Riley Sager and I LOVED it. So of course I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one.

Let's dive in!

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Publish Date: July 3, 2018

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager book cover

Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she--or anyone--saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings--massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it's immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp's twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.

Check out the book on Goodreads

My thoughts:
Two truths and a lie-
1) This book was incredibly captivating
2) I enjoyed this one more than Riley's first novel, Final Girls 
3) I cannot wait to see what Riley Sager does next

Spoiler; they were all truths!

I loved this book! From start to finish I was totally hooked!

This book was organized in such a wonderful way; the chapters were split between the present and fifteen years ago when Emma first went to the camp, and they were all told from Emma's POV. Each timeline was so interesting and they were woven together so perfectly. I loved that as the present storyline started to get intense, we were also learning more about the first time she was at the camp in a way that really cranked up the intensity of both timelines. This really kept me flipping the pages to see what would happen next! 

On the long list of things I think Riley Sager is really great at is making the reader feel like we are 
really in the main characters head. I really felt Emma's heartbreak, guilt, and her constant internal turmoil over not having the answers she needed in order to heal. 

I didn't love Emma's character at first. Early on, there were a few scenes where I found myself getting a little irritated by Emma and how, for the lack of a better word, stupid she was was being. However, as the storyline progresses and you learn more and more about what happened in her past, it all starts to make sense. There was one point of the book where I stopped reading and thought, "Oh! This all makes sense now!" I can't wait to reread the book to see how I feel about Emma's character now that I know the full history. 

I really loved that, as a reader, I really got behind all of Emma's theories about what had happened to the girls. The information was presented in a way that made total sense, which made each curveball even more shocking! On a quest for answers in situations, Emma was just so ready to dive wholeheartedly into each theory because it made perfect sense to her up until the last second where she got one more tiny piece of information that made the whole theory fall apart. This process made her a bit unreliable, especially in the eyes of other characters, but it also added to the suspense for the readers! 

There was also a line in the beginning of the book that I highlighted thinking, oh this is definitely going to be important later... and it was. I LOVE when authors foreshadow like this! 

My only complaints about this read were things that I definitely think will be cleaned up before release, so I didn't let them affect my rating. One slight complaint was about all of the typos and grammatical errors. There weren't a ton, but there were enough for me to feel the need to note it. My other complaint was simply the format of the mobi copy I was given. It was really out of whack. 

My favorite passages:

*Please note: some of these passages may have changed in the last rounds of editing before the final copy was released* 

I've heard Randall boast to potential buyers that my surfaces are like Van Gogh's, with paint cresting as high as an inch off the canvas. I prefer to think I paint like nature, where true smoothness is a myth, especially in the woods. The chipped ridges of tree bark. The speckle of moss on rock. Several autumns' worth of leaves coating the ground. That's the nature I try to capture with my scrapes and bumps and whorls of paint. 

My future is quite literally a blank canvas, waiting for me to fill it. 

Fifteen years. That's how long it's been. It feels like a lifetime ago. It also feels like yesterday.

This time around, I went overboard in the sporting goods store, snapping up items with the whirlwind of a romantic comedy heroine in a shopping montage. 

One theory about the girls' disappearance is that they walked to the main road and hitched a ride. To Canada. To New England. To unmarked graves when they climbed into the cab of a deranged trucker. 

He calls to me from the open door of the arts and crafts building. Like Franny's speech, nothing about his voice has changed. Hearing it sends more memories shooting into me. They hurt. Like a quiver of arrows to the gut. 

The tension between us is like a fraying rope, pulled taut, ready to snap.

The flashlight remains off as I indulge myself with a  view of the darkened sky above I'd forgotten how different night is here. Clearer than in the city. Unmarred by light pollution and constant air traffic, the sky spreads out like a vast canvas painted midnight blue and studded with stars. 

Never underestimate the power of positive thinking. 

All those mistakes and humiliations following us as we march inevitably forward. There's no ignoring them.

It's like barbed wire that's been stretched between us - invisible yet keenly felt whenever one of us nudges against it.

Impatience nudges my ribs and shimmies down my legs. 

People always prefer drama over the truth.

In that thin sliver of time, I assume that this is what death must feel like. Not a drift into deep slumber or a slow edge toward a warm light. Just a sudden halt. But then the pain arrives. A screaming, nerve-jolting pain that floods every part of me, telling me I'm still alive. 

Having the truth revealed means you can finally start to unburden yourself of it. 

My final thoughts:
I cannot wait to snag this one in print so I can give it another read! What an intense story! I loved how suspenseful it was, especially toward the end!

Bravo, Riley Sager!

About The Author

Riley Sager is the pseudonym of a former journalist, editor and graphic designer who previously published mysteries under his real name.

Now a full-time author, Riley's first thriller, FINAL GIRLS, became a national and international bestseller and was called "the first great thriller of 2017" by Stephen King. Translation rights have been sold in more than two dozen countries and a film version is being developed by Universal Pictures.

Riley's next book, THE LAST TIME I LIED, will be published in July. It was inspired by the classic novel and film "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and one horrible week Riley spent at summer camp when he was ten.

A native of Pennsylvania, Riley now lives in Princeton, New Jersey. When he's not working on his next novel, he enjoys reading, cooking and going to the movies as much as possible. His favorite film is "Rear Window." Or maybe "Jaws." But probably, if he's being honest, "Mary Poppins."

The Giveaway

More Information
To follow more stops on this tour, check out the Tour Schedule here.

And to snag your copy of the book, check out these links for visit your local indie book shop:
Shout out to Fantastic Flying Book Club giving me the opportunity to participate in the tour and many thanks to Dutton for my ARC.

Thanks for reading!
Have you read any great thrillers lately? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!


  1. Wow, this sounds like a great thriller! I love the way the story bounces between the present and the past.

  2. This is on my to-read list for the fall, it feels like a good fall book!

  3. Oh, I do love a good mystery/thriller. I never did read Final Girls - though I always wanted to - but I'm even MORE excited about this one because it sounds like most people are really loving it.


    1. They're both amazing! I'm just a total sucker for his writing style!

    2. Okay, I'm back to enter the giveaway and to answer your question - I've been getting caught up on the Helen Grace series by M.J. Arlidge which I LOVE so really, all of those books are almost always 5 stars, but especially Liar Liar (that's number 4 I believe...I'm about to start 6).


    3. Wahoo!! Oh I'll have to check those out! Thank you!

  4. I loved this one too! It was 5 disco balls for me ;)

  5. Great post. I've enjoyed reading your thoughts and I will be picking this one up later this month.

  6. I’ve heard lots of great things about this one. I’m starting to get wary of thrillers now. I feel like publishers are throwing them into the world unedited and unpolished just to hurry and make money. I’m unimpressed. I hope this one doesn’t disappoint.

    1. Oh no! I hate when a book feels like a rough draft...

  7. I haven't read a lot of great thrillers lately, but one I really enjoyed in the past was Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas.

    1. I'll have to check that one out! Thank you! :)

  8. I have been reading some fabulous reviews for this one! I haven't read too many five star thrillers lately, so hopefully this can fulfill that void!

  9. Yay I'm so glad you got to be part of the blog tour, that's awesome! I admit I've kinda skimmed your review because I have a copy of the book on its way to me and I don't want to risk being soiled ;) But from the synopsis it does sound amazing. I can't wait to read it!

    1. Good call!! :) I can't wait to read your thoughts!!

  10. My last 5 star thriller was The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando!

    1. Oooh! I'll have to check that out! Thank you! :)

  11. Ok I cannot say for sure at the present that it'll win my five stars, but...

    I am nearing the climax and ending of *Pretty Is* by Maggie Mitchell, and no matter how the plot ends exactly I expect I will be getting it starred up to the fullest on Goodreads, LibraryThing, etc. as soon as I finish. ;-)

    I haven't been able to put it down; it's a fascinating story with characters who interest me. Seriously, if the ending is a hot mess without being hot -- let's say a hideous mess instead -- I'm still hard pressed to imagine how it wouldn't be deserving of at least four stars on the merits 75 or 80% I've read so far. Thanks for this great chance to win! Best wishes, Kara S

    1. Oh!! I'll have to check that one out! Thanks for stoping by!

  12. I loved Final Girls so I'm definitely going to have to check this out. Great review and thanks for the giveaway!

  13. The last 5 star mystery I've read was Greetings from Witness Protection.