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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • Unbelievable plot.

    Another book that received rave reviews from my fellow readers. I really wished that I could share all that enthusiasm. This one did not work for me. Although the plot was intriguing, I did not think it was well written. It was very repetitive, especially with 2 POV. At the end I thought that the story line was way too unbelievable. The fact that none of the characters are likeable did not bother me. The main character is quite annoying. Fortunately it is a fast read, and if I was able to finish it was mostly because of my curiosity.

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    3 person found this review helpful

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  • Danger around every corner

    A Stranger on the Beach has an engaging, appealing premise. The stranger on the beach watching Caroline’s lavish new beach house becomes a one-night stand, and then an obsessive stalker. Her daughter is distant and her marriage is falling apart. Sounds like a good start for a thrilling story. However, I found the characters and the thin, rather obvious plot to be much less engaging and appealing – and thrilling – than the premise. There is a lot of action in this book and you will wonder where the danger will come from next. You won’t be able to put it down until you know what’s really going on. The POV jumps between Caroline and Aiden. Their stories are very, very different. Someone is not telling the truth – or is delusional. But rather than speed up and add suspense to the flow of the story this jumping actually slowed things down without providing any insight. So you are left with two totally different versions and no way to try and figure it out until an ending that is rather obvious and just kind of thumps down on you. I wasn’t able to connect or understand or sympathize with any of the characters. They seemed one-dimensional without any real feel. Caroline is the perfect stereotype of the rich, entitled big city woman. Aiden seemed sincere and earnest one minute, crazy and dangerous the next. The rest of the characters weren’t developed well enough to give them more than a passing glance. On the other hand, although I enjoy thrillers and the unreliable narrator, perhaps A Stranger on the Beach was just not my cup of tea. It is a very dramatic tale with a lot of excitement and may be a very good book to read on the plane to your vacation destination or on the beach. Thanks to NetGalley for the READ NOW ARC.

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    2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

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  • Fantastic summer read - a definite page-turner!

    I have been anxious to read this book since I first started seeing people talking about it. My newest trope obsession is the mystery/suspense/psychological thriller category and this book fits that bill to a tee. I hate when I accidentally see comments or spoilers about a book before I read it, so I stayed away from all reviews and discussions and went in blind. And holy wow, I got way more than I bargained for in this book. This story is the perfect example of how deceiving looks can be from an outside perspective. Caroline appeared to have it all, but in spectacular fashion, it all comes crumbling down in front of everyone at their housewarming party. I was fascinated with getting both Caroline’s and Aiden’s point of views in this book. I was fascinated with how completely different Caroline and Aiden’s perspectives are on the same event. Which one is what really occurred? Is one or both unreliable narrators? Michele certainly throws a plethora of twists and turns into this story. Who is telling the truth, who is manipulating who, and can anyone be trusted? I admit there were so many twists along the way, I ended up feeling a little lost and had to reread some parts to get myself figured out and not floundering along. But I couldn’t wait to get to the end to find out what happens!! This book is the perfect summer read. I read it while on vacation visiting family and feel bad now that I ignored them and read instead! Fans of psychological thrillers are going to eat this one up! Many thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advanced review copy of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

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  • Tiresome until the end

    Many thanks to NetGalley, for an ARC in exchange for a book review of A Stranger on the Beach. My thoughts and opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advance copy. Carolyn notices a strange man on the beach staring at her brand new beach house. She notices him again while jogging on the beach. He makes her uneasy. He is gorgeous to look at, but he seems a little dangerous. Carolyn loves her beach house. It has cost a fortune and her husband, Jason, has not been around to enjoy it with her. He has been working a lot lately. But he promises to make time for her at their housewarming party. She has invited absolutely everyone. She is shocked and uncomfortable when the guy on the beach is a bartender for the party, but she brushes it off. Carolyn is more concerned about why Jason hasn’t arrived from the city. She should have hoped for something else. The party is in full throttle when Jason walks in with some Russian floozy on his arm. He tells Carolyn that he has been having an affair and is leaving her. She can keep everything, the house, the money, all he wants is out. Carolyn is in shock. But Jason lied. He emptied their bank accounts and froze their credit cards. She doesn’t have a dime to her name. Distraught, Carolyn finds herself at a local bar in town where low and behold, the handsome stranger from the beach is bartending. He notices her and introduces himself as Aiden. She flirts. Carolyn knows she is too old for him but maybe this is the distraction she needs. Just for one night. But Aiden becomes obsessed with Carolyn. He claims they are madly in love and follows her everywhere. He wants to be her protector. Aiden says he will do anything to help her get her money back from her lousy cheating rat of a husband. Even if Aiden has to kill Jason. This story wore me out. You have the alternating chapters in the double perspective between Carolyn and Aiden. First, I am so sick of this writing technique. It is sorely overused. However, there is one difference from the usual format. Aiden’s account of events is very different from Carolyn’s. Is Aiden so crazily obsessed that he interprets his actions as being heroic and not that of a stalker? At first, I was intrigued. It piqued my interest and was a welcome change. However, when this was still going on 75% into the book, I was just exhausted and confused. Mild Spoiler Alert I’m not going to give away any plot points but it’s a warning nevertheless. So obviously one of them is a liar. Either Aiden or Caroline. You know this because both versions can’t be true. Quickly you’ll be able to figure it out. If you look at a novel like Gone Girl, there is the ability to go back reread it and it stands up. The narrative stands true. While reading this book, I just felt lied to. I don’t like it when the author just, flat out, lies to the audience. It isn’t clever. Also, the book stayed in this stagnant dynamic that you are just waiting for something to make it stop. There were some wishy-washy characters. I found Lynn, Caroline’s sister, really inconsistent. I didn’t believe Aiden at all, especially when the truth is out. I guess either way he was psychotic. Caroline’s daughter - I couldn’t relate to her at all. She felt creepy, weird and very sad and so were her actions. It was a quick and easy read. Maybe I’m just too old, or have read too many of these types of novels, that I just can’t get swept away like I used to. It’s sad to think, but I hope that’s not the case. If you have been following my reviews, you’ll know that I’ve have been wishing for a thriller that I could finally sink my teeth into. This wasn’t it. I will continue on my hunt. If you have any recommendations, please leave them in the comments below. Here’s to hoping the next one will be better!

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  • Who's Reliable?

    I'd read Michele Campbell before, so going in to this book I expected twists and turns, and it definitely delivers. Told from two points of view, it's clear that at least one of them is unreliable - but which one? It kept me guessing until near the end, and even then not all my suspicions were correct. Warning to folks who want their characters to be "likeable" - you probably won't find that here. But since that isn't a high priority for me, I enjoyed this one a lot. I did combine reading with listening to this one, and the audiobook is very well narrated, which added to my enjoyment. I recommend it to those who enjoy a good psychological thriller. My thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing a copy for an unbiased review.

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