Book Review Tuesday: Shari Lapena, @BalroopShado

Hello, and welcome to another day of book reviews. As always, you can find the blurb for each by clicking the Amazon link at the end of the review.

I hate it when I can’t recommend a book on BookBub, and unfortunately, that happened with one of my favorite auto-buy authors last week. I was thankful my remaining reads for the week counterbalanced the first.

Book cover for Someone We Know by Shari Lapena shows silhouette of someone crossing a leafy neighborhood street at nightI’ve read everything Shari Lapena has written. Her novels The Couple Next Door and An Unwanted Guest remain two of my favorite books, but Someone We Know fell short for me. The premise—a teenager secretly hacking into his neighbors’ computers and discovering secrets—sounded like an awesome plot, unfortunately that’s not the main focus of the novel.

The book opens with a brutal murder and “whodunit” quickly takes center stage. No problem, I like a good murder mystery—except the murderer is pretty easy to peg from the start. Along the way, the reader is treated to the tangle of lives that make up the small neighborhood where the victim lived. There are illicit affairs on top of illicit affairs, each tied (in some manner) to the woman who was murdered. Lapena sets up several false trails and paints several characters with a gloss of suspicion. There is an unexpected “bonus” twist at the end I didn’t see coming. Had the author left it at that, I probably would have given this book 4 stars (it was slow getting started).

What I found problematic was the second murder. I couldn’t swallow the motive behind it or the fact the killer would even commit the crime. Toss in a plot thread that is hinted at throughout the book, but left wide open at the end, and I was disappointed overall—especially after reading Lapena’s earlier work. She remains a talented author who I will continue to follow. I just hope her next book is a step above this one. 3 Stars.

Amazon Link
Genre: Domestic Thrillers

Book cover for Moments We Love, Poetry by Balroop Singh shows flower petals and heart, all in pastelsMoments We Love
Balroop Singh

I find reading poetry extremely relaxing. It’s not something I read frequently, but when I do, I enjoy the moods verse conjures. Balroop Singh weaves words like a tapestry, In Moments We Love she touches on multiple aspects of love, the people we love, and events which shape our lives. Divided into three sections: Moments of Love, Moments of Harmony, and Moments that Make Life, each segment is supported by poems matching the theme.

Each reader will find verses that resonate with them. Plenty stood out for me but my two favorites have to be Do You Remember? and Spring Memories.

From Do You Remember:

Do you remember the days?
When we played with clouds,
Rolled in colors,
Wore them around
Drenched and smiled
When we splayed colors at each other.

The imagery throughout easily transports the reader to the setting or moment in time the author conjures. Some are filled with whimsy and wonder, others with melancholy, but all are beautifully rendered. 5 Stars.

Amazon Link
Genre: Poetry

I also managed one other book during the week—one I have been waiting on the release for a very long time. I didn’t have time to write an adequate review but hope you will join me tomorrow when I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Black Crow Speaks. Until then, I wish you happy reading and hope you found my reviews helpful!

45 thoughts on “Book Review Tuesday: Shari Lapena, @BalroopShado

    • I will definitely continue to auto-buy Shari Lapena’s books, but this one was disappointing for me. Especially given An Unwanted Guest and The Stranger Next Door were so engrossing and well constructed.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I like the idea that you’re honest about your reviews. I understand that it’s hard to keep things fresh after several books, and don’t fault an author for not living up to a previous hit. Some of those benchmarks are hard to reach again.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Despite her latest, Shari Lapena is still one of my favorite authors and will remain an auto-buy for me.I’m just glad I didn’t buy this one in hardback like I did with An Unwanted Guest!

      And you’re right about Balroop’s poetry. I found her vibrant use of language beautiful and relaxing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Even my auto-buy author’s strike out once in a while. Last year, I had one put out a book that I abandoned after several chapters which is highly unusual.

      It’s nice Balroop’s latest is getting good buzz. She has such a way with words.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry your favorite author disappointed you, but I think it happens for almost every author I follow and love. I guess we all get off track somewhere once in a while. But that doesn’t mean her next book won’t be wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree completely, Judi. With Shari LaPena, I think I set the the bar so high after An Unwanted Guest and The Stranger Next Door. She did write another book which was so-so for me, and this one fell into that same kind of territory. I will, however, definitely be buying whatever she releases next!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Holly! I read it in two days, so it definitely held my interest. It also had a lot of good points, but when I examined the story over all….well, I’m sure you know where the problems arose.;-)

      I’ll still be devouring whatever Shari releases next!

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!


  3. I am delighted to know that my poetry resonated with you Mae. Many thanks for such a beautiful expression: “weaves words like a tapestry.” Poetry has taught me to soar with the words, holding my hand it takes me into the clouds, which lend their tranquility but I seek light behind them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Book Review: Black Crow Speaks @FrederickAnder2 #shortstories | From the Pen of Mae Clair

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