Pretty Things
Two wildly different women--one a grifter, the other an heiress--are brought together by the scam of a lifetime in a page-turner from the New York Times bestselling author of Watch Me Disappear.Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet. Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer--traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family's sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: A mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa's past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina. Nina, Vanessa, and Lachlan's paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge. This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.

Pretty Things Details

TitlePretty Things
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 21st, 2020
PublisherRandom House
ISBN-139780525479130
Rating
GenreFiction, Thriller, Mystery, Mystery Thriller

Pretty Things Review

  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    Good news! Nicole Kidman sets to star and produce this books adaptation into streaming Amazon series! Another conning story with full of secret and lies, delicious twists and shocking revelations! Okay! Count me in and reserve my place for this crazy, heart throbbing ride! This is my kind of enjoyable, dark, smart thriller!We have a drifter, Nina Ross, having a chance for con of her lifetime, avenging the Liebling family who treated her mean and unfair and told her she would never be good enough Good news! Nicole Kidman sets to star and produce this book’s adaptation into streaming Amazon series! Another conning story with full of secret and lies, delicious twists and shocking revelations! Okay! Count me in and reserve my place for this crazy, heart throbbing ride! This is my kind of enjoyable, dark, smart thriller!We have a drifter, Nina Ross, having a chance for con of her lifetime, avenging the Liebling family who treated her mean and unfair and told her she would never be good enough for their precious son in the past. Not only for revenge, but also affording her mother’s big C treatment bills, she needs money and her target is family’s shiny social media star Vanessa.We have an Instagram Influencer with admirers, followers swimming around her but she still surprisingly suffers from loneliness and abandonment. She needs real friends. Could it be her con woman also her friend?And don’t forget, we have Irish boyfriend a.k.a partners in crime of Nina, named Lachlan. Can Nina truly trust him for helping her to stick to the plan? Wait for it… He can surprise you!Let the games begin. But be prepared to be fooled and be careful because somebody can pull the rug from under your feet. This book is layered with some many turnarounds and twists. Sometimes you think who is the real con man? The drifters we know or the victim? Sometimes the hunter can turn into a prey and prey can take his place.I mostly engaged with the subjective perceptions and multiple narration parts. The same event was told by Nina and Vanessa from different angles so your mind spins after reading them and it was sometimes really hard to decide who was telling the truth.But when I came to the last quarter maybe because of moving back and forth too many times to catch the back stories, the pacing got a little slower and I didn’t get the surprising, mouth widening, stunning ending. It was a little forced, haphazard. It was not unsatisfying but it was okay not good. So after reading so long and connected with those characters even they have too much flaws, irritating attributes, suffering from their past failures, I was expecting something smarter, moving and shaking me to the core.I still loved the writing style, the way of smart, sarcastic, moving story-telling, partly empathized with the characters. Overall: it can be five stared book but the last parts broke my enthusiasm and I gave 3.5 stars rounded up to 4. Not the best book choice for me but it still pretty good reading and I wanted to read more works of the author.Special thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group to share this fast pacing page turner with me in exchange my honest review.bloginstagramfacebooktwitter
    more
  • chai ♡
    January 1, 1970
    A grifter and an heiress brought together by the scam of a lifetime is the kind of premise I didn't know was missing in my life until I read it. CAN'T WAIT! “A grifter and an heiress brought together by the scam of a lifetime” is the kind of premise I didn't know was missing in my life until I read it. CAN'T WAIT!
    more
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    I watch, I wait. And then, when the opportunity arises, I take.The intriguing premise, along with the attention-grabbing opening penned by Janelle Brown, conned me into thinking this book was something its clearly not. Her words engaging enough to string me along for the arduous trek laid out across 496(!) pages. The occasional hint lending itself to a satisfying payoff to come. As if. Brown and her publisher managed to pull off a much more successful con-job with the marketing of this novel I watch, I wait. And then, when the opportunity arises, I take.The intriguing premise, along with the attention-grabbing opening penned by Janelle Brown, conned me into thinking this book was something it’s clearly not. Her words engaging enough to string me along for the arduous trek laid out across 496(!) pages. The occasional hint lending itself to a satisfying payoff to come. As if. Brown and her publisher managed to pull off a much more successful con-job with the marketing of this novel than Nina’s pitiful heist touted in the synopsis. Readers meet Nina all glammed up and mid-scam. At one time, she had dreams of being more than a grifter like her mother. Those optimist notions long gone, and with no other way to pay the bills, Nina dons her mom's title: thief. Nina and her casual boyfriend, Lachlan, survive by stealing antiques and other valuables from unsuspecting Instagram flaunters. Until the day a dreaded knock on her door drives them out of L.A. for the foreseeable future.From this point, the setting, feel, and entire trajectory of the novel shifts. And not for the better. With one final scam in mind, Nina returns to Lake Tahoe and the dreary Stonehaven mansion after twelve long years away. The grand plan is to rent the antique-riddled guest cottage on the Stonehaven property. All in the hopes they can gain access to the main house and the safe hidden somewhere within the expansive floor plan. Lachlan (now Michael) plays the part of a writer looking to pen his next masterpiece, while Nina (now Ashley) puts her yoga skills and need for zen on display. And this is where Vanessa comes in. Vapid, Instagram influencer, Vanessa makes the return to her wealthy family’s Lake Tahoe mansion after an awakening of sorts. Following the death of her father and the rescinding of her fiancé’s proposal, Vanessa ghosts her dwindling followers for a time, in search of a life with more meaning. Or so she says. Desperate for attention and love, Vanessa finds herself enchanted with her guests, Michael and Ashley. No doubt, one more than the other. Little does she know, Ashley was once her troubled younger brother’s girlfriend, Nina.There are some poignant moments of clarity where the author’s writing shines, but for the most part, the happenings here are not enough to overcome the wordy and overly detailed delivery. The majority of the novel is bogged down by internal monologues, repetition courtesy of the dual perspectives, and incessant descriptions of Stonehaven. Which quickly veers into boring territory. Out of sheer curiosity, I took it upon myself to check, and Stonehaven is mentioned 179 times throughout the book. Overkill, in any situation, I’d say. Regardless of what the synopsis alludes to, at its core, this book is a slow-burning character study. Not the fast-paced thrill ride that Nina’s first few chapters promise. Purely a nod to Brown’s cleverly worded passages throughout this lackluster novel, I’m considering checking out some of her earlier work. A concession not typically made for experiences I rate this low.*Thank you to Random House for providing early access in exchange for my honest thoughts.
    more
  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars"New money, suit and tieI can read you like a magazineAin't it funny? Rumors flyAnd I know you heard about meSo hey, let's be friendsI'm dyin' to see how this one endsGrab your passport and my handI can make the bad guys good for a weekend"-Taylor SwiftNina and her boyfriend Lachlan are grifters, Vanessa is an heiress and their worlds collide in Lake Tahoe. Nina grew up moving constantly as her Mother followed Marks and did whatever she could to support them. Nina tried to have a 9 to 5 3.5 stars"New money, suit and tieI can read you like a magazineAin't it funny? Rumors flyAnd I know you heard about meSo hey, let's be friendsI'm dyin' to see how this one endsGrab your passport and my handI can make the bad guys good for a weekend"-Taylor SwiftNina and her boyfriend Lachlan are grifters, Vanessa is an heiress and their worlds collide in Lake Tahoe. Nina grew up moving constantly as her Mother followed Marks and did whatever she could to support them. Nina tried to have a 9 to 5 job using her Liberal Arts degree but when her Mother's mounting medical bills begin to pile up, Nina teamed up with Lachlan, an acquaintance of her Mother’s, for a few cons before deciding con a mark in Lake Tahoe that they both believe will provide a HUGE payoff. Vanessa is an heiress who is also an Instagram Influencer. She travels the globe, wears pretty clothes and has a glamorous life that is posted for the world to see and comment on."...there are only so many hours in the day that one can read before one starts to feel like one's mind is literally melting inside one's skull"I'm going to have to disagree with the above quote and add that maybe if the characters in this book spent more time, say reading, then they would not be dealing with the stuff they are dealing with....but I digress...The first half of this book was a slow burn for me. Lately I have been reading books that don't really grab me until the 50% mark which is exactly what this book did. Slow burn then *BAM* things began to get interesting - very interesting. There are a nice amount of twists and turns thrown in at the end. This is a long book and I might have enjoyed it more had it been a little quicker to grab me and not quite so long. But overall, I found this to be an enjoyable ride as the Con and the Mark both prove to be worthy adversaries.Slow burn which turned the tables fast, became quite intriguing and had me turning those pages lightening fast at the end to see how this book would wrap up!I received a copy of this book from Random House Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.*Traveling Sisters Group read
    more
  • Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars round up to 4This cover is gorgeous!! I must admit that is what initially drew me to this book. This book started out really strong the first couple of chapters. I defiantly was drawn right in as Nina seemed to be a hardcore player in this game she was playing- stealing from the wealthy. Then we seem to hit a speed bump and stay in low gear until about the 65% point in the book. I actually considered setting this book aside right before it picked up. Then we flew into high gear again 3.5 stars round up to 4This cover is gorgeous!! I must admit that is what initially drew me to this book. This book started out really strong the first couple of chapters. I defiantly was drawn right in as Nina seemed to be a hardcore player in this game she was playing- stealing from the wealthy. Then we seem to hit a speed bump and stay in low gear until about the 65% point in the book. I actually considered setting this book aside right before it picked up. Then we flew into high gear again and I was thinking well this is what I wanted from page one!A great deal of the book is spent highly developing the two main characters- Nina and Vanessa. Vanessa is a wealthy, Instagram "it" girl who is famous for ...well nothing...you know the type.Then we have Nina...Nina is a con artist. She learned from the best...dear old mom. When her mom no longer can hustle people due to her cancer diagnosis, Nina steps in. Like mother, like daughter right? We get a full look at Nina's background and we see that if Nina had not made one little mistake, her life might have turned out quite differently...or would it? That is the million dollar question. What we do know is that after 12 years, Nina wants to settle the score. This book was just a tad too long and too slow of a burn for me. However I did enjoy it, I was just glad that it picked up speed towards the ending. There were several twists towards the end- some I saw coming and some I did not. Overall I enjoyed this book but it didn't have me floored or speechless at the end. I think someone that doesn't read as many thrillers as I do may rate this quite a bit higher. I was just looking for a bit more action.Thank you so much to Random House for this ARC.
    more
  • Nenia ❤️️ I hate everything you love ❤️️ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestYou all know that I don't give books five star ratings unless I really, really loved it. PRETTY THINGS wrested all five of those stars from my miserly fingers, kicking and screaming like a woman in a bar fight telling you to "lay off her man." The title is really clever because while one of the heroines (there are two) makes it her business to steal pretty things, both of them are "pretty things": young woman who, in their own way, have Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestYou all know that I don't give books five star ratings unless I really, really loved it. PRETTY THINGS wrested all five of those stars from my miserly fingers, kicking and screaming like a woman in a bar fight telling you to "lay off her man." The title is really clever because while one of the heroines (there are two) makes it her business to steal pretty things, both of them are "pretty things": young woman who, in their own way, have been done dirty by society and are trying to find their way back.Our first heroine is Nina, the daughter of a con-artist and a bit of a con herself. With the help of a much older boyfriend, she runs her own version of THE BLING RING: she uses Instagram to see which local minor celebrities are flashing cash, and then she worms her way into their lives and robs them. Her latest target is a woman named Vanessa who comes from old money, but acts like your typical nouveau riche influencer jet-setter, vapid, and shallow, and utterly materialistic. Which is annoying, of course, but Nina's interest is much more-- shall we say-- personal.Vanessa, as I said before, comes from money, but more money means more problems. Vanessa has a lot of problems. Messed-up family, all kinds of personal issues, and an almost pathological desire to be adored. She's tried to fill that void with all sorts of things and the young married couple who comes to rent her summer cabin-- artsy and bohemian in a sanitized, clean way that is very much non-threatening to her aristobrat aesthetic-- seems like it might be just the thing.But it's not. And just when you start to think you have everything figured out, Janelle Brown throws curveball after curveball in your direction until you can't help but wonder: who's conning who?So obviously I loved this book. Any book that reminds me of Gillian Flynn is a clear win, and Janelle Brown's morally gray protagonists are some of the clearest parallels I've encountered in a while. They were both doing very bad things, but you could totally understand where they were coming from and why they were doing the things they were doing, even if you didn't agree. The writing is absolutely gorgeous and I felt like each woman stood out as a separate entity, whereas far too often in multi-POV stories, they end up sounding like facsimiles of the same individual (i.e. the author). You know it's going to be an intense story from the very beginning-- it literally opens up with a body in the lake-- but honestly, despite having read hundreds of mysteries in my thirty-so years of being, I didn't know what was going to happen in the book until the very end. And that was a delight. I love being surprised. I love it even more if it doesn't feel like a cheap "out" to make me feel surprised. Anyone who likes morally gray protagonists or Gillian Flynn is going to love this book. I would definitely read more from this author in a heartbeat, especially if she writes more "poor little rich girl" stories about elite drama and dirty family secrets. Please, and thank you.Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 5 stars
    more
  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    I rarely award commercial fiction with five stars. This is a notable exception. Pretty clothes, shoes, jewelry, hair, make-up, and glamourous photo shoot locations epitomize the life of a young heiress. But, living your life online is not very pretty particularly when you need to be validated by virtual strangers. The vapid superficiality of being an internet influencer becomes apparent after a broken engagement which sends the heiress scuttling back to her familys antique-stuffed Lake Tahoe I rarely award commercial fiction with five stars. This is a notable exception. Pretty clothes, shoes, jewelry, hair, make-up, and glamourous photo shoot locations epitomize the life of a young heiress. But, living your life online is not very pretty particularly when you need to be validated by virtual strangers. The vapid superficiality of being an internet influencer becomes apparent after a broken engagement which sends the heiress scuttling back to her family’s antique-stuffed Lake Tahoe pile. Enter another young woman (and her sketchy boyfriend) whose life hasn’t panned out as she had hoped and the scene is set for a con job promising a big payout. This is a thriller containing commentary about social media, mental illness, and the disparity between the haves and the have-nots. Unexpected and unexpectedly believable.
    more
  • Norma * Traveling Sister and proud Grandma!!!
    January 1, 1970
    Stunning cover, twisty, and clever!The cover of PRETTY THINGS by JANELLE BROWN is initially what attracted me to read this book, isnt it pretty? JANELLE BROWN delivers a slow-burning, character-driven, compelling, and well-written read here that really intrigued, engaged, and entertained me. It was a little bit slow going at times but the authors fabulous writing definitely captured my attention and drew me right in keeping me fully absorbed in this deceitful and cunning tale. Plus there were Stunning cover, twisty, and clever!The cover of PRETTY THINGS by JANELLE BROWN is initially what attracted me to read this book, isn’t it pretty? JANELLE BROWN delivers a slow-burning, character-driven, compelling, and well-written read here that really intrigued, engaged, and entertained me. It was a little bit slow going at times but the author’s fabulous writing definitely captured my attention and drew me right in keeping me fully absorbed in this deceitful and cunning tale. Plus there were some pretty surprising and thrilling reveals that definitely got my adrenaline pumping moving this story forward for me.The story is told in alternating perspectives between our two main sinister characters here, Nina our con artist and Vanessa an Instagram influencer. The connections and dynamics between these two women really surprised, intrigued & captivated me. I never really knew who to trust or believe. Each of these women brought their own unique and distinct voice to the narrative which I was equally invested in. I was really surprised with the direction this book took and had me questioning multiple plot points in the end.I’m not sure if my perception of what was going on in the end with a certain character was all wrong or if my deliberations were correct. I can hardly believe that I am saying this because I am not a deep reader at all, I’m more surface but this one totally had me digging deep and discussing it in our Traveling Sisters group. Brenda thinks I was overthinking things! I’d love to have a conversation with the author!Update: So I had a conversation with the author and while she said that I made an interesting case I was overthinking things a little bit. LOLExpected Publication Date: April 21/20 This was a Traveling Sister read. Thank you so much to NetGalley, Random House, and Janelle Brown for an electronic ARC.
    more
  • Brenda -Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsJanelle Brown is joining us for a spoiler-free Q & A in our Behind the Pages Goodreads group April 30! Norma and I picked up on some different things and went down two different paths so we have some questions for her! We are looking forward to finding out more about this one and Janelle's writing process. You can find the thread here https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...Nina is working her most dangerous scam here and Vanessa, an heiress, is her mark. They are two very different 3.5 starsJanelle Brown is joining us for a spoiler-free Q & A in our Behind the Pages Goodreads group April 30! Norma and I picked up on some different things and went down two different paths so we have some questions for her! We are looking forward to finding out more about this one and Janelle's writing process. You can find the thread here https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...Nina is working her most dangerous scam here and Vanessa, an heiress, is her mark. They are two very different women who have something in common and things are not so pretty here for them. They are not very likable at all, but each had an interesting back story to them, that had me feeling a bit of sympathy for them both. The pace was slow for me in parts and then fast in other parts. At times some parts of the story felt like those packing peanuts that are used for filler and surround that anticipated package you are waiting for. You have to weed through some filler to get to the good stuff and that weighted down the story for me. I think that is where Norma and I went in different directions with not sure what was a clue or important to the story or not, or maybe were red herrings to throw us off. The thing I loved about the story the most was Vanessa's connection to her brother Benny, and I would have liked him to have filled up some of that filler space instead of what felt like packing peanuts to me. There are some surprising twists here, some interesting ones and some that I figured out along the way. Overall I was entertained by them all, and in the end, it's all about the good stuff, and I like the way the story wrapped up, and it all worked for me. I received a copy from the publisher on NetGalley.
    more
  • Diana
    January 1, 1970
    "Wealth is a Band-Aid, not an inoculation; and if the disease runs deep enough, it will cure nothing at all."Two very different women ... one is a con artist and the other an heiress and Instagram Influencer. Both women are on a course of destruction and soon to collide when they meet.The story alternates back and forth between Nina and Vanessa. The characters are flawed but believable and keeps you engaged. Nina is always looking for the next big con by tricking billionaires out of their money. "Wealth is a Band-Aid, not an inoculation; and if the disease runs deep enough, it will cure nothing at all."Two very different women ... one is a con artist and the other an heiress and Instagram Influencer. Both women are on a course of destruction and soon to collide when they meet.The story alternates back and forth between Nina and Vanessa. The characters are flawed but believable and keeps you engaged. Nina is always looking for the next big con by tricking billionaires out of their money. Vanessa is a trying to be a socialite and her family money is dwindling fast soon after she inherits the family estate in Lake Tahoe. Nina wants to run another high-stake scheme in order to pay for her mother's expensive cancer treatments and Vanessa is now her target. With the help of Lachlan, a friend of her mother, they set out on a dangerous scam together. But will they succeed? Or do they get the short end of the con? The more you read the more you begin empathizing with all of them to the point that you cheer for each of them to succeed with their cons and revenge.This is not a thriller, but it does offer enough twists to keep a you interested and going to the very end. At almost 500 pages, it's a long and very slow burn, but I didn't get bogged down by the length at all. Readers that like Gillian Flynn and Ruth Ware will devour this book. Definitely add this to your 2020 TBR list!A special thanks to Janelle Brown, Random House and NetGalley for this ARC.
    more
  • Jamie beauty_andthebook_
    January 1, 1970
    Mark my words - Pretty Things will be a hugely popular book in 2020 - it has all the trappings of a buzz book right now - social media influencers & backstabbing relationships - BUT, the key factor here is the writing. Janelle Brown has crafted a story that will hook readers from page one and entertain and engage them through the absolute final page. Told in alternating perspectives and timelines, we meet Nina and Vanessa - a con artist and a rich influencer. But the connections these two Mark my words - Pretty Things will be a hugely popular book in 2020 - it has all the trappings of a buzz book right now - social media influencers & backstabbing relationships - BUT, the key factor here is the writing. Janelle Brown has crafted a story that will hook readers from page one and entertain and engage them through the absolute final page. Told in alternating perspectives and timelines, we meet Nina and Vanessa - a con artist and a rich influencer. But the connections these two have might surprise you and at a minimum, will intrigue & captivate you. Each woman is so finely written that they offer their own voices and becoming truly distinct individuals. Upon finishing Pretty Things, I immediately ran to check out all of Brown's backlist and will be eager to see what she does next! Thank you to Random House for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.
    more
  • Dennis
    January 1, 1970
    I'm hearing amazing things about Janelle Brown's upcoming novel, Pretty Things , so of course I had to bump it up on my TBR. I'm so glad that I did because it was awesome! Pretty Things is my first venture into the world of Janelle Brown's writing, but now I think I may have to read her previous works. I've heard Watch Me Disappear was fabulousconsider me intrigued! Pretty Things has all the makings of a great psychological thrillerunreliable narrators, deception and con-artistry, and all I'm hearing amazing things about Janelle Brown's upcoming novel, Pretty Things , so of course I had to bump it up on my TBR. I'm so glad that I did because it was awesome! Pretty Things is my first venture into the world of Janelle Brown's writing, but now I think I may have to read her previous works. I've heard Watch Me Disappear was fabulous—consider me intrigued! Pretty Things has all the makings of a great psychological thriller—unreliable narrators, deception and con-artistry, and all the juicy drama that follows flawed human interactions. The two point-of-views throughout the novel are Nina and Vanessa. Nina and her partner (both professionally and romantically) are con artists that make a fortune tricking arrogant billionaires out of their money. Nina takes care of her ailing mother, but is worried that police are out to get her. As her and her boyfriend Lachlan escape, they duo decides to go after someone that has wronged Nina back when she was a teenager—Vanessa Lieblings. Vanessa is an Instagram influencer and heiress to the financial company The Lieblings Group—her father is very successful and Vanessa has lived the life of privilege and opportunity. Nina is ready to take advantage of this opportunity and make her pay for everything. What did Vanessa do to Nina and will Nina succeed or has the Lieblings family been waiting for her all this time?This book was great and I really enjoyed the art of conning that Nina and Lachlan provided in Pretty Things . It was so entertaining and made me want to read more about characters who do these horrendous things to innocent(ish) people. You may notice that I didn't give it 5-stars and that is solely because the book is almost 500 pages and maybe 150-175 pages too long. The book goes into full detail of items that could've been completed on one point-of-view and we didn't need a rehash by both of them. The pacing is the legitimate only reason why I didn't give this book a perfect score. That being said, Pretty Things is definitely a contender for one of the strongest releases in 2020. So I think we can say that I am very happy about picking up this novel. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Now, should I pick up Watch Me Disappear?
    more
  • Chelsey
    January 1, 1970
    Ninas mom has been hustling her whole life to make ends meet. It seems inevitable that Nina will follow in her mothers footsteps and when her mothers cancer comes back and treatment costs are expected at over $500k, Nina knows she needs to up her game. Several years earlier, she and Lachlan connected and started working scams together. When Lachlan suggests getting out of town and hitting a rich family in Tahoe, Nina knows the perfect target. One of her many hometowns in high school included Nina’s mom has been hustling her whole life to make ends meet. It seems inevitable that Nina will follow in her mother’s footsteps and when her mother’s cancer comes back and treatment costs are expected at over $500k, Nina knows she needs to up her game. Several years earlier, she and Lachlan connected and started working scams together. When Lachlan suggests getting out of town and hitting a rich family in Tahoe, Nina knows the perfect target. One of her many hometowns in high school included Tahoe and there, she developed an unlikely friendship with Benny. Benny is a Liebling - an incredibly wealthy family and essentially an American aristocracy. Nina has held animosity against the Lieblings since they humiliated her and ran her and her mother out of town over a decade ago. Taking on new names and personas, Lachlan and Nina go to Tahoe and rent a cottage on the Lieblings property. Vanessa, Benny’s older sister, now runs the manor as both her parents are deceased. Coming off a breakup and desperate for validation, Nina and Lachlan see an easy target. Full of surprises, unexpected twists and backstabbing, this novel was unputdownable. Told from the perspectives of both Nina and Vanessa, it was hard to know who was the villain and who was the victim. The writing was excellent and it was easy to get lost in the pages. Absolutely pick this one up!!!Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
    more
  • Selena
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free e-copy of Pretty Things by Janelle Brown from NetGalley for my honest review.This book is a story about two women, Nina and Vanessa. Nina, who was raised by a single mother. Life was never easy for them and money was always scarce. Vanessa was born into a family of old-money. Life was always an advantage for her. Their lives end up intertwined when Nina decides that Vanessa will be her next person to con. A wonderful book of mystery and intrigue!
    more
  • Denise
    January 1, 1970
    What a fiendishly clever book of double-crossing and revenge! After my initial perusal of reviews of Pretty Things, I think I was expecting a raging thriller filled with crazy twists and turns, and while there are some twists, it was definitely not exactly what I was anticipating, as the book is a slow-burn, thick with shifty grifters (which, by the way, before reading this book, I had no idea what a grifter was!) and Instagram Influencers, neither of which generally make for a super compelling What a fiendishly clever book of double-crossing and revenge! After my initial perusal of reviews of Pretty Things, I think I was expecting a raging thriller filled with crazy twists and turns, and while there are some twists, it was definitely not exactly what I was anticipating, as the book is a slow-burn, thick with shifty grifters (which, by the way, before reading this book, I had no idea what a grifter was!) and Instagram Influencers, neither of which generally make for a super compelling reading; however, it was one of those books that I when I read the last page, I felt a sense of sadness that I was saying good-bye to this group of sorry misfits. The story mainly focuses on two women - Nina and Vanessa - both of which are running their own scams. Nina, an antiques buyer and seller, who has turned to running cons in order to pay for her mother's cancer treatment; and Vanessa, who, although her family money is dwindling, she is still trying to keep up appearances as a glamorous Instagram Influencer. Their lives are connected in ways that neither one thinks the other one will remember, and they both blame the other for their messed-up lives, and in turn, they go after one another with determined, calculating precision. I thought Brown did a superb job of entwining both storylines and characters. At first pass, both women seem beyond shallow, but the more the plot builds, the more you begin empathizing with them both, to the point that I found myself rooting for each of them to succeed with their revenge plots.The ending, although somewhat predictable, still satisfied me in so many ways! I did think the storyline was a bit drawn out, but it was so well-written that I can forgive the length. I also really enjoyed the subtle nuances correlating unhappiness and and an obsession with social media. Overall, such a riveting, brilliant read. 4 grifter-happy stars for me!
    more
  • Melike
    January 1, 1970
    What a fun book and engaging book!!! We have Nina and her boyfriend Lachlan who are grifters, Vanessa the heiress who is an Instagram influencer, and sweet Benny who is Vanessas brother all embroiled together in this thriller. I loved every minute of Pretty Things, it was an entertaining page-turner with many twists and turns. Even though I didn't like all the characters, they were real and interesting. The descriptions of Lake Tahoe and Stonehaven were written so well, I felt like I was the one What a fun book and engaging book!!! We have Nina and her boyfriend Lachlan who are grifters, Vanessa the heiress who is an Instagram influencer, and sweet Benny who is Vanessa’s brother all embroiled together in this thriller. I loved every minute of Pretty Things, it was an entertaining page-turner with many twists and turns. Even though I didn't like all the characters, they were real and interesting. The descriptions of Lake Tahoe and Stonehaven were written so well, I felt like I was the one staying in that old and creepy mansion with Vanessa. Thank you to Net Galley and Random House for providing me with an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
    more
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    The characters, setting and story are delightfully woven to form a compelling and entertaining thriller. SUMMARYNina watches and waits. She studies social media to find what people have and where they have it. When the time is right, she and her boyfriend, Lachlan take what they want. Nina learned grifting from the best. Her mother was a con artist, hustling where she could to give her daughter a decent childhood. But now her mother is has cancer, and Nina is running her most audacious, The characters, setting and story are delightfully woven to form a compelling and entertaining thriller. SUMMARYNina watches and waits. She studies social media to find what people have and where they have it. When the time is right, she and her boyfriend, Lachlan take what they want. Nina learned grifting from the best. Her mother was a con artist, hustling where she could to give her daughter a decent childhood. But now her mother is has cancer, and Nina is running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet to pay for her medical care. Vanessa is a an Instagram influencer with half a million followers. She is traveling the world, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But in real life Vanessa is struggling. Her life has been marked by tragedy. After the death of her father and a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven. It’s a mansion on a Lake Tahoe full of dark family secrets. It is here that Nina, Vanessa, and Lachlan’s paths collide and nothing goes as planned. REVIEPRETTY THINGS is a clever and compelling novel. The writing is fast paced and the story keeps your head in the book. It’s interestingly structured alternating between Nina and Vanessa’s viewpoints. It also ricochets between Los Angeles and Lake Tahoe. My favorite part were the innumerable twists, and the various side stories, like Vanessa’s brother and Nina’s mother, and the impact they had on the story. I really liked the development and uniqueness of all the characters, they really brought the story to life. I also appreciated the setting in Lake Tahoe and learning more about the lake. It’s a place I have never been, but would love to visit one day. The characters, setting and story blended well to form a satisfying and entertaining book. Author JANELLE BROWN is the author of Watch Me Disappear, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and This is Where We Live. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Publisher Random HousePublished April 21, 2020Review www.bluestockingreviews.com
    more
  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    m just here to add to what Jordy, @beauty_andthebook_ @scaredstraightreads have already said about this one because it was just as amazing as they all said it was! This has everything a great psychological thriller needs, unreliable narrators, twists, lies and most importantly, fantastic writing. The author weaves the most delicious tale of deceit and betrayal and I cant even wait for everyone to read this one next month! ’m just here to add to what Jordy, @beauty_andthebook_ @scaredstraightreads have already said about this one because it was just as amazing as they all said it was! This has everything a great psychological thriller needs, unreliable narrators, twists, lies and most importantly, fantastic writing. The author weaves the most delicious tale of deceit and betrayal and I can’t even wait for everyone to read this one next month!
    more
  • Alaina
    January 1, 1970
    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.OMG, Pretty Things was AMAZING guys! I love all kinds of mystery thrillers when I'm work.. which is weird to say it out loud but it works. This was a fun ass rollercoaster ride that had me on the edge of my seat until the very last page.In it, we meet Nina and Lachlan. Nina has a once in a lifetime chance at revenge.. well, a con.. but I still considered it revenge. Mostly because this family, the Liebling's, did her dirty I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.OMG, Pretty Things was AMAZING guys! I love all kinds of mystery thrillers when I'm work.. which is weird to say it out loud but it works. This was a fun ass rollercoaster ride that had me on the edge of my seat until the very last page.In it, we meet Nina and Lachlan. Nina has a once in a lifetime chance at revenge.. well, a con.. but I still considered it revenge. Mostly because this family, the Liebling's, did her dirty and I was all for her going out and getting even. Then with her partner in crime, Lachlan, how could things go wrong?I was all for them and everything that happened between them. Even all the twists and turns throughout this book. I couldn't put it down because I just wanted to know what the heck was going to happen on the next page. I'm honestly impressed by how I kept up with everything. I am the WORST detective when it comes to these kind of books. The worst. It's a fact and I'm never going to lie about it. Not going to lie, my head was definitely spinning and swirling around and around but I enjoyed it. Overall, I loved this book. I definitely need another one by Janelle stat.
    more
  • Suzanne thebookblondie
    January 1, 1970
    Pretty Things by Janelle Brown (#25 in 2020)Thank you to @bluntscissorsreviews for sharing your ARC with me! I saw Jennifer post about Pretty Things, we talked about how much she loved it, and then she offered to send me her copy to borrow! This, my friends, is why Bookstagram is such a wonderful place JNina Ross is a self-proclaimed con-artist. Shes a liar and a cheat, but she does have some morals. She knows that she only does this to get by and to help her needy mother. While Nina may be Pretty Things by Janelle Brown (#25 in 2020)Thank you to @bluntscissorsreviews for sharing your ARC with me! I saw Jennifer post about Pretty Things, we talked about how much she loved it, and then she offered to send me her copy to borrow! This, my friends, is why Bookstagram is such a wonderful place JNina Ross is a self-proclaimed con-artist. She’s a liar and a cheat, but she does have some morals. She knows that she only does this to get by and to help her needy mother. While Nina may be ready to change herself and her lifestyle, she realizes she has one more job to do—a job that emotionally ties her present to her past.Does anyone remember when celebrities were being robbed blind? I’m talking big time celebrities having expensive antiques, handbags, and jewelry stolen from their homes? I remember it being a big deal in the news. Well this book is definitely that, but the mystery isn’t a “whodunit” style; the mystery is more revolved around the process and the secrets that are revealed along the way.Nina’s character was dynamic from the beginning to the end of the story. As a con-artist, Nina wears many different hats and is constantly morphing to suit the situation she finds herself in.  As a reader, I found it hard to determine who the real Nina was, but I enjoyed that aspect all the same.Who do I need to call to make this book into a movie? It had the perfect number of twists and turns. It also had enough context clues to help an avid reader unpack the mystery without giving too much away. There were a few surprises that I totally wasn’t expecting and some that I figured out early on, but I was so eager to keep reading to uncover the big picture. 5 starsNow there was one thing I felt “meh” about, but it didn’t take away from how much I enjoyed this book:I might be a weirdo, but am I the only one who doesn’t always want an epilogue? When it comes to a thriller, I feel like I prefer to end with the same suspense that was felt throughout rather than find out what happens after. I honestly could have read Pretty Things without the epilogue and been just as satisfied. How do you feel about epilogues?
    more
  • Jordy’s Book Club
    January 1, 1970
    A great female 2-hander that feels like GRIFTERS meets INGRID GOES WEST. Its wicked and sharp in a way that reminded me of Riley Sager's THE LAST TIME I LIED with two flawed complex female characters one-upping each other with deceit. I though it was sharp and complicated and deliciously fun. A great story of family and inheritance. A great female 2-hander that feels like GRIFTERS meets INGRID GOES WEST. It’s wicked and sharp in a way that reminded me of Riley Sager's THE LAST TIME I LIED with two flawed complex female characters one-upping each other with deceit. I though it was sharp and complicated and deliciously fun. A great story of family and inheritance.
    more
  • MicheleReader
    January 1, 1970
    Rated 4.25 starsPretty Things is a good old-fashioned con story set in the current world of social media where peoples lives are so transparent that they can become easy marks. We meet Nina Ross, daughter of a lifelong grifter. Nina strived for a legitimate life but got pulled into the world of scam artists by her mother. Working with boyfriend Lachlan, they cleverly bilked Los Angeles uber-wealthy of valuable possessions. As their next victim, they set their sights on the wealthy and fabulous Rated 4.25 starsPretty Things is a good old-fashioned con story set in the current world of social media where peoples’ lives are so transparent that they can become easy marks. We meet Nina Ross, daughter of a lifelong grifter. Nina strived for a legitimate life but got pulled into the world of scam artists by her mother. Working with boyfriend Lachlan, they cleverly bilked Los Angeles’ uber-wealthy of valuable possessions. As their next victim, they set their sights on the wealthy and fabulous Vanessa Liebling, an heiress turned Instagram influencer. Vanessa has just returned to Stonehaven, her family’s estate in the mountains of Lake Tahoe. Nina/Lachlan transform into Ashley/Michael and inject themselves into Vanessa’s life gaining her trust and friendship. While “Ashley” pretends she has never been to the area, the real Nina is returning to the scene of great pain from her years as a lonely teenager. She has revenge on her mind. The story is told from the perspectives of each woman, both dealing with the damage of family sins and lies. This cat and mouse game has many twists and turns which makes for an entertaining and suspenseful read. Many thanks to Goodreads and Random House for an advance copy of this highly original book.Review is posted at MicheleReader.com
    more
  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    Pretty Things by Janelle Brown is one to add to your 2020 TBR list! I was so excited to have a chance to read and review her upcoming novel because I loved Watch Me Disappear whenever I read it a while back. Pretty Things features Nina Ross, a grifter who was raised by her Con Artist mother, Vanessa Liebling, an heiress turned Instagram influencer and Lachlan who is Ninas partner in crime/boyfriend.To earn money to pay for her mothers cancer treatments, Nina and Lachlan move to Lake Tahoe and Pretty Things by Janelle Brown is one to add to your 2020 TBR list! I was so excited to have a chance to read and review her upcoming novel because I loved Watch Me Disappear whenever I read it a while back. Pretty Things features Nina Ross, a grifter who was raised by her Con Artist mother, Vanessa Liebling, an heiress turned Instagram influencer and Lachlan who is Nina’s partner in crime/boyfriend.To earn money to pay for her mother’s cancer treatments, Nina and Lachlan move to Lake Tahoe and target Vanessa for their latest scheme. It turns out that Nina has a history in Lake Tahoe with the Liebling family and the book tells this backstory. Vanessa Liebling, although everything seems wonderful via instagram – is actually lonely and eager to make friends.I won’t give any spoilers but suffice it to say there are secrets exposed; double crosses; and a number of surprises throughout the novel. Although this book was 496 pages long – the writing was really good and I quickly found myself unable to stop reading. This book was a 5 star read for me! I absolutely loved it. This book publishes on April 21, 2020 by Random House LLC. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
    more
  • Donna Davis
    January 1, 1970
    Nina is a second generation grifter, a talented thief that uses social media to spot and follow the conspicuously wealthy, then set up an opportunity to rip them off. But now Nina has gone straight; her college education has made it possible to earn an honest living. However, her mothers chemo bills are stacking up, her mom too weak to find and execute her own ten-finger specials, and so Nina finds herself back in the game. My thanks go to Net Galley and Random House for the review copy. This Nina is a second generation grifter, a talented thief that uses social media to spot and follow the conspicuously wealthy, then set up an opportunity to rip them off. But now Nina has gone straight; her college education has made it possible to earn an honest living. However, her mother’s chemo bills are stacking up, her mom too weak to find and execute her own ten-finger specials, and so Nina finds herself back in the game. My thanks go to Net Galley and Random House for the review copy. This book is for sale today. Vanessa Fucking Liebling is an heiress, a spoiled daddy’s girl that has found an avocation as a social media influencer. She thinks nothing at all of dropping tens of thousands of dollars for a single dress that she will wear once; she is courted by upscale manufacturers of women’s clothing, accessories, and you-name-it, and she flies free of charge to famous cities around the world with a small coterie of women like herself, the chosen ones that have the Instagram followers that make their endorsements so valuable. But when her father dies, Vanessa soon learns that the money problems he’s tried to tell her about are indeed real. With her party budget in the crapper and a schizophrenic brother to look after, Vanessa ditches the New York fashionistas and heads to the family’s vacation home, Stonehaven, located in Lake Tahoe, California. She is about to come nose-to-nose with destiny. Our two protagonists, Nina and Vanessa, are featured alternately in the first and third person respectively; in addition, we catch snippets of their earlier lives and the critical events that have molded them. Though Nina is a crook, I find her easier to like and bond with than Vanessa. Nina, despite her dishonesty, cynicism, and the immense chip on her shoulder, is an underdog, a scrappy fighter determined to better herself and to take care of her mama. She isn’t a violent offender, and the marks she steals from are so filthy stinking rich they hardly notice the loss of a wristwatch here, an antique vase there. It’s hard not to feel that if the world were a fairer place, the dilettante wouldn’t have that much stuff to start with, and Nina wouldn’t have to scramble to get by and take care of her sick mother. Vanessa, by contrast, is a much harder sell. Brown develops the hell out of this character, showing her gradual awakening as she realizes how shallow her entire existence is, and how devoid she is of any true friends. At first I am having none of it. Poor little rich girl indeed; cry me a river! But Brown keeps chipping away at my resistance, and eventually I see Vanessa as a flawed human being with problems, rather than a rich person that deserves whatever karma comes her way. My first book by this author was Watch Me Disappear, a glorious work of suspense that kept me enraptured till the last twenty percent, at which point I was consumed by dismay. Therefore I read this book with avidity, and yet at the same time I am on the alert, wondering if this story will also be resolved with a you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-me ending. My fears prove groundless. The main storyline as well as the smaller bits all come together in a way I find deeply satisfying. The ending is a complete surprise. My one small criticism at the outset was the schtick about Nina’s mother’s chemo. It’s been done, and done again, and done again. I’m thinking I’d like the story better if she would just let the grifter be a grifter, rather than carrying on about poor, dying mom. However, there’s an additional twist at the end that I did. Not. See. Coming. In the end, this book is the total package. I wouldn’t change a single thing. Highly recommended. Get this book now!
    more
  • Courtney
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fantastic book! I breezed through these 500 pages at an incredible pace. This is one of those page turning thrillers that will keep you wanting more, so be sure to read this when you have lots of time on your hands.Superb plot building and very intriguing characters. A must read for those a fan of thrillers and plot twists.Thank you Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for an ARC of this novel to read and review
    more
  • Rebecca Minnock
    January 1, 1970
    Nina Ross is a grifter, just like her mom. She didn't have a lot growing up, they were always on the move.Vanessa, heiress of a family fortune, is a famous instagram influencer. Everyone loves her, but her smile hides a past filled with tragedy.Nina & Vanessa's lives become intertwined as part of a long con. Excellently written, with an intricate plot full of twists, I loved absolutely everything about Pretty Things. I highly recommend picking it up!
    more
  • Vonda
    January 1, 1970
    A captivating, fun suspenseful read. It's got so many plot twists which makes it so enjoyable and surprise! Nothing bad happens so it makes it a fun book for everyone!
  • Bandit
    January 1, 1970
    First off, this book is long, too long. Thats why it took me a while to pick it up. I dont think books (and especially thrillers) should exceed 400 pages, 300something being the ideal. Any more than that seems overindulgent, not to mention it risks slowing down the momentum of suspense. And having that been said, if a suspense thriller must be 500 pages long, it should be done by someone as talented as the author. Which is to say, sure the books s pretty long, but oh boy, its so well written. First off, this book is long, too long. That’s why it took me a while to pick it up. I don’t think books (and especially thrillers) should exceed 400 pages, 300something being the ideal. Any more than that seems overindulgent, not to mention it risks slowing down the momentum of suspense. And having that been said, if a suspense thriller must be 500 pages long, it should be done by someone as talented as the author. Which is to say, sure the book’s s pretty long, but oh boy, it’s so well written. Maybe it’s because Brown comes from a literary field, before venturing (understandably) into the ever trendy ever so popular and lucrative female thriller genre. Maybe she’s just a natural storyteller. But this book read so well. Yes, it does have all the basic premises of the genre…female leads, alternating perspectives, twists. And yes, it isn’t entirely original, the concept of grifting a scion of wealth and privilege only to have emotions get in the way. But it is done right. Or mostly so. The two main protagonists, our narrators, are Nina and Vanessa, as different as literature can spawn. Nina, the daughter of a low rent scamming mother, is someone who has tried to be good, to follow the rules, but all it got her is a useless BA, crappy job and a huge debt. Enter Lachlan, a charismatic Irish con artist her mother introduces her to, and suddenly Nina’s art degree isn’t so useless after all, it can help her locate and liberate objects d’art from the obnoxious baby oligarchs touting their wealth on Instagram for all the world to see. Vanessa was born to old world money, she owns an estate that has a name and yet she herself hasn’t amounted to much in life outside of being an Instagram celebrity, so when a series of family tragedies leaves her in charge and more or less alone, she retreats to Stonehaven and is completely alone in the world. So easy to take advantage of, especially by someone who knows of a safe with a million dollars in it, knows Vanessa, knows her entire family and, more importantly, has held a grudge against them for many, many years. And so the games begin. The very modern sort of games, powered by Instagram and social media in general. This isn’t a duet, though, it’s a trio, Lachlan is very much present, and everyone’s got their own agenda. And all the agendas are self serving. And everyone is oh so pretty, but only at a first glance. The title refers to the layers beneath, the secreted away ugliness of lies and liars who tell them. And every character but one in this book is a lying liar, wrapped up in their own lies. Although some have more redeeming qualities than others. This is so obviously a book about the beneath of it all, it starts with telling the readers about Lake Tahoe, so immense it’s easy to disappear there forever, beneath the forbidding waters. The lake also serves as a sort of Chekov’s Gun, you know how the book’s going to end, there will be a body to feed the waters. Not to mention it provides a nice atmospheric setting for the story, a seemingly idyllic location where natural beauty hides dangers. Obvious? Maybe, but very effective all the same. The only thing that was obvious and didn’t quite sing for me is Vanessa’s character. Not all that likeable, kind of an idiot, much too vapid. The author tried to give her dimensionality, certainly, but at best she’s a cliched sad and lonely pretty girl with too much money and not enough character. You might be sorry for her, at times, but she is difficult to actively like or care about as oppose to Nina, who is a genuinely compelling character and you kind of just want it to be her story, no split narrative necessary. Or maybe I’m too tough on Vanessa and her silver spoon life, she kind of redeems herself in the end. But either way, no matter where you stand on this dueling opposites, you want to know how it all plays out, you get really drawn into the story. It’s exactly what a good literary thriller should do. So yeah, as much as I don’t enjoy overly long books, this one was a genuinely enjoyable read. Thoroughly entertaining with some really interesting meditations of the power of social media or more like the amount of power people give over to it and at what cost. Very nicely done. And a very good introduction to a new author for me, an author I’m definitely interested to read further. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
    more
  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    Pretty things was 3.5/4ish ⭐ for me.The cover of the book drew me in and the first few chapters about Nina I was invested. She seemed like a bad ass con artist and I loved it.Then it became a slow burn for me. It went back and forth between Vanessa and Nina with a lot of character development and I felt like repeated paragraphs.I thought about putting this book down a few times but then finally I got 70% of the way through and the drama and twists started picking up and I was left with a pretty Pretty things was 3.5/4ish ⭐️ for me.⁣⁣The cover of the book drew me in and the first few chapters about Nina I was invested. She seemed like a bad ass con artist and I loved it.⁣⁣Then it became a slow burn for me. It went back and forth between Vanessa and Nina with a lot of character development and I felt like repeated paragraphs.⁣⁣I thought about putting this book down a few times but then finally I got 70% of the way through and the drama and twists started picking up and I was left with a pretty solid, epic ending.⁣⁣If you don’t mind slow burns, the intrigue is there and it is worth a read, just takes a little while.⁣⁣Thank you @netgalley and @randomhouse for an ARC for my honest review. #netgalley #prettythings #bookstagram
    more
  • A.M.G. ☮Hippie/Fantasia☮
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3.1 / 5My final thought on this, simple though it is, is that "I didn't really like it".At the beginning, things seemed promising, compelling as the summary would suggest. The setup is great: a heist is being planned by Nina and her boyfriend, Lachlan, to rob millionairess Vanessa blind--well, not completely, but rob her of a high enough sum that it'd be tempting to anyone who has things like student loans, medical bills, and rent to pay. Shifting perspectives between Nina and Vanessa, Rating: 3.1 / 5My final thought on this, simple though it is, is that "I didn't really like it".At the beginning, things seemed promising, compelling as the summary would suggest. The setup is great: a heist is being planned by Nina and her boyfriend, Lachlan, to rob millionairess Vanessa blind--well, not completely, but rob her of a high enough sum that it'd be tempting to anyone who has things like student loans, medical bills, and rent to pay. Shifting perspectives between Nina and Vanessa, we likewise get an interesting back-and-forth opportunity to get to know both of them intimately, and as such get different views of the same story and shared history.However, things go downhill fast, and I can more or less split the book 50-50 on what's wrong in the first half that's off-putting, and what's wrong in the second half that's a complete turn-off--for me, at least.In the first half, basically, ALL you've got is background and setup. Literally, the first 200 or so pages are just the backstories of Nina and Vanessa, and then some overlapping chapters wherein we get their minute thoughts of their first meeting, with notices of small things like their hair, outfits, teeth, whatever. And while this paints a very clear picture of what we can expect from each character and where they're coming from, it really dragged on for far too long to be enjoyable. If the author had cut this section down by even 50 pages (although I would just halve it to 100, to be honest), then it would've been more enjoyable. As it was, near the 160 mark or so I was just skimming to get it over with already and have something happen in the modern day rather than in the past.And then, post-200, some action does finally happen, but the only way to sum it up is that "it's all wrong". A couple of "twists" do take place, some of which I didn't see something, but just because something is unexpected doesn't make it good. In this case, I think the author was relying far too much on the first half of her book to get you engaged with the characters and therefore compelled to care about what happens to them, so that whatever does end up happening in the second half, you'd be captivated by. Yeah...that was not my experience. Instead, I was just rolling my eyes at how drastic and dramatic things ended up being in a direction that really didn't suit the heist setup that the summary promises. I get why things end up happening the way they do, but at the same time I don't like how they end up happening, and really wished that the author had taken a different direction on things. From the whole Nina-Lachlan-Vanessa triangle setup, I expected something to be in close quarters during a snowstorm, something like No Exit, where the tensions are high but there's nowhere you can go to escape them. Unfortunately, the author doesn't use the Lake Tahoe location to its full advantage, specifically because she has Nina going back and forth to Los Angeles easily. So...snowstorm is useless, in other words?All in all, this is a book that had promise, but ultimately turns out to be something just full of skim-worthy parts. Not exactly the kind of things a reader would appreciate in a novel, yeah?So, read it if you think you'd like it, but myself, I think it's too shallow and badly-planned for me to really like it. A partial rating for good writing and a could-have-been-better setup. Credit given where credit is due, after all.
    more
Write a review