Blog Tour Book Review: Red Leaves by Paullina Simons

About Red Leaves

• Paperback: 448 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (April 11, 2017)

In the tradition of Ira Levin’s A Kiss Before Dying and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History comes a suspenseful thriller from the international bestselling author of The Bronze Horseman—an utterly captivating story about four Ivy League students whose bizarre friendship leads to a twisted maze of secrets, lies, betrayal, and murder.

As the star player of Dartmouth College’s women’s basketball team, Kristina Kim is beautiful, intelligent, and fearless. But though she’s just 21, Kristina has already had her share of heartache, loss, and dark secrets that haunt her. She’s best friends with Conni, Albert, and Jim, but the only one who seems to really know her is Albert. With long dark hair, tattoos, and a rebellious streak, Albert doesn’t fit in with the rest of the clean-cut Ivy Leaguers. Like Kristina, he has his share of secrets—secrets that are beginning to unravel this intimate circle of friends.

One wintry Thanksgiving weekend tragedy strikes…

When Detective Spencer O’Malley goes to investigate something suspicious at the foot of a steep hill on Dartmouth’s campus, he doesn’t expect that the frozen, naked body found in deep snow would belong to Kristina Kim—the remarkable young woman he met recently who entranced him. Now Spencer will never know if the chemistry he had with her was real. All he can do is find her killer.

Spencer is pulled into the strange, complex web of the surviving friends. Many important questions about Kristina’s murder cannot be answered, such as: why did none of them report her missing for nine days before her body was discovered? The more Spencer digs, the more clear it becomes that each of the three has a motive for killing Kristina. And as Spencer, seeking justice for a dead girl, is led down a labyrinth of deceit, every new revelation proves more shocking than the last….and more dangerous.

“Simons handles her characters and setting with a certain skill, creating mystery from the ordinary, protected lives of these Ivy League kids, slowly peeling away their deceptions to reveal denial, cowardice, and chilling indifference…an engrossing story.”—Publishers Weekly

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review of it.

In Red Leaves we meet Kristina Kim – star basketball player, dog owner, long time girlfriend and best friend. Beneath the surface of Kristina and her group of friends are betrayal, forbidden love and a mountain of secrets. When a students body is found on campus, all the secrets are brought to light.

Red Leaves is my second read written by Paulina Simons, although both were in two different genres. I find it fascinating when an author can successfully write in multiple genres like Paulina can.

That being said, Red Leaves drew me in with the Prologue but lost me somewhere in the beginning of Part One. For the first 100 and so pages, I was tempted to DNF it but I’m a completionist and I like to give books chances. Part One was definitely lost to me, it was slow and not much really happened, although after finishing and being able look back at the story and how it unfolded I can see why Part One was included as it provides background and knowledge about the characters and their relationships that really does serve to make us think certain ways as the mystery of the “whodunnit” unravels. 

The story definitely picks up in Part Two and finally caught my interest a little more and I was glad to be experiencing the story from a fresh perspective,  once that happened the rest of the book went by quickly and I actually ended up liking it after all. One thing I really enjoyed about thus book was that I always doubted my guesses about “whodunnit”. Always. It was never predictable for me.

Overall, I gave this book three stars, it may not have been exactly  for me but I did find some enjoyment in it. If you like a slow paced mystery you may want to give this book a read but if you are into fast paced thrillers, this may not be your taste. Paullina Simons writing in this book was just as good as I remember in the last book of hers I read, I hear people discuss a few of her books and I am still planning on reading some more of her work. 

Happy reading everyone!

Photo by Renaissance Studio

About Paullina Simons

Paullina Simons is an internationally bestselling author whose novels include Bellagrand and The Bronze Horseman was born in Leningrad in 1963. As a child she immigrated to Queens, New York, and attended colleges in Long Island. Then she moved to England and attended Essex University, before returning to America. She lives in New York with her husband and children.

Find out more about Paullina at her website, follow her on Twitter, and connect with her on Facebook.

Blog Tour Book Review: Lone Star by Paullina Simons

Lone Star coverAbout Lone Star

• Paperback: 640 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (November 24, 2015)

Falling in love was the easy part . . .

Chloe and her three best friends are weeks away from finishing high school and beginning their new grown-up lives apart from one another. They have been friends since they were kids, their families and lives intertwined, but this is their last summer together. They plan a magical trip to sun-drenched Barcelona, with its possibility of adventure and passion. But first, Chloe has an old family promise to keep, and the four of them must detour through historic Eastern Europe.

In this fledgling post-Communist world, Chloe meets a mysterious American vagabond named Johnny, who carries a guitar, an easy smile, and a lifetime of secrets. From Treblinka to Trieste, from Carnikava to Krakow, the unlikely band of friends and mismatched lovers traverses the Old World on a train ride that becomes a treacherous journey into Europe’s and Johnny’s dark pasts—a journey that jeopardizes Chloe’s plans and all she ever thought she wanted.

The ties that bind Chloe to her friends and her future are about to be put to the ultimate test. Whether or not they reach Barcelona . . . their lives will never be the same again.

A sweeping, beautiful tale of old friendships and new love that mesmerizes and enchants, Lone Star will linger long in the memory even after the final page has been turned.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

Good morning friends and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Lone Star by Paullina Simons. I’d like to send a huge thank you to the author and TLC Book Tours for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review of it.

When I read the synopsis for this book I immediately started looking forward to reading it. This author is new to me and I am glad that I have finally read and experienced a book by her. I have definitely heard of The Bronze Horseman and will now be anxiously awaiting the day that I can get my hands on a copy (hopefully soon). As for this book, I absolutely loved what I read. I gave this book five stars. I thought the writing was beautiful and poetic. There were definitely one liners and even paragraphs that just grabbed my heart and fed my soul. I thought it started off slow with not really alot happening but I think that foundation needed to be set in order for the story to have more impact later on. I started to get into it right around pages 92/93 which I think turns out to be a pretty good ratio given the  actual number of pages in the book. After that I was pretty much hooked and couldn’t put it down. This book was definitely a larger read for me this year but I read it like it was maybe a two hundred and fifty page book. I loved that this book was not only a romance but a coming of age story. I loved the detail, the history and how romantic it was.

I went through alot of emotions reading this book and by the end I had cried more than a few tears. I loved pretty much everything about it, minus the slow beginning (but again, that didn’t take away from my feelings or experience with this story at all). The way it started I actually thought it was going to be an okay read for me but somewhere along the way it just sucked me in and I came out on the other side with tears on my cheeks. I really liked the characters in this book, I felt like all of them had really great dimension. I loved the interactions between Chloe and her parents. Their dynamic felt so real to me…it was reminiscent of the way I talk to my parents and vice versa.

This is definitely a top read for me this year and I am actually looking forward to rereading it in the near future in 2016. I give this read five stars!

Paullina SimonsAbout Paullina Simons

Paullina Simons is an internationally bestselling author whose novels include Bellagrand and The Bronze Horseman. She was born in Leningrad in 1963. As a child she immigrated to Queens, New York, and attended colleges in Long Island. Then she moved to England and attended Essex University, before returning to America. She lives in New York with her husband and children.

Find out more about Paullina at her website, follow her onTwitter, and connect with her on Facebook.