Summer Reading: Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

Shari Lapena has surprised me with how much I enjoy her books. I always seem to think I will not like them, and then I read them and enjoy them. As you can see from Lindsay’s thoughts below, she is a huge fan of Shari Lapena and has enjoyed all her books. She has a pattern to her stories making all of them page-turners. They are packed full of secrets or red herrings that have me flip-flopping back and forth with whodunit or uncertainties about who to trust as the secrets are revealed. She always has my head spinning trying to keep up with what is happening, and I love that about her books.

I think all her books make for a great summer read; however, I just recently read Someone We Know and featured here. I am now trying to keep track of my shelf of read books by authors in one post, so I have added all of Shari Lapena’s books.

What makes Someone We Know a great summer read?

  • It’s an easy, uncomplicated plot, fast-paced, not over down, and to the point, purely entertaining value
  • It’s a hoot, the characters had me laughing at their actions, and I enjoyed flip-flopping back and forth with whodunnit, who was lying and who was telling the truth
  • As people start to come out to enjoy the summer weather and free time, it could play on any curiosity, fears, or suspicion about your neighbors and what goes on behind closed doors.
  • It’s a great one to read when you want to be entertained and pass the time relaxing and enjoying the summer.

Where to read Someone We Know

On your front deck or yard, so you can keep one eye on the book and the other on your neighbors. I had to read it inside because we have had days of rain.

What to drink while reading:

There are a few characters to keep track of and a bit going on, so I suggest something light drink to keep your wits and stay on top of this merry-go-around. However, after reading this one, you might need something stronger. Because of the rain I curled up with a cup of tea

The hook: Is it a page-turner?

The story begins with a brutal murder to hook us from the start. Olivia and Paul discover Raleigh, their teenage son, has been sneaking into homes, hacking the owners’ computers, and learning their secrets in the fictional town of Aylesford, located in New York State’s Hudson Valley. We soon learn the victim and her husband are new in the neighborhood, and I was pointing my finger at him; however, they are plenty of suspects.

Yes, In the chaos of secrets, who is sleeping with who, teenage drama, shady things going on, whodunnit, rumors and more there are clever plot twists and turns that kept me turning the pages as fast as I could to keep up

Characters

This neighborhood comprises mostly middle-class families with middle-aged parents whose children are mostly grown much like mine. I hope my neighbors don’t have secrets like these do, everyone has something to hide in this fictional neighborhood. I do love to imagine what goes on behind closed doors, and I have a lot of material to work with from what I read. The characters are not all that likable or exciting. They are the typical characters you might find in a fictional neighborhood, hopefully not in your own. They are not fleshed out, and I wasn’t all that invested in them; however, they add to the fun and chaos to the secrets, rumors, who is sleeping with who, red herrings, and neighborhood shenanigans.

Did the twists and turns lead up to a rewarding conclusion?

Yes!! I highly recommend Someone We Know for an exciting summer read. I did try to listen to it, but Penny’s naughtiness kept distracting me, and I found it hard to follow all the characters.

Published July 2019 and read in June 2020.

From our shelf of read books by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door

My first introduction to Shari Lapena and I read it before I started writing reviews. So this is all I got.

Is it a page-turner? Yes, it’s an intense fast entertaining book that made my head twist and turn and had me asking myself, what is going on. 

Did the twists and turns lead up to a rewarding conclusion? YES!!

Published in Aug 2016 and read in Dec 2016

A Stranger in the House

Lindsay and Brenda’s thoughts

What a surprise a Stranger in the House was for us as we were not expecting to like this one as much as we did. I decided to listen to this while Lindsay read it. It’s a great easy one to listen to that didn’t require my full attention.

The Hook: Is it a page turner?

After a car accident, Karen is left with no memory of what happened, leaving her husband, Tom, with many questions. When a dead body is found, Karen looks suspicious, and Tom starts to doubt he knows who Karen is.

Yes, A Stranger in the House is an intriguing, easy suspenseful, fast-paced story with plenty of tension that entertains us. 

Characters: Shari Lapena does an excellent job creating these unlikable characters. While some seemed not worth liking, we were oddly invested in them and changed our minds on how we felt about them throughout the story. Even though none were worth rooting for either, we found ourselves rooting for each at different times. The story is told from the perspective of our three main characters, and we enjoyed each one and really felt like we got to know them well.

Did the twists and turns lead up to a rewarding conclusion?

The mystery behind this one had us guessing from start to finish. The shocking twists and turns had us flip-flopping back and forth with whodunit as the suspense built up for us until the final stunning twist left us gasping and messaging each other as fast as we could.

Published in Aug 2017 and read in Sept 2017

The Unwanted Guest

Traveling Sister Group read

The hook: Is it a page turner?

A group of strangers searching for relaxation checks into a quaint inn in the winter, and they become snowed in. When one guest dies on the first night, it looks like a tragic accident, but panic sets in when a second guest turns up dead. The suspense and tension rise when bodies start to drop like flies, and we start questioning just who was the unwanted guest. Right from the start, we were pulled into this story with the chilling setting and loved the feeling we got from the storm, and the spooky feeling of being trapped with people you don’t know, with nowhere to go and no one can come to help.

Yes!!An Unwanted Guest is an easy, fast-paced, fun and entertaining read and safe from any disturbing darkness. Not much complexity here but it is not needed. The story is cleverly plotted for a fun and entertaining read.

Characters: As one sister said (Debra) in our discussion the strength is in the characters, their inner thoughts and their interactions with other characters.

Did the twists and turns lead up to a rewarding conclusion? YES!!

Published in Aug 2018 and read in July 2018

The End Of Her

Lindsay and Brenda’s thoughts

The hook: Is it a page turner?

We return to the fictional town of Aylesford, nestled in New York’s Hudson Valley. This time we meet a younger family, Stephanie Kilgour, a young woman who seemingly has it all: A beautiful home; a loving husband, Patrick; and twin baby girls, Jackie and Emma. Sleep-deprived Stephanie, hanging in by a thread, receives a visit from someone from Patrick’s past(Erica). Erica drops a bomb on Stephanie, which creates doubts about Patrick. The uncertainty increases with every chapter, and that drives the story forward.
Yes, I loved this suspenseful, shocking edge of my seat, fast-paced, gripping, twisty, and tangled web of secrets and inhaled this story. I loved every single moment and immediately connected to the storyline. I have read all of Shari Lapena’s books, and I think this is her best yet! It’s an excellent book to escape into to simply enjoy the suspense and entertainment without having to think too much.~Lindsay.

Characters:

Stephanie and Patrick are new parents to twin girls. They are struggling through the babies’ colicky phase and feel like they are barely managing to survive. The sleepless nights and endless chaos of new parenthood was done so well. It brought me right back to when my kids were babies. ~Lindsay.

Did the twists and turns lead up to a rewarding conclusion?

YES!! There are many hidden secrets and layers to this story. Just when I thought I had it figured out, a new twist (or two) was thrown into the mix. This book kept me on edge and in high anticipation of what was to come next~Lindsay

Published in July 2020 and read in Oct 2020

Not A Happy Family

Lindsay and Brenda’s thoughts

The hook: Is it a page turner?

Shari Lapena switches things up here from a domestic suspense around a married couple and creates a dysfunctional family with The Merton, who are more than “not happy.” We meet the Mertons a wealthy family. Fred and Sheila are brutally murdered in their pristine estate in Brecken Hill upstate New York after an Easter Dinner with their three adult children.  

Yes!! This was an extremely unique narrative tone for me. The story is told from a distant third person perspective, yet I felt fully connected and engrossed within this twisty and suspenseful tale. I loved the short chapters of this family drama that always left me on edge wanting to read “just one more”. ~Lindsay

Characters

There are many suspects with Fred and Sheila’s three adult children, who stand to inherit a great fortune, and other characters connected to them. Each concerned with their inheritance, feeling they are entitled to it, has something to hide, opportunity, and reasons for wanting their parents dead. They have doubts about each other, and that uncertainty drives the story forward.

The characters are not all that likable or exciting and we don’t get that much insight into their lives. The story’s strength here is in the complex family dynamics. The siblings have a love-hate relationship, mainly because of how their father treated them differently. He seemed to enjoy inflicting emotional pain on them, pitting them against each other by judging them by their level of success, creating some sibling rivalry.

Did the twists and turns lead up to a rewarding conclusion?

Yes!! There are plenty of secrets within the family making them wonder just who they can trust. Lapena keeps us guessing with every lie and secrets that is exposed and every the truth that is revealed, right up to the rewarding conclusion. My suspicions flew all over the place, suspecting every single character at one point or another. ~Lindsay

Published in July 2021 and read in Oct 2021

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