Book Review Tour: Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison #thriller, #twisted #YA

Posted on December 31, 2019 by Nadene in 2019 New Release Challenge, 3.5 stars, COYER Winter, J.T.Ellison, Mira Books, Netgalley, Review / 0 Comments

Title: Good Girls Lie
Publisher: Mira
Author: J. T. Ellison
Genre: Domestic Thrillers
Format: eArc
Source: Publisher
Release Date: December 30, 2019
Reading Challenge: 2019 New Release Challenge, COYER WINTER, Netgalley and Edelweiss
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When the publisher offered me an eArc, I was happy to accept as I found the synopsis intriguing. After reading the first couple of pages, I was optimistic for the book. However,
I found that it was not as engaging as I hoped it would be and I found myself putting it aside on several occasions.

I found the pacing slow for a thriller. Based on how the story started out, I was looking forward to a fast-paced thriller. Unfortunately, after the exciting start, the story fizzled out, and it was not until I was at about forty percent into the story that the pace picked up and things became interesting.

The story, which was set in a prestigious boarding school, was riddled with lies, murder and secrets. It had its share of twists, but it did not have the expected shock factor as I had my suspicions prior to the revelations. As, a result, the story failed to deliver nail biting feeling one would expect from a thriller. However, despite this, I felt compelled to continue reading, as I was curious to know how the story would end. The ending thrilled me as it delivered the perfect reward/punishment. The level of angst was what one would expect from teenage girls who feel the need to fit in with their peers.

The characters, except for the narrator, failed to wow me. I felt no connection to them and frankly, I did not care what happened to them. They all deserved whatever was served to them. The narrator proved unreliable and her actions and words added to the complexity 
of the story. I had my doubts about her and as the story progressed, my uncertainties increased. She struck me as being someone smart but diabolical. I enjoyed getting to know her.

Conclusion / Recommendation
Overall, Good Girls Lie was an interesting story, which highlighted the ins and outs of life in an all-female boarding school for the rich. Although it did not deliver as expected, 
I still had a good time with the story. I believe that this book would appeal to fans of young adult mystery. 



Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

Q&A with J.T. Ellison



Do you plan your books in advance or let them develop as you write?
Both. Sometimes the story just unfolds, and sometimes I have to relentlessly work on themes and turning points and characters’ points of view. Every book is different, every book has its own unique challenges. I’m always thinking about what’s next, and sometimes even what’s after that. But when it comes to actually sitting down to write, I like to let the story unfold a bit, let it stretch its wings, before I try to lash it to the mast and conform it to my vision.
What does the act of writing mean to you?
It’s a sacred contract with me and a mythical “someone” who might read the words at some point in the future and find them entertaining or moving. It’s sheer magic on my end, creating, and sheer magic on the readers’ end, when they get to experience what was in my head as I was writing. It’s the most incredible mystical experience out there.
Have you ever had a character take over a story, and if so, who was it and why?
All the time. Oh my gosh, all the time. Honestly, if the character doesn’t run away with things, I know there’s a problem. Ivy, n LIE TO ME, is a particular favorite. She’s just so nasty…
Which one of Good Girls Lie’s characters was the hardest to write and why?
Ash, for sure. She was so elusive and aloof with me. The Britishisms, the secrets, the lies, she was always just out of reach. Of course, that was because I’d written her in third person. When I switched her to first, she wouldn’t shut up.
Which character in any of your books (Good Girls Lieor otherwise) is dearest to you and why?
Oh that’s an impossible question. Taylor. Sam. Sutton. Vivian. Ash. Aubrey. Ivy. Juliet. Lauren. Becca. Gavin. Baldwin. Xander. They are all me, on some level, whether it’s a fear or a triumph, a flaw or a heroic action. A moment of love or a moment of animosity. It’s like asking me to choose among my children, which one is my favorite. (I don’t have kids, by the way, but I couldn’t pick my favorite of my kittens, either.)
What did you want to be as a child? Was it an author?
I desperately wanted to be Colorado’s first female firefighter. When that job was taken, I cast about. Doctor. Lawyer. Fighter Pilot. Spy. International business maven. Olympic swimmer. Poet. In the end, being a writer was my only choice. That way, I get to experience all the lives I could have led.

What does a day in the life of J.T. Ellison look like?
It’s rather blissful. It starts rather lazily, with the cats cuddled into my arms and the newspaper on my iPad, then progresses to kicking the lazy beasts out, pouring a cup of tea and handling email. I am not a morning person, so I tend to do business in the morning and writing in the afternoon, when I’m sharper. I’ve always wanted to be the writer who gets up at 5 am to write whilst the birds chirp and the house sleeps, watching the sun rise and running five miles before the rest of the world is awake, but alas, it was not meant to be. You need to go to a concert that starts at ten p.m., I’m your girl.
What do you use to inspire you when you get Writer’s Block?
It depends. If it’s a genuine block, a I’ve lost faith in myself and my work block, I will step away from the manuscript entirely, read, walk, golf, yoga, go out for margaritas with my husband, anything to remove me from the situation. But 90 percent of the time, it’s just a story issue, so I work it out with some of my creative partners. Lots of texting and phone calls and what ifs, until it shakes itself free.
What book would you take with you to a desert island?
Hmmm… my knee jerk is the Harry Potter series – I know, I know, that’s seven books, but I’m sure there’s an omnibus edition somewhere. The fight for good and evil never ceases to amaze and comfort me. Knowing love conquers evil is a big deal in this world. And Hermione kicks ass. If I’m forced into a single title, Plato’s Republic. I’ve been obsessed with the allegory of the cave my entire adult life.
Favorite quote?
“Do. Or Do not. There is no try.” – Master Yoda
Coffee or tea?
Loose leaf earl grey. Making tea is a meditative experience for me.
Best TV or Movie adaptation of a book?
Clueless, hands-down the best adaptation of Austen’s Emma ever, and I’ve been enjoying A Discovery of Witches, based on the fabulous books by Deborah Harkness. Outlander isn’t bad, either. And Game of Thrones… obviously, I don’t include anything past the second episode of the final season of that, though I did enjoy the whole Deanarys-Drogon airborne apocalypse. I mean, talk about a girl who had reason to be aggravated with society.

Do you have stories on the back burner that are just waiting to be written?
So. Many. Stories. I will never get to them all. At last count, there are 49 in my “Story Idea” folder, with several more floating around in my head.
What has been the hardest thing about publishing? What has been the most fun?
The hardest is staying in the game, juggling the necessary mix of creativity and business, finding new paths to reach readers and leveling up the writing so it’s possible to grow my career. It was much easier to write, to focus, before our constant connections to the internet consumed us. The most fun is that email from a reader, when something I’ve written strikes a chord with them and they write to tell me they love a story, or a character, or an ending. It doesn’t get better than that.
What advice would you give budding authors about publishing?
Stay as much in a vacuum as you can while writing. You don’t need a platform, you need an excellent, groundbreaking book. And read everything. Everything you can get your hands on. You learn writing through osmosis as much as writing the books themselves. Find your writing habit and hold it sacred. If you respect your work, your people will, too.

What was the last thing you read?
I just finished Holly Black’s THE QUEEN OF NOTHING, the finale of her Folk of the Air trilogy, and just finished listening to BAG OF BONES by Stephen King. Both were exceptional.
Your top five authors?
Diana Gabaldon, JK Rowling, Deborah Harkness, Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J. Maas
Book you’ve bought just for the cover?
That’s how I found the Holly Black trilogy – I adored the cover of THE CRUELEST PRINCE.
Tell us about what you’re working on now.
I’m writing a novel about a destination wedding that goes very, very wrong. It has loose ties to Rebecca, and it titled HER DARK LIES.

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