#5Books: Book recs and Truth Be Told

I’ve started watching Truth be Told, which is based on this book, which was formerly know as Are You Sleeping (which I actually think is on my #5Books recs list somewhere, because I remember that yellow cover).

Here’s the blurb

Soon to be a major TV series from Apple TV+ produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine! Starring Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul.

Truth Be Told – formerly titled Are You Sleeping – is an addictive psychological thriller about a hit podcast that reopens a murder case and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.

The only thing more dangerous than a lie . . . is the truth.

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family. Following her father’s murder thirteen years before, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister betrayed her in an unimaginable way, leaving Josie alone.

Now, Josie finally has a happy new life in New York with her fiancé, Caleb. The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past – starting with her last name.

When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell re-examines her father’s case on her hit podcast Josie’s world begins to unravel and then the unexpected death of her mother forces Josie to return home.

Now she must confront the secrets from her past – and the lies on which she has staked her future.

Interestingly, the show revolves around Poppy Parnell, the journalist described in the blurb, and not Josie. In fact, thus far, Josie is pretty minor in the show thus far, while her sister and Poppy are more central. I never ended up reading the book, so I am curious as to the other differences.

However, the show is utterly engrossing. Octavia Spencer plays Poppy, who like the book is a podcaster and award-winning journalist. She is indeed uncovering the secrets of Poppy’s family and their past, and it is getting good. 

The families at the centre of the mystery are warped in the way that makes for delicious family secrets that are slowly coming out.

Weirdly, or not, the show has highlighted to me that as much as I like the inclusion of new media, like podcasts, in mysteries, it really does depend on who is doing the podcasting. Poppy is an accomplished journalist, and knows how to investigate a story, so this is more of a mystery, with the added addition of a podcast. I think if this was something like Sadie, or Lethal Lit, the podcast aspect would be more of an attraction, and a better draw.

The Strangers We Know 

Imagine seeing your loving husband on a dating app. Now imagine that’s the best thing to happen to you all week …

When Charlie sees a man who is the spitting image of her husband Oliver on a dating app, her heart stops. Her first desperate instinct is to tell herself she must be mistaken – after all, she only caught a glimpse from a distance as her friends were laughingly swiping through the men on offer. But no matter how much she tries to push her fears aside, she can’t because she took that photo. On their honeymoon. She just can’t let it go.

Suddenly other signs of betrayal begin to add up and so Charlie does the only thing she can think of to defend her position – she signs up to the app to catch Oliver in the act.

But Charlie soon discovers that infidelity is the least of her problems. Nothing is as it seems and nobody is who she thinks they are …

Seeing your boyfriend or husband on a dating app has got to be THE WORST. However, this blurb certainly does set up that there’s so much more to Oliver that Charlie never knew. And… who are the other people in her life that she can’t trust?

Seven Deadly Shadows

Kira Fujikawa has always been a girl on the fringe. Bullied by her peers and ignored by her parents, the only place Kira’s ever felt at home is at her grandfather’s Shinto shrine, where she trains to be a priestess.

But Kira’s life is shattered on the night her family’s shrine is attacked by a vicious band of yokai demons. With the help of Shiro—the shrine’s gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune—Kira discovers that her shrine harbors an ancient artifact of great power . . . one the yokai and their demon lord, Shuten-doji, will use to bring down an everlasting darkness upon the world.

Unable to face the Shuten-doji and his minions on her own, Kira enlists the aid of seven ruthless shinigami—or death gods—to help stop the brutal destruction of humankind. But some of the death gods aren’t everything they initially seemed, nor as loyal to Kira’s cause as they first appeared.

With war drawing nearer by the day, Kira realizes that if this unlikely band of heroes is going to survive, they’re going to have to learn to work together, confront their demons, and rise as one to face an army of unimaginable evil.

Kira sounds completely magnificient, and I am ready to read about her and the death gods saving the day (and the Magnificent Seven just popped into my head as I wrote that). However, I could sincerely, absolutely and TOTALLY have done without the mention of the gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune because why can’t she do this on her own or with someone that doesn’t have to be described as a gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune? Oh well. You can’t have everything I guess.

When We Were Magic

A sly, witchy dark comedy about four teens whose magic goes wildly awry from Magic for Liars author Sarah Gailey, who Chuck Wendig calls an “author to watch.”

Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder.

Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love.

That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn’t change on prom night.

When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.

So prom is clearly the place to be in this book. I love that this book revolves around these girls and their friendship (and magic). I can’t wait to see how wrong everything goes on prom night though

Bent Heavens

Liv Fleming’s father went missing more than two years ago, not long after he claimed to have been abducted by aliens. Liv has long accepted that he’s dead, though that doesn’t mean she has given up their traditions. Every Sunday, she and her lifelong friend Doug Monk trudge through the woods to check the traps Lee left behind, traps he set to catch the aliens he so desperately believed were after him.

But Liv is done with childhood fantasies. Done pretending she believes her father’s absurd theories. Done going through the motions for Doug’s sake. However, on the very day she chooses to destroy the traps, she discovers in one of them a creature so inhuman it can only be one thing. In that moment, she’s faced with a painful realization: her dad was telling the truth. And no one believed him.

Now, she and Doug have a choice to make. They can turn the alien over to the authorities…or they can take matters into their own hands.

Oh, I LOVE this. Aliens are real, and Liv’s alien conspiracy theorist father was right all along!

Happy Christmas everyone! I hope your holidays are safe and filled with family goodness! 


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