Blog Tour, Author Q&A, #ATBR2019 Reviews – Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison

Blog tour today and release day for this new thriller!

Thanks to MIRA Books for the free early copy in exchange for my honest review

GOOD GIRLS LIE – J.T. Ellison (Releasing December 30th, 2019)

You can check out an excerpt for this new release here!

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Book Description:

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.

J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new novel examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to to protect their secrets.

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Chandra’s Thoughts: 3/5 stars

My fourth Ellison book and let me tell y’all.  I just love her.  Her wicked mind, the crazy stories she comes up with and the ease in which it is to read her writing.  Take all those things and add it in with a boarding school/secret society-esque type story and I am here for it for every page.

I’m completely torn with this read.  I was intrigued enough to continue page after page but it wasn’t until around the 300 page mark that it really captured my interest.  The pages leading up to this gave me no clue to what was actually going on.  There are different POVs throughout the read and sometimes it’s difficult to determine whose mind you’re in with each chapter…. when I got toward the end, I understood why.  However, it still was a bit eyebrow pinching.

Once a couple reveals came about, I unfortunately wasn’t exactly wowed.  It wasn’t quite what I was expecting yet wasn’t really a surprise either.  There is one part in the epilogue that did make me smirk and I was pretty happy with it.  I dunno you guys.

Was I entertained? Yes, I was.  I think had it not taken 300 pages to fully capture my attention, I may have liked this one more.  Ellison is a favorite author of mine.  So far Lie to Me is my favorite of hers but each book I’ve read has made my thriller heart happy.  This is still a fantastic thriller read and I appreciate where Ellison was taking us readers.  I just wish I had bonded with this story earlier than I did.

My Thoughts: 3.5/5 stars

J.T. Ellison quickly became an auto-buy author for me and that certainly hasn’t changed! GOOD GIRLS LIE is my fourth book by Ellison and I’m reminded every time why I love her thrillers. The dark and twisty stories she weaves for us are always ones that grab my attention.

As the title suggests, there are plenty of lies and that brings tons of drama with it. Who doesn’t love drama in an all-girls prep school? Ellison gives us the dark and complicated sides to any teenage girl friendship, secret societies within the prep school, hazing, and plenty to keep you on your toes and flipping those pages. I will say that this one was a little slower moving than her previous reads, but if you go into this knowing that then I think you’ll enjoy it a lot more!

It took me a little bit to really get invested in the story, but I think that’s more of a me thing because I’ve seen plenty of reviews that disagree with that. Once I got hooked I couldn’t stop. We get to see through the eyes of multiple characters, something I will continue to enjoy in the thriller genre, and this helps build the never-ending tension.

Overall, not my favorite from Ellison but one I would still highly recommend! I only took it down a little from a 4 star read because it took me a little longer to get invested than her previous books. If you want a drama-filled, psychological thriller, then this is the one for you.

JT Ellison Author Photo credit Krista Lee Photography - vertical

About the Author:

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 20 novels, and the EMMY-award winning co-host of A WORD ON WORDS, Nashville’s premier literary show. With millions of books in print, her work has won critical acclaim, prestigious awards, and has been published in 26 countries. Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.

Connect with J.T. Ellison:

Author Website – Twitter: @thrillerchick – Facebook: @JTEllison14 – Instagram: @thrillerchick – Goodreads – BookBub

Where to Purchase a Copy:

Harlequin  – IndieboundAmazon – Barnes & Noble  – Books-A-Million – Target – Google – iBooks – Kobo

 

Author Q&A:

  • 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

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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