pretty things by janelle brown | book review |

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Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

Synopsis

Two wildly different women–one a grifter, the other an heiress–are brought together by the scam of a lifetime in a page-turner from the New York Times bestselling author of Watch Me Disappear.

Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.

Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer–traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: A mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.

Nina, Vanessa, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.

This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.

My Review

“Don’t take too much; don’t get greedy. Take only what won’t be missed. And only steal from those who can afford it.”

Firstly, can we all just take a moment to admire the beautiful cover! I’m not going to lie. It was one of the reason that convinced me I needed to have this book. Cover aside, this is my first novel by Janelle Brown and it truly did not disappoint.

Pretty Things is a slow-burner, character-driven novel. At almost 500 pages, there were moments that felt too slow to me and wished it was just a tad bit shorter; however, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was well-written and does keep you intrigued from beginning to ending.

The story is written as alternating POVs from Nina, a con artist, and Vanessa, an Instagram influencer, which will always be a plus for me because it tends to capture my attention more. Nina uses her Instagram primarily as a way to track her targets and learn the ins and outs of their life. She has been tracking Vanessa for quite some time, so when Nina’s mother fall ill and needs a heaping amount of money for treatment, Nina decide it is time to insert herself into Vanessa’s life. What happens next is a story of deception, betrayal, and loyalty.

Now might also be the time for me to tell you that I personally would not classify this book as a psychological thriller. While there are plot twists and tension that will have you turning the page like there is no tomorrow, I think it’s more appropriate to classify it as a literary suspense. The suspenseful moments are woven throughout the story leaving you to try and anticipate the ending. The story plays on more than just the plot of con-artist and social class difference. It is a multi-layered book. You get to see the impact social media has on a person when they broadcast every moment of their lives, it brings awareness to the fact that you don’t need anyone to validate you, and through all the backstabbing and lies, it shows what forgiveness can do for you.

Overall, I found Pretty Things to be a gripping story with many twists and turns. I did have some minor questions and though I do wished it was a tad bit shorter, I absolutely enjoyed this story and the emotional yet suspenseful roller-coaster it took me on. I am so ecstatic that Nicole Kidman will be starring and producing Pretty Things.

“When you’re documenting everything that you do, you stop living life for yourself and start living it as a performance for others.”

Book Details:

Title: Pretty Things
Author: Janelle Brown
Publication Date: April 21, 2020
Goodreads: Pretty Things

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read Pretty Things yet? If so, have you started thinking about some cast members? Drop your guesses in the comments!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Synopsis:

Celaena Sardothien is Ardalan’s Assassin and has been imprisoned in Endovier. The Crown Prince, Dorian has come to make her a competitor to become the King’s champion. When she makes it to the castle and begins in the competition, one by one the champions start dying in horribly gruesome ways. Calaena must fight for her freedom and survival, while trying to root out the source of the killing before it kills herself and those she holds dear.

Along the way she finds ways to overcome her previous betrayals and seek refuge in new friends and allies. From the Crown Prince himself, the Captain of the Guard, and an unlikely friendship with a foreign princess.

Review:

Sometimes, the wicked will tell us things just to confuse us — to haunt our thoughts long after we’ve faced them.”

Let me start this review by saying, if you have not read the Novella The Assassin’s Blade prior to picking up this book, I highly suggest that you do. The novellas give you a nice preface to the start of this series and lay out the ground work for Calaena’s journey.

This book was everything and more for what I was looking for in a Sarah J Maas novel. Her writing style is one to be admired, as she really has a way of dragging you into a universe and fully immersing you into the characters and setting. Not only that, but I am in awe of anyone who can create such dynamic characters and truly make you understand the difference in all of the personalities.

Speaking of such characters, Calaena Sardothien has got to be one of my all time favorite female leads in a YA fantasy novel. I have yet to come across many female leads that do not sound whiny and/or annoying. Calaena is a badass assassin, who also enjoys the finer luxuries of style. She is a breath of fresh air in this genre and I feel like more authors should take note.

I have fallen in love with this series even after just reading the novellas and the first book. I am excited to see where the next book will take us on this journey.

Book Details:

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publication Date: May 7th, 2013
Purchased/Gift/Library/Borrow: Christmas Gift
Goodreads: Throne of Glass

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Christie