Book Review | The Girl Who Lived by Christopher Greyson

the girl who lived

Book Description: Ten years ago, four people were brutally murdered.

One girl lived.

No one believes her story.
The police think she’s crazy.
Her therapist thinks she’s suicidal.
Everyone else thinks she’s a dangerous drunk.
They’re all right—but did she see the killer?

As the anniversary of the murders approaches, Faith Winters is released from the psychiatric hospital and yanked back to the last spot on earth she wants to be—her hometown where the slayings took place. Wracked by the lingering echoes of survivor’s guilt, Faith spirals into a black hole of alcoholism and wanton self-destruction. Finding no solace at the bottom of a bottle, Faith decides to track down her sister’s killer—and then discovers that she’s the one being hunted.

How can one woman uncover the truth when everyone’s a suspect—including herself?

From the mind of Wall Street Journal bestselling author Christopher Greyson comes a story with twists and turns that take the reader on a journey of light and dark, good and evil, to the edge of madness. The Girl Who Lived should come with a warning label: Once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop. Not since Girl on the Train and Gone Girl has a psychological thriller kept readers so addicted—and guessing right until the last page.

GracieLynn Review:

I have read Christopher Greyson’s books before and I have to say that this book meets my expectations for him.  He’s great at character development; leaving out certain details until just the right time, and slowly building their profile with consistency.  This book was no different.

Our story started out with the main character, Faith Winters, in a psych ward.  On her birthday, she had witnessed her father, her sister and a friend murdered at her home cabin.  And not being able to cope with that at such a young age, she ended up needing mental health care.  Her hometown seems to think she should still be there.  With a personal alcohol addiction as her coping mechanism, a mother who used her story of being a witness as a catalyst for her writing career and lack of trust from those who know her best, Faith doesn’t have much to look forward to upon her release.  But she gets released and begins her new life on the outside.  Her goal to find the murderer (and prove that her father didn’t commit murder/suicide) is still number one in her mind, and she will go to whatever lengths necessary to find him.

As the story is told from her point of view, we get a look into Faith’s past.  She has an ax to grind and a negative attitude toward pretty much everyone she meets.  She comes across thoroughly as a jaded young woman, and I understood her snide comments, but over time as a reader, I was getting annoyed.

A few times in the story, she swears she sees the person who killed her father, but no one seems to be taking her seriously.  And I began to feel sorry for her, because as someone who has struggled with alcohol in the past, I realize the loss of trust people have in you, and how you just want to be taken seriously, especially when you’re in the right.  As the story progresses, you begin to wonder about the people in her life: the counselor, her sponsor, her “friends” at meetings, etc.  Almost everyone seems to be involved in some way, and she begins to question herself.  For that reason, I loved the suspense in this story, but I’m going to be completely honest: The ending was disappointing.  And because I can’t reveal who it is, I have to admit that I just don’t know if the person responsible would actually be capable of doing it.  I did see some signs throughout the book that made me suspect this person, but when it was actually revealed, I wondered what psychosis one would have to be under to commit such atrocities.

But I love the absolute ending where Faith gets her justice, and is able to move on, to actually LIVE.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley and Greyson Media Associates. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | The Smart Stepfamily Marriage: Keys to Success in the Blended Family by Ron L. Deal and David H. Olson

smart stepfamily

When I was on my honeymoon, I read a book by Ron L. Deal, called The Smart Stepmom.  It was co-written with Laura Petherbridge, and it illuminated a lot of things I hadn’t thought about before crossing the aisle to wedded bliss.  I appreciate Ron L. Deal’s insight on stepfamilies.  He’s a credible therapist with years of experience and success at helping families cope, as well as being a well known author on the topic of blending stepfamilies. Recently he’s co-written a book with David Olsen, founder of PREPARE/ENRICH, to give necessary tools to help couples who struggle as they try to merge preexisting families.

This new book can be added to his other successful works when it comes to pointing couples in the right direction and giving practical advice.  This book comes equipped with some in-depth situations and solutions for those situations that normally wouldn’t have favorable outcomes.  He also points readers to a tool created by David Olson, The Couple Checkup.  If couples take the time to answer the questions truthfully, it can give a breakdown of healthy and unhealthy areas in their marriage that they can tackle together.  The Couple Checkup is a report designed to address the following key areas: Communication, Conflict Resolution, Financial Management, Relationship Roles, Affection and Sexual Relationship, Couple Closeness and Flexibility, Family Closeness and Flexibility and Personality.

I recommend taking the test at any stage of your stepfamily duration.  Once you know about yourself, and your spouse, you have some key areas to strategize over.  Also, the book addresses many of these areas, to directly relate to the checkup.  I think it’s a great resource for anyone who has chosen to remarry, marry someone with children, has questions about stepfamilies, is looking for meaningful resources to help with relational issues, and needs godly wisdom in seeking resolution.  You will not be disappointed.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Bethany House book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”