Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone—never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story.

Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them close and now they intend to remain together. Still, there’s something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him...even though a sixth sense tells him not to trust her.

Then, not long before he and Ellen are to be married, Finn gets a phone call. Someone from his past has seen Layla—hiding in plain sight. There are other odd occurrences: Long-lost items from Layla’s past that keep turning up around Finn and Ellen’s house. Emails from strangers who seem to know too much. Secret messages, clues, warnings. If Layla is alive—and on Finn’s trail—what does she want? And how much does she know?


A tour de force of psychological suspense, Bring Me Back will have you questioning everything and everyone until its stunning climax.
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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I know I said this in a Goodreads update, but Bring Me Back made me think of Clue. Players are supposed to weed out potential suspects to determine who the killer is, what weapon was used, and where the murder occurred. This book made me feel like I was playing that game, only I didn't have any cards and didn't know all of the rules. There were a few times when I had no flarking idea what was going on. 

Finn was quick to second guess himself and everyone around him. It was hard to follow his train of thought sometimes, and occasionally he would make connections with information that would have been impossible for the reader to know. When he originally attempted to decipher the email address, he comes up with something that's completely bananas.

I will say that my theories were disproven time and time again. I was always wrong with my assumptions, and frankly... that was infuriating (in a good way). I quickly became just as frustrated as Finn. Nothing made sense and everything was misleading. If you enjoy books that are nearly impossible to figure out, Bring Me Back might be a good fit for you. 

Even though I was engrossed in the mystery of this book, it wasn't too hard to put down. I think it's because I felt like the story kept going around in circles. We keep coming back to the same theories that have been reviewed and examined multiple times. The characters also tend to do the same things over and over again throughout the book.

It's always a little irritating when the main character refuses to involve the police, even when it's clear to everyone else that they should. I felt like a lot of things could have been avoided if Finn had just picked up a phone. Oh, and his obsession with Layla was strange. I didn't really understand why he felt so connected to her, or why his feelings were as intense as they were. It was literally love at first sight and also love at twelve years later, even though he hadn't seen or spoken to her.

Bring Me Back was an interesting story with a mystery that I wasn't able to solve on my own. I was kept in the dark with Finn until the very end, and I'm sure Colonel Mustard would be proud.

45 comments:

  1. I have this one coming up soon. I am a little concerned that it sounds a little confusing. I love the game clue and I loved the movie clue. I did feel a bit lost in the movie and wonder if will here. I love it when I can't figure out who dunnit though. I have this one coming up soon. Great review

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    1. I hope you like it! It definitely kept me on my toes. I never saw the movie Clue, but I used to love playing the game. It's been ages though... my kids are almost old enough, so maybe I'll buy it and we can all play it together. <3

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  2. Whoa, that synopsis... totally catches my attention. I’ve yet to read anything by Paris, although my husband read Behind Closed Doors (and I think he enjoyed it). Psychological thrillers aren’t something I typically gravitate to but this one seriously has me intrigued. It is kind of frustrating when a character’s actions (or assumptions) don’t make sense but overall this sounds like a pretty solid read. I enjoyed your review, Lindsi!
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books
    Http://girlplusbooks.blogspot.com

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    1. This was my first book by the author, but now I'm curious about their other work. I've heard good things about Behind Closed Doors, too. I'm like you... phycological thrillers aren't usually my thing, but I was in the mood for one. I would say this was a solid read despite some minor frustrations. If it sounds interesting, you should definitely try it! I never knew what was going to happen next.

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    2. Have you read Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent? I listened to that one on audio last year and was so into it. Definitely one I would recommend.

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    3. I haven't! I'll add it to my list. Thanks, Tanya! <3

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    4. It was already on my list, so I must have added it and forgotten, lol.

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  3. I use to love that game! I do like that this kept you guessing, anymore it seems that doesn't happen as often as it should. Wonderful honest review. I think I just might give this one a try.

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    1. It was very... unexpected. Finn's thoughts were constantly trying to puzzle through the madness, and I was right there with him. I would look at clues and try to determine their significance, but in the end it didn't matter. I was so surprised by everything about this book.

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  4. I’m very excited for this one so I’m sad too see you were unimpressed. Hopefully it works for me. Her books aren’t perfect but they’re usually a lot of fun.

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    1. I remember you telling me to READ IT NOW when I did a Stacking the Shelves post, haha. It wasn't that I was unimpressed, because I was. I wasn't able to solve the mystery on my own, which makes me happy. However, the main characters weren't really... lovable? Likable? They were just there for the story, and I like being able to get behind someone, you know? It also felt a little repetitive at times, but was enjoyable overall.

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  5. I should really read a BA Paris book so I can see what the hype is all about. Which one is her best?

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    1. This was my first, so I don't have anything else to compare it to! I'm sorry!

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  6. it's always nice when a book keeps its mystery until the end

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    1. I always seem to enjoy those more! Sometimes it's fun to figure it out right before the characters, but not too far ahead of them.

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  7. I think it would have frustrated me to no end with the circling back to the same points. Hey, loved Clue, but I don't know if I'd want to read it. LOL

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    1. Haha! It's been ages since I've played!

      Finn would eliminate certain people, but every new clue made them suspects again. He would go through the process of elimination and be right back where he started. I wish he had confided in people sooner and not withheld so much information. I also wish he hasn't been so impulsive.

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  8. Oooo unpredicatable, that sounds like fun! Though at the same time there is always that thrilling moment when you know something and figure it out before the character does. However, while this seems right up my ally with a mystery that is unsolveable until you get to the end, the fact that it seems to repeat itself turns me off big time.

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    1. I just felt like we were going in circles with the clues, locations, and emails. It does tie everything together at the end, but it is a process to get there. They mystery itself was good and unexpected, but I sort of wish some of the middle had been cut out.

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  9. Oh man, this one sounds like a toss up to me. While I enjoy books that aren't predictable, this one might just be a tad to frustrating on that score.

    Great review. - Katie

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    1. It was a solid three stars for me, if that helps. It was enjoyable and unpredictable, but I wasn't consumed with the story. Yes, I wanted to know what happened, but I wasn't in a hurry to find out.

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  10. "Colonel Mustard" haha. I've been wanting to read this since I saw the premise- glad to hear it was good. Definitely will be picking this one up! But yes- call the police dude! :) I never understand that. Who in real life would try to solve these things ON THEIR OWN lol?

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    1. NO ONE. If an ex-lover of mine suddenly reappeared (or I at least thought they had) after TWELVE YEARS, the police would be my very first phone call. That's some crazy banana shit right there. I hope you enjoy this! It was a solid read for me, but not one I'll want to read again.

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  11. Oh I LOVED Clue!! I definitely need to snag this one!

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    1. Clue the game or the movie? I never saw the movie! I actually didn't know that a Clue movie existed, haha.

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    2. Both! haha More so the game, but the movie is so fun as well!

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    3. Hmm, I think I should watch the movie! It's been a long time since I've played the game, but now I really want to.

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  12. Sorry that this keep going on in circles. I don't really like that myself. I do have this one from the publisher and is the next book I am reading. Thanks for the great review!

    Mary

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    1. The clues are all relatively the same, just in different locations. Every time a new clue is presented, Finn thinks it's both everyone and no one. It doesn't matter that he eliminates people as suspects, they're quickly added back on his list as soon as something new happens, and then we repeat the process again. I hope you enjoy it! It was entertaining and unpredictable, which I liked. I cannot wait to see what you think!

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    2. I will let you know when I do. I am hoping to start it this week. =)

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    3. Awesome! I'll look for your review, too!

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  13. Bring Me Back sounds frustrating, especially if theories are hashed and rehashed. Sounds like a pass for me. I must pick up The Lunar Chronicles series someday. I have a mental block on it, but everyone seems to love it. I'd do the audio books for sure. Great reviews Lindsi! :)

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    1. Finn keeps second-guessing himself, and ends up being a super jerk to everyone around him. He wasn't very likable (no one was really), and I wish he'd stuck with one theory until he was able to disprove it. However, just calling the police from the beginning might have saved everyone a lot of trouble.

      Yes! The Lunar Chronicles is AMAZING. They're definitely books I want to add to my shelves, but the audiobooks are wonderful. Rebecca Soler is perfection. <3

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  14. The beginning of the synopsis sounds like an actual incident that has happened. I have an unrelated confession, though ... I've never played Clue. I know! The shame. lol. And when you say "If you enjoy books that are nearly impossible to figure out ..." I take that as a challenge. :D

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    1. Challenge accepted! Now you have to read this book and let me know if you're able to figure it out before Finn does.

      Never played Clue?? I feel like you've missed out on something amazing, but it's never too late to play! Grab 3-4 people, order a pizza, and play!

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  15. I loved Clue! Such a fun game. Sorry this didn't work for you, I've been seeing this all over but I think this is the first review I've read.

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    1. There were things that I really liked about this book, but other aspects were a little frustrating. Overall, I enjoyed the mystery behind Layla's disappearance and never knowing how it was going to end. If the synopsis intrigues you, definitely give it a shot!

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  16. I love Clue! My son just got his own game for his birthday and we've been playing it again. Though there were a few issues you had, I'm glad you found it interesting and something you couldn't solve on your own.

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    1. It's been forever since I've played! My oldest is 4, so he's not quite there yet, I don't think. It's definitely something we will be playing in the future. Right now it's Candy Land, Shoots and Ladders (the superhero edition, lol), Hi Ho Cherry Oh (I'm sure I butchered the title), and a few others.

      The overall story was very interesting! I never guessed the ending, which is always a bonus. I just hated that the clues and situations started to feel repetitive, and Finn's decisions weren't always... logical.

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  17. Omg what? Did he kill her, well no? Did the sister kill her? Well, no not of clues show up. Dang I am so curious now

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    1. Ah, but who is leaving the clues? Layla or someone else? Hmm. πŸ˜‰

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  18. I love a good thriller with twists and turns, but only if things make sense and I can understand what's going on. I worry I would be too confused!

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    1. It makes sense for the most part, but I felt like the ending and the explanation of it all was a little rushed. Especially after all the time we spend getting clues and accusing everyone within a 5 mile radius. It's not hard to follow, you just go around in circles for a bit. I hope that helps!

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  19. I received an unsolicited review copy of this one. I plan to read it but it isn't a priority. It sounds a bit different than most mysteries. I do like it when I can't guess the mystery so maybe I will like it.

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    1. I hope you do! It's a good story, just not one I'll read again. There were too many small things that I didn't like, but overall it was a very interesting read. I can't wait to see what you think!

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