PJV Quickie: I’ve read and enjoyed other books by Molly McAdams and I really wanted to like Forgiving Lies. Unfortunately, I found the story to be formulaic and the characters unlikable. At about the halfway point I started getting into the story, but then the epilogue ruined it for me (again).
Rachel Masters is finishing up her third year of college. Rachel’s parents died at the beginning of her senior year of high school and her BFF Candice’s family took her in for her senior year. Rachel followed Candice from their home in California to the University of Texas in Austin. Candice’s cousin, Blake, whom Rachel had a crush on as a child, has also started working at UT as a personal trainer in the athletics department. Candice has been incessantly bugging Rachel to go out with Blake, and when Rachel finally agrees (to get Candice to stop whining about it), the date goes okay, but after they go out twice Blake gets weird and Rachel doesn’t want to see him any more, which is difficult because he’s Candice’s cousin and works in the department Rachel’s studies are in.
Logan “Kash” Ryan is an undercover cop in Tampa Bay, Florida, and after a violent gang puts out a hit on Kash and his partner, Mason, they are sent undercover to find a serial killer in Austin. They move in to the apartment across the walkway from Rachel and Candice, and a friendship develops. Kash knows Rachel is hiding secrets, but he can’t tell Rachel he’s got secrets of his own. When things get serious, will Rachel be able to forgive Kash his ‘necessary lies’, or will he lose the best thing that’s ever happened to him?
*Warning – this book has a detailed rape scene in it, which can be an issue for some readers*
As I said in my PJV quickie, I wanted to like Forgiving Lies. I’ve read and enjoyed other books by this author and the blurb looked good. That being said, I had so many eyerolls reading Forgiving Lies that I may need to go see an optometrist. It’s like she took a checklist of things needed in a NA and ticked them off to be sure everything was included:
- dead parents;
- self-centered bff;
- tattooed hero (piercing optional);
- hero also rides a motorcycle and/or plays guitar (in this case, both);
- hero feels the need to keep the heroine “safe”;
- cliffhanger ending
I think by this point it’s obvious I had issues with Forgiving Lies. At first the writing read as awkward, but I just put it off to getting used to the tone of a new book. Then, in the first few chapters, Blake is acting weird and Rachel is all “oh, maybe I forgot my car died after I was already at the coffee shop and I also forgot I called my BFF and told her to send Blake to come get me.” Blake comes off as a mustache-twirling villian and the whole setup in the first few chapters felt forced and obvious.
Kash came off as a pretty good hero (even with the swoon-overkill: tattooed, pierced, motorcycle-riding undercover cop who also plays guitar and sings) and I genuinely liked his character. He had a few issues of his own, and without getting into spoilers I can’t go into specifics, but sufficeth to say the whole book I kept thinking “He does remember that in real life he lives in Tampa Bay, yes?”
Now, on to Rachel’s BFF Candice: Seriously one of the worst BFFs ever:
- She ignores Rachel’s repeated “no” and bullies her into accepting a date with Blake;
- She continuously locks Rachel out of the apartment without warning when she’s having sex (instead of say, locking her own bedroom door so Rachel can use the rest of the apartment); and
- She doesn’t believe Rachel when she tells her she’s been raped and gets annoyed when Rachel wants to avoid her rapist.
All in all, I felt like for much of the story the characters were written to fit the plot: many of Rachel’s reactions to Kash didn’t ring true in light of the events at the beginning of the book, and I felt like the story still would have worked and would have been more believable if said events hadn’t happened.
Now, the epilogue. Even though I got off to a rocky start, Kash kind of carried the story for me and I was enjoying it to the end…it was a good ending and this particular reader was satisfied. Then, the author pulls an out-of-the-blue cliffhanger out of her pocket that I guess is supposed to grab readers and leave them wanting the next book, but for me it just read like a blatant “buy my next book” ploy. Instead of being left satisfied, I was left annoyed by the whole thing.
Based on goodreads reviews, I think am in the minority in not liking Forgiving Lies, so I think it will appeal to readers who like New Adult. Fans of tattooed cop heroes and angsty heroines will devour Forgiving Lies.