First Lie Wins (Book Review)

First Lie Wins (Book Review)

You’ll love it if
you puzzle-y thrillers that are low on graphic content

This book review contains affiliate links. Here’s my disclosure policy.

First Lie Wins

By Ashley Elston

Character
Plot & Pacing
Writing Craft
Moral Value

When a young spy needs to redeem herself in her boss’s eyes, she finds herself tested in twisty ways

I needed something different. I saw that this popular thriller was high on twists and low on sex and violence, so I gave it a try. I’m NOT much for thrillers, but about once a year, I’ll pick one up. I never seem to love them, so take my review with a grain of salt.

Here’s what appealed to me: I knew this was going to be a plot-driven book. I wasn’t expecting much in the way of character arc, and, turns out, there wasn’t much of one. The plot was interesting and did deliver some twists and turns that I enjoyed and didn’t see coming. It was fast-paced and short. A nice palate cleanser.

I could’ve done with MORE character, especially from the lead.

I won’t spoil the end, but…I had issues with the note it ended on. It didn’t have good resonance, even though it is discussable.

Content warnings: The book didn’t rely on graphic scenes for shock and awe. So, no graphic violence or sex. The main character is living with a man. Some deaths occur. There was the usual foul language that you’d expect, but it was moderate—not minimal but not everywhere. Of course, this is a worldly book, so it comes with, well, worldliness.

3
Timmi Tobbson: Legend of the Star Runner (Book Review)

Timmi Tobbson: Legend of the Star Runner (Book Review)

You’ll love it if
you’ve got a clue-loving kid who can’t resist an interactive mystery

This book review contains affiliate links. Here’s my disclosure policy.

Legend of the Star Runner (Timmi Tobbson)

By J.I. Wagner
Translated by Tracy Phua
Illustrated by Cindy Foehlich

Character
Plot & Pacing
Writing Craft
Moral Value

At the end of each short chapter, there’s a clue to solve that moves you a step closer to uncovering a mystery.

That made me curious enough to give this book a try with my 7- and 8-year-olds. They have short attention spans, so we read one to two chapters per day, and we had fun solving the little clues. Some were easy and satisfying, but others were tough enough to flex our mental muscles.

The story is written from the POV of Timmi Tobbson, average kid. He has two friends, Lilli and Marvin. One summer day, they realize they need to help save Lilli’s grandpa’s house from getting repo’ed. This leads them on a wild goose chase through many crazy locations in their historic town.

The fun thing about the clues is that you must look closely at the illustrations that appear at the end of each chapter, and those pictures give you clues to help you answer the accompanying “clue question.”

The concept of this book is just wonderful. The clues and illustrations are very well done. The writing and story elements were not quite as strong. We do have the second and third books in the series, so my boys will see how the series unfolds if they choose to read these independently. I won’t be continuing the series as a read-aloud.

3.3