Love Lies Bleeding - Jess McConkey
This was an okay book. Generally, I liked the story, but I have to agree with another reviewer in that it didn't quite know what it wanted to be. There's a ghost story, a mystery, and a psychological drama. While McConkey did a somewhat okay job of juggling the three and bringing them together, it was too much. The biggest issue was the mystery element, especially the first person "mystery" chapters throughout the book. Aside from the fact that I absolutely detest POV changes (third person to first person here), the whole thing was out of place. It felt like it was something that was added in later to give the book a mystery that was absolutely unneeded and a sense of intensity that still fell flat.This intensity was missing from the entire story, really. It didn't come in the ghost story, in the tension between Sam and her family/fiancé, her growing chemistry with another character, the tension between Anne and her son Caleb, etc. I kept reading and I wanted to know what happened – mostly because I liked the characters – but I didn't feel a sense of urgency to do so. I was hoping that would come in the climax, but it didn't. The ending passed by too quickly. There were several loose ends that were either tied up in a few sentences or left dangling. I feel like the book's tag line, To what lengths would you go to keep a past buried?, is pretty misleading.Like I said, I did like the characters, especially Samantha and Anne. They were well fleshed out, and somewhat compelling in their own right, which is what kept me reading. Sam and Anne, whether you agreed or not, had clear basis or motivation for their actions. I liked that they were strong and intelligent. It would have been so easy to keep Sam pathetic and to never have her break through her trauma and find her backbone but she did and I loved that she kept it, too. Definitely the strongest female characters I've read in awhile. I absolutely adored Roxy and Sam with her. I also wish we got more scenes with Greg. He was a great guy.Overall, the best I can say is it was okay. If you pick it up you won't be reading for a strong story, but for strong characters.