ARC REVIEW: How To Save A Life – by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

Title: How To Save A Life
Author: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: July 14th 2020
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Finished reading: June 14th 2020
Pages: 303

“I’m struck by how much I take life for granted. How easily I – or anyone I care about – could be a part of any of these stories that make the papers.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I knew I wanted to read How To Save A Life as soon as I read the blurb and saw the mention of the Groundhog Day element. It reminded me of one of my all time favorite books The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle and I was immediately curious how this element would be developed into the plot. It’s without doubt also the reason this story will stay with me for quite some time! The Groundhog Day element gives the story a surreal touch as well as raising an interesting question as mentioned in the blurb: how far would you go to save the life of someone you love?

The main reason this story worked for me is that same Groundhog Day element. How To Save A Life starts out as an ordinary romantic contemporary when Dom meets his ex-fiancé Mia again after ten years… While this does sounds like a bit of a cliche, it’s a tolerable cliche and it was interesting to see the two react to their sudden meeting and what some might call fate. The plot thickens after the introduction of the Groundhog Day element, and it gave the story that magical realism vibe as you wonder if the things that are happening are real or if it is all in Dom’s head.

The story is told in a series of repeat Thursdays as Dom wakes up and experiences the same day all over again. This might sound repetitive, but there are enough changes in the events as well as enough growth in Dom’s character to keep you interested. By doing things different each Thursday, we slowly learn more about Dom, Mia and their past as well as the other characters in play. I didn’t particularly like the hint at the love triangle nor the stack of cliches used throughout the story, but overall I was intrigued enough by how it would all end to keep reading.

As for the characters… I’m still not sure if I actually like them, but they were all well developed and felt mostly realistic. I had a great time getting to know Dom and Mia better over time… It was also interesting to see the dynamics between the different characters, and I actually quite liked the ending too. How To Save A Life proved to be a very interesting read; a mostly character driven story about Dom trying to save the love of his life while also learning more about himself. It’s definitely not your ordinary lost love story!


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WWW Wednesdays #273 – June 17th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading Let Me Go by Chelsea Cain so I can cross off another series on my unfinished series list. I know that technically the author promised more books were yet to come, but as it’s been seven years since book six was published I don’t think that will happen any time soon. I was also thinking about starting upcoming blog tour read Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver, but I might put it on hold until next week so I’m hopefully in a better headspace to enjoy it… And read some non-ARCs instead to reduce the reviewing pressure.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain (4/5 stars) REVIEW 21/06
Kill You Twice is book number five and marks the return to the spotlight of Archie’s nemesis Gretchen. After being mostly absent in book four, this sequel benefits from her strong presence once again and it has been interesting to see the dynamics between Archie and Gretchen develop further. Kill You Twice is not my favorite of the series though (which might be due to the explicit adult scenes, which are always a turn off for me), but overall I still enjoyed this one.

2. The Bone Jar by S.W. Kane (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 07/07
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

3. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (4/5 stars) REVIEW 21/06
Wow, what an absolutely breathtaking read! I already fell in love with Elizabeth Acevedo‘s writing last year in With The Fire On High, but The Poet X has completely blown my socks off. Beautifully rendered, raw and simply stunning, The Poet X is simply slam dunk when it comes to poetry and the story itself is completely written in verse. I think the only reason I didn’t give it the full 5 stars is because of the focus on religion, mostly because I have a personal aversion to this element in stories… I know this exploration of religion was mentioned in the blurb, but I confess that I like going in blind and I didn’t investigate before reading this one.

4. The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 08/07
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

5. How To Save A Life by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/06
I knew I wanted to read How To Save A Life as soon as I read the blurb and saw the mention of the Groundhog Day element. It reminded me of one of my all time favorite books The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle and I was immediately curious how this element would be developed into the plot. It’s without doubt also the reason this story will stay with me for quite some time! The Groundhog Day element gives the story a surreal touch as well as raising an interesting question as mentioned in the blurb: how far would you go to save the life of someone you love?

6. Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 24/07
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

7. Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver (3/5 stars) REVIEW 20/06
Right… I’m not sure what happened here, but somehow I didn’t actually enjoy this one? I’m still flabbergasted myself, because the first book blew me away and I fully expected to have a repeat experience with the sequel… But somehow the writing style this time around didn’t do it for me. And no, my less than positive reaction wasn’t even due to the sheer twistedness, the mass suicide element and the fact that it’s basically partly a manual on how to start your own fact cult and kill as many people as possible. That part my twisted mind actually did appreciate. xD

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’ll be taking a little break from thrillers next with my third 20 Books Of Summer title The Switch by Beth O’Leary… I really enjoyed The Flatshare last year, so I have high hopes for this one. I also want to read Good Girl Bad Girl by Michael Robotham, which would be 20 Books Of Summer title number four as well as a book I need to read in preparation for the ARC of the sequel that is due next month. Afterwards I will most likely pick up that same sequel When She Was Good to help further decrease my pending NG ARC pile. My newest TBR jar pick is still Broken Hearts, Fences And Other Things To Mend by Katie Finn, which I most likely won’t be able to pick up until July.


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WWW Wednesdays #272 – June 10th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

Last week I decided to start an impromptu ARC Readathon as I have way too many Netgalley and blog tour ARCs pending and desperately need to bring down that number. It has worked better than expected so far, and somehow I have managed to cross off seven! titles already; five of them being NG ARCs and two blog tours. I decided I deserved a little break from ARC reviewing and I’m currently flying through Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain, which is the fifth Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell book and my first 20 Books Of Summer title. Afterwards it’s back to ARCs though with an upcoming July blog tour read: The Bone Jar by SW Kane.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts (4/5 stars) REVIEW
I’ve been wanting to read this story ever since I first heard about Finding Dorothy last year and glowing reviews started popping up. The idea of learning the story behind the famous The Wizard Of Oz book and movie based on real historical facts sounded absolutely fascinating, and I think it’s one of the reasons this book worked so well for me. This is fiction mixed with historical facts at its best, and both historical fiction and The Wizard Of Oz fans will be delighted.

2. Good Girl by Miranda Smith (3/5 stars) REVIEW 19/06
I always love a good psychological thriller and I was intrigued by the blurb of Good Girl, so I decided to request a copy on a whim. “My brother was thirteen the first time he tried to kill me.”: talk about one heck of an opening line! I’ve been looking forward to read this story ever since and had quite high expectations for this one, but somehow the actual story ended up falling a bit flat for me. I still can’t put my finger exactly on the why, but I will try to explain in my full review what worked and didn’t work for me.

3. Somebody’s Daughter by Carol Wyer (4/5 stars) REVIEW 18/06
This detective thriller series has been highly entertaining and suspenseful from the very first book, and Somebody’s Daughter is already book number seven and no exception to the rule. Natalie and her team have another complicated case to solve, and the bodies are starting to pile up very quickly… Dark, twisted and highly entertaining if you enjoy a good detective thriller with a disturbing angle. If you enjoy the genre, you will most likely have a great time with this series!

4. Sorry I Missed You by Suzy Krause (DNF 51%; 0 stars) REVIEW 12/06
I admit I was first drawn in by the cover of Sorry I Missed You, although it was the blurb that ended up convincing me completely and I was really looking forward to read this one. Imagine my surprise when I ended up having a completely different experience instead! I’m not sure if it’s just me, or if the story is (partly) to blame, but the fact remains that Sorry I Missed You and me definitely didn’t get along. I never take the decision to DNF lightly and only resort to it a handful of times each year, but sadly I saw no other way out with this story…

5. Left For Dead by Caroline Mitchell (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/06
The DI Amy Winter series has provided one solid and dark detective thriller after the other so far, and Left For Dead is no exception. In this third book, we have another twisted case on our hands as well as developments relating to Amy’s mother and her appeal… The story has lots of twists and turns and while there are no major surprises to speak of, it was still a very satisfying detective thriller read as a whole. The ending was a shocker too, and I definitely can’t wait to discover how things will continue now.

6. Turn To Dust by Rachel Amphlett (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 13/07
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

7. Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West (3/5 stars) REVIEW 16/06
I’m having a hard time rating this one… On one hand, this is a very important read as it’s an own voices story that helps us give some insight in the race problematics and issues black people have to face to this day. This part was superstrong and the main reason I kept reading. BUT. On the other hand, a big part of this story was focused on religion. There is nothing wrong with that, but I personally have a huge aversion to stories that focus on religion, and even more if they start sounding preachy. This has nothing to do with the quality of this story, but rather a personal reaction… But the fact remains that I struggled to keep reading every time religion came in focus. Still, this story is worth reading for the black voices and focus on race problematics alone.

8. Before I Die by Jackie Morrissey (3/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 23/06
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m taking another quick break from ARCs next and finally read The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo… This will also by my second 20 Books Of Summer title. Then it’s back to ARCs with a July blog tour and most anticipated release: The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda. Afterwards I have another Netgalley ARC lined up to keep further decreasing my pending ARC shelf: How To Save A Life by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke. My newest TBR jar pick is still Broken Hearts, Fences And Other Things To Mend by Katie Finn, which I probably won’t pick up all that soon as I have a huge pile of other books I need to get to first.


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