Girls' Night Outby Liz Fenton, Lisa Steinke Published 24 Jul 2018
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|Publisher||Lake Union Publishing|
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For estranged friends Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren, it’s time to heal the old wounds between them. Where better to repair those severed ties than on a girls’ getaway to the beautiful paradise of Tulum, Mexico? But even after they’re reunited, no one is being completely honest about the past or the secrets they’re hiding. When Ashley disappears on their girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren have to try to piece together their hazy memories to figure out what could have happened to her, while also reconciling their feelings of guilt over their last moments together.
Was Ashley with the man she’d met only days before? Did she pack up and leave? Was she kidnapped? Or worse—could Natalie or Lauren have snapped under the weight of her own lies?
As the clock ticks, hour by hour, Natalie and Lauren’s search rushes headlong into growing suspicion and dread. Maybe their secrets run deeper and more dangerous than one of them is willing—or too afraid—to admit.
"Girls' Night Out" Reviews
"It's all very well to tell us to forgive our enemies; our enemies can never hurt us very much, But oh, what about forgiving our friends?"
-Willa Cather, My Mortal Enemy
You know that old saying where there's always one left out in a group of 3 friends? Welcome to Girls' Night Out, where this theme is explored and portrayed in the most delicious and dramatic of ways. If you're like me, then you wholly enjoy some "escapism" fiction, and this guilty pleasure novel is just that. I was so completely sucked in by the drama that I was sure this plot put the Real Housewives of insert any city I'm not as knowledgable as Dennis on these things to shame. Ladies, you want domestic drama? You want cat fights? You want suspense that compels you to keep reading even if your family is begging you to feed them and wash their clothes but you say, not today fools? Then sit down and read on; this book is for you!
Suspenseful and compelling- I know I already implied this above, but I swear they are the two most legit adjectives I can use to describe this plot. The deeper I went, the more I had to keep going. I was a woman on a mission, and I needed to know what happened to Ashley! It's tricky, because Ashley initially is an extremely unlikable character, but by the end of the book, the authors leave all the pieces for you to decide whether you think she was redeemable or not. I LOVED THIS. I adore when authors give their readers the freedom to make their own conclusions and assumptions rather than spoon feeding us how we should think and feel. I can't promise you'll feel sorry for any of the characters, as that will be up to you, but I can promise that by the end of the book you're brain will be digesting every aspect long after you close the book.
I really don't want to discuss any specific plot points, because this book is best read going in blind, but I did love how the story flips between the days of the girls' trip and the present day where Ashley is missing. It's still a relatively short span of time with no major calendar jumps to keep track of, which makes it easy to follow but ratchets up the tension to the point you just want to fly through to the ending to know what happens and have closure. There are multiple POVs, so we get a little glimpse into each character's side of the story for a well-rounded and balanced narrative. Again, if you like drama you are going to eat this one up.
I know there will be people who won't take to this book, but if you've been a fan of Liz and Lisa's novels in the past, it's a safe bet you'll enjoy this one too. These ladies have really upped their game by switching over to the suspense genre, proving they know how to keep a reader flipping the pages at lightning speed. I look forward to more from the duo and can't wait to hear everyone else's opinions of THAT ENDING. This book goes best with a pint of ice cream, a bottle of wine, and a week at the beach. Ok, maybe that's a bit lofty, but this is a beach read at it's finest! Thank you so much to Lisa and Liz for sending me an early copy; I adore you both and look forward to the next one! And the next one and the next one and the...
A beautiful, haunting story of friendship and what happens when that friendship is put to the test. A must-read for women of all ages!!!
Girls’ Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke is a gripping tale of friendship and the cracks that form over time. This book reminds me a bit of what makes Liane Moriarty successful—it’s a deep character study of women and their lives both separate to and in relation to one another, and with a dash of suspense. Readers will find themselves turning the pages, wanting to find out the hidden secrets of these three women that will answer the question, what happened to their friendship??
From the outside Ashley has everything a girl could want —a handsome husband, two lovely daughters, a successful business, a 7,000 square-foot home in California, stunning good looks, and a magnetic personality. But these things that Ashley has that make her enviable also make it hard for her to connect with even those she loves most. Since college Ashley has been best friends with Lauren and Natalie. Now that they are turning 40, the cracks have formed in their friendship. Desperate to save them, Ashley invites her friends on a girls’ trip to Tulum—to reconnect and hopefully say the things they’ve been unable to say for so long.
Natalie sometimes feels like the sidekick —she is Ashley’s best friend and business partner. It was Natalie’s idea to create the BlowBrush—a combination brush and blow dryer with a patented battery that makes the hair styling process easy for all women. But it was Ashley that used her charms to get the BlowBrush as successful as it is. Now with a huge offer from Revlon to purchase their company, Natalie is ready to get out. The only problem is convincing Ashley to do the same. This argument has caused a divide between the two women, but Natalie is not telling Ashley the real reason she wants to sell the company—the secret she has been keeping from the world. Natalie agrees to the girls’ trip thinking it may give her an opportunity to convince Ashley to sell, but will she be able to tell Ashley the truth?
Lauren feels like the third wheel —she isn’t in business with Ashley and Natalie, and she isn’t sure she really has a friendship with Natalie outside of Ashley. Lauren is recently widowed and dealing with her own demons. And something happened between Lauren and Ashley a year ago that has caused them to stop speaking altogether. But Lauren wants to try to reconnect; she wants to try to forgive Ashley. But that may also mean forgiving herself, and facing some darkness she has held onto that she would rather avoid.
The trip is meant to reestablish their friendship —but the reality is, that the secrets they keep and the pain that each other has caused may be difficult to repair. The trip isn’t going at all as planned. And then one night Ashley goes missing, and the torment between the three women is suddenly forgotten… Where is Ashley???
Every woman knows what it is like to feel like the third wheel in a group of three. What’s interesting about the way Liz and Lisa wrote this book is that at times, all three of these women are convinced they are the one left out—the one that is not connecting as well. The authors write masterfully the way our own neuroses contribute to this disconnect. When we should be relaxing and letting people in, we get in our heads about feeling left out, and this increases the space between us.
As the book unfolds, you’ll be convinced you know who the problem is. You’ll see the story told from each woman’s perspective. What I love, though, is that the further in you get, the more you realize that each of them has contributed in equal parts to the situation they are in now. Sometimes its easy to see the other people as at fault, but there are things all of us do to alienate others. Getting over our own demons is needed to be able to not only forgive others, but ask them to forgive us as well. Forgiveness may be the most important theme of this novel, followed closely by secrets. We all have things we are too afraid for others to know. And sometimes revealing those things to the ones closest to us is the hardest thing of all.
Also see my review here!
Many thanks to Lake Union Publishing, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, and to NetGalley for an opportunity to read this book in advance of publication in exchange for an honest review.
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...
Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren have traveled all the way to Tulum, Mexico in hopes of rekindling their previous friendships.
The book opens in present time. Natalie awakens the morning of their last day in Mexico. She panics when she realizes she’s not in her hotel bed. She’s not in any bed. She is outside the hotel, on the beach…alone. She heads to her hotel room to find Ashley, hoping she can help her figure out what happened. Bits and pieces of the previous night flit in and out of her mind, but there are some big gaps in her memory. When she gets to the room she sees Ashley’s things are there but Ashley isn’t. Natalie figures she must be with Lauren. But when gets to Lauren’s room, Lauren says she hasn't seen Ashley either.
The trip had been Ashley’s idea. She wanted to reconnect with her friends. Ashley and Natalie work together but they had barely seen Lauren after a tragedy and a terrible fight the year before.
Unfortunately, the trip hadn’t been going as planned. It didn’t help that Ashley had been spending a lot of time with a local man. This caused friction between the friends as the man barely left their sides, making it very hard for them to reconnect. It also doesn’t help that they're all keeping secrets from each other.
Was the trip that was meant to bring them back together pushing them even further apart?
Now Ashley is missing. Did she go off somewhere willingly? Was she kidnapped? And why is Natalie having such a hard time remembering what happened the night before? And how come her dress was wet when she woke up on the beach?
Where is Ashley?
We hear all of the friend’s perspectives as the time frame flips back and forth over the past few days and up until the present time. A couple of times the characters seemed to flip faster than I could keep up with so occasionally I had to take a moment to figure out who was who. But for the most part, I was able to keep everyone straight.
It's always nice when you feel you can relate to some of the characters you are reading about. I felt like I could relate to some of the things these women were going through. I liked that the authors dedicated the book to friendship.
All in all, this was an interesting read with some good twists, engaging characters, and an intriguing plot. A good summer read! This was my first read from Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. I’m looking forward to reading more from this talented duo.
I'd like to thank Lake Union Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
4 Stars and A Margarita🍹 🌟🌟🌟🌟
First of all where can I get me one of those BLOWN brush things? Seriously the curly hair struggle is real!!!
My daughter and I were out to dinner tonight and we were talking about things and it came up that I am a girls girl, her... not so much... i’ve always had strong female friendships, and I’ve been beyond blessed to have had the amazing friends that I have had throughout my entire life.... yes even in high school! However even the strongest of friendships can be complex... and the more friends you add to the group the more challenging it can become, it’s hard to maintain a balance... sometimes even the most innocent of actions can cause a great deal of hurt... The fact that the authors of this book are friends added so much authenticity to the book, their friendship poured through the pages...
Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren have been the best of friends for decades... and even though they have been estrange from Lauren for the past year, Ashley is convinced she can rectify this with a fabulous girls getaway to Mexico... some sun, some sand, some tequila, and things will be as good as they used to be, right? Wrong! There are a lot of secrets and hurt between these girls, and even the best of margaritas cannot quickly fix this...
This really was a book about secrets and forgiveness... now I am a true oversharer so I wasn’t always sure why they didn’t share some of this information with one another? especially if they are friends? Just seems like a lot of problems could have been solved if everyone knew what was going on... but this seems to be very common in books and in life... seriously these girls knew how to keep a secret after three margaritas I’d be spilling my secrets to whoever would listen, LOL.... The forgiveness in this book was interesting, I felt some things were more forgivable than others.... how far can you push someone before they’ve had enough?
I liked how we got all three of the girls perspectives... Ashley was a hard character to have much sympathy for... she kept saying how much she wanted to repair their friendship, and then she had a guy spend most of their vacation with them? I would have found this so annoying! A girls vacation should be just that... a GIRLS vacation! Natalie and Lauren were much more likable and relatable, there were times in this book I thought they should just be BFFs and forget about Ashley!
This book really had a bit of everything friendship, secrets, forgiveness and a mystery... where is Ashley? And will Natalie recover her memory? This was just such a good story that truly explored the complexities of female friendship.... the good, the bad, and the ugly.... cannot wait to see what these authors have in store for us next!
Absolutely recommend to everyone who loves a book filled with secrets, mystery, and complicated female relationships...
*** Many thanks to Lake Union for my copy of this book ***
📚 you can find all my reviews on my blog @
The mystery of the disappearance of one woman who goes missing as the three friends are in Tulum, Mexico, trying to repair their friendship kept me reading to the end, but their differences and arguments got tedious and none of the women was likeable.
The story not only alternates from the three women’s points of view, it also bounces back and forth between the few days before Ashley disappears to the days after. So, one chapter you’ll be reading about the night they arrived, the morning after she disappears, two days before she disappears, the night she disappears, then back to three days before she disappears. That had to be a very hard way for the authors to plot this novel, but it did let all three women’s secrets be revealed in a way that unravels nicely.
Both Lauren and Natalie have reason to be pissed at Ashley, but there has also always been a rivalry between the two of them for her affection for the twenty years they’ve been friends. Though the trip was supposed to be about the three of them forgiving each other, Ashley spends much of her time with a handsome stranger, Marco, (despite the fact she’s married) adding tension between the three women.
Despite the good things about the novel, their endless arguments over the same things over and over again made it an unenjoyable read in the end.
Girls’ Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke is a psychological thriller that has multiple points of view along with alternating timelines. The story begins at the end of a week long vacation between three very good friends but then goes back to the days leading up to that morning while also following what happens from that morning onward.
All three ladies in this book are given a voice to show how each is dealing with each event as the book goes along. Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren have all been good friends for years but at this point in their lives all the relationships have gotten pretty rocky so Ashley had planned the week in Tulum, Mexico in an attempt to mend their friendship.
As the story begins Natalie wakes up on the beach the morning after what should have been their last night together with no memory of how she got there. As Natalie returns to the room she shares with Ashley she finds her friends hasn’t returned and gets worried something happened that Natalie isn’t remembering.
I have to say having read The Good Widow and now Girls’ Night Out what I find Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke absolutely excel at is getting their settings across in their stories. It really felt as if I’d stepped into Tulum right from the moment I began to read and this made following the story as the secrets and lies were unraveled all the more fun to me. To be honest these ladies were a hot mess but it was a compelling mess as I waited to see just what had happened that fateful night.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/