The Sun and the Sand and a Book in my Hand

Book Review: Pretty, Nasty, Lovely, a Psychological Suspense Novel by Rosalind Noonan

Book Review: Pretty, Nasty, Lovely, a Psychological Suspense Novel by Rosalind Noonan

I was in a sorority in college, and I was even in one in Oregon (like the book depicts, but the college and sorority in the book are completely fictional), but mine never had such drama (or death, eep!). This was the next book in a string of psychological suspense novels I read in the past couple of weeks.

Post contains affiliate links, see disclosure for more detail. I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are honest and my own.

About the Book:

Emma Danelski joined Theta Pi sorority at Merriweather University as a way to find her tribe and make friends. She connects well with a small group of people, but there is an elite group whose actions and ideals don’t mesh with Emma’s. One of her sorority sisters apparently commits suicide under suspicious conditions. Was it really suicide, or was it murder? Emma knows more about the girl’s life than most people, and more than she lets on to even the close friends around her, but is everything she thinks she knows about her the truth? As the pressure mounts with the investigation, Emma must decide where to draw the line about keeping secrets in order to protect herself and others that she loves.

My Thoughts:

It’s difficult to give an accurate plot summary of the book without giving any spoilers! As the book progresses, there are many twists and turns that reveal secrets hidden and then brought to light, and to describe them in a review would be to spoil the enjoyment of the story and the journey it will take you on as a reader. There were some things I figured out pretty early, but a couple of great twists that were complete surprises, particularly toward the end.

There’s a slight bit of confusion with the timeline at first. The book starts out with a harrowing incident, although it takes quite a few chapters to figure out how that fits into the overall story arc. Don’t let that initial incident convince you that you know what is going on though, because I guarantee you that you don’t have the whole picture! There is also one plot point towards the end that points a finger toward Emma’s guilt and it is never explained, it’s almost like the entire thing is forgotten once more dramatic things happen. Another thing I didn’t care for was that some big issues were brought up–particularly racism/class-ism issues, and they weren’t thoroughly explored. This could have made this book astoundingly meaningful, but it just brushes over these deep topics in favor of the thrills. Despite those shortcomings, this is a solid thriller that will keep you guessing.

I did really enjoy the storyline, the plot moves rapidly and isn’t easy to figure out. The sorority setting is fun and wow, the things these girls are hiding! There is a large cast of characters, but they have fairly distinct personalities, so keeping them separate isn’t a big problem and actually adds to the puzzle because you just don’t know who is good, bad, or just hiding something embarrassing. It was refreshing that the character of the professor wasn’t sleazy or inappropriate and was actually working to help students,  which is more like real life and unlike how professors are typically portrayed in books.

Bottom Line:

Despite a few shortfalls, Pretty, Nasty, Lovely is a decent, entertaining thriller that is worth reading for its surprising twists and turns.


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