Reviews

Christmas Presents by Lisa Unger

angelanatenzon's review

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2.0

Figured it out very early on

nikki_booknook's review

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4.0

Podcasts and true crime are both extremely popular in the zeitgeist of our era, and Lisa Unger has combined the two with her new novella, “Christmas Presents.” Centered on a young woman in a small town who survived a brutal crime that claimed the life of her best friend, and led to the disappearance of two others, Unger’s latest story weaves together Madeline’s desire to move forward with her life with the questions being asked by famed podcaster Harley Granger about whether the truth of that night has actually been revealed.

Set during the holiday season, “Christmas Presents” exudes the charm of life outside the hustle and bustle of a large city, while also exploring what can happen when outsiders upset the sometimes delicate balance of small town life. The tale is told in both the present day and flashbacks at the time when Madeline’s life started going sideways after meeting the new guy in town. Is he truly guilty of the crimes he has been convicted of? Is it possible he managed to kill one girl, come close to killing another, and abduct two more teenagers who have never been found on his own? Has Madeline’s desire to move on clouded her judgment and memories of the night everything went wrong? The supporting characters are interesting, but I thought they could have been more fully developed to ensure readers care about what happens to them as things unfolded.

The story is fast-paced, and reaches a satisfying conclusion. I do think that the aforementioned character development, as well as a deeper dive into the motivations of Harley Granger, Madeline and Badger’s past, and more about the initial investigation undertaken by Sheriff Martin would have helped to round out the story, and move it from a novella to a full-length novel.

alihupp's review

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4.0

Christmas Presents ~ Lisa Unger

⭐️⭐️⭐️

jteach's review

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.0

stephaniethereader9's review

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4.0

Such a good Christmas thriller!! Lots of suspense, mystery, and she wraps up the story completely leaving no loose ends, which I LOVE!! Highly recommend this for a Christmas time read if you love thrillers, suspense, murder mystery!!

tearbear418's review

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mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

khandle3's review

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dark tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No

2.5

i loved the premise of this book and honestly will check out more of the author’s work! i was somewhat let down by the ending but think this would be good for someone looking for an afternoon read that doesn’t take too much out of you!

readingjo's review against another edition

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4.0

This book follows Madeline Martin who overcame a tragic event as a teenager and the podcaster who shows up in her small hometown 10 years later to try and uncover the truth surrounding her case and the potential connection to some missing women.
I really enjoyed the modern take of a podcaster investigating a crime. The characters were well written and it was a fast paced book. My only complaint is that the ending seemed rushed. I didn’t realize this was a novella, it could have used a few more chapters.

Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced copy.

anwms1172's review

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dark medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

joshx25's review against another edition

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5.0

5/5