Cover Image: Ruined

Ruined

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Member Reviews

First off I'd like to thank Netgalley, Kaleido Text Media and the author S.A. McEwen for the e-copy in exchange for an honest review. 

This book is about a woman named Natalie who has issues with herself that stem from her lack of relationship with her parents. Her parents were immigrants from Sri Lanka who moved to Australia during a civil war and they were not open with her about their struggles. She usually keeps everyone at arms length until she meets a man she feels like she can connect with. However, she starts to suspect him in the murder of her best friend.  

I really enjoy dual perspectives like this book has where it's told by Natalie but also the unknown killer. However, there were a lot of really hard hitting topics that didn't quite all connect by the end of the book. I did like the author did a lot of research into the social issues discussed in the book. Overall, it was an enjoyable quick paced read.
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I wanted to love the book, but I didn't.  I thought the main character was tough to connect too. I thought it had some suspense, but overall when the story was resolved at least one main clue was never spoken of again or resolved.  Additionally, the ending fit together too nicely.  The angst of race and prejudice was a prevalent theme that I didn't expect based on the book description and although I didn't mind that element and understood why it was included, it wasn't the story I anticipated and made for a different underlying theme for a thriller.   

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3979109721
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Natalie is a second generation Sri Lankan living in Australia who struggles to connect emotionally with her parents, friends, and especially lovers. Natalie and one of her only true friends, Letitia, are both high end sex workers. When Letitia is found murdered Natalie’s world is turned upside down. It only gets worse when clues point towards Natalie’s new love interest being involved. Is the man she thinks she might finally be starting to have feelings for really who he says he is?  

This book provides a disturbing look into sex work, racial tension, and physical and mental family abuse. I’m not sure what I was expecting but this took me by surprise. It’s a mystery that hooked me in from the beginning. Although I had guessed the direction where the end of the book was going, I still enjoyed reading it and seeing how the author was able to tie the story together. Overall, I enjoyed this fast paced story. 

Thank you Net Galley for the digital ARC.
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The story is told from two perspectives, Natalie a second generation immigrant from Sri Lanka and the unidentified "Killer" and loved this unique storytelling perspective - it certainly worked really well in keeping the suspense and thrill aspect of the book high. 

However I feel like we are bashed from all sides in the first few chapters as the author rushes to spell out all of Natalie's problems and issues in the world (Natalie is a sex worker, Natalie is getting an abortion, Natalie and her family suffer from systemic racism, Natalie doesn't have a great relationship with her parents, Natalie's brother  has a mental illness and the BAM her best friend is murdered and the police don't care.) 

The book was short succinct and action packed and I did enjoy the POV it was told from however there was just too much going on for me and I couldn't say I would rush to recommend it. 

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book had me curious from the beginning. Great thriller read! This story follows Natalie a sex worker and her struggles with her parents relationship. After dating a guy thinking he is a serial killer, you can’t help but wonder how this book ends. To find out who is the killer of her best friend and whether her parents relationship will continue to suffer. Thank you to the author and Netgalley for this electronic copy.
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A well written fast paced thriller is very rare to find these days. All the famous thrillers are not that fast from first page itself but this one was. From first page I was hooked.
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It's a story of a girl who never had any emotional relationship with parents. Her parents were immigrants from Sri Lanka who immigrated to Australia during their civil war and they didn't share anything with her as a result of which she stayed away from real-life adult relationships. But when she finally finds someone with whom she can connect with, that guy turns out to be suspect in the death of her best friend. 
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There are so many topics discussed in this one from racism to the lives of Sex workers and life of migrants. 
I read this in one go and it is pretty good read. 
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In few places I thought that there were too much thoughts of the protagonist on display. Which according to me were a bit more than required. Her emotions and all. 
Otherwise I liked this one.
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Small and fast read. Can read it in one go.
Good if you are looking for Short Thriller..
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I found this book to be ok. It was a Romantic thriller based on a family and a lot of secrets. Sex, Natalie had not had an easy life but she had managed to become a lawyer.  When a friend of hers turns up dead. Natalie discovers the police are really into solving this case since there have been many other similar murders.she becomes more involved.  There is a lot of graphic sex and sex workers. Not really my kind book. It was difficult for me to finish. 

Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this ACR for my honest review
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Natalie has some inner issues with herself that stem from her lack of a relationship with her parents, an understanding of where her family is from and their background. Her family never spoke of their struggles and challenges of immigrating from Sri Lanka to Australia during their civil war. This has caused Natalie to keep people at arms-length and to have issues with creating close relationships. When she finds a man that she feels close to, she starts to struggle even more with herself and everything she thought she wanted is now put into question.
Then, her best friend is murdered, one in a few similar murders. Now she is unsure about her new boyfriend, the way they met and why they met, and starts to suspect him. 

This was a nice quick book. I was definitely interested and the writing was intriguing. There were two perspectives, one from Natalie and one of the killer, except we don't know who the killer is. I thought that was pretty ingenious as it makes you think you know who the killer is except that you don't. The ending was also very satisfying, I wasn’t quite sure I was expecting how it would end.

I felt that there were a lot of topics and social issues in this book, and it was a little overwhelming in the first 30 pages of the book. In those first few pages, we learn that Natalie is a sex worker, is getting an abortion, racism is a problem for her and her family, her brother has a mental illness, and the murder hadn't even happened! By the end of the book I do feel like all those issues were connected in one way or the other, except the abortion. I am not sure why that was in the book, other than the fact it was the first indication that maybe Natalie didn’t really know herself afterall. 

I also liked the author note that states the author's research on many of the social issues discussed in the book. I appreciate that the author took the time to really understand some of the cultural social issues included in the book before writing about them.

I do feel like a few other plot points were not explained or were unfinished. For example, Natalie's client that painted her. I'm not sure what his role was in the storyline. I feel like there was a lot going on that some things didn’t get as well developed as it should/could have been.

Overall, an enjoyable quick read - Thank you to the author and NetGalley for this electronic review copy!
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A black and white world of deception, love, hate and family. Without prejudice, it would have been a better, safer life for  the main character, who uses her talents to live a life of luxury until the past catches up with her. I loved this book from the first to the last page. I had a strong sense of empathy for many of the characters; I felt loathing towards others.
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This is a brilliant set to read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable.
Great suspense and action with wonderful world building.
Can't wait to read what the author brings out next.
Recommend reading.

I read a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest review.
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A painfully beautiful novel, breathtakingly original in structure and style, cleverly exploring serious issues within the framework of a psychological thriller. Sexy and seductive. Dark and chilling. Thought provoking and challenging.
S.A. McEwen joins the current wave of Australian writers who are rejuvenating an over-crowded genre. This is a lushly impressive, character driven plot that had me totally engrossed from the very first page. A book not to be missed.
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Well researched story line about escorts and it is set in Australia. I'm rating it a 4 because the ending felt rushed. It's not about glamorizing escorting. It's about your own moral compass. Like if an escort with that kind of job is murdered. Do you blame the victim or do you find justice for that person who did it to them?
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I received an arc from the publisher through NetGalley for exchange my honest review.
This novel is well-written and satisfied my inner sleuth. The story is very interesting and pleasure to read. There are lots of twists and turns to keep me turning the pages and guessing to figure things out till the end. The book depicted the impact of a cruel civil war on people who suffered, especially the widespread racism in Australia.  The girls overcame their difficult youth and struggled with the family.  I was impressed with the way they were developed and presented.  I was really drawn into the story, very entertaining. You couldn’t predict the ending. The writing was focused and fast paced romantic thriller. It is definitely worth reading.
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An interesting mystery with a look into cultural relations, sex workers and refugees that surprisingly goes quite well together. The story itself drew me in and the varying points of view had me trying to figure things out throughout. The bit of Sri Lankan history was unknown to me and spurned me on to research more in depth as to know more about it. Well done novel that satisfied my inner sleuth.
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I saw a review that compared this to Liane Moriarty's style and I would have to agree. It's darker, more straight forward, and tougher but still a great story. I really like S.A. McEwen's style and would read more from them.
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I thought this was a very well written, but quote dark and disturbing book!  If you’re like me and live dark and disturbing, then I think you will love this one; but if you have triggers this book may mot be for you.  Very well written, lots of good twists and turns, chilling, thrilling, and shocking!   A very fast paced book I highly recommend!
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Natalie is a trained lawyer and sex worker caught in the throes of her best friend and fellow sex worker's murder, family trauma, and new relationship with a man who carries a lot of secrets.

I think this book had a nice length for the plot and incorporated a lot of social issues that people might not be aware of. To me, Natalie's family and friendships were the most interesting part of the book, but these were overshadowed by the boyfriend (who didn't seem very realistic or multi-dimensional). I would have loved to get more time with Natalie's parents and brother, or have learned more about Sri Lanka.

A few plot points seemed mismatched and unfinished, for example, the pregnancy, racist neighbor, and young painter client. However, the 'twist' at the end was satisfying. 

Finally, I wish the description was a little more clear about either the romance or sex aspect of the book, as both are major plot points. Romance isn't really my genre, and I prefer not to read about sex. No judgement whatsoever of sex workers or people who do like to read explicit material. Get it!! ;) It's just not for me, and I wished there had been more allusion to it in the description or listed genres. 

Note: I received a free eBook copy of Ruined from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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The story was about a family who survived the civil war and migrated to Australia and lived in Sydney. Being the parents who experienced a lot of hardship in life, they want nothing of it to happen to their child. So they would do everything to avoid any hardship. They thought they did a good job raising Natalie as she became successful. Little did they know their daughter was also doing everything she can to be on top and at that time being a private escort is all she knows. All things might seem are already at their place until her friend was found dead. 

Thus begin the hardship for Natalie. She was overwhelmed by it and now questions a lot of things that everything seems that they are not what they are before. Who to trust and what would Natalie do to solve all of this. Grieving yet determined to escape the harsh reality. I finished it fast not because that I loved it but because the chapters were a bit short.
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A quiet, disturbing look at race relations, sex workers, emotionally dysfunctional families, physically and emotionally abused families and the birth of a serial killer. This complex story took me by surprise. It is like nothing I have ever read. I was engaged from the very beginning. This is definitely a page turner. The characters are well written and developed.
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3-1/2 stars. When I began this book, I put it down after reading about graphic sex and violence. I prefer a clean read, and this was anything but. However, I went ahead and read it since it was a mystery thriller, and it was an ok read. There were some surprising twists that surprised me more because I didn’t pay attention at the very beginning. If you like to read about sex workers and dysfunctional families and graphic sex you will enjoy this. It wasn’t my favorite, but it was a decent read. 
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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