Book Reviews

Hold Them or Break Them: Promised Lies by Marguerite Ashton #BlogTour

Today is my stop on the tour for Marguerite Ashton’s Promised Lies!

promised liesTitle: Promised Lies
Author: Marguerite Ashton
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Date of publication: June 8th 2017
Format: eARC
Number of pages: 404

Detective Lily Blanchette has a lot on her plate. Her sister, Celine, was murdered, her parents are on the verge of divorce, and after a whirlwind romance, she married a man she barely knows. When the bodies of two young women are found, it is clear that the killer is the same person who murdered her sister, Lily sets out to find out who that is. As the investigation comes to life, Lily realises that all is not as it seems in her life, who can she actually trust and who is she?


I can’t pass a catchy title. Promised Lies sounded perfect for me. Lies… I love them! Well, not when they are thrown my way and I have to decipher the message behind. But mine are usually harmless and they don’t involve crimes, blood, body parts and shocking family stories.

So as I said, Promised Lies had everything I wanted, at least on paper. But my enthusiasm rapidly fizzled out when the first pages took away the realism I look for in crime stories. Keeping a detective closely linked to a case on a very similar new investigation that might be connected irked me very fast. I know sometimes lines are blurred and a team can consider having one of them around even when there’s a personal aspect to a case, but here we are talking about keeping the sister of a possible linked victim as the lead investigator, and without anyone truly raising the issues it could involve.

“The last thing we need is for this to be twisted so they can have a juicy story. Detective, I have complete faith in your ability to lead this case.”

Maybe if Lily Blanchette had tried to work on the side and kept in touch with her colleagues, I would have had less problems with her poking her nose in the police work, but from this point onward, my brain decided there was something wrong with the procedure and therefore, I had the hardest time enjoying the story. I’m a sucker for rules.

Now off to the characters… For the reason stated above, I had a hard time with Lily Blanchette, and her behavior throughout the story did not help. I know we all react a different way when faced with difficult realities and facts of life, but I never really felt she was “alive”. There are deaths and incidents in this book, and all of them should have triggered something in this woman for me to sympathize with her. I wish I had felt more of her emotions to connect with her.

I only keep a vague memory from the police team, as they were only used as tools and I couldn’t say who was who most of the time. I think the only character I kept in mind was Lily’s partner, Morgan, but even her felt a bit cliché.

I wish the daughter/father relationship had been more developed so events would have appeared more shocking and would have had a stronger impact on me. Their time together was too sparse for me to have a clear picture, but I did feel the aching for a father’s approval, for the pride, for that spark when you share something special. This is why I had some issues with Lily later during the story as events unfolded.

The family dymanic had a lot of potential but I felt I never knew enough to understand the whole situation and motivations of each member. Celine, Lily’s deceased sister, was barely introduced and she never felt as a character, which means I couldn’t sense Lily’s pain and trauma after having lost her, neither could I feel the burden of having to work on the investigation to find her sister’s killer. It can’t have been easy, it wouldn’t be for anyone.

Lily’s marriage is another element of the book that has its importance, and if you’ve been here long enough, you know I love to suspect husbands or witness what happens behind closed doors. But I couldn’t find any reason to believe in that marriage, neither did Lily apparently! Still, I appreciated the way the author approached a big and difficult issue in marriage, and how Lily lost her cop outfit for the woman, for the wife that has difficult decisions to make.

Last but not least, the investigation. The word that comes to my mind is “vague”. I can’t see any other way to let you know I was confused. Names and places were thrown my way but I couldn’t make out what was happening. I am still not even sure I fully understood who did what and why. The private and professional lives of Lily Blanchette gets tangled up and make a mess, but unfortunately, I was unable to stay focused enough to enjoy the plot as a whole. Some events, like a sudden death (spoilers if I say more!), seemed rushed while other parts dragged on to try and keep a pretense of tension. Add in a weird touch of romance and you have me rolling my eyes and wishing the balance between all elements of the book was better.

The last thing I did not understant was the involvement of a mafia group, maybe it will be explained in another book is this becomes a series.

Overall, Promised Lies failed to convince me with its weak characterization and police work. However, this is only my opinion, this book might have a better chance with you!

I would like to thank Emma Mitchell and the author for providing me with a copy of this book and the opportunity to take part in this blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

You can buy the book on or on Amazon UK



When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.

She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe. A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible. She can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Find out more about the book on the different stops of the tour!

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47 thoughts on “Hold Them or Break Them: Promised Lies by Marguerite Ashton #BlogTour”

  1. Lovely review, my Sweechie! I love discovering new books I would never read or hear about if it weren’t for all of your wonderful reviews 🙂 I’m sorry to hear that characterization was a bit weak, as this is something I always look forward to in my books. I hope you’ll love your next read a bit better! 🙂


  2. I have seen you mention the fact that you like stories to be realistic especially when it involves investigations so I understand why this irked you. Even in TV shows, detectives get pulled out of the investigation if they are too close to the story because it clouds their judgement so that was unrealistic. Sorry to hear that this didn’t work out for you. Great review though.


  3. I appreciate your honest opinion about this one. I think I could possibly work my way around the personal link and just not think about it too much how that’s not realistic, but if this already set you off in the beginning I can imagine it’s harder to convince you further and it has to be really good to make it work in the end. They can’t be all winners 😉 but thanks for your great review!


    1. Thank you 🙂 I had issues with this review because it is a blog tour and I did not want to start it off with a negative review, but honesty prevails… I admit once this particular point was set in the book, all hope was lost, I have read too many good police procedural stories to let it go!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel that way when I write negative reviews too but you have to be honest and sometimes I read a negative review and still chose to read the book because the thing that put the person off might be something I enjoy so it’s not all bad 😊


  4. I completely understand your need for realism and I agree! If the storyline of police procedurals especially aren’t realistic then I have a hard time believing or buying the rest of the story. Love your honesty and hope your next read works out better for you:)


    1. Thank you so much! I had a hard time with this review. Not the writing part, but the being part of a tour and being honest … But I really felt I needed to point out what was wrong for me and realism is something I look for! My next reads have been great! 😀 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I got to agree with you the moment I read the blurb saying the protagonist is about to investigate something that has personal connection I was rolling my eyes . Definitely don’t think I’ll be reading this


  6. I can see why you struggled with this! She would never be allowed to work her sisters case as far I understand. I also feel like as a protagonist, there is a lot of questionable decision making happening *cough cough – rapid marriage*. Maybe I am being unfair because I know you often have to read things to put them in real context, but I would have picked a few things about this one apart. Very insightful Twin Pea 🙂


  7. Hi Donna. Well it’s not too often that I read a constructively critical review from you, but you did it eloquently and tactfully. Plus as the author has also commented here, you did a good fair review.
    I think when you read a lot of crime books, then perhaps we know what we like, and can be more picky about things than your average reader (non bookblogger). So hopefully the book will do well and if there is a ‘next book’, the opinions from its reviews will be on the mind of the author.
    It’s always difficult (especially in tours) to write a tactful review, but yours was fair and well written.
    I will be interested to read the other reviews on the tour to compare your thoughts – as I imagine you will too.
    Amanda. xx


    1. Hi my dear Amanda!
      Thank you so much, I was a bit leery about posting this review during the blog tour, but honesty prevails so I did my best to be respectful but stand with my opinion. I sure became a lot pickier since I’ve been reading so many crime stories, so I know exactly what I don’t want to see, and it is harder for a book to convince me. I’ll be following the tour closely to check how other reacted and see if it triggers an interesting discussion 🙂 Thank you as always xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sometimes we’re so drawn into the book, we forget that it needs to be realistic. I love how you approached this in a very down to earth way, and as always, I loved reading your review!


  9. Great review for this book Donna, I’m just sorry it wasn’t quite what you hoped for. I may read fantasy a lot but realism in books is still important to me as well, and if a book doesn’t have that it tends to pull me out of the story really quickly. It’s a shame this was one lacking that element for you because I imagine that’s even more important in crime/murder mystery/thriller books like these.


  10. Love your honesty, D! “Lies… I love them!” haha this made me laugh. I hate it when I don’t understand what’s going on, but not in the way I like it!


    1. Thank you, doll! I can’t imagine betraying the blog by giving up my honesty! Haha, Lies and creepiness, the best things :p Yeah, it was totally different than a “good confusing” when you can’t help questions coming up and people are driving you mad with their behavior and you HAVE to know what’s wrong and what’s right. Here it was just… vague!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great review Donna! You approached it with a lot of tact and honesty and that’s admirable! ❤ It's just the business of book blogging- sometimes the book simply isn't what we expected and that's OK!

    It is always difficult to write the 'not so stellar' review though… it kind of hurts… but at the same time, I know you could never ever be anything other than honest and analytical and fair! So, well done!


    1. There’s such a difference for me when I have to write a negative review for a request, than when I rant about a book I bought myself. I admit I was a bit worried about kicking off a blog tour with a negative post but I value honesty above all so I did my best to come up with my thoughts in a respectful way… Pfiou! What a task! Thanks so much ❤ I appreciate that you trust me enough to know I would never post anything I don't believe myself xxx


  12. Oh no! A shame that the characters and police work didn’t manage to convince you… Because you’re right, it does have a supercatchy title. Great review though, like always! ❤


  13. Love the honesty in your review, Donna. This really sounded like it failed on a lot of levels. I totally understand what you mean about rules, and it’s weird that they didn’t use the whole sister thing to put someone else as lead detective on this. If Donna says this character was flat, we better believe it too! With the number of amazing books you’ve read that managed to make you feel so many things, I can only imagine the… failure here. Hope other people who try this out will have better luck. Great review!! 🙂


    1. There was no other way to go with this. It was difficult because I was kicking off the blog tour but I’d never write something I don’t believe. I am okay with a certain amount of liberties taken with police procedures, but this one was too big to swallow! Thank you for your trust! 😀 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  14. ooh yes that title is catchy!! I’m a sucker for rules too and it’s a shame that the father/daughter relationship wasn’t developed more, because that would let me down too. Characterisation is such a big deal, I think this would probably be a bit disappointing. But great review!!


  15. I’m sorry this one disappointed you so much, Donna. Unfortunately, a case of cover/title love gone wrong… Maybe the author didn’t do her research properly? One can’t really write about police investigations without being really knowledgeable about them. Which is odd, because her bio says otherwise? Hmm.
    Either way, amazing review! 🙂


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