BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Monday, May 21, 2018

Review & Giveaway: Don't Believe It by Charlie Donlea

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, Bea's Book Nook, Charlie Donlea

Bea's Book Nook, Review, Charlie Donlea, Don't Believe It

Publisher: Kensington
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: May 29th, 2018
Buying Links: Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository*  | Google Play | Kobo | iBooks* | 
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

From acclaimed author Charlie Donlea comes a twisting, impossible-to-put-down novel of suspense in which a filmmaker helps clear a woman convicted of murder—only to find she may be a pawn in a sinister game.

The Girl of Sugar Beach is the most watched documentary in television history—a riveting, true-life mystery that unfolds over twelve weeks and centers on a fascinating question: Did Grace Sebold murder her boyfriend, Julian, while on a Spring Break vacation, or is she a victim of circumstance and poor police work? Grace has spent the last ten years in a St. Lucian prison, and reaches out to filmmaker Sidney Ryan in a last, desperate attempt to prove her innocence.

As Sidney begins researching, she uncovers startling evidence, additional suspects, and timeline issues that were all overlooked during the original investigation. Before the series even finishes filming, public outcry leads officials to reopen the case. But as the show surges towards its final episodes, Sidney receives a letter saying that she got it badly, terribly wrong.

Sidney has just convinced the world that Grace is innocent. Now she wonders if she has helped to free a ruthless killer. Delving into Grace’s past, she peels away layer after layer of deception. But as Sidney edges closer to the real heart of the story, she must decide if finding the truth is worth risking her newfound fame, her career . . . even her life.

My Thoughts:

Oh, the blurb for this was so tempting, especially that last paragraph. I had to read this book and see if it live up to the promise of the blurb. I'm happy so say that it did.

I wanted Grace to be innocent, to have someone else be guilty. The beginning of the book teases us and lets us think she may be innocent. But as the story went on, it was harder and harder to believe in her innocence. Donlea's use of the documentary format helped build and maintain suspense. He tapped into the American passion for true crime to write the story and it worked well. The story is told alternately in clips from the filming and real time scenes. Most of the POVs are Sidney's and a retired cop, Gus. Gus is convinced that Grace is guilty and tries to prove it while Sidney is just trying to figure out who did it. We learn facts as Sidney does and are right there with her as she sorts out the facts and tries to make sense of them. I kept changing my mind about Grace's innocence; at one point I was absolutely convinced she was guilty. Donlea kept us in suspense and I didn't figure things out until too late. It was a complicated, twisty story that was entirely plausible and yet stretched believability.

 Although I was enthralled with the story and didn't want to put it down (darn that day job!), I admit to some frustrations. Sidney was unrealistic at times about her work and her job. She got caught up in the documentary and forget she had a boss she answered to. Even so, I cheered with her when she got the ratings results and empathized at her annoyance with a co-worker. Another frustration was the character of Gus. When Gus was first introduced, I was confused. I couldn't figure out his purpose in the story and was annoyed at how much time Donlea spent on him. Gus was cranky, cantankerous, and obstreperous. He also turned out to be vitally important, especially at the end. And that ending! Wow. I'm hoping there will be a follow up.

This was my first story by Donlea but I don't think it will be my last. Donlea spun a compelling story that grabbed me from the start and engaged my brain and my heart.

About the author ~ 

USA Today bestselling author Charlie Donlea was born and raised in Chicago. He now lives in the suburbs with his wife and two young children. Readers can find him online at

Credit – Carrianne Photography
Find Charlie Online ~

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for your very insightful review on "DON'T BELIEVE IT" b Charlie Donlea and for being part of the book tour.

    I'd love the opportunity to read this book.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. Sounds good! I do love a book that pulls me in that I don't want to put down!

    1. So do I! They tend to be the ones that stick with you.

  3. Really enjoyed the synopsis of the book. Sounds like a great read.

    1. It was good; it kept me reading and kept me guessing.

  4. The premise intrigues me and I am happy to hear it delivered for you. For some reason I enjoy this genre in the summer.

    1. Apparently, mysteries are popular in the summer, going by comments on different posts on here. 😊


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing from my readers. Let's talk!