MINI-REVIEWS: CASTLE OF WATER By Dane Huckelbridge & LIE TO ME By J.T Ellison

Posted September 15, 2017 by Renee / 33 Comments


Published April 4, 2017 By Thomas Dunne Books

Two very different people, one very small island. When their small plane is downed in the middle of the South Pacific, the sole survivors of the wreck are left with one common goal: to survive. Stranded hundreds of miles from civilization, on an island the size of a large city block, the two castaways must reconcile their differences and learn to draw on one another’s strengths if they are to have any hope of making it home.

Told in mesmerizing prose, with charm and rhythm entirely its own, Castle of Water is more than just a reimagining of the classic castaway story. It is a stirring reflection on love’s restorative potential, as well as a poignant reminder that home—be it a flat in Paris, a New York apartment, or a desolate atoll a world away—is where the heart is.


I don’t know what it is about this book but I finished it almost 2 weeks ago and I’m still thinking about it. First, that cover is just gorgeous isn’t it? And I love the title which is so reminiscent of the story. I want to keep this review very simple because I went into this story knowing only that it was a unique castaway story and for me that made for perfect reading. What’s most important to know is this…there’s a plane crash, two survivors, and a tiny island in the middle of nowhere because the pilot flew off course. The survivors are opposites in every sense and yet they must find a way to come together to not only survive physically but emotionally as well.

It’s not often that I re-read sentences because the words seem to have been put together to create a magic spell on the reader but I did many, many times while reading Dane Huckelbridge’s captivating prose. It was storytelling at it’s finest and I literally couldn’t put this book down. There’s a little bit of everything in this story: drama, heartbreak, suspense, action, humor, sadness, and so much love and resilience. Oh…and there’s a twist that left me stunned!  Seriously, I know my jaw dropped. I love it when an author manages to surprise me like that. If you’re looking for something different I highly recommend giving this a try….just make sure to have tissues handy.




Published Sept 5th By Mira 

Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. The couple seems made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.

Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.


I love it when I prove myself wrong because when I read the blurb about this book I assumed I wouldn’t like it because my track record with psychological thrillers has been dismal this year. But when a very trusted reading friend emailed me to say I HAD to read this, my ears perked up and just like that I was tempted. I have to say, from the very first page I was hooked! Ellison began the story with just the right level of creepiness by using an obviously disturbed narrator to start the story and of course I was consumed with finding out who it was and how he/she figured into the picture perfect marriage of Sutton and Ethan…or was it actually one of them? The puzzle had begun and I was on board to solve it.

As questions swirled and we are given slivers of information and detail into the marriage of Ethan and Sutton, I found myself completely and totally entertained by the level of intrigue and shadiness the author was creating. We first hear from Ethan and there were times I thought ‘Oh I like him, I trust what he’s saying about his wife ‘ and then on the next page I would think ‘No, he’s lying.’ J. T. Ellison was messing with my head and I was loving it! About halfway through we get to hear from Sutton and then things really get twisted. What I loved was that this isn’t just your typical he said/she said, this is also a puzzle of the best jigsaw kind and I was addicted to sifting through the tiny pieces the author scattered until I could establish my theory surrounding the who, what and why regarding the crimes in this story. An extra treat for me were the scenes set in Paris…the bars, the streets, the people…I could see it all thanks to the vivid prose of the author. So,  thank you  J. T. Ellison for showing me there are still psychological thrillers out there that can leave me so thoroughly entertained!

Many thanks to Mira books via Netgalley for my copy



33 responses to “MINI-REVIEWS: CASTLE OF WATER By Dane Huckelbridge & LIE TO ME By J.T Ellison

  1. Sarah's Book Shelves

    Now I want to read both of these! I saw Lie to Me on Modern Mrs. Darcy this week, but ignored it b/c of my also dismal track record with psych thriller. But now you’ve convinced me.

    • Yay!! I’d LOVE for you to read both, especially Castle of Water so we can discuss. I have a feeling that one will make it into my top 10, I just really loved the story and his writing. Let me know if you read either and yes, Lie to Me is worth it!

  2. First, omg those colors on the first cover! I’m totally intrigued by the writing thanks to your amazing mention of it! Some proses are just magical and sentences that might feel simple just sound like music and you just want to reread them and hear them in your head. The second book… Shady? That’s for me! Haha! Great post! x

  3. Susie | Novel Visits

    Yours is the second review of Castle of Water that I’ve read this week. I was interested after the first one, but knowing you liked it so much has me adding it to my TBR stack right now! My October and November are looking lighter than usual, so I’m hoping to squeeze in a few books from earlier in the year.

    • I was going to message you about this one Susie because I think you’d really like it. I just thought his writing was gorgeous and I loved the characters. I listened to half of it on audio and the narrator was awesome

  4. Holly B / Dressedtoread

    Loved the reviews Renee! Also love the new “blog photo”! I have been wanting to get my hands on Lie To Me!! I think I will like it although I have also been having a bit of a psychological thriller “slump” LOL. Castle of Water looks good as well, but no time for tears at the moment!

  5. Yvo

    Great reviews! I completely agree with what you said about Castle Of Water… Both book and story are stunning and it is a shame it hasn’t received more attention so far.

  6. Hi Renee. I’m a regular follower of your blog and just threw my hat into blogging myself. I am definitely adding both of these books to my TBR. I think both of them sound amazing. I look forward to seeing your reviews.

  7. These sound great Renee! I really think that I would enjoy both, but I have Castle of Water on my TBR already so now I just want to read it more! If I could just have more hours in my day 🙂 Great Reviews!!

  8. […] Castle of Water was a book I discovered on #bookstagram and if it wasn’t for all the love it was getting there I don’t think it would’ve crossed my radar. The writing was gorgeous, the story an adventure tied up with love and tragedy.  I literally read this in an evening, I couldn’t put it down! And it made me cry so there’s that:) […]

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