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Secrets of Redemption #1

It Began With a Lie

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A fresh start. That was what Becca hoped the move from New York to Redemption, Wisconsin would be for her troubled family. A way to get her crumbling marriage back on track, and to bond with her difficult 16-year-old stepdaughter.

But instead of a new beginning, Becca is thrust into a mysterious past she barely remembers, as she is now living in her aunt's house (or what the locals call "The Witch House").

But is the house really haunted? Or is there something far more sinister out to destroy them?

363 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 10, 2018

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About the author

Michele Pariza Wacek

50 books929 followers
A USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author, Michele taught herself to read at 3 years old because she wanted to write stories so badly. It took some time (and some detours) but now she does spend much of her time writing stories. Mystery stories, to be exact. They're clean and twisty, and range from psychological thrillers to cozies, with a dash of romance and supernatural thrown into the mix. If that wasn't enough, she posts lots of fun things on her blog, including short stories, puzzles, recipes and more, at MPWNovels.com.

Michele grew up in Wisconsin, (hence why all her books take place there), and still visits regularly, but she herself escaped the cold and now lives in the mountains of Prescott, Arizona with her husband and southern squirrel hunter Cassie.

When she's not writing, she's usually reading, hanging out with her dog, or watching the Food Network and imagining she's an awesome cook. (Spoiler alert, she's not. Luckily for the whole family, Mr. PW is in charge of the cooking.)

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5 stars
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71 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 293 reviews
Profile Image for DJ Sakata.
3,063 reviews1,755 followers
November 28, 2018
Favorite Quotes:

Am I okay? I considered the question. I had a knife in my purse. I was afraid my stepdaughter, and maybe myself, were being possessed by ghosts. And I had just been momentarily convinced that a harmless homeless woman would have all the answers.

Was she really a monster? Or was she right— that I didn't know who to trust? After all, my first husband cheated on me, and my second husband was trying to get me committed. Clearly, I wasn't such a great judge of character.

My Review:

I make no excuses for being mesmerized by this annoying addictive tale. Despite being aggravated and exasperated with the main character, I couldn’t put my Kindle down. I was sucked in during the first few pages and essentially at this wily author’s mercy until the very end. It was most vexing. I couldn’t decide whether it was ghostly possessions, mental illness, ruthless conniving, drugging, or the effects of insomnia; whatever the cause, the main character of Rebecca was unraveling. I waffled in my feelings for her between empathy and irritation as she had no backbone and was prone to avoidance, denial, and mistruths. I have a hard time with liars she was in deep. She was also the type of woman I tend to despise, as she didn’t want to work and wanted a man to take care of her. Rebecca rationalized, minimized, lied, and allowed everyone to influence and/or push her around, relatives, weird husband, obnoxious stepdaughter, old friends, and ghosts. I was extremely frustrated with her, yet I could not stop reading. I had to know what had really happened in the past, what was actually happening, and what the outcome would be. Curses, this shrewd and cunning author had me on the hook and kept reeling me in with her crafty word voodoo. Sigh, more, please!
Profile Image for MarytheBookLover.
450 reviews959 followers
June 9, 2022
It was an ok book. I felt that she lied so much to herself that I just kept rolling my eyes. Like, get some backbone lady. You can never be perfect. I liked the stepmom/daughter relationship and hope that they can be a family together in the coming books. Yet, I just couldn't get into having her whine about her wanting to be perfect for her husband who treated her like that. I need a strong character all the way through in order to like a book, not one that drinks too much and tries too hard to be something that she is not. I give this one 2.5 of 5 stars.
Profile Image for Katt.
296 reviews
April 11, 2022
I most definitely want to find out what happened to Jessica and the REAL story behind it all, but I simply can’t tolerate any more whiny, indecisive, dependent as hell nonsense from Rebecca. Becca apparently was the strong go getter and that’s is who I would love ti have seen more of. Unfortunately, Rebecca needs to get hit with a get real stick and a backbone and stop waiting to be taken care of, ugh. Sadly I had to fast forward several page of repetitive nonsense near to end.
Profile Image for Stuart Brkn Johns.
Author 1 book238 followers
April 12, 2023
"It Began with a Lie," the first installment in Michele Pariza Wacek's "Secrets of Redemption" series, is a haunting and suspenseful tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. As a fan of horror and psychological thrillers, I can say with confidence that this book is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a good scare.
Profile Image for Nadine Bookaholic.
3,565 reviews371 followers
Want to read
July 17, 2019
⚡ FREEBIE Alert!⚡

"This book grabs your attention slowly and then ramps up the intensity until your spine tingles and you aren't sure what to tell Becca - run or stay? Who can she trust?" -Paranormal Romance Guild

Don’t miss this 2018 Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers' Choice Award winner, IT BEGAN WITH A LIE by Michele PW - Pariza Wacek if #FREE for a limited time. Grab this addicting mixed genre series now!

Read on Amazon → https://amzn.to/2XHrcKy
Profile Image for Lynda Kelly.
2,048 reviews87 followers
July 25, 2020
I did give up on this after only 21 pages but it was already clear it was going to feature every ghost story cliche known to man !! It should be marked for young adults only as for grown-ups it's just silly, really. One character has a night which was a total blank in her memory, something I've read a hundred times.....I let that go but when a character thought she heard somebody moving about the previous night and they were wearing a long, white nightgown I sighed very loudly and called it a day. It's just daft.
She also referred to a home with a yard and a garden. I thought Americans referred to gardens AS yards so I'm not sure why one house has both or what their differences are.
There weren't any mistakes I'd seen in my 21 pages which was good, and I liked the cover, too. It does seem odd that sometimes she's referred to as Michele PW but her full name is on the cover of the book. It's definitely one for the teens, though.
31 reviews
March 7, 2019
Didn’t really care for

I did not like the main character. She was an airhead & the story line was far to easy to figure out what was happening. There are 2 more books following this one. I read the readers reviews and evidently her character doesn’t change. Not interested & I’d advise not to waste your time.
Profile Image for Cassandra.
1,315 reviews
November 12, 2019
I received a complimentary copy.

The right balance of romance without going overboard and wording that will have you wanting more of the paranormal goodness. It is a read that you will want to devour in a short time, but savor after finishing.
4 reviews
June 16, 2021
Too bad Aunt Charlie didn’t have a tea recipe that helped Rebecca grow a spine.
Profile Image for Heather.
208 reviews1 follower
September 24, 2018
It Began With a Lie is a difficult book to pigeonhole, so I stopped trying. While billed as a romance, this book has very little romance in it. It's part paranormal mystery, suspense, women's fiction, crime story, all with a tiny bit of romance mixed in. But despite the mashed genres, it's a good story.

Becca returns to the town of Redemption to make a clean start with her husband and stepdaughter. Her husband's job is in shambles, and so is the house they own, Becca's deceased aunt's home. Add in the fact that her aunt was probably a witch, the house is haunted, and there's an unsolved mystery from her youth that Becca has no memory of, and you've got a twisted tale that keeps you guessing.

While I guessed early on what the solution to the mystery is, most will not as the clues are subtle and easy to miss. The writing is good, but there were some reptitive issues with events that can bog it down for a bit. These are few and could be attributed to the fact that I read an ARC copy, not the finished product. The book is also technically a serial, but the end is written to allow it to stand alone, giving us unanswered questions but not just stopping dead until the next book. The mystery story is the big plot in the book, but there is a sequel coming out in November 2018 that will continue Becca's story and the mysteries of Redemption.

Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Tangled Hearts

***Tangled Hearts Book Reviews received an ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review.
All rights are reserved and this review cannot be used by anyone other than the author, publisher, or website where the review is published without written permission.
Profile Image for April.
1,839 reviews64 followers
September 12, 2018
It Began with a Lie by Michele Pariza Wacek is a Psychological thriller, romantic suspense, and paranormal Romance. Set in Redemption, Wisconsin. This story involves a woman, Becca, who is forced to move back to her Aunt Charlie's house because of financial circumstances. With a mysterious past, and living in what the locals call  "The Witch House", she encounters an old high school crush, Daniel. Will she be able to get her 

 crumbling marriage back on track and become closer with her 16 year old difficult step-daughter? Or will she turn to her old crush?


Well written and well crafted story.  It is written in first person, which I don't particularly enjoy, but once you get started reading it fades away and you get engrossed into the story. A unique,  and unpredictable read with twists and turned. There are complications and what some call a haunting.  A satisfying read!


"I voluntarily received a complimentary copy, however,  these are my honest opinions. I was in no way required nor compensated to write a review."


Rating: 4

Heat rating: Mild 

Reviewer: AprilR 
Profile Image for Jill.
301 reviews50 followers
September 13, 2018
It Began With a Lie is a psychological thriller with so many different facets. It is not what I would normally read, but I am so happy I decided to give this book a try. As soon as I started this book I didn’t want to put it down. The twists and turns throughout the book kept me fully engaged, wanting to know the outcome. Though many things are solved in the book, there are some things that are left unanswered. And OMG that ending?! I seriously can't wait for the next book! If you are a fan of psychological thrillers, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance, you will love this book!
Profile Image for Kathleen Bradbury (Bulfon).
16.4k reviews165 followers
June 28, 2019
The great plot was well written and the characters were so well developed that as I turned each page the chemistry between the characters kept me totally hooked until the very last page!
Profile Image for Nicole.
43 reviews
July 8, 2023
This book was very mid. The main character really frustrated me/stressed me out with her never ending, paranoid stream of consciousness monologue. I think half of the problems in this book could have been avoided if she spoke up and was honest with her friends. I definitely saw the plot twist from the start of the book. All in all this was not original and the story has been done before. It was a quick easy read but definitely nothing to write home about.
Profile Image for Heather Martin.
1,500 reviews9 followers
September 21, 2018
It Began with a Lie

**Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.**

This book was not what I expected, even as I was reading it! About 25% into it, I was annoyed and had wrote a three paragraph review because I was so annoyed with Rebecca but I kept thinking there was something more ahead, and WHOA, there was.

I was annoyed because Rebecca was spineless and weak when it came to her husband and step-daughter. And I just didn’t understand why she went along with his crazy plan. They live in NY but due to financial issues at her husband’s law firm they lose their apartment and he’s about to lose his business. He decides the family is going to move to Wisconsin and live in a home Rebecca inherited from her aunt. They would get it ready to put on the market and live there to save money. A home tied to some dark secrets that Rebecca doesn’t even remember. Doesn’t sound too crazy, right? Except he’s going to continue to work in NY and he’ll come to Wisconsin every now and then. Um, hello? How is this cost savings? How does this make sense? And Rebecca just goes along with it to try and save her marriage. Listen lady, if after 10 months of marriage this horsesh*t is happening, you may want to reconsider working to save your marriage!

Seriously, I was done with Rebecca at this point. Not even her family could talk to her about the craziness of this decision. Her mom expressed my feelings exactly regarding this nonsense! Living in a home that holds secrets, and living with a step-daughter that hates her is difficult. Also, she’s getting memories and flashbacks from the summer that had remained a blank to her, other than knowing she almost lost her life. She’s getting reacquainted with her friends from that time and they’re sharing information to help her remember that time in her life. Other than those friends, nothing else is going well and she continues to spiral down.

I went from hating this book to loving it! The parts of the storyline that made no sense to me all had a purpose and once it all came together, it was a slap to my forehead. Brilliantly done on the author’s part! There are twists and turns in this story and many different mysteries, only you won’t be sure they’re actually mysteries or not. I had a lot of suspicions and then there’s a moment in the book that I KNEW exactly what was happening. I had suspected some of it, but I thought I knew it. And then, I found out I only knew some of it, boy was there more!

If you enjoy psychological thrillers, romantic suspense or paranormal elements you NEED to read this book. Actually, if you think you don’t enjoy those tropes, you still need to read this book. I am not a fan and do not typically read paranormal books. And, it’s not that I didn’t roll my eyes or think it was ridiculous in this book when it happened, because that’s just me but, it absolutely added to this book and it wouldn’t be the same with those parts taken out. There’s a second book coming out in November and I can’t wait to read it! It looks like that book will be dealing with the mystery that still remains at the end of this book. I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next! But, grab this book now!

Rating: 5 stars!!
Profile Image for Lucii Dixon.
1,091 reviews47 followers
June 7, 2019
This is a new author to me and I took the plunge after reading the blurb and, boy, am I happy I did!! This psychological thriller/mystery suspense story really did things to my brain. I felt I was part of the character, Rebecca, and everything she felt, I did too. I was so engrossed in the words, in the story, that sometime I wondered what was real and what was not... and that’s rare to find in this genre. But this author really pulled it off and I can’t imagine the mental turmoil it must’ve taken to write it, but bravo!

The characters were a mixture of things really; Rebecca, who was, inside, just a child herself (you can tell if you read between the lines, and especially at the end), Stefan, who was a controlling butthole, but a little sly about it, Chrissy... I felt sorry for her in a way but at points I just wanted to roll my eyes, daphne and Mia, the kinda friends that a girl definitely needs, nurse nasty (Ellen) near the end, I figure she needs a good smack upside the head, Daniel... I’m still trying to figure him out but I like him. And all the colourful array of background characters who we meet for a short period, really added to the mix. Each character brought their own personality and traits forward and made the story the way it is.

The storyline was incredibly descriptive, to the point it even gave me shivers. I was also pretty suspicious of everything along with Rebecca to be honest. I was also feeling a little paranoid on her behalf, especially when she kept getting sick. Anyway, the story was well put together, easy to follow and definitely a page turner.

This author is incredibly talented and wish I found out about her sooner!! Great penmanship and definitely knows how to pull a reader in and keep them there.

Fantastically spellbinding, this book is definitely worth picking up! And absolutely worth the 5 stars I’ve given it.
Profile Image for Brenda.
2,693 reviews25 followers
September 12, 2018

It Began With A Lie is not my usual read but I found it extremely difficult to put down.

This is this author's debut full length novel. There is a novella which was published prior to this book.

Once I got started I wanted to know what would happen next. Were there truly ghosts involved or was the entire thing brought on by bad meds?

Was Chrissy really a bad teenager or was everything she did brought on by bad parenting?

Almost from the start I wanted Becca to leave her jerk of a husband and Daniel to rekindle their lost love. You don't always get what you wish for in the books you read though.

This book has so many twists and turns and such a convoluted storyline you will not want to put it aside.

I gave this book 4 of 5 stars for plot and character development. The plot is interesting with a dash of the supernatural/paranormal and only a hint of romance.

There is truly nothing sensual in nature about this story but the goings on will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Is Becca's aunts house really haunted? Or is there something far more sinister out to destroy them all? There are so many questions that are answered and an equal number of them left unanswered. The only let down I had was the more or less cliff hanger ending. You'll have to delve into the next book to find out what happens next.

This is Book 1 of the Secrets of Redemption Series.

You won't want to miss Book #2 “This Happened to Jessica,” coming Nov 2018 to solve any cliff hanger issues you may have.

I received a complimentary digital ARC of this book to read from the publisher. This in no way affected my opinion of this book which I read and reviewed voluntarily.
Profile Image for Dee Dee Walker.
312 reviews3 followers
June 2, 2022
Rarely do I give five stars! Five stars for me usually means overall I was surprised at how much I enjoyed a book. When you are in your fifty’s and an avid reader it’s had to make me love a book. This was a book that I didn’t have high hopes for (even though it won an award -Paranormal romance) I’m not sure that’s how I would describe it but I guess it fits as well as anything. This is a character driven book. And the narrator is superb!

This book has a bit of everything, you will find yourself wondering if it’s a paranormal book, psychological thriller, horror, or ghost story. Maybe it’s a little bit of everything. This author really knows how to crank up the tension! I listened to this book in one day and I can’t wait to start the next book. The ending is done in such a way that you will get some answers but you will need to continue the series to answer the rest of your answers. This is just fine by me. The next books are out so I don’t have to worry about when I will be able to finish the series. Love that!

Totally would recommend this book for someone who wants a very intense book with hints of ghosts, supernatural, slow burn romance(no sex here) update: the romance develops in the second book character driven book.

Profile Image for Gail.
1,843 reviews13 followers
October 25, 2018

I never could figure out what was going on in this book. Nothing made sense. I don't like paranormal and probably never should have read the book. But I 've read other books with ghosts but it nothing as weird as this book. I do not recommend it until you are heavily into it.
Profile Image for Betty.
547 reviews49 followers
August 26, 2019
Lies, Distortion and Trickery
I rather enjoyed this story, though it tended to twist around confusing me. A casual get-together with old friends, return to the house she knew so well, where she spent so many happy hours with her aunt. Perhaps not always happy, there were nightmares to overcome.

Arriving from a life in New York to the house of her childhood in the town of Redemption, is quite a change and not always pleasant. Even fear in some of those memories. It seems the house is a presence of its own. Is this move the right thing? A second husband who seems changed, a teen-aged stepdaughter who obviously doesn't want to be there, and a woman who is gradually getting a feeling of something being "off" in their lives. This doesn't portend a happy home situation. Maybe it's simply talk of a haunting? Could it be some leftover feelings in the house itself?

Look forward to a very unusual but interesting storyline, where everything twists and turns no matter how you look at it. Yet sometimes it's comfortable, sometimes there are clashes of personalities, and then there is Chrissy, "Rebecca's" stepdaughter, some discomfort there for some reason, but after all, at the age of sixteen what girl would want to be whisked away from fabulous New York and her friends to what seems like no kind of life at all? Why does Stefan insist on Rebecca not being called "Becca", the name she grew up with and her old friends and family still use? Who cares? Apparently the very strung out Stefan. What is he really doing in New York while his family is living in this house in Redemption, spoken of as a haunted house? But we haven't learned it all yet, no friends, nightmares, Chrissy sleepwalking and seemingly being affected by ghostly searches. I was surprised with so many of those twist and turns!
Profile Image for Katherine Yearwood.
547 reviews5 followers
September 8, 2018
It Began With a Lie a psychological thriller by Michele PW that you don’t want to miss. Years ago, something bad happened in her Aunt Charlie house that left one teen missing and Rebecca unable to remember that summer night. Now fifteen years later, Rebecca "Becca" is back. With the death of her Aunt Charlie, who left the house to Rebecca. But, Rebecca doesn’t feel comfortable about staying in the house, which is known in the community of Redemption, Wisconsin, as being haunted. But with nowhere left to go, Rebecca only option was to stay in the house. When night falls the house starts to awaken, and strange things begin to happen. Is Rebecca finally started to crack up or is there something sinister about the house.

It was by accident that I signed up to read this book. However, after reading this gem of a book, I am glad that I did. I have said it before I don’t like first person narrative storylines. But, again there are some authors that spin a great tale that the story just pulls you in, and by then you don’t mind what narration the story is being told in.

It Began With a Lie, was fast-paced and most certainly a keeper, a must read, will have you wanting to find out what happens next. Only thing I didn’t like is I will have to wait until November to read more about this small town of Redemption and hopefully find out the mystery behind what happened that night fifteen years ago.
Profile Image for N.D. Jackson.
Author 14 books235 followers
September 11, 2018
It Began With A Lie is a psychological thriller involving a woman, Becca, who is forced to move back to her Aunt Charlie's home due to financial circumstances. The problem is that in this house, something terrible happened. At least she thinks it did, but she can't really say. The problem is that once she's back in the home she hadn't set foot in for a couple decades, she starts having strange feelings and visions she can't explain.

The story itself was okay but because it was written in first person, I couldn't get as into it as I would have liked, particularly her thoughts on her snarky stepdaughter who was horrible. I admit that it did take away from my enjoyment of the story, which I concede was thrilling, interesting and kind of crazy!  

It's difficult to write a review like this because there's so much I want to explain but I really can't without giving away plenty of spoilers so I'll just say that if you are ambivalent or you love first person narratives, you will LOVE this story. If you don't love it like me, you'll still find It Began With A Lie, a compelling read, which is why I gave it 3.75 stars
Profile Image for Jennifer Pierson.
11.4k reviews150 followers
September 16, 2018
It Began With a Lie isn't a story that I normally read, as it's a psychological thriller with paranormal undertones, however, I found myself unable to put it down after starting it. I usually try to give a description, but this is one of those stories that it's better giving much of one at all. Basically, Becca has to move from New York to Redemption, Wisconsin, because of financial issues. She moves into her Aunt Charlie's house, and the story takes off from there. There are so many twists & turns, that I couldn't even talk to the people in the story like I was there, nope, all I could do was drop f-bombs like crazy. There were so many layers, that I still have a ton of questions, though some were answered, many were not. Then there was that ending, yeah, that ending has me adding the talented Michele P.W., aka Michele Pariza Wacek to the list of author trying to KILL ME DEAD, and hash tagged #EVILWHORE FOREVERMORE. Now, I'm left dying for the next book in this series, and instead of going on & on about it, I'm going to make this review short, as it's just better if everyone experiences this intense journey for themselves. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
Profile Image for Jess.
40 reviews2 followers
August 10, 2023
"Redemption chooses who it wants" is probably one of the things that stuck with me throughout the entire book. This book was twist and turn after twist and turn, and just when I thought I had things figured out...I didn't. While I still don't know what happened to Jessica, I'm excited to read book 2, This Happened to Jessica, and find out.

Becca truly went on a journey through the pages of this book, and it was thrilling to follow. Redemption truly chose who it wanted, and it got rid of those whom it did not want.

I definitely recommend this book for those who like thrillers, suspense, and mysteries with a hint of magic.
Profile Image for Diana.
447 reviews10 followers
August 2, 2019
Small town thriller

Becca and her family has moved from New York to Redemption, Wisconsin to live in the house her aunt Alice had left to her in her will. It is haunted so the locals say and Becca needs to try to put her family back together here. Her husband is a lawyer and he has a sixteen year old daughter who doesn't her stepmother.
Things start happening in the house and Becca thinks she is losing her mind like she did years ago. This is a strange story of ghosts and betrayal and a small town who wants to help Becca because they didn't so many years ago. Hard to put down thriller. New author to me but I will try another book by her.
Profile Image for Obsessive Book Nerd Lauren.
543 reviews34 followers
September 8, 2018
To start, I want to share that I'm not a fan of scary. I don't watch scary shows or movies. I don't read horror either. While ghost stories used to thrill me, I've gone soft in my older age (I know, early 30's isn't old). But I decided to branch out and read something different. IT BEGAN WITH A LIE was so different and oh so good. There were times when I had to put the Kindle down because I was getting just a little creeped out. Or thought maybe I shouldn't read at night before bed. But I devoured this book. The characters were rich in personality. The thriller/suspense/paranormal/horror was just so well put together that I didn't even mind that the romance aspect was just a tiny speck on the whole picture. While I was reading, I could easily envision this story being movie ready. I really can't wait for the next book, which totally takes me by surprise.
Profile Image for Amy.
2 reviews
December 11, 2018

I couldn't put it down!!! Loved the characters, the setting, the backstory...well all of it!!! Kept you guessing and looking around every corner. It's been quite a while since I read a book that held my interest as much as this one did. I am purchasing the 2nd book right away!!!
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