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review 2018-05-14 22:51
THE BREAK DOWN by B. A. Paris
The Break Down - B.A. Paris

I don't normally read psychological thrillers because they trigger issues for me but this is our book club book this month so I read it.  It's a good story.  I was sucked into from the first moment (of course, I did have all the lights on.)  I guessed what was happening to her within the first chapter and I was right.  I knew her husband was up to no good and I was right.  I did not guess the murderer and was only half right on the reason for the murder.  I was guessing up to the end on how it would all fall into place.  Luck was on Cass' side and she deserved it.  I'll read this author again.

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review 2018-05-10 18:42
Solid new mystery from B.A.Paris with nothing too groundbreaking, BUT resounding sense of sorrow and sadness at ending
Bring Me Back: A Novel - B.A. Paris

I love a good mystery and especially ones that are set in England (where I am from), written by British authors, and somehow they keep making their way to me for review; pretty convenient actually. I say keep them coming honestly. I'm a pretty good litmus test for whether the Brit lingo is going to work well here (plus it always wins bonus points from me).

So Bring Me Back, with its beautiful bright yellow cover, along with some standout pink font, is the the third novel from B.A. Paris, and judging from her past successes, this will catch the eye of many mystery fans for many reasons beyond the cover.
It has a very simple premise really: a couple is away on holiday, skiing in Megeve, France, and then are driving back home through France to England. They make a stop for the toilets (at a rest area) at night, and that’s when Layla goes missing, and Finn goes looking for her, and reports her as missing…she is never seen or heard from again, and in some minds, presumed dead. Finn is cleared as a suspect, but it seems that could be from some of the embellishments he told the French police.
The novel is written from Finn's perspective, at least at the beginning; we are given accounts of Before Layla, and Now/After Layla. He is now, at least in theory, years away from what happened at that rest stop, and is about to marry Layla's sister Ellen, but it seems that he is still obsessed with Layla's disappearance, as well as it being obvious he's not wholly in love with Ellen. Finn isn't the most endearing character, since he is not entirely trustworthy and too neurotic to be that type of protagonist. But as the reader, we realize he doesn’t know the full truth about what happened that night at the rest stop.
Suddenly, these tiny (Matryoska) nesting Russian dolls start appearing in Finn's life, popping up in the strangest of places, at the bar of the local pub, on the wall outside their house; these are a sign of something that Ellen and Layla shared as children, and when Finn starts getting cryptic emails from someone, it's all too much. He has too many theories. Is Layla alive?

After about halfway through the book the tone and pace change, and while I felt a few dragging parts (Finn's neurotic brain!), the mystery unfolds evenly, with a great big thunderbolt at the end. My heart really left this book feeling so very sad, for so many reasons; there was a horrific crime of of the past, a number of mistakes of recent past, and then sad stories of the present. Even if you guess towards the end what is happening, I urge that fully read through to the end because that’s where it all comes together in all its sweet sorrow.
Some of the mystery tropes may be familiar (I can't name for spoilers) but this was an engaging, if heart-wrenching at the end, read.

*Note: I received a wonderful surprise early copy of this from St. Martin’s Press. Thank you! This does not affect my views or opinions.

 

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review 2018-05-08 20:25
Paris Ever After - K.S.R. Burns

3.5 Stars

I requested this book because I absolutely loved the cover. And with it being set in Paris, I was definitely in.

The book was decent. I loved Amy's adventures in Paris and her quirky friends. Unfortunately, what I was hoping for and what really happened never seemed to jive at all, for me.

First of all, Amy got on my nerves constantly. She was a nice person, but her talk about William this and William that got on my last nerve. Sure, he was the father of her baby, but hello he was an A$$. At the beginning of the book, she seemed a whole lot stronger and less immature. I'm not sure if this was because the author wanted to convey her mixed feelings or what. That part I can understand. However, towards the middle of the book, Amy just went on and on and on about William. Then, we finally get to meet this man of Amy's. That was when I started skipping pages left and right. He was egotistical, all knowing and rather boring.

This was definitely not what I was expecting. I don't understand why so many times the female lead in a rom com has to be so dingy and flighty. I mean rom com doesn't mean airhead or even rhyme with it. 

I think it all went downhill for me when Amy wanted to leave her idyllic life she had built in Paris and return to America. Yeah, I know he's the father. How could anyone reading the book not know? I didn't count the number of times this was stated in the book, but it was significant. The redundancy was just too crazy for me.

I'm just going to finish by saying it was an okay book for me. It had it's great parts and then there was the redundancy. I'm sorry, the guy may have been the sperm donor but he was not husband, or even father, material.

Thanks to Velvet Morning Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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review 2018-05-02 13:58
Paris Ever After - K.S.R. Burns

Amy turns 30 in Paris, doesn't that sound wonderful. It is. Amy ran away to Paris and met the most wonderful woman who took her in like Amy was her daughter. She found a job that she enjoyed, friends that she wanted to spend time with, and then she found out she was pregnant. She tried to tell her estranged husband but he refused to answer any of her attempts. Then she sees him, at the hotel she had stayed at, and she wonders what he wants and if he came to get her, to win her back over. Amy is a strong character and was able to take what was thrown at her without really losing a step. There were a few twists that I wondered if her reaction was realistic. The fact that her husband shows up, finds out she is pregnant, and then proceeds to just spend time with her without having an important conversation seemed off to me but Amy just went on with life. Maybe more of us should be that easy going but I do believe most people would question their husband about their intentions. There were a few other happenings that made me go HMM... is that real. The setting of Paris is one of my favorites. I love hearing about the sites, the great cafes, the beautiful cathedrals, and the wonderful sounds of Paris. Every time I read a book in this setting I hope that it takes me to a place that I haven't been and someday hope to visit. K.S.R. Burns is talented with her words and is able to transport her readers to a wonderful city. There are a few side stories, a friend now being who they seem and a stranger showing up and pushing Amy out of her comfort area, that kept the story interesting. I liked that they added an additional twist to a story that seemed to be heading down the path I expected it to.

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review 2018-05-02 07:55
Bring Me Back: A Novel - B.A. Paris

Two and a half star rating.
12 years ago the charmless Finn and girlfriend Layla were on their way home from a holiday in France when she disappeared. Now living with her sister, the dull Ellen, Finn is receiving a stream of emails from Layla and gifts of Russian dolls. Too, too many mentions of d o l l s! Sadly the "big twist" wasn't really - too easy to work it out early on. Looking forward to reading this after enjoying the previous books by this author, but this was disappointing and not nearly as gripping which is a shame.

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