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review 2017-03-15 23:46
So, I thought I knew where this was going but...NO
Behind Closed Doors - B. A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors - B. A. Paris 

 

So, I just knew I had this all figured out.  We all know that Jack's a bad guy right.  It's pretty obvious that  that is going to be the big twist.  But, You just have no idea how bad of a guy this guy is.  Seriously. A special place in hell for that one.

 

My thoughts are just so jumbled, I'm not sure I can really do a review justice for this one.

 

Jack was a creepy bastard.


Millie was my hero! Such a smart girl and so incredibly strong

I started to get a little upset with the back and forth but I get why it was done (to keep the reader confused for the course of the book, LOL).

But ultimately, I was a bit disappointed by how tidily everything was wrapped up in the end even though I loved how Esther proved herself. 

I will definitely read more of this author's work. This is her debut effort and if this book is anything to go by, she's got a great career ahead of her.

 

The audio was decent as well, so overall I think it was a great read.  One I will definitely talk about long after reading.

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review 2017-03-14 12:58
Never Let You Go
Never Let You Go - Chevy Stevens
ISBN: 9781250034564
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Publication Date:  3/14/2017 
Format:  Other
My Rating: 5 Stars

 

Chevy Stevens returns following Those Girls (2015), with yet another top notch Sleeping with the Enemy psychological domestic suspense thriller on steroids!

A long-time Stevens fan, reading every book she creatively crafts, and anxiously awaiting the next — Stevens once again showcases her highly creative plotting skills, an engrossing narrative, and her "signature ingredient" of keeping readers surprised, with her famous twists, while moving seamlessly between timelines.

Starting in November 2005, we meet Lindsey, married to Andrew and daughter Sophie. She knows one thing: She had to leave her husband. There was no more time. No matter what it took, no matter how risky it was, she had to get Sophie away from him. She needed to protect her daughter. She is terrified.

As with all domestic abusers, they remove all their victim's friends and financial resources, to keep them under their thumb.

Flash forward to 2016. Lindsey and Sophie are now living in Dogwood Bay. She has started a new life. She hopes the past is in the past. Or is it? Andrew has spent time in prison. He wants her to suffer. He was going to make her pay for every year he spent behind bars. He was now a free man and he was going to find her.

Is someone watching? Is Andrew back to act out his revenge?

Stevens flashes back and forth from between these two timelines and even further back to 1997 when the couple met. We hear from Lindsey and Sophie’s POV. The master manipulator. Is there more than one? Who can be trusted?

When she left him years ago, after drugging him, to enable their escape—there was a car accident. A young woman was dead. Someone had to pay.

From Sleeping with the Enemy, The Perfect Guy, Fatal Attraction and more, we always love the intensity of unfortunate protagonists finding themselves stuck with Mr, Crazy. Intense. The man masked behind the chilling monster inside. Unfortunately, not until too late, does he reveal his true self. Then the victim finds themselves risking their lives and others to escape.

As always, a master storyteller, Stevens adds her own clever twist. There is nothing ordinary or similar to this tale. A cautionary tale screaming “Do not trust anyone.” When you least expect someone, crosses your path. When you are most vulnerable, most trusting. They may seek you out for their own revenge.

Stevens delivers her most riveting grip-lit yet. The brutality of domestic violence. Frighteningly real, and all too familiar for many. In addition, it is among the hardest to witness, as for why many are free to continue on their destructive path, until it is often, too late.

The author knows how to build suspense, and keep readers on the edge of their seat From the darkest obsessions, the entrapment, control, and evil.

By adding Sophie’s POV, she reaches outside the couple to hear the fear of a child, a sense of loyalty, the consequences, and strong pull between the troubled parent's abusive relationship.

If you enjoy the TV series, Big Little Lies —you will be thinking of Celeste (Nichole Kidman) and Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgård). This guy totally gives me the creeps. He reminds me of my ex-husband. Rich, powerful, and crazy.

Highly recommend. For all my Chevy Stevens' GR Book Reviews. Trust me, you will want to read this one. Mark out the time. Unputdownable.

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/30/Never-Let-You-Go
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review 2017-03-14 03:28
Beside Myself | Ann Morgan | Full Review
Beside Myself - Kelli Ann Morgan

I'm going to preface this review by saying that, even after successfully making it all the way through this book, I still don't understand the abundance of 4 and 5 star reviews for this book.

 

Beside Myself is described as a "literary thriller", literary being shorthand for descriptive (but not quite prose) writing, and thriller.... I'm not sure. The book definitely ramps up toward the end, but it isn't an edge-of-your-seat what-will-happen-next thriller. By the middle I was invested enough to want to know Hellie's fate, but that was about it.

 

Hellie is Helen. Except she's not, she's Ellie. Helen and Ellie are six year old twins who swap places, a 'prank' of sorts, it's really Helen's idea, but suddenly Ellie begins to enjoy the privileges her twin's life affords her and refuses to finish the game and swap back. Helen is pushed into the "Ellie" box, where she is expected to be less than smart, to have some issues, which only makes it harder for people to listen when she insists that she isn't Ellie, she's Helen. It's an interesting idea for a book, and the idea itself deserves the four and five stars, but other than that it falls short.

 

I don't like Helen, and as much as she is actually a victim in her story, I couldn't really root for her. Normally unlikeable characters are my thing, but her treatment of Ellie from childhood just couldn't make me like her. It's evident to me that a lot of Ellie's troubles are actually from Helen's treatment of her. Helen constantly belittles her, makes fun of her, and bullies her alongside her friends. Why wouldn't Ellie want to be Helen? Helen's the golden child, the one who follows all the rules, the one who their (admittedly off-kilter) mother loves.

 

None of this was what prompted my below average review however. 

 

Reading this book made me annoyed, then frustrated, then angry. How half of this made it through the editing process I have no idea, and I can't find many other reviews that mention it. Beside Myself is written in chapters that alternate between the present and the past. Except that the present chapters are written in third-person past tense, and the past chapters are written in first-person present tense. It doesn't make sense story-telling wise. 

 

Then, halfway through the book, for no explicable reason, the past chapters switch to second-person present tense (from "I do this" to "You do this"). Needless to say, I was ripped out from my little reading cloud asking "Wait, what?" After some thought I could come up with a reason this might be done, namely to do with Helen's disconnect with her own identity, but if that's what it is it is never explained. I couldn't get past it.

 

The second thing that bothered me a little that other reviews touched on, was the multiple things characters are referred to. While the main story doesn't have a large cast of characters, each one is often referred to by multiple names. I didn't have trouble in following this, but other reviewers have apparently. Examples include: Helen referred to as Helen, Ellie, and Smudge. Ellie referred to as Ellie, Helen, Hellie (Hellie is a good identifier as it is the Helen version of Ellie), and their step-father being called Horace and Arkela. 

 

Onto the third (it wasn't until writing this review I realised how many problems I had with this book). As in my preface, the term "literary" here is used for descriptive. Evidently the author has never been told that you can have too much description. I actually quite like prose writing and descriptive writing myself, but the problem with Beside Myself is the needless description of everything in every moment, and the repetitiveness of this description. This description is actually problematic in one instance:

"There was a tray in front of her and a pair of chocolate-coloured hands manouvering it into position ... "There," said the nurse in a sing-song Nigerian accent"

There are problems with describing a person of colour as being "chocolate", not to mention the fact that it's an incredibly overused identifier, but Morgan then goes on to explicitly state that she was Nigerian. Most people, I would think, would be aware that Nigerians are PoC. 

 

My fourth and final issue with the book is similar, it is the repetitiveness of some descriptions. Nearly every scene that refers to some kind of sex act is described as "(someone) moving above (her, me, you)". There are probably a million ways to describe this, and while this works as a way to tell readers what is happening, it's dull and repetitive by the second or third time. 

 

Now, some more good words about this book.

 

While it isn't exactly a thriller it is actually an interesting look into some great themes including Identity, mental illness, suicide, and family. If that is something you are interested in it's probably worth giving this book a shot, despite my less than stellar review. Although I don't think Helen/Smudge's illness is explicitly stated it is clear that she suffers from manic and depressive episodes as well as hallucinations and self-identity problems, and Beside Myself provides an interesting insight into the mental goings on of a character who suffers from this. I would be interested to see the opinions and reviews of someone who may be able to relate to the Helen/Smudge character.

 

It is important to note though this book should carry some warnings, it does include scenes/mention of: mental illness, suicide, and rape.

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review 2017-03-06 15:09
Review – Stolen by Carey Baldwin @CareyBaldwin @partnersincr1me
Stolen: A Cassidy & Spenser Thriller (Ca... Stolen: A Cassidy & Spenser Thriller (Cassidy & Spenser Thrillers) - Carey Baldwin

 

MY REVIEW

 

I am engrossed from the opening page of Stolen by Carey Baldwin and read this edge of the seat suspense in one sitting.

 

The hot and sexy investigative team of Cassidy and Spencer heat up the pages as they descend on Denver in search of a monster. The duo may sound a bit familiar? Are they a combination of some that we know and love?

 

Laura is missing. It is the second time in thirteen years, and some question whether she is the victim or the perpetrator arises.

 

The psychological terror Laura is under keeps her confused and unsure, doubting her own innocence and what is real. No one around here is helping her and she doesn’t know who she can trust.

 

With all she has been through, Carey Baldwin has created a strong character, filled with doubt yet determined to find the truth and stop the monster.

 

I silently urged her to reach out to Caity and Spense. Spense is with the BAU and Caity works along side him as a consultant, but I like the direction Carey Baldwin took.

 

There are times when I question the direction Carey Baldwin took, but who’s to say what any of us would do if we walked in Laura’s shoes and it keeps the story going in the direction Carey she has chosen. After all, Laura is not a cop, a psychologist or a profiler.

 

Very quickly, I had my first suspect. His attitude and conduct is sickening and he really pissed me off. He makes a fantastic villain.

 

That shopping scene is super CREEPY.

 

Then comes suspect #2 and #3.

 

There are plenty of twists and turns and Carey Baldwin’s use of misdirection kept me doubting my choice of the serial killer.

 

Two thumbs up for this fast paced, nail biting suspense and the cast of characters that had me loving them and hating them…you know who you are…

 

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of Stolen by Carey Baldwin

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

 

Read more here.

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/giveaway-review-stolen-by-carey-baldwin-careybaldwin-partnersincr1me
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review 2017-02-27 12:29
The Golden Hour
The Golden Hour - T. Greenwood

By: T. Greenwood

ISBN:  978-0758290571

Publisher: Kensington 

Publication Date: 2/28/2017

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars +

 
Master storyteller T. Greenwood returns following (2016) Where I Lost Her — my Top 50 Books of 2016 with her latest masterpiece, THE GOLDEN HOUR, another gripping spellbinding suspense page-turner and complex tale of family secrets.

With finesse, a skillful blending of symbolism, metaphors, and artistry; equally, character and plot-driven, a mix of literary, historical and women’s fiction; mystery, suspense, and psychological thriller, rolled into one.

THE GOLDEN HOUR is a compelling saga with dual storylines. Greenwood ensnares you from the first page to the finale. She weaves deftly between past and present with highly charged topics. A story of friendship, lies, and dark secrets. As usual, with Greenwood’s own signature lyrical style, she uses vivid mysterious settings, strong elements of nature, and the power of art.

Wyn is a wife and mother and yet she struggles with a tragic event when she was thirteen years old. The day in the woods in New Hampshire. Her life changed. No one knows the truth about what happened. She has kept silent. Someone’s secret and her own.

Now she paints birches. (“woods” and forest, also another reference throughout the book). Living in Queens in a duplex, Wyn, is a mother to four-year-old daughter, Avery. Next door on the other side of the duplex— is her husband (ex), Gus.

She is an artist. However, she is not painting what she loves. She has turned to painting "quirky birches"(trees) to match her clients home décor. Boring, yet she was grateful for the work and the commission jobs in order to take care of the bills.

Gus is a good father, (they still love one another), and in order to share custody and keep the bills down, they are living next door to one another. He is a free-spirt and owns a sign shop. An artist as well.

Wyn knows this living arrangement cannot last forever, being this close to one another. He had inherited it from his grandmother and when the tenant moved out on the other side, Wyn moved on the other side of the wall.

She realizes something must change. Even though they were not legally divorced, or even separated for that matter. He wanted Wyn to focus on real painting and not the stupid birches. She was thirty-three years old and would not go back to working at a bar. This would have to do for now. They had split up over the stupid tree paintings. (among other things). This was the last straw.

She is feeling particularly uneasy. She has just received the news: Robert J. Rousseau. He was charged with rape years ago. A local activist solicits help from New Hampshire Innocence Project (a former social worker), who insists he was falsely accused —in the 1996 crime.

Now twenty years later, she must re-live the nightmare. They want to test for DNA. Back then, he confessed. He was never supposed to get out. He was supposed to rot in prison. That is what the New Hampshire family lawyer had promised. Her entire world was shattered. Back then and now once again.

Had she sold her soul back then, to the devil? She was a young scared girl. Now, a scared woman.

Her mom, dad, brother, friends and Gus are worried about her. The media is hovering. She wants to escape. She cannot allow this to happen. Then she begins receiving sick phone calls and emails, threatening her and her family. The caller is a man and says he knows she has a little girl. She had to get away. Gus does not know the real truth.

In the meantime, while she is in denial, her friend Pilar, had left her a message about joining her in Maine. She decides this may be a way to hide out. She and Pilar have been friends for years and in college, as well as Gus. They all attended art school together at Rhode Island School of Design fifteen years earlier.

While Wyn had resigned herself to painting those happy birches and Gus used his skills to make metal signs, Pilar’s career had moved at a steady pace and then the following year a collector fell in love with her work, and suddenly she was an artist with a capital A. The NYT had featured a showing at a gallery and all changed for her. Has Pilar changed?

Pilar has recently purchased a crumbling clapboard cottage which sits atop a rocky cliff on Bluffs Island, a remote islet far off the coast of Maine. She had bought it on a whim one summer after she sold some paintings for a high five figures.

Wyn was no longer a free-spirit as they had been back in college. She was afraid. She had been running away for twenty years. She was doing it once again. It had been twenty years since she cast the first lie. But what was the truth?

“This the thing about a lie: over time, it not only obscures the truth but consumes it . . . A lie, in collusion with time, can overpower the truth. A good lie has the power to subsume reality. A good lie can become the truth . . . However, lies are also precarious things. Each twist and, each flutter of a wing, each protest threatening to tear the intricate construction apart.”


She finally persuades Gus into allowing her to take Avery to Maine after three weeks. She, of course, does not tell him nor anyone the reason for leaving, nor about the phone calls. However, once she arrives, she discovers the home is in great need of work, very remote, and Pilar does not visit often, due to the weather, traveling, and her work.

However, instead of painting as she had planned, she has time on her hands and procrastinates. Time for worry and stress about the event years ago which changed her life. What will happen when the truth comes out?

Instead of thinking about the petition for retrial and the thought of testifying—and the possibility of this monster going free and what she may have to face— she escapes into another world, when she discovers film in a box, in the old crumbled house’s basement. She becomes protective of this person's work. It is intimate. Delicate. Sensitive.

Roll after roll of 35mm film. Undeveloped. Who takes 50 rolls of film and doesn’t get them developed? She cannot figure out this mystery. She is intrigued. This is a distraction for her.

First, let me say, the house is very mysterious, and the guy next door. (what a brilliant addition to the story and tie-in). Up to this point, the mystery is what really happened twenty years earlier. Readers know something is not right and Wyn is hiding something. Some secret. Some lie. She is worried and afraid for her family.

Rather than dwelling on this, Wyn becomes obsessed with the film and the lives in the photos. She has a few rolls developed and is further intrigued. A mysterious woman. Did this woman live in this house? She was a photographer. It appears there was possibly a lover and a baby. This is like wow, another saga! This storyline takes front and center. What happened to the woman?

Gus comes to visit to take Avery for a few weeks over the holiday and Wyn gives him the film for their friend back home to develop in his dark room. When she receives the negatives, she is further pulled into the mystery and intrigue of what happened to Sybil, the woman. (so was I) …

She and Pilar are invited to the large mansion (Gatsby) home (loving this) for a New Year’s Eve party and begins to try and piece together the mystery of the woman in the photo. Who is this wealthy man? Their second home. The wife seems very odd. However, Pilar does not visit often and now she is alone at this house, while Avery is with Gus.

However, what she learns about the woman in the photo and her discovery may just give her the strength to return to her hometown in New Hampshire and face her fears. Change her perspective. Will she finally have the courage, to tell the truth, and not be afraid? To heal from the pain.

The secrets of Wyn, Rick, Robby, Sybil, and Seamus. The cost of silence. Waiting for the lies to come unraveled. Guilt. A dangerous path. Humanity’s darker side.

“The funny thing about the truth is, it always seems to have a way to getting free. For two decades, I could practically hear the beatings of wings against those invisible threads, gossamer snapping, coming undone.”


A lot to love here! From the dark thickness of trees, path through the woods, (heart-pounding) forest, running for safety, snow, fire, water, the old Cliffside Gatsby-like mansion, mermaid tears, the rocky cliff, the bluffs, the crashing waves, the danger lurking, evil, the cottage, a death, a rape, the emotion, a mysterious man next door, and two very dark secrets. The author executes it brilliantly. Would make a great movie or series!

Greenwood is a pro at blending all these elements and palettes of color . . . (you can tell she is a photographer) . . . building suspense and keeping you on the edge-of-your-seat. All the while you are so caught up in the second mystery at the Bluffs from long ago, you almost forget about the mystery behind what happened to Wyn when she was thirteen (this comes towards the ending).

All consuming, compelling, and atmospheric. With the dual timelines-Greenwood slowly reveals in detail the events leading up to the rape, the raw emotions and fear of a young girl, her struggles, her near death experience, and the secret and guilt she has had to live with.

In addition, we learn of the Bluffs Island secret. The Epitaphs and Prophecies box. What really happened to the woman who lived in the house. A murder, scandal, a suicide? The house had been sitting for thirty-five years. Each photo captures the essence. Present. Past. End. Beginning.

Ongoing themes of before and after. At the heart, a deeply human story; a timely tragic issue of consent, rape, bullying, the scars, both literal and emotional . . . the repercussions. From memorable characters—surrounded by a web of deceit, fractured families, destructive secrets, lies . . . bringing characters to life—keeping you captivated from the first page to the last. 5 Stars ++

Am strongly reminded of Robert Frost's early poem, "Birches".

"The force behind it comes from contrary pulls—truth and imagination, earth and heaven, concrete and spirit, control and abandon, flight and return. The whole upward thrust of the poem is toward imagination, escape, and transcendence—and away from heavy Truth with a capital T. The downward pull is back to earth. . . "

Wyn is using the Maine house, her birches, her secret, and the mystery she discovers as an escape. However, like the poem, she does not wish to be left out on a limb. For the poet, he looks at bent trees and imagines another truth.


An avid Greenwood fan for years (one of my favorite authors), have read ALL her books and anxiously await the next. Each one is a rare treat. When I begin one of her books, I know it is a special gift and know to "mark out" uninterrupted time before beginning. I am like a "giddy kid" and "over the moon" when being granted an early reading copy. (thank you Kensington)

An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions (a great reading guide included). Highly recommend! For fans of Mary Kubica, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, Karen White, Jodi Picoult, Heather Gudenkauf, Diane Chamberlain, and Amy Hatvany.

A VERY special thank you to Kensington and NetGalley for an early reading copy. (Love the cover.)

JDCMustReadBooks
 
 
 
Congrats!!!
 
T. GREENWOOD'S RUST AND STARDUST PRE-EMPTED BY ST. MARTIN'S

Publishers Marketplace | February 23, 2017

 

T. Greenwood’s RUST AND STARDUST, when an 11-year old is kidnapped in 1948 by a convicted felon, so begins a 21-month journey exploring both the crime and criminal as well as the effect upon the girl, her family left behind, and her community; the spark upon which Vladimir Nabakov based LOLITA, a literary thriller and kaleidoscopic family portrait, to Hope Dellon at St. Martin’s, in a two-book deal, for publication in Spring 2018, by Victoria Sanders at Victoria Sanders & Associates (World).

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/19/The-Golden-Hour
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