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review 2017-12-17 15:39
The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir by Maude Julian
The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir - Maude Julien,Adriana Hunter

 

THE ONLY GIRL IN THE WORLD: A MEMOIR is a powerful true story I choose to see as a triumph of the human spirit.

 

Maude's father wanted a superhuman child and set out with single minded purpose to achieve his goal. He found a young girl and adopted her. When she was old enough he married and impregnated her. When his daughter was born her training began.

 

I'm not going to go into everything Maude went through, because it's grim. Extremely grim. Also, a lot of what she went through might not seem believable at first. As I was reading though, I realized that Maude's story is altogether too possible. What a scary and depressing thought: to have every aspect of your life controlled. To have to hold a chamber pot for your father. To have any family pets used as objects to control you. The only good things in Maude's life were books and music-and even those were controlled by her father.

 

To be clear this book never descended into the area of torture porn. Everything is presented in a rather detached way, whereas you are just an observer. The things that happened were indeed horrific, but you never felt like you were a part of them. Instead, your heart just ached that these things ever happened.

 

An interesting component to this tale was the pop psychology theories the father would come up with and how he used them to devise mind controlling techniques. Seriously, I think this guy could have developed a cult of his own if he wasn't so lazy and stupid. His family were actual blood relations and unlike Manson's family could never have left even if they tried. If you can imagine what Manson could have done to a daughter, you have a good idea of what Maude's dad did to her.

 

I can't get into what happened to Maude in the end, because that would ruin everything. However, she did survive to write this book so that should tell you something.

 

Highly recommended, especially for those interested in the psychology of brainwashing.

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-12-15 19:16
Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda
Best Day Ever: A Psychological Thriller - Kaira Rouda,Graham Halstead,Amy McFadden
Paul and Mia have been married for ten years and have the perfect life. If you’re on the outside looking in, that is. From the inside, things aren’t looking so great.

The bulk of the story is told by Paul who is a complete dick on the level of Joe from YOU by Caroline Kepnes (haven’t read YOU? You must, it’s awesome). Paul thinks ugly thoughts about women who don’t fit into his narrow view of beauty and he treats his wife like some sort of totally dependent on him 50’s housewife. The two are currently on their way to their second home for what Paul repeatedly declares “The Best Day Ever”. It turns out to be anything but as little things are eventually revealed that lead you to believe something is very wrong with this marriage. 

I have a soft-spot for these kinds of books which is why I keep picking them up but this one won’t go down as one of my favorites because I hated Paul. Not in an I love to hate you sort of way like Joe up there. No, it was simply hate. Paul is a completely despicable character. I can get behind that kind of character if they make me laugh or keep me amused but Paul is not funny and never, ever amusing. He is slimy, narcissistic and completely unredeemable. We spend nearly the entire book in his head so everything is viewed through his shitty eyes. The writing is engaging, I cannot lie, but also very enraging. I also saw most of the reveals coming from the get-go and not a one of them came as a surprise. Maybe I’ve read too many of these books but I really don’t think so. Perhaps I’m just becoming really smart with figuring these things out but, nah, I don’t think that’s it either. It fizzles out with an unnecessary epilogue that I wish hadn’t been there and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

On the plus side, narrator Graham Halstead is pretty good. His voice fits Paul perfectly. If you’re going to read this I recommend listening to the audio. That way you can do other things while listening and you won’t have wasted too much of your precious reading time with this same-old, same-old story.

 
 

 

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review 2017-12-15 14:37
The Good Daughter
The Good Daughter: A Novel - Karin Slaughter

By:  Karin Slaughter

ISBN: 978-0062430243

Publisher:  William Morrow

Publication Date: 8/8/2017

Format:  Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars +

30 Best Books of 2017 

5 Stars ++ The queen of crime thrillers and international bestselling author, Karin Slaughter, takes a break from her popular Will Trent and Grant County series with her latest emotional, complex, twisty, and intense standalone psychological crime thriller. 

EXPLOSIVE! 

A family is torn apart by the tragedy in unspeakable ways. THE GOOD DAUGHTER will blow you away! Once again, making my Best Books of 2017. You can pretty much guarantee the author will always be on the list topping the chart. 

She has been there consecutively for the last four years since I started my blog: 

2017 The Good Daughter 
2016 The Kept Woman 
2015 Pretty Girls 
2014 Cop Town 

Two powerful stories. Past and Present. When they connect, the pieces of the puzzle reveal all the evil, secrets, and lies of the past. 

Thirty years ago, in a town outside Atlanta, GA, we meet two sisters: ages thirteen and fifteen—Charlotte and Samantha Quinn. 

Their father, Rusty was a small Southern town defense attorney in Pikeville, Georgia (a small town), defending a lot of bad men. We are talking scum. 

From pedophiles, rapists, murderers, and kidnappers. Rusty was always at work and had his share of enemies. There were always nasty and terrifying voicemails. 

Gamma, Rusty’s wife, is a brilliant research scientist who has given up a career to settle with Rusty in the Southern town. People did not fit in with Gamma. She was too smart and difficult. She refused to fit in and keep her mouth shut. 

First, there is a fire. They are homeless. These guys do not like Rusty defending the bad guys. Someone has to pay. So they go after his family. 

Then next, something much worse. The night that will change the Quinn family.

Zach and Daniel Culpepper take their hatred out on the Quinn family. However, Rusty most likely their target, is not home when the two masked evil gunmen arrive. 

Ultimately Gamma dies while protecting her family. Shooting, raping, and terrorizing the sisters. Shot and buried alive. Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…

Now, two estranged sisters. Attempting to put the past behind them. Left with damage and scars. Over the years they have gone their separate ways. 

Twenty-eight years later Charlie is an attorney in the same southern town. Tragedy strikes again. A shooting at a school bringing back the horrors of the night long ago.

Multi-layered and complex. Secrets and lies. Nothing is as it appears. Where all the players from the past have their own individual motives and intersect with the present-day events. 

When the girls are told to keep their secrets and the horrors of that dreadful night sealed and closed in a box forever, it may have done further damage. The dad and sisters never dealt with their emotions of that dreadful experience. Hence, causing further problems in their individual lives and their relationships. 

Violence strikes in Pikeville. Charlie and Sam have horrific memories of that night long ago, but the shocking truth of the past crime has yet to be solved. Until a shooting at a school. Slowly the lies, deceit, and secrets are unraveled.

Sam, highly intelligent, takes after her mom. She has brain damage and yet becomes a successful New York attorney. 

Impulsive, Charlie- more like her dad in some ways, remained in the same town and is also an attorney in the criminal sector and married to Ben, ADA. 

However, past events (which readers discover later in the book), has caused the couple to grow apart. (All stemming from the horrific events of the past). 

Charlie, attempting to escape her mounting problems, has a one-night-stand which causes a string of deadly events. OMG (deadly). 

The guys she had sex with. A teacher. A student. A principal, and his wife. Charlie gets caught in the crosshairs of revenge. Why would a mentally challenged young girl shoot someone?

Is there something more sinister at play and how does it connect with the tragedy from years past? 

Superb writing! What a book. Her standalone books are as good as her series. A huge Slaughter fan; and an Atlanta gal myself for years— No one does “Atlanta” better. Karin has more avid fans than cars on I-285 and GA 400 in rush hour. 

Well-deserved, THE GOOD DAUGHTER – is one well-plotted, crafty, character-driven gripping thriller. Trust me— lives will be "threatened" if you are interrupted while reading. 

A mix of domestic suspense, family drama, crime thriller, psychological, legal, mystery, and action . . . all rolled into one. 

As always, with Karin’s books, the audiobook is a “must”. Kathleen Early and Karin Slaughter make for one dynamic unstoppable team. However, you need to pair it with the book, since there is so much stuff you will want to highlight. 

Highly recommend reading the novella, Last Breath as well. (My favorite novella of the year). 

 




No one does brutality, violence, human suffering, emotions, and secrets of the past better. Someway there is always triumph over tragedy; however, they may not be the same as they started. 

NEVER attempt to try and figure out what is coming. Karin Slaughter will shock you to the very end! Razor sharp. 

Brilliant, bold, dark, edgy, intelligent. A highly addictive, mind-bending, and engrossing read! You will be hooked from page one to the explosive ending. (what a great ending, indeed). 

I enjoyed the intense relationship between the two sisters (tenderness, anger, love, emotion, heartbreak) and the author’s dark humor always adds balance to the darker side. The coffin section was hilarious. Rusty was one wild character. Loved Ben! 

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/03/15/The-Good-Daughter
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review 2017-12-14 09:07
REVIEW BY MERISSA - Copycat by Alex Lake
Copycat - Alex Lake

Copycat is a great insight into just how things can go wrong in this technological world - fake Facebook accounts, fake email addresses - so easy to do. Unfortunately for Sarah, this happens to her and her life changes completely. She has no idea what will happen next, but she knows how much of an impact it is having on her and those she loves. Her marriage is on the rocks, she is worried about her children, her mental and physical health suffers.

 

This book was extremely well written with you hearing from both Sarah and the 'big bad'. You also get snippets from ten years ago, which will eventually tie in with the rest of the story. I was engrossed all the way, right until the last couple of chapters. There were a couple of aspects which didn't seem to add up to me, but perhaps I was reading too much into them. On the whole, this book was a very good read that I would recommend.

 

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and my comments here are my honest opinion. *

 

Merissa
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

 

@Alexlakeauthor, @NetGalley, #Psychological, #Thriller, 4 out of 5 (very good)

 

Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/merissa-reviews/copycatbyalexlake
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review 2017-12-12 17:50
An Act of Silence: A gripping psychologi... An Act of Silence: A gripping psychological thriller with a shocking final twist - Colette McBeth

Linda Moscow is shocked to find her son Gabriel in her kitchen one morning. It emerges that he has been told to report to a police station after a woman’s body was found in an allotment at the back of his home. He has come to her for help. It wouldn’t be the first time she’s compromised her beliefs for her only child. But the past has a way of catching up with a person, and Linda’s past is catching up with her.

 

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed The Life I Left Behind I was keen to read An Act of Silence, the latest novel from Colette McBeth.

 

The story is not as it first seems and develops differently than I would have expected. It is difficult to say too much without giving away the crux of the story.

 

The story moves between time periods and focusses on a different character. This allows the story and characters to develop in layers, as slowly more and more is revealed about the past and how it has influenced the present.

 

Many of the characters are not particularly likeable, though they have reasons for their actions which makes them more understandable, and in some cases more acceptable. As the story progresses the characters become more rounded, more real and more poignant or repulsive as a result. Linda for example becomes less cold, less detached and more compassionate, loving and broken as the story progresses. Her son, Gabriel is a strange mixture of a boy unsure of his mother’s love, and a man not willing to take responsibility for his own actions.

 

The storyline revolves around abhorrent acts that have sadly become ever more real, as more and more cases occur and emerge in real life. The fact that this was fiction mirroring fact made it all the more impacting and emotive.

 

If I’m honest I’m not a big fan of stories that use narrative techniques such as mistaken identity, cover ups and conspiracy theories (and I’m not saying which one was used in this novel as I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone). That said, the more I read of An Act of Silence, the more I was drawn into the story, the writing strong and taut, compelling me to read.

 

This is not a typical whodunit. It’s more of an examination as to why people act as they do, be it motivated by self-preservation, revenge or love.

 

This is a story about secrets, and the lengths people will go to in order to protect them. A timely narrative on things that have for too long remained unspoken, it is also a tale that shows the truth will out eventually, not matter how much we try to keep it hidden.

 

I look forward to reading more from Colette McBeth soon.

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