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review 2017-09-05 07:35
Best Day Ever
Best Day Ever - Kaira Rouda

By: Kaira Rouda

ISBN:  9781525811401

Publisher:  Graydon House

Publication Date: 9/19/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars +++

Best Books of 2017 

 

Psychologically rich, Kaira Rouda's latest, BEST DAY EVER is one of the most satisfying and entertaining books I have read in 2017! 5 Stars +++ When I add (+s): my Top List for the year. 

Kaira Rouda creates an unpredictable delicious unique domestic suspense at its finest. I predict BEST DAY EVER will be a blockbuster hit and prime for the wide screen. What goes on behind closed doors? 

BEST DAY EVER, a Big Little Lies, but better. The author’s best work to date and this psychological domestic thriller sets itself apart from all the rest due to, a number of things which I will address in my review. (sorry for the length of the review, but have a lot to say).

There are so many psychological elements at play here (starting with the car ride). A weekend trip. The allure. A lake house. A dinner. The anticipation. Afterwards. The perfect set up. You will be dying to know what will happen next. Truly edge-of-your-seat. 

I can envision Alexander Skarsgård (Paul) and Nichole Kidman (Mia) starring in the film. I want a front row seat. An ideal choice for BEST DAY EVER. Hint, someone! Will need to ponder the cast for Buck. (he needs to be hot and hunky)! 

Skillful writing and execution tactics abound. The story takes place within a 24 hr. period. Tick Tock. There is not one moment of boredom. It is addictive and compelling. 

The banter is to die for! 

The author has outdone herself. Spine-tingling. Impending peril (not knowing what Paul will do next) creating intense tension, that propels this claustrophobic cat-and-mouse tale toward its hold your breath, gratifying conclusion. 

Meet Paul and Mia Strom. 

Mia was once a copywriter at an advertising agency when they met. She is from a wealthy family. Paul is an advertising executive and he thinks he is God. He thinks everyone worships him. It does not matter what he does wrong. He can put a spin on it. He has secrets. 

He, of course, has taught his wife everything. (gag) Sex, love, fine food, travel. He is the sophisticated older man she pledged to love honor and obey. As most psychopaths, they do not respect women. They are a conquest. They seek them out. Put on the charm. Slowly turn on their dark side. 

We hear from Paul, in Ohio and his plans to take his wife away for the weekend to their home on Lake Erie. It is a Friday afternoon and Paul feels some tension. He has made these plans and he wants nothing to go wrong. He appears charming and romantic. It will be the BEST DAY EVER. 

They have not been away for a weekend together in more than a year. This day was going to be just for them and it was time to go. The phone rings causing a little delay. 

They drop the kids off at the sitter’s house and then they are on their way. After all, he has loaded and syncing all his wife’s favorite songs. It will be a romantic weekend, with candles, wine, and a fabulous restaurant. Everything to set the mood. Nothing will stand in his way. 

As for most of us, we are aware of any sort of relationship- when you are traveling, you have expectations of an upcoming trip. Emotions run high. She is thinking. He is thinking. Trying to read the other's mind. However, as the car winds its way to the lake, we soon get the feeling, Paul has a dark side. 

However, we are not quite sure what is going on with Mia. 

 




Of course, he does not like it when she wants to stop for a restroom break (God forbid) or stop at a bakery for croissants. However, he is in a flexible mood. He will throw her a bone or two. This once. Paul also talks about the neighbors and bad mouths them if they do not like him. He is all about appearances. 

First, I knew nothing about this book going in, except the summary and the book trailer. At first glance, you think this will be another murder at the lake. Been there, done that. Think again. This book is nothing like anything I have read. 

Not the blood and gore. It is the most dangerous of all. The mind. The thoughts. The suspense. The impending danger. The mystery. The intrigue and the dark humor. Character-driven. 

You pretty much suspect early on Paul (husband) looks at life through rose-colored glasses. He thinks he can do no wrong. Everyone is beneath him and he can manipulate anyone to his advantage. What a jerk. 

He is king of their castle and his queen needs to fall back in line. He is all about action, like a super hero. About achieving and success. Their family is superior. What is this talk about her going back to work? No way. 

You have no clue what he has planned for the romantic weekend away at the lake without the boys. You know something is hidden in the car in the glove compartment, but you do not know what. It will be the BEST DAY EVER. 

He has a lot riding on this weekend. More than you can imagine. 

Paul is trying to make this a pleasant experience to smooth things over, or so it appears. We soon learn Mia has been sick. It annoys him when she eats healthy and controls their eating and dining habits. He appears to be trying, yet he does not like it when the conversation does not go his way. 

Everything he is thinking is played out in the book. He continues to steer it in his direction. He demands control. 

This is where the book excels in my opinion. I could not put this book down. If I had to, I was dying to get back to it. You know something has occurred and he is trying to make a good impression to get Mia back to his side. He wants to smooth things over for some reason. 

He gets annoyed when she starts talking about her strawberries and garden at the lake. The guy Buck is their next door neighbor and his wife died. He helps look after her garden when they are away.

Of course, Paul does not like Buck. Mmmmm . .

The next thing which keeps the reader guessing. Mia does not seem like the meek and mild type with an overbearing controlling (Sleeping with the Enemy husband). She seems a little cocky. She is not argumentive, but yet she brings up topics which are uncomfortable for her husband. 

It is a tug and pull; a little tit for tat, cat and mouse game. She appears calm and collected. What does she have on him? She keeps him on his toes. 

She is intriguing. Mysterious. You do not know what is going through her mind at all. It is all coming from Paul’s viewpoint (which you soon find out, he is wacky). Love her character. 

A modern-day psychopath. 

Mia, on the other hand, does not seem too worried about what her husband has planned, and pretty much drives the night in a subtle way, much to her husband’s displeasure.

When Buck interrupts their alone time, throws dinner reservations late, and at dinner, appears the waiter hates him (because he is a pompous ass) and always looks at his wife, plus his wife seems to be looking at the window in a daze with a smile on her face. He is thrown off his game. 

Could Mia have turned the tables on him? Mia knows much more than she has let on about her husband’s secrets and lies. She is the one who comes from money (parent’s wealthy) and they do not like him and never have. 

How could he have not been paying attention? When did little Mia become so confident and bold? And what does she know? Has someone told her what is going on? He has many skeletons in his closet. 

“This was supposed to be the best day ever, and now it is deteriorating, decaying like the memories of his childhood. “

Frantic, we see Paul’s world unraveling and spinning out of control. And the letter . . . . Priceless!!! I have never laughed so hard. Karma will bite you in the butt when you least expect. 

WOW! It is hard to describe a book of this nature since you do not want to give anything away. You want to provide enough to encourage others, they “Must” read this book. From the cover, author, characters, plot – from the first page to the last (A complete package). I would not change a thing. 

All the dirty secrets are revealed. 

 



Rouda has created a character so evil with his banter and thoughts. I would put him next to any of the bad guys out there. One reviewer compared him to Joe in You and I agree. I think also Perry in Big Little Lies and Jack Behind Closed DoorsAn utterly compelling journey through the darker side of the human psyche. 

The things which go on in his head! Clever writing. Both creepy, and witty. Paul is psychotic, entitled, and a narcissist with a capital N! Rouda reminds me of Paul Cleave here. Another favorite author which uses a lot of dark humor mixed with the thoughts of his psychos. 

As many of you read, my personal notes in my recent review of Emma in the Night— this topic is very relatable and one I have researched for years since my ex-husband was a narcissist. Most everything in this book is so realistic. I think Paul and my ex could be brothers. SCARY. If you meet someone too charming and too good-looking. RUN. 

The author keeps you guessing all the way through the book. You want to savor each moment and not rush. What I did indeed enjoy (which I wish more authors would follow)- Kaira recaps the night and the events leading up to the night from Mia’s point of view at the end. A "behind the scenes." 

During the reading, the author does not give anything away. As a reader, you think she is being manipulated by her husband. By providing all the final details, this balances the story for a satisfying conclusion.

Note: Kaira, if I see Paul around Palm Beach at the Breakers or shopping along Worth Avenue in his pink shirt with an older rich lady on his arm, will let you know. This could be a great follow-up book. Even better, he and Donald Trump have a lot in common, so I am sure Paul will worm his way into Mar-a-Lago. I can view his estate from my apartment window. Will keep you updated! 

Seriously, this may be my favorite psychological/domestic thriller this year. Congrats. Can’t wait to see what’s next. You have found your groove. Give us more of this, please. (no pressure).

 

Have ordered the hardcover (to arrive today), and currently listening to the audiobook, narrated by Graham Halstead and Amy McFadden. Look forward to reading 2018  PLENTY TO GO AROUND. (sneak preview included). 

If I have not convinced you yet. Readers, pre-order this now. The best psychological thriller of 2017! Fans of Mary KubicaFiona Barton, and B.A. Paris will enjoy.

A special thank you to Graydon House and NetGalley for an early reading copy. 

JDCMustReadBooks

In the Mirror 
Here Home Hope 
The Goodbye Year 

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/03/02/Best-Day-Ever
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review 2017-09-04 03:04
Lie to Me
Lie to Me: A Fast-Paced Psychological Thriller - J.T. Ellison

By:  J.T. Ellison 

ISBN: 9780778330950

Publisher:  MIRA

Publication Date: 9/5/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating:  4.5 Stars  

 

From No One Knows (2016) to the present with her latest standalone. 

From the southern town of Franklin, Tennessee to glamorous streets of Paris, and Hemingway’s old haunts, talented storyteller J. T. Ellison delivers a gripping domestic suspense thriller. LIE TO ME – the highly anticipated story of need and desire. Of betrayal, secrets, lies, and danger. 

Reminiscent of Gone Girl (even better), two writers' lives set on a downward course driven by lies, secrets, evil, and revenge.

Love, the author’s journey, the literary references, and her passion. From the inspiration, the setting, and the final words, which jump off the page. (not sure how the author can crank out so many books, and travel – she is superwoman)!

Two ultimately unreliable narrators. The third one is freaky, creepy. Watch your back. Trust no one.

“Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.”— George Santayana

As the book opens we meet a nameless and faceless demented person. She/he is talking to the reader. This person informs us we are not going to like them. Stealing, killing, manipulating, and leaving a trail of destruction. 

Everyone is powerless. 

Next, there is a body in the woods. It has been there for six days before she was found. Who is this body burned and left to decay?

Moving along we meet a literary power couple. Ethan and Sutton Montclair. They made a powerful and attractive couple. Looks, brains, and success. However, all is not so perfect behind this façade.

Their son, Dashiell had died. SIDS. (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). He was not even six months old. Things were not the same after this. Their marriage and relationship were on the rocks.

Presently, Ethan finds a note from Sutton stating she has gone away. She is unhappy. She asks him to forgive her for being a coward and instructs him not to look for her.

She was gone. 

 



He deserved this. He was selfish. (A narcissist) However, why would she leave without her things? Her laptop, and phone. These things were her lifeline. She was a writer. 

Frantic, he must call her friends. They would know. Rachel, a yoga teacher. Ellen the head of library sciences at Vanderbilt, Filly (Phyllis), and Ivy. Ivy, a self-employed stock broker- was out of town on business and she was Sutton’s closest friend and confidant for the last three years. 

Then, of course, the bloody mother, Siobhan. They do not get along but she receives a monthly check from her daughter. 

We soon learn there were cracks and fissures in this domestic house of bliss. Was Ethan abusing her? There had been multiple domestic calls. What was missing?

Ethan thought he was the best writer. However, he had not produced anything since the baby’s death. Sutton had sustained them with her historical romance, which he never gave her the credit or respect. 

Sutton never wanted children. Ethan knew heirs were simply part of the things that should be expected from someone of his standing. 

However, he got desperate. He had made a mistake. 

He loved Sutton. If she did not show up, he would call the police. It was the anniversary of their son’s death. 

From beauty and the beast. A love and hate relationship. From then to now. 

Most of his family money was gone now, eaten up by the Victorian house they purchased, the renovations, and no writing. An advance paid back, humiliated in the industry and social media. He relied on Sutton’s income to support them. He simply had not been able to write a word since Dashiell’s death. He resented his wife. She resented him. They blamed one another. 

He needs a lawyer. The cops always look at the husband first.

Their lives had unraveled. The affair, the death of the baby, the book cancellation, and now Sutton’s disappearance.

He had not told her the truth. 

Where could she be? And who is the woman they found dead? What about her friends? Is Sutton dead or alive? 

What dark secrets does Sutton hold? Money missing. An investigation. 

Sergeant Roy Moreno and Holly Graham. However, Holly does not seem to think Ethan is the culprit. She has to find out more about the stalker, the friends, and where Sutton could have disappeared to. 

However, was it really SIDs? Ethan had lost his son, his marriage, his wife. His life. Are the friends reliable? Then there was the horrible review from a blogger.  Everything had spiraled out of control. The video. 

Had his wife snapped, or is there something more sinister going on? All the signs point to foul play; however, who is at the wheel and why?

Get ready for the ride of your life! Ellison takes readers from Tennessee to Paris and back. Character-driven (unpredictable) we hear from Ethan’s voice in the first part of the novel. Then Sutton the second part. From the past to present and all the dark juicy evil secrets in between. 

Skillfully executed, with twists and turns keep you guessing as to the real murderer. The creepy (third narrator) voice, carefully orchestrating a plan, watching the cops and all the puppets. Tick tock. 

A compelling journey through the darker side of the human psyche. An absorbing complex web of deceit. 

Ellison withholds the identity of the killer until the end. (the final little twist, was perfect). The note from the author seals the deal making this a “must read” if you love literary, psychological thrillers and domestic suspense. (Holly) was the best character. Otherwise, not a lot of likable characters here. 

If you enjoyed Gone GirlThe Marriage LieEvery Last Lie, and Behind Closed DoorsLIE TO ME is for you. Movie-worthy and an ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions. 

4.5 Stars. A special thank you to MIRA and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. 

Also pre-ordered the audiobook. Listen to clip which should be quite entertaining narrated by Matthew Waterson, Saskia Maarleveld, Sarah Naughton, and Julia Whelan (my favorite). 

PS Be sure and look for Dead Ends: Stories from the Gothic South Coming Sept 28, featuring 13 original stories by 13 incredible authors.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/04/24/Lie-to-Me
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review 2017-09-03 06:28
Friend Request
Friend Request - Laura Marshall

By: Laura Marshall 

ISBN: 9781478948513

Publisher: Grand Central 

Publication Date: 9/5/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

Laura Marshall delivers a twisty and suspenseful edge-of-your-seat debut, FRIEND REQUEST – when a single divorced mother gets the shock of her life when receiving a Facebook friend email request. 

However, this woman happened to die twenty-five years ago, and Louise still feels the fear and guilt.

Who would guess this is a debut? Enjoyed learning of the author’s journey and her empowering story. 

Louise Williams is a divorced middle class, nearly middle-aged woman. Her cheating ex-husband Sam left her for another woman. 

She runs her own interior design business in London and is raising her four-year-son, Henry. Henry splits time with his two parents. Sam and Louise attended high school together. They have their secrets. 

When Louise sees the name, Maria Weston, she begins to shake. A blast from the past. She can just delete the email and go to Facebook and decline the request without looking at the page.

Don’t think so. . . 

A part of her wants to end this here and now, but another part of her wants to see. To know. To understand.

So she clicks, "confirm request." 

Maria stares at her from behind the screen. How can Maria Weston want to be friends with her, when she is dead? More than twenty-five years.

This girl, (would be— woman) . . . "has been hovering at the edge of her consciousness for all her adult life, but she had been good at keeping her out, just a blurred shadow in the corner of her eye, almost but not quite out of sight."

From 1989 to 2016, the author takes us back to the bullying, manipulation, and the secret life of these teens and their high school years.

Presently, there is also an upcoming Sharne Bay High School Reunion for the class of 1989. Could this be a coincidence she is getting this the same day? 

Who is doing this? Could Maria still be alive? She had drowned twenty-five years ago. Some thought she committed suicide. 

The party. The last she was seen. Louise has a secret. Who else knows her secret? 

Desperate frightened teens trying to cover their misdeeds and dark secrets. As adults, they can no longer hide. 

The messages become even more threatening and dangerous. This person knows something. Louise is paranoid and fearful. Afraid her secrets of the past will unravel. She must contact the other girls. 

She desperately needs to find out who is tormenting her. Louise bullied others, and now it is payback. 

In between the past and present, the author cleverly inserts another voice. The reader is unsure of the voice. 

A sick joke? This person is watching her. They know things. A terrible gnawing sense of dread.

“A text: “You don’t deserve to be happy. Not after what you’ve done.”

As the danger gets closer, and someone else is murdered, Louise must find the person before she is next and her son. However, the danger may be closer than she thinks.

“Maybe it’s only be going back that she will be able to move forward.”

Truth. Lies. Secrets. Family Ties. Revenge. Actions. Consequences. Choices. Sins of the past. Justifying actions. 

 



Marshall keeps the reader in suspense and just when you think you know the identity— a new twist you did not see coming. Not a lot of likable characters; however, hats off to the author for an accomplished debut. 

A riveting psychological suspense thriller which also highlights topics of bullying, peer pressure, fears, insecurities, social media, dangers of the internet, privacy, rape fantasies, BDSM, sexual violence, drugs, sadism, and darker more sinister abuse. 

In addition, we learn even through generations, teenage girls, especially are desperate to fit in, willing to do or say anything to gain acceptance. 

I am not a fan of Facebook. When I first started reading, was unsure if I could get past the drama; however, as the book moves on it becomes more intriguing and mysterious. A whodunit. 

A good portrayal of how choices and experiences as teens can carry over to our adult lives. In addition, a nice comparison of how social media and Facebook also can affect adults as well as teens today. Anyone can be anyone on Facebook. It is easy to hide behind a faceless page. Someone lurking, watching your every move.

A solid and entertaining debut. Looking forward to seeing what’s next for this new found talented author! 

A special thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central for an early reading copy.

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/08/01/Friend-Request
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review 2017-08-18 08:51
The Breakdown
The Breakdown - B. A. Paris

By:  B. A. Paris 

ISBN: 978-1250122469

Publisher:  St. Martin's Press 

Publication Date:  7/18/2017 

Format: e-book

My Rating:  5 Stars

 

British author, BA Paris (one of my favorites) returns following her sensational debut, Behind Closed Doors, on my Top Books of 2016 with another gripping second thriller THE BREAKDOWN – A fitting title for a mysterious car breakdown, to a possible mental breakdown. 

The dark truths behind a façade. From friendship, love, trust, deception, madness, jealousy, gaslighting, to murder. 

It is summer in July and Cass’s husband has told her to drive carefully. There is a storm coming. Secondly, he cautions her not to drive through the woods on her own at night. She promises. 

Cass leaves a party early to go home when it begins to rain. She should have waited out the storm with her friends. However, she does not heed the warning. At the very last minute, she veers off to the left, taking the shortcut, Matthew told her not to take.

An eerie setting, Cass is determined she will be home soon. Suddenly there is the wind and she is in her Mini. She fears she will be stranded in the woods. More thunder and lightning. The road is deserted. She does not want to wake her husband. He would be furious. She cannot call him. She sees a car up ahead. The car is stopped. It is a woman. A woman looks back at her, her features blurred by the rain.

Thinking she has broken down, she pulls in a little way in front of her and comes to a stop. She waits to see if the woman will get out of the car. She does not get out. Why can’t she leave the car? Why is she just sitting there?

Then Cass notices there is something off about the way she is sitting with her headlights on. A shiver runs down her spine. It does not seem right to drive off and leave her. Maybe someone is on their way to help her. 

She is afraid and does not want to stop and help because it could be dangerous. Everything tells her to go. So, she does. But the woman is still her on her mind and wonders if she could call the breakdown services to tell them or the police.

Then she sees a text from Rachel. The message was strange. Did she forget something? She racks her brain. Memories of her mum, uncomfortable ones flood her mind and she quickly pushes them away. By tomorrow she will have remembered.

Rachel is the sister she never had. Their mothers had been friends. Rachel had spent a large part of her childhood at their house and they always referred to her as their second daughter. 

Cass is a teacher and had to give up her job to take care of her mum. She and Matthew had not been on a real honeymoon because they had been busy renovating their cottage. Turned out when her mom died she had been wealthy instead of a penniless widow after her father passed away. Her mum had lived on so little when she could have lived in luxury. 

The next morning, she learns the woman is on the news. A woman was found dead. Blackwater Lane. Could it be the same woman?

A woman had been found dead in her car near Browbury in Suxxex. Did she commit suicide? 

Feeling overwhelming guilt, Cass thinks if she had stopped to check on her, things might have turned out differently. 

Her death was being treated as suspicious. Had the killer been in the same spot? Had he been lurking in the bushes waiting for the opportunity to kill. Murder. 

Cass cannot stop thinking about taking this road. What about the woman? She had left her to her fate. . . to be murdered.

Turns out the mystery woman was Jane Waters, a young mother whom Cass recently befriended. A mother with two-year-old twins. She is shocked. She recently had lunch with her. Her cottage was only a few miles from where she was killed. She was her new friend. They had met by chance at a party.

Between this, Rachel and her husband continuing to tell her she is forgetting things, she begins questioning her own sanity. Or, is she getting like her mom with early onset dementia? She is terrified. 

Rachel and Matthew do not like one another. There is mistrust there. Rachel disapproved of Matthew. Could Rachel be jealous that she has someone in her life?

Jane haunts her. The constant nagging guilt. She has to find out what happened. Should she contact the police? She was on the road at around eleven-thirty but another voice tells her not to because she kept this information to herself. Could she be putting herself in danger if the killer is still out there?

Now she is worried about her own safety living so close to the murder. Strange things begin happening. 

 




The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Cass has a surprise for Rachel. A house. She will give her the keys to her house of dreams. She will keep the secret. Her mum and dad would have wanted her to have it. 

Tension builds to the point of madness or is it paranoia? Either someone is gaslighting her with an evil plot to make her think she is crazy, and losing her mind or she is actually losing her mind.

From Matthew to Rachel, something is not right. Someone is manipulating circumstances and Cass soon does not trust anyone. 

From the intensity and worry of trying to solve Jane’s murder — could there be a connection with her husband, Rachel, and Jane? Nothing is as it appears and Cass feels like she has nowhere to turn. Why is everyone out to get her? Does someone want her money? 

Cass wants the truth no matter how it turns out. However, will she get too close to the truth and put herself in harm's way? 

Once again, the author delivers a brilliantly crafted intense psychological thriller grabbing you from the first page to the last. Enjoyed reading the inspiration behind the book by the author. 

Gripping, riveting, and maddening, the author takes readers on a twisty, dark and scary journey. A page-turner which will keep you on the edge of your seat turning into the night. Emotional and addictive— (great cover)! Would make a suspenseful movie. Love the author’s style. 

The setting reminds me of all the rainy stormy late nights stuck out in the dark deserted woods on the Silver Comet 150 mile bike trail in Atlanta, GA — I rode every week (alone) 8 hrs (for years) and often after the time change I would be stuck out after dark before returning to the end, where I parked my car. There was no cell signal since most parts were very remote. I literally could not see anything in front of me, and no one on the trail for miles and miles. Pitch dark in the middle of thunder and lightning and pouring rain storms. 

Everyone warned me to stop doing this, but I was an avid cycler. Later, of course, several women were murdered on the trail. (guess it was fortunate I moved to Florida ). Also hiking on a mountain top in the dark with thunder, lightning, and rain on so many occasions. When looking back on these times, I wonder how I survived. Young, crazy, foolish, and adventurous. Would love for someone to write a book about this trail. I definitely have some scary and chilling stories. 

In addition to the reading copy also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Georgia Maguire for a chilling performance. (love the accent). 

Fans of Wendy Walker, Mary Kubica, and Fiona Barton (also my favorites) will enjoy this top-notch psychological suspense thriller. Can't wait to see what's next! 

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

JDCMustReadBooks 

 

 



On a personal note: 
My apologies for the delay in posting my review since I was fortunate to have read THE BREAKDOWN prior to the pub date back in March, and wanted to wait until closer to pub date to post a review. 

In early May-June, my dad became critical with congestive heart failure (I was his POA) and flew home rather suddenly to care for him (my mom passed away ten months earlier). Wound up remaining in North Carolina for another two months, was in a bad car accident (his SUV), and my dad passed away the same evening, planned a funeral, deal with the insurance claim, car repairs, and had to clear out and sell his home. (closed on it this week). Also being the executor of my dad's estate, dealing with probate, among other things. So just getting back home to Florida and returning to work full time, this week. 

Tons of reviews, book blogging, and lots of reading to catch up! (May-Aug)

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/06/02/TheBreakdown
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review 2017-08-15 06:18
Emma in the Night
Emma in the Night - Wendy Walker

By: Wendy Walker

ISBN: 978-1250141439

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date:  8/8/2017

Format: Hardcover

My Rating:  5 Stars + 

 

Talented Wendy Walker returns following her standout debut, All is Not Forgotten—landing on my Top Books of 2016, with another gripping and twisty, addictive psychological suspense thriller EMMA IN THE NIGHT revolving around narcissistic personality disorder and abuse. 

Top Books of 2017! 5 Stars + 

Two girls go missing. Three years later, only one comes home. What happened to Emma?

One of the most difficult things to understand in life is how someone who professes to love you can then go on to abuse you. Combine narcissistic behavior with obsession, insecurity, control, jealousy, love, hate, and revenge, and you have a nasty evil person. 

Emotional coercion, blame, guilt, manipulation, negative comparison, jealousy, and possessiveness. (great character traits for a parent, right)? 

Judy Martin (well I do like the name), but she is one evil horrible person. Her daughters call her Mrs. Martin. Readers will despise her. She lives to be the center of attention. 

Walker does an outstanding job with her characters. (I cannot imagine how difficult this book was to write). Judy inflicts pain (her ways and motives) onto everyone around her. A devil of a mother. She manipulates everyone around her. Everything is a game. Even Emma gets caught up in the game. 

Everything is a competition. Not sure how either of these girls had time to live a normal life. Game on every day. Like an endless tennis match. 

Two daughters. Emma and Cass Tanner. 

Their mother remarried a guy she was having an affair with. Mr. Martin. Their biological dad is Owen. 

The two girls have been missing for three years. 

Cass was 15 and her older sister Emma was 17. No one knew whether they were dead or alive? 

Now Cass shows up on her mother’s doorstep. She claims her sister is on an island and she escaped and needs help in rescuing her and her baby girl. Who knew she was pregnant?

Of course, at the time of the original investigation, there was the FBI psychologist, Abigail Winter (Abby) who was engrossed in the case. She herself lived with a narcissistic mother and was a pro on the subject.

Now Cass returns without Emma. 

Is she telling the truth? Can she provide enough clues to lead them to her sister Emma? Are they really on an island? Apparently, her sister had a horrible argument with Judy the night she left and went to the beach. Cass hid in her car.

A man and woman who befriended them, turned against them and held them hostage. For three years they attempted to escape. 

What is this family hiding? Everyone seems to be hiding a dark secret. From Mr. Martin (step-dad), his son—Hunter, Owen—the dad, Judy, Emma, and Cass. 

Wow, this is one dysfunctional family! Nerve-wracking suspense. Walker knows how to build suspense with unreliable narrators. You know something is coming. Something is lurking around the corner. Which one will outsmart the other in this cat and mouse game?

You know there is a scheme, a plan; however, you are not sure where this story will lead. What is Judy hiding? Mr. Martin? Cass? Hunter?

The author keeps you guessing from the first page to the last. From slow burning manipulation, Walker hits on all cylinders. 

 



I had a lot going on in my life during the reading of this book; however, I found myself rushing to get back to this saga. This subject is one I did quite a bit of research on years ago and have read many books on the subject. My ex-husband (I emphasize "EX" for 20 yrs. now), was a true narcissistic personality. He could give Judy a few lessons. Will give you chills. 

Reading this book brought back all these dangerous, manipulative, and scary personality traits and their sense of entitlement, which he handed down to his own sons. (Thank goodness I did not have any children with him; however, mine saw the damage) and we were able to get away from this life after five years. 

Narcissistic abuse was originally just defined as a specific form of emotional abuse of children by narcissistic parents, parental narcissistic abuse, where parents who require the child to give up their own wants and feelings in order to serve the parent's needs for esteem. 

It is real. You can be assured a narcissist can have “intellectual empathy” and no emotional empathy. Not in their vocabulary. If faced with a narcissist, you will ask yourself, “How much abuse am I prepared to take?” RUN! However, if you are a child, this is somewhat difficult to do. 

How could an island be any worse than living with Mr. and Mrs. Martin? There has to be a good reason to return. Yes, it was. 

Walker works her way back to that night slowly as all the pieces unravel for dynamite ending. Outstanding twists, intense characterizations, and interesting subject matter make EMMA IN THE NIGHT a top psychological thriller. 

I also purchased the audiobook and Therese Plummer and Julia Whelan provided an edge- of-your-seat award-winning performance!

What an intense mind-bending page-turner! Move this one to the top of your list. A devilish cat and mouse game. Who will win in the end? Read and find out. . . 

Read more on the author’s website Behind the Book. Good Stuff! 

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

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/03/09/Emma-in-the-Night
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