“The Breakdown”–Review

51Va0R3MSWL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

One evening, after leaving a party, Cass lets her husband know she’s heading home and that she might take a shortcut along a rural road.  Her husband, however, advises her to not do it, that it could be dangerous, especially with the dangerous storm occurring.  Cass takes that road, anyhow.  During the downpour, she sees a car parked on the side of the road.  A woman is sitting alone in the car.  Cass pulls over and wonders if the woman is okay, if she’s having car trouble, anything.  The woman doesn’t even acknowledge Cass, so what’s going on?  While feeling concerned, Cass also fears the worst.  It could be a trap.  Cass ends up driving away.

It isn’t long before Cass hears the news of a woman who was killed on that same night.  And it happened to be the woman who was in that car.  Not a day goes by that Cass doesn’t feel guilty for not doing something.  The worst part is that she can’t even tell her own husband because she’d have to tell him she’d driven through that dangerous road.

It all seems to get worse when Cass starts forgetting things, even simple things.  For example, where she left her car, if she took her pills, even the alarm code, etc.  Despite her troubles, it’s the woman she can’t forget.  The woman she could have saved.  Then the silent phone calls she receives adds to her problems, making her fear that someone is watching her every move.

Although this one wasn’t as enjoyable as her previous book, Behind Closed Doors, I still liked this story.  The surprises had me turning the pages and I enjoyed the plot twist.  I was surprised when it all got to who was behind everything.  Of course, I won’t spoil it for you.  In need a good psychological thriller?  I recommend this story.  Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*I received this copy from St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review.

The Breakdown will be available on July 18, 2017.

About the author:  B.A. PARIS is the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors. She grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked both in finance and as a teacher and has five daughters. The Breakdown is her second novel.

“He Said/She Said”–Review

51C2M6jShgL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Who Do You Believe?

With chapters alternating from past to present, this is a story of Laura and Kit, a couple who were young and in love in the summer of 1999.  Kit has always been an eclipse chaser, so he and Laura travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun.  It is also a first time that Laura’s witnessing an eclipse.

After the moment is over, Laura wanders about and then just happens to witness what looks like a rape.  Although the accused man, Jamie Balcombe, swears it’s not what it appears, the victim, Beth Taylor, is practically mute and in shock.  But Laura knows what she saw.  After Jamie is arrested and later convicted, an appreciative Beth moves in on Laura and Kit’s lives.  While showering them with gifts as a token of her gratitude, it isn’t long before Beth’s attitude changes.  Kit wants Beth out of their lives, while Laura wants to see the best in her.  However, Laura starts to see that Kit just might be right, so they go to great lengths to get away from Beth.

Fifteen years later, in 2015, Laura and Kit live in a new home and changed their names.  Laura is pregnant and Kit is preparing for his trip to see a new eclipse.  No matter, Beth couldn’t possibly find them.  They’ve been living as carefully as possible and have agreed to not have any social media accounts.  But why have they had to live this way?  And why do they still feel as if they’re being watched?

As the story progresses, more secrets are revealed, including some unexpected twists.

I enjoyed this story because each chapter made me wonder whose side I was going to take.  How far are people willing to go to save themselves?  And who was actually telling the truth?  With every surprise, I wasn’t quite sure whom to believe.  As for Beth and Jamie, was it rape or consent?  It gets interesting, in my opinion.

Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

He Said/She Said will be available on June 6, 2017.

*I received this copy from St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Erin Kelly has worked as a freelance journalist for ten years. A regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Psychologies, Red, and Look, she has also written for Elle, Marie Claire, and Glamour.  She also is the author of The Poison Tree and The Burning Air.

“Behind Her Eyes”–Review

61gp9iiebal-_sx329_bo1204203200_David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife. But then why is David so controlling?

Louise is a single mom who has been in a rut since her divorce. One evening, at a bar, however, she meets an attractive man and they both hit it off. Even though they’d spent that evening only kissing, it was the first in a long time since Louise felt good about having someone touch her.

At the start of a new week, Louise begins her new secretary position at a psychiatrist’s office. And that’s when she meets her new boss, David: the man from the bar, who also happens to be married. Although they agree that their kiss was a mistake, neither one can stop thinking about the other.

When she least expects it, Louise bumps into Adele—David’s wife. Adele insists she’s new in town and seeking a friend. While guilt-ridden, Louise doesn’t feel right about accepting sweet Adele’s friendship.  However, the more time she spends with Adele, the more suspicious Louise becomes of Adele and David’s marriage. Adele doesn’t work.  She often appears anxious at certain hours when she’s expecting David’s phone calls. And her everyday routine is as if she has a curfew. And why is it that David never speaks of his marriage? And is David abusive, according to Adele?

While Louise struggles with her decision to tell David about her friendship with Adele, more strange behavior and secrets accumulate, putting the three of them at risk.  Because Louise constantly hears two sides to the stories, she realizes something isn’t right in this marriage and there seem to be more questions than answers. Although she’s advised to back off, Louise risks her life to get the answers she needs.

I think the storyline, itself, was pretty good. Each chapter speaks from Adele’s and Louise’s points of view, with the occasional chapters from Adele and David’s past. As for the ending, it did surprise me. To be honest, though, I’m not sure how I feel about the whole story. I didn’t love it, yet I didn’t hate it. I became curious about Adele’s plans and David’s reasons for his own behavior. Every chapter made me wonder whose side I should take. Even though there’s been a lot of hype about the ending, it just didn’t move me. But don’t let that discourage you from checking it out. You may enjoy it, perhaps.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

Behind Her Eyes will be released on January 31, 2017.

About the author: Sarah Pinborough is a critically acclaimed adult and YA author based in London. Sarah was the 2009 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story and also the 2010 and 2014 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Novella, and she has four times been short-listed for Best Novel. She is also a screenwriter who has written for the BBC and has several original television projects in development. Her next novel, Behind Her Eyes, coming for HarperFiction in the UK and Flatiron in the US (January 2017) has sold in over 20 territories worldwide and is a dark thriller about relationships with a kicker of a twist. Follow her on Twitter. You also can check out her page here.

“Behind Closed Doors”–Review

51JkXh+jrWL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The perfect marriage?  Or the perfect lie?

Jack and Grace Angel are the ideal married couple, living in a beautiful home in England.  Jack is a successful lawyer.  Grace is beautiful and charming.  She also prepares amazing meals and always manages to stay slim.  Others want to get to know Grace more, but how can it happen with Jack always at her side?  Although Grace doesn’t work, she never seems to have time to meet friends for coffee, or anything else, for that matter.  In fact, she never answers her phone.  And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

Once they’re alone, Grace goes from loving, patient wife, to a life as Jack’s prisoner.  While he remains polite and charming toward others, Jack preys on Grace’s fears.  Although there isn’t a lot of physical abuse, Jack uses verbal abuse and threats to control Grace in their home and in public.  No matter how hard Grace plots her escape, Jack is always one step ahead of her.

I won’t give away too much, but I must say this story is as suspenseful as it is scary.  Grace thought she’d married the man of her dreams, only to soon discover her husband is a psychopath.  The thought that real people who are in these kind of situations is terrible.  The abuse in the story is awful, but I had to keep reading.  In fact, I’m still thinking about the conflict.  This book may not be for those who are emotionally sensitive to this genre, but I also won’t discourage anyone from reading it.

Behind Closed Doors will be available on August 9, 2016.  As always, feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*I received this copy from St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: B.A. Paris grew up in England, but has spent most of her adult life in France.  She has worked both in finance and as a teacher.  She has five daughters.  Behind Closed Doors is her first novel.

“Jane Steele”–Review

612JGgVEC0L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_A tenacious orphan takes Jane Eyre as her idol, and justice into her own hands.

“Reader, I murdered him.”

When she was a child, Jane Steele suffered at the hands of her spiteful aunt, including her predatory cousin.  Then she is sent off to a boarding school, where she has to fight to survive more torment, until she decides to escape the school and flee to London.

Years later, Jane is informed that her aunt has died and her childhood home, Highgate House, has a new master, Mr. Charles Thornfield—an army doctor returned from the Sikh Wars—who is seeking a new governess for the nine-year-old ward in his care.  Determined to find out if she is the rightful heiress of the house, Jane takes the position and learns of the new residents in Highgate House—Mr. Thorfield and Mr. Sardar Singh, whose history with Mr. Thornfield seems far deeper and darker than it appears.

As Jane gets to know the two, she becomes aware of their violent history.  When she begins to fall in love with Mr. Thornfield, Jane faces a dilemma: Can she make him hers without having to reveal her own, murderous past?

This is a satirical romance based on Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte.  I’ve not yet read Jane Eyre; however, I’ll get around to it.  I’ve heard positive things about it, after all.  As for Jane Steele, I wasn’t too crazy about the story.  It wasn’t all that bad, I’ll admit.  I liked the dialogue.  The characters were were convincing, but the book just didn’t excite me.  Perhaps you’ll like it, though, especially if you’re a fan of Jane Eyre.  

As always, feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

Jane Steele will be available on April 12, 2016.

*I received this Advance copy in a giveaway, from Penguin Random House, for an honest review.

About the author: Lyndsay Faye is the internationally bestselling author of Dust and Shadow; The Gods of Gotham; Seven for a Secret; and The Fatal Flame.  She lives in Queens with her husband, Gabriel.

A Review of “The Fortune Hunter”

Hello, fellow bloggers!

Just recently, I’d received my copy of The Fortune Hunter, by Daisy Goodwin.  At first, I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect from this story, but I read on, anyhow.

The story begins in England, in 1875.  Elizabeth, who is the Empress of Austria, travels from Vienna to England in order to pursue her passion for fox hunting.  Although the sport may not be appropriate for her title, Elizabeth still admires the sport that takes her away from the formal duties of an empress.

It is in England where Elizabeth meets Captain Bay Middleton, who is to accompany her as her pilot during their fox hunting.  Their relationship, eventually, becomes the talk of Europe.  Things become complicated as Bay and the Empress become closer.  Bay can’t help that he is in lust with the Empress.  She is beautiful, wealthy, and the envy of other women.  While Bay maintains his “professional” relationship with Elizabeth, he also is betrothed to Charlotte Baird, an heiress and aspiring photographer.

Because Bay Middleton has always been the “ladies man” type, Charlotte has been advised to not marry such a man, especially now that he is accompanying an Austrian empress.  Also, he was suspected of being a fortune hunter.  Charlotte, however, wants to believe the best in him, all the while focusing on her photography.  That’s something I definitely liked about her character; she didn’t play games.

I wasn’t too fond of Bay, in the beginning.  As you can see, he was juggling two women, who are rich and beautiful.  In the eyes of others, Bay is the fortune-hunter type.  He wanted to have his cake and eat it, sadly.  As I got to know Elizabeth more, I felt for her in some ways.  She’d married at the age of sixteen to the Emperor of Austria.  She became a mother and then a grandmother.  For years, she’d felt lonely and unfulfilled.  Fox hunting, including Bay Middleton, made her happy.  At the same time, though, she’d become clingy and demanding.  Bay was, eventually, on her beck and call.

I, too, started to think that should Bay keep up his lusting for the Empress and his engagement to Charlotte, he was going to get hurt.  Or was he?  I won’t give out the rest, though.  I can honestly say that I enjoyed the book.  I recommend it for anyone who is looking for a new read.

Happy reading, all!