“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.

“Still Missing”–Review

51lenbozeel-_sx304_bo1204203200_The story begins with Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, who had three goals for the day: sell a home, forget about that trivial argument she had with her demanding mother, and to be home on time to have dinner with her boyfriend.  After a slow day at the open house, Annie starts packing up to prepare for an evening with her boyfriend, Luke.  Then a van pulls up in front of the house and a good-looking, friendly man steps out and approaches the house.  Although Annie was all ready to head out, she figured giving a last-minute potential buyer a tour of the place couldn’t hurt.

But that turned out to be a mistake.

The story alternates between the year Annie had spent in isolation with her captor and her sessions with her psychiatrist.  She goes into the details of her being beaten, raped, and controlled by a psychopath who apparently had plans for her, including her escape and the ongoing police investigations leading to the truth about Annie’s captor.

This book had one surprise after another and I think it was worth reading.  Just when it seemed as if everything were going to be all right, another twist occurred.  Annie was struggling to put her life back together, yet it never seemed to be over.  I was definitely hooked.  If you’re a fan of thrillers, this may be for you.

Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*I received this copy from St. Martin’s Press for review purposes.

About the author: Chevy Stevens grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still calls the island home. For most of her adult life she worked in sales, first as a rep for a giftware company and then as a Realtor. While holding an open house one afternoon, she had a terrifying idea that became the inspiration for Still Missing. Chevy eventually sold her house and left real estate so she could finish the book. Still Missing went on to become a New York Times bestseller and win the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel.  Chevy’s books have been optioned for movies and are published in more than thirty countries.

Chevy enjoys writing thrillers that allow her to blend her interest in family dynamics with her love of the west coast lifestyle. When she’s not working on her next book, she’s camping and canoeing with her husband and daughter in the local mountains.

You can also check out her page here.

“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.

“The Father: Made In Sweden”–Review

51IfzRnXajL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Based on a true story, The Father is part one of a two-novel series of three brothers who committed numerous bank robberies throughout Sweden, in the 1990s.  With no criminal records, and their being under 24 years old, these brothers would eventually be known as criminal masterminds amid the glare of the international media.

Written by the fourth brother and a television journalist who reported the crimes at that time, this story shows how a father led his sons from being innocent children to being Sweden’s most wanted criminals.

This was a great read for me and the dialogue was well-written.  Once I got toward the middle of the book, I couldn’t put it down.  Towards the end, it was even better.  In some ways, I did feel bad for the main characters, who were young boys who only wanted to be a family; however, years of dealing with their violent, overbearing father wound up leading them all to a life of crime.

I’m looking forward to the second book in the series.  In fact, my reading this book may have inspired me to learn Swedish.

As always, feel free to comment.  Happy reading!

The Father will be available in hardcover on April 5, 2016.

*I received this Advance Reader’s Copy from Quercus Books and Shelf Awareness, in a giveaway, for a honest review.

About the author: Anton Svensson is a pseudonym for Stefan Thunberg and Anders Roslund.  Stefan Thunberg is one of Scandinavia’s most celebrated screenwriters.  His work includes the TV series Henning Mankell’s Wallander and Håkan Nesser’s Van Veeteren.  While Thunberg achieved success as a screenwriter, his father and brothers were Sweden’s most notorious bank robbers, known as Militärligan (The Military League), by the media.  The Father is Thunberg’s debut novel.  Anders Roslund is an award-winning investigative journalist and one of the acclaimed Scandinavian writers of our time.  He is part of the New York Times bestselling author duo Roslund & Hellström, who are recipients of the CWA International Dagger, the Glass Key and the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award, and who boast sales exceeding five million copies.  The Father is Roslund’s seventh novel and the first time he has co-authored with Stefan Thunberg.

“A Madness So Discreet”–A Review

MadnessSoDiscreetCOVERUSEThe author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust introduces a new, historical thriller that explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, and good and evil.

Locked up in a Boston insane asylum, Grace Mae is not only trapped within the walls of her prison, she is trapped with horrific family secrets, including the bulge in her belly, that she desperately wants to forget.  Desperate to keep it all in the dark, Grace remains mute.  No one’s ever heard her speak, let alone know her entire story.  During an act of violence, she is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is eventually discovered by Dr. Thornhollow, a visiting doctor who also studies criminal psychology.  When he discovers Grace’s keen eyes and sharp memory, Dr. Thornhollow makes Grace his assistant at a crime scene.  With the doctor’s help, Grace escapes the asylum and finds solace, friendship, and hope in an ethical asylum in Ohio.  However, Grace and Dr. Thornhollow work nighttime crime scenes of a killer who stalks random women.  While she continues to stay in character as a mad patient during the investigations, Grace realizes that she still has her own demons to battle in order to make peace with her life.

Of course, I won’t spoil anything; however, I will say that, although I wasn’t too fond of the ending, I really did like the story.  In fact, I believe this is my first historical novel.  The dialogue was excellent, including the writing.  Honestly, I loved the way the characters spoke. The cover also caught my attention.  This is actually my first Mindy McGinnis novel.  Again, I was hoping for a little more toward the end, but the plot, itself, was great.  Perhaps you’ll enjoy the book, which is also recommended for fans of YA and psychological thrillers.

A Madness So Discreet will be available on October 6, 2015.

About the author: Mindy McGinnis is an assistant YA librarian who lives in Ohio.  You can find her online or on Facebook and Twitter: @MindyMcGinnis.

Happy reading!

FTC Disclosure: I received this Advance Reader’s Edition from Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review.