Review: The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe


Goodreads/Amazon
Release date: September 8, 2016

Publisher: Bonnier

Genre: Mystery/Thriller 

Goodreads blurb: 

For fans of Jo Nesbo and The Bridge, The Ice Beneath Her is a gripping and deeply disturbing story about love, betrayal and obsession that is impossible to put down. Fast-paced and peopled with compelling characters, it surprises at every turn as it hurtles towards an unforgettable ending with a twist you really won’t see coming . . .
A young woman is found beheaded in an infamous business tycoon’s marble-lined hallway.
The businessman, scandal-ridden CEO of the retail chain Clothes & More, is missing without a trace.
But who is the dead woman? And who is the brutal killer who wielded the machete?
Rewind two months earlier to meet Emma Bohman, a sales assistant for Clothes & More, whose life is turned upside down by a chance encounter with Jesper Orre. Insisting that their love affair is kept secret, he shakes Emma’s world a second time when he suddenly leaves her with no explanation.
As frightening things begin to happen to Emma, she suspects Jesper is responsible. But why does he want to hurt her? And how far would he go to silence his secret lover? 

Review:

I’ve really been on a roll lately with picking up excellent thrillers and The Ice Beneath Her is no exception! Full of complicated and interesting characters, intrigue and deception, and a twist that I didn’t entirely see coming, Grebe is an author that is on my radar now.

This book is told from three different perspectives; Peter a police officer, Hanne who consults with the police occasionally, and Emma a young woman who is wrapped up in the murder investigation. Peter and Hanne’s portions are told in the present while Emma’s begin three months prior to the murder. All of them are wounded and struggling with the hardships of life and the crosses they bear. One of these riveting narrators is unreliable, but who? Who is the murdered woman and how does she fit in with these three? 

Set in Sweden, the atmosphere was cold, and chilling which lent to the already bleak storyline. This one is gory,gruesome and violent but it is all about a horrific murder. The characters are all very well developed and easy to connect with. Emma is so damaged, she’s faced the loss of both of her parents and events in her past have left her scarred beyond repair. Peter is wry and emotionally stunted and has his own demons from his past that never seem to leave him. Hanne was my favorite character, she’s intelligent and just an altogether interesting woman struggling to come to terms with her frightening new medical diagnosis.

This novel is a tale of betrayal, obsession and pain that is full of dark and dangerous surprises that I didn’t fully see coming. The twist didn’t completely blow me away, mainly because Grebe had me guessing so much throughout the book that by the time the twist is revealed, I had already worked through so many possibilities. However, it was still a very enjoyable read for fans of dark and deadly crime fiction.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Bonnier for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review/Q & A: The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello 


I’m absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to have the lovely Eva Lesko Natiello here today to answer some questions. I also recently finished The Memory Box and I am totally blown away, it was amazing! Read on for the Q & A and my review.

Q & A

1. What’s a typical writing day look like for you?

A typical writing day starts with reading yesterday’s work. I will do some light tweaking on that, but the reading is mostly to give me a launching off point and to get my head back to where I left off. And that’s not just the physical aspects of where the story is but the emotional and tonal aspects, which are harder to pinpoint sometimes. My perfect writing environment is quiet. I cannot write with music or ambient sound like some people who can work in Starbucks. I could never! Also, my desk needs to be neat. I can’t think clearly when it’s a mess. Is that weird? Maybe. It is often a mess, by the way. My desk, which is actually a six foot parsons table, is where I also do the business side of being an authorpreneur. In addition to reference books, a paper calendar planner (which I will never give up!) and tons of “must-do lists” I have important momentos: family photos, gifts from readers, my lucky wishing stone.


2. How did you get started writing? Was it something that you’ve always loved?

Well, that’s interesting. I did not ever plan or hope to write a book. In fact, I didn’t start writing until after I had children and I took a leave from my job in the cosmetics industry as a communications executive. Raising the kids full-time was a difficult adjustment for me and although I was quite busy with that, I missed the creative and intellectual stimulation of my job. I remember thinking to myself, “what kind of creative project can I have which will not require a huge financial commitment, that I could do at home whenever I had some free time? Did you guess: singing in the shower? The idea of writing fiction came very accidentally after I read an interesting story in The New York Times about a young high school boy who Googled himself and discovered he was on a missing person’s list. And I was plagued with insomnia which ended up being a blessing because that’s when I got the rush of ideas for THE MEMORY BOX.

  


3. Who are your favorite writers/inspirations?

The two books that inspired me to be a writer are, FATHER’s DAY by Philip Galanes and WHITE OLEANDER by Janet Fitch. 



4. Anything you can tell us about upcoming projects?

The problem with my upcoming projects is that I have 3 of them. I am crazy about all of them, but I am making a concerted effort to stick to one until it’s finished. One is a comedy/drama screenplay. The screenplay is a departure for me but it’s the dialogue which is coming fast and furious, so I’m treating the screenplay almost like an outline for the novel. Does that make sense? I don’t know. 


5. Normally how do you develop plots/characters? Brief us on your process.

If I’m writing a thriller, it’s really about plot twists and problem solving. So for instance, in THE MEMORY BOX, the premise of the book came first: a woman Googles herself and discovers the shocking details of a past she doesn’t remember. That premise came from the Times article I mentioned. From there I needed to figure out what it was she would discover, and why didn’t she remember. I loved coming up with the things she didn’t remember. That was really fun. (Even though they were horrendous things, of course!) But it set in motion her back story, and her motivation. So it moved the story back and forward at the same time. Writing a thriller is like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. As far as developing characters, I am a keen observer. There is never an idle moment in a writer’s life! Even when I’m relaxing (at the beach, let’s say) I am constantly observing how people interact, how they speak, what they look like, their mannerisms etc. I amy even have a muse for a character. For Dr. Sullivan in THE MEMORY BOX my muse was Phillip Seymour Hoffman. 


6. Favorite character from one of your own novels? 

My favorite character to write from THE MEMORY BOX, was Elaine. And in the novel I’m working on now, it’s Chrissy. More on her later!


7. Preferred method for readers to contact you?

I like when readers contact me through my website contact form at evanatiello.com or through Goodreads.

8. Which one of your characters do you relate to the most? 

I think there is a little of me in every character, but I don’t relate wholly to any of them. 


9. If writing wasn’t your career what would you be doing? 

I always wanted to be an astronaut and when I read last week that an Earth-like planet was discovered in the solar system next to ours which we might be able to visit someday, I was feeling a little down that I never pursued that. Then my son reminded me that I routinely become carsick if I’m a back seat passenger so rocketing to another planet might not be for me. I do love creative collaboration and that’s the one thing I miss being a writer. 


10.  What’s the best compliment that you’ve received about your work?

An agent once referred to me as a female Stephen King. 

Blurb: 

What would you do if you Googled yourself and uncovered something shocking?


In this gripping psychological thriller, a group of privileged suburban moms amuse themselves by Googling everyone in town, digging up dirt to fuel thorny gossip. Caroline Thompson, devoted mother of two, sticks to the moral high ground and attempts to avoid these women. She’s relieved to hear her name appears only three times, citing her philanthropy. Despite being grateful that she has nothing to hide, a delayed pang of insecurity prods Caroline to Google her maiden name—which none of the others know.


The hits cascade like a tsunami. Caroline’s terrified by what she reads. An obituary for her sister, JD? That’s absurd.With every click, the revelations grow more alarming. They can’t be right. She’d know. Caroline is hurled into a state of paranoia—upending her blissful family life—desperate to prove these allegations false before someone discovers they’re true.


The disturbing underpinnings of The Memory Box expose a story of deceit, misconceptions, and an obsession for control. With its twists, taut pacing, and psychological tenor, Natiello’s page-turning suspense cautions: Be careful what you search for.

About the Author


Eva is a native New Yorker, who, by transplanting to the New Jersey suburbs, conceived her first novel, THE MEMORY BOX, a psychological thriller and Amazon #1 Bestseller, about a woman who Googles herself and discovers the shocking details of a past she doesn’t remember—set in a fictional upscale suburb where things appear to be quite ordinary. You can find her essays on the Huffington Post and several other places, she also has a blog with more of her work. You can also find Eva on Twitter, Facebook,and Goodreads

Review:

When Eva contacted me about possibly reviewing The Memory Box I was immediately hooked after reading the blurb. We live in the age of the Google Effect and the thought of finding out secrets about myself by Googling totally intrigued me. While the blurb is fantastic I really wasn’t expecting this book to be as amazing as it was.

Once again, I’m going to have to be kind of vague here. I promise it’s for your own good though! From the start, this book grabs you and doesn’t let go until the final page. Caroline gives into temptation and Googles herself after hearing all the other mothers at her twin daughters school talk about it incessantly. When she Googles her married name, nothing much pops up, but when she Googles her maiden name, all hell breaks loose. Hold on, because you’re about to get on a nonstop rollercoaster ride with Caroline that you won’t want to get off of until the truth is all revealed.

As Caroline begins to dig into her past, she keeps on getting blindsided again, and again. Why can’t she remember anything about the stuff that she’s uncovering? Are huge and relevant chunks of her life just…gone? Understandably shaken, Caroline begins to unravel as she discovers her shocking and dark past isn’t anything like she thought it was.

Without giving up the plot, here’s a list of words I would use to describe this one; (I actually took all these from the notes I made at midnight when I was frantically flying through The Memory Box) disturbing, unsettling, on the edge of my seat gripping, parts are uncomfortably bizarre, clever, sharp, twisted, edgy, completely unpredictable, addictive, obsessive, and the one constant thought running through my mind, this book is really messing with my mind, am I going crazy along with Caroline?! I loved every minute of it though!

Honestly, this book has everything I need in a good and solid psychological thriller and I cannot wait to see what Eva comes up with next! Also, a huge congratulations to Eva for making the New York Times best sellers list for the week of September 11, 2016! Well deserved.

Overall rating: 5/5

Huge and heartfelt thank you to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review: We Are Unprepared by Meg Little Reilly

Goodreads/Amazon/Author Website
Release date: August 30, 2016

Publisher: MIRA

Genre: Fiction, Apocalyptic 

Goodreads blurb:

Ash and Pia’s move from Brooklyn to the bucolic hills of Vermont was supposed to be a fresh start—a picturesque farmhouse, mindful lifestyle, maybe even children. But just three months in, news breaks of a devastating superstorm expected in the coming months. Fear of the impending disaster divides their tight-knit rural town and exposes the chasms in Ash and Pia’s marriage. Ash seeks common ground with those who believe in working together for the common good. Pia teams up with “preppers” who want to go off the grid and war with the rest of the locals over whom to trust and how to protect themselves. Where Isole had once been a town of old farm families, yuppie transplants and beloved rednecks, they divide into paranoid preppers, religious fanatics and government tools. 

Review: 

We Are Unprepared is a cautionary tale of what the future of the world could look like. It begins three months after Ash and Pia have left their old life in Brooklyn behind for a simpler and quieter existence in rural Isole,Vermont. Reports of a devastating Storm begin to surface and the fear and anxiety this produces is like nothing Ash and Pia have seen or experienced before. 

This story is told entirely from Ash’s perspective and is divided into three parts. The first part is the longest and is told over several months before The Storm is scheduled to hit. The second part is when the storm actually hits and that doesn’t happen until about sixty five percent of the story is told. Though it did take quite a long time to lead up to the big event, part one was still engaging and kept me turning the pages.

The process of seeing how the citizens of Isole all handled the lead up to The Storm was quite fascinating. Everyone may have had differing ways of preparing themselves for this potentially catastrophic event but they all experienced panic, paranoia, and terror as they waited to see if The Storm would even come to fruition. Many people begin to act rashly and highly out of their normal character as they grappled with the preparations necessarily to survive the impending and ominous weather. Ash and Pia find themselves on different sides when their town is divided; he joins in the local town elders to try and do what’s best for them as a whole while she begins meeting with a group of local preppers who are mainly concerned with looking out for themselves. The pressures they are facing coupled with a tense environment put heavy strain on their marriage. How can they unite to ride out The Storm when they have such varying opinions and viewpoints? What does all this disparity mean for the future of not only their marriage, but also for society in general?

August is Ash and Pia’s seven year old neighbor who has a troubled home life. He has gravitated to Ash as he is desperate for a solid male role model. I loved watching their relationship unfold and enjoyed seeing Ash discover things about himself as their relationship evolved into something precious and personal for both of them. Throughout the book, Ash grows in some painful and poetic ways that I found endearing and tremendously touching, it really resonated with me.

While not nearly as fast paced as I often like my books to be, We Are Unprepared was still rather gripping and I was just as anxiously awaiting The Storm as the characters in the book. Little Reilly is a gifted writer who managed to convey an important message and cautionary tale while weaving it together with compelling characters that I was invested in.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to MIRA and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.


 

Review: For Better Or Worse by Lauren Layne 


Goodreads/Amazon/Author Website
Release date: August 30, 2016

Publisher: Pocket Books

Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance 

Goodreads blurb: 


Will a budding wedding planner and her bad boy neighbor stop banging heads and start hearing wedding bells in the sexy second novel in USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s irresistible new series that marries Sex and the City with The Wedding Planner?


When small-town girl Heather Fowler finally gets promoted from assistant to actual wedding planner, she’s determined to make it as one of Manhattan’s elite Wedding Belles. Unfortunately, her first client demands an opulent black-tie affair at the Plaza…in five months’ time. Heather’s days quickly become a flurry of cake tastings, dress-fittings, RSVP cards, and bridal tantrums. But what she’s really losing sleep over is the live music blaring from her playboy neighbor’s apartment all night.


Five years ago, Josh Tanner was an up-and-comer on Wall Street, complete with the penthouse and the migraines. But a grim cancer diagnosis made him realize there is more to life than the corner office. If only he could convince his pretty, workaholic neighbor to let loose, too. As Heather lets down her guard, Josh is surprised when he starts falling for the sweet, vulnerable woman hiding beneath those power suits. Soon, it’s Heather’s turn to convince Josh to take the biggest risk of all: love. 

Review: 

A couple of months ago I read the first book in this series, To Have and To Hold and really liked it, so I was super excited about picking up this one. I think I may have liked this one even better than the first one!

Heather and Josh are new neighbors and they have an undeniable attraction to each other. Heather is a typical modern New York woman, she’s ambitious, career driven, yet still sexy and fun. Josh is more laid back, he’s a muscian that is deliciously sexy, sarcastic, and wickedly funny. The two have fantastic banter and I was dying waiting for them to get it together and just hook up already! 

Parts of this book were a little hard for me to read due to a personal connection to cancer. My husband battled cancer a couple of years ago and reading all about Josh’s fears touched a raw nerve for me. The terror every time he allowed himself to think about the cancer returning, the hesitancy to let anyone too close, the need to keep people at arms length is all too painfully familiar to me. As much as it hurt me to relive some of the darkest moments in my life, I so appreciated the way Layne handled this situation though Josh. She absolutely nailed all the emotions and feelings that come with a cancer diagnosis, especially those of a young adult male.It was beautifully portrayed.

By the way, my husband beat cancers ass and is in remission! ❤️🎉

As usual, Layne wrote an adorable contemporary romance that women from all over can relate to. It’s sharp, humorous, fresh, sexy and raw. I would recommend reading the first book in this series before this one as its so good, but you can read this as a standalone if you’re so inclined. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Pocket Books for my copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Review: All Fall Down by Tom Bale


Goodreads/Amazon/Author Website
Release date: September 1, 2016

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Goodreads blurb: 

You tried to save a life. Now you’re fighting to save your own. 

It should have been an idyllic day for the Turner family – until a dying man, beaten beyond all recognition, arrives at their home, uttering the words, HELP ME. 


Rob and Wendy Turner and their children try to explain away the horrific scene as being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but in the days that follow their lives are threatened in ways they could never imagine. 


The family is unaware that they are being watched by someone with their own terrifying agenda, who will stop at nothing to fulfil their own twisted desires. 


But when hidden secrets come rushing to the surface, it’s clear not everything is as it seems in this happy family. Are the Turners a victim of circumstance – or does the key to their fate lie closer to home? 


Forced to fight for everything they hold dear, can they save themselves before time runs out – or will their act of compassion see them paying the ultimate price…? 

Review: 

This book wastes no time and jumps straight into the action with a severely injured man appearing at the backyard barbecue of the Turner family. Where in the world did this poor man come from, was it just a case of a random happening? Or is there more to the entire event?

After the initial rush of adrenaline at the beginning of the book, the action ratchets down a notch, but make no mistake, there is still heavy suspense. Strange things begin to happen immediately after the afternoon where the unknown man appeared. Threatening letters, the uncomfortable feeling of being watched, some downright creepy and unsettling stuff.  It lays the foundation for a series of frightening events that are chilling, methodical and brilliant.

The Turners are a family on the brink, most of them are hiding things, but are these secrets related to all the unpleasantness they are now experiencing? Or are they just victims of unfortunate circumstances? 

I’ve used the phase heart pounding to describe books before when reviewing them, but this time I mean that literally. There were moments in this book that my heart was racing and I was experiencing genuine fear for the Turner family. Just when you think you know exactly which direction Bale is heading, he throws another curveball at you that knocks you on your ass. I quite like that, sick and twisted reader that I am! 

I do want to add, that there is quite a bit of violence in this one. It doesn’t bother me, but I know some people would rather avoid it so I thought I should warn you. I do hope that won’t keep people from reading this one though as its astoundingly good and while violent, it is necessary violence to the storyline if that makes sense.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to Bookouture for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Goodreads/Amazon/Author Website
Release date: July 26, 2016

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Genre: Women’s Fiction 

Goodreads blurb: 

Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?


Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.


Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.


Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?


In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm. 

Review: 

I read The Husbands Secret back in 2013 and really liked it then proceeded to eagerly read everything else Moriarty had written previously. I’ve become a big fan and was highly anticipating Truly Madly Guilty. Maybe all of my excitement lead to my slight disappointment with this one, or maybe she just missed the mark this time, I honestly can’t put my finger on it.

This novel starts out with talk of an unspeakable event that happened at a barbecue. It flashes back from the day of the barbecue to present time. At first, I was desperate to learn what had happened at this ill fated barbecue. Frankly, I’m beyond sick of reading the word barbecue and irritated that I just typed it so many times! After so much painstakingly slow build up I felt utterly tortued by the suspense surrounding this mysterious event. And I don’t mean tortued in a good way, I truly appreciate being tortued by an author in order to build tension but this was ridiculous. When it finally came time for the big reveal I honestly was so annoyed by all the aching slowness (like 300 pages!!) that I didn’t even care anymore. 

Here’s what saved this book for me; genuine characters that are completely realistic and little twists in the end that didn’t leave me breathless, yet they provided a nice turn of events that added something satisfying to the story. This ensemble cast of characters reminded me a bit of the way Elin Hildebrand creates her stories, where they’re told from various perspectives. This style allows the reader to get a glimpse into the characters lives and I was able to experience their hopes, fears, problems and issues right alongside them. I especially liked Vid and Tiffany as they were harboring secrets that showed how flawed and genuine they both are.

If you decide to give this book a chance, please have your patience ready. There are so many parts of this book that are slow and at times a bit monotonous, yet the last quarter of the book and the ending were enough to keep me from throwing the book down in frustration. If you haven’t read a Moriarty novel before, I would recommend The Husbands Secret first.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Review: The Forgotten Woman by Angela Marsons 

Goodreads/Amazon/Author Website
Release date: July 11, 2016

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Women’s Fiction 

Goodreads blurb: 


Two ordinary women. Two damaged lives. One friendship that would save them both

Kit Mason has lived a life of unimaginable pain. An ex-prostitute, she has fled the clutches of an abusive pimp and now finds herself living hand to mouth in a new city, without anyone to help her. 


Frances Thornton seems to be living the perfect life. A lawyer from a privileged background, her perfect façade hides the painful secrets that still haunt her. 


Brought together by their attempts to conquer their addictions in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, the two women strike up an unlikely friendship. 


But can they find strength in each other – or will the demons of their past catch up with them? 


A compelling, moving and ultimately uplifting novel about overcoming the very worst life can throw at you and starting over. The perfect read for fans of Jodi Picoult and Amanda Prowse. 

Review:

This is my first time reading anything by Angela Marsons and I’m wondering what took me so long?! I relished every minute I spent reading this book and discovering the stories of Kit and Fran.

Kit is not only a forgotten woman at the start of this book, she is a broken woman. She was a prostitute at a young age and she has experienced brutal things at the unforgiving hands of men that utterly broke my heart. When she was describing her life on the streets I just wanted to scoop her up and hug her, love her and be kind to her. I admired her fiery spirit and sarcasm in the face of adversity, Kit is the definition of a fighting spirit.

Fran grew up in completely different circumstances than Kit did. Her family was successful and affluent and she never had to worry about a thing in terms of finances. Her home was lacking in love, however, a love and approval that Fran desperately craved. Despite their obvious differences, the two both struggled with the same demons; an addiction to alcohol.

After an initial meeting, the two women do not hit it off. Despite their rough start, the two strike up an unlikely friendship. I was so emotionally attached to both women in different ways, but I was rooting for them equally. Watching them both grow and find themselves, both separately and together with their burgeoning relationship was truly beautiful.

One thing I particularly liked about this book was that the ending wasn’t tied together all perfectly with a pretty bow. It did tie up several loose ends, enough to where I won’t be annoyed and bothered by unanswered questions, but leaving things imperfect was appreciated by me as this book was all about the imperfect aspects of life.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Bookouture for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Drowning Girls by Paula Treick DeBoard

Goodreads/Amazon/Author Website
Release date: April 26, 2016

Publisher: MIRA

Genre: Psychological Thriller/Mystery 

Goodreads blurb:

Critically acclaimed author of The Mourning Hours and The Fragile World, Paula Treick DeBoard returns with a tale of dark secrets, shocking lies and a dangerous obsession that will change one neighborhood forever.


Liz McGinnis never imagined herself living in a luxurious gated community like The Palms. Ever since she and her family moved in, she’s felt like an outsider amongst the Stepford-like wives and their obnoxiously spoiled children. Still, she’s determined to make it work—if not for herself, then for her husband, Phil, who landed them this lavish home in the first place, and for her daughter, Danielle, who’s about to enter high school. 


Yet underneath the glossy veneer of The Palms, life is far from idyllic. In a place where reputation is everything, Liz soon discovers that even the friendliest residents can’t be trusted—and almost everyone has secrets they’d do anything to protect. So when the gorgeous girl next door befriends Danielle, Liz can’t help but find sophisticated Kelsey’s interest in her shy and slightly nerdy daughter a bit suspicious. 


But while Kelsey quickly becomes a fixture in the McGinnis home, Liz’s relationships with both Danielle and Phil grow strained. Now even her own family seems to be hiding things, and it’s not long before their dream of living the high life quickly spirals out of control… 

Review: 

Have you ever just been instantly drawn to a book and known that you were going to love it? The moment I laid eyes on this stunning cover and read the blurb I just knew that this book would be something that I would like. 

The Drowning Girls opens with Liz waking up to the sounds of screaming. Something terrible has happened to their teenage neighbor, Kelsey. But what events led to this point? Quickly the story flashes back to a year prior, always something I enjoy. It’s told primarily from Liz’s point of view, but there are brief yet important chapters from her husband, Phil. It always intrigues me when an author shows two very different perspectives about the same series of events. 

I don’t want to say too much about this one as it’s a captivating tale of obsession and domestic suspense. Treick DeBoard is an absolutely beautiful writer, she draws the reader in little by little with every turn of the page, dragging and pulling you in deeper and deeper, much like the characters are being pulled into a dark and dangerous web of deceit and betrayal.

 I was found myself so frustrated, yet fascinated with Liz, Phil and Danielle’s lack of communication with each other. Though so many terrible things could have been avoided  had the family actually talked to each other, it was very easy to understand what led each of them to keep their secrets, they definitely had their reasons. 

This book is mesmerizing, thrilling, and utterly gripping. Characters are completely understandable and easy to identify with, but again I fear discussing their growth would divulge too much. This is my first time reading anything by Treick DeBoard but it most definitely will not be my last. 

Overall rating: 5/5

A huge thank you to the author and MIRA for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Too Close by Gayle Curtis

Goodreads/Author Website/Amazon
Release date: June 30, 2016

Publisher: Twenty7 Books

Genre: Psychological Thriller 

Goodreads blurb:

A devastating and unsettling story of a powerful and unshakeable twin bond, Cecelia and Sebastian is a twisty and gripping tale where secrets, lies and illusions permeate the very essence of our beings. For fans of The Twins by Saskia Sarginson and I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb. 


Cecelia and Sebastian have a connection like no other – more than just brother and sister, they’ll go to any lengths to protect each other. Growing up in a bleak old farmhouse, their mother gone and their father violent and abusive, the twins have only each other to keep them alive.


But when the secrets of their mother’s disappearance start to emerge, and truth and lies are thrown into question, events take a terrifying turn . . .


As Cecelia tries to break away from the ties that bind her to her brother, Sebastian is determined that the twins should be together – whatever the costs. 

Review: 

I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so conflicted after finishing a book before! I’m not even sure how to review this one, I am just so torn. While reading this, I kept going back and forth between liking it and loathing it. I will say it was a quick read for me and I did want to see how things turned out, however I have to say that my overall feeling after reading this one is that I’m highly disturbed and not in a good way. I do tend to read lots of disturbing books, but this one just left me feeling dirty and unsettled.

The book opens with an adult Cecelia waking up from a dream. But is she dreaming or sleepwalking? It’s all very confusing and vague. Then we flashback to when Cecelia and Sebastian are fourteen. Their mother has vanished and they are left with only their terrifying and abusive father. He is a real scumbag and the abuse the twins encounter at his hands is awful and unfathomable. After a series of tragic events, we jump ahead eighteen years.

During this time, we learn that Cecelia and Sebastian have barely spoken. Their once unbreakable bond seems to have been shattered and both are worse for the wear. Here’s where things really fell apart for me. Secrets begin to be revealed, which I normally love. This time, there was something just off about things. You know how in most thrillers there is some sort of buildup and excitement that ramps up the tension? That didn’t happen here. A bomb would be dropped almost out of the blue. It sounds so weird to even write this, usually that’s a good thing. I don’t know if it was Curtis’ writing style or what, but every time there was a twist or revelation I was just left feeling disjointed and conflicted. Things just didn’t quite make sense to me. The ending seemed very sudden too, very rushed and frantic. 

This book is very sick and twisted in ways that made me uncomfortable. I’m not the type of person to shy away from dark and creepy material but this was all wrong. Things are so morbid and coupled with the lack of character development and altogether unlikable characters, I couldn’t connect with any aspect of this book. 

Overall rating: 2/5

Thanks to Twenty7 Books for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Anything For You by Kristan Higgins

Goodreads/Amazon/Author Website
Release date: December 29, 2015

Publisher: HQN

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit

Goodreads blurb: 

Before you get down on bended knee… 


…you should be pretty darn sure the answer will be yes. For ten years, Connor O’Rourke has been waiting for Jessica Dunn to take their on-again, off-again relationship public, and he thinks the time has come. His restaurant is thriving, she’s got her dream job at Blue Heron Vineyard—it’s the perfect time to get married. 


When he pops the question, however, her answer is a fond but firm no. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? Jess has her hands full with her younger brother, who’s now living with her full-time, and a great career after years of waitressing. What she and Connor have is perfect: friends with an excellent benefits package. Besides, with her difficult past (and reputation), she’s positive married life isn’t for her. 


But this time, Connor says it’s all or nothing. If she doesn’t want to marry him, he’ll find someone who does. Easier said than done, given that he’s never loved anyone but her. And maybe Jessica isn’t quite as sure as she thinks… 

Review: 

This book is the fifth installment in Higgins Blue Heron series. While you could easily read this as a standalone, I would not recommend doing so. I say this because this series is so fantastic and fun that you would be missing out! I love that as you continue reading the series the characters from previous novels pop up. It’s like when you run into an old and dearly missed friend unexpectedly. All of the books in this series are based in the same small town, and some of the characters are related by both blood and marriage. 

This book starts off with an ill fated proposal. Conner O’Rourke is asking his longtime yet on and off again girlfriend, Jessica Dunn to marry him. She basically laughs him off, which leads to a whole lot of awkwardness and a whole lot of funny. Higgins has such a way of taking situations that any of us could find ourselves in and making them hysterical. I swear I find myself laughing out loud frequently every time I read one of her books. She has some great one liners and I just know she must be absolutely hilarious in person. There’s just no way that she can write so many humorous scenes without being pretty funny herself.

Conner and Jessica are so normal and flawed that it’s impossible for the reader not to relate to them. Higgins has a gift of showcasing real, yet imperfect relationships and Anything For You is no exception. Conner is completely clueless, yet adorable and charming. He has no idea how to handle Jess or what she really wants. Jess is vulnerable, real and though deep down she desperately wants to find real love she is so guarded that breaking down her impenetrable walls is damn near impossible. Both of them have to deal with their issues before they can figure things out together; Conner with his strained relationship with his father and Jess has to come to terms with her promiscuous past and her terrible relationship with her father. 

Funny, heartwarming and honest, this may be my favorite book in the Blue Heron series thus far! I’m seriously hoping that Higgins continues with this series as it’s definitely one of my favorite contemporary romance series out there.

Overall rating: 4.5/5