All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

Book Description:

Published: July 17, 2018

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

Review –

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend.

A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

I double-dog dare you to read a Colleen Hoover book and NOT cry. This one was a tearjerker deluxe,(at least for me). The highs and lows of Quinn and Graham’s relationship were emotional and jarring. There is love, happiness, frustration, sadness, loneliness  and despair, but finally after a horrible tragedy they open their  hearts and feelings to each other and there is an HEA.  

You need to read this book!!!!!!

 

 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Description:

Published: June 13, 2017

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars:4

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.

When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Review –

We all know not to believe everything we read about celebrities and in this book we get Evelyn’s real life and the life and stories she portrayed to the outside world – the psychology behind the manipulation of the public was truly fascinating. I’m not just talking about the fact that Evelyn is Cuban but was wise to the world of Hollywood, the need to distance herself from her Cuban heritage, to succeed in straight, white Hollywood. But how did Evelyn know how much to bend the truth, how did she know how far to go to keep the public on side, or how much exaggeration was needed to get the public back on side after an unfavourable incident, why didn’t she trust us enough with the truth? I’m aware Hugo is a fictional character but these questions can easily transfer to real-life Hollywood stars (Elizabeth Taylor and Ava Gabor).

One of the reasons this psychological aspect worked so well was because Evelyn lived such an interesting life, it was fascinating to see the truth in comparison to the life she portrayed to the world. How exhausting it must be to live two lives! You really warm to Evelyn as a character, she lays her life bare, she gives you the opportunity to get intimate with her.

And it’s this intimacy that pulls you into the story, it allows you to forgive Evelyn her mistakes, to will her to a happy ending, to believe in her character. There’s this beautiful sadness to Evelyn’s life, she’s a rich character, one of the most fleshed-out I’ve ever come across.

As you read this novel and learn about the life of this Hollywood actress, there’s this underlying suspense that never goes away – why did Evelyn choose Monique, in what way do their lives intersect? The suspense did outweigh the reveal but I can’t be mad about that because it was still a very good reveal. It fit perfectly with the story, with the character of Evelyn; she is telling her truth and for her it was the right move, so for the reader, it made sense and you could understand why it was such a huge reveal for Evelyn.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is glamorous – in Hugo you have a complex character who, while fictional, is very real to you. And the writing, the wonderful, wonderful writing! This novel is worthy of all its praise, it’s brilliant, emotional, memorable, a captivating read from the first page to the last!

I truly didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I did!

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

Book Description:

Published: April 25, 2017

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

‘How long have you been sitting out here?’
‘I got here yesterday.’
‘Where did you come from?’
‘I have no idea.’

East Yorkshire: Single mum Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement she invites him in to her home.

Surrey: Twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Two women, twenty years of secrets and a man who can’t remember lie at the heart of Lisa Jewell’s brilliant new novel.

Review –

“Single mother Alice offers a stranger sitting on the beach in the rain a windbreaker, and, upon learning he has no recollection of who he is or how he got there, she invites him to stay in her guesthouse. Her children give him the name Frank, and Alice works to help him regain his memory and learn how he ended up in the north of England. Near London, Lily, a young wife from the Ukraine who has been living in England with her new husband, panics when he fails to return home. After the local police inform Lily his passport is fake, she begins to search for him to determine whom she married and why he suddenly abandoned her. These two stories set in present-day Britain are interwoven with a third story set in 1993 of a family’s annual vacation to the beach, which takes a troubling and ominous turn after the 15-year-old daughter, Kirsty, begins dating a local 19-year-old guy, Mark. As Jewell’s (The Girls in the Garden, 2016, etc.) novel progresses, the tensions in each story heighten as the characters must confront questions of whether we ever truly know other people or if we always keep part of ourselves hidden away. While these are not new questions, Jewell’s page-turner approaches them in a riveting manner. Its numerous twists avoid predictability, and the novel is well-paced as it weaves the three narratives together. Toward the end of the novel, as Alice, Frank, and Lily meet and begin to learn who has brought them together, the plot moves a bit too quickly for a full explanation of everyone’s identity and motivations. Yet even these too-short character back stories serve to circle back and reinforce the novel’s central question: how much does knowing a person in the present count for?

Dark and moody, this is a mystery with substance.” Kirkus Reviews

Definitely 5 stars!!!

Twist Me (The Complete Series) by Anna Zaires

Book Description:

Published:

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 2

“Will you ever let me go?”
“No, Nora,” he replies, and I can feel his smile in the darkness. “Never.”

On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Nora Leston meets Julian Esguerra, and her life changes forever. Stolen away to a private island, she finds herself at the mercy of a powerful, dangerous man whose touch makes her burn.

A man whose obsession with her knows no bounds.

Her enigmatic captor is as cruel as he is beautiful, yet it’s his tenderness that devastates her most. Drawn into his violent world, Nora must find a way to adapt and survive—and find light within the darkness.

Review –

Basically, here is what the book is about:

He sees her, he kidnaps her and he takes her to his deserted island. She’s under lock and key, but treated wonderfully (despite being held against her will). She has a female guardian (that cooks for her and keeps her company), while he’s away on “business”.  He doesn’t want to hurt her, but if she doesn’t obey, he’s got her ways of bringing her back in line,(which he intimidates her with many times).

But why her? Why would somebody like him (gorgeous, rich and seemingly in control) need to kidnap her? And who is he, exactly and what does he do for a living?

 There are some twists and turns, and a definite Stockholm syndrome/angsty love angle going on, but who knows where it will lead when all things are revealed. Sometimes these dark-reads don’t have your traditional HEA, you know

That being said, it  lacked that “extra dark mile” and it’s definitely on the lighter side of “dark” in comparison to some of the thrilling nightmares I’ve read in the past.

The series was a big disappointment for me and the female narrator was BAD and the author gave the female protagonist the backbone of a wet noodle. Don’t waste your time!

A Dark Lure (Dark Lure#1) by Loreth Anne White

Book Description:

Published: July 1, 2015

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

Twelve years ago, Sarah Baker was abducted by the Watt Lake Killer and sexually assaulted for months before managing to escape. The killer was caught, but Sarah lost everything: her marriage, her child, and the life she loved.

Struggling with PTSD, Sarah changes her name to Olivia West and finds sanctuary working on Broken Bar Ranch. But as her scars finally begin to heal, a cop involved with her horrific case remains convinced the Watt Lake Killer is still out there. He sets a lure for the murderer, and a fresh body is discovered. Now Olivia must face the impossible—could the butcher be back, this time to finish the job?

As a frigid winter isolates the ranch, only one person can help Olivia: Cole McDonough, a writer, adventurer, and ranch heir who stirs long-dormant feelings in her. But this time, Olivia’s determination to shut out her past may destroy more than her chance at love. It could cost her her life.

Review –

First, be aware that there may be triggers so some. Included in the book are kidnapping,rape,torture of women,multilation, biting, etc.

Wow, what a ride! This was probably the most suspenseful novel I’ve read in the last few months.

Basically, it’s a story about survival: Olivia West, sole survivor of the “Watt Lake Killer” who died in prison, works anonymously on Broken Bar Ranch as its manager when a body is discovered. The victim’s remains have been put on display in the same way the dead killer used to do and weird things – coincidences? – begin to happen on Broken Bar Ranch.

A cop who worked on the side-lines of the original Watt Lake case – now dying from cancer – never believed the real killer had been apprehended and, thus, he’s out with his young daughter, Tori, to catch the right guy this time…

It’s hard to find fault with a book that’s as engaging and exciting as this one. Of course, it’s not high literature but it’s nearly perfect for what it is. Frequent switches of perspectives and places take place but I always knew exactly what was going on which is a big plus for me. The backstory of the Watt Lake killer is told by means of a book written by Tori’s late mother and makes for chilling interludes.

The world was natural, beautiful and rugged. The details were lush in description (the Canadian Northwest). Many of the characters and certainly the main characters were all grappling with their pasts, not always sure they wanted the future. Character growth and strength provide the base for a great story.

I loved the personal growth and how hard they fought for life. There were various twists of things, and a few I guessed.  What a pace of terrifying events with the weather to complicate matters. there was the ultimate battle for survival.

I highly recommend this heart-breaking, smart and uplifting tale!

 

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Book Description:

Published: August 6, 2019

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, The Turn of the Key is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

Review –

This book is equal parts old-school gothic suspense and modern psychological thriller,The Turn of the Key seamlessly blends an homage to Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw with a page-turning story of surveillance, paranoia, and domestic drama.

It follows  a young woman who accepts position as a nanny at a state-of-the-art smart house in the Scottish Highlands, only to wind up imprisoned for the death of one of the children in her care, this book is one of the most binge-worthy, genuinely addictive suspense novels you will read during this quarantine event.

From the outset, readers know that things won’t end well for Rowan (the nanny)… in fact, they will end so badly that Rowan will ultimately find herself in a jail cell, awaiting trial for the death of a child under her care. But how did things go from so idyllic to so disastrous?

It takes a special story to hold a reader’s attention when the outcome is known from the outset, and that’s exactly the kind of story Ruth Ware crafts in The Turn of the Key. Readers will be spellbound  by Rowan’s experience settling in to her new life at Heatherbrae House; the beauty of the Highlands, the apparent generosity of Rowan’s new employers, the incredible amenities found within Rowan’s new home–the author paints a picture of a true dream scenario for her protagonist. But as time goes by, tensions and suspicion begins to build. The children in Rowan’s care prove to be more difficult than anticipated, and her new employers leave home for weeks on end, leaving Rowan to fend for herself. As bizarre and inexplicable occurrences begin to take place in the home, Rowan launches an informal investigation into the home’s history–and what she learns will hint at a sinister past and potential evil lurking in the home to this day. And that technology that made the home so appealing? It means that Rowan’s every move is being monitored, or is it?

As previously stated, readers know that Rowan has been arrested in conjunction with the tragic death of a child under her care. The Turn of the Key then, finds Rowan telling her side of the story – what really happened, and who she believes is actually responsible for this tragedy. You know those crime novels that you end up loving the most when you go into them knowing very little about the story’s plot? This book  is one of them. The less you know here, the better – just sit back and let the authors’ brilliant plotting sweep you up in a story of a building’s dark history and its modern-day consequences. There are so many twists and turns, and when the ending comes your mouth can’t help but fall open!!!!!

Fantastic read!

The Day She Cried by K. Webster

Book Description:

Published: October 17, 2017  

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

She was my first love.
She was my first hate.
The very sun in my world tried to burn me alive with her lies and cruelty.
Until I dimmed her light for good…
Or so I thought.

Now she’s back.
Cracked. Broken. Lost.
And for the first time in a long time, I feel free.
Free from our past. Free from my present that suffocates me. Free to destroy her future.

Her misery is my music.
Thrilling. Invigorating. Intoxicating.

For so long, all I’ve done is hate her.
So why do I love her?

Review –

I’m just going to get straight to the point. This story was raw, tragic, get-wrenching, beautiful, sad and so damn good! It deals with heavy things, love, loss, grief, hate, and the ugliness of how people can be. And it was also hot as hell!

The Day She Cried, told from dual points of view, is a dark romance about two lost, lonely and broken souls dealing with mistakes, abuse, revenge, secrets, loss, forgiveness and redemption. It deals with sensitive subjects like cyber-bullying, cutting and suicide. Both heart-wrenching and heart-warming, a story to stay with you.

It makes you stop and think about things and life, or how you treat people. If I could tell you more I would, but I don’t do spoilers and I truly believe people need to go into this book blindly.

Excellent read.

 

The Tenant by Katrine Engberg

Book Description:

Published: January 14,2020

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 3

When a young woman is discovered brutally murdered in her own apartment, with an intricate pattern of lines carved into her face, Copenhagen police detectives Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner are assigned to the case. In short order, they establish a link between the victim, Julie Stender, and her landlady, Esther de Laurenti, who’s a bit too fond of drink and the host of raucous dinner parties with her artist friends. Esther also turns out to be a budding novelist—and when Julie turns up as a murder victim in the still-unfinished mystery she’s writing, the link between fiction and real life grows both more urgent and more dangerous.

But Esther’s role in this twisted scenario is not quite as clear as it first seems. Is she the culprit—or just another victim, trapped in a twisted game of vengeance? Anette and Jeppe must dig more deeply into the two women’s pasts to discover the identity of the brutal puppet-master pulling the strings in this electrifying literary thriller.

Review –

“A vicious killer follows a writer’s murderous manuscript to the letter in Danish author Engberg’s U.S. debut.

It’s only been about a year since University of Copenhagen professor Esther de Laurenti retired, and she’s been writing a novel, something she’s always dreamed of. When Esther’s tenant, 21-year-old Julie Stender, is murdered, Esther is shocked.

Heading up the investigation is Copenhagen detectives Jeppe Kørner and his partner of eight years, Anette Werner, and it’s proving to be a doozy. The murder was particularly heinous: The killer stabbed Julie and carved strange designs into her face and, frustratingly, seems to have been very careful not to leave any physical evidence at the scene. Of course, as investigators start digging into Julie’s life, they discover some suitably shady secrets in her past, and it’s suggested that one of her boyfriends might have felt scorned enough to resort to murder. Perhaps it was her new boyfriend, who is supposedly a much older, sophisticated man. Too bad nobody knows who he is.

When Esther reveals that the details of the murder closely mirror her work in progress, it opens a whole new avenue of investigation, and when Esther attempts to draw the killer out, it puts her firmly in the crosshairs. Engberg’s background as a former dancer and choreographer gives a boost to her considerable flair for the dramatic (keep an eye out for a theatrically staged murder at the Royal Danish Theater) and highlights a strong focus on Copenhagen’s creative community; even Jeppe wanted to be a musician before he became a cop. His fairly recent divorce almost ruined him, and Anette’s upbeat and pragmatic style is no small annoyance to her moody partner, which is played for light comic effect (as is Jeppe’s reawakening libido), leavening the heavier subject matter. Overly familiar plot elements keep this from being a standout, and some twists require a significant suspension of disbelief, but Engberg’s fast-paced narrative is bolstered by an interesting and quirky cast as well as an intriguing setting.

A bit over-the-top but still a lot of fun.” Kirkus Reviews

It was okay but I don’t think I’ll read others in the series.

 

When You Disappeared by John Marrs

Book Description:

Published: July 13, 2017

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 5

When Catherine wakes up alone one morning, she thinks her husband has gone for a run before work. But Simon never makes it to the office. His running shoes are by the front door. Nothing is missing – except him.

Catherine knows Simon must be in trouble. He wouldn’t just leave her. He wouldn’t leave the children.

But Simon knows the truth – about why he left and what he’s done. He knows things about his marriage that it would kill Catherine to find out. The memories she holds onto are lies.

While Catherine faces a dark new reality at home, Simon’s halfway around the world, alive and thriving. He’s doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the truth.

But he can’t hide forever, and when he reappears twenty-five years later, Catherine will finally learn who he is.

And wish she’d stayed in the dark.

Review –

The very description of this book intrigued me, what would I do in the position of the main character Catherine?  How does she go on?  What thoughts are running through her mind when she discovers her husband has gone and never returns?  Also, and why does Simon to do this?  So much about this book just screamed “READ ME”.

The book opens on the day that Simon walks out of his life and you see the impact this has on his friends and family, watching the ground beneath their feet crumble and their lives are inexplicably changed.  But we also experience the life that Simon goes on to lead in the twenty-five years he spends estranged from his family before returning “home”, and allowing Catherine to find out who he really is and his reasons for leaving like he did.

From the onset, my heart went out to Catherine.  How awful it must have been for her to try and hold things together for the sake of her children while wanting to curl up and stop living.  Her marriage had some issues, and life wasn’t always easy with small children around but she thought that things were stable, that life was ok ay and that she and Simon were okay.  Not knowing that all the while that Simon had an ulterior motive, that he was planning to walk out on them all and not look back and leave them to try and pick up the pieces and get on with life.  From that moment I didn’t like Simon, I couldn’t help but feel a hatred towards him, yes I admit, I hadn’t read all of his story yet to find out what was driving his decisions but part of me didn’t want to find out.Part of me wanted to stop there and then, but of course I listened on. It’s always a good sign if an author can evoke such strong emotions from their readers with the characterization in their books and I have to admit that John Marrs has done that with When You Disappeared, he seems to have found a formula in his writing that makes readers hate characters but at the same time feel that they aren’t 100% sure of their gut instinct, keeping them questioning whether there may be an underlying story that might just save a character…….

Narrated from alternating perspectives, readers experience the lives of both Simon and Catherine, seeing how their lives have progressed in the intervening twenty-five years, leading up to the moment that they meet again.  I did feel that it pulled at my attention somewhat, the jumping back and forth between the two main characters did feel a little disjointed but it did add to the overall suspense and intrigue so kept me on my toes.  The pace felt that it matched the plot well, not an adrenaline packed, fast paced read, but more a slow build to increase the tension levels and keep readers wondering what might happen.

Why did Simon leave ? How did Simon and Catherine change as individuals? Did they find love again?  Were they successful and happy or did grief and hatred turn their lives into something even they wouldn’t believe possible?  To find out, you will have to read the book. 

Fantastic Five Star Read!!!!!

This book was previously published as The Wronged Sons.

Tell Me Lies by J.P. Pomare

Book Description:

Published: March 5, 2020

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Margot’s clients all lie to her, but one lie could cost her family and freedom.

Psychologist Margot Scott has a picture-perfect life: a nice house in the suburbs, a husband, two children, and a successful career. On a warm spring morning, Margot spots one of her clients on a busy train platform. He is looking down at his phone, with his duffel bag in hand as the train approaches. That’s when she slams into his back and he falls in front of the train. Suddenly, one tragedy leads to another leaving her, her family, and her patients in danger. As misfortune unfolds, listeners will soon question Margot’s true role in all of these unfortunate events.

Tell Me Lies is a fast-paced, psychological, whodunit mystery that will leave listeners wondering if anyone can actually be trusted.

Review –

This was offered free on Audible and is an Audible Original. What is an Audible Original you may ask, it’s a story that is written with the listener in mind. The story goes from thoughts in a persons head to words on a page to to words being narrated to a listener.It is never printed as a book.

This psychological thriller takes place in Australia in the home and office of psychologist Margot Scott. When her family falls victim to an arsonist, she suspects one of her clients. I won’t give any of this story away, but It will grab you by the throat from the beginning and never let go and you won’t believe the ending!

I highly recommend.