REVIEW – Behind Closed Doors by B.A Paris

26050845

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
Published: August 9, 2016 by St. Martin’s Press

5 Stars!!

As soon as I read the description for this novel, I knew it was one that I had to read.

“The perfect marriage or the perfect lie?”

The story alternates between the present and past and is told from Grace’s point of view. The past only a few months before Grace and Jack get married.

The book opens in the present. Husband-and-wife, Jack and Grace Angel are hosting a dinner for two other couples. One couple are old friends of Jack’s and another couple is new to the area. Everyone marvels over dinner and the house. When talk turns to Jack’s job as a lawyer, everyone congratulates him on his most recent conviction.

 

Jack champions battered wives and has never lost a case.

“I have nothing but contempt for men who are found to be violent towards their wives”, Jack says firmly. “They deserve everything they get.”

But of course things aren’t always what they seem. As the title suggests, we do not know what goes on behind closed doors. Is Grace Angel an example of a woman who has it all? A perfect house, a perfect husband, the perfect life?

Grace serves an extravagant meal and her and Jack are wonderful hosts. Grace makes sure that everything goes flawlessly. The food is wonderful, she asks all the right questions and answers all questions perfectly.

We learn more about how the couple got together. They met about 6 months before at a park Grace frequently attended with her 17-year-old sister, Millie.  It was one of their favorite places as Millie loves music and there was often a band playing. Millie was enjoying the music and started dancing. After a few minutes though her dancing seemed to annoy a few people. Grace was just about to ask Millie to stop when Jack appeared out of nowhere, dancing with Millie and charming everyone watching, including Grace.

Millie has Down’s syndrome and can be very spontaneous. When Jack comes to her rescue, people stop staring and start to clap.  It was a very special and heartwarming moment. Both Grace and Millie fall in love with Jack almost immediately.

At first Grace was hesitant to get involved in a relationship with Jack. Millie boards at a school where she is well taken care of. Unfortunately, when she turns 18 she’s no longer eligible to remain living there. Grace’s parents want to find alternate living accommodations for Millie as they want to be free to travel. Grace does not want that and has promised to take care of Millie herself.  When Jack proposes he says he understands that Grace and Millie are a package deal. He proclaims to love Millie and is happy to help take care of her with Grace.  But when talk turns to Millie coming to live with them, Grace seems more nervous than excited.

Jack really seems like the perfect man. Not just handsome and charming but loving and caring.

On the day of their wedding Millie has an accident and must go to the hospital. Grace is frantic and considers putting off the wedding but Jack convinces her that while Millie won’t be able to attend the wedding, she is otherwise just fine. Jack and Grace go ahead with the wedding. After that they are off to Thailand for their honeymoon.

And the nightmare begins…

I may have said it before about other books, but this really took hold of me. If I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it, or talking about it. One of my best friends and my mom let me go on and on as I got further into the book. Neither of them were going to read the book but they ended up being quite interested in the story once I started telling them about it. My mom would even phone to ask me what had happened next.

The book covers some very difficult topics and I understand that this book may not be for everyone. Some parts are hard to read. However, I feel the author did a good job of telling the story in a chilling way, but without going overboard with graphic descriptions. It’s hard to explain but it was still just as terrifying and kept me on the edge of my seat.

“Fear is the best deterrent of all”

This is a fantastic psychological thriller, complete with a monster so sadistic. I had no idea what was going to happen next. Every time I put the book down I tried to figure out how this horrific monster would possibly be defeated. Going over and over different scenarios in my head.

The characters were very well-developed. I absolutely loved Grace’s sister, Millie. She stole my heart. Although I questioned some of Grace’s decisions, it felt like one of those situations where you couldn’t possibly know how you would react unless it was happening to you.

There may be some things that may not seem completely realistic or believable but I didn’t care. I’ve read things and seen things on the news that seemed like they could not possibly be real. Yet they were. I tried not to analyze everything to decide if it could realistically happen that way. I just went with it and enjoyed the ride.

“Behind Closed Doors” was a thrilling read with many twists and turns that left me reeling. A thoroughly engrossing novel that I won’t soon forget.

I can’t wait for more from B.A Paris.

 

 

REVIEW – Humber Boy B (Cate Austin #3) by Ruth Dugdall

23332827

Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall
Published April 1, 2015 by Legend Press

4.5 stars!!

Whoa….

This book was incredible.

I was hooked right from the start of this book. I really just wanted to sit and read it straight through. Real life got in the way but, I was reading it every moment I could.  Gripping and extremely emotional…

The day starts with three boys running around town misbehaving but having fun. The day ends tragically with the death of 10-year-old, Noah. Two brothers are charged with his murder. Fourteen-year-old Adam gets a sentence of four years. However, his younger brother ten-year-old “Ben” is ultimately blamed and charged with Noah’s murder. He serves an eight year sentence.

Ben is now 18 years old and is being released. This causes an uproar in the community. Because of worries of retaliation, Ben is put into hiding. But there are people who want to know where he is and who knows what will happen if they find him. His probation officer ,Cate Austin and other team members are put in charge of keeping Ben safe.

It seemed as though Humber boy B or “Ben” had little chance for a decent life right from the start. His mother was a selfish drunk who cared little for Ben or his older brother Adam. To his stepfather Stuart, he was just a bad reminder. Food was scarce and what little money they did have was usually spent on more booze. Ben was a boy who never once had someone read him a bedtime story.

10-year-old Noah had a life very different from Ben and Adam. He had a mother and father that loved him. He never had to worry about where his next meal was coming from and his mom likely read him a bedtime story every night.

I was a bit confused as to why Noah’s mother Jessica, would allow Ben and Adam’s mother Yvette to watch Noah for the day, as Yvette was obviously an inattentive mother. It just seemed odd that she wouldn’t check on things, and drop Noah off herself. However, Yvette’s drinking problem could’ve been very well hidden and Jessica may not have been aware of the dysfunction in that home.

Jessica’s anger was understandable as well as how it was primarily focused on Ben. Although I was curious as to why she wasn’t a bit angrier at some of the other people involved. You could feel how devastated Jessica was. The author really showed how hard it would be for a mother to cope with such a tragedy. No matter how many years go by a mother will always mourn the loss of her child. It consumed Jessica. Understandably she could not accept the fact that Ben could be free while her son was gone forever.

Jessica’s use of social media and especially Facebook was interesting. I thought of how things would have been different if Facebook was not available, if she wasn’t able to share her thoughts would others have become involved? She indicated that she was not condoning violence, but we can see how differently people can interpret things posted on social media. I had my opinions on who “Silent Friend” was but in the end I was quite surprised.

My feelings for Ben fluctuated. I felt compassion for him but there were also times I was enraged. Feeling that he paid his debt to society with the eight years he spent locked up, but at the same time is there any amount of time that could make up for what he had done? These emotions were strong. So if I, as a reader was feeling this way I can only imagine what a mother would feel if this had happened to her son.

I really liked Ben’s probation officer, Cate and I liked the additional story-line about her life which gave better insight to why she was so good at her job. I didn’t care very much for Oliver at first but he grew on me. This is the third book in the series with Cate, although but all books can be easily read as stand-alones.

The story was very well-written and held my interest throughout the entire book. The plot flowed easily back-and-forth between “The day of” and “Now”. There were quite a few characters but for the most part, I was able to keep them all straight. The story was compelling and thought-provoking.  I read quickly as I was anxious to know what exactly happened that day. “Humber Boy B” is the kind of book that could easily be read in one or two sittings. A powerful story that will likely stay with me for a long time.

Highly recommended!!!

View all my reviews

Throwback Thursday – White Oleander by Janet Fitch

throwbackthursday

Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk to share old favorite books rather than just the new shiny ones. This is a great idea to bring back to life some much-loved books. Please feel free to join in.

My choice for this week is: White Oleander by Janet Fitch

7941810

Published June 26th 1999 by Little Brown and Company

Goodreads description:

Everywhere hailed as a novel of rare beauty and power, White Oleander tells the unforgettable story of Ingrid, a brilliant poet imprisoned for murder, and her daughter, Astrid, whose odyssey through a series of Los Angeles foster homes–each its own universe, with its own laws, its own dangers, its own hard lessons to be learned–becomes a redeeming and surprising journey of self-discovery.

 

“White Oleander” came up in a couple of different conversations this week. I’m taking that as a sign that I should re-read it. I read this novel in 1999, shortly after it came out, and from what I recall I really enjoyed it. I also watched the movie years ago and thought it was pretty good.  I want to see how I feel about it 18 years later now that I have a teenager of my own (how did THAT happen?!).  I’m really hoping to re-read it soon!

 

 

REVIEW – The Other Girl by Erica Spindler

31450532The Other Girl by Erica Spindler
Publication date : August 22, 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

4.5 Stars!!

I’ve read quite a few books by Erica Spindler over the years and have really enjoyed them. I thought that “The Other Girl” sounded like it would be another entertaining read. I was right.

Officer Miranda (Randi) Rader is a good cop. She is honest and reliable and she is able to keep her cool in extremely tense situations. This wasn’t always the case for Miranda. She was once the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, running wild. After an extremely traumatic experience when she was a teenager, things changed. Miranda was able to put it all behind her, get her life on track. She’s now thriving, working for the Hammond Police Department in Louisiana. But sometimes the past has a way of creeping up on you when you least expect it.

A college professor, Richard Stark has been brutally murdered. The professor’s father happens to be the president of the same college, and he’s putting a lot pressure on the police force to find out who killed his son. Right from the initial investigation, Miranda feels like something is amiss. The attack on the professor was particularly vicious, creating quite a gruesome scene. At first they assume it to be a crime of passion, but Miranda isn’t entirely sure.

Miranda and her partner, Jake continue investigating. She’s still feeling a bit uneasy, but that’s nothing compared to the feeling she gets when she comes across a newspaper clipping directly related to the things that happened to her when she was a teenager. With that things start to unravel very quickly.

On top of the scene and the newspaper clipping sending her back in time emotionally, there is also other evidence that points to Miranda, making her a prime suspect. She is taken off the case. But just when she thinks things can’t possibly get any worse….they do.

Is someone setting her up? But who? and why? Could this be connected to what happened all those years before? Everything is not as it seems and not everyone is who they claim to be. Miranda’s not sure who she can trust. Will she be able to pick herself up again and prove her innocence? Even if it means she might have to do it on her own?

Erica Spindler does a great job of developing her characters. I loved Miranda. She’s a fantastic well-developed character that you can’t help but root for. Additionally, there are many great supporting characters. Love them or hate them, I found them all intriguing. The story flows easily between the present and flashbacks that show what exactly happened to Miranda all those years ago. There were some good twists and even though I figured out a few things, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. I was still intrigued and invested in this story and had to see what was going to happen next.

Suspenseful and entertaining, “The Other Girl” had me flipping pages quickly. I was anxious to see how things were going to play out and I really liked how it all came together in the end. If you’re looking for a fast-paced and engrossing read, I highly recommend this novel.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

 

View all my reviews