REVIEW: Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Pieces of Her

Published: August 21, 2018 by William Morrow

 

Can you ever truly escape your past?

Andrea Cooper and her mother, Laura are having lunch and celebrating Andrea’s thirty-first birthday at the Rise n’Dine restaurant at the mall of Belle Isle.

Just as they are about to finish up their lunch…

Suddenly it feels like the world explodes.

People are screaming and crying, trying to take cover. Andrea’s mother tackles her to the ground.  What happens next shocks Andrea to her core. When it’s over, Andrea tries to make sense of what happened. Laura Oliver is a quiet middle-aged speech pathologist. She’s been a great mother to Andrea. She’s not the type of person who keeps secrets.

But it turns out Andrea may not have known her mother at all.

Why is her mother telling her not to speak to the police? She wants her to claim she can’t remember what happened. “Promise me, don’t talk to the police”. Then on top of everything else, her mother wants her to move out. She wants her to leave that same night. She says she needs space. Andrea is confused. Why is her mother acting so angry and cold towards her? Andrea wonders what she did wrong. But as she’s packing up to leave that evening something else happens that changes everything….and sends Andrea spiraling in a whole new direction.

As she tries to figure out just who her mother really is, Andrea learns more about herself as well. But is she strong enough for what’s ahead?

Will Andrea be able to save her mother? And herself?

Karin Slaughter excels at storytelling. Her novels are known for their heart-pounding intensity, twists and turns, and well-developed characters. This was an exciting and intense read that had me gripped, wondering what was going to happen next.

The majority of the story alternates between Andrea’s mother’s point of view in the past and Andrea’s point of view in the present. I liked the length of the chapters and found it easy to follow the alternating viewpoints.

“Pieces of Her” was a well-paced intriguing read with some very startling and unexpected twists. As usual, the author has written an exciting story loaded with suspense and fascinating characters. 

I am a proud member of the “Slaughter Squad” and I can’t wait to read what the author writes next.

 

I’d like to thank William Morrow for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
 

 

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REVIEW: Our House by Louise Candlish

Our House

Expected publication: August 7th 2018 by Berkley

 

Can you imagine coming home one day to find strangers moving their belongings into YOUR home? Unpacking and putting things away while you stand there in shock? Well, that’s exactly what has happened to Fiona Lawson in “Our House”.

The book starts off right at the heart of it. Our female protagonist, forty-two-year-old, Fiona Lawson is heading down her street and sees what looks like someone carrying items into her house. She thinks that she must be seeing things. But she’s not…two moving men are clearly walking down HER path, taking things into HER house.

She sees a woman who she thinks must be a friend of her estranged husband, Bram. But when she speaks to this woman she’s in no way prepared for what she hears.

“We’re just moving in. My husband will be here soon with the second van.”

She’s also not prepared for what she sees inside the house. ALL of their things are gone. The house is empty…well except for the stranger’s things being moved in.

“I’m telling you – you must have made a mistake. I’m telling you it’s not possible for you to have bought a house that was never for sale.”

Prior to this, Fiona and her soon to be ex-husband, Bram have been sharing custody of their boys, as well as their house at 91 Trinity Avenue.  Whoever’s turn it is to be with the children stays in the house with them while the other parent stays somewhere else.  It’s a fairly new and unique way of doing things. It’s called “Bird’s nest custody”.

But right now Fiona has no idea what’s going on. Plus she can’t find Bram. She calls him but his phone is out of service. It’s like he’s fallen off the face of the earth. At that moment, she realizes her house is the least of her worries. Where is Bram? Where are her children?

 “And in that instant, her waking nightmare becomes something so terrifying it has no name.”

This was such an interesting and unique read. I really enjoyed how the story was told with alternating perspectives. I also enjoyed the social media aspect. “The Victim” is a podcast where Fiona tells her story. Interspersed throughout the novel are comments from listeners of the podcast as well as excerpts from a word document that help to give readers another point of view.

“This was how human disaster worked: you began by trying to conceal a mistake and you finished up here, the perpetrator of a hundred further mistakes.”

Though I did figure out a couple of things ahead of time, I was still completely in the grip of this intriguing story. An interesting plot, some great characters, along with a few great twists made this a very enjoyable read. I also really liked how everything came together in the end.

In my opinion, “Our House” was a  well-written, intriguing domestic suspense novel that has me excited to see what Louise Candlish writes next!

I’d like to thank Berkley for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

REVIEW – An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

An Anonymous Girl

Expected publication: January 8th 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

 

I really enjoyed Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s previous novel “The Wife Between Us”. So as soon as I saw the cover for this novel and read the synopsis, I knew I just had to read it.

I devoured this novel in just a few hours, ignoring everything and everyone as I read.

The book opens as twenty-eight-year-old makeup artist; Jessica Farris is heading to her last appointment of the day. She travels to her clients instead of them coming to her. Even though she doesn’t always know who will answer the door, Jessica doesn’t fear strangers. She’s learned that “more harm can come from familiar faces”.

Jessica enjoys what she does. Her appointment is with two young women who are going out to a club that evening. As she applies their makeup, she loses herself in her work, barely hearing the women chatting to each other. But then she overhears a voicemail message one of the women plays…

“This is Ben Quick, Dr. Shields’s assistant. I’m confirming your appointments this weekend, for tomorrow and Sunday from eight to ten a.m. The location again is Hunter Hall, Room 214. I’ll meet you in the lobby and take you up.”

Jessica doesn’t know that this message will change her life completely.

A psych professor needs subjects for a study on morality and ethics. Applicants will be paid to answer questions. Jessica could really use the money. So when she hears that her client likely won’t be attending, she decides to go in her place…

She’s accepted into the study and will be bound by a confidentiality agreement. Jessica is told there are no right or wrong answers, she just needs to be completely open and honest. The questions are personal and may trigger very emotional responses….

“Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?”

But Jessica surprises herself and the doctor when she doesn’t shy away from the questions. When the sessions are complete, the doctor asks if Jessica would consider expanding her participation in the study. It would mean more would be asked of her…. SIGNIFICANTLY MORE. It would also mean more money.

Jessica really opens up to the doctor. She talks about the pressure she’s under and the secret she’s kept for so many years. “Guilt is always the heaviest thing I carry”. With Dr. Shields, she’s able to reveal things she’s never talked about before.

But as the project expands, Jessica starts to wonder what the doctor is doing with all of the information collected. What will the doctor do with Jessica’s innermost thoughts? Her confessions? Her mistakes? Then the assignments take a strange and unexpected turn. Is she just being paranoid or is something sinister going on?

An Anonymous Girl” was a thought-provoking and phenomenal read. It pulled me in from the beginning and wouldn’t let go. The chapters are a nice length and alternate between Jessica and the doctor’s point of view.

In my opinion, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen knocked this one out of the park. This was a fascinating psychological suspense novel with a great storyline, excellent characters, and twists and turns that kept me flipping pages at a rapid pace.

A wonderfully dark and suspenseful novel about love, anger, betrayal, morality, and obsession.

I’d like to thank St. Martin’s books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

REVIEW – Believe Me by J.P. Delaney

Believe Me

Expected publication:  July 24, 2018 by Ballantine Books

I enjoyed this author’s previous novel “The Girl Before” and was really looking forward to reading this one too. “Believe Me” was previously published in 2001 under the title “The Decoy”. The author states that:

“although built around the same idea as the earlier one, and containing some of the same scenes, is completely different in plot, characterization, and structure.”

Claire Wright a 25-year-old British woman with dreams of becoming an actress is struggling to make it in America. Because she doesn’t have a green card her options for work are limited. She NEEDS to make it in the U.S. She can’t go back to work in London….not after what happened there.

America is her second chance.

She has a scholarship for an Actors Studio course, but it only pays tuition, not living expenses. She is allowed to work on campus but those jobs are few and far between. In other words, she’s broke.

Claire will do anything to keep acting…

Then she gets an opportunity to work for a divorce attorney. It’s easy money and the work is easy too. She is hired to entrap cheating husbands…though she prefers to think of it as “behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances”. Her ability to act, to become someone else came from how she grew up. Most of the time she feels like the husbands have it coming. Although sometimes she feels a little disgusted by what she does.

When her next “job” doesn’t turn out as planned, EVERYTHING changes and things take a very dark turn. Claire is resilient and cunning, but can she do what she needs to finish this assignment?

What happens when even you don’t know who you are anymore?

I thought this was a really engrossing read and I had a hard time putting it down. The characters won’t win any awards for Miss/Mr. Congeniality, but I was intrigued by them. Usually, it bothers me if I can’t connect with characters, but it didn’t irritate me as much as it normally would. In fact, I liked not knowing who I could trust.

I didn’t care much for the erotic poetry (which may be because I didn’t understand it). However, I still enjoyed the rest of the story, and I have to admit, I did end up Googling to find out more about “Les Fleurs du Mal” by Charles Baudelaire.

Overall, I found this to be quite an entertaining psychological thriller. The story had some great twists and turns, leading up to an intense and gripping ending that I never saw coming!

I’d like to thank Ballantine Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review