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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-01-18

Brilliant- really good!

Bad Mommy is an immensely entertaining yet genuinely creepy tale of personality disorders gone wild. Fig Coxbury wants what Jolene Avery has- a handsome psychologist husband, a beautiful little daughter and stylish friends. Fig sets her sights on the family, moving next door and inserting herself as a fixture into the family, all the while planning her takeover. Husband Darius is not all that he appears. Jolene now has her hands full. Told from these three points of view, this novel kicks into high gear from the start and doesn’t let up. Fascinating, haunting, scary and a little too easy to picture happening in real life, which makes it all the more interesting. Highly recommended!

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42 of 43 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-21-18

Eery, vividly atmospheric; haunted

Secrets and Lies is the second novel I’ve read by Lynda Renham, and having enjoyed the first one (Remember Me) I was no less impressed and enthralled by this one. We are introduced to Flora McIntosh, married to Adam, a upstarter in politics whose ambition doesn’t seem so driven so as to overshadow the fact that the only thing Flora wants is a baby. Will a new home in the country signal the new beginning they need to start their family?
They move to Hunters Moon in a tiny, inclusive and mysterious village full of dubious and unsettling townspeople who seem to have many secrets. Flora becomes obsessed with finding out the history of Hunters Moon- meant to be the couple’s dream house, Flora soon finds that her new home, including the village, is starting to feel like a surreal nightmare.
What I liked about this novel was the slow-burn feeling of adding layers to a mystery in true literary form, while the anticipation and tension build toward a series of climactic reveals. This wasn’t a thrill-a-minute ride. Rather, the plot was enjoyable in its sense of expectation shrouded in this atmosphere of uncertainty, almost a darkness, in a town in the season where fog hangs low late into the morning and a light rain falls while Flora walks through the cemetery, and a chill runs through the hall when she wakes to hear tapping at the cellar door.
Nothing more need be given away about Secrets and Lies. Lose yourself in the drama and suspense of the loopy, fey characters, the dark halls of Hunters Moon, and the sense of time weaving uncertain tales. Recommended.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-25-18

I don’t speak teenager

I think Tamsin Kennard is a really good narrator, but I couldn’t get past the teenage inflections, millennial-isms and otherwise maybe too authentic voice of Rosie. The plot seemed to go nowhere fast. I needed more to happen sooner. I couldn’t connect with the characters. This book was only so-so for me. I wouldn’t choose it again.

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10 of 11 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-25-18

Good psychological suspense

I enjoyed this novel and found the characters to be interesting and the plot riveting. The story is told in a somewhat disjointed way that jumps back and forward in time- not just from present to past, but also within chapters, where something is mentioned and then expanded on in a later chapter, so the reader will find it important to pay close attention to what is said in order not to miss important plot points. The narration was good. The suspense built up in a way that made me want to keep listening to the very end. Overall, a well-done suspense novel that focuses on character development and plot, rather than police procedural. Recommended.

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16 of 17 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-21-18

Smart, savvy suspense

The Silent Girls by Dylan Young is a very, very good audiobook. The intricately woven plot provides an excellent and suspenseful crime thriller that keeps its edge until the last pages. I connected with the main characters on our protagonist team, tasked with cleaning up an old cold-case mystery while monitoring a new one that appears connected to stave off mistakes made in the earlier case that sent an apparently innocent man to prison- or is he innocent?
This is one of those rare books that grabbed me from the first chapter and had me riveted. It is smart, savvy and extremely well-written, with keen attention to detail and a grittiness typically seen only in the most admirable suspense thrillers. This is one to admire and one to pick up right away, in my opinion. Tamsin Kennard’s narration was a pleasure to listen to, and this American listener thought her accents were ace. An easy five stars for The Silent Girls.

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-06-17

Imaginings and Truths - Two Worlds Collide

This dramatic thriller deals deftly in the real and the surreal, and the inscrutability of the interchange between an author's life versus her imaginings as a writer.

Under editorial pressure to produce a long-overdue second bestseller, Liza takes to her laptop to write what she hopes will be an explosive romantic suspense hit. We hear alternating POVs between Liza in real life, and Liza's character, Beth, as she develops on the page in 'real-time.' Beth has an infant; Liza has been trying to get pregnant for years. Both have lawyer husbands. Beth's husband is cheating; Liza's husband is devastated since his friend and law partner Nick disappeared, and Liza becomes suspicious about the circumstances. Lines between truth and fiction, memory or dream, become blurred, leading to a climactic ending that did not disappoint.

This novel was well-written and the plot was unique and interesting. Once I got into it, I was hooked- about 1/4 of the way in- so give it a while to sink your teeth in. The characters were thoughtfully conceived and portrayed realistically in their roles.

Also, the relationship between Liza and her long-time best friend, Chris, is one of the best portrayals of an honest, bulletproof, one hundred percent, got-your-back (instead of 'stab you in the back') female friendship that I have seen in a book, ever. I called my best friend as soon as I finished it!

The narration was great for Liza, so-so for Beth-her tone was kind of flat at times making it lack feeling.
Suspenseful, dramatic, murder mystery with a twist- I highly recommend 'Lies She Told.'

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77 of 80 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-19-17

If you read only ONE book this year...

...make it The One. What a great, engaging, and unique story.
What if there was really a soul mate for you somewhere in this wide world based only and completely on genetics? No matter your race, creed, religion, looks, where in the world you live, age, mental state, or even sexual orientation? And what if there existed a test, where for a simple swab and 9.99 your DNA match can be revealed to you? Would you do it? What if you are already happily married? Or what if your match is your same sex, and you are heterosexual (or at least, thought you were?!).
I found the concept of "DNA matching" a little suspicious at first, and actually that healthy skepticism stayed with me through the end. But that did not detract from the overall vision that I think the author was trying to convey.
The story is told through the points of view five main characters. Here are a few- Ellie, the CEO of a controversial mega-corporation who is both revered and reviled; Nathan, in love with his fiancé and ready to settle down, if only the girlfriend would stop insisting they "take the test;" Christopher, an ambitious and goal-oriented psychopath who finds his match and feels his life finally about to change.
The book is told in fast-paced, short chapters alternating between the five main characters. This choice made it near impossible for me to put the book down and it worked absolutely wonderfully to showcast the different experiences, opportunities, and dangers inherent in this technology. As is often the case with multiple POV storylines, some storylines may interest you overall more than others. But in the end John Marrs achieved the seemingly impossible: making me care about every single one of then, even the more than flawed ones.
Also, this book made me think A LOT about where the story ended for each character. Who "deserved" his or her fate? Was there ever a truly "happy ending?" If so, at what cost?
An excellent book- smart, savvy, and superbly well done- that I highly recommend. I will be looking for more John Marrs books in the future!

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-21-17

Decent suspense thriller makes the mark

Killing Kate is about a 28 year old lawyer who has just broken up with her boyfriend. The boyfriend is taking pretty hard, but Kate is ready to move on. She meets a man who has the ability to draw her in, and things seem good until a recent string of grisly murders in her own backyard threatens girls her age- who look a lot like Kate. In a race against time, Kate needs to protect herself from danger and doesn't know who she can trust anymore.
This book started out a little trite but gradually hooked me. The storyline became more sophisticated and the characters well drawn out. Kate does not come off as too naive or trusting- you can identify with her situation and see that she makes educated decisions that sometimes just bring her closer to danger. I enjoyed seeing the close friendships between Kate and her long-standing group of friends who have her back. The suspense started to build pretty quick until I was holding my breath at the end to see whether the killer would be caught in time to save Kate! The narration was great and overall, while this book may not be a heavy-hitter, it was well written and enjoyable, and I would recommend it as an easy-to-read page turner!

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-10-17

An unexpectedly thoughtful and complex saga

Don't let the title fool you; this book is about more than a husband and a wife. There is a lot going on in this story and it requires attention to follow the different characters and plot lines. When the reader soon begins to untangle the yarns, however, the story will captivate.
Ultimately, I found that no detail of the story was placed without a reason, and there are a lot of details. The full experience of this story is worth the attention!
This is a great book, and I say "unexpected" because the description barely scratches the surface. This sweeping tale chronicles the lives of Lily, her husband Ed, and Carla, who grows from the precocious child next door to a beautiful, calculating and complicated young woman during the course of the story, which takes place over a period of more than fifteen years. There are other important people, of course, including a man whom Lily defends in court, who speaks in riddles, and to whom Lily is inexplicably drawn; The man in the shiny car who helps to shape Carla's perception of relationships; the brother who will never truly die.
The first several chapters of this book made me unsure if I would like it, but soon I was totally absorbed in the characters' lives. The author doesn't skimp on paradoxes within people and their relationships, the internal struggle of good versus evil, and the fact that people and situations are rarely black and white.
Ultimately, this rewarding book will absorb you, shock you, make you think about things in ways you maybe haven't before. The narration by Rosalyn Landon is nearly perfect for this book.
Lose yourself in the narrative and decide what your own truth is by the time you reach the end- you'll be surprised. This is a worthy book and I really do recommend it.

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115 of 123 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-06-17

A fantastic, engaging story, hands-down

If you could sum up Behind Her Eyes in three words, what would they be?

Expressive, dramatic, captivating!

Who was your favorite character and why?

I don't mind being a fan of a villain who shows such diabolically planned-out chaos, and Adele is one of these. Talk about an absorbing backstory and an even better present-day trophy wife come tragic victim come evil genius. One almost has to respect going to such lengths to hang onto the man she loves so very, very much...

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

Each of the narrators did a great job with their respective characters and truly brought them to life.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

To Sleep perchance to Dream

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed this book and appreciated its use of a little fantasy to make it stand apart from others in this genre. This was not overdone, in my opinion, and it's use & effects on the characters' lives was appealing in that sense. There was something to like and to dislike about each character, so the common bad guy/good guy scenario was not really at play. Each person contributes to his and her situation in his own way.
As for the ending, I was not appalled at all, as some reviewers. I for one didn't see it coming at all, and was pleasantly riveted once I got it. I felt that the end was not disconnected at all from the story, and would encourage readers to not let it keep you from experiencing this engaging and wholly entertaining story. Overall, I loved it and highly recommend!

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75 of 93 people found this review helpful