Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris | Book Review

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Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

Date Published: August 9, 2016

Publisher: Harlequin Books

Date Read: September 2, 2018

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Setting: London, England; Bangkok, Thailand

Get your copy here: Amazon | Book Depository  | Book Outlet

 

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Disturbing and intense! I couldn’t put it down!

Behind Closed Doors will suck you in this vortex of twisted story behind what seemed to be a perfect marriage. I love how the blurb went on as vague as possible without any shred of a clue. I loved how it could toy with your mind and let your imagination go wherever it wishes to go and then smack you in the face of what really was the story all about. None of what you have expected, not even remotely close. I would try to be as vague in my review, without touching anything that could give the book away, so bear with me on this one. Just hold on to my word, this book is really good.

I was hooked from the very first chapter up until that last sentence. I loved that our narrator, Grace, was dropping subtle hints here and there, letting you picture out and keeps you guessing what is so wrong with her marriage and her husband — Jack Angel. This is what got me hooked, the small hints thrown in between. It’s like you’re given a purpose, that goal to figure out at the earliest possible opportunity what is really happening. Maybe Grace is crazy, maybe Jack is the ever loving husband. All the possibilities are there, and they are endless. Understandably, this book isn’t for everyone. There are scenes in this book that is just too much, so much so, that you find yourself momentarily stunned. Frozen for a brief moment psycho-analyzing what you just read. Your imagination gets the best of you and you involuntarily shudder. But then during those momentary reprieve, you couldn’t stop yourself thinking about it, so you pick it back up and resume reading, eager to know what will unfold, how will the story conclude or is there ever hope for the characters.

(I would not go in detail about the characters, as it would give too much of the book away. But know this, the characters will surprise you, may it be in a revolting way or in an oh-yes-i-am-so-rooting-for-you kind of way. Each character had depth and complexity within them that complements each other and the whole plot. And so sorry George Clooney, you were dragged into all this mess!)

And though I have few issues myself, I didn’t dwell on it too much. The plot wasn’t as solid or as fool-proof but it was more than enough to satisfy its readers. The characters needed more of a back story as well, they could have been presented in a more complex way, but again, I didn’t dwell too much on that, because despite all this, the book was able to deliver, more than what you have bargained for.

You see, a psychological thriller will never please everyone. There would be people who may be appalled by it, and in the same vein there may be people would love it so much. Psychological thrillers can be a hit or miss, depending how the cards are played. Behind Closed Doors was executed well. It definitely had the ability to constantly put its reader at the edge of their seats. The shift of chapters from past to present made the book more appealing. It sets the tone of the whole book, how one chapter in the Present correlates to the chapter in the Past solidifying the plot and making the book more coherent. Each chapter served to be a glimpse of what happened before and what is about to transpire. Giving something for the reader to look forward to and something to ponder on.

That ending was so good I literally had goosebumps! It was the sweetest redemption, it was poetic justice. It was everything done wrong back fired! It was vindication, and I felt triumphant with the character! When I wasn’t sure whether to give this book full five stars, it was the ending that closed the deal for me. It was so good, I was mentally giving BA Paris a high five! Uttering to myself, that is how psychological thriller should be made – with vindication. Truly, revenge is a dish best served cold! It has been a while since I last read a psychological thriller. It was that kind of book that I never knew I needed. Now I vow to read every book she has ever written. This goes without saying, I found a new favorite author and a new favorite book! Highly recommend.

 

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“I look around at everybody laughing and joking together and struggle to understand my life has become a living hell that nobody present could even begin to imagine”
― B.A. Paris, Behind Closed Doors

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The French Girl by Lexie Elliott | ARC Review

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They were six university students from Oxford–friends and sometimes more than friends–spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway–until they met Severine, the girl next door.

For Kate Channing, Severine was an unwelcome presence, her inscrutable beauty undermining the close-knit group’s loyalties amid the already simmering tensions. And after a huge altercation on the last night of the holiday, Kate knew nothing would ever be the same. There are some things you can’t forgive, and there are some people you can’t forget, like Severine, who was never seen again.

Now, a decade later, the case is reopened when Severine’s body is found in the well behind the farmhouse. Questioned along with her friends, Kate stands to lose everything she’s worked so hard to achieve as suspicion mounts around her. Desperate to resolve her own shifting memories and fearful she will be forever bound to the woman whose presence still haunts her, Kate finds herself buried under layers of deception with no one to set her free.

Publication Date: February 20, 2018

Date Read: January 13, 2018

Publisher: Berkley Books

Setting: France / London

No. of Pages: 294

Source of Copy: Provided by Berkley in exchange of an honest review.

Get your copy here: Amazon | Book Depository

 

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Beautiful writing style. The French Girl is not what I had expected.

The French Girl is about six friends who went on a vacation in France where they met Severine – the girl next door. 10 years later they are implicated as suspects in the murder of this French woman. This definitely sounded like a great premise. The constant guessing of who did the killing is always a pleasure to read, how everything unraveled revealing dark secrets one after another is always a huge treat for me. So you have to understand my anticipation whilst reading this book. Let’s just say The French Girl isn’t what I had expected.

The pacing was a little slow for my own liking, considering this is a mystery thriller. I wasn’t able to feel the usual the-edge-of-my-seat feeling I often experience reading thriller books. There are definitely some parts the book can do away with. Albeit slow, the book was able to show in detail the lives of the characters, their relation to each other, their past and what one meant to another. The book lets you in the ins and outs of the lives of the characters. How they act the way they do and the underlying history that brought them all together, and even when you think you got them all figured out, there will always be something that would surprise you. The French Girl is character-driven than plot-driven. I commend how the author made each character distinct from one another, drawing the lines from their traits and what makes them tick. It focused more on the dynamics between the characters, and while I do appreciate that, I wish the plot wasn’t sacrificed. The plot was a little lack-luster for lack of a better word. The story was a little monotonous and wasn’t as convincing as I hope it would be. I was waiting for intensity, for that heart-racing moment when everything was finally revealed, but I got nothing. My thirst for gasp-inducing plot twist was, sadly, not quenched.

Also, they could have titled it in a more catchy  way. If I come across this book in the bookstore, to be quite honest, I would not even give a second glance. There is something cliche about it already, which doesn’t give any impact as opposed to 4-5 years ago. What I commend though is the existence or non-existence, however way you want to put it, of Severine. It was cleverly incorporated in the scenes, which adds mystery to everything and makes you question the relationship or involvement of our main character, Kate Channing, to her murder. Also the end part, where Severine had somewhat an intervention to what happened to Kate, I love that part.

All in all, if you are a patient reader, and you want a character-driven book than a plot-driven one, then this is definitely for you.

 

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Once ensconced in a black taxi, the unease becomes corporeal, taking on the body of twisting snakes that are no longer confined to my stomach now they’re swaying upward, encircling my lungs, slithering through my throat, threatening to choke me of words and breath.

– Lexie Elliott, The French Girl

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Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner: ARC Book Review

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Synopsis from GoodreadsLisa Gardner’s next thriller following her runaway New York Times bestseller Find Her takes her wildly popular brand of suspense to new heights.

Is he a hero?

Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters.

Is he a killer?

Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.

All she knows for sure: He’s back.

As the clock winds down on a massive hunt for Telly, Quincy and Rainie must answer two critical questions: Why after eight years has this young man started killing again? And what does this mean for Sharlah? Once upon a time, Sharlah’s big brother saved her life. Now, she has two questions of her own: Is her brother a hero or a killer? And how much will it cost her new family before they learn the final, shattering truth? Because as Sharlah knows all too well, the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.

Publisher: Dutton Books

Publication Date: January 31, 2017

Date Read: January 31, 2017

Pages: 421

Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

REVIEW

 

A crime thriller with a HEART!

Thriller is another genre that I have barely scratched the surface of. I am not by any stretch of imagination a connoisseur in the subject, but that doesn’t necessarily make my opinion invalid right? I know a good book when I read one, at least I could take pride in that. Anyway, Dutton Books asked me if I would love to review Lisa Gardner’s new thriller. I have never read anything by her (I know! Have I been living under a rock?) and so when an opportunity presented itself, I grabbed it. Let’s just say, Lisa Gardner is now included in my Autobuy Authors List. 

Right Behind You took the words clever and gripping into a whole new level. I finished the book in two and half days, which seldom happens nowadays (insert life and work here), so I guess that must have at least amounted to something. Right Behind You is a satisfying and joyful thriller ride. You have to give it to Lisa Gardner to capture her readers’ attention and be able to sustain the momentum until the very last page. It was impossible to put down, I was reading through traffic, inside the elevator, whilst cooking, literally every chance I get. It was in the way the story was narrated that captivated me. It shifts to first person narration to third person without losing its magic, if for anything, it added to the texture and flavor of the book. And there is always beauty in anticipating the twist, in solving the puzzle along with the characters in the book. It is as if you are there with them. The characters are distinct. Especially Telly Ray Nash and Sharlah, these two though flawed had redeeming qualities of their own, they are enigmatic yet somehow you will be able to relate to them. Telly Ray Nash’s character was something consistent and not at the same time, I don’t know how to put it but when you are reading his character, you will develop some sense of faith in him. Even if the first chapters presented him in a bad light you just can’t help but to somehow root for him. The characters’ connection to each other made the story cohesive, not one character who is dispensable, every single one played an important role. And yes, even the dogs!! Ahhh I love love love how the dogs are incorporated in this book! Luka and MollyWog! Ahhh those two made this book even more enjoyable to read! Lisa Gardner’s writing was clean and polished, she was able to draw out the proper emotions and set the proper mood, and not many authors can do that. It is literally the book that will have you zoned out while reading it. Nothing matters in the world but the story in the book, and that is something truly noteworthy.

Right Behind You isn’t just about the revelation of who did what, it was more than what it conveys. It is a mystery thriller with a HEART. And I wouldn’t lie, I really teared up at some parts. I’m not even sure what really won me over, is it because of the depth of the story or the way it was cleverly written. All I know is, this definitely wouldn’t be the last Lisa Gardner book that I will read. It was well-thought out. It was about a book tackling abuse, violence and (gruesome) murders. Each chapter will leave you with immense need to know what’s going to unfold next, and as cliche as it may sound I had to hold my breath at some chapters, that’s how gripping and intense it was. The only thing that prevented me from giving it full five star rating was some parts have become repetitive to a fault, especially the one explaining about Telly Ray Nash’s condition or mental state also what happened eight years ago. Other than that, I really enjoyed the book and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves crime thrillers.

 

Rating: rating_4stars

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