2018 Book #58 – Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

51vWWmNEwqLTitle: Bring Me Back
Author: B.A. Paris
Date finished: 7/8/18
Genre: Fiction, thriller, suspense
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: June 19, 2018
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

She went missing. He moved on. A whole world of secrets remained—until now.

Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone—never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story.

Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them close and now they intend to remain together. Still, there’s something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him…even though a sixth sense tells him not to trust her.

Then, not long before he and Ellen are to be married, Finn gets a phone call. Someone from his past has seen Layla—hiding in plain sight. There are other odd occurrences: Long-lost items from Layla’s past that keep turning up around Finn and Ellen’s house. Emails from strangers who seem to know too much. Secret messages, clues, warnings. If Layla is alive—and on Finn’s trail—what does she want? And how much does she know?

A tour de force of psychological suspense, Bring Me Back will have you questioning everything and everyone until its stunning climax.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I had read this author’s debut novel, Behind Closed Doors, a couple years ago and I really liked it, and that along with the really interesting cover influenced me to read this book. While there were some repetitive parts to the plot, overall I thought this was a really good books and the short chapters helped to move it along faster. This was definitely what I’d consider a creepy novel. I kind of guessed what direction we were moving in with the plot but still, leading up to the climax of the story I felt the terror and excitement of the characters in their race to discover the truth of what happened to Layla. I would say that the tension between the main characters felt just a tad stale just to me, there was almost a lack of emotion to some of the characters’ interactions. It didn’t detract at all from my enjoyment of the story though. I enjoyed this book a lot and I really liked the twist ending, I would definitely recommend it.

Link to author website

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2018 Book #29 – The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley

616KJc+oqsLTitle: The Beloveds
Author: Maureen Lindley
Date finished: 4/16/18
Genre: Thriller, suspense, fiction, scary
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Pages in book: 336
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

An exploration of domestic derangement, as sinister as Daphne Du Maurier’s classic Rebecca, that plumbs the depths of sibling rivalry with wit and menace.

Oh, to be a Beloved—one of those lucky people for whom nothing ever goes wrong. Everything falls into their laps without effort: happiness, beauty, good fortune, allure.

Betty Stash is not a Beloved—but her little sister, the delightful Gloria, is. She’s the one with the golden curls and sunny disposition and captivating smile, the one whose best friend used to be Betty’s, the one whose husband should have been Betty’s. And then, to everyone’s surprise, Gloria inherits the family manse—a vast, gorgeous pile of ancient stone, imposing timbers, and lush gardens—that was never meant to be hers.

Losing what Betty considers her rightful inheritance is the final indignity. As she single-mindedly pursues her plan to see the estate returned to her in all its glory, her determined and increasingly unhinged behavior—aided by poisonous mushrooms, talking walls, and a phantom dog—escalates to the point of no return. The Beloveds will have you wondering if there’s a length to which an envious sister won’t go.

My rating:  1.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I’m not going to go on too long but I didn’t care for this book. I think I’m just too literal of a person to really have appreciated everything that went on in this book. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try it yourselves I’m just saying I didn’t like it myself. Betty’s character was a whack job and really there was no closure and no resolution at all, she just keeps on being crazy and trying to kill her only remaining family. I just could not get into the character or the story line. Its well-reviewed on Amazon so don’t let my thoughts discourage anyone!

Link to author website

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2017 Book #82 – The Visitors by Catherine Burns

51QVQtl5CMLTitle: The Visitors
Author: Catherine Burns
Date finished: 9/22/17
Genre: Fiction, suspense
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

With the smart suspense of Emma Donoghue’s Room and the atmospheric claustrophobia of Grey Gardens, Catherine Burns’s debut novel explores the complex truths we are able to keep hidden from ourselves and the twisted realities that can lurk beneath even the most serene of surfaces.

Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother John in a crumbling mansion on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to live by John’s rules, even if it means turning a blind eye to the noises she hears coming from behind the cellar door…and turning a blind eye to the women’s laundry in the hamper that isn’t hers. For years, she’s buried the signs of John’s devastating secret into the deep recesses of her mind—until the day John is crippled by a heart attack, and Marion becomes the only one whose shoulders are fit to bear his secret. Forced to go down to the cellar and face what her brother has kept hidden, Marion discovers more about herself than she ever thought possible. As the truth is slowly unraveled, we finally begin to understand: maybe John isn’t the only one with a dark side….

My rating:  2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Marion Zetland, an old maid who lives with her brother in their deteriorating house left to them by their mother. Marion seems to be mentally challenged, having had a lot of trouble with her schooling and while she dreams of having a family she never seems to develop beyond adolescence. Having been raised by her pervert of a father and her nut of a mother, its no wonder that she ends up a little worse for the wear. She spends all her time at home, mostly daydreaming, while her brother spends most of his time in the cellar with “the visitors.” Marion tries not to think too much about the women who live downstairs, but when her brother John ends up in the hospital she has to become involved with these women for the first time. And as Marion is forced to come to terms with what her life has become, she questions how her devotion to her brother has led her down the wrong path.
Overall I liked this book ok. It was interesting and there were some good plot twists in the story. There were some wordier parts to the story that I found quite dry but past those the story was good. I just felt so bad for everyone involved, even including Marion who I probably shouldn’t have felt so bad for. Her childhood sounded awful though and its no wonder she developed so poorly as a person. She was a bad person if you think about it though, its hard to sympathize with her and yet she was able to go out and start a new life for herself. The story, while suspenseful, was just very sad. Other than that it was ok though. It was interesting enough that I would recommend it but eh it wasn’t my favorite.

The bottom line: I thought this book was fairly good. There were some pretty good plot twists in the story. Overall it was just very sad and pretty wordy in some parts. Was an interesting story overall but not my favorite.

Link to author website

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2017 Book #11 – The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn

51tjxzmou3l-_sx320_bo1204203200_Title: The Devil Crept In
Author: Ania Ahlborn
Date finished: 2/12/17
Genre: Fiction, horror
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

An unforgettable horror novel from bestselling sensation Ania Ahlborn—hailed as a writer of “some of the most promising horror I’ve encountered in years” (New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire)—in which a small-town boy investigates the mysterious disappearance of his cousin and uncovers a terrifying secret kept hidden for years.
Young Jude Brighton has been missing for three days, and while the search for him is in full swing in the small town of Deer Valley, Oregon, the locals are starting to lose hope. They’re well aware that the first forty-eight hours are critical and after that, the odds usually point to a worst-case scenario. And despite Stevie Clark’s youth, he knows that, too; he’s seen the cop shows. He knows what each ticking moment may mean for Jude, his cousin and best friend.
That, and there was that boy, Max Larsen…the one from years ago, found dead after also disappearing under mysterious circumstances. And then there were the animals: pets gone missing out of yards. For years, the residents of Deer Valley have murmured about these unsolved crimes…and that a killer may still be lurking around their quiet town. Now, fear is reborn—and for Stevie, who is determined to find out what really happened to Jude, the awful truth may be too horrifying to imagine.

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Stevie, a 10 year old boy with some very serious mental health issues. He has episodes where he sees things that aren’t really there, resulting in manic episodes and full blown violent tantrums. One such example mentioned early on in the book was when Stevie was over at his cousin Jude’s house and thought his own fingers were snakes so he stuck them in the garbage disposal and chopped them off. But when Jude disappears, Stevie is sure he sees a monster lurking and he’s sure that the monster has taken Jude. Only problem is no one believes him. So he sets out to rescue Jude on his own. But is 10-year-old schizophrenic Stevie really any match for the danger lurking in the shadows? And when Jude suddenly reappears on his own, can Stevie believe that the danger is really passed? Or are Jude’s worsening anger issues a sign that the real danger is yet to come?
Overall I liked this book. There were some dry parts to it but I thought it was extremely scary and a great tension-filled novel. Reading this for me was very much like watching a horror-movie, where you’re screaming at the TV “Don’t go into that abandoned house!!” I liked reading from the two different characters points of view, and I loved how well the author portrayed Stevie’s mind-set. The reader begins to doubt (as Stevie does) how reliable these things are that happen to Stevie. And as the horrors unfold, what is real and what isn’t? And the reader so accurately can feel Stevie’s frustrations over not being believed, it really is a novel that will dig into your mind. There were some slow parts as I already mentioned but if you’re looking for a scary read I would give this one a try!

The bottom line: This book was pretty good, and it was definitely scary/creepy! There were a few slow points but other than that it was really good. I would recommend it.

Link to author website

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2015 Book #109 – The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

51WGFB7KW6L._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Island of Dr. Moreau
Author: H.G. Wells
Date finished: 10/18/15
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: 1896
Pages in book: 157
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

Ranked among the classic novels of the English language and the inspiration for several unforgettable movies, this early work of H. G. Wells was greeted in 1896 by howls of protest from reviewers, who found it horrifying and blasphemous. They wanted to know more about the wondrous possibilities of science shown in his first book, The Time Machine, not its potential for misuse and terror. In The Island of Dr. Moreau a shipwrecked gentleman named Edward Prendick, stranded on a Pacific island lorded over by the notorious Dr. Moreau, confronts dark secrets, strange creatures, and a reason to run for his life.
While this riveting tale was intended to be a commentary on evolution, divine creation, and the tension between human nature and culture, modern readers familiar with genetic engineering will marvel at Wells’s prediction of the ethical issues raised by producing “smarter” human beings or bringing back extinct species. These levels of interpretation add a richness to Prendick’s adventures on Dr. Moreau’s island of lost souls without distracting from what is still a rip-roaring good read.

My rating:  3.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (October). This book definitely wasn’t something I would have picked up on my own but I have to say it was absolutely the perfect thing to read during October. I found it to be very creepy and gave me the goosebumps thinking about these creatures that Prendick encounters on the island. It was only 157 pages so it was a quick read. Basically Prendick finds himself lost in the middle of the ocean on a dingy and he gets picked up by a boat with a man named Montgomery aboard. Montgomery is Moreau’s assistant and he’s returning to the island after picking up some supplies. Prendick gets ditched on the island too and even though Montgomery is very hesitant about letting him stay, he doesn’t really have much of a choice.
Prendick encounters many different kinds of people on the island, though there seems to be something a little off about each one and he finds himself wary of these creatures. Turns out Dr. Moreau had been performing vivisection on various animals over the last 10 years on the island and had managed to mold different animals together to take on a human-like form. I guess my issue is that I can’t imagine what these beasts would have looked like and how they possibly could have resembled a human even in the slightest.
MV5BMjI0OTY1NDY5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjkwODg0NA@@._V1_SX640_SY720_I mean none of the creatures in the photo look even remotely human to me. And Dr. Moreau spoke some about combining the different animals brains together. I’m not a scientist or anything but I feel like that wouldn’t really be possible. I don’t think you can take 2 separate brains and mash them together and have them work. I think with humans they are able to replace certain lobes of the brain but they use another human brain I’m pretty sure, I don’t think you can graft brains across different species.
I thought this was an interesting book though and it was a great October read. Its also a literary classic so I would recommend giving it a try if you haven’t already!

The bottom line: I liked this book fine. I don’t think I loved it but it was a short easy read and was appropriately creepy for the month of October.

Link to author website
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