Tag Archives: Psychological Thriller

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel. A Propensity to Discuss review.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Wow. This was not at all what I was expecting, and it was really, really good and quite intense. Lane and her mother Camilla lived a very unhappy existence right up to the point When Camilla ends her own misery, sending Lane to live at Roanoke, the place her mother described as a nightmare.

It is at Roanoke that she meets her cousin Allegra, who looks so much like Lane and her mom, and also where she learns that all the Roanoke babies are girls and they all either leave forever or die very young at Roanoke. It is the Roanoke Curse. Ten years later Lane is one of those who left, but she is called back because Allegra, who would never leave on her own, is missing.

The chapters alternate between “Then,” which is about Lane’s time at Roanoke and “Now” which is ten years later, as well as brief excerpts from the thoughts and lives of other Roanoke girls. Through past and present, the stories of Lane, Allegra, and their grandparents (the grandfather who is doting and caring and the grandmother who is inattentive and aloof) come to life.

Lane knows something bad has happened to Allegra, there is the Roanoke Curse, after all, but she must muddle through her own issues which have shaped her past and continue to damage her present and, most likely, her future. Having known only bitterness and hatred from her mother, Lane has no way to understand, much less accept love and kindness, unless she can break the curse that has plagued their family for three generations.

This book, though not for the faint of heart, is extremely well-written and quite intense. Lane is emotionally scarred and psychologically traumatized even before she comes to Roanoke where secrets are what hold the family together. And oh the tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive. This story will shock most, but it really is a story of exactly what it takes to break the ties that bind in order to heal. I highly recommend this book.

Book Details:

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link.

4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all“Propensity to Discuss is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Blogging for Books in return for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Advertisements
The Breakdown by B A Paris. A Propensity to Discuss review.

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Cass is leaving her end-of-term faculty party during a huge storm and decides to take the Blackwater Lane shortcut that she promised her husband she would not take as it is a lonely and dangerous road, much more so in a storm at night. When she sees a woman stopped on the side of the road, she pulls over, but she is terrified because of the storm raging on and the isolation of the road. When the other woman doesn’t signal to her for help, Cass leaves after a few minutes.

The next morning she is horrified to learn the news of the woman’s brutal murder. She feels so much guilt over not stopping, but she cannot tell her husband Matthew because she promised not to go that way. When she realizes that she knew the murdered woman, she is racked with guilt that is accompanied by tremendous anxiety. When her best friend Rachel calls she decides she will tell her over lunch. However, she is so overwrought because she forgot that she was supposed to be buying a group gift for another friend and has no idea what the gift was supposed to be, that she decides not to tell Rachel after all.

As she begins to forget more and more things she becomes fearful that she is experiencing Early Onset Dementia like her mother, who was diagnosed at age 44. As her anxiety grows, so does her fear and then she starts receiving phone calls with no one speaking on the other end. Terror floods her mind as she believes that the killer must have seen her that night in the woods and is now out to get her.

The fear, anxiety, and forgetfulness begins to worry Matthew and he insists she go to a doctor. The doctor gives her medicine for anxiety, and, although the pills help, they keep her knocked out most of the time and she can barely function. However, not taking them leads to a breakdown. Will she ever find out who is calling her? And is she really going crazy? Or is someone out to harm her or make her harm herself?

Having read and loved B.A. ParisBehind Closed Doors (click the link for that review) I was very excited when this book came out. When it finally made it to the top of my TBR pile, I was eager to get into it. My excitement abated a bit when I did not immediately click with Cass. I liked her, but she just wasn’t a friendly person to me. I listened on, believing that I would come to like her more, and I did a little and I felt somewhat sorry for her. The story is really good, even though I didn’t love Cass and didn’t really like her husband Matthew, either. I did like her friend Rachel, however.

I wanted Cass to own up to someone about why she felt so guilty about the murdered woman, just wanted her to tell someone what she saw on the road and why she was afraid the murderer would target her. The story was really good and the twist at the end did shock me a little because I thought I had it figured out, but I had somewhat missed the mark. I really like how it ended and I came to really like Cass when she finally took control of her own destiny and stopped wallowing in self-doubt and self-pity.

B.A. Paris has another book, Bring Me Back, coming in June of 2018 and it is one that I will look forward to reading as I truly enjoy her writing style and her twists that keep you a little off-balance. I also hope that Georgia Maguire is the narrator for the next one as she beautifully narrated both Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown. Her voice is very appealing and she gives the characters an air of dignity that I really like.

As recommendations go, if you haven’t read anything by B.A. Paris, I suggest you start with Behind Closed Doors and then read The BreakdownI liked this one, but I loved the first one and I am looking forward to the next one. Note: These are all stand-alone books, they are not a series. 

Book Details:

Other books by B.A. Paris:
Behind Closed Doors
 (2016)
Bring Me Back
 (June 2018)

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link.

4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all. 

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land, A Propensity to Discuss review.

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land

There’s an old Native American story about a boy in whom lives two wolves: A good wolf and a bad wolf and they fight until one lives and one dies. As his grandfather explains this to him the boy asks which one lives and the grandfather responds “the one you feed.”  On hearing the story Annie/Milly can perfectly attribute it to words to her own life. She knows that inside of her there is a war between Good Me, Bad Me waging battles inside of her.  The fight began when she was four years old and her mother started waging war against her mind and body.

A few months before her 16th birthday Annie leaves school, goes to the police station and turns her serial killer mother in for the murder of nine small children. Annie is given a shiny new life as Milly, living with an affluent family and attending a highly regarded private school while waiting to be the star witness in the trial against her mother.

Milly is a very intelligent 15-year-old and can be quite cunning. Having survived her mother’s torture of both her and other children for the past 11 years, adjusting to her new life is not easy. Being the new girl at school is never easy, and there are some who hate her even though they have no idea who she really is, including Phoebe, the daughter of her foster parents. Milly constantly wonders how much of our psyche is nature and how much is nurture, but as Milly still hears her mother’s taunts she knows that she was subjected to both her mother’s genetics and her mother’s teaching. Which one will win?

This is one creepy book! It is a constant ebb and flow between the wolves of good and evil and is very well written. Milly’s mother is a huge presence in the book, even though she is locked away throughout the story. The way Ali Land continually brings her to the mind of the reader is brilliant. This book is also 100% a psychological thriller and the dark and twisted nature is layered throughout the book so that you peel back one layer at a time like an onion and the more that you peel, the darker the novel becomes.

Imogen Church (who also was one of the narrators of another dark novel, Into the Water) brings a depth to all of the characters, but most extremely through Milly’s mother. When Milly’s mom gets into Milly’s head Church has an intonation that will have you looking over your shoulder. Her narration adds so very much to this already psychologically thrilling book! I highly recommend this book in audio form.

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link.5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.is post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I whole-heartedly recommend these linked products!

Book Details

Behind Her Eyes by Sara Pinborough. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Single mom Louise rarely has a night out alone, and hardly ever meets anyone knew. So when she gets to work the day after she met a man that she truly believed had been a great guy who was also interested in her, she is quite dismayed when the man turns out to be her new boss. Her married boss, David.

David tells her the kiss they shared was a mistake and Louise has no desire to break up a marriage, but David can’t seem to let Louise go. And when Louise meets David’s wife Adele she actually begins to like her. Then she begins to see cracks in the picture of the perfect marriage that they portray.

Adele seems to be terrified of David, has to be home to accept his phone call at a specific time each day and is not allowed a cell-phone. Louise begins to seriously doubt David. If he is doing to Adele the things that Louise has begun to suspect, how could she have not seen this side of him before?

The more Louise tries to figure out what is going on, the more she is pulled into their world and she has no idea how far a person might go to protect what the secrets that they want to keep hidden.

Behind Her Eyes” by Sarah Pinborough is a very interesting book with quite a few twists and turns that I never really saw coming. There were plenty of times that I had figured out exactly what was happening, only to be thrown for a loop when my theories were dispelled. If you like a story that keeps you on your toes, this is a book for you. Pinborough does a wonderful job of creating characters that you can relate to, even when you have no idea if they are who or what they say they are.

So, if you like a psychological thriller, pick this one up. I think you’ll really like it!

Book Details: 

Behind Her Eyes” by Sarah Pinborough

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link.

4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all.

Can you ever really be "Safe with Me" by K.L. Slater? A Propensity to Discuss

Safe with Me by K.L. Slater

If you want more twists than this, you’d better grab a bag of pretzels.

After first reading Liar and now Safe with Me, I really have to wonder about K.L. Slater. Her mind is undoubtedly warped. To be able to conceive of and pen such depraved tales takes more psychological configurations than I’d imagine exists in the minds of half of the patients in mental institutions in Britain.

Anna Clarke is mentally unstable. She seems to be stuck at around the age of 13 or 14, which makes sense because that was her age when a very traumatic event changed her life forever.

When, as an adult, Anna witnesses an accident and stops to help, she realizes that the woman, whom she learns is now going by the name Amanda Danson is the woman who caused her suffering 13 years before. Anna knows she must see justice done and make sure that this time Amanda pays for her crime. In the meantime, Anna becomes obsessed with the accident victim, Liam, his well-being and the relationship she believes is forming between them.

Anna is delusional at best and with the mindset of an illogical 14-year-old believes that she can explain away anything she has done wrong and that everyone else is at fault. Even while forcing herself into the lives of Liam and his grandmother, Ivy, Anna comments “Some people assume a shared situation authorizes them to be immediately familiar.” She is scornful of others who feel this way, yet she is completely blind to the fact that she is the one who is doing just that to Liam and Ivy.

Can you ever really be "Safe with Me" by K.L. Slater? A Propensity to Discuss review.

Also, anyone who pays her any attention, other than Liam, is seen to be obtrusive and untrustworthy and, in Anna’s mind, those people only want to bring ill-will to her. When in reality that is her behavior, not the intentions of others.

When I first began listening to/reading Safe with Me, I really didn’t like Anna at all, but I had to continue because it is sort of like a series of train wrecks – you can’t stop watching (or, in this case, reading) because you want to find out just how bad the situation will become. That is when Slater has you hooked and drawn completely in. There is no way you can stop reading. You have to know just how crazy Anna really is.

This is a really, really well-planned and well-executed story of mental illness wrapped up in a psychological thriller full of twists and turns. I highly recommend this in both print and audio versions. I switched back and forth on this one.

Lucy Price-Lewis does an amazing job with the voices and characterizations of Anna, Amanda, Mrs. Peat (Anna’s neighbor), and the other, unnamed character. So much so that you know without a doubt whose point of view is shared with each chapter. And Slater writes in such a way that you never see the twists before they have thrown you for a loop.

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link.

 

Book Details

4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all. 

 

Room. A Propensity to Discuss movie review.

Room (Movie)

After spending a little bit of time in my new retired life (thanks or not to syringomyelia), I have to admit I have been a little bored. I am trying to keep busy and have been cleaning my house and getting rid of clutter. But cleaning isn’t my favorite, so I have decided to take it a bit at a time and have (syringomyelia required) rest breaks.

During one such break, I watched the movie Room. Yes, I have read the book and it is still one of my favorites! So, what about the movie?

Room. A Propensity to Discuss movie review.

Ma (Brie Larson) and Jack (Jacob Tremblayare trapped in Room, which is a sound proof storage shed in the backyard of a man who kidnapped Ma when she was 17. Jack, who just turned 5, has never seen anything beyond Room except through a skylight through the ceiling. He watches TV, but those things shown are not real. The only real things are Ma and Jack and what is inside room, like Tub, Bed, and Wardrobe.

When “Old Nick” comes to visit Ma, Jack has to stay in Wardrobe and sometimes Old Nick brings Sunday treats, but only the things they need, nothing extra. Ma, whose real name is Joy Newsome, knows there is more out there and she wants nothing more than to get Jack and herself back to her real home.

Room. A Propensity to Discuss movie review.

This movie was so very close to the book that I knew exactly what was going to happen. Bummer, right? NO! It was absolutely wonderful. Even though I knew the plot, even though I knew the outcome, it was still so amazingly created and acted that I felt I was seeing/hearing the story for the first time. Brie Larson won an Oscar for her role in this film. Yes, it was that good. However, the Academy missed the mark on Jacob Tremblay because he also should have won an Oscar for his performance. He was masterful as 5-year-old Jack!

I very rarely say this, but here goes: Whether or not you have read the book which was written by Emma Donoghue see the movie! But if you haven’t read the book, you really should, because both are top of the line in my opinion. Both the book and the movie are not to be missed!

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all. 

The Good Daughter. A Propensity to Discuss review.

The Good Daughter – Karin Slaughter

I have said it before and here it is again: The absolute biggest problem with reading a Karin Slaughter book is finishing and having the agony of waiting for the next one! That being said, The Good Daughter follows true to form.

Rusty Quinn was a man of many words and many beliefs. First and foremost he believed that everyone had a right to a fair trial, which is why he defended the vilest of the vile, always knowing that his family was shunned in their small town because of his cases. And then it all came crashing down around him.

Twenty-eight years ago two men came looking for Rusty but instead found Gamma, the wife he adored, and his daughters Sam and Charlie. The night left Gamma dead and Charlie and Sam fighting for their lives. The events, told this time from Charlie’s point of view, detail what happened to her mother and her sister and how she ran as fast as she could to escape.

Charlie has been running ever since.

Fast forward 28 years to a horrifying shooting that rocks the small town and Charlie finds herself right in the middle of it, peeling the scabs off of the wounds that had never really healed. Head-strong, willful, deeply angry Charlie throws herself headlong into making things right. Rusty, as usual, is the only one ready to defend the girl at the center of this egregious crime again putting his life in jeopardy.

Once again, Karin Slaughter has managed to write a novel that is both grisly and beautiful, lurid and poignant. A book about hatred and healing, fear, and misunderstanding. A book about the power of forgiveness and the desperation of hate.

As with most of Karin Slaughter’s books, the audio version of The Good Daughter is read by Kathleen Early who, as always, brings something specific to every character, even if it is in just a subtle way. She does a superb job of relaying the anguish, the love, the hurt and the hate in a way that leads you straight to the mind of each and every character. I could listen to her read all day and all night. Especially if it was a Karin Slaughter novel.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly Five out of five stars for writing. Five out of five stars for the audio. But beware, once you begin, you are opening your heart for one huge emotional ride!

Book Details

 

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all.