Tag Archives: suspense

Every Last Lie

I am a fan of Mary Kubica’s work. After I read The Good Girl, I could hardly wait to get my hands on all of her novels, so when I was given a chance to preview Every Last Lie, I jumped on it.

Clara Solberg’s last conversation with her husband, Nick, is about what to bring home for dinner. She wishes she could change that. She wishes she hadn’t sent him out. She wishes she had gone herself. Because Nick never came home after wrapping his car around a tree with their four-year-old daughter in the backseat. Thankfully, Maisie’s car seat saved her, but nothing could be done for Nick.

Every Last Lie. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Left with her four-year-old daughter and four-day-old son, Clara’s life is turned upside down as she tries to piece together the last few weeks of Nick’s life as strange things emerge one after another and make her question everything. Was Nick’s death a suicide with their daughter in the car? Was he having an affair? And then as Maisie begins to awaken screaming about the “bad man” in the middle of the night, Clara begins to wonder: Did someone kill him?

The novel moves back and forth between Clara’s point of view in the present situation and Nick’s point of view in the months leading up to his death. It is a good story, but I didn’t really feel much of a connection to either of the main characters. There is more development of Maisie than of either Clara or Nick, so it is difficult to feel much for either of them. And Clara is so busy with theories that she never grieves for her husband, making it difficult for the reader to grieve him.

That being said, Kubica’s writing style is still, in my opinion, top-notch and I plan to continue reading her novels. I just wish there had been a little more unfolding of the characters. I do recommend Every Last Lie, however, if you want true psychological thrills, read The Good Girl. It is amazing!

3 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 whole-heartedly recommend these linked products!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I received this book free from NetGalley 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.”

 

 

Into the Water. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

In case you’ve been living in a cave with no access to electricity or social media, you have probably seen all the promotions about Paula Hawkins newest release, Into the Water. But does it live up to the hype? After listening to her first novel The Girl on the Train (read by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher), which I really liked, I was very excited to read her second novel.

Into the Water is read by Laura Aikman, Rachel Bavidge, Sophie Aldred, Daniel Weyman, and Imogen Church, a rather lengthy cast, as there are quite a few characters who make this book twist and turn and throw you for loop after loop. While it started a bit slowly, it did pick up the pace and there were a couple of turns I truly did not see coming. And then I listened to the ending three times because I just absolutely could not believe what I was hearing!

Into the Water. A Propensity to Discuss review.

For over 300 years the Drowning Pool has claimed many lives of Beckford women, whether they were accused a witchcraft and sorcery, adultery or to leave the world of their own accord, and Nel Abott has researched them all for the book she plans to publish.

When Nel dies falling into the “Drowning Pool” that has fascinated her all of her life, her sister must return to the town she ran from so many years before and swore she would never again set foot. This suicide, only months after a teen girl’s suicide at the same place leaves many in the town worried and many quite satisfied. Nel’s daughter knows it was suicide, but her long-lost sister stands at odds against the 16-year-old niece she has never met and swears that Nel had to have been pushed.

This book has quite a few negative feedbacks online. However, the audio version of this book has more positive responses than negative. I find this very interesting because I also listened to The Girl on the Train and loved it, but the people I knew who read the book didn’t like it. I actually have 2 friends who didn’t like The Girl on the Train book but listened to the audio and really liked it. So my suggestion here would be to start reading them and if you don’t like them, then listen to both of them. I really think it makes all the difference!

I highly recommend this book in audio form.

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 whole-heartedly recommend these linked products!

 

The Miniaturist. A Propensity to Discuss review.

The Miniaturist

Yes, I am a librarian/media specialist. And yes, I buy books for the media center all the time (you can read about that process in this post). And yes, I LOVE to read but very rarely do I have the time to read at work. I am usually helping students with computer issues, teaching kids and adults how to use computers to do exactly what they want (sounds strange for high school students and teachers to need that help, but you’d be surprised), helping students find the right book to read and a myriad of other tasks.

So if I ever take out a book during the day and take the time to stop and read, it is a REALLY good book and it has bewitched me, body and soul as Mr. Darcy so eloquently put it.  The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton is one of those books. I could not get enough of it. I could not put it down. I read every spare minute. So what had my attention, you ask?

When Petronella “Nella” Oortman turns 18, her mother arranges for her to marry Johannes Brandt of Amsterdam, who is in his late 30s, to save their family after Nella’s father drank away most of their money and then died, leaving them nearly destitute. Nella met Johannes a couple of times before the marriage but basically knows very little about him.

The Miniaturist. A Propensity to Discuss review.

When she arrives in Amsterdam, she is met at the house by his sister Marin, who in most aspects is the head of the house, Otto, a former slave from Surinam who was freed by Johannes and Cornelia, the maid. The fact that Marin takes the lead of the house is damaging to Nella’s already low self-esteem. Add to this a husband who is rarely home and does not interact with his wife when he is there and Nella cannot figure our where she belongs in this new life she is supposed to forge.

When Johannes presents her with a miniature replica of their home as a wedding gift, she is not only confused by the gift that she sees as a toy but also angry that he would think so little of her as to believe she would be interested in such an expensive waste of time and money.

However, when Marin gives her the name of a miniaturist in Amsterdam and money of her own to pay for the items, she decides to hire out pieces for the house. When she receives the items that she ordered, she also receives pieces that she did not order and that seem to mock her life and her situation. Nella, furious, sends word to the miniaturist not to send anything else.

But as Nella’s life becomes more complicated, the miniatures keep coming and seem to not just mock her life, but to foretell it. While terrified of what the miniaturist will send next and yet terrified that no more will arrive, Nella sets out to get her life, her marriage, and her house in order, just as the walls seem to be falling down around her.

Detailed and intriguing, this novel deposits you smack in the middle of a macabre world of 1860s Amsterdam where the citizens are encouraged or maybe somewhat commanded by the Church to spy on their neighbors and to turn them in for anything that the Church deems impure, even the “idol worship” of gingerbread men and dolls, not to mention the “wickedness” of money, though no Priest would ever turn down a quickly palmed bribe.

This beautiful work is a rich tapestry of history, intrigue, love, hatred and family and exactly to what lengths people will go to protect those they love and seek vengeance against those believed to have inflicted harm or wrongdoing against them.

The Miniaturist. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Burton first saw the dollhouse owned by Petronella Oortman (above) which does actually exist in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and decided to tell a fictional story about its owner. And I am so very happy that she did.

5 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 whole-heartedly recommend these linked products!

Check out all the books I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link.

The audio version of The Miniaturist read by Davina Porter is also available. 

A Madness So Discreet. A Propensity to Discuss review.

A Madness So Discreet

Perfectly sane, Grace Mae leaves behind the life of a wealthy socialite and enters a horror filled existence when she is banished to an insane asylum for a reason thoroughly out of her control. Feeling that she has nothing to live for and certainly nothing to offer, she closes herself and her voice off from those around her.

When she is pushed beyond the limit of what she can withstand, she strikes out and is sent to the dungeon where she meets someone who changes the course of her life forever. Enter a very forward-thinking doctor who uses the clues left behind at the scenes of murder victims to identify their killers. Grace, in her new-found life, the doctor believes, can help him.

From the first few pages of A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis, I was completely mesmerized. I hated to put it down and when I had to, I could hardly wait to pick it up again. McGinnis did a remarkable job developing the characters for this story, as well as giving them social and moral dilemmas that show how they react to working for the right reasons, even if they may be morally or ethically questionable.

Add the rich history of the ethics, or lack thereof, in asylums in the late 1800s and you have a story that vividly brings to light what fate those with mental illnesses, those who were easily disposed of by their wealthy families, and those who were chronically ill had to face.  Throw in the beginnings of forensic science and several main characters that you come to know and love and you have one really great book on your hands.

This is an unputdownable, must read!

If you are interested in the audio version of A Madness so Discreet performed by Brittany Pressley, I do recommend this as well. I both listened and read because I did not want to be away from Grace for long periods of time!

5 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 whole-heartedly recommend these linked products! 

 

 

Behind Closed Doors anything is possible…

Unputdownable. I have used this term before, but boy, oh boy, just ask my family about this one! I had headphones in my ears at every opportunity this weekend so that I could get to the end of this book and see the characters safely to the other side! There was no way for me to let this one sit unfinished for any length of time.

Jack and Grace are the perfect married couple. Just ask Adam and Diane, they see it every time they share a meal with them. Jack is always so attentive to Grace, doesn’t let her lift a finger without his help. They reminisce about their trips and the way they met. Friends Esther and Diane would love to get to know Grace better, but she just seems to be joined at the hip to Jack. You never see her without him.

Grace always finds a reason to cancel plans to meet Diane and Esther alone for lunch. They never see her in town. She doesn’t have a cell phone or even her own email address. Add to the fact that she quit her job to be a stay at home wife and Esther just doesn’t believe the fairy tale is real. There is something that just doesn’t sit right in her mind.

Behind Closed Doors anything is possible...A Propensity to Discuss review.

Then there is Millie, Grace’s sister who is 17 years her junior and has Downs Syndrome. Esther and Diane are amazed that Jack is so excited to have Millie come to live with them. It is so unusual to find a man whose love is so unconditional. But Behind Closed Doors, something nefarious lurks.

Is the fairy tale real? Or is something sinister about? On reading/hearing the first two chapters, a feeling of ill-will hits you and you know that all is not as it seems. But there is no way of guessing just how evil one person could be.

The character development in this book is so rich and so intense that I found myself cringing and holding my breath. Torment comes in all shapes and sizes, in all manners of people. And if no one would believe the truth, where is a person to turn for help?

This one is an absolute must read! Or a must listen! I chose the audio version which was read impeccably by Georgia Maguire. She brings every character to life with amazing skill, variation, and inflection. You can almost see the characters in your mind as you listen. This is a great book to listen to if you have never tried an audio book before. With a run time of 8 hours 23 minutes, it won’t take a ton of time, but trust me, you’ll wish it went on for longer!

On a side note, I have seen this book compared to Gone Girl, but I have to disagree. While the psychological thriller aspect is much the same, there are characters in this book to whom you can actually relate and pull for and fight for and love. Not so with Gone Girl. So while the idea of someone pulling off a psychologically heinous act on someone else is there, this book has many more redeeming qualities. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Gone Girl, I just really LOVE Behind Closed Doors!

Interested in other psychological thrillers? Check out this post….7 Books And 2 Series That Will Keep You Up At Night

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 whole-heartedly recommend these linked products!

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

 

How could someone she trusted have done something so heinous? A Propensity to Discuss Review. The Life I Left Behind.

How could someone she trusted have done something so heinous?

Melody Pieterson was strangled and left for dead. She woke from a coma in the hospital with no memory of what happened to her and no idea who was to blame. But her neighbor and friend, David Alden was arrested and convicted of the crime.

How could someone she trusted have done something so heinous? A Propensity to Discuss Review. The Life I Left Behind.

She has spent the last 6 years living a life of suspicion and foreboding. Terrified of everything outside the walls of her house, she has become less than a shell of her former self, and when David is released Melody’s fears take her to an even deeper level of terror. Her life can absolutely be summed up as “The life I left behind.”

How could someone she trusted have done something so heinous?

Less than 6 months after David’s release, Eve Elliot is found in the same place where Melody had been found, holding a necklace exactly like the one Melody had been holding.

Eve knows exactly who hurt her. But she won’t tell. He made sure of that. Eve Elliot is dead. All because she believed in David Alden.

The story, told from Melody’s point of view and Eve’s voice, moves back and forth from the past to the present and keeps you guessing right up until the very end.

I love a good mystery, throw in some psychological thrills, great character development and you end up with a book that is hard to put down. And Collette McBeth has done just that with The Life I Left Behind! Definitely a 5-star book!

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

I felt as though I knew both Eve and Melody when I finished this book and I miss them both. This one was such a great read that as soon as I finished it, I ordered McBeth’s first novel, Precious Thing. I am hoping it comes in the mail today!

I’ll keep you posted!

Have you ever read a book that you liked so much you ordered more from that author immediately? If so, which ones. I’d love to know!

 

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

 

 

A book that breaks your heart and mends it at the same time. A Propensity to Discuss Review. Man called Ove.

A book that breaks your heart and mends it at the same time.

It has been a long time since I have read a book that touched me as deeply and profoundly as A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. There are books that make you laugh. There are books that make you cry. There are books that make you think about, believe in, and love the characters. Very rarely is there one book that does all of those at once. A Man Called Ove is one of those rare breeds of books.

A book that breaks your heart and mends it at the same time. A Propensity to Discuss Review. Man called Ove.

From the very first page, when you read these words: “Ove gives the box a skeptical glance as if it’s a highly dubious sort of box, a box that rides a scooter and wears track suit pants and just called Ove “my friend” before offering to sell him a watch.”

I was listening to the audio version and when I heard this part, I was hooked completely. The book, performed by George Newbern, is full of these quips that make you laugh, quite literally, out loud.

And then there are the tears. I cannot tell you much about why, for worry of giving away part of the plot, but trust me, there are tears. Mixed very nicely with all of the laughter, mind you.

And the characters. You know, the ones you think about, come to believe in and love…Ove is a man of very few words, but endless thoughts. He is very angry at the world. He is angry at people. He is many times angry at himself. However, when you begin to get to know him, you cannot help but to love him.

And love him is exactly what Parvaneh and her family come to do. At essentially the perfect time, they move in across the street from Ove and turn his life upside down and completely right side up. And throughout the process, you find out snippets of Ove’s youth and marriage and how exactly, he came to be the way he is now: A man whose heart is too big.

A Propensity to Discuss Review. Man called Ove.

Whether you read the book or listen to the audio, or both, as I did, start now! Trust me, you’ll be so happy that you did. I give this a firm 5 stars. I would give it more, but Ove would say that is excessive. And I wouldn’t want to displease him.

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.