4 Star Books · Book Reviews · mystery · psychological thriller · suspense

Book Review: The Perfect Family by Samantha King

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The Perfect Family by Samantha King
Published by Kensington Publishing Company on June 26, 2018
Pages: 304
Genres: psychological thriller, suspense
Rating: 4 stars
Recommend to fans of: books with unreliable narrators, the genre, mothers who would do anything for their kids
Read with food: lollipops~ I have no idea why, but it popped into my head and just seems right

Synopsis:

Relentlessly twisting, Samantha King’s debut novel is a dark and brilliant slice of psychological suspense in which even the happiest family can awake to a nightmare . . .

Maddie Castle is broken. Ever since the tragedy that struck on her twins’ tenth birthday, she’s been trying to fit the pieces together, to get back to the life she led before. Maddie, her husband, Dom, and their children, Aidan and Annabel, lived in a comfortable home on a quiet street in a London suburb. Life was busy and satisfying. They were happy. Weren’t they?

Now, a disoriented and grieving Maddie floats like a ghost through each day, hardly sleeping, eating, or speaking. It’s easier to stay locked in her own head than to torment herself by reliving what happened. And yet, the harder Maddie tries to pin down her memories, the more they slip out of reach. Is her guilt and remorse justified? Is it Maddie’s fault that everything was ripped apart?

Or could it be that the real terror is still to come?

Review:
I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to the publisher and author for a copy. As always, an honest review.
The book starts off with a terrible choice: someone asking a mother to choose between her two children. And the suspense doesn’t stop for the rest of the story. We, along with Maddie, try to figure out what really happened on that eventful day.
The writing basically encourages the reader to keep guessing along the way, almost begging me to. I found myself constantly “knowing” who did it, what had happened, and predicting what will happen. Sometimes I was right, sometimes I wasn’t. But it sure was fun to play along and be engaged in the book.
Also, the dramatic twists make the book so thrilling. I couldn’t put it down, literally. I read half of it in a few hours. The narrator has an unreliable quality to her, since she’s still trying to piece together what happened. I really enjoyed this, because it made the book so intriguing and unsettling.
My only critiques are that some content might be unsettling for some readers. Trigger warning! I don’t want to say for what, because it will give away some of the story. If you’re concerned, send me a message and I’ll be sure to tell you what to watch out for. Also some events happen a bit too coincidentally, at exactly the right time, to move the story forward.
Overall, I was completely captivated by this suspense filled psychological thriller that takes family life and turns it on its head.

 

Question for today:

What are your favorite genres to read in the summer?

 

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · mystery · psychological thriller · suspense · Uncategorized

Book Review: Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

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Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Published by Thomas & Mercer on July 1, 2017

Pages: 300

Genres: psychological thriller, suspense, mystery

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: psychological thrillers, the TV show Criminal Minds

Read with food: nothing because you’re too nervous to eat

 

Synopsis:

Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

Review:

Such an addicting book!

Gwen took her kids and ran, trying to stay one step ahead of all the people wanting to hurt her family. Her emotions and struggles drew me in and didn’t let go. Her fear was palpable. Her love for her children was genuine. The book was a wonderful terrifying ride set in the world of one of the worst what ifs.

What if my husband was secretly a serial killer and I never knew?

What if the world turned on me and was convinced I helped that sicko, but in reality I had no idea.

It’s a whirlwind of a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. The cliffhanger made me definitely want to find out what happens next to the family. 

One downside was that I felt the last quarter or so was a bit rushed. The story started out better than it ended, but the psychological suspense was still phenomenal. So looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

 

Do you like it when books have cliffhangers?

4.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Gothic · mystery · psychological thriller · suspense

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

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The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Published by Berkley on March 20, 2018

Pages: 336

Genres: mystery, thriller, gothic, suspense, historical fiction

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: Criminal Minds, Cold Case, creepy satisfying books

Read with food: popcorn ~ the suspense is that good; it’s like watching a movie you can’t take your eyes off 

 

Synopsis: 

A suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare…

Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . .

Review:

Murders, deaths that may or may not be accidental, haunted boarding schools, disturbed teenage girls. What more could a reader possibly want in a creepy, can’t put down book?

The Broken Girls alternates between 1950 and 2014. In 1950, 4 girls live in a haunted boarding school, Idlewild, for disturbed/delinquent teenage girls. One of them goes missing. Secrets are uncovered, and nothing is as simple as it seems on the surface. Then in 2014 a body is discovered on the grounds of the now derelict Idlewild.

In between, a young woman is murdered on the grounds. Fiona, the sister of the murdered woman, is now a journalist. Writing an article about the renovations on the grounds of Idlewild. She digs up more than a few secrets that the small town wishes to keep buried.

The Broken Girls is a perfect mix of an unsettling episode of Criminal Minds directed by Matthew Gray Gubler and a satisfying episode of Cold Case.

I definitely recommend you give this haunting book a read!

 

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · mystery · psychological thriller · suspense

Book Review: The Drowning Girls by Paula Treick DeBoard

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The Drowning Girls by Paula Treick DeBoard

Published by Kira on April 26, 2016

Pages: 384

Genres: psychological thriller, mystery, suspense

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: dramatic intense Lifetime Movies, disturbed and smart teenage girls, supposedly perfect rich neighborhoods

Read with food: strawberry lemonade to sip by the pool

 

Synopsis:

Liz McGinnis never imagined herself living in a luxurious gated community like The Palms. Ever since she and her family moved in, she’s felt like an outsider amongst the Stepford-like wives and their obnoxiously spoiled children. Still, she’s determined to make it work—if not for herself, then for her husband, Phil, who landed them this lavish home in the first place, and for her daughter, Danielle, who’s about to enter high school.

Yet underneath the glossy veneer of The Palms, life is far from idyllic. In a place where reputation is everything, Liz soon discovers that even the friendliest residents can’t be trusted—and almost everyone has secrets they’d do anything to protect. So when the gorgeous girl next door befriends Danielle, Liz can’t help but find sophisticated Kelsey’s interest in her shy and slightly nerdy daughter a bit suspicious.

But while Kelsey quickly becomes a fixture in the McGinnis home, Liz’s relationships with both Danielle and Phil grow strained. Now even her own family seems to be hiding things, and it’s not long before their dream of living the high life quickly spirals out of control…

Review: 

The Drowning Girls is an addictive novel.

Creepy, suspense filled, and dramatic people make up the characters in this story. Is the book the most original in terms of plot lines? … No, but it’s so entertaining.

I couldn’t stop reading.

The Drowning Girls has the vibe of a Lifetime Movie and episode of Law and Order SVU. Kelsey, the teenager, is conniving, smart and highly disturbed. Phil, the man she is obsessed with isn’t completely innocent either. The stress from Kelsey’s obsessions reveals the true nature of all involved.

I highly recommend this addictive, page turning, drama filled book!

 

I want to read more books with a similar vibe. Anyone have any suggestions?