The Perfect Roommate by Minka Kent

The Perfect Roommate
by
Minka Kent

Rating:

Is there such a thing as a perfect college roommate? Lauren Wiedenfeld and Meadow Cupples are about to find out. Lauren’s been looking for someone to help with the rent and Meadow is desperate for a place to live. But the college seniors couldn’t be more different. Lauren is rich and beautiful and knows the ins and outs of the Meyer State College party scene. Meadow spends most of her time studying and working for the Sparkle Shine Cleaning Company. They could be good for each other, right?

But this isn’t a story about college friendships because something more sinister is going on. Should Meadow turn down Lauren’s invitations and resist her new friend’s efforts to make her over? For a girl with an unhappy past and no money, it’s too hard to say no. Soon Meadow is completely in the mix, with new clothes, new hair, new friends and lots of drama. Lauren seems to fight with her boyfriend Thayer, a lot. And their friend Tessa likes a guy who pays more attention to Meadow. A side story involving the pregnant wife of the hot English professor may help round out the story, or muddle it up.

Readers may sympathize at first with Meadow, the story’s narrator and underdog, but her motives become more ambiguous and her actions more reckless as the plot develops. A shocking campus murder brings everything to a head as the reader wonders who can be trusted.

The only way to know is to keep on reading this fast-paced and entertaining psychological drama. Plenty of twists and time-released developments guarantee surprises to the finish. It’s a quick, surface-read, and a fun way to spend part of your weekend. A few typos take a bit of the polish away, but the reader will quickly forgive at the next turn.

I recommend The Perfect Roommate to readers who enjoy fast-moving thrillers with two-sided characters and motives.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

 

The Surrogate by Louise Jensen

The Surrogate
by
Louise Jensen

Rating:

How far would you go to have a family?  After trying for years and two failed adoptions, Kat and Nick wonder if they will ever become parents. Kat is shattered and Nick wants to take a break, until Kat’s friend Lisa shows up.

Did you ever think about surrogacy?” she asks.

It seems like the perfect solution, but in any psychological thriller, reader beware. Nothing is at it seems.

Set in England, The Surrogate is a tale of lies, deception and secret painful pasts. Kat and Lisa were girlhood friends, but now there’s a wall between them because of a deadly car accident in which Kat’s boyfriend Jake died. Kat left town to shake off her misery and meets Nick, a chance for happiness.

Nick has his own secret past, however and something isn’t right about Lisa. What to do? Keep reading this exciting story in which even the most imaginative reader won’t guess how it ends.

As the pregnancy progresses, Lisa’s motives come into question. Why is she so evasive? Why does she keep asking for money? And something isn’t right with Nick. Secret text messages and lies about where he’s going make Kat think the worst. Is she being paranoid? But what about the scary figure lurking outside their house?

The author mixes in plenty of side characters with murky and abusive tendencies and the story proceeds with great momentum, as Kat continues to make foolish decisions that dig her deeper into a dark and complicated character dynamic.

I enjoyed reading this fast-paced and entertaining thriller, loaded with twists and turns and plenty of opportunity to get mad at Kat for her bad decisions. Instead of trying to figure it out, I went along for the ride and was rewarded with a wild finish. I also love the cover, which made me want to dig right into the story.

While I thought the story was excellent, I was frustrated with an assortment of grammar mistakes, particularly involving the use of “me” and “I” as well as misplaced apostrophes. These errors take away from the polish of the story. I received my copy of The Surrogate before its September 25 release, so perhaps these mistakes have been corrected.

I recommend The Surrogate to readers who like modern suspenseful stories about relationships.

I received a copy of The Surrogate from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Who’s That Indie Author? Sue Coletta

whos-that-indie-author

Author name:  Sue Coletta

Genre:  Psychological Thriller/Mystery

BooksCleaved, Marred, Wings of Mayhem

          

Bio:  Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is a multi-published author in numerous anthologies and her forensics articles have appeared in InSinC Quarterly. In addition to her popular crime resource blog, Sue co-hosts the Blog Talk Radio show “Partners in Crime.” She’s also the communications manager for the Serial Killer Project and Forensic Science and founder of #ACrimeChat on Twitter.

Favorite thing about being a writer:  Witnessing readers’ reactions to my stories

Biggest challenge as an indie author:  Marketing

Favorite books:  My all-time favorite book is Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. Other favorites include Pressure Points and Bait and Switch by Larry Brooks.

Contact Information:
Website: suecoletta.com
Goodreads Author Sue Coletta
Amazon Author Sue Coletta
Facebook:  @SueColetta1
Twitter: @SueColetta1
YouTube:  Crime Writer Sue Coletta

Awards/special recognition:  Best Author in Crime, Mystery, Heist


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Who’s That Indie Author? Nicholas Nash

Who's That Indie Author pic

the-girl-at-the-bar

Author name:  Nicholas Nash

Genre:  Mystery, Thriller, Fiction

Book:  THE GIRL AT THE BAR

Bio:  Nicholas Nash is the exciting new author of The Girl At The Bar, a psychological thriller about the mysterious disappearance of a brilliant cancer researcher and the quest to find what happened to her. Nicholas resides in the concrete jungle of Manhattan in New York City with his wife and three children. An accomplished finance professional, he has a passion for reading fiction and non-fiction books which inspired him to write an intriguing thriller. Nicholas hopes you enjoy his work. He can be reached at thegirlatthebar@gmail.com.

Favorite thing about being a writer:  Working at your own pace and interacting with readers.

Biggest challenge as an indie author:  Being good at marketing and promotion, in addition to being a good author. Wearing multiple hats basically and doing a good job in multiple roles to be able to get some success.

Favorite bookAtlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and The Prize by Daniel Yergin.

Contact Information:
Website: authornicholasnash.com (under construction)
Facebook: @AuthorNicholasNash
Instagram: NicholasNashAuthor
Goodreads
Amazon


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Why not get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author?

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details, and follow along on Book Club Mom to join the indie author community!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

 

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Good Girl
The Good Girl
by
Mary Kubica

Rating:

 

I enjoy unraveling a story and figuring out what motivates characters and this story is full of things to analyze.  While the The Good Girl is a bit of a mystery, I’d describe it more as a psychological thriller in which the main players are good and bad, have grown up in dysfunctional families and have complicated ideas about love and family.

The story begins when Mia Dennett, a 24-year-old art teacher, doesn’t show up for work.  Her father, James Dennett, a wealthy and influential judge in Chicago, uses his connections to build an investigative team.  Then he goes back to work while Mia’s mother Eve sits at home and worries.  Gabe Hoffman is the detective on the case.  He has a chip on his shoulder and is determined to find Mia if for nothing else than to improve his credibility.

Because the book is structured with a “Before” and “After”, the reader knows a little about its resolution, however, the “After” is full of complications, some of them predictable and some surprising.  It is told through the points of view of Eve, Gabe and Colin, the man responsible for Mia’s disappearance, and it isn’t until late in the book that the reader begins to fully understand her.

I enjoyed most of the story, bought into Mia’s character and developed sympathy for Colin, however, I don’t think the ending’s surprise twist fits the story.

But the author’s poor decision to describe the previously unseen villain in the Epilogue as “black, like the blackest of black bears, like the blubbery skin of the killer whale” ruins what could have been an entertaining read.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon.

Who’s That Indie Author? Vanya Ferreira

Who's That Indie Author pic

Vanya Ferreira

Author name:  Vanya Ferreira

Genre:  Paranormal Short Fiction

BookThe Story of Lucius Cane

The Story of Lucius Cane

Bio: Vanya Ferreira was born in South Africa and spent 5 years of his life in Australia. He has been reading since he can remember and has a passion for writing; he simply finds the syntactical nature of language to be a beautiful and mesmerizing creature. Apart from his short story collection, Vanya is also currently working on a full length psychological crime thriller that should be released before the end of the year.

Favorite thing about being a writer: That I get to share my imagination with the reader. I think that there is nothing quite as exhilarating as someone reading what you have created and to find them liking it.

Biggest challenge as an indie author: Marketing is definitely the most difficult part of being an indie author. Before I published my first book, I always thought that it was the writing and finding the inspiration. I was mistaken. The most difficult part is actually getting people interested in what you have written.

Favorite book: That’s a bit difficult since I have so many but I have to mention The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

Contact Information: Facebook Vanya Ferriera; Twitter: @AuthorVanyaF


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Why not get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author?

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details, and follow along on Book Club Mom to join the indie author community!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

What’s up next? The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train

Lots of you have already read this popular thriller and I’m excited to start The Girl on the Train, so I can jump in on the conversations I see on review blogs and in other media. Amazon readers have posted over 40,000 reviews and Goodreads has over 495,000 ratings! If you’re like me and haven’t read it yet, here’s some background on the story and the author.

What it’s about (from Amazon’s description):

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

 

Paula Hawkins
photo: bookfans.net

Here are some interesting facts about Paula Hawkins:

  • Hawkins was born and raised in Zimbabwe and moved to London with her parents when she was seventeen.
  • She studied economics, politics and philosophy at Oxford.
  • Hawkins used to be a business reporter for The Times of London and during that time wrote a financial advice book called The Money Goddess.
  • Although The Girl on the Train is her first book in the suspense/thriller genre, Hawkins wrote a romantic comedy about a woman who loses her job during the recession. Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista was written under the pen name Amy Silver. Hawkins wrote three more novels under Amy Silver’s name, but these books had limited success.
  • Financial pressures prompted Hawkins to send her unfinished manuscript to publishers, hoping one of them would like her story. They did!
  • Hawkins is currently working on a new book, a psychological thriller about sisters.

Visit these sites for more information about Paula Hawkins and The Girl on the Train.

paulahawkinsbooks.com
Paula Hawkins Author Page on Amazon
Welcoming the Dark Twist in Her Career” by Alexander Alter, Jan. 30, 2015, from The New York Times
Wikipedia article about Paula Hawkins

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

The Farm by Tom Rob Smith

the-farm-by-tom-rob-smithThe Farm
by
Tom Rob Smith

Rating:

When Daniel’s father calls from Sweden to tell him his mother has been committed to a psychiatric hospital, Daniel tells his father, “I’ll book a flight for the morning.” But by morning, his father has already called back. “Daniel, she’s not here!” Daniel’s mother has checked herself out of the hospital and it isn’t long before she calls Daniel and tells him, “I’m sure your father has spoken to you. Everything that man has told you is a lie. I’m not mad. I don’t need a doctor. I need the police. I’m about to board a flight to London. Meet me at Heathrow…”

Tom Rob Smith begins The Farm with a great story premise. It’s filled with mystery and suspense and puts Daniel in an intriguing dilemma – who is telling the truth?

Tilde arrives in London carrying a beat-up satchel, stuffed with chronological evidence implicating her husband, Chris, and others in a violent crime. What follows is a marathon tale of what was supposed to have been a happy retirement on a farm in Tilde’s native Sweden. It’s a race against time because Chris is on his way and will almost certainly commit her to a hospital in London.

The momentum builds, as Smith introduces many mysterious characters with questionable motives. He blurs the lines by adding images of giant elk, fairy tale trolls, Swedish customs and harsh winters. Tilde’s rambling account of events on the farm at times seems plausible, but at other times her story seems far-fetched, her observations more and more paranoid.

I enjoyed reading The Farm because of this interesting storyline, however, its momentum met an abrupt and unsatisfying open-ended finish, with limited explanation. It’s a curious mix of a modern story frame, filled with folk tales, local lore and characters with nearly superhuman physical fitness. Tilde swims out into a chilly river, rows boats, hauls wheelbarrows, paints barns, runs, and rides her bike everywhere, often in the middle of the night. Perhaps I’m just new to the style of this genre. To be fair, Smith’s style reminds me a little of Stieg Larsson’s great Dragon Tattoo trilogy, in which the main character, Lisbeth Salander is one tough heroine.  His characters, especially Lisbeth, are also tremendously strong and tough.  Maybe the authors are just having a little fun while they write. I think Stieg pulls it off beautifully. I’m not sure about Smith…

The Farm is my second book by Smith. I recently read Child 44 and enjoyed this crime thriller, now a movie. I’m not sure why, but in both books Smith has chosen to establish a quirky writing style, using the contractions “should’ve”, “could’ve” and “would’ve” throughout. I find that distracting. In addition, Daniel refers to his mother throughout the book as “my mum” which comes across as a little juvenile and takes away from Daniel’s character.

Overall, however, I found The Farm entertaining, despite its ending and can picture this as a movie. It will be interesting to see what kind of story Smith publishes next.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

What’s up next? The Farm, by Tom Rob Smith

the-farm-by-tom-rob-smith
The Farm
by Tom Rob Smith

I’m excited to begin reading The Farm, an international best seller by Tom Rob Smith. It’s a psychological thriller with a very intriguing plot. Here’s what I know:

Daniel is living in London and his parents are retired in Sweden. One night, Daniel gets a call from his father, telling him that his mother has had a psychotic episode and is in a mental hospital. Daniel makes immediate plans to fly to Sweden, but before he can get out the door, his mother calls.

Everything that man has told you is a lie. I’m not mad… I need the police… Meet me at Heathrow.

When they meet, his mother implicates Daniel’s father in a chilling tale of a crime and Daniel is caught in an impossible situation. Who to believe?

Tom Rob Smith was inspired by his own mother’s psychotic breakdown in which spoke at length of her own delusions.

Smith is the author of Child 44 (check out BCM’s Review), The Secret Speech, and Agent 6, a trilogy. The film Child 44 is now in theaters.

For more information about Tom Rob Smith, you can visit his author website.

Thanks also to Amazon and Wikipedia for the background information about Smith and his books.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson

before i go to sleep pic

Before I Go to Sleep
by
S. J. Watson
Rating:

I was looking forward to reading Before I Go to Sleep. It’s S. J. Watson’s debut novel and it’s billed as a psychological thriller. A movie starring Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman and Mark Strong is due to be released in the UK this week. It’s always dangerous to compare, but I really enjoyed reading Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn and The Silent Wife, by A. S. A. Harrison, and I was ready for more of this genre about creepy relationships.

The opening chapter presents a promising story. Christine Lucas, after a mysterious accident, wakes each morning with no memory of the past. She’s living a life she doesn’t know with a husband she doesn’t recognize. Short term memories last a mere twenty-four hours or less, lost each night when she goes to sleep. A call from Dr. Nash directs her to a journal. At his urging, for the last month, she has recorded her actions and thoughts. Her doctor hopes this journal will help restore her memory and he also thinks it will be a good subject for a paper he’s writing. But Dr. Nash is a secret and so is the journal, kept hidden from her loving husband. Its first page warns her, in capital letters: DON’T TRUST BEN.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? But very quickly, Christine’s journal entries become a curious combination of repetitive tedium (waking, not knowing where she is, who the man next to her is…) and an incredible recall of detailed descriptions and full conversations. The entire story depends on the reader’s acceptance of this cumbersome construct, which must be explained again and again: How she even knows she has a journal each morning (Dr. Nash calls to remind her on a special cell phone); the sequence of her entries (is she writing this as it happens, or just before bed or when she feigns a headache?; where she hides the book, etc. Sometimes the journal reads like a teenage diary, with lots of recaps of Ben telling her he loves her. And every morning, Christine needs to read the entire journal to catch up to where she is on that day. There are some mysterious plot developments revolving around her injury, her previous career, her treatment. Did they have children? Where is the rest of her family? What about friends?

Dramatic moments occur in which vivid, but disturbing images return to Christine and she rushes to record them. We slog through the progress with a minimum of momentum, until we reach a dramatic ending filled with unlikely coincidences. I was disappointed.

The disappointing plot is the main problem of Before I Go to Sleep, but despite my assumption that in this genre, plot rules over characterization, Watson’s characters offer little to redeem this story. In particular, I don’t think he has good insight into a woman’s point of view or of what women in their mid-to-late forties are really like. Christine has a lot of wrinkles, her body is sagging and unrecognizable and her face is blotchy with age spots. Seriously?

And while I strive to write reviews with a PG rating, I must mention the author’s overuse of a certain four-letter word. I won’t go into details, but this word, plus other descriptions are ridiculous, adolescent, and they add nothing. I hope I never read another sex scene like the ones in this book!

I’m usually a positive person. I can find something to like in almost everything I read. So to remain true to this attitude, I will tell you that the premise of the story is good, though not necessarily original. This could have been a much better book if its storyline did not depend so much on Christine’s journal. It’s a quick, light read, despite the repetition, appropriate for the beach, if you can still get there in September!

Have you read Before I Go to Sleep? What did you think? 

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!