Review: Unhinge by Calia Read

Review: Unhinge by Calia ReadUnhinge Published by Ballantine Books Genres: Romantic Suspense, Suspense
Pages: 401
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Hold your breath and count to ten. Soon it will be over before it ever began.

No matter how many times Victoria Donovan repeats that phrase to herself, she’s still trapped behind the walls of a mental institution. Once upon a time, her life was like a fantasy: Wes, the handsome fiancé, followed by a storybook wedding and a white picket fence. But then a picture-perfect marriage twisted into something sinister. And as Victoria’s world warped from dream to nightmare, her husband’s obsessions pushed her beyond the breaking point.

At first Fairfax Mental Health Institute seems like a safe place for Victoria to heal with her baby, Evelyn, and to hide from Wes, presumed dead by everyone except Victoria. Her husband is still alive, she has no doubt: He slips into her room at night to torment and tempt her. One smoldering kiss and she’s powerless. Of course, no one believes her about these visits. When she meets a sexy, mysterious stranger intent on helping her recall her past, Victoria isn’t sure she can trust him. But deep in her heart, she also knows that the only way out of Fairfax is to remember the way she came in.

I finished Unhinge by Calia Read about two months ago and that woman knows how to fuck your mind a thousand ways till Sunday and leave you with your jaw hanging on the ground. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Okay this is only my second title from her but both times I have been completely flabbergasted!

Never am I ever able to predict anything that happens in her books, I drive myself half insane trying to come up with scenarios that all end up being wrong.

Pretend Mommy had me super intrigued since Unravel and whoa… whoa… whoa…

Victoria whether she be the villain or the victim her story is one that kept me on the edge of my seat! I’ve said this before but just to drive my point home, Calia Read is one of the most descriptive writers I have ever read from. She describes without over indulging in needless details but the picture she paints is vivid and vast. I can see everything playing out in my mind from the garden Victoria has grown to the master bedroom she shares with her husband.

Pretend Mommy, Victoria, is a character we were introduced to in Unravel as mentioned but we know from the start of her story she is already “crazy” seeing as she is in Fairfax to begin with. So with that knowledge it’s hard to believe that she really isn’t crazy and I mean her nickname is Pretend Mommy.  This is one of the reasons I am basically bald after reading Calia Reads books because for the life of me I cannot predict anything, she is just that damn good! 

Carrying on with Victoria she has no knowledge of how she ended up in a crazy facility or why she is there… her only memories are of her husband and even those are extra spotty. Wes seems to be the perfect husband who gives Victoria the entire world and they live this perfectly polished life until the subject of children is brought up.  It definitely adds in some kinks to what seems to perfect when they become reproductively challenged.  Their days become longer, nights turn colder, touches no longer linger and they can’t seem to find their way back to what once was.  

Then… it all makes sense and my mind is FUCKED! I had to keep reading the same parts over and over not because anything was wrong  with it but because I just couldn’t believe what happened like how did she pull all that off right under my nose.  Bam, bam, and bam freaking damn genius Calia Read is.  

If you like/love suspense you NEED to read this!~

 


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Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

Review:  Hidden Bodies by Caroline KepnesHidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
Published by Atria Books Feb. 23, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 448
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Amazon US
Goodreads

Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: truelove. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice...

Oh, Caroline Kepnes.  I am so in love with your brain, and I mean that in the least creepy way possible.  Like, I’m certain you and I are meant to be the bestest of friends.  We can have slumber parties and I’ll brush your hair while you tell me the fucked up shit that runs through your mind.

See?  We were meant to be.  (Call me!)

Ahem.  Anyway.  Hidden Bodies.   THIS BOOK!  You guys, if you haven’t read YOU, which is book one, we cannot be friends.  Like, at all.  That book was a top 2015 read for me, and Hidden Bodies will absolutely be a top 2016 read for me as well.  There is just something about Kepnes‘ writing style that keeps you hooked.   It’s haunting, yet playful.  Freaky, yet endearing.  Her characters are the perfect anti-heroes, yet… you find yourself falling in love with and rooting for them.

Both books follow Joe.  Joe is a perfect man fucked up guy.  Joe is normal has issues.  But Joe has a lot of love that he really just wants to give to somebody…even if he ends up killing everyone around them, and well…. them, too.  Like I said, Joe has issues.

“Fucking and killing are the same damn thing.”

Closeup view portrait of one handsome bearded young macho man with strong look hazel eyes and sexy lips standing in light looking forward in studio on black background horizontal picture

 

Spoiler alert, but in book one…Joe kills the woman he stalks, falls in love with, and dates.  Yeah, their love story doesn’t really end well.  So when this book starts and his new girlfriend steals from him and runs away, he goes across the fucking country to find her, because Joe needs answers.

And there in the good ‘ol Hollywood Hills, Joe falls in love with Love.  And she. is. perfection.  She’s just as crazy as Joe, maybe a bit more at times…and I LOVED them together.

“Love’s eyes remain on me and I know.  She’s a pervert too.”

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Joe and Love’s love story isn’t perfect.  There are so many ups and down, so many secrets, so many ‘Awww they’re meant to be!’s that you never really know if these two psychopaths are perfect for each other or if they are going to go up in flames.  Literally.

“She is evil.  She is dangerous.  She is incapable of love.  She is a sociopath.  Worse than borderline.  She’s criminal.”

Plus, the side characters and the many, multiple intertwined plot lines?  #^%#&@(#*$^#(@   Gah!  Be still, my heart.  No one can write this shit like Caroline.  No one.

So… the question of the day is:  Can Joe and Love have their happily-ever-fucked-up-after with a trail of dead bodies following them into the sunset?  Can Joe keep his knife secrets away from Love?  Will Love still be breathing by the end of the book?  Will Joe?  WILL ANYONE??

Well, you’ll have to read to find out.  And trust me, this book is freaking phenomenal and you will love every single second of it.

 


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Review: He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker

Review: He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. TuckerHe Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker
February 2, 2016
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Amazon US
Goodreads

A woman who almost had it all . . .

On the surface, Celine Gonzalez had everything a twenty-eight-year-old woman could want: a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a job that (mostly) paid the bills, and an acceptance letter to the prestigious Hollingsworth Institute of Art, where she would finally live out her dream of becoming an antiques appraiser for a major auction house. All she had worked so hard to achieve was finally within her reach. So why would she kill herself?

A man who was supposed to be her salvation . . .

Maggie Sparkes arrives in New York City to pack up what’s left of her best friend’s belongings after a suicide that has left everyone stunned. The police have deemed the evidence conclusive: Celine got into bed, downed a lethal cocktail of pills and vodka, and never woke up. But when Maggie discovers a scandalous photograph in a lock box hidden in Celine’s apartment, she begins asking questions. Questions about the man Celine fell in love with. The man she never told anyone about, not even Maggie. The man Celine believed would change her life.

Until he became her ruin.

On the hunt for evidence that will force the police to reopen the case, Maggie uncovers more than she bargained for about Celine’s private life—and inadvertently puts herself on the radar of a killer. A killer who will stop at nothing to keep his crimes undiscovered.

I love it when an author tries something new. Win or fail, you have to take chances in life.  This business isn’t always (rarely, in fact) kind to such risks by authors. Genre hopping backfires quite often.  Yet, I’m still a fan when they try.  However, I can say, unequivocally, that Tucker did not fail with this risk.  She may have hit the scene as a romance writer, but she excels just as easily as a suspense writer.

If you go into He Will Be My Ruin with any expectations of it being remotely like her previous titles, you’ll not get what your looking for. This is not a romance. There is some budding relations and sexual interactions but I would never classify this as romantic.  Let’s just be clear about that up front.

What this is – is a murder mystery at it’s core.  Maggie’s life long friend ends up dead in her New York apartment, police rule it a suicide but Maggie is less than convinced.  With no hope of help from authorities, she dives into the facts and clues herself and recruits some help along the way.   While digging, she realizes her friend, Celine, had a much different life than she led Maggie to believe and the secrets she held, the people she knew, led to her untimely death.

And also to the danger Maggie finders her own life in now, because there is still a killer on the loose.

From the beginning of this tale there were two fairly clear suspects for me and I bounced back and forth between them often.  I also had moments when I thought side characters were playing a bigger part in the backstory than the story suggested – I played with several scenarios in my head.  Hoping some would flesh out and hoping others wouldn’t.  All of that is what makes a great suspense story for me.  If I have it all figured out too early on, I won’t want to continue reading.  This wasn’t the case here, Tucker kept my mind working. 

While I don’t know that this is going to be as explosive of a seller as say, Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, I can most definitely see it finding a loving home with those who gravitate to those type of titles.  It’s got a lot of what those big selling Mystery / Suspense books have.  I think the only thing that really lacked for me was a bit of character development, for a couple of the main players.  I think that would have cemented my interest in them all the more.  However, even without that, He Will Be My Ruin will be a memorable read for me and I thoroughly enjoyed every page. 

 

About K.A. Tucker

Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons.

She has come a long way from working in crayon. All four books (ANATHEMA, ASYLUM, ALLEGIANCE and ANOMALY) in her best selling YA Paranormal Fantasy series – Causal Enchantment- are available now.

Her USA Today best selling New Adult Contemporary, TEN TINY BREATHS–originally self-published–was acquired by Atria Books (a division of Simon & Schuster), and is available now, along with subsequent books in the series: IN HER WAKE, ONE TINY LIE, FOUR SECONDS TO LOSE, and FIVE WAYS TO FALL. Also out from Atria Books is her Romantic Suspense series: BURYING WATER, BECOMING RAIN, CHASING RIVER, SURVIVING ICE, and coming in February, 2016, her first adult suspense novel, HE WILL BE MY RUIN.

K.A. is a voracious reader and currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and a chug.


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Review: Defenseless by Corinne Michaels

Review: Defenseless by Corinne MichaelsDefenseless by Corinne Michaels
Published by Baae Publishing December 19, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 324
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Goodreads

**CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE STANDALONE! ** My life is a secret. His life is dangerous. We're both stubborn, calculating, and controlling. Mark Dixon doesn't know what he's getting into. He doesn't know his games could cost us our lives. I have to do what is necessary to keep us alive, and that means guarding my heart. But I know I'm defenseless against him, and in the end, he'll force me to surrender.

Where do I begin…?

As I read this book it was like watching a beautifully detailed movie play out right before my eyes, I was literally on the edge of my seat in a frantic matter.  How does Corinne Michaels do this to me time and time again..?!  How does she pull me in by my hair and I must admittedly say I stay willingly.  This is book 5 in her Salvation Series and Mark & Charlie stole the show! Even though their story line is intertwined with the first 4 books I felt like this was a whole new plot filled with my favorite kinds of TWISTS! 

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I tell myself that he’s part of the mission, he’s a liability, but the warmth of his body blankets me and makes me want to stay here. 

These two… Their easy banter was so fun and lively, Mark is still funny as ever and his NEED to irritate the shit out of Charlie had to be one of my favorite things about this whole book.  But more so his persistence to make her realize how amazing they could be together was so charming in an unconventional way of course, but Charlie is a head strong one so this man had his work cut out for him.  I also loved how he wasn’t afraid to tell her “fuck you” when she seemingly was out of line, he didn’t let her use him as a punching bag at her disposal.  

Mark has proven time and time again how loyal and team oriented he is but seeing how the main focus was on him and all of his traits were on display made me realize how much more depth to him there was.  Due to his easy going and funny demeanor it is always easy to think nothing gets to him, but when his wall does come down and we get a glimpse into his interior you see how he’s holding the weight of the world within his hands and he to needs someone by his side, preferably Charlie. 

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“… But you . . .” is tone softens, as do his arms, “Make me forget for a minute. You’re like some goddamn addiction I can’t shake. I’m known for my self-restraint, so what the hell have you done? Why the hell do you consume my fucking mind?”

Charlie, Charlie, Charlie… She is such a no shit taking, I’ll make you eat shit, don’t mess with me heroine and I L O V E it.  Her resistance to Mark was short lived I’ll say but she put up a good fight until there just wasn’t any more fight to give.  But a mix of trust, intimacy, and work are all very different things and in the line of work these two professionalize in trust is not something that comes easy.  So how can they work together to try and work towards a common end goal without killing each other first? 

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Right now, he controls me.  He determines whether we kiss, what it’ll be like, and for the first time in my life – I surrender. 

I was very surprised at how suspenseful this book turned out to be, I mean I was expecting something amazing but this surpassed any expectations I had.  Once things unraveled I was literally a puddle of a mess with a jaw dropped completely out of place!  But that’s honestly what made me connect with Defenseless, that the setting was true to the characters and everything had such a meaningful flow and the pace was perfect and kept my attention throughout. 

Now Jackson Cole will always be my number one but that doesn’t mean I love Mark any less and you’d be a fool to not read this! 

 

About Corinne Michaels

Corinne Michaels is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of The Salvation Series (Beloved, Beholden, Consolation, Conviction & Defenseless), and Say You’ll Stay. She’s an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife. After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness.

Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers were librarians, which only intensified her love of reading. After years of writing short stories, she couldn’t ignore the call to finish her debut novel, Beloved. Her alpha heroes are broken, beautiful, and will steal your heart.


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