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Monday, March 18, 2019

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Release Date - March 5, 2019



I'd heard so many people say that the ending to Beautiful Bad was truly shocking. I saw it coming, so that ended up being a bit of a letdown.

The story focuses heavily on three people. Maddie and Jo were best friends, joined into a friendship during their years in the Balkan Peninsula. The dangers they faced there drew them together. It's also there that Maddie was introduced to a British security officer, Ian. Their relationship grew fast but rocky.

In Kansas, Maddie and Ian are happily married with a young son Charlie. There's been a horrific crime and the police need to unravel what happened.

Beautiful Bad takes place in past, recent past, and present. You get to know Maddie's story when she lived in Bosnia and frequently went to Macedonia to see Jo, as well as her life in New York City and Kansas. Ian's story is told as he is in Iraq. There is also the police officer who responds to the 911 call and hears young Charlie's cries asking why someone hurt him.

The real-time account from the officer drew me into the story. As the story started flipping around from past to present, I started finding myself wishing for more of the current investigation. After a few chapters, I felt that the frequent flips back and forth were slowing the part of the plot that intrigued me. I started to grow tired of Jo and Maddie's story. When I started having to force myself to keep reading, I knew I was in trouble.

There is plenty of suspense in Beautiful Bad, and it started off so strong. I'm sad that it reached a point where it became exactly what I was expecting. I had the ending pegged too soon for this to be a keeper.




Friday, March 15, 2019

House on Fire by Bonnie Kistler

Release Date - March 12, 2019



Imagine if Greg Brady from The Brady Bunch had driven Jan Brady and caused a crash that led to Jan's death. That's the premise behind Bonnie Kistler's House on Fire.

Leigh is a divorce lawyer, so she knows the statistics on how many marriages don't last. She's been through it. When she met builder Pete Conely, she was stunned by how well her twin sons and daughter got along with Pete's son and daughter. Their fifth year anniversary has arrived, so they decide to leave 14-year-old Chrissy at home with her 17-year-old step-brother.

Neither expects the call that will change their lives. Kip's been arrested for DUI with Chrissy in the truck when it goes off the road. Within 12 hours, a traumatic brain injury ends Chrissy's life and Kip is now facing manslaughter charges.

Leigh and Pete are now pitted against each other. Kip swears he didn't do it and that Chrissy was driving because he was drunk. Leigh cannot believe her daughter would ever do such a thing and not tell her. Kip swears there is a witness, though no one has been able to find him. One thing is certain, these events threaten to tear two families apart and end their marriage.

Here's a book that had me hooked from the start. Could I see both Pete and Leigh's desperation and points of view? Sure. Could I side with either? I have to say both made errors that annoyed me at times. I certainly had issues with Leigh's twin boys, though I get them too. Despite these niggles, House on Fire is a book I couldn't put down. I was up early to read on and stayed up far later than normal trying to fit both this book and my nightly binge of an Agatha Raisin show.

I'd been in a bit of a rut since last week. House on Fire cured it. I'm so glad I picked it up.


Friday, March 8, 2019

Convergence by Ginny Yttrup

Release Date - March 1, 2019


Years ago, a stalker tore Denilyn Rossi's life apart. Though he's in jail, recent events convince her that she's being stalked again and all signs point to her original stalker. As a psychology professor and former victim, she has the experience and knowledge to handle what's thrown her way, but when it's you, it's personal and hard to manage.

Adelia Sanchez is a fan of Rossi's work. She has a life to live and things to prove to herself. When she and Deni cross paths, it will lead to unimaginable consequences.

It's been a few years since I've picked up one of Yttrup's novels, but Convergence really intrigued me. It sounded like it was going to be an incredibly creepy ride. 

Sadly, even though chapters were clearly represented as to who was speaking and when it was, I couldn't get past the jumps from one character to the next and past to present. I felt incredibly bogged down by these changes. I was having to really work to keep track and pay attention to the top line of every chapter, and that was a turn off for me. Reading for pleasure shouldn't feel like work. The choppy flow due to the switches made it hard to stay focused and while I wanted to get what was going on, I could never get past that feeling that it felt like I was working to keep up.