REVIEW: DEAD TO HER, BY SARAH PINBOROUGH

Marriage can be murder…

SOMETHING OLD

Marcie’s affair with Jason Maddox catapulted her into the world of the elite.
Old money, old ties, old secrets. Marcie may have married into this world—
but she’ll never be part of it.

SOMETHING NEW

Then Jason’s boss brings back a new wife from his trip to London.
Young, attractive, reckless—nobody can take their eyes off Keisha.
Including Marcie’s husband.

SOMETHING YOU CAN NEVER, EVER UNDO…

Some people would kill for the life Marcie has—what will she do to keep it?

 

Marcie is trying to fit into her new life in Savannah without letting the past keep her captive.

Keisha wants the money she would have if her wealthy and brutish husband dies.

Jason longs to take over the company from his boss.

All of these people have secrets, and the darkness that keeps them from being truly good will surely dictate what happens next in their lives.

Dead to Her unfolds from the perspectives of them all, and we are left trying to guess who has suddenly turned a corner into true darkness. Just when I thought I had it figured out, the author surprised me in the end.

An enjoyable read, but it seemed to take forever to read it as I sank further into the darkness with the characters. 4.5 stars.

***

REVIEW: THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND, BY KAREN HAMILTON

 

Juliette loves Nate.

She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.

The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back.

She is the perfect girlfriend. And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain…

 

My Thoughts: The Perfect Girlfriend is narrated in the first-person voice of Elizabeth/Lily/Juliette. After her break-up with Nate, she has created a new life for herself, while keeping a close eye on him, planning for that time when they will be together again. Her obsession and her total focus dominate the pages.

She knows his schedule and regularly stops in at his empty flat when she knows he is on a flight somewhere. She manages to gain entry, and she knows his passwords so that she is able to check his online accounts.

Her behavior escalates alarmingly, and every new plan seems to bring her closer to a psychotic break, reminiscent of the “bunny boiler” of a familiar movie. Just when you think she can’t go to darker depths, she shocks us with the intensity of her actions. And yet she carries on with some sort of normalcy in her job as a flight attendant. She even earns a promotion as a safety ambassador.

As we turn the pages, numbed by the boldness of each move she makes, we learn bits and pieces of her childhood and adolescence…and the origins of her destructive behavior. By the end, I couldn’t stop reading, waiting for the stunning ending, wondering who she would target next. 4.5 stars.***

REVIEW: THE BEAUTY OF THE END, BY DEBBIE HOWELLS

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As Noah Calaway tries to sort out his life in the Devon cottage left to him by his Aunt Delilah, his memories carry him back in time, to days long ago when he fell in love with a goddess.

That is how he saw April Moon, whom he met in school in Musgrove.

Nowadays, though, he is trying to write, having given up his law practice, but still takes on occasional cases. So when a call from an old friend, Will Farrington, brings disturbing news, some of those old memories intrude into his current reality, and he is catapulted back in time.

Will’s phone call informed him that April had taken an overdose, but before that happened, her stepfather, Norton, had been murdered. And the police think she did it.

Naturally, Noah’s protective urges come into play and he heads off to Tonbridge, to the hospital where she is in a coma.

The Beauty of the End reeled me in from the first pages, as it swept back and forth in time, from the 1990s, when Noah first met Will, and also when he first became enthralled by the beautiful April, to the present. Could anything be more alluring than this redheaded girl who captivated his heart and kept him spellbound through most of his life? There had even been a time when they were living together, planning to marry. But something happened to change the trajectory of their lives together. Were the secrets and the hidden darkness holding April as captive as she held Noah? Could something devastating from her past have inserted itself into their lives and derailed their futures?

The story unfolds from Noah’s first person perspective, but as other characters told their stories, a fuller picture began to emerge. One of the voices belonged to a fifteen year old girl named Ella, whose connection to the other characters we would eventually realize.

Had Noah been unable to see beyond the beauty of April’s looks and the self she chose to show him? Did she keep her hidden thoughts and secrets from him to protect him, or to protect his illusion of her? Why did Will set out to destroy both April and Noah? What were his fatal secrets and flaws?

Solving the mystery of what happened to April in the present, as well as the past, would keep me guessing until the very end. Until finally, we see the choices she had to make, and why she made them. A complex story that I could not put down, although the complexity sometimes led to confusion and a feeling of not being able to sort the facts from the manipulations. Therefore, 4 stars.