Wednesday, February 28, 2018

I Am Watching You

Book: I am Watching You
Author: Teresa Driscoll

When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.

A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life.

Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own.

Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella.-Goodreads

Review: This was a deliciously creepy book. Ella is on a train when she sees two young girls traveling. Young men introduce themselves to the girls and sit down. Ella can't help overhearing that the men just got out of prison. Ella is alarmed-she heard the girls say where they are from, should she try to contact their parents about this? She decides to stay out of it and it shocked the next morning when one of the girls is missing. What happened to Anna, could Ella have prevented this? 

Told in multiple narratives, we follow Ella as she struggles with guilt for not taking action, Sarah (Anna's friend) who has lied to everyone and the police about what happened that night as well as Anna's father, who also has things to hide. Well crafted and engaging, I really liked this one!

Grade: 4/5

The Almost Sisters

Book: The Almost Sisters
Author: Joshilyn Jackson

Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs' weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.

It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She's having a baby boy - an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old's life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel's marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she's been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.

Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother's affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she's pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she's got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie's been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family's freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows. -Goodreads

Review: This book was a nice surprise.  When I started it, I thought it was going to be a lighthearted and funny book a a single pregnant woman living with her elderly grandmother. Wow, I was so wrong. After a fun one night stand at a comic convention in Atlanta, author and illustrator Leia finds herself pregnant with 'Batman's' baby.' Before telling anyone in her family,she ends up back in her hometown trying to convince her elderly grandmother she needs to move into assisted living. With her niece in tow, Leia finds that there is more than meets the eye to her grandmother and history. 

This book had a lot of heart. I loved Lei and thought she was funny and insightful. I will definitely read more from this author.

I hoped she wouldn’t realize how spectacular she was until she was twenty-five and safely past letting it ruin her.

Grade: 4/5

Sociopath's Obsession

Book: Sociopath's Obsession
Series: Sociopaths Duet #1
Author: V.F. Mason

Life, as I knew it, was over one year ago.
I lost my family, my home and any support that came with it.
Living in a crappy apartment with my roommate and working two jobs was not how I envisioned my future.
However, that was one of the things my family had taught me.
Dreams and illusions held no power in the real world.
All this was worth it though as long as I knew I was safe.
Until he showed up, shattering any peace I had.

Violence towards those who wronged me was my only salvation and revenge.
Nothing brought me greater pleasure than the pain and suffering I inflicted on my victims.
Until I met her.
She became my obsession.
My Sapphire.
If I were a better man, I would have left her alone and never made her part of my life.
But I was a monster.
And monsters didn't have hearts.-Goodreads

Review:  Sapphire (the only child of a wealthy family) has an intense sexual experience with a handsome stranger at one of her parents house parties. Afterwards, she discovers a horrible truth about her father. In an attempt to address the situation, Sapphire, along with her best friend, end up cut off financially and emotionally from their families. One year later, the girls are at a nigh club in NYC when Sapphire runs into the handsome stranger and his twin brother. When she receives an email from a serial killer at-large known as Sociopath letting her know she is his next victim, she turns to one of the twins for help.

This book has a lot going on-kidnapping, murder, suicide, sex trafficking, child rape, twins, sex. If you have any sort of triggers about difficult subject matter, do not read this book. While the romance itself is dark (serial killer kidnaps a woman he's in love with), the most difficult and heartbreaking parts to read are what happened to the twins as children. It was horrifying. I can understand why Sociopath is a...sociopath (he is definitely more Dexter Morgan than Ted Bundy). I think the only thing could help him are intensive years of therapy (not a sexy woman with piercing blue eyes) but hey, it's a romance so you have to go with it. 

Grade: 3/5

Dark Whispers

Book: Dark Whispers
Author: Joanne Macgregor

When a patient describes an experience of mental torture and sexual mutilation by a gynaecologist at the private hospital where she works, psychologist Megan Wright decides to investigate. Determined to find out the truth and stop the abuse, but bound to silence by the ethics of confidentiality, Megan must enter the dark mind of a dangerously disturbed man.

Between the anaesthesia and the awakening, are the dark whispers.-Goodreads

Review:  Megan Wright is a successful psychologist at a private hospital. When one of her patients is still struggling months after a gynecology surgery (that did not go as planned), Megan does a session of hypnosis to see if they can figure out what happened. She is shocked when it seems the surgical gynecologist was psychologically abusive and possibly mutilated the patient's genitals for no medical reason.  Megan begins to investigate and is horrified to find a pattern of abused women. She is equally horrified when she suspects one of her male patients is the gynecologist. How can Megan bring this matter to justice when she is bound by ethics and confidentiality as a psychologist?

This is my first book by Macgregor and while I read a lot of thrillers, this was definitely unlike anything I've read before. A doctor who is psychologically abusive (by what he whispers to them before surgery) and sexually mutilating women is downright creepy and horrifying on every level. I think I read somewhere that this book was inspired by a doctor who did similar things in real life and it's is disgusting on every level. 

I really enjoyed the therapy session Megan had with her patients and the sections written from the point of the view of the depraved gynecologist. I wish there were more sections written from  his point of view (especially more flashback scenes, we had a few and it explained why he did what he did, I was wanting...more). I also wanted to know more about Megan's past and relationship with her family. 

Overall, I enjoyed this however I think this book would have been stronger if it had been set in the pre-Internet era. After learning the gynecologist's name and knowing he worked in the same hospital as her, Megan made no attempt to see what he looked like. She did look up his licensing to see if anyone had lodged any complaints against him, but I would have immediately looked him up on social media platforms (FaceBook, Twitter, LinedIn) and Healthgrades. The hospital itself should have had a website with physician profiles and at the very least, she could have asked her patient, who was his victim, what he looked like. Too much of the book was spent on if one of her patients was him or not. This was just not believable in this day and age. And the fact that her office manager didn't get insurance information or documentation from patients (I always have to provide an insurance card and at the very least a copy of my drivers license for any doctors visit) was not believable. Maybe (a big maybe) this would fly the first visit but subsequent visits?

Overall, I enjoyed it and I will read more from this author. 

Grade: 3/5