Book Review | The Promise by Teresa Driscoll

Book Description:

It was their darkest secret. Three schoolgirls made a promise – to take the horrible truth of what they did to the grave.

Thirty years later, Beth and Sally have tried to put the trauma behind them. Though Carol has distanced herself from her former friends, the three are adamant that the truth must never come to light, even if the memory still haunts them.

But when some shocking news threatens to unearth their dark secret, Beth enlists the help of private investigator Matthew Hill to help her and Sally reconnect with estranged Carol ­– before the terrible act they committed as teenagers is revealed.

Beth wishes she could take back the vow they made. But somebody is watching and will stop at nothing to ensure the secret stays buried. Now, with her beloved family in peril, can Beth still keep the promise?

This book was very well-written and left me feeling many emotions at the end. With much suspense and time travelling with the character perspective shifts, we learn about three young ladies who were in boarding school together. A notice that the school will be demolished and an urgent need to contact Carol, their estranged friend, Beth and Sally seek out to find her and get closure after some traumatic events they shared as teenagers.

Matthew Hill is a private detective with his own history and begins to date Sally while they search for Carol. The story begins with Beth and introduces us to her family and boring little life. But as the story unfolds, we travel back to 30 years earlier and see what life was like for young Beth, Sally and Carol. Many painful memories surface as they consider returning to the school before it is torn down, and their deadly sin begs to be found out. The guilt and the pain of that time affects each of them differently. One retreats from all of them, one seems to be in denial and one seems to be depressed and want to make things right so they can all move on.

I felt the story flowed rather well, I had questions throughout the read that were eventually answered in the last part of the book, and the big reveal of what the promise really is, is revealed within the first half of the book, so it’s not an entirely long time to find out what happened. How they respond becomes the focus of the book and also how they navigate some harassment issues when it appears someone knows what they’ve done and wants to bring it to light.

At the very end of the book, I became emotional, for the reveal of why Carol had pulled away and the truth of so many things that tend to end friendships, it was sad to read and also made complete sense to me. I felt all of it was believable and the characters well established. I appreciate Teresa’s writing and would read something else by her anytime.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | The Exes’ Revenge by Jo Jakeman

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Book Description: A wickedly dark debut thriller about three women who’ve all been involved with the same man and realize the one thing they have in common is that they all want revenge against him…

Divorces are often messy, and Imogen’s is no exception. Phillip Rochester is controlling, abusive, and determined to make things as difficult as possible. When he shows up without warning demanding that Imogen move out of their house by the end of the month or he’ll sue for sole custody of their young son, Imogen is ready to snap.

In a moment of madness, Imogen does something unthinkable–something that puts her in control for the first time in years. She’s desperate to protect her son and to claim authority over her own life.

But she wasn’t expecting both Phillip’s ex-wife and new girlfriend to get tangled up in her plans. These three very different women–and unlikely allies–reluctantly team up to take revenge against a man who has wronged them all.

The book opens with a funeral for Phillip Rochester. And among the attendees are Imogen, Phillip’s wife on paper, Ruby, Phillip’s first wife, and Naomi, Phillip’s newest girlfriend who caused Imogen and Phillip to split. The contrast between these women gets revealed as the story unravels. Phillip is a very well known decorated policeman, but has a very dark side of him. And in his controlling demeanor, he is physically and verbally abusive to these women. As more and more women seem to fall for him, the worse he becomes. Imogen is the only one of the three women to have a child with Phillip, so Allistair becomes her saving grace and focus of protection. Unfortunately, she is unable to go to the police, so she weathers much of what happens on her own.

Without revealing too much, the three of them end up in a situation where they all have to go up against Phillip in order to save their lives, and it’s absolutely insane! Slowly over the course of the book, manipulation and control seethes from Phillip, pinning these women down and taking away their confidence. It’s easy to dislike certain characters and then agree with others. And much of the dialogue was believable, especially in certain conversations where emotions could hinder full on thinking. I enjoyed the book and felt like it drew me in. I read it fairly quickly and there’s a wonderful feeling of satisfaction at the end. If physical or emotional abuse is a trigger for you, you may tread with caution or avoid. If you can skip over parts that may be uncomfortable, I say go for the ride…

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Berkley  Publishing Group and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Behind a Closed Door by Adele O’Neill

behind a closed door

Book Description:

What if everything in your life was a lie?

An emotionally tense story of love, loyalty, betrayal and revenge. Perfect for the fans of Louise Jenson.

DUBLIN – For the past two years Jill Ryan has tried to keep her darkest secrets deeply buried and remain relatively anonymous. Haunted by her tragic past and struggling to keep her life together, Jill soon realizes that the last person she can trust is herself.

KILKENNY – Only Heather Martin knows the lengths her husband will go to teach her a lesson and Heather has had enough. Faced with the impossible choice of saving herself or staying to care for her ailing father, Heather has a choice to make. But does she have what it takes to survive? When Detectives Louise Kennedy in Dublin and Tony Kelly in Kilkenny begin to investigate, their dark discoveries collide unravelling a complex web of secrets that stretch far and wide.

The title itself was what drew me in.  Who of us doesn’t like to know what really goes on behind a closed door?  We may think we know things about certain people, but this book revealed that is not always the case.

This book was crazy!  And I mean that in a good, couldn’t-put-down, suspenseful way!  This is the first book I have read by Adele O’Neill. It really grabbed me within the first chapter, and within a few minutes, I was almost in tears (this book has graphic, descriptive scenes of physical and emotional abuse), but knew there was a heroine that I wanted to see to the end!

There are two locations, and two time periods, so the book does jump back and forth between them.  However, the writing is done very well to keep you on track as you’re following along.  The characters were extremely believable, and realistic.  Heather’s husband, Mike, is consistently the resident jerk, wearing the proverbial mask and acting like all is well, meanwhile, the battered wife, Heather’s  behavior fits the mold for what you’d expect from someone in that type of environment.

I enjoyed the plot, the way that things lined up, the dramatic moments of fury and failure, but also the successes along the way, and the slow reveals.  I didn’t feel that the ending was super climactic, I just felt like it tied up all of the loose ends nicely, and as a reader of this type of genre, I could see the link ahead of time, but that doesn’t mean the ride wasn’t worth it.  I would read another book by this author, and have already downloaded Brothers and Sisters.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Aria Fiction.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 ( “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Dysfunction Interrupted by Audrey Sherman, PhD

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The title for this book may sound like a quick self-help book, but let me assure you, Dr. Sherman goes very in-depth.  For those struggling with anxiety and depression, this book is all-inclusive and a vital asset to the sufferer.

She breaks the book down into three parts.

Part One concisely breaks down common dysfunctional home scenarios (namely parenting types that include: violence/abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse, depressive, histrionic, abandoning, invalidating, perfectionistic, controlling, and non-disciplinarians) and she presents case studies of clients who exhibit symptomatic manifestations as a result of upbringing.

Part Two deals with symptom sets and explains in detail where they stem from (namely anxiety, attachment problems, attention and focus problems, boundary issues, caretaking, codependency, chronic anger, depression, hypervigilance, learned helplessness, locus of control, low self-esteem, personality disorders, poor coping strategies, relationship and trust issues, and underachievement).  These are quite concise and explanatory.

Part Three gets to the meat of the situation and shows how to address the issues found in parts one and two, and where to go from there.  This is an amazingly comprehensive book that doesn’t beat around the bush.  Dr. Sherman is straight-forward, and compassionate about helping those who struggle with anxiety and depression.  To get a better handle on your own symptoms, check this book out and see if it doesn’t get you on the road to healing.

I was given this book for free by Netgalley and Concord Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  Many thanks for the gift and opportunity to present my opinion.