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  • The Perfect Wife

  • A Jessie Hunt Psychological Suspense Thriller, Book One
  • By: Blake Pierce
  • Narrated by: Laura Bannister
  • Length: 8 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3

Criminal profiler in training Jessie Hunt is sure she's finally put the darkness of her childhood behind her. She and her husband, Kyle, just moved into a Westport Beach mansion. But soon after their arrival, Jessie begins to notice a series of strange developments. The neighbors - and their au pairs - all seem to be hiding secrets. The mysterious yacht club Kyle is desperate to join is rife with cheating spouses. And the notorious serial killer being held at the psychiatric hospital where Jessie is completing her degree seems to know more about her life than is normal - or safe. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A touch of “Silence of the Lambs” and Stepford Wives/Illuminati

  • By Jenn on 01-23-19

A touch of “Silence of the Lambs” and Stepford Wives/Illuminati

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-23-19

I liked this book, although there was quite a bit going on with the protagonist’s character development — but I assume it’s just to set the stage for series. Jessie is finishing-up her Master’s degree in criminal profiling but is also starting a new life with her husband in the suburbs of L.A. and they join this exclusive country club that seems super sketch — but mostly just for the wives. Throughout the story Jessie makes many visits to see a notorious serial killer in a high security facility as part of her project to get her degree. All this while trying to figure out why the country club they belong to is so strange. But as I said there is a lot going on so all the aspects and details were just dipped into, likely to set the stage for the next books which I will definitely listen to. Entertaining all around, I think subsequent books will flow much better from here.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 14 Days to Die

  • By: A.B. Whelan
  • Narrated by: Lisa Flanagan
  • Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 8

Stay-at-home mom Sarah Johnson has the perfect family - a handsome, hardworking husband and two healthy and beautiful children. At least, that's what she's been telling herself for years. After the tragedies in her youth, Sarah deemed living a lie easier than dwelling on the past and facing her everyday failures. But Sarah's world is about to crumble around her when she receives a phone call from a man with a heavy foreign accent telling her that her perfect husband has put a price on her head. She is offered two weeks to come up with a counteroffer or die. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not great writing, some silly parts.

  • By ashley on 12-26-18

Entertaining but not great

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-28-18

This storyline was somewhat entertaining at times –– but it was just barely that because overall it was extremely implausible and unbelievable (more so than the usual mystery/suspense/thriller) and disconnected. I agree with other reviews that it was quite silly at times. The mother had little "motherly" instinct or drive, she always mentions her kids and her love for them but she isn't really driven or motivated enough by them. This is only compared to how almost all mothers in other stories become so determined when their children are involved. The format of the story telling was interesting with the police interviews in-between chapters, but the narrator did not pause enough between so I often got mixed up when the chapters ended and the police interviews blended right in, I even listened on a slower speed and it was still quite fast. I would not recommend the book but even though I was not bored by it, I also wasn't at all impressed. The story had all the right elements for a really great and solid mystery/thriller/suspense: infidelity/untrustworthy spouse, deceptively happy family life, murder, mysterious third-party threats, dark/disturbing past –– but the development and details were a disjointedly executed and the ending got very convoluted and far-fetched and very disconnected to the overall storyline.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Stepmother

  • By: Diana Diamond
  • Narrated by: Susanna Burney
  • Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 2

When Steven Armstrong tells his children he has fallen in love, he expects them to be happy that his life as a lonely 65-year-old widower is over. Instead, their father's intended - 33-year-old personal trainer Charlene Hendricks - is exactly the kind of woman they fear. Through marriage, she becomes not only the stepmother to these three grown children, but the rival for their father's world-class fortune. Suddenly, an attack is made on Charlene's life. All the children are suspect, but which one has the best motive? 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Right elements but poor execution

  • By Jenn on 12-28-18

Right elements but poor execution

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-28-18

Although this book was not boring, it was lacking in the sense that it there was almost zero character-relationship and timeline development–– the events and time passed with no sense of how or when or what events led the characters to all of a sudden be really close or fall in love or hate each other etc. Almost everything unfolded without proper evolution so it was not believable to the point of confusion. It was almost as if the audience wasn't privy to certain things occurring behind the scenes, leaving us puzzled as to how and why things were happening the way they did. There were many instances where I wondered what what could possibly occur next as it frequently seemed like there was so much time left in the book. Overall, the relationships and the timeline of the plot were very disappointingly executed and prevented it from being a decent story.

  • Keep Her Close

  • A Gripping Psychological Thriller with Edge-of-Your-Seat Suspense
  • By: Erik Therme
  • Narrated by: Patricia Rodriguez
  • Length: 7 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    2.5 out of 5 stars 6

Then: Three-year-old Ally was found alone in a parking lot. She was barefoot and dressed only in a yellow sundress. In the middle of winter. What kind of person would abandon their daughter? Now: Fifteen years later and Ally has a new family. But her real father has sent her a letter. And now, Ally is missing.  

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Quickly became implausible and confusing

  • By Jenn on 12-06-18

Quickly became implausible and confusing

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-06-18

I really didn’t want to finish this book but I powered through the book anyway...and the story did not crash and burn — it would’ve had to be a strong enough story in the first place to be able to contrast it to a crash. The story was more like an enormous bunch of different colored helium balloons that randomly get released up into the air as you take a leisurely stroll, then you come across a dead end... and although you know you should turn around, you don’t — you just slowly circle it a few times then release the remaining bunch of balloons at the same time into the air and they disperse in all different directions, at different speeds. Some of the balloons don’t even fly away and they just hover and bob near the ground until they pop.

This book seemed to have potential at the very beginning, maybe in the first few minutes. The plot becomes implausible very quickly. Then the story gets so convoluted and too many characters are being introduced (all with similar sounding names: Allie, Ellie, maddy, holly, Lilly) with scant personality development and details — there was a bit of backstory here and there was but it really didn’t contribute overall.

The story gradually veered into something totally unrelated to what the summary advertised, so just forget about what you read about the book. It’s told through the perspective of Allie’s parents, Dan and Holly and Cal— Allie’s co-worker from the coffee shop she works at. There were far too many instances where I was just plain confused about what was going on and what was/wasn’t relevant. To top it off, Allie is sooooo ignorant it was excruciatingly painful to listen to anything she was involved in. If my review so far sounds confusing, it’s because the book was such a jumble.

Here is an example conversation (not the actual dialogue) Allie has with a stranger pretending to be a long lost relative:

Allie: do you know Bob and Carol?
Woman: of course I know Bob and Carol! They’re just so great (this woman does not know them)
Allie: I don’t know much about Carol before she moved here, I’d love to learn more about her or any stories you remember about her.
Woman: ohh... well Carol like I said is just so great...and we were best friends and we went to school together in... in..Ohio....and when we were both little girls we played in the park. Carol also ate food everyday.
Allie: oh wow (in total awe)! that’s so cool you know Carol soooo well!
Woman: so anyway, since we clearly have established common friends, you can trust me and come with to do something that may be sketchy, but I promise I will let you leave right after we are done.
[then events occur and turns out the woman was so obviously lying, and even said as much. but...Allie just can’t figure out what’s going on]
Allie: I want to leave now.
Woman: no you cannot leave until I say so.
Allie: but you promised I could leave right after!
Woman: um ya... I was lying, so just sit there and do what I say.
Allie: But you said you and Carol were best friends!?
Woman: omg I was LYING ALLIE. So just get over it and do what I tell you to.
Allie: But...But...you went to school with Carol!?
Woman: how slow are you...NOTHING I told you is true. Nothing.
Allie: But what about Ohio???
Woman: (exasperated) wow. you really are something else.

Ok that wasn’t the best example, I know LOL, I just wanted to exemplify the tone and And of course I know the author was probably trying to make her seem naive, but in my opinion and perception, it wasn’t the right approach— instead she just came off as irritating, annoying and hard to like. But I just had to provide an example of how weak the dialogue was and how difficult it was to identify with any of the characters. I could’ve stopped the book at anytime and not have finished it and I would’ve been content and never give it another thought ever again — but I really wanted to see exactly how the author was going to attempt to wrap the story up.

I would love to read reviews of those who found this book riveting, perhaps I missed something crucial that confused me enough to misinterpret the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Rapid Falls

  • By: Amber Cowie
  • Narrated by: Kate Marcin
  • Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 113
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 94
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 95

It’s been twenty years since Cara’s boyfriend died in a horrible accident and her sister, Anna, went to prison. The tragedy has become a local legend, but Cara has moved past her grief to have a successful career and a happy family. Pity about Anna. Recently released from incarceration, she’s struggling with addiction, guilt, and shame - a shattered life. Cara’s forgiveness seems to be the only thing that helps her pick up the pieces. But as Anna pulls herself together, her memories of that night on the bridge start to come into focus. And few of them match her sister’s.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Should be called “Sins of Her Sister” (or something equivalent)

  • By Jenn on 12-05-18

Should be called “Sins of Her Sister” (or something equivalent)

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-05-18

Geezus, this was literally a story about an evil, vicious, bitter, selfish, righteous, devious, heartless, manipulative, jealous, resentful, fake and beyond unlikable woman named Cara and her sister Anna. But Cara was soooo despicable it kind of ruined the book and I was not content with the ending, but it was somewhat fitting for the story.
Randomly I noticed that in the story, any desk person at any institution or place of business (i.e. nurse at the nurse’s station, the person checking IDs at a mental health facility etc) the author portrays them as contemptuous, incompetent, grumpy, lowly workers— which was strange, she made every character so negative.
Cara is horrid in every single area of her life: at work, with her parents, sister, husband— she is a professional at throwing people under the bus for her own gain.
I don’t really know how I feel about this book because I’m so disgusted with the main character and her behavior and this story was plausible and believable so it was hard to get in the mind of someone that could possibly exist— I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing, the ability to write and bring to life such a believable and evil character. For example if this book was a movie, whomever they pick to play Cara, you would very likely hate her as an actress from then on, even in other roles, the character just has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. There is a balance between that and an overall good plot and I think it was pushed too much to one side.
If you don’t mind or can tolerate all the pettiness, unfairness of some people’s circumstance maybe you might like the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Deliver Me

  • By: Karen Cole
  • Narrated by: Jasmine Blackborow
  • Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 9

When Abby's doctor tells her she's two months pregnant, she doesn't believe him. She can't be - she hasn't had sex for over a year. But to her astonishment and dismay, multiple tests confirm it's true. Desperately searching for an explanation, Abby recalls New Year's Day - the terrible hangover, the hole in her memory where the night before should have been and the inexplicable sense of unease - and realises that this baby must have been conceived at her best friend Danny's NYE party.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Hm

  • By Jenn on 12-03-18

Hm

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-03-18

If you are looking for a book where you cannot for the life of you, possibly guess the outcome, this is the book for you. Why? Because the ending and conclusion have nothing whatsoever to do with the entire book. The ending could have been from an entirely separate story for all I knew. Especially since the ending seemed so comprehensive –– as if I should have known what was going on, to the point where I had to check that I did not accidentally start some other book by mistake. And that was not even the part where I felt disconnected from the story.
Initially, I was already put-off by how unconcerned Abby was when she found out she was pregnant and did not remember how let alone by whom; she herself was only 24, living with her sister and her brother-in-law. As she plays detective and tries to figure out what happened at the New Year's party she just accuses innocent men of rape, which is a huge deal but she really does not think too much about it. She does not seem to think things through or work things out and assumes a lot.
Anyway, I did not know what else to say, I just want to move on and start a new book. I do not recommend this book if you are particular about storylines, character development and how a plot wraps up.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Perfect Family

  • By: Shalini Boland
  • Narrated by: Katie Villa
  • Length: 7 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 526
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 479
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 475

Gemma Ballantine is getting ready for work one morning when her eldest child comes running down the stairs saying the words every mother dreads. The front door is open. And her six-year-old daughter has disappeared. Frantic with fear, Gemma starts a nail-biting search for her little girl. After what feels like forever, her mother-in-law, Diane, finds Katie wandering lost a few streets away. Relieved to have her youngest child back in her arms, breathing in the sweet scent of her hair, Gemma thinks the nightmare is over. But then her perfect family starts to fall apart....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Solid Psychological Thriller

  • By Wendi on 12-02-18

should be titled: "The Perfect Nanny"

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-13-18

I've listened to all of Shalini Boland's books and this is on par with her other work. She is not my favorite author but she knows how to entertain and often you have to just go along with anything far-fetched in her books and this one is no different. The title should've been called something like "The Perfect Nanny" or something along those lines and it is also one of those stories where everything is unraveled at the very end. I prefer books with hints throughout to allow the audience to piece things together and have all the details come together to be relevant. Not bad, a typical story of the author's, but nothing outstanding.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Everett: A Dark Psychological Suspense Novel (Brooke Walton Series Book 1)

  • By: Jenifer Ruff
  • Narrated by: Stephanie Dillard
  • Length: 7 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 18

Beautiful and brilliant Brooke, a transfer student with a mysterious past, aims to graduate first in her class at Everett and attend medical school. Her classmates and professors are captivated by her achievements and appearance. Only Jessica, a wealthy socialite fueled by prescription pills and a huge case of snobbery, senses there's something not quite right about the perfect student. What happens during a historic blizzard will settle their differences once and for all. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Jessica's Dark Passenger

  • By Spooky Mike on 11-27-18

Could be considered a Young Adult (YA) novel

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-13-18

This book was ok and held my interest, it is like a very mild, censored version of American Psycho but with a female college student. The summary makes it seem more intense and thrilling than it is. The main character really isn't that dark or with a disturbing past, to me, the summary implied her to be uncontrollable, doing anything necessary to get what she wants. However, she is more of a troubled girl with determination and unusual interests that will do what it takes to succeed in school. Not saying she is normal or typical, she certainly exhibits characteristics of a person with "sociopathy", but in a very tame way. But the more I think about it, she could be someone on the spectrum with learning or behavioral issues, rather than someone who is really disturbed. She comes from a loving family with supportive parents and cares deeply for her younger siblings so that alone is hard to detach from a supposed sociopathic person. She does do a few violent things – I think only 2-3 instances, but as I said, all quite mild compared to what I was expecting, almost a little "bubblegum" and they weren't even explicitly described, some were just implied. I was not impressed overall and it was extremely anti-climactic –– however, I was entertained and I will likely listen to the sequel just to see if there is more character development. I would not recommend it but this is good for those who like darkly themed books that are rather censored and not explicit.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Three Beths

  • By: Jeff Abbott
  • Narrated by: Ellen Archer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 42
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 37

My mom would never leave me. This has been Mariah Dunning's motto. Her compass. Her belief. So when she glimpses her mother - who's been missing for the past year - on the other side of a crowded food court, Mariah's conviction becomes stronger than ever. Or is she losing her mind? When Beth Dunning disappeared without a trace, suspicion for her murder - despite the lack of a body or any physical evidence - immediately fell upon Mariah's father. Until Mariah stumbles upon two other recent disappearances from Lakehaven. All three women had the same name: Beth. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 2 Beths & a 3rd

  • By Jenn on 10-26-18

2 Beths & a 3rd

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-26-18

This book was pretty good, story held my interest and there were twists and turns I didn’t see but there were also as many that I did see coming. In general, this was a decent mystery/suspense. The only thing that didn’t make this book on the level of great was that Mariah, the protagonist, had absolutely zero difficulties when it came to accessing info and data that helped her unravel the mysteries that surrounded her mother’s disappearance. In reality, most of the things she was able to accomplish and act on would’ve been nearly impossible. Some examples: she so easily got practical strangers and people she just met to literally confess and reveal secrets to her; she also so easily obtained confidential company and personal info upon request or threats that would’ve in reality, landed her in significant trouble; people always just happened to be already logged into accounts when she happened upon their laptops and happened to not be home with the door unlocked; or she can guess passwords with 2 attempts. I don’t mean that everything should always be a struggle, but it makes a story more believable if events unfolded more realistically. This didn’t necessarily hinder the story but I definitely rolled my eyes a few time thinking “of course she was able to do that”. I know I’m just being a really tough critic, but I recently listened to a lot of solid mystery/thrillers so my threshold between good and great has a large discrepancy – but I did enjoy this book and I’ve listened to one of the author’s other books and equally liked it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Last Night Out

  • By: Catherine O'Connell
  • Narrated by: Katherine Fenton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 12

Maggie is destined to marry the perfect man in two weeks. Desperate for a last wild night on the town before the big day, she gathers six friends for a night to remember. Only things go wrong, horribly wrong. Angie's body is found in the park the following morning, and the night to remember quickly becomes a nightmare they wish they could forget. Under police scrutiny, how far will Maggie and her friends go to keep their secrets - far enough to protect a killer?

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Yikes, couldn’t manage to get through it

  • By Jenn on 10-20-18

Yikes, couldn’t manage to get through it

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-20-18

I really wanted to like this book, I even pre-ordered it. I had to re-listen to nearly every chapter and I couldn’t get past 13.

Let me provide more accurate background because the summary is misleading. First the book is set in 1988 and they are in their early 30’s — I think they’re all 33 yrs old. The book so far is about 3 women who have been friends since high school. One is getting married so they have a bachelorette party and I think there were 6 women in attendance, I had to keep re-listening to it to make sure. Then it ends quite early in the night maybe ~9pm and 3 of them go home and we barely learn anything about them. The other 3 end up going out — two drive together and one drives alone — weird I know. She ends up driving her car home and taking a cab to meet the other 2 but it’s still super weird (and no, so far that hasn’t been significant toward the plot). Then they don’t even really have fun at the club and two of them go home via cab and the bride to be stays out. Then by now we know what happened since they reveal the death in the first minutes of the book. The bride to be goes home with a guy and the friend that was dropped off by the cab first is the one that ends up murdered. and from here it’s just super weak back story about the 3 women, I keep waiting for the other 3 to be relevant or even make an appearance. So anyway...

The character development was so weak off the bat. I mean these women just found out their best friend since high school was murdered and they treat the news instead like they found out she was getting a divorce or moving to another state for work. One character even told her husband almost as a “oh, by the way...” for example her friend came over to discuss the murder and when they were in the kitchen talking about it, her husband comes in and then he listens to their convo and remarks on the last thing they said and finally the wife turns to him and says, I have bad news, “Angie was murdered last night”. I can’t believe she wouldn’t have already told her husband the minute after she found out, even if it was after she informed other friends, and even if he was out of reach or out of town, that’s urgent info — not a passing comment. Also I couldn’t keep track or even identify these “six friends” as I mentioned. I realized how much I had to re-listen to so many parts because my interest couldn’t hold. I even tried to power through it to no avail. I’m done, not worth it. If others end up liking it I’m curious to read their reviews.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful