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Lil Red’s Book Club: Fire-Starter By Stephen King Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Fire-Starter By Stephen King Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! I have been visiting my own personal library and after rereading Stephen King’s Carrie for the first time since freshman year of high school, I thought that I would give Fire-Starter a try. I have never read it before and it was AMAZING and such a fun reminder of King’s greatness. From start to finish, I was hooked and I can’t wait to watch the movie of it soon. Before we begin our discussion, I will be placing a trigger warning on Fire-Starter for gruesome violence and disturbing content. Now, let’s get to it – without giving any spoilers away, of course!

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Young Andy McGee is strapped for cash in college and decides to take part in an experiment for a quick two hundred bucks. In this experiment, some students would be injected with a hallucinogenic drug and others would get a placebo. It sounded easy enough and eleven other students thought so too, including Vicky, whom Andy would eventually marry and have a little girl with.

During the experiment, strange and violent things happened but the facilitators claimed that it was just the effects of the drugs causing these visions. Still, Andy can remember vividly when a drugged student clawed his own eyes out and others were being encouraged to move items with their minds. Apparently, this drug was thought to awaken certain mental abilities like telekinesis, levitation, pyrokinesis, and mental domination.

Because of the deaths of two students during the experiment, it was immediately shut down and covered up. Fast forward to present day and Andy and Vicky are the only two remaining from the original group. The happy couple is perfectly ordinary aside from a few quirks. Vicky can occasionally open the refrigerator door from across the room. Meanwhile, Andy can use his mental domination to “push” people into anything from losing weight to having more self confidence. Their daughter, however, is a different story.

Little Charlie McGee has the power of pyrokinesis – the ability to make and control fires with her mind. You can imagine the scares she gave her parents when she was a baby! Despite their powers that they inherited for a measly two hundred in college, the McGees live a fulfilling and normal life. They also have no idea that they have been watched and followed since the experiment ended and that an allusive group called “The Shop” is very much interested in Andy and Charlie.

After Andy has a hunch of something bad happening at his work as a college professor, he rushes home to find his wife dead and Charlie missing. He learns that his daughter was taken from a friend’s home and time is of the essence before The Shop has her for forever. He uses his power of the push to locate her and they have been on the run from Charlie’s captors ever since.

The Shop believes that Andy and Charlie are incredibly dangerous and could also be very useful for their own personal gain. They will not stop hunting father and daughter until they have them locked up at their compound. And, once they have Andy and Charlie, there is no telling what will happen to them next. How long can the McGees evade The Shop’s clutches? What’s going to happen when they’re caught? Read Fire-Starter to find out!

I am so freaking obsessed with Fire-Starter and cannot believe that I haven’t read it before. From beginning to end, the tension in this book was so high because Andy and Charlie are so easy to root for. Andy is such a doting father and Charlie is just sweet as can be. However, it wouldn’t be a Stephen King book if they were on the run for forever. They had to get caught eventually but you didn’t know when and it made the book simply unputdownable.

Fire-Starter went back and forth from past and present and shifted narrators every couple of chapters. You all know how much I love that in a book so that was a huge plus. It was also interesting to know what Charlie and Andy were doing and what The Shop was planning to do about it in tandem. There were so many times when this read lulled me into a false sense of security and I would hope that The Shop would slip up. Then, something major would happen and it was heartbreaking. Trust and believe, my jaw dropped like five hundred times throughout the book!

Fire-Starter was such an easy, enjoyable read and it was a fresh take on what horror is because it’s not always things that go bump in the night. Sometimes, it’s people who are horrifying. Stephen King really embraced that in Fire-Starter and further solidifies him as King Of Horror in my mind. Like Carrie, I will be awarding Fire-Starter with the coveted ten out of ten stars and I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a perfect spooky season read!

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah!

 

Lil Red’s Book Club: Carrie By Stephen King Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Carrie By Stephen King Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! With minimal time to go to the library, I have been pulling from mine and Johnny’s book nook for something to read. After finishing In Cold Blood, I decided on Carrie by Stephen King. I haven’t read Carrie since freshman year of high school and it is MESSED. UP. Before our discussion (with no spoilers, of course), I will be placing a trigger warning on it for disturbing content, abuse, and bullying. Now, let’s get to it:

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Carrie White is a sad and lonely girl and has been since the day she was born to her religious fanatic mother. Her days consist of being beaten, locked in a closet to pray, and being the butt of everyone’s jokes at school. However, Carrie is special and has a power deep within her that didn’t get unlocked until a particularly nasty incident.

Poor Carrie got her first period in the shower after gym class and thought that she was bleeding to death. Rather than help her, all of the girls in her class began throwing tampons and pads and yelled at her to “plug it up”. In her despair, Carrie made the lights in the bathroom burn out – just by using her mind.

Carrie is, indeed, special and has the power of telekinesis or being able to move objects just by thinking of it. While Carrie spends her time perfecting her craft, other plans are set into motion. Popular Sue Snell feels remorse for the bathroom incident and wants to make things right. So, she asks her boyfriend, Tommy, to take Carrie to the senior prom.

Meanwhile, mean girl Chris is enraged that she has to miss the prom because she skipped out on the detentions given for tormenting Carrie in the bathroom. Chris and Sue have a very different idea of making prom an unforgettable night for Carrie. As Carrie prepares for the prom by making her own dress and watching what she eats, Chris and her boyfriend begin planning the ultimate revenge.

Fast forward to prom night and Carrie shows up on the arm of Tommy Ross. She feels beautiful and is entranced by the magic of the event. People are complimenting her, talking to her, and for once in her life Carrie feels seen. Her and Tommy are even voted prom king and queen. Then, everything goes downhill rapidly.

While standing on stage and accepting their new title of high school royalty, two buckets of pig’s blood are spilled all over Carrie. The metaphorical straw broke the camel’s back and a murderous rampage ensues compliments of Carrie’s special gift. Prom night was unforgettable. Will anyone make it out alive? Read Carrie to find out!

My husband and I are huge fans of Stephen King and rereading Carrie after so long is a perfect reminder why. This book is terrifying and, honestly, heartbreaking. It was SO hard to read about the torment that Carrie is subjected to on a daily basis. She is not safe at home or school and is utterly alone in her misery. I couldn’t even imagine.

I often see memes on Facebook of “reading or watching Carrie” with the picture of the mom from Arrested Development saying “good for her”. And to be real, I was rooting for Carrie the entire time, even during the grand finale. It is such a prime example of the hunted becoming the huntress and essentially making the bullies eat their words. So, yes, GOOD FOR HER – especially because it was impossible to root for any of the people who were so awful to her!

I am going to rate Carrie with the coveted ten out of ten stars. If you haven’t read it and are into the horror genre, then I cannot recommend it enough. It is such a great introduction to Stephen King books and is, easily, one of his most powerful novels.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: In Cold Blood By Truman Capote Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: In Cold Blood By Truman Capote Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! After finishing the Obama Biden Mystery series by Andrew Shaffer, I was completely out of things to read. So, I decided to finally take Johnny’s advice and read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. He has been telling me for three years to give it a try and after caving, I don’t know why I didn’t listen to him from the start. It. Was. AMAZING!

Without giving any spoilers away, we will be discussing what is thought to be one of the best True Crime books after written. Before we begin, however, I will be placing a big fat trigger warning on In Cold Blood for disturbing content and gruesome violence. Now, let’s get to it:

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Holcomb, Kansas is a small rural town where everyone knows everyone. People are generous to their neighbors, attend church, and never lock their doors. The Clutter family is at the center of this community and each member is well liked and respected by all. Mr. and Mrs. Clutter and their children, Kenyon and Nancy, live on a beautiful ranching property and spent their final day without even an inkling of what was going to happen next.

On November 15th, 1959, each member of the Clutter family was murdered in their own home. The slaying was brutal and no one could make sense of it. The assailants left behind almost no clues and the inhabitants of Holcomb couldn’t imagine a crime like this unfolding before them. Especially a crime against the Clutters. After the discovery of the murders, everyone began locking their doors at night.

As the crime scene was examined with a fine toothed comb, fresh from prison Perry Smith and Dick Hickock are patting themselves on the back for a job well done. They executed their plan to perfection and left no witnesses or clues. There was nothing tying them to the Clutter killings so there’s no way they will get caught. Now, they were on their way to Mexico to search for work and live the lives that they always dreamed about behind bars.

With seemingly no information for the detectives to work with and the assailants on the move, it is believed that the Clutter’s murderers will never be brought to justice. However, when a huge break in the case happens, Perry and Dick are officially on the radar. Will they get caught before they can hurt anyone else? Read In Cold Blood to find out!

Let me start off by saying that I found the first seventy or so pages of In Cold Blood to be boring as HELL. There were two things that kept me reading, though, and I am glad for it. 1) Johnny’s promise of “things are about to get crazy” and 2) His copy of the book was purchased at Goodwill and there were notes, highlighted, and underlined sections from the previous owner on every page. I thought that this was really cool and liked seeing what someone else was thinking as they read!

When the pace of In Cold Blood picked up, I was completely absorbed in it and always felt disappointed when I had to put it down. This book was INSANE. It went back and forth between Perry, Dick, and the detectives and I never had any idea what was going to happen next. It was a nail biter because of the cat and mouse chase between the parties. I knew that eventually Perry and Dick would be caught but I never knew when or how.

In Cold Blood made me experience a whirlwind of different emotions. I was enraged by the Clutter family tragedy and rooting for justice to be served. I also felt sympathetic to Perry in a sense but not so much for Dick. Truman Capote’s masterful writing was able to invoke so many diverse feelings and it felt like I was a resident of Holcomb too and waiting on pins and needles for the end result. It was a rollarcoaster ride!

Despite a slow start, I am still going to rate In Cold Blood with the highly coveted ten out of ten stars. The story needed to be set up and I see that. Once all of the Dominoes were in place and tumbling down, it kept me invested for days after finishing the book. I can now understand why people call it “the best”!

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: Hope Rides Again By Andrew Shaffer Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Hope Rides Again By Andrew Shaffer Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! If you recall from the last book club post, I had read a hilarious bromance mystery novel starring Barack Obama and Joe Biden called Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer. And, today, we will be reviewing the sequel entitled Hope Rides Again – without giving any spoilers away, of course! Let’s get started:

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It has been almost a year since Joe Biden and Barack Obama’s whirlwind adventure of solving the mystery of an Amtrak conductor’s murder. Now, the only thing on Joe’s mind is his potential run for president. As per Barack’s invite, Joe ends up at an event in Chicago that his bestie is speaking at so he can rub elbows with people who might endorse him. The schmoozing gets cut short, however, when Barack discovers that his prized Blackberry phone is missing.

The phone is traced to a freight yard and, despite Barack wiping the phone remotely, Joe slips back into amateur detective mode to make sure justice is served. Rather than finding the phone at the freight yard, Joe stumbles onto a crime scene. A young man who is part of Barack’s Rising Stars foundation has been shot and is in critical condition. Who better to solve this mystery than the dream team?

During their investigations, Joe and Barack uncover crooked cops, gang activity, and a stolen shipment container filled with guns. They can trust no one, as law enforcement might be turning a blind eye to the gang responsible. With a young man on death’s door and a huge cache of guns ready to make their way onto the streets, it is up to Joe and Barack to save the day. Can they do it? Read Hope Rides Again to find out!

Guys. I freaking LOVE these books lol. The Obama Biden Mystery series is an absolute riot and Andrew Shaffer is a genius. Although I liked Hope Never Dies better, Hope Rides Again is a solid follow up and is still definitely worth the read. The premise of these books are just so ridiculous. You are not going to get jaw dropping revelations from them but if you are looking to laugh yourself silly, then I can’t recommend the series enough.

Hope Rides Again follows the same format as its predecessor and has Joe as the narrator/Barack’s ride or die. From heartfelt moments between the two, cracks at politicians, and a world to save, the boys are back but not necessarily better than ever. They still end up in life threatening situations even when they think they’re getting a grasp on the whole detective thing!

The sequel is, admittedly, less funny than the first in my opinion – but only slightly. However, as long as Andrew Shaffer keeps cranking out Obama Biden Mysteries, then he will always have me as a customer. Overall, I am going to rate Hope Rides Again with an eight out of ten stars for a strong but not amazing sequel. Here’s to this series becoming a trilogy!

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: Hope Never Dies By Andrew Shaffer Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Hope Never Dies By Andrew Shaffer Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! After reading and reviewing an endless amount of thrillers, Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer was a definite change of pace. It was also a most welcomed one because it was sheer perfection. Hope Never Dies is a mystery book starring none other than Barack Obama and Joe Biden. It was recently reviewed on one of Johnny’s favorite podcasts, Behind The Bastards, and after hearing about its hilarity, he had to buy it for me. What a guy!

Without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss this ridiculous book further:

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Delaware’s favorite son, Joe Biden, is simply existing after eight years of being vice president of the United States. He’s aging, growing antsy with “nothing” to do, and most importantly – desperately misses Barack Obama. After several years of not speaking once their run in office was over, Joe grows lonelier and even more depressed when he sees his former best friend living it up with his new celebrity pals. However, their reunion is just about to get started.

Late one night, Joe encounters none other than former president Barack Obama lurking in the woods on his property. He doesn’t come with an invitation for a party or an outing with Bradley Cooper (The bane of Joe’s existence), rather, he has some bad news to share. Joe’s favorite Amtrak conductor, Finn, has passed away under suspicious circumstances. And, oddly enough, a map to Joe’s home was found in the pocket of the deceased.

Joe is beside himself with the loss of Finn and decides to take matters into his own hands to uncover the mystery of his death. Of course, he’ll need some help. Cue: Barack Obama and his Secret Service agent, Steve. Through high speed car chases, infiltrating a biker gang, and some good old fashioned grunt work, they discover that there was a lot more to Finn’s death than what meets the eye.

Obama and Biden stumble across a huge drug smuggling ring through their investigations with deceit and death creeping around every corner. It turns out that Joe didn’t really know his good friend, Finn, after all. Who was responsible for the death of the seasoned Amtrak conductor? And will Barack and Joe live to tell the tale? Read Hope Never Dies to find out!

Pretty crazy, right? Lol, guys, I seriously cannot with this book and I also cannot recommend it enough. I can’t remember the last time I read a humorous book and I was in stitches with every turn of the page of Hope Never Dies. Andrew Shaffer is a national treasure and he must be protected at all costs so he can keep cranking out Obama Biden mysteries.

Joe is the narrator in Hope Never Dies and he plays the part of the scorned lover. His jealousy over Barack’s new friends and yearning for what they once shared is palpable throughout the book. From throwing darts at a picture of Bradley Cooper to dreaming of Barack in a white toga riding a unicorn, there’s no denying it: He freaking loves Barack Obama, despite falling out of touch.

As always, Barack is cool as a cucumber and Joe is full of stumbling wise cracks. A point is also made to make some digs at other politicians, which is a hoot. Through looking death in the eyes and a whirlwind experience shared, Joe and Barack end their adventure as “brothers” once more. Which is great because the sequel, Hope Rides Again, will surely begin with them as besties. And, yes, Johnny got me Hope Rides Again too!

In all seriousness, I am awarding Hope Never Dies with the coveted ten out of ten stars. If you love the Obama Biden era as much as me and are looking for a laugh, then it is a must read. This book is absolutely insane and I am one hundred million percent there for it.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Paris Apartment By Lucy Foley Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Paris Apartment By Lucy Foley Edition

Hello! We interrupt your regularly scheduled OOTD bloopers for a brand new Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing an excellent read by Lucy Foley called The Paris Apartment. This was a fast paced thriller that included everything I like – multiple narrators, short chapters, a good whodoneit, and lots of text in French. Before we begin, I will be placing a trigger warning on The Paris Apartment for violence and disturbing content. Now, let’s get to it – without giving any spoilers away, of course:

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Jess is on the run. Not only from her past but a petty crime committed in the UK. With no friends and family to turn to aside from her estranged half brother, Ben, she decides that now is as good a time as any to visit him in Paris. He somewhat reluctantly agrees, gives her his address, and promises to wait up for her when she arrives in the evening. However, during her travels, Ben stops replying to texts and phone calls. He is also nowhere to be found when Jess arrives at the ultra posh apartment that she has no idea how he affords as a freelance journalist.

With a bit of ingenuity at the locked gate and some good old fashioned lock picking at Ben’s apartment door, she is finally inside. Rather than finding Ben asleep, she sees that his wallet and phone have been left behind. Still hopeful that her free spirited brother will arrive in the morning with an excuse that he forgot, Jess goes to sleep. And in the morning? Nothing. And the days to come? Nothing. Ben has disappeared.

The day after her arrival, Jess begins to investigate and there is no better place to start than with the residents of the apartment. There is the violent alcoholic Antoine on the first floor, nice guy Nicholas on the second, elusive Mimi and party girl Camille on the fourth, filthy rich Sophie and Jacques in the penthouse, and a concierge who sees everything in the lodge. All of them provide Jess with nothing of value but they all appear to be hiding something about her brother’s whereabouts.

The more Jess digs, the more she is convinced that someone in the apartment is to blame. In Ben’s wallet, she finds a business card for Theo, an editor of a Paris newspaper. He tells Jess that Ben was working on an article for him that was a pure investigative piece. A far cry from his usual restaurant reviews. Ben’s big scoop is about someone in the apartment but who? And is this how he came to disappear into thin air? Read The Paris Apartment to find out!

I really enjoyed The Paris Apartment and, despite the *slightly* farfetched conclusion, I think that it is worth the read. While I did figure out the grand reveals fairly easily, it was still a fun thriller that had me hooked. In fact, I was sad when I finished it because I wanted more – especially in regards to the reactions of the grand finale from the apartment residents.

Jess was a very likeable and unlikely heroine and she was so easy to root for. She has a somewhat scruffy appearance and is dirt poor so it was really endearing as she went about her investigation among people who want for nothing. Jess was also reckless and you truly felt that danger was around the corner for her all of the time, which kept me on the edge of my seat.

Although the other main players in the book were equally horrible in their own right, I still loved the back and forth chapters between all of them. Their chapters shifted between the past with Ben and the present without him so you got to learn all of the key moments that led up to his disappearance. I do like a more vague read but it was nice to have all of the cards out on the table with minimal guesswork for once.

Overall, I am going to rate The Paris Apartment with an eight out of ten stars. Was it the most original thing I’ve read? Not really. However, it was a good page turner and I still recommend it. I would definitely read more by Lucy Foley!

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: Mexican Gothic By Silvia Moreno-Garcia Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Mexican Gothic By Silvia Moreno-Garcia Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Without giving any spoilers away, as always, we will be discussing a suspense novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia called Mexican Gothic. Before we begin, I will be placing a big fat trigger warning on this book for disturbing content and violence both physical and sexual. Now, let’s get to it:

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Noemi Taboada is a young socialite living in Mexico City in the early 1950s. She is a tenacious woman and when she isn’t spending her free time dancing the night away she is diligently working towards a Masters degree in anthropology. Noemi’s biggest concern is what to wear on a night out but this is all about to change drastically after her family receives a disturbing letter from her cousin, Catalina.

Catalina is a bit older than Noemi and has been married for about a year to the handsome Virgil Doyle. She lives a fair distance away in the remote El Triunfo in the Doyle estate called the High Place. Noemi’s family assumed she was too busy being a newlywed to be in contact often and her letter is the first correspondence they’ve had since the wedding. In her letter, she describes hearing and seeing ghosts and desperately requests Noemi’s presence.

In exchange for checking in on Noemi, her father will allow her to go to a co-ed college to continue her studies. So, she packs her bags and makes her way to the High Place. Noemi’s destination is a looming estate shrouded by mist and an overwhelming darkness. The dark cloud is not limited to the property itself but to those who inhabit it too.

What used to be a flourishing mining community run by the Doyle family is now limited to a handful of zombie like servants and the remaining Doyles. There is Catalina and her husband Virgil, Virgil’s aunt and cousin named Florence and Francis, and Howard who is Virgil’s father. To Noemi, each one seems more unpleasant than the next and she has half a mind to turn around and go home.

The rules of High Place are strict and something that Noemi is not used to. No talking at dinner, no smoking, speak in hushed voices, and not to disturb Catalina because she needs her rest. The longer she is at the Doyle home, the worse Catalina seems to get and Noemi begins to get a taste of what her cousin suffers from.

Noemi starts to have dreadful bouts of sleepwalking, distressing nightmares, and terrifying encounters with the Doyle family. She used to scoff at the idea that there are ghosts lurking in the High Place but begins to see that Catalina might be right. High Place had a dark past and even more disturbing plans for the future of the Doyles. Will Noemi and her cousin make it out alive? Read Mexican Gothic to find out!

Upon finishing Mexican Gothic, I felt rather torn. I liked the book overall but found the plot twist to be extremely farfetched. Then, I began to take it for what it was despite its unlikelihood and decided it was still a very worthwhile read. I am not used to reading books with a touch of dark magic (Which is all I will say about the grand reveal.) and found that I enjoyed it even more after having time to digest it.

Noemi carried this story so well as the only narrator and I loved her sass, determination, and panache for bending the rules. She came to High Place with a mission of protecting her cousin and refused to leave until that was fulfilled. This showed so much strength and perseverance on her end because the easiest thing for her to do was simply leave – especially because the villains were completely despicable.

I will admit that some parts of Mexican Gothic kind of dragged on but it wasn’t as slow of a burn as books I have read recently. It continued to hold my attention until the very end and I will rate it with a seven out of ten stars. This is not a read for the faint of heart but if you dare to visit the High Place, you won’t be disappointed!

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: Behind Closed Doors By B.A. Paris Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Behind Closed Doors By B.A. Paris Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing a thriller by B.A. Paris called Behind Closed Doors – without giving any spoilers away, of course. Before we begin, let me start off by saying that this book was JACKED UP and, easily, one of the most disturbing things that I have read in a while. So, it should go without saying that a big fat trigger warning will be placed on it for physical and mental abuse, intended abuse, animal abuse, and a plot that had me fucked up (For lack of a better word!). You’ve been warned, now let’s get to it:

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Could Jack and Grace Angel be any more perfect? Jack has the perfect job of defending battered women and has never lost a case. Grace is a perfect, beautiful stay at home wife and cooks lavish meals to entertain their friends in a perfect mansion. To all concerned, they are the epitome of the perfect couple and surprise those they know by never arguing and constantly looking lovingly into each other’s eyes. Although, they have no idea what is going on Behind Closed Doors.

Within the walls of the Angel home, Grace is under the strict control of her psychopathic husband and is confined to one room with nothing but a bed and a bathroom. Jack has created the persona of perfection for them both and has painted Grace as mentally unstable to divert attention from her attempts to escape and claims of being held prisoner. That is, truly, the pot calling the kettle black because Jack is about as mentally unstable as it gets.

Ever since spotting Grace and her younger sister, Millie, who has Down Syndrome at the park, Jack knew that he had to have them both. He thrives on fear and has since he was a child and considered Grace and Millie the perfect candidates for his sick torture games. For now, Millie is safe because she is away at boarding school. As soon as she turns eighteen and lives with Jack and Grace, however, is a totally different story.

The birthday countdown for Millie is fast approaching and Grace knows that her chances of saving them both become less likely with each passing day. With her determination and the ingenious help from Millie, Grace begins to plot their escape. But can it even be done when Grace can’t leave the cell in her own home and Jack is always ten steps ahead? Read Behind Closed Doors to find out!

Behind Closed Doors left me purely and utterly shook and I am still digesting it days after finishing it. The plot was somewhat of your classic “secret room” thriller but it had so many unique and, honestly, disgusting twists that it was in a category all of its own. Behind Closed Doors allowed you to tap into Grace’s mind in her past and present as a severely abused woman and there were times when it felt like you were suffering right along with her.

After finishing Behind Closed Doors, I was very curious to find out what other people had thought about it and read some reviews. There were many who said that it was one of the best thrillers that they have read in years. However, I was surprised to see so many reviews in which people called it “boring”. I knew that it was not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but I have a hard time understanding how it bored the reader.

As someone who was in a mentally abusive relationship, the psychological torture that Grace faced hit close to home. Her paranoia, constant fear, and huge sense of betrayal were all such real feelings that I felt personally and was invoked in this book. I do agree with the reviewers saying that the situation in Behind Closed Doors was not plausible BUT the emotions Grace felt and her own diminishing mental state was all too real.

As far as characters go, Jack was the worst of the worst villains that I have read about in a long while. This, in itself, was enough to keep you rooting for Grace and Millie even after finishing the book. I simply adored Millie who was brilliant, sweet, and hilarious. Grace was a formidable heroine who continued to fight no matter how many times she was foiled if not for her sake than for Millie’s. I loved the bond that Millie and Grace had with each other and it provided a glimmer of sunshine during such a dark read.

Overall, I am going to rate Behind Closed Doors with a ten out of ten stars. I keep trying to find reasons to rate it lower and I can’t. Despite its brutal subject matter, it was a hell of a read that kept me emotionally invested several days after reading the last page. This is not a read for everyone and I recommend not reading it if you fall under that category. However, if you can stomach it, then you will not be disappointed.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Family Across The Street By Nicole Trope Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Family Across The Street By Nicole Trope Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we will be discussing an intense psychological thriller by Nicole Trope called The Family Across The Street – without giving any spoilers away, of course. This book was absolutely insane and before we begin, I will be placing a trigger warning on it for graphic violence and disturbing content. Now, let’s get to it:

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Katherine West lives in a posh neighborhood in Sydney, Australia with her husband and their set of twins, Sophie and George. They live on a quiet street and the residents can’t even remember the last time they heard a police siren or seen a cop driving by. It is picture perfect and safe as can be for Katherine, Gladys across the street, and all their neighbors. But, we all know that this is never the case in a thriller.

Logan is a former convict and is covered in violent tattoos inspired from his lifetime of struggle. He is finally turning into the man that he wants to be for himself and his wife and has been working as a delivery driver for his brother in law’s company. On the hottest day of the year, his day begins at Katherine’s home to deliver her new laptop.

At Katherine’s door, she tells Logan that she cannot open it and to leave her purchase there. He can’t do that, however, because it needs signed for and throughout his day, he can’t shake the feeling that there was something wrong. The nosy Gladys across the street feels similarly and throughout her day, she stops by Katherine’s door too only to be told it can’t be opened.

The perfect stranger and neighbor were right, of course, but what is happening in Katherine’s home is something that they never could have guessed. A hostage situation is unfolding in the West’s living room and Katherine and her two twins sit huddled on the couch as they are held at gunpoint. Who is the person that could possibly do this to such a beautiful family? That’s something you will never guess too so read The Family Across The Street to find out!

The Family Across The Street was a rollarcoaster ride of a read with the craziest twists and turns happening every chapter. This is why I had to keep the synopsis short and sweet because every shocking twist is so important to the story. The grand reveal is one that I would have never seen coming in a million years and I am still mulling it over several days after finishing it. It left me totally and completely shook.

The past few books that I have read have been slow burn thrillers and although I enjoyed them, it was nice to read something more fast paced. The Family Across The Street started out with a bang and the punches kept rolling until the last page. The chapters alternated between Katherine, Gladys, Logan, and the person holding the Wests hostage and I just had to keep reading to find out what happens next.

Other than the guilty party in this book, all of the characters were so likeable and it made all of the blows that much more painful. I loved brave, determined Katherine and her children. I eventually came around to busybody Gladys and simply adored Logan who was so desperate to keep himself on the straight and narrow. Needless to say, these characters would have never crossed paths had tragedy not struck and their interactions were really cool to read.

Overall, I am going to rate The Family Across The Street with an eight out of ten stars. This book was gruesome and difficult to read at times so if that’s not your bag, then don’t bother. However, if you are looking for a mind blowing thriller that keeps you at the edge of your seat, then I can’t recommend it enough!

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Lil Red’s Book Club: Mrs. England By Stacey Halls Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Mrs. England By Stacey Halls Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing another book by Stacey Halls called Mrs. England – without giving any spoilers away, of course. This is the second book in a row that I have read by Halls and I enjoyed this one much better than The Familiars – it was really good! Before we begin our discussion of Mrs. England, I will be placing a trigger warning on it for disturbing content including psychological abuse and violence. Now, let’s get to it:

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Ruby May is a young woman in the early 1900s working as a children’s nurse (nanny) in London. She trained at a special academy just for this profession and works hard to support her family, which includes a younger sister with a spinal injury. Nurse May adores the family that she is currently caring for but, unfortunately, her time with them must come to an end. They need to move to America for the father’s profession and Ruby cannot be so far from her family.

Desperate for a new job, Ruby accepts anyone that she can get and becomes the nurse to four children in Yorkshire. The England family is obscenely wealthy and lives on a sprawling estate complete with a cotton mill, servants, and the best of everything that money can buy. Ruby makes the trip to Yorkshire to begin her new placement and is surprised to find Mr. Charles England waiting for her at the train station.

On the way back to the England estate, Ruby is charmed but a little surprised by Mr. England’s jovial nature. Even more so because picking her up would typically be a job for their chauffeur. It is nighttime when they make it back home and the children are already asleep. Ruby is ready to discuss her position with the mistress, Mrs. England. Strangely enough, the mistress didn’t realize Ruby’s arrival was that night and insists on her coming to Mr. England with any questions. This is all very unusual to Ruby because, typically, the mistress is in charge of all things relating to the care of the children.

The following day, Ruby meets her charges of Saul, Decca, Millie, and baby Charley and is pleased to be caring for such lovely children. She is also shocked to see Mr. England acting in the roles of both the father and mother around the house. It is not what she is used to but makes sense as Mrs. England is distant, withdrawn, and has a sickly disposition. She spends most of her time locked away in her bedroom and hardly seems to take pleasure in seeing her children.

Of course, as odd as the living situation at the England estate is, Ruby is in no position to judge as she is hiding dark secrets of her own. However, there is something strange happening there that she can’t quite put her finger on. It could be the uninviting servants, her disappearing mail, or maybe her own feelings of intimacy with Mr. England whom she must report to.

As her days drag into each other at the estate, Ruby quickly finds herself only caring for the two youngest children. Decca is going to school, which came as a shock because the girls were not to attend. And Saul is regaining his health at his great grandparent’s home after a severe asthma attack. The walls surrounding the England property begin to close in on itself and Ruby expects Mrs. England is to blame. But, is she really? Read Mrs. England to find out!

Much like The Familiars, Mrs. England was a slow burn of a read. I did like it a lot more, though, because something integral to the story happened in almost every chapter. This made for a much more pleasant reading experience and I found myself upset when I had to put it down. Although the reveals weren’t as jaw dropping as previous books that I’ve read, it was different than anything that I’ve read too.

I loved Ruby as a main character and it was a change of pace to know what she was thinking all of the time because I am so used to books with an unstable narrator. I liked her caring, curious nature and her interactions with the children always left me completely charmed. It was also interesting to read about her working through foreign feelings like longing for the man of the house.

I will be the first to say that this wasn’t exactly a nail biter of a read. It did have a haunting atmosphere, which added to the suspense. But, the major grand reveal was easy to figure out and I would have liked a bit more mystery to it. Stacey Halls’ books have such a unique, historical vibe to them. Mrs. England might not be a book that I’m going to simply rave about but I did like it – perhaps if only for the sake of switching things up.

Overall, I am going to rate Mrs. England with a six and a half out of ten stars. I would definitely read more by Stacey Halls. I will say, however, that if you are looking for fast paced reads with a lot of extra oomph, then she is not the author for you.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah