Book Review: Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward #NetGalley #BeautifulBad

Cover image of the book Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Author: Annie Ward

Print Length: 368 pages

Publisher: Park Row

Publication Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 9780778369103

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Mystery

Buy it here: Amazon | Indie Bound | Barnes & Noble

Source: I received an ARC of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Recognition

 March 2019 Indie Next selection  March 2019 LibraryReads selection

Blurb

In the tradition of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train comes the psychological thriller everyone is talking about, a twisted novel about a devoted wife, a loving husband, and a chilling crime that will stun even the cleverest readers.

There are two sides to every story… And every person.
Maddie and Ian’s love story began with a chance encounter at a party overseas, while she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in Middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian; her concerns for the safety of their young son; and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.

From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, sixteen years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.

*Blurb is from Amazon.com

My Thoughts

How well do you know your significant other?

Do you know what are they capable of?

Beautiful Bad is a well written, twisted tale about the main characters, Maddie and Ian, their relationship and the trials along the way. Maddie has had a traumatic brain injury that leaves her with panic attacks and other struggles. Ian has witnessed the carnage of war first hand and upon returning home struggles with flashbacks, survivors guilt, and adjustment back to his home life.  These struggles put stress on their relationship but not only for them. Ian and Maggie have a little boy named Charlie.

Overall, I did enjoy this book! Early on I had figured out “who’d done it” and the outcome. However, for me, it was more of a story about how it was going to play out and how “she/he” were going to get away with it.  The main characters are well developed, as are the secondary characters. The story itself did jump around a bit.  There were past and present scenes, a countdown to the murder and time lapses after the murder.  Lastly, the ending left some open-ended events that I would have like to have known more about.

Many thanks to Annie Ward, Harlequin Books, Park Row, Netgalley. I was given this book in return for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Quote

“I sometimes feel like my mind is possessed by another person or creature.”

Rating

4-stars

About the Author

Annie Ward, author of Beautiful Bad

Website | GoodReadsTwitter

Annie received a BA in English Lit with an emphasis in Creative Writing from UCLA and an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute. While studying at AFI, she sold her first short screenplay to MTV/ BFCS Productions. Starring Adam Scott, STRANGE HABIT became a Grand Jury Award Winner at the Aspen Film Festival and a Sundance Festival Official Selection.

After film school, Annie moved to Eastern Europe to work for Fodor Travel Guides, covering regions of Spain and Bulgaria. She remained in Bulgaria for five years spanning a civilian uprising and government overthrow. The novel THE MAKING OF JUNE, which Annie wrote with the Bulgarian revolution and Balkan crisis as its backdrop was sold to Penguin Putnam and published to critical acclaim in 2002.

During Annie’s five years in the Balkans she received a Fulbright Scholarship, taught at the University of Sofia, and script doctored eight screenplays for Nu-Image, an Israeli/American film company that produced a number of projects in Bulgaria for the SyFy Channel. She was later the recipient of an Escape to Create artist residency.

She lives in Kansas City, Kansas with her family.

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Blogmas #1: December TBR List and Goals (October and November Recap)

 

BlogmasontheBibliovert1

Todays the first day of Blogmas! 

I am so excited that December is finally here! If you’re wondering what #blogmas is all about, check out my earlier post (here).

Recap of October and November

My last update, I had a goal that stated:

 PROGRESS OVER PERFECTION There will be hiccups along the way, just keep moving forward.

Well, I hit some hiccups along the way… October and November were a crazy mess!  I am not one to beat around the bush or be subtle so I to just come out and keep it real. For one, I wasn’t feeling well.  For those that don’t know, I struggle with chronic pain and illnesses.  The winter here in Minnesota really does a number on me.  The cold weather adds insult to injury. On top of that my body decided it would be a good time to get a severe infection and need to have an emergency surgery the DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING!  So, on top of my regular struggles, I am now healing from that surgery. BUT, I’m the mend.  Needless to say, I am hoping and praying December will be a bit easier.

Life is like a roller coaster.  It has its ups and downs,

but it’s your choice to scream or enjoy the ride.

Reading Recap

Books Read in October

Her Last Move by John Marrs

The Spy Who Was Left Behind by Michael Pullara

The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

The Case of the Golden State Killer by Michael Morfor and Michael Ferguson

Painless by Marty Thornley

Books Read in November

Gazelle In The Shadows by Michelle Peach

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Pigeon – Blood Red by Ed Duncan(review coming soon)

Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (review coming soon)

Decembers TBR List

I always have so many more books on my list for reading in a month than I know I can get through…but I guess that’s half the fun!  There are SO many good books!

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge

The Strange Curse of Breda by Steven Arnett

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

*I really would like to get to The Outsider by Stephen King but it will have to wait January.

Goals for The Bibliovert in December

The meaning of bibliovert

  1. Blogmas: I have 24 planned posts for December and 2 book reviews that I need to prepare. So this will be a good challenge for me.  At the time of prepping this particular post, I actually only have 2 posts completed and scheduled.  I am feeling the crunch. Procrastination at it’s finest!  (Are you a procrastinator?  I try so hard not to be, but it always just seems to work out that way. Maybe that will be a goal for January… less procrastination)
  2. Spend more time on The Bibliovert Instagram account
  3. Relax, listen to music, enjoy the holiday season and be present.
  4. *Reminder* Persistence over Perfection

 

HERE’S TO EACH OF YOU CRUSHING IT IN DECEMBER!

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, I WANT TO SEND A BIG THANK YOU TO THE OTHER BLOGGERS AND READERS THAT HAVE STOPPED BY MY LITTLE CORNER OF THE INTERNET. THE MESSAGES, THE LIKES, AND SHARES HERE ON THE BLOG AND MY SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS HAVE MEANT THE WORLD TO ME.

Thank You! ❤

eARC Book Review: The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

Cover ImageAuthor: Thomas Christopher Greene

Print Length: 288 pages

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (January 15, 2019)

Publication Date: January 15, 2019

ISBN:  9781250128218

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Pre-Order it here: Amazon

 

Source: I received an ARC of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb

A seemingly perfect marriage is threatened by the deadly secrets husband and wife keep from each other.

Susannah, a young widow and single mother, has remarried well: to Max, a charismatic artist and popular speaker whose career took her and her fifteen-year-old son out of New York City and to a quiet Vermont university town. Strong-willed and attractive, Susannah expects that her life is perfectly in place again. Then one quiet morning she finds a note on her door: I KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

Max dismisses the note as a prank. But days after a neighborhood couple comes to dinner, the husband mysteriously dies in a tragic accident while on a run with Max. Soon thereafter, a second note appears on their door: DID YOU GET AWAY WITH IT?

Both Susannah and Max are keeping secrets from the world and from each other —secrets that could destroy their family and everything they have built. Thomas Christopher Greene’s The Perfect Liar is a thrilling novel told through the alternating perspectives of Susannah and Max with a shocking climax that no one will expect, from the bestselling author of The Headmaster’s Wife.

My Thoughts

This was an entertaining read for me. It was mystery/thriller that was a bit unrealistic, but that didn’t bother me any.  The chapters are nice and short, which make it a quick read. The characters are likable, despite their shortcomings. I found it simply an enjoyable book that I couldn’t put down.  It’s an easy read that leaves you wondering.

Quote

“…it was all as simple as having been born wrong. He was born into the wrong family, into the wrong name, and into the wrong identity. He didn’t become a fraud, in his view, but emerged into the world that way fully formed.”

Rating

4-stars

About the Author

Author

Thomas Christopher Greene was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. Tom has worked in a staple factory; as an oyster shucker; a speechwriter and spokesperson for a presidential campaign; the director of public affairs for two colleges; and as a professor of writing and literature. In 2006, Tom founded the Vermont College of Fine Arts, a top New England arts college, making him the youngest college president in America at that time. The Headmaster’s Wife is Tom’s fourth novel. He lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter.

Website | GoodReads 

 

I would like to thank Thomas Christopher GreeneSt. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book.

 

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eARC Book Review: The Spy That Was Left Behind by Michael Pullara

Cover Image of The Spy Who Was Left Behind by Michael PullaraAuthor: Michael Pullara

Hardcover: 352 pages

Publisher: Scribner (November 13, 2018)

ISBN-10: 1501152130

ISBN-13: 978-1501152139

Genre: True Crime

Pre-Order it here: Amazon

Source: I received an ARC of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb

The shocking true story of international intrigue involving the 1993 murder of CIA officer Freddie Woodruff by KGB agents and the extensive cover-up that followed in Washington and in Moscow.

On August 8, 1993, a single bullet to the head killed Freddie Woodruff, the Central Intelligence Agency’s station chief in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. Within hours, police had a suspect—a vodka-soaked village bumpkin named Anzor Sharmaidze. A tidy explanation quickly followed: It was a tragic accident. US diplomats hailed Georgia’s swift work, and both countries breathed a sigh of relief.

Yet the bullet that killed Woodruff was never found and key witnesses have since retracted their testimony, saying they were beaten and forced to identify Sharmaidze. But if he didn’t do it, who did? Those who don’t buy the official explanation think the answer lies in the spy games that played out on Russia’s frontier following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Woodruff was an early actor in a dangerous drama. American spies were moving into newborn nations previously dominated by Soviet intelligence. Russia’s security apparatus, resentful and demoralized, was in turmoil, its nominal loyalty to a pro-Western course set by President Boris Yeltsin, shredded by hardline spooks and generals who viewed the Americans as a menace.

At the time when Woodruff was stationed there, Georgia was a den of intrigue. It had a big Russian military base and was awash with former and not-so-former Soviet agents. Shortly before Woodruff was shot, veteran CIA officer Aldrich Ames—who would soon be unmasked as a KGB mole—visited him on agency business. In short order, Woodruff would be dead and Ames, in prison for life. Buckle up, because The Spy Who Was Left Behind reveals the full-throttle, little-known thrilling tale.

My Thoughts

After reading, The Spy Who Was Left Behind, my brain felt like it was overloaded. It felt as if I had sat through an in-depth debriefing. There was so much information that was given, that I was left feeling overwhelmed and at times confused.  It felt as if I needed to be creating an outline as I read, to keep all of the information straight. For me, it was a struggle to get through. This book was just not for me.

However, if you enjoy a very detailed, true crime read, this book is for you. The Spy Who Was Left Behind is a book that’s information-rich as the author did his homework and relayed everything to the reader as if no stone was left unturned.

Rating

1-star 

About the Author

Michael Pullara, author of The Spy Who Was Left Behind

A trial lawyer by training, Michael Pullara has pursued the case of Freddie Woodruff for more than ten years. He lives in Texas. The Spy Who Was Left Behind is his first book.

GoodReads

 

Book Review: Her Last Move by John Marrs

Her Last MoveAuthor: John Marrs

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (November 8, 2018)

Publication Date: November 8, 2018

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ISBN: 9781503948020

Buy it here: Amazon  Amazon UK

 Source: I received an ARC of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Blurb

“Whatever you do, don’t read this in the dark, or on your own…” —Cara Hunter, author of Close to Home

“One of the most exciting, original thriller writers out there. I never miss one of his books.” —Simon Kernick

She’s chasing a killer. He’s watching her every move.

He hides in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment. Each kill is calculated, planned and executed like clockwork.

Struggling to balance her personal and professional life, young DS Becca Vincent has landed the biggest case of her career—and she knows that it will make or break her. But she can’t catch the culprit alone. Together with facial recognition expert Joe Russell, she strives to get a lead on the elusive murderer, who is always one step ahead of them.

Time is not on their side. The body count is rising, and the attacks are striking closer and closer to home. Can Becca and Joe uncover the connection between the murders before the killer strikes the last name from his list?

My Thoughts

I had a really hard time deciding what to rate this book. Personally,  I found it hard to stay engaged with it and I came to the conclusion one of the reasons was the constant spinning between the 3 main characters, Becca, Joe, and the killer. Each had their own way of seeing the situation. Each having their own internal struggles that shaped their decisions and the scope of the storyline. It just got to be a bit much for me.

Otherwise, it was enjoyable to read and I’m sure many people will enjoy it more than I did. It read at a good pace. The characters were well developed. The book had a good storyline, yet the ending was a bit predictable with the foreshadowing that was in the book.

Overall, a good read. I didn’t love it & I didn’t dislike it. I would still recommend this book; it just wasn’t a favorite of mine.

Quote

“They need to know they’re not untouchable.”

Rating

3-stars

About the Author

authorUntil recently, I worked as a freelance journalist based in London, England, and spent 25 years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film, and music for national newspapers and magazines.

I wrote for publications including The Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online; OK! Magazine; Total Film; Empire; Q; GT; The Independent; Star; Reveal; Company; Daily Star and News of the World’s Sunday Magazine.

My debut novel The Wronged Sons, was released in 2013 and in May 2015, I released my second book, Welcome To Wherever You Are.

In May 2017 came my third book, The One. It was chosen as the book of the month for BBC Radio 2’s Book Club.

The Wronged Sons was re-edited and re-released in July 2017 under a new title, When You Disappeared.

My fourth book, The Good Samaritan, was released in November 2017 and became a Number One hit world-wide

Thanks to my brilliant readers, I am now working full-time as a writer. My next book, Her Last Move, is released on November 8, 2018.  And book six is set to hit shelves in May 2019.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

I want to thank NetGalley and John Marrs for allowing me the opportunity to read and review Her Last Move!