The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

34189556(New)TheBook
The Wife Between Us
By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
ISBN13: 9781250130921
Pages: 352
Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Synopsis:

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love. 

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.


(New) Thoughts

The Wife Between Us is stunningly complex story of a divorced woman and her ex husband’s young bride to be. It is everything you will want in a suspenseful mystery and nothing you expect. It’s tempting rave about this book for multiple paragraphs and part of me is dying to discuss it at great length, but that would be an atrocity. This will be short and sweet. Do yourself a huge service, skip the lengthy reviews and jump into this one blind! You will come to appreciate the obscured synopsis.

This is a distorted tale of marriage and deceit that is fueled by slow revelations and character development. The brilliance being that it relies on completely “unreliable” narration. Told through alternating chapters, a cunning manipulation of viewpoints effortlessly conceals the truth well into the final pages.

To know that this is co-authored is spectacular. Each seamless transition and intelligent sequence of events leave no evidence of more than one pen at work. Combined efforts have created a gratifying read that successfully deceives the reader. You will think you know, then you will realize you don’t. Then you will think you do. But you don’t.

What begins as a classic tale of a failed marriage and an affair quickly evolves into a work of true craftsmanship that twists and turns so many times, it is disorienting. The final outcome is a story within a story that is completely addictive and absorbing. The pages will turn themselves. Grab a hot cup and prepare to settle in, because if you appreciate mystery and suspense, you will find it difficult to put this one down.

*I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press for this advanced copy. The above review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.

Untitled designEnjoyed with multiple cups of Chamomile (to counteract the tension), as I just couldn’t stop with this one.

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Happy Reading!

Danielle ❤

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Muriel Avenue Sluts by Maggie Hasbrouck

33980858(New)TheBook
Muriel Avenue Sluts
By Maggie Hasbrouck
Publisher: No Bones Studio Press
Kindle ASIN: B01MZ4Q5IA
Pages: 296
Genre: Fiction/Coming of Age

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Julia Turnbow’s mother gets paid to have sex; that’s just how it is. When Jules turns eighteen she‘ll follow in her mother’s footsteps and begin training to join the exclusive world of Philadelphia’s infamous Muriel Avenue Sluts. Anyway, that’s the plan.

But when Jules’s best friend Anna reveals that she’s being abused by one of Muriel Avenue’s gentleman clients, Jules’s world is knocked off its bearings. After a routine haircut and shave, Anna’s abuser falls to his death from a second-story balcony—and Jules is just one of two people who knows exactly what happened.

To complicate matters, Jules dives head first into a friendship with the daughter of the dead man. Greta’s a train wreck: she’s charming, unpredictable, and has one too many questions about Muriel Avenue. Then, Jules puts all of Muriel Avenue at risk with an ill-timed slip of the tongue and she finds herself wanted by the FBI. Running from everything she’s ever cared about, all Jules wants is to get back to the people she loves.

Complete with duct tape, wasp spray, and a healthy dose of sexual tension, Muriel Avenue Sluts is a coming of age story with a dark edge and plenty of heart.


(New) Thoughts

Muriel Avenue Sluts is certainly not a typical read for myself, but it is also not one to overlook. My review on this particular book is a bit late I am sad to say. I picked this up while on hiatus and devoured it within a few nights. Honestly, I am not sure why I am just now sharing my thoughts. Too far behind I suppose. But better late than never.

Muriel Avenue is not like other streets. It is famous for housing Philadelphia’s “Muriel Avenue Sluts”. A community of women who offer a variety of services that range from haircuts to sexual favors. For them it is a way of life. 18-year-old Jules is no exception, as she will follow in suit and train for the same occupation as her mother and the other avenue inhabitants. But when Jules’ best friend and neighbor Anna reveals a horrible secret, life takes a turn for the unexpected. Plans change and become very complicated, driving Jules far from the only life she thought she would ever know.

I want to start of by acknowledging that Muriel Avenue Sluts is a story that explores some very heavy and important issues. It is quite possible that some will encounter triggers and it will not be suitable for all. It is an emotional read that is much deeper than its title or cover could ever possible convey. Do not pick this up expecting a light read and please avoid if you struggle with the topic of sexual abuse or rape.

With that said, I will admit that equally driven by character and plot, events unfold at a reasonable pace creating a fast read. A dynamic set of characters placed within a very unique environment offers the reader a diverse experience that is as thought-provoking as it is original. Jules grows tremendously during the span of the story and we receive a firsthand look at the consequences of very difficult actions. Yet it is significantly hard to fault her or Anna for the choices they have made, right or wrong. While their lives are beyond anything I could imagine or compare to my own, I found myself empathizing and relating to them in multiple ways with incredible ease.

The plot is brazen and dark, as it tackles difficult topics of sexual abuse, the unfamiliar and the uncomfortable. It also takes a direct look at an environment where sex is viewed as a commodity. This alone can feel very unsettling. While the main protagonist is a teenager, I find it difficult to classify this as YA. It does not read as such and really explores some strong subjects in a very direct on and raw manner. I admire the author’s ability to delve so deeply and honestly into such complex and sensitive issues. I feel this would not have succeeded otherwise. Without her straightforwardness, the message would not have packed the necessary punch. It was important to make the reader troubled and uneasy with what was happening, and she accomplished this well.

This is a challenging read not without a few minor issues. There were some elements I found myself questioning and it was never possible to fully accept or understand the life these women had chosen. But Hasbrouck did manage to solicit many moments of empathy and understanding, so in that I think it was a success. While I was not able to fully relate to the characters’ lives, I found myself relating to small portions within them and walking away with a powerful message. This would be an excellent selection for a discussion group.

Untitled design Served with a tall glass of iced tea and fresh lemon.

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My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel

36678713(New)TheBook
My Sweet Friend
By H.A. Leuschel
Published Helene Leuschel
Kindle ASIN: B077SJ657G
Pages: 92
Genre: Novella/Fiction

Synopsis:

A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives
A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?
Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships.
But is Alexa all she claims to be?
As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?
In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.


(New) Thoughts

Having read Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel, I am familiar with her impressive talent for exploring the human psych. She has a way of approaching the behavior of manipulation in a manner that captures the raw, uneasy reality of what it is to be not only the victim, but the actual manipulator. My Sweet Friend is no exception.

This is the story of three individuals whose relationships as coworkers eventually progress into more intimate friendships. Alexa instantly captures the affection of Rosie and Jack as she begins her new career with their current employer at a  Parisian PR company. But as their friendships evolve, lines begin to blur, and Rosie and Jack find themselves questioning Alexa’s behavior and intentions. This is a 360 degree viewpoint of 3 intermingled lives and cause and effect, and it works brilliantly.

Told through alternating perspectives, Leuschel successfully analyzes three individuals and the effects of betrayal and toxic relationships within the mere span of 92 pages. Through Alexa we are provided a firsthand look at what it is to build a life around falsities, the upkeep it requires, and the ramifications of when the veil is lifted. Through Jack and Rosie we examine life as the victim and gain a working knowledge of the damage and harm that can result from deceit.

Leuschel’s writing is concise and knowledgeable, offering a realistic glimpse into the less desirable aspects of human traits. She yields dynamic characters in complex situations, exposing their faults, secrets and weaknesses without ever overwhelming her audience or relying on frivolous details. The outcome is a story that is easily digestible but none the less impactful. I highly recommend her work to anyone who enjoys examining the human psych and how we function as individuals, particularly in a socially structured setting.

*I would like to thank Helene Leuschel for this copy. The above review is my own, unbiased opinion.

Untitled designEnjoyed with a cup of green tea with a hint of lemongrass and spearmint.

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Purchase Links: Amazon.com  Amazon UK 


haleuschelAbout The Author

Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga.

Follow Helene: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads


Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

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