Book Review Saturday: The Couple Next Door

“No! What are you saying? That I killed her? Is that what you really think?”

Reading a book with someone is like discovering it twice. This was my first buddy read of 2018 and it went by so quickly that we were both left with a sense of now what? It’s interesting to see the things that each person finds important or interesting. I feel a better sense of understanding and depth from a book when read with another person. Plus, it throws in an added excitement of text messages that went something like: O.M.G, wait, can you believe that? I knew that person was shady, this can’t be happening…I did not see THAT coming. This has led to a new goal for the year of adding more time reading with friends and my book community.

The Couple Next Door is appropriately labeled a thriller. Anne and Marco leave their baby next door while they attend a dinner party. They check on her every 30 minutes and have a baby monitor to listen for any problems while she sleeps. Well, the baby is kidnapped. You can probably see that coming, but the rest of the book is a series of twists and turns. It became evident who kidnaps Cora about a third of the way through the book, but the motives and back story present themselves much later. It is an interesting dynamic of what occurs when a child is kidnapped, how the parents are usually the first to blame and how the investigation unfolds from the perspective of the parents, detective and grandparents. It also looks at how far a person will go when faced with utter devastation and ruin. The entire family begins to unravel based on unfounded judgements that present themselves. The ending is the kicker. I did NOT see THAT coming, and I usually do.

When I finally recovered from the ending and moved on to another book, I kept going back to the question: Who leaves their baby alone in a house with no supervision? I wonder if I’m being judgmental since I do not have children. Her husband needed a night out, and she went against her better judgement to please him. The emotions that Anne experience post baby seem very relatable. Although this is every parent’s worst nightmare, there rings so many truths that this book would appeal to many mothers. I recently spoke with a friend who is staying home with her first child about not having anything to say to her husband. Anne was experiencing this same dilemma along with depression. I had never put myself in their shoes and this gave me new perspective and insight to some of the struggles that new mothers must face. Does my husband still find me attractive? Why will my baby not stop crying? I know this is only a small portion of the book, but it spoke volumes to me. Another great reason to have a second opinion while reading because my friend questioned everything from the father’s perspective. What was he giving up? How must he feel with a wife at home that is depressed and pushing him away? There are always two sides to the story and Lapena did an excellent job adding additional elements to this story.

The first two chapters of A Stranger in the House, also by Lapena, are included at the end. I look forward to reading it!


Book Review Friday: Two Can Play

“Cautious is boring.”

I took a trip to my local library on a mission to find books from unknown authors. I wanted to stroll through the shelves and see what I could find without having my usual list of must haves. Two Can Play caught my eye with its bold red cover and “deliciously twisted” quote. I did not realize it was the second in a series before I made it home but it was easy to follow regardless.

Audrey Harte is a criminal psychologist hired to prepare for the trial of a teenage serial killer, Ian Monroe. Before interviewing Monroe, Audrey receives flowers signaling the beginning of a game that she did not intend on playing. As evidence begins to come together, it is likely that Monroe had a partner or someone that is helping taunt Audrey. She must race to find answers as more girls are taken and protect the one surviving witness, Tori Scott. Between the victims, Monroe and Audrey’s personal life this book is jam packed with action. After getting past the first few chapters I couldn’t put this one down. I had to know how everything was going to come together.

As far as mystery novels go, this one is a winner! The author gives just enough of the story to keep you hooked without letting you guess too much about the future. I didn’t really know the ending until about 20 pages before it was revealed. The clues left along the way are perfect to keep the reader going. I would definitely read this book again to see if I found any more along the way.

I have spoken to the author, Kate Kessler, and book three will be out in November of this year. She is currently writing the fourth installment. I am going to be anxiously waiting for my copy to arrive! 


“Death is the beginning of eternity,” Jeff whispered.

A down and out true crime author, a trip across the country to meet a cult leader toting a teenager and a seemingly haunted house make for a quick draw into this thriller-esque read. I am not the typical ghost hunting, paranormal activity, cult believer but I did enjoy the plot line. The story goes back and forth from past to present allowing the reader to experience the world of Jeffrey Halcomb, his followers and their effect on Lucas and his daughter. My favorite aspect was the tie in after each chapter with a newspaper report, obituary, etc that related to the story and gave more insight into the characters and their deaths. Overall, this book felt like many other thrillers that are lining the shelves but with a unique ending. I would definitely read more from this author when my “thriller” mood strikes.