#Review: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris @BAParisAuthor @StMartinsPress

The Breakdown cover

B. A. Paris has no need to fear the dreaded “sophmore slump.” Bestselling debut novel Behind Closed Doors left fans with high expectations, and I’m sure more than a few wondered if she would be able to catch lightning in a bottle twice, and worried her next book may not be as stellar as the first.

Wonder and worry no more, reader.  She did, and it was.

Cass Anderson took a shortcut through the woods (despite promising her husband she wouldn’t) as she was driving home on a stormy night, and saw a woman sitting in a parked car alongside the road—presumably a breakdown. Fearful of offering help in case things weren’t as they appeared to be, Cass goes home. The next day she learns the woman in the car was murdered, and worse still, she is someone Cass recently befriended. Overcome with guilt (could she have prevented her friend’s murder?) and unwilling to admit the broken promise to her husband, Matthew, Cass stays silent. But the more she hears about the murder, the more fearful she becomes that the murderer might come after her next… a fear that seems justified when she starts receiving silent calls that feel menacing in nature. Fears of a different nature surface when Cass begins to have serious difficulty remembering things—her mother had early-onset dementia, and the problems Cass is having feel heartbreakingly familiar to her. Paralyzed with fear and weighted-down with guilt, Cass is unable to cope and it wreaks havoc on her mental health. Is someone stalking her… or is Cass having a breakdown of her own?

The Breakdown is simply phenomenal. I was able to guess a particular event that takes place, and I was disappointed at first, but what I didn’t know was that laid the groundwork for an explosive reveal that was truly astonishing. Fast-paced and clever to the core, this novel is destined to be a hot topic of conversation between readers. Trust me. This is a book you do NOT want to miss out on!

B. A. Paris is well on her way to becoming my go-to author for psychological thrillers. If you’ve read her books, I’m sure you know why. If you haven’t…. what are you waiting for?

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press.

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Author: B. A. Paris

Title: The Breakdown

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Expected publication: July 18th 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Purchase Links

Macmillan | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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About the Book

THE NEW CHILLING, PROPULSIVE NOVEL FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside—the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

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About the Author

Author B.A. Paris
Author B.A. Paris (Photo credit: EV Sekkides)

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, B. A. Paris, grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked in finance and as a teacher.

Photo via publisher website . Bio via Google.

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#Review: The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth @SallyHepworth @StMartinsPress

The Mother's Promise cover

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press.

As a young mother, one of my greatest fears was something happening—an illness, or an accident—that would take me from my children, leaving them to grow up without me. The thought alone was enough to leave me in tears, but I had the comfort of knowing if such a terrible thing were to happen, my ‘babies’ would be loved and well cared for by their dad and a large, extended family. Even if something happened to me, I knew my boys would be fine. But what would a mother do if she had no one?

That is the question haunting Alice when she is diagnosed with cancer. Who will care for her daughter? Zoe’s father isn’t involved in their lives, and the only family Alice has left is an alcoholic brother who isn’t fit to raise a child.When social worker Sonja insists Zoe be put in foster care during Alice’s hospital stay, she is frantic with worry and turns to her nurse for help. Kate agrees to take Zoe in for a few days, despite a rocky marriage and a recent heartache of her own. Zoe has severe social anxiety, but finds herself slowly opening up to Kate and wanting to spend time with her as she comes to terms with the impending loss of her mother. Sonja and Kate are Alice’s biggest allies. Working together, they prepare Zoe for a future without Alice, and find their own lives changed for the better, as well.

Zoe’s struggle with social anxiety hit close to home for me. Hepworth captured the irrationality of anxiety perfectly, without making Zoe seem pathetic. The struggle she has in doing the simplest of things, the way her fears hold her back, and the sheer terror of stepping outside her comfort zone are all true to life without being over the top. I enjoyed all the main characters, but I was particularly invested in Zoe. Watching her come out of her shell and  mature in ways she once thought impossible was a particular bright spot in this beautifully written story.

The Mother’s Promise tugs at your heartstrings from start to finish, and it’s a book I definitely recommend. Just remember to have a box of tissues handy… you’ll need them.

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Author: Sally Hepworth

Title: The Mother’s Promise: A Novel

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Published: February 21st, 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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About the Book

With every book, Sally Hepworth becomes more and more known for her searing emotional portraits of families—and the things that test their bonds. With The Mother’s Promise, she delivers her most powerful novel yet: the story of a single mother who is dying, the troubled teenaged daughter who is battling her own demons, and the two women who come into their lives at the most critical moment.

All their lives Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two, living quietly in northern California. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and is given a grim prognosis.

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the power of love and forgiveness.

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About the Author

Author Sally Hepworth
Author Sally Hepworth

Sally Hepworth is the bestselling author of The Secrets of Midwives. The Secrets of Midwives has been labelled “enchanting” by The Herald Sun, “smart and engaging” by Publisher’s Weekly, and New York Times bestselling authors Liane Moriarty and Emily Giffin have praised Sally’s debut novel as “women’s fiction at its finest” and “totally absorbing”. The Secrets of Midwives was also the highest selling debut Australian fiction of the year in 2015.

Sally is also the author of The Things We Keep, published in January 2016. The Things We Keep was a Library Journal Pick in the U.S. for January 2016, and an Indie Next Pick in the U.S. for February 2016. NYT bestselling author of The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion praised The Things We Keep calling it ‘A compelling read that touches on important themes, not least the different forms that love may take.”

Both novels were published worldwide in English and have been translated into several languages.

Sally lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two children.

Author photo and bio via Goodreads.

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Review: Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

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Author: B.A. Paris

Title: Behind Closed Doors

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: August 9th 2016 by St. Martin’s Press

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press for the awesome giveaway of 10,000 hardcover copies they did to promote this book, which is how I received my copy.

It’s almost impossible for me to believe this is  a debut novel. If I didn’t know better, I would have assumed B.A. Paris to be an established, seasoned writer with at least a dozen novels previously published. (Novels I would have been feverishly hunting down so I could read them as soon as possible!) And yet… it is a debut novel. Wow.

The story of Jack and Grace, their past and their present, is told in alternating chapters. In the present chapters, we see their relationship as it is now. In the past chapters, we see how their relationship began. I’ve read many books this year (and in previous years) that utilize this storytelling method. It doesn’t flow well for every book that uses it, but it works very well for this one. It adds an even deeper level of dread, in this reader’s opinion, that wouldn’t be there if the story was told in a linear fashion.

This is a story best read cold, with no knowledge of anything that happens. (Which is why I’m not giving any details at all in this review.) The enticing blurb was more than enough to draw me in, and not knowing what to expect made the story even more chilling. The ending was perfection, and I may or may not have punched the air as I read it.

Simply put, this is a book you DON’T want to miss out on. Get it, read it, and put B.A. Paris on your Author Radar… because she has certainly earned a spot on mine.