Today, I'm discussing one of the most controversial thrillers: Behind Her Eyes.
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Louise is a single mom stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she's finally connected with someone.
When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend. The only problem? She just so happens to be married to David.
The pair look like the picture-perfect couple, but soon, Louise can't help but notice David's need for control over Adele.
As Louise is drawn into the pair's orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.
I debated whether or not to pick up Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes since her release of Cross Her Heart. Unlike most readers, who read BHE before reading CHH, I did things the other way around. This didn't alter my expectations but it did make me wonder exactly what I was dealing with this time around. And after finishing this highly controversial book, I can honestly say that I don't think anything could've prepared me for the journey that is Behind Her Eyes.
I'd like to start off by saying that Pinborough's writing style is absolutely splendid. Her stories manage to captivate from the very first page in a way that has nothing to do with the characters or the storyline itself and everything to do with her simple ability to compel an audience.
However, in regards to the narrative itself, it's too difficult (for me at least) to set aside the fact that the plot is so incredibly far-fetched and unlikely. While there are hundreds of readers that are completely okay with setting logic aside and suspending their disbelief for the sake of a story, I'm not that person. Because of this (and don't worry, I won't spoil the story), I can only simply say that while I did enjoy Pinborough's novel, I didn't love it.
Aside from the problem I have with the plot and ending, I also didn't love any of the characters. Each of the protagonists was either manipulative or deceptive, which in turn, made the cast (as a whole) quite unlikable.
Despite these shortcomings, I really did enjoy Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes. I wouldn't exactly recommend it to my fellow thriller junkies, but if you are on the fence and what to check it out for yourself, go for it!
Have you read this controversial mystery? Come chat with me.
Today, I'm discussing Helen Hoang's long-awaited novel: The Bride Test.
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
The Bride Test is a quick and easy read. It's the kind of romance that readers pick up when they're looking for something light--a palate cleanser of sorts. But it's not the kind or romance story that is memorable or all-consuming.
Unlike The Kiss Quotient, which is wonderful due to its originality and captivating set of characters, The Bride Test is simply a fine read. Despite Hoang's splendid writing style, the storyline and the characters aren't particularly notable.
While this is an okay love story, I wouldn't recommend it to my fellow readers. Nonetheless, if you have read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Send me a message on Instagram @theazereads or simply leave a comment down below.
Welcome back bibliophiles
Today, I'll be discussing Book of the Month pick Before She Knew Him.
Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson
Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace.
But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder—an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either.
Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate?
The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face to face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes that he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape...
After hearing great things, I was excited to choose Swanson's latest as my Book of the Month pick. Unfortunately, this one was a miss for me.
Despite Before She Knew Him not being a standout novel, it's important to note that Peter Swanson's writing is wonderful. The story may have lacked a cast of intriguing, likable characters and an exciting storyline, but Swanson's writing did not fail to be both colorful and concise. His fast pace and word choice kept me reading until the very end.
Sadly, the novel lacked suspense and mystery--it gave up too much too soon which resulted in the missing element of surprise. While some readers did enjoy the twist featured towards the end of the novel, it's one that has been done too many times before.
Aside from this, the cast was filled with unlikable, untrustworthy characters. Each was either a liar, cheater, or simply unreliable.
Altogether, these combined components made it difficult to connect with the story and the cast. Because of this, I wouldn't recommend this novel to fellow thriller readers.
Have you read Before She Knew Him? I'd love to hear your thoughts on Swanson's latest release.