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Friday, May 19, 2017

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris and The Rules of Half by Jenna Patrick

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris.  Cass Anderson is burdened with guilt because she didn't stop on a back road to see what was going on with a woman who was parked there.  It was pouring rain; she was late getting home; the woman seemed to be waiting for someone.  The next day, she discovers the woman was murdered.

In addition to the guilt, Cass is having trouble with her memory, and after the murder, her memory problem increases. Small lapses become large ones, and Cass struggles with the possibility of early onset dementia.  Her mother's decline into dementia is still fresh.

Strange phone calls.  Misplaced items. Items she doesn't remember ordering arrive in the mail.  The feeling of being watched.  Is she paranoid for imagining that the person who killed Jane is after her, or is she paranoid because she is losing her connection to reality as a result of dementia?   Cass is both guilt-ridden and frightened, two factors that continue to add to her stress and confusion.  If she is not losing her grip--then she may be in danger of becoming a victim herself.

Although the suspicion that the problem may be more than guilt and stress comes relatively early, it is still interesting to see how a normal, healthy person can begin to doubt herself.

Despite a couple of places that dragged a bit in attempt to make clear all that Cass was going through, most of the novel moved at a satisfactory pace.  It was intriguing to see the way guilt and stress can lower one's defenses and how minor manipulations can cause self-doubt.

Read in February.  Review scheduled for April    May 19 

I'm adding Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris to my list.

NetGalley/St. Martin's Press

Psychological Suspense.  June 20, 2017.  Print length:  336 pages

The Rules of Half by Jenna Patrick.  After Regan Fletcher's mother commits suicide, she runs away from her stepfather's home to find her biological father.  Will Fletcher, once a successful veterinarian, now suffers from bipolar disorder.  Confronted with the daughter he never knew about, to say that Will is reluctant to assume fatherhood is an understatement.  Fortunately, his sister Janey is more willing to undertake the responsibility, but Regan doesn't find the stable, loving home she dreamed of because Will's illness requires vigilance to be sure he takes his meds and stays out of trouble.

There is a bit of mystery to be uncovered relating to the onset of Will's illness.  The characters are well-drawn and complex.  The attempts at creating the family Regan wants and needs are full of unpredictable stumbling blocks, but at least the members of this unusual family do their best--most of the time. Situations alternate between hopeful, heartbreaking, and ridiculous.   

An excellent debut novel.     Read in March.  Review scheduled for April     May 19                                      

Coming of Age/Psychological.  June 6, 2017.  Print length:  300 pages.

You Belong to Me by Colin Harrison.  Paul Harrison, an immigration lawyer, becomes involved in a domestic situation concerning Jennifer Mehraz, his young neighbor. His involvement is both inadvertent and initially, unwilling. 

A young man from Jennifer's past appears, and her husband's jealousy triggers a number of unfortunate and fatal events.  Not what he intended, but fatal nonetheless.  

I don't know--I didn't much like any of the characters or the deadly comedy of errors that make up the plot.  I find it difficult to be concerned about characters who don't engage me, but the conclusion was pretty sneaky.  :)

Read in March.  Review scheduled for May 19

NetGalley/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Mystery/Suspense.  June 6, 2017.  Print: 336 pages.

The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett is a dystopian novel that follows a few survivors after most of humanity (throughout the universe, no less) has been wiped out by a deadly virus.  

Although the novel begins on a settled planet, moves to another planet, and then finally, to our planet earth, there is little science fiction.  You have to take for granted elements of space travel and space colonies;  they just happen, and truthfully, they are not really important.  The whole thing could have taken place on earth without losing a thing.

Some interesting characters, some romance, some existential and theological ponderings.  I think mainly this is a novel about Dorothy in Oz clicking those red shoes and saying--well, you know what she says.  And home is not just a place, is it?  

The Space Between the Stars wasn't what I expected, but it was entertaining.  Did I find it "breathtakingly vivid"-- no, but since this is a debut novel, it might be interesting to see what Corlett comes up with next.

Read in February.  Review scheduled for May 19.

NetGalley/Berkley Publishing

Dystopian.  June 13, 2017.  Print length:  368 pages.

Of the four novels, my favorites were The Breakdown and The Rules of Half.


  1. All of these books sound good. I've The Breakdown but haven't got around to it. I'm adding the other books to my list. :)

    1. I hope you enjoy The Breakdown! I really liked The Rules of Half, but the other two were less interesting to me.

  2. I also have THE BREAKDOWN and have not picked it up yet. The other ones sound interesting as well. You've been doing some serious reading!!

    1. I read most of these months ago, but scheduled them closer to publication, but I did some serious reading in April--slowing down some in May. :)

  3. The Rules of Half sounds the most interesting to me; I like character-driven novels. :)

    1. I liked The Rules of Half a great deal. A great debut novel!

  4. I'm with you, the first two you reviewed appealed to me the most, just from reading your reviews. Thanks. Just enough description of the plots.

    1. First, I loved your postcard! The first two books were each interesting, and I enjoyed both of them.

  5. Wonderful post! Interesting books, though not all for me. I read The Breakdown Lane and enjoyed it but didn't love it. I would like to read her other book also. I think I might enjoy The Rules of Half too so it's going on my list. Thanks.