Listen to Me by Hannah Pittard

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source: free copy via AmazonVine
title: Listen to Me
author: Hannah Pittard
genre: psychological thriller
published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (July 5, 2016)
pages: 191
first line: They were on the road later than they intended.
rated: misleading

Blurb:

A modern gothic about a marriage and road trip gone hauntingly awry.

Mark and Maggie’s annual drive east to visit family has gotten off to a rocky start. By the time they’re on the road, it’s late, a storm is brewing, and they are no longer speaking to one another. Adding to the stress, Maggie — recently mugged at gunpoint — is lately not herself, and Mark is at a loss about what to make of the stranger he calls his wife. When they are forced to stop for the night at a remote inn, completely without power, Maggie’s paranoia reaches an all-time and terrifying high. But when Mark finds himself threatened in a dark parking lot, it’s Maggie who takes control.

My Thoughts:
Okay, so I am upset. When I grabbed a copy of Listen to Me I expected a thrilling story, one I could enjoy on a cool Fall evening while sipping a cup of tea. What I discovered was that I wanted to throw the book across the room when I was done reading.

On one hand this was a quiet, tense story about a married couple who are beginning to doubt one another. On the other hand, I found this book to be falsely marketed, the blurb is misleading: “When they are forced to stop for the night at a remote inn, completely without power, Maggie’s paranoia reaches an all-time and terrifying high. But when Mark finds himself threatened in a dark parking lot, it’s Maggie who takes control.” This one is supposed to be a psychological thriller, I found nothing really thrilling about it and was upset with the turn the book took towards the end. It certainly is not a “modern gothic” as the blurb suggests. Come on people.

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Married Sex: A Love Story by Jesse Kornbluth

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source: free ARC via AmazonVine
title: Married Sex: A Love Story
author: Jesse Kornbluth
published: Open Road Media (August 25, 2015)
pages: 246
genre: fiction
first line: The most beautiful woman in the world is a woman reading a book.
rated: intriguing and thought provoking
4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
When a husband convinces his wife to join him in a tryst with another woman, there are unintended consequences in this sharply observed erotic tale about the challenges of modern marriage

As a divorce lawyer for Manhattan’s elite, David Greenfield is privy to the intimate, dirty details of failed marriages. He knows he’s lucky to be married to Blair—a Barnard dean and the mother of their college-age daughter, she is a woman he loves more today than he did when they tied the knot.

Then seductive photographer Jean Coin asks David to be her lover for 6 weeks, until she leaves for Timbuktu. Tempted, David reasons that “it’s not cheating if your wife’s there.” A 1-night threesome would relieve the pressure of monogamy without wrecking their marriage. What harm could come of fulfilling his longtime sexual fantasy?

My Thoughts:
Another AmazonVine find that I have been meaning to review,  Married Sex: A Love Story pleasantly surprised me. I like stories that delve beneath the surface and bring up hidden truths and desires from its characters.

David and Blair have been married for over two decades. Now in their mid-forties, their careers are successful, they live in Manhattan and their daughter is off at college. David is a divorce lawyer and Blair is a school Dean. From the outside looking in, you would think they have it all, but two years into their marriage David had an affair. When Blair caught him, she made him promise if he were ever be tempted to stray again, he would have to bring the person home to her first. It became somewhat of a pact between the couple.

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Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

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source: free review copy courtesy of Library Thing
title: Hausfrau
author: Jill Alexander Essbaum
pages: 318
published: ARC March 24, 2015
first line: Anna was a good wife, mostly.
rated: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
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Blurb:
Anna was a good wife, mostly. For readers of The Girl on the Train and The Woman Upstairs comes a striking debut novel of marriage, fidelity, sex, and morality, featuring a fascinating heroine who struggles to live a life with meaning.

Anna Benz, an American in her late thirties, lives with her Swiss husband, Bruno—a banker—and their three young children in a postcard-perfect suburb of Zürich. Though she leads a comfortable, well-appointed life, Anna is falling apart inside. Adrift and increasingly unable to connect with the emotionally unavailable Bruno or even with her own thoughts and feelings, Anna tries to rouse herself with new experiences: German language classes, Jungian analysis, and a series of sexual affairs she enters with an ease that surprises even her.

But Anna can’t easily extract herself from these affairs. When she wants to end them, she finds it’s difficult. Tensions escalate, and her lies start to spin out of control. Having crossed a moral threshold, Anna will discover where a woman goes when there is no going back.

My Thoughts:

Author Jill Alexander Essbaum is a new to me author and I am glad I discovered her work. She is a poet which does not surprise me as Hausfrau reads like poetry at times, the narrative flows beautifully.

At the heart of this emotional and sad story is Anna, a thirty-something married mother of three who is her own worst enemy in many ways. I read Hausfrau intermittently over the course of about two weeks. I could not sit and read for too long at a time. It was a somber book and Anna’s sadness just flows throughout these pages.

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Adultery by Paulo Coelho

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Source: Free review copy via Amazon Vine
Title: Adultery
Author: Paulo Coelho
published: 2014
pages: 255
genre: fiction
first line: Every morning, when I open my eyes to the so-called “new day”, I feel like closing them again, staying in bed, and not getting up.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars

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Blurb:
Linda knows she’s lucky.

Yet every morning when she opens her eyes to a so-called new day, she feels like closing them again.

Her friends recommend medication.

But Linda wants to feel more, not less.

And so she embarks on an adventure as unexpected as it is daring, and which reawakens a side of her that she – respectable wife, loving mother, ambitious journalist – thought had disappeared.

Even she can’t predict what will happen next…

My thoughts:

Having heard such wonderful things about Paulo Coelho I had been eager to read his work.
What I found within these pages was shocking on the surface, but as I kept reading and delved in a bit deeper, I found much more.

The story is narrated by Linda, who seems to have everything, a loving husband, two children, a successful career as a journalist and financial stability. The story is set in Geneva, Switzerland.

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