brunettereads: Helen Callaghan – DEAR AMY

Hier klicken für die Deutsche Version.

When you’re in a bookshop, you cannot not recognize Helen Callaghan’s book DEAR AMY – capitals and the green color… it’s hard to oversee! While I was doing my internship earlier this year, one go my colleagues had to write about this book and I got curious – because of the font and because of the German subtitle that says: „If you don’t find me, he will kill me“. Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? So I finally got to read the book in August. What is the story about?



Margot Lewis is a high school teacher, about to be divorced and writing the column „Dear Amy“ in a local newspaper, giving advice to her readers who ask questions. Suddenly, one of her students, Katie, disappears and a couple of weeks later, Margot receives a letter from Bethan who tells her she was kidnapped 15 years ago – and Margot is her last chance to get free! She describes how her kidnapper looks like, begs Margot to help her. The teacher goes to the police and checks if Bethan is a real girl (well, now woman). How can someone being kidnapped send her letters? Is someone kidding her? Or is Bethan really still alive? Will the police help Margot find her and also find Katie?

The story is so thrilling! Katie gets kidnapped right at the beginning and you want to tell her to watch out and not be too naive, but it doesn’t help. Then the story develops with Margot receiving Bethan’s letters and the reader starts wondering how a kidnapped girl is able to send them. Maybe it’s a trick of the abductor? Looking for Bethan becomes more and more the focus of the book and not finding Katie but we can see she’s still alive as we get to read her part of the story while she is kidnapped. But we also get to know that she will die soon. Too soon to be found?

The book is a mixture of Katie’s story, looking for Bethan and Margot’s private life. This was great as I wanted to know how each story ends and so I couldn’t stop reading. Unfortunately, the chapters were quite long (except of Katie’s) and I had to think hard at night if I really want to read another one or go to sleep as I still had to finish my master thesis by then (which I finally submitted!). But most of the time I decided to read another chapter 😉

The ending is very, very surprising. The turning point leads the story into a direction, nobody was thinking about, I guess. I was sitting in bed with my mouth open as I couldn’t believe what I’ve just read. The actual ending then isn’t that surprising anymore as you could’ve expected it. But the revelation just before… wow! It’s worth reading the book just because of this turning point! And it’s also worth knowing that Margot has been in psychotherapy when she was young because of drug abuse and hallucinations. And now, in the present, she receives letters from a girl that was kidnapped 15 years ago. Is that believable? Not really, right? But on the other hand, she’s not consuming drugs anymore…

I really recommend reading DEAR AMY! It’s so thrilling and the turning point is absolutely great. Helen Callaghan’s debut was definitely successful and I’m looking forward to reading more of her books!

Have you read DEAR AMY? How did you like the story and the plot twist?


Laura Griffin – Unforgivable

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When I visit my parents, I usually bring a book with me. Just one, as I normally stay just for a weekend and I had to write my thesis these days.., Well, but then the weather was great, I didn’t write anything and I finished my book too early. Luckily, my sister had another book at home and I started reading Unforgivable by Laura Griffin. It’s a thriller and I was curious about the story as it sounded really good.



What a shock for Mia Voss!  When the forensic doctor got back to her car after buying some groceries, she was kidnapped by a stranger. She managed to escape but just a couple of days after the incident, her nephew disappears. Just a coincidence? Mia doesn’t think so. Ric Santos starts to investigate and Mia is doing an investigation on her own. Are the two attempts to hijack Mia and her nephew related to the murder she’s investigating at the moment? While the kidnapper is still free and in desperate need to find and kill Mia, her life is more than once in danger and she fully depends on Ric. Who is the kidnapper and what does he want? Can Ric save Mia’s life?

The book isn’t that bad per se, but the suspense is missing. It felt like the story focused more on the „relationship“ of Mia and Ric instead of the case. Although the beginning is so promising: We’re right in the middle of the story, Mia got kidnapped, you become sad and curious about what happened in the past between Mia and Ric and why they are not a couple. When their romance starts, the story starts to get boring: I was actually annoyed by it as the book just focused on it and Mia acted extremely in love and thought about marriage and having children after she and Ric has sex for the first time, while Ric just put his toothbrush in her house after one week of their „relationship“ (that hasn’t even been one until this time of the story) – and he didn’t bring his toothbrush because of her but he sleeps in her house for protecting her and finding the kidnapper. It’s also obvious that a woman wrote the book: It was the first time I’ve ever read in a novel or any other book that the female protagonist wonders if she’s too fat after she had have sex. Really? Do we really need that realistic books? It’s sad that woman actually think about it but I really don’t want to read about it in books when I want to forget reality for a moment. And I especially don’t want to read about it in a thriller where it’s about chasing murderers.

As I said, I missed the suspense, even though there are some thrilling moments. But most of the story was easy to foresee. The chapters were too long in my opinion and when something thrilling happened, it was at the end of a very long chapter and the next one was as long as the one before and I was usually too tired to keep on reading. So I just read the first page of the new chapter and then went to bed.

The actual story, besides the love story, is actually good and interesting but Laura Griffin failed to embellish it. Maybe the love story was too distracting. If there is a happy end in the end, if Ric can protect Mia, if they become a couple and if they catch the kidnapper – sorry, but you have to read the book, I won’t tell anything.

As you might think by now, I don’t really recommend reading Unforgivable. I don’t think I will read any book of Laura Griffin ever again, besides a love story 😉

Have you read the book and how do you like it? Or have you read other books of Laura Griffin?

brunettereads: Shari Lapena – The Couple Next Door

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I didn’t plan to have a little break last week – but I just didn’t have time to write the review about Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door. First, I spent a weekend at home with my family and then my sister came to visit me (and then there’s my thesis…). This is why you get to read the article about this book, everyone talks about, today and not last week! But is it really that good?

The Couple Next Door

Anne and Marco got their little baby girl Cora a couple of month ago. Their neighbor Cynthia is having a dinner party and invites the young parents – but not their baby as Cynthia doesn’t like children at all! No problem, the babysitter looks after Cora but then she has to cancel and Anne and Marco can’t find someone else. So they decide to leave Cora alone at home and check after her every 30 minutes. But when they return about 1.30 a.m., Cora is not in her crib – she’s gone! The police suspects Anne and Marco – who would leave their baby alone at home without having any bad intentions? But did the parents really kidnap – or kill – their baby? And will the police find Cora alive?

The beginning of the book is slowly and the story doesn’t seem to evolve, even though Cora disappears within the first 15 pages of the book. You should probably feel sorry for the parents because although they acted irresponsible, their child is gone. But honestly, it’s hard to do so as Anne and Marco seem to be dislikable. Anne suffers a postnatal depression and Marco doesn’t want to talk to the police. It seems like he is hiding something. Did he kidnap Cora? Or was it Anne, who killed her baby by accident because of the depression and Marco helped her hiding the body? These are just two of the theories the police has, especially when there is no ransom demand, nobody gives any hints about Cora’s whereabouts, even though there’s a reward of 4 million dollars and then, there are skid marks in the garage that can just be entered from the inside of the house.

Shari Lapena gives a lot of suspects and I had very early an idea who could have kidnapped Cora. I was right in the end, but it wasn’t exactly the way I thought it would be. The author reveals in the middle of the book who the kidnapper is and why this person did this. This means the book is going to be boring the other half, right? No, not at all! Step by step, Lapena reveals more and more secrets that make the story really fascinating.

The book and the story become better and better the more you read and especially at the time you know who kidnapped Cora makes it more thrilling. I really liked the end and the clearing up, but the real end (the last chapter of the book) was quite sad and I wished there would be another ending chapter to explain the last one. Maybe Shari Lapena could write a sequel of The Couple Next Door just to explain the ending? 😉

I really liked the book and if you like crime stories and thrillers, you should have a look at it as well!

Have you already read the book? How do you like it? And what do you think about the ending?

brunettereads: Amy Gentry – Good As Gone

Hier klicken für die deutsche Version.

I slowly get back into my reading-rhythm and already finished my second book in English! It’s Good As Gone by Amy Gentry. A German magazine presented it in their March issue and I liked the story – so I had to buy the book. But what is it about?


Photo: ttps://

Eight years ago:  Julie, 13 years old, was kidnapped in her own home. Witness of the crime: her younger sister Jane who hid in the closet and watched Julie and the man through the open door. Hours later, she was brave enough to get out and tell her parents. But it’s too late: They never found Julie. But then, the miracle happens: A girl appears at the Whitacker’s door step and says she would be Julie! But her mom Anna is not so sure if this girl really is her daughter and then there is someone who confirms her doubts. If this isn’t Julie: Who is she? And what does she want from the family?

I loved the book! It’s really good. It’s not exactly thrilling but you’re becoming curious with every page you read, so I stayed awake quite long every night. The start of the story is already intense: Jane tells us how she had to watch Julie’s kidnapping. Then the narrator switches and Anna tells us the story in the present and about Julie’s sudden appearance. And we get to know what happened to her, of course: She was sold by the kidnapper and abused for sex. But is this really true?

Anna has some doubts and a private investigator tells her some interesting fact about „Julie“, the investigations in the past and what he thinks really happened. We, the readers, also get to know „Julie’s“ perspective and she has a lot of names – is this the sign that she is not the real one? She starts telling her story in the present until the day of the alleged kidnapping. And she calls her parents by their first names and not Mom and Dad.   Another sign? I actually didn’t like the retrospects that much as they said nothing at all who this girl is and I’d rather stayed in the present to get to know it. But after I read half of the book, I thought I knew how the story might end and then it was really interesting to read how Amy Gentry will reveal it in the end.

The ending is quite thrilling on the one side, but on the other side also a bit dull. Gentry built up the tension but it dropped immediately really fast after a special occasion. Well, something was missing and I can’t even tell, what exactly. And the revelation, if Julie is Julie or someone else was quite lame as well. There was drama but not enough in my opinion.

You get to know all characters really well except Anna’s husband Tom, who is always in the back even though he is important for his children. The focus is, of course, on Julie and Anna, but also a bit on Jane who had to suffer a lot after the kidnapping. Her mom never said it was her fault that Julie disappeared but she made Jane feel like it was. Anna started drinking and was never really interested in Jane after that incident. Anna regrets this later but their relationship is still not the best. Sure, you have to understand Anna and that she was devastated after Julies kidnapping, but honestly: What should Jane have done? The kidnapper had a knife, should she have risked Julie or herself getting killed?

I really liked the book and if you like thriller, just have a look at Good As Gone!

Have you already read the book? Do you like the story and the revelation at the end?