Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Talk with R & T: Until You're Mine

This week is all about Samantha Hayes' new release UNTIL YOU'RE MINE, both here and over at Traveling with T's blog. So far this week you can read my review as well as Tamara's and enter our giveaway. Today we dig a little deeper into the psychological thriller that had us both up way past our bedtimes. Over on Tamara's blog she is featuring an interview with Samantha Hayes and you can read here. Here on Ivory Owl Reviews Tamara and I further discuss our reactions to the novel.


I was browsing through Netgalley (dangerous place!) and the cover caught my eye. Then the synopsis, well knowing from the synopsis that Zoe was a character to not be trusted intrigued me. Seeing that Claudia had this picture-perfect life- that intrigued me. I had a definite inkling of THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE (you know that creepy-good movie with Rebecca de Mornay in it?) I immediately clicked the “Request” button and held my breath till I was approved.  Perfect nanny with a mysterious air-check! Pregnant woman who is unsure whether to trust her instincts or not- check! Creepy attacks on pregnant women- check and check!

I found the summary very interesting and I also requested this title from NetGalley. Rarely do I ever read about pregnant women in any way other than idyllic settings, or maybe pregnant mistresses, pregnancies from affairs, etc. Attacks on pregnant women fascinated me in a tragic, Nancy Grace topic sort of way. When I read the book I thought of THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE throughout the book, too! And Tamara and I never said that to each other before now!


Ok, I have to be ugly here. I didn’t pick up on this in the synopsis and it really shouldn’t matter, but it kind of does- settings in England are not my fav. There, I said it. I mean I freaking love a British accent, but the last fewpsychlogical thrillers I’ve read that were set in England were just kind of disappointing to me (I’m looking at you THE LAST WINTER OF DANI LANCING!) So, when I started reading this and realized the setting- I briefly considered quitting. Again, it shouldn’t matter, but I still have a bitter taste in my mouth from previous books- and I think that almost influenced my feeling of the setting. After reading UNTIL YOU’RE MINE, after thinking about it for days (I’m obsessive!) it wouldn’t have worked set in America. It had to be set where it was- even though the setting itself was NOT a huge character. But you just have to read to understand more!

I have to really think about if the setting affected me at all. I think the fact that certain agencies operate under different protocols made it easy for me to not over analyze situations that I may have been more critical about. For instance, when the investigators examine the attack victims or  the confidentiality of social services. Not that I know proper police procedures or legal allowances in the United States, but it was easy to brush it off and say "that's just how they do it there" instead of being distracted by possible inconsistancies. 


Zoe- dear golly- I did not care for Zoe for quite some time. I mean she was crazy. Baby-obsessed.  She had redeemable sides to her- it was like you could tell as you were reading that someone else was pulling Zoe’s strings.... Or else she was one heck of an unreliable narrator. I was never quite sure where exactly I stood with Zoe.
Claudia- you know how people love pregnant women? Talk about that glow they have? Claudia glowed in this book- here she is, on the verge of having everything she wants, and then... It’s like the universe just threw Zoe into her life. I can’t tell you the number of times that I was like “Claudia, pull it together and fire Zoe. Get yourself to a hotel or call the police or something and let a person know you are feeling vulnerable!”
Lorraine- it was all in my reading of who is attacking pregnant women and how much danger is Claudia in that Samantha Hayes had to throw a character in who is having marital issues, child issues and, quite honestly, for the most of the book- Lorraine almost seems unnecessary. Oh, by the end, I understood her role- but I could have lived without some of her drama.

Zoe- I watch The Following and I kept thinking Zoe is Emma! Anyone who watches this show knows what I mean, especially because Emma was originally Joey's nanny and seemed perfect. But we all know that underneath it all she was a "follower" and secretly liked killing people. 
Claudia- Oh Claudia, finally getting everything she wants. She loves her job and after marrying a widower with two small boys she is pregnant. Life is grand, right? 
Lorraine- I really liked Lorraine a lot although I couldn't figure out why Hayes was really giving so much of her story until much further into the book. Seriously the issue with her husband using her body wash was so small that most readers may have missed it but I rolled my eyes and talked to the book saying "EXACTLY!" Or that she acknowledged the fact that Lorraine wasn't as accomplished as her husband because she had taken on a majority of the caregiving for their daughters. The underlying resentment was palpable. 


So, as documented above- I was loving this plot. LOVING it. Then, I opened the book. And it began letting me down- it wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. I read along, because I really wanted to see how the Zoe/Claudia dynamic played out... I was interested; but not overwhelemed with interest. And then... THEN, it was like the bookish gods read my “ho-hum” interest in this book- and rewarded me. Big time. Huge. This book quickly went from “I’m mildly interested to I’ve got to flip the pages on my Kindle faster so I can know what in the world is going to happen next!” I hate to harp on Lorraine, but I wasn’t just loving her. Like I was digging the whole being a strong woman in the work place (totally digging that!), but her personal drama was a bit ehh....  James- Claudia’s hubby- as a reader, I never did get a fully formed picture of James. He smacked a bit of some shady behavior (and I wondered if we were going to find out some big dark secret of his past!)

I was excited to read this novel when I first read the summary, then even more excited when Tamara and I decided this would be our initial feature for Book Talk with R & T. As I began the book I was a little confused. Then I started tweeting Tamara questions and guesses about what was going to happen. I began to pick up the pace as the story progressed because the fact that Claudia is about to have a baby lends an urgency to each day that passes. And then.....And Then!! The climax and ending of the book had me mouth open in shock reading. I actually said "What the f*ck?" and "Holy Sh*t!" out loud several times. 


Yes. Yes, I think I would. Samantha had a way of writing that did entertain me- so I’m def curious to see more from this author!
Absolutely! I don't usually find myself drawn to thrillers or mysteries, but I will definitely read more by Samantha Hayes.


Tamara: Thumbs up, baby!
Rhiannon: Two thumbs up!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Until You're Mine

Title: Until You're Mine
Author: Samantha Hayes
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: April 15, 2014 U.S. release (first released January 1, 2013 in U.K.)
ISBN: 9781780891484
Number of Pages: 416
How I Got It: NetGalley
Format: Kindle

You're alone. You're vulnerable. And you have something that someone else wants. At any cost.
 Claudia Morgan-Brown finally has it all. Pregnant with a much-wanted first baby of her own, she has a happily established family of two small step-sons and a loving husband with a great career. But she is also committed to her full-time job as a social worker, and her husband travels often. So when Claudia hires Zoe to help her around the house in anticipation of the baby’s arrival, it seems like the answer to her prayers. But despite Zoe's glowing recommendations and instant rapport with the children, there's something about her that Claudia cannot trust.

 Moreover, there has been a series of violent attacks on pregnant women in the area, and Claudia becomes acutely aware of her vulnerability. With her husband out of town for work and her family far away, who will be there to protect her? And why does she feel unsettled about Zoe? Realizing appearances can be deceiving even in her seemingly perfect world, Claudia digs deeper into Zoe’s blurry past and begins to wonder – how far would someone go to have a child of her own?
 Riveting from its very first pages, Until You’re Mine is a multilayered masterwork of twisted, psychological suspense. Readers of Before I Go to Sleep and Turn of Mind will be enthralled by this multilayered novel, featuring a twisted plot that ends in a breathtaking and shocking finale.

My Review:
This was an "OMG Whoa!" book! It's going to be very hard to write a review of this novel because I don't want to give too much away. This book is comparable to the smash hit "Gone  Girl" in that you do not know what will happen next. I am always disappointed if I figure out a story twist early on and then find myself bored completing a book. This was NOT that kind of book! I found myself constantly tweeting my book buddy Tamara who was reading this also. I was trying so hard to figure it out but just could not.  I was pleasantly confused throughout the entire story. 

Upper middle class blended family with social worker mother hires a nanny amidst a rash of fetal "abductions." Plus husband and wife investigators with two teen girls add a great secondary storyline. 
You will have creepy chills from the first time you read: "You're so lucky to be pregnant" until the final taunting line. This thriller is a definite recommendation for any reader, even ones that don't usually read this type of me.

Be sure to check out Tamara's review (link to come) and enter our giveaway for a copy of Samantha Hayes' UNTIL YOU'RE MINE. Also, keep checking back all week as Tamara and I chat more about this release.

** I received this book in exchange for an honest review **

Monday, April 14, 2014

New Feature: Book Talk with R & T

Ok guys! Guys! I'm so excited for a super fun collaboration week between my blog and Tamara over on Traveling with T!! I consider Tamara one of the best book buddies EVAH! We both love wine, Designing Women, and books (obvs!) We've been discussing ideas of a joint venture for quite some time and decided to do a week long feature of a single book on both of our blogs. After much deliberation we decided we will be featuring Samantha Hayes' UNTIL YOU'RE MINE!
So all week we will be talking about UNTIL YOU'RE MINE: what we loved, hated, a potential movie cast and more! Plus you can enter to win a copy of UNTIL YOU'RE MINE over on Traveling with T or here on Ivory Owl Reviews (over on right upper side of blog.)-------->>>

Please join us for a fun week of everything UNTIL YOU'RE MINE here and over on Traveling with T. Plus, we are big Tweeters so please chat with us here on our blogs or over on Twitter (Tamara: @RockStar1023 & Me: @IvoryOwlReviews)