Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena - Book SPOILERS

 The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

when the spoilers part starts there will be bold letters stating "start spoilers" and "end spoilers"

 I'm ashamed to say, I definitely judge a book by its cover. And by the first page/paragraph/sentence of chapter 1. I was debating between reading this or The Girls (which I received in my August book of the month box) and this book jumped out to me right away.

First sentence:
"Anne can feel the acid churning in her stomach and creeping up her throat; her head is swimming".

Yup, I definitely want to find out what happened to her (next sentence "she's had to much to drink"). I'm hooked!

First of all, I thought it was going to be a drama novel with a small bit of who-dunnit mystery involved. Also I thought there was going to be murder but you find out at the end of the first chapter that it's a kidnapping.

Now about the characters involved. No spoilers yet but we will be revisiting the characters in the the spoilers section.

Anne and Marco Conti - They are the parents of the missing child Cora.

Richard and Alice Dries - Rich parents of Anne. Richard is the step father.

Cynthia and Graham Stillwell - Anne and Marco's next door neighbors.

A short plot summary: Cora goes missing while Anne and Marco are over at Cynthia and Graham's apartment for a dinner party. The entire book is finding out what everyone is hiding, where the baby is (if she's even still alive), and who took the baby.


I cannot reiterate enough that there will be SPOILERS below. The end of the spoilers will be marked with an "end spoilers"

Everyone wants to know who did it. Marco set up the kidnapping but Richard set Marco up. Cora is fine and alive.


The Conti family are over at the Stillwell apartment until after 1am. They go home and find their 6 month old daughter missing from her crib. They were checking on her every 30 minutes.

Anne - She has a dissociative condition where she sometimes blacks out and doesn't remember what she has done. Also has postpartum depression. She doesn't remember anything during the time she checked on her daughter at 11pm. She only remembers breast feeding, the baby being fussy, and slapping the baby.  (She ends up killing Cynthia at the end for something else)

Marco - He set up the whole thing with his friend Bruce Neeland (whose real name was actually Derek Honig). Marco had planned to hand the baby over to Derek briefly after 12:30 and Derek would call asking for a 2 million dollar ransom about 12 hours later.

Something goes wrong and a package arrives a few days after asking for 5 millions. Marco goes alone because he knows the baby will be there nice and safe. When he gets there, there is an empty car seat and he gets hit over the head and blacks out. Marco and Derek had become friends over the (doesn't say how long) and after Marco asked Richard for money and was denied, Derek suggested fake kidnapping Cora so they can both get money from it.

Richard - Turns out he was having an affair with Cynthia (yes, Anna's neighbor). It's implied that he was the one who set Derek up with Marco because he ended up with all the money and the child. Richard's assistant was the one taking care of the child while it was missing.

Alice - She's pretty innocent throughout all this. She's the one who tells Anne that her stepfather was cheating with Cynthia.

Cynthia - Came onto Marco during the party at the beginning of the book. Turns out she and her husband Graham like to watch her having intercourse with other men and they film it. They have hidden cameras all around to record whenever she's with someone else. They end up having video footage of Marco taking the baby out to Derek in the garage.

Graham - Graham is against giving the video footage to the police because he would get into trouble for filming people without their consent.

Video footage: Showed Marco going into the house at 12:30 to "check on the baby" but then he comes out at 12:33 and brings Cora into the garage where Derek is parked in a Prius.


I think that's everything anyone would want to know about the book. I finished reading it in four house. I could not put it down.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Siracusa by Delia Ephron (Book) Spoilers

Siracusa by Delia Ephron

There will be spoilers in this post but it will be clearly marked.

 So I got this book Siracusa (by Delia Ephron) in my August Book of the Month Club shipment. (Link here) And I started reading it right away and it took me about a week to finish. The chapters are each told by a different character in the story.

Short description of plot: Two couples and one daughter go on a vacation to Italy and something dramatic happens at the end.

Longer description:
 The four main adult characters and the one teen character are: Finn, Taylor, Snow, Michael, and Lizzie. Side adult character Kath.

 Details about each character:
 -Finn: used to date Lizzie, married to Taylor, father of Snow. He is a restaurant owner.

 -Taylor: Married to Finn, mother of Snow. She works with the mayor's office in Portland, Maine on the city's tourism. She babies Snow and believes her to have extreme shyness syndrome. Can "decipher" what her daughter is trying to say even when no words are used.

 -Snow: a shy teenager, she goes through a transformation throughout the book - or maybe she was already like that but didn't show her true self until Italy.

 -Michael: Married to Lizzie, having an affair with Kath (you find out in Michael's first chapter about her so this isn't really a spoiler). He's written plays and is currently writing a play.

 -Lizzie: Married to Michael, used to date Finn. I think she's a freelance writer for newspapers and stuff but I don't really remember. She's the one who plans the Italy trip for the two couples.

 -Kath: Having an affair with Michael, she's the hostess at a restaurant Michael goes to frequently (where they met).

The story:
 The five main characters go to Italy on a vacation together, Rome is nice, Siracusa is next. Michael and Lizzie rekindle the romance in their relationship. Taylor is overprotective especially when Snow starts to be more engaged in her surroundings because of Michael (but Taylor not so secretly loves this). Snow is weird but that's the point. You're not supposed to be able to figure out what she's thinking. A mysterious thing that all of the online reviews mention happens. But you'll have to read the spoilers below to find out what it is. The spoilers will be clearly marked when it starts and ends. There will be some final thoughts afterwards. You'll see the "end spoilers" if you keep scrolling





 Kath shows up on the trip. She surprises Michael in Siracusa. She used his plane miles by using her spare key into his office and accessing his password and other information. She gets a room at the same hotel as the rest of the group. And she makes him buy her a ring as a sign of commitment.

 Snow, who has been smitten with Michael this trip (not sure if romantic or as a father figure), finds out about the affair and allegedly pushes Kath onto the rocks by the sea. No one knows for sure but Kath is definitely dead.





Final thoughts:
 I like when a book has chapters each based on a different day (like Dracula's journal format) or each is a different character narrating like this book is. It gives us multiple points of view of one situation and we can see how each of the characters interpret the situation.
 I can totally see the author writing this book from Snow's point of view. Her thoughts should be quite interesting since she barely speaks throughout the book.