Review: The Couple Next Door: A Novel (by Shari Lapena)

29426188It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors–a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all–a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family–a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.


The Couple Next Door is an “ok” book, I can give it a generous two stars.

I liked how the story began but as the plot thickened, I was at a loss because it got so complicated borderline impossible. The “discoveries” were easy to predict because you will be directed right into it with no suspense at all.  The story that the Author used to divert the readers from being able to guess what really happened that night wasn’t strong enough. I wished there was more of it. I wished she’s given Anne’s story more emphasis.

Who could have taken the baby? Could it be the ever flirtatious Cynthia? It can also be her husband Graham whose character by the way is so stupid. I do not understand him at all, totally non-essential. I mean there was a part of the story that I had actually thought he would matter but then after few pages, I realized that he doesn’t matter after all! Could it be the baby’s parents? Anne seemed tensed all night and Marco seemed overly drunk. The grandparent’s story wasn’t presented until the baby went missing. Is it possible that they kidnapped their own granddaughter? I couldn’t comment on the Detective because despite this book being released some time ago, I still do not want to spoil it for others. All I can say is I loved the dedication of Detective Rasbach.

I am kind of easy to please but this book didn’t make me happy at all. Despite my busy schedule, I was able to finish this book faster than my normal speed because I was anxious to see if there’d be something that will excite me. The speed is due to hoping that there’s something that would redeem the characters. There wasn’t any.

The thoughts and actions of the characters just did not seem coherent. I wish the characters acted with more sense. I was like, “could you guys be more obvious?”

This could pass as a TV movie though.

The Couple Next Door: A NovelThe Couple Next Door: A Novel by Shari Lapena

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Review: An Unwanted Guest (by Shari Lapena)

81ha0dvtqvlA weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway . . . but when the storm hits, no one is getting away

It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in for the long haul.

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead–it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic.

Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. And there’s nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm.

c37817f30a98cbe3456b4228f57c6c3dI have to admit, I haven’t read any book written by Shari Lapena. I have no idea what genre she usually writes and I’ve always thought she’s Filipino as her name sounds like one.

I went to Virgin Store in Dubai Mall and saw that her book, An Unwanted Guest was displayed all over their Fiction Section. I got curious and read the back part. I told myself, it’s a thriller! I became curious about the book and the author.

When I got to the hotel, I immediately searched for the author’s bio and voila, she’s not Filipino! I really thought she was. But it doesn’t really concern my wanting to read the book. I bought the Kindle Edition.

I liked the book a lot. It took me about 4 days to finish reading because my son had been interrupting me with his incessant questions *smiles* I had to wait until everyone is asleep before I read or during my breaks at work. The life of a working mom!

I have read some comments that the writing was kind of juvenile and the words weren’t deep enough. I say, “how deep is it that you guys expect?” For me, the words were well written! The author has that sense of suspense that you’d never guess who’s done it. The sentences were clear and would be very appealing to readers who barely have time to read and those who would like a fast paced story to satisfy their very limited time to spare. I basically do not like books with too much non-essential subplots to support lazy chapters. This book didn’t have that!

The murders start one by one and you would ask, “who could be killing these people?” Who knows?! But certainly, the author made is so hard to guess. What could be the reason for the killings? Could it be planned or just random? Looking at the guests and their profiles, there seemed to be no connection. David Paley is a defense attorney who seems distant but confident. He is handsome and came to the Inn alone. He wondered if he would be able to meet someone during the weekend. He seemed normal. Lauren came in with Ian. They are the couple who was helpful enough to assist some of the guests who were in trouble earlier on. Riley and Gwen are best friends who got stuck in the road. Riley seemed off and Gwen is her exact opposite. Dana Hart and Matthew Hutchinson is a handsome couple. They are recently engaged and Dana looks like a model while Matthew is handsome and rich. Candice White came alone. She is a writer who hasn’t been on vacation for quite some time. She takes this weekend trip to the Inn as an opportunity to write another book. Beverly and Henry Sullivan is also a couple. They have kids who will be mentioned a couple times in the story. They are in a not-so-loving state although Beverly seems to be trying her best to win her husband’s affection while they’re at the Inn. James Harwood and his son Bradley manage the Inn together. James is the owner who also serves as the chef and Bradley is somehow the all-around go-to man of the Inn. The snowstorm had been heavy and no other help from their staff came in, Bradley basically becomes the concierge, bellhop, bartender and waiter for the weekend.

They have become suspicious of one another and have started accusing their suspects. But who could the killer really be? Read and go figure! It is an exciting adventure!

I know a lot of reviews say that this book would give you the Agatha Christie feels but I say the writing of Shari Lapena in this book brings a more funky take on thriller/mystery.

I loved the book and I am now reading The Couple Next Door.
An Unwanted GuestAn Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Spoiler Free 🙂

Felt so sad because I finished the book yesterday and I felt like it’s Deathly Hallows all over again. Bittersweet. Alhough I am glad to be given a chance to read more about Harry Potter’s life, I really felt depressed because it’s  too short a story! I wish it was longer. I don’t want to spoil the story for those who haven’t read it yet but really, it’s satisfying. I can’t wait to discuss this with another Potthead.

I give this 4.5 stars. Because 5 is for OOTP!