Behind Closed Doors

Grace and Jack seem to have it all. Fabulous exotic vacations, a beautiful expensive home, and undying love. From the outside Grace and Jack are the perfect couple. Their friends pick and pry but, Grace and Jack never wither. They are simply the depiction of perfection. They’re charming, beautiful, and everything your relationship is not; but behind closed doors, sometimes perfect can get a little messy and chaotic. Some might wonder are Grace and Jack happy when the doors are closed or is there more to Grace and Jack that we’re not seeing.

“What colour was Millie’s room, Grace?”
– B.A Paris

Through the entirety of Behind Closed Doors I felt challenged, nervousness, panic, and uneasiness. I know that these aren’t typical emotions an author wants to provoke in their readers, but Behind Closed Doors is a different book. You feel certain emotions as situations shift and you’re forced to shift with them; as you put yourself in characters shoes, and as it is becomes absurdly clear that what you were originally picturing would never compare to what this book is really uncovering.”“Fear,’ he whispered. ‘There is nothing quite like it. I love how it looks, I love how it feels, I love how it smells. And I especially love the sound of it.’ I felt his tongue on my cheek. ‘I even love the taste of it.”” It’s difficult for me to discuss this novel without spilling all of the juicy, mostly horrifying details, but I’ll try to devalue my feelings without giving too much away.

“But the truth is, we never really know what goes on, on the other side of the fence, behind those closed doors. Instead of looking over the fence, we should really be keeping our eyes fixed firmly on our side and cherishing the grass that we have—bald patches and all—just a little bit more.”

– B.A. Paris

This reverting psychological thriller will keep you on your toes and make you question every seemingly perfect, inseparable couple you come across. Often main character Grace drifts from her past – so readers understand what lead to her present circumstances, “had it all been a facade, had he covered his true self with a cloak of geniality and good humour to impress me?” As the plot and motives of the characters escalated (as did my anxiety), I seem to be aware of everything but nothing at same time. I questioned events before they happened or as they were unfolding, and at times, I couldn’t tell if I wanted to close this book or keep reading with one eye open. Like I said, I’ve never felt so uncomfortable, nervous, and constantly on the edge while reading a book. I don’t think I took a real breath of fresh air until I finished reading it. I’m unsure if author, B.A. Paris wanted her readers to feel that way, but she absolutely accomplished those feelings with me.

“I look around at everybody laughing and joking together and struggle to understand my life has become a living hell that nobody present could even begin to imagine”

– B.A. Paris

The concept of Behind Closed Doors is fantasizing. It’s one of those books you promise you’re going to put down, but keep reading anyway. B.A. Paris has a crafty way of portraying some characters in a certain way to sway your judgement of them. That skills pushed me into sort of liking Angel and seeing the appeal that Grace had with him. Within the first few chapters you could obviously tell something was off, but I assumed Grace was the problem. I wasn’t expecting the plot of the book to prove me wrong in so many ways.

I haven’t read a book that kept me guessing and question the motives of the characters and the people around, in a very like time. Behind closed doors is refreshing. It differs from many psychological thrillers, but that what draws people to it.

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Reviewed by:
 Josie M. Hulen

Josie Monet Hulen is a writer with a Bachelors degree in literature. She’s passionate about the written word and often spends her time with her nose in a book or in the middle of writing one. Her hunger for knowledge and determination to learn, landed her a job as an office manager. She has also been an intern for 9 months with an online publishing company and works part time as a freelance writer. Josie one day hopes to be an inspiring writer.

The Neighbor

Lured with the affirmation of growing friendships, a family filled neighborhood, and a successful brewery; Clay Daniels uproots his wife, Leah Daniels, and twins, Zack and Zadie to Maine. Unfortunately for the Daniels, Maine is everything but what they’ve hoped for.
Stuck in an undeveloped neighborhood, Clay searches for happiness outside of his life and confines all his energy and love into his brewery. While Leah, haunted by the idea of playmates for her kids, friends for herself, and ignored by her husband, lets loneliness get the best of her. She begins to grow a strange obsession with her neighbor, Clarissa Gaines. However, the more she uncovers about Clarissa, the more she reveals about herself, her husband, and the rest of the secrets buried all around her that no one is ready to face again.

“I move to the window and see Clarissa’s car parked in the driveway. I can’t believe she’s come home so early, the one day I chose to snoop around. In all the time I’ve been watching her, she’s never returned at this hour. What am I going to do.”
– Joseph Souza

I’m not a harsh writer – especially when it comes to another author’s literary accomplishments. However, I can’t help but question the state of mind of this author as I read The Neighbor by Joseph Souza. This book is a psychological thriller told from the perspectives of Clay and Leah Daniels. It’s centered around the disappearance of Mycah, a college student activist and Leah’s strange obsession with her neighbor Clarissa. While this plot was promising in the first few chapters, it ended up being the opposite of a book I’d normally have high hopes for. It started off great. It was something I was drawn into and I was excited to uncover the same mystery that intrigued and entangled the main characters. However, the more I got to know the characters the harder it became to like the book and follow along with the plot. The Neighbor carried so much subplot, that ultimately the main plot got lost in all of the drama. Which made the book uninteresting and hard to read. The characters were very unlikable and the events in the book continuously snow balled into a mess of backstabbing, affairs, and murder.

She needs intensive therapy if she’s to put her sisters death in the rear view mirror. But will that be enough to save our marriage?”

– Joseph Souza

I was also disgusted reading the many “sexual” overly fetishized portions riddled in this novel, “I laugh, the wine making me bold and adventurous. I suddenly want to fulfill my marital duties to this wonderful man. “Would you like to make love to me Clay? Would you like me to pretend I’m your slave? A young girl that you trapped behind the barn one night and had your way with?” I giggle girlishly.” It wasn’t because the author was a white man and I’m a black woman – although maybe it was a small part of it – It was because of the many implications that these “sexual” segments meant. What they meant to me. The idea that any black woman would find these acts enjoyable or beg a white man to see her in such a notion was appalling. “She carried a whip in one hand, which she handed to me, I was at loss for words when she told me how she wanted me to do her. She leaned over the bed, exposing the caramel skin on her back. Then she ordered me to whip her… “You need to, governor. Treat me like the mouth slave you’ve always wanted to possess.”

“Here’s the sad irony. Mycah appeared to enjoy the rough sex. She couldn’t get enough of it. Name the sexual act and we did it. She encouraged -no ordered- me to smack her around.”

– Joseph Souza

If we ignored the sexual component to the book (which is pretty hard to considering how disturbing it is), there are many other things off with this novel. The plot for intense, was everywhere, hard to follow, and often at times unpredictable, and unrealistic. It left me with more questions than answers (and not in a good way). There were so many things going on in this book at the same time. Leah and Clay’s marriage down fall, both Leah and Clay’s alcoholism, Clay and Leah ignoring the existence of their children, both of their children’s state of mind and development, Leah’s obsession with Clarissa, Clarissa and her husband’s existence in the novel in general, affairs, all the killings, Leah’s lost story line, oh and let’s not forget the point of the book, Mycah.

Although there were some strong points to this book, it all centered around the mystery of Mycah. However, her story line was one that went nowhere. The ending, just like the entirety of this book, was disappointing. Leah, indulges in her self destructive ways, while everyone around her indulged in their own versions as well. The plot is mingled and many of the mystery’s that could’ve lead to an amazing book, resulted in a horrid one. I haven’t read a book in awhile that made me question the mind state of a writer. I also haven’t read Joseph Souza other books, but if there’re anything like this one – I’m starring clear of them.


29511359_186315198646750_4804008243360882691_nReviewed by:

Josie M. Hulen

Josie Monet Hulen is a writer with a Bachelors degree in literature. She’s passionate about the written word and often spends her time with her nose in a book or in the middle of writing one. Her hunger for knowledge and determination to learn, landed her a job as an office manager. She has also been an intern for 9 months with an online publishing company and works part time as a freelance writer. Josie one day hopes to be an inspiring writer.