Sunday, 7 May 2017

Lara's Journal

Lara's Journal

by A. Gavazzoni

4 out of 5

Simone Bennet is on a long vacation, trying to heal from the trauma she suffered at the hands of a serial-killer kidnapper. After looking death in the face, she tries to develop a new outlook on life—live in the moment!

Carl, the charming lawyer, is back, asking once more for Simone’s help, this time in analyzing Lara’s journals, which were discovered by her siblings after her death. In her own words, Lara divulges all her secrets, and reveals a dramatic world of betrayal, passion, and the most unusual sexual behaviors, exposing the beautiful architect’s troubled life.

As Simone tries to deal with the contents of Lara's haunting diaries, one of her patients gets himself into a bit of legal trouble, forcing Simone to return early from her vacation. Although she's happy to be back on her home turf, she finds herself surrounded by a whole new set of problems.

A killer is out there, and this time, he seems to be after the people Simone cares about most. Suddenly, people around her are dying, a stalker/admirer keeps showing up at all the wrong times, and Simone’s dear friend Edward has a new girlfriend—forcing Simone to analyze her feelings for him and her attraction to Carl.

After surviving a psycho serial killer, Simone is slowly rebuilding her life; and she gets to learn more about the mysterious Lara. But life is still going to prove dangerous for this therapist.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
I absolutely loved the first part of this series, Behind the Door, and I was excited at the prospect of finding out more about Lara. Lara's diary is mentioned in the first book, along with a few details of her past, but it is really laid out in this book.

After reading Behind the Door, we already know how vile Lara's mother is; and we know what Arthur did to young Lara for years. In Lara's Journal, you realise that knowing the rough facts is absolutely nothing compared to reading in detail her mother's betrayal and Arthur's perversion, which happens so frequently that poor Lara never had a chance.
Her story is really beautifully told. Her naivety is so sad, and every time there's a glimmer of hope, Lara gets screwed over.

I also loved getting to know John and Emma. These characters are seen briefly in the first book, but you get to appreciate just how awesome they are in this sequel.

Simone's storyline follows the therapist recovering from her recent ordeal and returning to work. There's a harsh reality, as Simone has to assess her life - she has been existing, instead of really living.
There are also a few romantic options open to her, as the attractive lawyer Carl seeks her help again; she has to work out her feelings towards her best friend after he admitted he loved her; and there is the new, passionate Armando.

Honestly, I didn't like the new Armando. He's a dick, but I also don't like how Simone acts around him. Internally, she is adamant that she wants to get rid of him; but she is always inviting him into her house (even when the police etc are offering to keep him away). So basically, she's leading him on, despite being a psychologist and able to read the signs of Armando's obsession. ((/spoiler))

I didn't enjoy the thriller aspect as much this time around. It felt like an echo of what happened in the first book. People associated with Simone are turning up dead. But this time it didn't have the same sort of tension or terror for Simone.
Lara's story was definitely much stronger this time.

The ending is quite the cliffhanger, leaving things open for an exciting part three.
BTW, I couldn't help but think throughout it, that Simone describes her daughter as being a close friend too; said loving daughter is abroad studying.
Simone knows her psycho serial killer is loose abroad,  but never mentions to her daughter to be careful, on guard, or even come back to the US until the bastard is caught? Kinda obvious what was going to happen. ((/spoiler))

Overall, it was an entertaining book, and I look forward to the next book. It will be interesting to see if Lara will still be involved.

Goodreads link
Amazon UK

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