Review: The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.


The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .

Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.
And then one of them breaks the rules.
The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.
For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.”

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Marriage Pact will be available July 25, 2017.

I was in a weird book slump where nothing was sounding good to me when I decided to start reading The Marriage Pact. While it did take me a few chapters to get into it – whether because it started out a little slow or because of my mood, I’m not sure – it did eventually hook me and I could hardly put it down.

When Jake and Alice get married they receive an odd wedding present from a new acquaintance. It’s a locked box that they cannot open until they answer a series of questions about what they want their marriage to be and then wait for someone to come visit their home and explain. Inside the box is the Marriage Pact. A contract and a manual of rules to follow in a marriage, as well as a list of punishments if you break the rules. The goal of the pact is to have a lasting, successful marriage, so they agree to join. However, they soon come to realize how cult-like it is and how dangerous it is for them if they do not “make peace with the pact.”

Though I thought the book was a little too long and there was a little too much detail at times, I liked the writing style. It’s told from Jake’s 1st person POV and I found him likable, though often frustrating. I found myself disliking Alice most of the time because of how hard she was to nail down, which was also one of the things Jake loved about her.

I thought the psychological suspense aspect of the book to be really well done. I really felt Jake and Alice’s fear of the Pact. I am really fascinated by cults and the Pact is basically a cult. The punishment sessions were creepy and crazy. I never quite understood why it was so severe, though. There is an explanation late in the book about why punishment needs to exist to enforce the rules, but it still didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I guess cults don’t really make sense, though.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Marriage Pact. Though it started out a little slow for me and did get bogged down in the details a bit, for the most part it was well-paced and seriously creepy. I had fallen into a book slump before I started this and it definitely pulled me out. This is my first Michelle Richmond book and I’ll definitely be reading more from her.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read In 2017 So Far

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish , is: Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far. Books 1-3 are the ones I’ve given 4.5 Stars to and all the rest have 4. It was hard to narrow down which 4 star reads would make the list, but I went for the ones that are the most likely to be re-reads in the future.

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1. Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton

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2. Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

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3. Making Faces by Amy Harmon

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4. Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson

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5. Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

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6. Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton (aka SJ Bolton)

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7. I Found You by Lisa Jewell

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8. Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

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9. The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

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10. When It’s Real by Erin Watt

What are your best books of 2017?

Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 2017

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

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The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond. Read April 1-2. 4 Stars.

I really enjoyed The Marriage Pact. Though it started out a little slow for me and did get bogged down in the details a bit, for the most part it was well-paced and seriously creepy. I had fallen into a book slump before I started this and it definitely pulled me out. This is my first Michelle Richmond book and I’ll definitely be reading more from her. Full review to come.

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I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh.  Read April 8-10. 3 Stars.

After all the glowing reviews and everyone saying this book was better than Mackintosh’s I See You (which I read first and really enjoyed), I had very high expectations going into this. Unfortunately, they weren’t quite met. Part One of this book was sooooo slow. If it wasn’t for all the good reviews, I may have given up on it. I didn’t really care for Jenna’s POV until closer to the end of Part One and while I liked Ray’s POV, he started to really make me angry. However, it definitely got more interesting in Part Two. I liked the reveal right before Part Two. I knew a twist was coming and I had a few guesses and one of my them was about half right. I knew there was another twist coming and I did figure it out before the reveal, but that’s ok. Overall this was a good book, but it did not live up to my expectations.

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Marrying His Best Friend (The McKinnon Brothers #3) by Jennifer Gracen. Read April 9-11. 3 Stars.

A very cute Friends-to-More/Marriage of Convenience story. I loved, loved Aiden. He was so sweet. This was well on it’s way to being a 4 star read for me, but then Maura started acting like an idiot and I couldn’t stand her for awhile so it definitely brought my overall feelings about the book down. It was still, cute, though. This was a free Nookbook (and is probably on Kindle too?) and I’m glad I actually read it instead of letting it sit for years untouched on my Nook, like most other free downloads do.

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The Girlfriend Request by Jodie Andrefski. Read April 13-14. 3 Stars.

I reject the premise of this book. Emma basically decides to catfish Eli with the end goal being Eli asking her out. Ummm, ok. There was also a kind of random love triangle thrown in towards the end of the book that was kind of pointless. All of Eli and Emma’s friends existed for the sole purpose of advancing the Eli/Emma relationship. Despite all those problems, though, there were still several cute moments and I did like Emma and Eli together once they stopped being stupid. I liked their friendship, as well. I appreciated that this was a pretty clean YA Contemporary. Overall, this was a quick, easy read that provided the distraction I was looking for.

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Driven to Date (Better Date than Never #7) by Susan Hatler. Read April 15. 3 Stars.

I’ve had this book on my Nook forever and finally decided to read it today when nothing else was working for me. It was a workplace romance with a bit of a mix of fake-relationship, insta-love, and enemies-to-lovers. It was short and sweet with likable characters and I’ll be reading some of the other books from this series that have also been sitting on my Nook for awhile.

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Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer. Read April 16-17. 3.5 Stars.

It took me a little while to get into this. I didn’t really care for either Juliet or Declan in the beginning. I’m an avoidant people pleaser, so I can’t really relate to angry, confrontational characters. However, as the story went on I became more invested in the characters and the story. The chapters alternate between Declan and Juliet’s POVs and I have to say that I enjoyed Declan’s chapters a lot more. While I liked the relationship between Declan and Juliet, it was the friendship between Declan and Rev that really made this book for me. I loved their interactions and how supportive of each other they were. I also really liked Frank, Declan’s “supervisor”, and a couple of the teachers. This was not as emotional as I was expecting it to be (that isn’t really a bad thing, though). Overall, a good book, but not my favorite of Kemmerer’s.

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The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1) by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham. Listened to April 19-24. 4 Stars.

I listened to this on audio and even though the book would be good on it’s own, Kristen Bell’s narration just made it amazing. I loved the show and listening to this book was almost like watching an episode. I thought the mystery was well done and it definitely kept me guessing. A must-read (or listen) for all Veronica Mars fans.

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Arrowood by Laura McHugh. Read April 25-27. 2.5 Stars.

I feel a little bad for rating this under 3 stars because the writing wasn’t bad (though much too descriptive for me), but when I finished the book my first thought was, “That was a waste of time.” The chapters were long and the pace was slow and it took well over half way through for me to really get interested in the story. The solution to the mystery wasn’t really a surprise at all and I thought the reveal wasn’t very well done. The characters could have used a little more development, but I didn’t mind Arden and I liked Josh. If you’re really into description and some light history you would probably enjoy this more than I did, but if you’re looking for a good mystery or suspense I would say to look somewhere else.

****************RE-READ****************

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Breaking Silence (Kate Burkholder #3) by Linda Castillo. I listened to most of this on audio on the drive home from vacation and I couldn’t remember all the details of the conclusion, so I had to read the rest as soon as I could. This was a good mystery. I really like this series.

****************BACK ON THE TBR****************

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Nemesis by Brendan Reichs. I got almost half way through this and just don’t care about it. It might just be my mood, though, so I’m putting it back on the TBR to read another day.

****************DNF****************

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. DNF at 38%. When I first saw this book I didn’t think it looked like my cup of tea. But then I saw it was Taylor Jenkins Reid and I thought, “yes, please.” Sadly, I should’ve gone with my first instinct. I pretty much hated Evelyn – both in the present and the past. I felt a little sorry for her as a young girl, but then she grew up into an awful person who did awful things and was not the least bit sorry about it. Now, I can read and enjoy books that have unlikable characters. But I either have to love to hate them or they have to have some type of redeeming quality and I felt like both of those aspects were missing here. I also didn’t really find Monique developed enough to care about one way or the other, but by the time I stopped reading I was growing to dislike her a bit. I’m sure there will be many people who like this book, but unfortunately I’m not one of them.

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The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts. DNF at 12%. I have absolutely no patience whatsoever for Vivian.

Top 5 Wednesday: Authors I Want to Read More From

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday (visit the Good Reads group here) is: Authors You Want to Read More From –Talk about some authors that you’ve only read one or a few books from, and you NEED to read more!

Lisa Jewell

1. Lisa Jewell. I’ve read The Girls in the Garden and I Found You and really liked both of them. I love Jewell’s writing and I really need to read more from her.

Lisa Scottoline

2. Lisa Scottoline. I recently read One Perfect Lie and I really want to go back and read some of her others.

Michelle Richmond

3. Michelle Richmond. I’ve only read The Marriage Pact by her so far and I really want to see what else she’s done.

Amy Harmon

4. Amy Harmon. I’ve read Making Faces, The Law of Moses, The Song of David, and A Different Blue. Making Faces was by far my favorite and the other ones didn’t quite live up to that one for me, but I do really enjoy her writing and need to read the rest of her books.
Sarah Addison Allen
5. Sarah Addison Allen. I’ve read Garden Spells and First Frost and they were both 4 star reads for me. I really need to get to some of her other titles.

What authors do you want to read more from?

 

Disney Princess Book Tag

I was tagged for this by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse. Check out her blog, it’s awesome! Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to do it.

My Disney Princess Facts:

1. My favorite princesses are Belle and Jasmine.

2. I don’t really care that much for Sleeping Beauty because the movie used to scare me when the villain turned into that dragon thing.

3. I still haven’t seen the new Beauty and the Beast, but I really want to!


Snow White
Name your favorite classic.

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Persuasion by Jane Austen


Cinderella
Name a book that kept you reading well past your bedtime.

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Most recently was The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond.


Aurora
Name your favorite classic romance.

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Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Ariel
Name a book that’s about making sacrifices and fighting for your dreams.

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown


Belle
Name a book with a smart and independent female character.

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Lacey Flint in Now You See Me by Sharon (SJ) Bolton


Jasmine
Name a book with a character who challenged the social conventions of his or her world.

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Moses in The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon


Pocahontas
Name a book whose ending was a roller-coaster of emotions.

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon.


Mulan
Name a book with a kick-ass female character.

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Inej from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Tiana
Name a book featuring a hardworking, self-made character.

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Alexis from The Wedding Belles series by Lauren Layne


Rapunzel
Name a book that features an artist.

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Blue from A Different Blue by Amy Harmon


Merida
Name a book that features a mother-daughter relationship.

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Till Death by JLA.


Anna & Elsa
Name a book that features a great relationship between siblings.

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On the Fence by Kasie West.