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Best Day Ever: A Riveting Psychological Thriller about the Perfect Marriage Hardcover – September 19, 2017
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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Named one of POPSUGAR's 25 Books to Read This Fall
"A tensely written, shocking book that will hold readers on the edge of their seats to the very last page." –Publishers Weekly "We read Best Day Ever in one sitting-ripping through the pages with a breathless urgency. The book takes place over just twenty-four-hours, making you desperate to know: what exactly does the seemingly perfect Paul Strom have planned for his wife when he takes her away for the weekend? Here's what we can tell you: whatever you think it is, you're wrong. Best Day Ever isn't even close to what you're expecting. Best Day Ever is a creepy, spine-tingling and utterly addictive tale of domestic suspense."
– Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, bestselling authors of The Good Widow
"Riveting and provocative, Best Day Ever is a gripping suspense that plays with your mind and makes you wonder how well you truly know your spouse. Accomplished author Kaira Rouda deftly navigates a day in the life of Paul and Mia Strom where what appears to be a perfect marriage is not all what it seems. Fast-paced, dark, and slightly disturbing, you won't be able to put this book down until its jaw-dropping ending. Rouda kept me glued to my seat. Absolutely brilliant!"
– Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Everything We Keep
"His voice will grip you. Through self-conscious charm and a chilling wit, Rouda's narrator creates laugh-out-loud moments that will feel like guilty pleasures in light of the story's high-impact conclusion. This may well be the most entertaining read of your year."
-Kathryn Craft, award-winning author of The Far End of Happy, on Best Day Ever
"...it was completely addicting. It will be a Bets On pick. Those who loved THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR (another Bets On title) will want to take note of this one." –Carol Fitzgerald, BookReport.com
"Best Day Ever could be the best thriller of the year." -Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of Not a Sound
"Had the best day ever reading Best Day Ever. Great narrator in Paul, LOVE his voice! Fabulous book." -B.A. Paris, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown
"Perfectly plotted and devilishly dark, Kaira Rouda's Best Day Ever won't let you go until that last page is turned. Entertaining and provocative, I could not put this one down!" -Karma Brown, international bestselling author of In this Moment
"An intriguing, perfectly-paced page-turner, BEST DAY EVER is one hell of a ride!-Amy Hatnavy, author of It Happens All the Time
"Chilling, satisfying suspense...it will cost you sleep as you race through the pages."-Good Housekeeping "Creepy and claustrophobic, Best Day Ever ratchets up the terrors of a seemingly happy marriage from page to page. I loved this book. Kaira Rouda is a name to watch." –J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author
About the Author
Kaira Rouda is the USA Today bestselling author of novels including Here, Home, Hope, The Goodbye Year, In the Mirror and All the Difference. Her stories explore what goes on behind closed doors of seemingly perfect lives. She lives in Southern California with her family and she's at work on her next novel. Visit her website, KairaRouda.com. Connect with her on Facebook.com/KairaRoudaBooks; and on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter - @KairaRouda.
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After hiring a sitter for their two boys, Paul packs the car and waits for his beautiful wife Mia, so that they can set out for the drive from Columbus to their Lakeside house for a long anticipated weekend alone. There is a tension in the air from the moment they get in the car. As Paul senses it, he is not going to let anything get in the way of his weekend plans and will do his best to accommodate his wife. Even when she asks to stop at an of the way bakery, which he doesn’t want to do, even when she asks for a bathroom break, which she knows is not part of their routine. Ever. When she changes the special CD with all of her favorite songs, that he made especially for the drive, to country radio, which he despises. He will give in to all of her desires. This is the best day ever.
Their conversation during the drive hits bumps that Paul has not anticipated. From his lovely wife? Everything, it seems, is rubbing Paul, who is usually in control, the wrong way.
When they arrive at the cottage, things are not going according to Paul’s plans either. Wow, Paul. Maybe the best laid plans have gone awry, you little mouse.
Rouda’s writing is skillful, the story so good, that I was spellbound. Simply, the best book ever.
The story is narrated by Paul, a self-described ideal family man, quintessential Casanova and advertising whiz. He is not only king of his castle; he is king of his world, which extends from Columbus, Ohio, to the shores of Lake Erie. Paul has it all: a beautiful rich young wife, two handsome intelligent sons, the best house in the best suburb of Columbus, a summer cottage in Lakeside, a closet filled with designer clothing and a Ford Flex. No luxury cars for Paul, for he is also an environmentalist. In a word, he is perfect...in his own mind.
He has decided to bestow upon Mia, his sickly wife, The Best Day Ever at the cottage in Lakeside. Nothing is left to chance on this weekend excursion in the Flex. He even goes to the trouble of creating a special playlist for his beloved.
The story is cleverly delineated by the time of day, a day that must have seemed interminable to Mia. As they cruise north in the Flex, Paul muses to himself about how lucky the world is to have him In it. Mia would be nothing if he had not rescued her from her boring job at the ad agency; the ad agency would go belly-up if not for his brilliance.
When, out of left field, Mia announces that she is returning to work now that their sons are in school, Paul’s plans for The Best Day Ever experience their first hiccup. Before he knows what hit him, docile sweet Mia has had the unmitigated gall to substitute a country music radio station from Hicksville, no doubt, for his carefully crafted playlist. Things go from bad to worse when she refuses pizza at Sloopey’s, instead ordering a Cobb salad without the Cobb.
By the time they reach the cottage, Paul is in a frenzy and is in no mood to see Mia’s gardening companion, a handsome widower named Buck, of all things. What kind of a low class name is Buck anyway, and what red blooded man would be interested in strawberry plants, Paul wonders.
Despite the hilarious dark humor, I sat on the edge of my chair because The Best Day Ever has evil, malicious underpinnings. Paul has the characteristics of a malignant narcissist, and, no doubt, this weekend will not end well. I learned a lot about Paul as he sat behind the wheel of his prized Ford Flex. At times while laughing at his ridiculous misogynistic drivel, I wanted to slap him, but I was afraid of him. Kaira Rouda created an incredibly rich, complex character around whom BEST DAY EVER revolves.
BEST DAY EVER is high on my list of recommendations. The story flows seamlessly, yet I have no idea how it will end. Read it and find out!
I find passages I've highlighted better express what I could attempt to say to provide examples of an author's wonderful writing ability. I probably highlighted more in this one than any other, but here are a selection to 'whet your appetite":
"I put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. I can be helpful when I want to be, although I don't want to remind Mia of this fact as she may come to expect it."
"For my part, I wonder if Mia thinks I have a dark side. Most likely, as far as she knows, I am just her dear loving husband."
"Stopping on our way to the lake house at a bakery that will no doubt be out of croissants was not on my agenda today. She knows I'm a man of action and when I have a plan, I follow it. I just want to get up there already. But today, Mia's every wish is my command."
"A black sports car passes us on our right, only a flash of metal actually, because it's moving so quickly. I hadn't even seen it coming in my rearview mirror. It's funny how things can sneak up on you, appear out of nowhere."
"Buck does have this affinity for gardening, which to me is a woman's thing, so that makes him older, weaker than me in my book."
"We have been arguing, disagreeing let's call it, over our phantom daughter....for six years. The whole thing is absurd. She should be counting her blessings, like her strawberry daughters at her beautiful lake house. She should be thankful for everything she has, everything I'd provided, not missing something, someone who never existed. I feel myself squeeze the steering wheel, watch my knuckles whiten."
"I'm uncertain why after all of our years together, she hasn't grown and developed her cooking expertise. I know she's invested in cookbooks and cooking classes, but still, her best efforts can only be awarded a C. Barely edible, actually, when compared to fine dining. It's a shame, really."
"Even though I cannot see her face, I detect a tone in her voice, something that sounds like the feeling you get when you can't understand a joke. Like you are the joke, like you are an idiot. Only someone you love can make you feel that way."
"Soon the road will narrow, and it will be down to one lane, each direction. That's when I'll really need to pay attention. That's when it gets dangerous. If you make a mistake, there is no forgiveness on a two-lane country road."
"I like the way I feel when I stand at the end of the dock. The backdrop complements me like a movie set: oh look, there's handsome, wealthy city-dweller Paul Strom enjoying a carefree day of leisure at his lakefront community. Very presidential."
"Typically we do not take bathroom breaks on the drive to the lake house. The boys know this, Mia knows this. But in her weakened state, and on this, the best day ever, will make an exception without shaming her. I'm in a loving, flexible mood. "Gas station or fast food?" I ask Mia-I'm not about to be blamed for choosing the wrong bathroom for her. "I'll let you know when we see the options" Mia replied, reopening her magazine. I'll let it go, my disdain for the fact that she isn't more appreciative of my willingness to stop for her."
"Before I can think to stop her, she has popped open the glove compartment and she's rummaging around in it. I check myself in the rearview mirror and notice my forehead is shiny, suddenly damp. It's so hard to keep secrets these days. People can find out anything, ruin all kinds of plans. Sometimes, all it takes is just opening the wrong door."
"I'm sure she doesn't really mean this, that's why her voice shakes. She's in unfamiliar territory. This boldness is not like her. And I don't like it, not at all."
"I ignore this old-man type of physical pain, just as I ignore cashiers and parking lot attendants. They are all a bother, beneath my wasting a breath or thought on."
"She gets to eat and do whatever she wants all day long, and all I ask for is just that: respect."
"And I told her what I told you: I knew we were perfect for each other from the moment we met. As long as she could become the wife I was looking for, of course."
"I wonder if she is asking me for something, for some understanding. Some type of compassion or empathy. I'm not good at those emotions, or, if we're being honest, any emotion except anger. Rage lurks deep inside me, ready to lash out whenever it's needed."
"It's not easy, feigning care."
"But not if it means she'll be working with John. No way. Together, they each know too many pieces of me."
"There should be a rule that adults cannot walk three abreast or even two across on crowded sidewalks. Everyone should walk single file, destination in their sights, briskly and with purpose. Unfortunately, humans are like sheep, most of the time. They need a shepherd or they are a milling-about mess."
"I allow the Pilmers to see the boys, of course, ever since Mia told me they'd set up large trust funds for them. So nice, and she gave me access to the accounts so I could monitor them. I was sure old Donald wouldn't like that, but too bad. Mia was in love and what was hers was mine."
"You don't discuss family dirty laundry, not at all. You smile and quietly accept what comes your way. Don't make waves, not until you're the one in control. Then you get your revenge."
"I'm the opposite of my father in many ways. I fight to be like that, to be his opposite, every day, tamping down the anger that's there, the fire-filled rage he instilled inside me from an early age. It's like a wildfire that is 80 percent contained."
"Most of the time, people don't notice their surroundings. They wouldn't even realize if the same car was following them for miles. It's the same following someone on foot, or, say, sneaking into someone's home. It's easy if you're quiet and methodical."
"We're all like me, ladies, just differing degrees. We are more than willing to put up with your emotions, as long as you keep your end of the bargain. Look good, take care of the kids, maintain a clean home, have sex when we want it and for God's sake, don't question us or our motives. Never do that."
"I notice she's holding the side door handle, as if she were anticipating an accident. It's a pose you'd assume if you knew something was coming at you head-on at any moment."
"Mia looks at Buck like a lost puppy dog and nods a silent yes. Clearly my mutt needs a little retraining."