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This is the second book I've read by the author and I find there are some things in her work that I really enjoy and some things I'm just not that crazy about.

She is excellent at building tension. Once I started this story, I couldn't put it down. I read the book in a single day because I kept telling myself "Just one more chapter . . . " It's a credit to her ability to weave a spell that I didn't question some things until after the book was over, even when they did seem really implausible (like, how, for instance, do the Wards finance their peculiar lifestyle?).

The anticipation that she built made my disappointment with the resolution of the plot even more acute. Things build and build and built and it seems like Andrew is well and truly caught up in something terrible. And then . . . poof. It just gets resolved very patly. I felt like she was just pulling her punches -- she had the guts to create a terrifying and repugnant plot, but didn't have the will to see it through to the end. I felt like I was reading the end to a completely different book.

I'll probably read more by Ahlborn, she has the ability to take readers on quite a ride. It's just I didn't think this book was what it could have been.
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on April 7, 2017
Don't hold your breath! As You Discover Seven Secrets...not all Yours...the Author pulls you into your Personal Darkness.

You will take a journey with well developed characters: through the descriptive childhood experiences; their emotional deprivation and neglect and the horrendous, accumulated impact on their life decisions and actions.

Anita Ahlborn has an insight and sensitivity to create reality. She carefully underlines and captures human nature's vulnerability to
the influences of our environment and the people that "love" us.

Is it fate that brings people together? Is it emotional needs?
Is it superficial things like attractiveness, wealth, lifestyle?

A Pensive exploration into relationships, human development,
and much more of our Secrets.
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on May 23, 2016
I have read some of the author's other books ("Seed", "The Shuddering"), and she's clearly got talent. Each of her books are fun to read, even this one. The story is basically about a guy named Andrew (Drew), who leaves his agoraphobic and alcoholic mother to move in with his friend Mickey, who lives next door to Red and Harlow, neighbors who seem perfect. Since it's horror, you can pretty much guess that things aren't exactly as they seem.

My only issues with this book are some factual errors that could have easily been cleared up with five minutes of Google searches, some things not making sense (essentially plot holes), the use of past abuse (why can't someone just be evil because they're a sociopath, no other reason? ), and finally, the ending. It's not bad, per se, but it feels like the author was pulling punches, like she couldn't fully commit to the end result. It's horror, you don't need to pull punches, but don't get stupid with it either.

That said, I would recommend this book, as well as the author in general. If you read this and didn't like it, try one of her other books ("Seed" is one I would recommend in a heartbeat! )
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on November 27, 2012
Horror writer Ania Ahlborn frightens again with the psychological thriller, The Neighbors.

Andrew Morrison moves away from the troubles with his alcoholic mother to live with a childhood friend. He arrives at his new abode, realizing it is the most run down home in a neighborhood of perfectly manicured lawns and homes, and is a bit disturbed by the manner in which his friend has kept his home and how he has changed since he last saw him.

The neighbors seem so wonderful to Andrew, they exude a very "Leave It To Beaver" type of perfection. The wife Harlow bakes him cookies, the husband Red helps him start his vehicle and Andrew seems to wish he was living with the neighbors instead of his friend Mickey. They were like the parents he never had.
But, as you read further, you realize that it's all a façade. Evil lives on Magnolia Lane.

I devoured Ania Ahlborn's first book Seed and the same held true for The Neighbors. If you're looking for a well written, psychological thriller/horror story, this book is for you. And I do highly recommend her book Seed as well. Both have wonderful twists and turns and unexpected outcomes. A great read.
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on April 6, 2016
The main character is Andrew or Drew, she keeps bouncing back and forth with the two names sometimes even in the same sentence. He's a 23 year old man child that still refers to his grandparents as Poppop and Gamma or something like that. He's been bagging groceries since high school and finally leaves home after seeing his mom on the road walking home wth a stash of booze. She's supposed to be too frightened to leave the house! Andrew-Drew heads over to his bff's house who he hasn't seen for several years and is shocked that his friend has turned into such a slob.It only goes downhill from there.
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on July 30, 2014
This book starts out interestingly enough, but turns grizzly and gross about 3/4 way through. Also, the author needs to do a bit more research as she describes the "red roses in the front garden, which are matched by the hydrangeas hanging in pots from the front porch". Hydrangeas do not come in red and they would not grow in a hanging pot. Don't know why I continued when I read that glaring error.

Some authors try to shock us with nasty blood and guts, but this didn't work. She lists many people who have helped edit this book, but I guess they were just friends who didn't want to hurt her feelings
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on December 9, 2015
I enjoyed this book. While it was predictable in some areas, in other areas it took me by surprise. It wasn't a terribly long read either, and I enjoyed that each chapter left me wanting more.

Andrew has an alcoholic mother, and his father left when he was a young child. He blames those two factors for being the way he is throughout everything. I was almost tired of reading about it.

Mickey is a childhood friend of Andrews, who cannot seem to be bothered by his new roommate. He prefers to play video games and leaves the house in filth.

The Wards are picture perfect, by definition. However, when you get close and personal with them, it's clear it's just for show. The white picket fence only holds dreams in this book.
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on December 11, 2012
More like 3.5 stars. This was a twisted page turner that kept me so riveted I read it in a day (so totally points for that). I literally had to know what was going on with Harlow & what would happen to Drew. I have mixed feelings though. While I couldn't stop reading, after it was over I felt it was a bit flat. The buildup to unmasking Harlow was my favorite part & I thought very well done & deeply disturbing. I never felt sorry for her even when the terrible things she endured earlier in her life are revealed. She was an excellent predator & manipulator & that made her fascinating to watch as the story unfolded. Red was a bit more of a mystery but his complicity was disturbing all on its own. Mickey was necessary, of course & his final part to play in the story was worthy.

Drew was, more than any other the character I'm most undecided about. I felt sorry for him but after a while I was as repulsed by him as I was Harlow. I had to keep reminding myself that given his experience with his family & mother in particular, he could be absolved of having any sort of sense. He repeatedly shrugged off his internal alarm that something was terribly amiss & was so very easily led by Harlow, that it strained believability. His cloying Mommy nurturing thing twisted with the sexual attraction couldn't be broken through until basically he's at the precipice about to be thrown off it to his death & then it dawns on him that he's maybe in over his head. He still doesn't have a clue as to how bad the situation is though & that really was something that bothered me, in the end. It finishes up tied in a nice bow with the carnage far off & echoes of "There's no place like home".

I pre-ordered this when I came upon the summary & I'm glad that I've read it. The author can tell a riveting story. I'd read her again but I wouldn't re-read this book. Great for a weekend or rainy afternoon (that's what prompted me to choose to read it).
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on April 15, 2018
I liked this book for the most part. I don't like it when the characters you're hoping will make it to the end don't make it there, but that's just my preference. The storyline was different, so if you're looking for something not so ordinary to read this does the trick. The book was well-written with nice character development. I could picture the people and places that I was reading about. I'd recommend this book to readers who enjoy a good thriller!!
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on March 25, 2013
Definitely a page-turner. I read this book in about 4 days, and it normally takes me at least a week or two. Harlow is such an interesting character, and I liked that the author slowly exposed all of the facets of her. Every time I turned around, there was another interesting story about why Harlow is the way she is, and why Drew is so susceptible to her charms. I wish that Mickey's character had been developed a little more, but I can also understand why he wasn't. At times I felt like Red was an unnecessary addition, but he would pop in every now and then for something important. Overall, I would recommend this book. It's a fun read.
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