Julie's Reviews > Beautiful Bad

Beautiful Bad by Annie  Ward
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bookshelves: 2019, first-reads, giveaways, paperback, psychological-thriller, thrillers, suspense

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward is a 2019 Park Row publication.

Strange, absorbing, but too predictable-

Maddie and her friend, Jo, travel abroad to dangerous locations, which puts them in contact with paid ‘bodyguard’, Ian. Maddie and Ian begin an emotional affair, which is complicated by Ian’s entanglement with an unstable woman, and by Maddie’s friendship with Jo.

Nine years after they parted ways, they are reunited, and embark on a torrid, yet disturbingly intense, affair which eventually leads to marriage and the birth of their son, Charlie. It also brings Maddie full circle, as she and Ian decide to settle down in her old hometown in Kansas, a place that in her youth, Maddie couldn’t wait to escape from.

Now, an urgent 911 call sends police units to Maddie and Ian’s peaceful neighborhood where they discover a shockingly violent scene.

From here the story takes the reader back ten weeks prior to the 911 call, walking us through the events which lead up to the ‘Day of the Killing’, while also keeping us informed about the investigation as it proceeds.

The various timelines are not hard to keep up with, and for a while the murky shadows of Ian’s world held my attention, and intrigued me, more than any other character in the novel. Ian has obviously seen too much for a human to fully cope with psychologically, which has left him with PTSD. His mental state directly effects the nomadic Maddie who feels stifled by Ian’s inability to socialize and travel. And what about Jo? After Maddie married Ian, Jo cut off all contact with her, although Maddie still cares for her friend and misses her.

And what about the ‘accident’ that left Maddie’s eye disfigured? Everyone seems to think Ian is responsible for what happened to Maddie, but she refuses to accept that. However, she does try ‘writing therapy’ to help her deal with the aftermath and perhaps remember what really happened to her. Meanwhile, Maddie’s most pressing concern is keeping Charlie safe.

I found myself invested in the story early on, but as it progressed, things began to click into place like a child’s picture puzzle instead of a complex jigsaw puzzle. Yet, despite my having guessed where the story was heading, I kept turning pages, hoping to see a more ingenious plot development or a surprise twist in the works. Unfortunately, the story became more and more obvious and predictable. Yet, I had to see how it would all end. The conclusion didn’t disappoint me, but it didn’t wow me either.

I can tell the author put some thought into the book and to be completely honest, it isn’t a bad story. It is just a little uneven- too ambitious in some ways, but not challenging enough in others. I did, despite the predictability, find the book strangely absorbing. In the end, the outcome did provoke some deeper thought, especially on the topic of PTSD.

Many books are enjoyable and entertaining without requiring intense concentration and there’s nothing wrong with that. Often, we go to see movies to escape and be entertained at the end of a long week, and don’t seem to mind mid-range films that were good ‘in the moment’ but perhaps not all that plausible, realistic, or memorable in the long term. Maybe we are too hard on books that fall into that same mid-range zone. Even in this book, Ian admitted he wasn’t always up for hardcore military strategy or role-playing games, occasionally opting for a casual game of Candy Crush.

Not every book is going to challenge us in the extreme and to expect every book to reach that level reduces some of the entertainment value books provide to us. This one wasn’t mind blowing, but it was entertaining and enjoyable ‘in the moment’ and sometimes that’s good enough.

3 stars
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Reading Progress

November 20, 2018 – Shelved
November 20, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
February 9, 2019 – Started Reading
February 9, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019
April 4, 2019 – Shelved as: first-reads
April 4, 2019 – Shelved as: giveaways
April 4, 2019 – Shelved as: paperback
April 4, 2019 – Shelved as: psychological-thriller
April 4, 2019 – Shelved as: thrillers
April 4, 2019 – Shelved as: suspense
April 4, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 53 (53 new)


message 1: by Farah (new)

Farah Fantastic review, Julie


Julie Farah wrote: "Fantastic review, Julie"

Thank you, Farah!! 😊😊


Norma * Traveling Sister So agree with your review, Julie!!! Well said! 🧡


Julie Norma * Traveling Sister wrote: "So agree with your review, Julie!!! Well said! 🧡"

Thank you so much, Norma!! 😊😊


message 5: by Tina (new) - added it

Tina A nice review Julie! Too bad they can't all be 5 star winners but still glad it was enjoyable.


message 6: by Deanna (new) - added it

Deanna Excellent honest review!!


message 7: by Brandice (new)

Brandice Nice review, Julie! Glad it was somewhat enjoyable and entertaining despite the predictability! :)


Julie Brandice wrote: "Nice review, Julie! Glad it was somewhat enjoyable and entertaining despite the predictability! :)"

Thank you, Brandice!! 😊😊


Julie Deanna wrote: "Excellent honest review!!"

Thank you, Deanna!! 😊😊


Julie Tina wrote: "A nice review Julie! Too bad they can't all be 5 star winners but still glad it was enjoyable."

Thank you, Tina!! 😊😊


message 11: by Antoinette (new)

Antoinette Terrific review Julie. I am glad that it was enjoyable. Nothing wrong with that.


Julie leslie hamod wrote: "Wonderful review Julie 🍎"

Thank you, Leslie!! 😊😊


Julie Antoinette wrote: "Terrific review Julie. I am glad that it was enjoyable. Nothing wrong with that."

Thank you, Antoinette! 😊❤😊


message 14: by KAS (new)

KAS Sorry this one didn’t keep you guessing, Julie, but glad it was still an entertaining read!! Super review ;) 🌸🌼🌸


Brenda - Traveling Sister Great review, Julie!


message 16: by Marialyce (new)

Marialyce Wish it hadn’t been so predictable. Your review is wonderful and fair, Julie.


JV ❄️☃️❄️ Wonderful critique and review, dear Julie! ❤️🥰


message 18: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Super review Julie, very fair and honest 🤗💕


Lindsay - Traveling Sister Great review Julie!


Holly  B Nice review Julie!


message 21: by Angela M (new)

Angela M Julie, glad it was enjoyable even if predictable.


Julie KAS wrote: "Sorry this one didn’t keep you guessing, Julie, but glad it was still an entertaining read!! Super review ;) 🌸🌼🌸"

Thank you, KAS!! 😊💕


Julie Holly wrote: "Nice review Julie!"

Thank you, Holly!! 💕😊


Julie Lindsay - Traveling Sister wrote: "Great review Julie!"

Thank you, Lindsay!! 😊💕


Julie Maureen wrote: "Super review Julie, very fair and honest 🤗💕"

Thank you, Maureen!! 😊💕


Julie JV ❄️☃️❄️ wrote: "Wonderful critique and review, dear Julie! ❤️🥰"

Thank you, JV!! 💕😊


Julie Marialyce wrote: "Wish it hadn’t been so predictable. Your review is wonderful and fair, Julie."

Thank so much, Marialyce!! 😊💕


Julie Brenda - Traveling Sister wrote: "Great review, Julie!"

Thank you, Brenda!! 💕😊


Julie Angela M wrote: "Julie, glad it was enjoyable even if predictable."

Thank you, Angela!! 😊💕


message 30: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Gipson Fantastic review Julie! ❤️🌹


Meredith Wonderful review, Julie! We have similar thoughts on this one!


message 32: by Melissa (last edited Apr 05, 2019 06:41AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Melissa Fantastic review, Julie! I couldn't agree more; you nailed it with this statement in particular --> It is just a little uneven- too ambitious in some ways, but not challenging enough in others.


message 33: by Amy (new)

Amy I definitely agree that sometimes entertaining is enough! (most of the time, for me!) Great review, Julie!


message 34: by RedemptionDenied (new)

RedemptionDenied Excellent review, Julie!


message 35: by Beata (new)

Beata Grand review, Julie :) You still liked it, that's important :)


message 36: by Libby (new)

Libby Fab review Julie! I like your description of the mid-range book. They have their place and if it's no more than lowering my stress level, I'd call that a pretty important job.


Julie Meredith wrote: "Wonderful review, Julie! We have similar thoughts on this one!"

Thank you, Meredith! 😊😊


Julie Nicola wrote: "Fantastic review Julie! ❤️🌹"

Thank you, dear Nicola!! 😊😊


Julie Libby wrote: "Fab review Julie! I like your description of the mid-range book. They have their place and if it's no more than lowering my stress level, I'd call that a pretty important job."

Thank you, Libby!! I thoughts exactly!! 😊😊


Julie Beata wrote: "Grand review, Julie :) You still liked it, that's important :)"

Thank you, Beata!! That's the way I look at it, too!! 😊😊


Julie Amy wrote: "I definitely agree that sometimes entertaining is enough! (most of the time, for me!) Great review, Julie!"

Thank you, Amy!! I can be picky at times, but usually I'm pretty easy to please! 😊😊


Julie Melissa wrote: "Fantastic review, Julie! I couldn't agree more; you nailed it with this statement in particular --> It is just a little uneven- too ambitious in some ways, but not challenging enough in others."

Thank you, Melissa!! 😊😊


message 43: by Mackenzie (new)

Mackenzie Lovely review, Julie! Sorry this one didn't keep you guessing


Julie Mackenzie wrote: "Lovely review, Julie! Sorry this one didn't keep you guessing"

Thank you, Mackenzie!! 😊😊


Julie RedemptionDenied wrote: "Excellent review, Julie!"

Thank you, RD!! 😊😊


message 46: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Good honest review Julie! :)


Julie Sandra wrote: "Good honest review Julie! :)"

Thank you, Sandra! 😊💖


message 48: by Nicole (new) - added it

Nicole (Read Eat Sleep Repeat) Great review, Julie! I have this on my wishlist but after reading your thoughts, I might keep it on the backburner for now.


Julie Nicole wrote: "Great review, Julie! I have this on my wishlist but after reading your thoughts, I might keep it on the backburner for now."

Thank you, Nicole!! It's not a bad book, but the seasoned mystery and suspense fan will probably see though the plot. Let me know what you thought of it, once you decide to read it. You may have better luck with it than I did! 😊😊


Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* Fantastic review, Julie! 🌻❤🌻


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