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Book Review: Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

A new ‘At a Glance’ is up! I am totally swamped with work, books and social events that I didn’t have as much time to write my review for Beautiful Bad as I would have liked – so here is a mini review, with some pros and cons to help you decide if the book is for you. Beautiful Bad came out on 21st March and is available to order on Amazon.

At A Glance : Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

BUG Rating : 4/5 

Overall: I did enjoy this read, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations HOWEVER, the end was fantastic – like really WOW, which is what hiked the overall scoring up considerably! During the final part of the book, my heart was literally racing and it was a very dark, twisted and haunting storyline. 

A bit on the story, the plot is centred around Maddie, an ordinary girl from Kansas who decided to work in Europe as a travel writer. The writing is excellent and Annie has totally nailed the different perspective, and the descriptive scenes. The book is split into chapters that focus on:

  1. The past (early 2000s) as Maddie meets up with her forever best friend, Jo, in a war ridden Macedonia, and meets Ian, an ex military come ‘bodyguard’, and how all their lives then intertwine. 
  2. The imminent lead up to/day of ‘the killing’, when a frantic 911 call leads the police to a horrific scene.

The storyline had so much potential, but it seemed to drag on quite a bit in the past. I get why Annie went there, and it was essential to build up the back story of the characters and paint a very real portrait of how PTSD can affect people (and in ways you wouldn’t necessarily expect!), but for me it was just too much in the backstories. Having said that – I can’t completely knock it – I did enjoyed the book very much, and it was a page turner, I was obsessed with piecing together Maddie’s and Ian’s lives and finding out what changed, what went wrong – or as the title suggests, what went beautiful bad. 


Maddie and Ian’s romance began when he was serving in the British Army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend Jo in Europe. Now sixteen years later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in Middle America.

But when an accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian’s PTSD; her concerns for the safety of their young son Charlie; and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.

From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, the years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of shocking crime.

But what in this beautiful home has gone so terribly bad?


+ Great story plot

+ Loved the characters and their backstories

+ Fantastic twist and dark/haunting ending


– Spent a bit too much time in the backstories

– Needed more wow moments like the ending

I received a free advanced copy of this book from NetGalley / Quercus Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions are my own. 


  • Ashley
    March 26, 2019 at 11:22 pm

    Sounds like a good read, hopefully the ending makes up for the dragging!

    • bookedupgirl
      March 29, 2019 at 6:04 pm

      It does!!


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