The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

The Dollhouse by Fiona  Davis
The Dollhouse 
by Fiona Davis (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: “Patrick, when did you start working here?”

He turned to face her, eyebrows raised in surprise. She gathered that few residents asked him personal questions. “Back in the seventies. Things were very different then.”

She liked the way things came out as ‘tings’. “Do you know many of the older residents?”

“The ladies? Of course. I know them all.”

“What about the woman who left a little while ago? The one with the dog.”

He smiled. “Miss McLaughlin. And Bird. Odd woman.”

A woman with buttery blond hair clopped toward them carrying several packages. Patrick left Rose’s side and scuttled over to her. Rose checked her watch. She really should get back upstairs, not stand around chatting, but Patrick quickly reappeared. “Can I get you a taxi, Miss Lewin?”

“No,no.” She waved a hand in front of her. “I was hoping you could tell me more about Mrs McLaughlin.”

“Miss McLaughlin.” He was about four inches shorter than she was and he lifted his ruddy, round face to hers. “I don’t like to talk too much about the other residents, you know. ”

Patrick loved to talk about the other tenants, but Rose put on a serious expression and nodded.

“She’s from way back, the fifties, that was when she first moved in. Came here to go to secretarial school.”

“She seems like an interesting woman, the way she dresses and all.”

“Not many friends in the building. Management can’t stand her. She kicked and screamed when they said she had to move from her apartment down to 4B, with the rest of the longtimers. Threatened to call her lawyer. But she never did. In the end, I helped her to pack up and move. She’s a retired lady, couldn’t afford proper movers, and I was happy to do it. She always remembers me at Christmas with a card and a small token.”

Apartment 4B was the one directly under theirs. The one with the music. “That was very kind of you, to help her move.”

“Terrible story, what happened to her.”

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Fiona Davis’s stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City’s glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where in the 1950s a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side by side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon’s glitzy past.

When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren’t: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn’t belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she’s introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that’s used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.

Over half a century later, the Barbizon’s gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby’s involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman’s rent-controlled apartment. It’s a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby’s upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose’s obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.

MY THOUGHTS: 4.5 jazz trumpeting stars for The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis. This is a simply exquisite story divided between the early 1950s and the current day, between Darby McLaughlin and Rose Lewin.

I can’t believe that this was Davis’s debut novel. Her characterisation is masterful, as is her talent for setting the scene. The writing flows seamlessly from era to era, character to character. Davis brings to life the jazz dives, the condescension and petty rivalries between the ‘Ford girls’, or giraffes as Esme describes them, and the lesser mortals residing in what was the premier hotel for ladies.

The sharp contrast in lifestyle between the two time periods, and the similarities, are well used to further the plot which evolves into a mystery, and a romance, that had me hanging onto the author’s every word.

I listened to to the audiobook of The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis, narrated by Tavia Gilbert and published by Penguin Audio via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1741735965

Bring Me Flowers by D. K. Hood

Bring Me Flowers by D.K. Hood
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: He imagined how she would look dead.

The fixed brown eyes, gaping mouth, and the cool feel of her young, bloodless skin against his flesh.

His would be the last face Felicity Parker would ever see.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: She didn’t know he was watching. Until it was too late.

She’d walked this path hundreds of times before, she knew every twist and turn. But today was different. She didn’t know someone was waiting for her, hidden away from view. She didn’t know this was the last time she’d walk this path.

Hidden deep in the forest, schoolgirl Felicity Parker is found carefully laid out on a rock with nothing but a freshly picked bunch of flowers next to her lifeless form. Detective Jenna Alton is called in to investigate the gruesome discovery.

With the body found just off a popular hiking route, Jenna believes the killer is a visitor to the town… until a second local girl is discovered.

Within days, Kate Bright, a school friend of Felicity’s, is found brutally murdered at the local swimming pool and once again, the killer has displayed his victim in a terrifying manner and left flowers at the scene.

The town is gripped with fear and Jenna and her deputy, David Kane, now know that the killer is living among them, and that he’s picking off school girls one by one. But they don’t know who is next on the list.

As the trail goes cold, Kane and Alton are forced to sit and wait for the killer to make his next move. But now he has a new victim in his sights, and he’s looking much closer to home …

MY THOUGHTS: Oh, where do I start? The plot showed much promise, but failed to deliver to the point where I actually struggled to finish this book.

I have to admit that I haven’t read the first book in the series, Don’t Tell A Soul, and am now unlikely to. Has this had any effect on my understanding of this, the second in the series? I think not, as I didn’t struggle to understand the relationships between the characters, and their back stories are fully explained.

I did like the way Smartphone technology was used for the hunting down of the girls. It should serve as a warning, a reminder that while technology starts out being used for good purposes, it never takes long for someone to figure out how to use or adapt it for their own nefarious intent.

And so on to the problems – the dialogue between characters is stilted, wooden, many of the characters, particularly the suspects, are clichéd – the nerdy loner and the teacher newly moved to town are just two examples.

Policing procedure is haphazard and random. And that, I think, was where my biggest problem lay with Bring Me Flowers. The incompetence set my teeth on edge. I am unsure if this was intentional on the part of the author, or if she just hasn’t done her research properly.

Black Rock Falls appears to be a small town. The local police force, which is small also, seem neither experienced nor competent. At the rate the bodies were turning up, I would have expected outside help to be summoned, if not FBI, then at least extra experienced manpower from the nearest main centre.

I found Bring Me Flowers to be a disappointment. I don’t mind having to suspend belief in favor of a good, fast paced read but for me, this was neither. Neither the writing nor the plot flowed smoothly and I just couldn’t wait to get to the end, which was also a disappointment. The motivation behind the deaths is alluded to by the killer early on in the book, but is never fully explained.

This is a series that I won’t be following up on. But just because I found this to be an unsatisfying read doesn’t mean that you won’t love it. This is my personal opinion, my reaction to the book. Most reviews for this book are positive, so if you enjoyed the excerpt and like the summary of the plot, please go ahead and read Bring Me Flowers by D. K. Hood. You may be one of the many who enjoy this book.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Bring Me Flowers by D. K. Hood for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on myGoodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2251343361

The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom

The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom
The Last Laugh 
by Tracy Bloom (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: I look back at Mark. My chosen path. I’ve purposely not told him what’s going on so far, which might appear strange but I cannot seem to say the words out loud. I cannot even bear to hear them. I ‘ve tried. I’ve stood in front of the mirror and formed the words in my head and tried to force them out of my mouth but nothing comes out. I just stare and stare and stare at myself and think, is this really happening? If I don’t actually say the words then maybe it isn’t, maybe everything will be all right.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: ‘I’ve googled it, how to die,’ Jenny says to Maureen. ‘It was full of climbing this mountain, swimming that sea, becoming a marathon runner and raising millions for charity.’

‘Sounds like bloody hard work. You can make it more fun than that surely?’

Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair…

Frankly, her life was tough enough already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago.

And now this: a cheating husband and a death sentence.

Enough is enough. Jenny vows to keep both catastrophes a secret. She takes her life – and death – into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990’s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime?

From No. 1 bestseller Tracy Bloom, The Last Laugh is both hilarious and heartbreaking, a book about how to find happiness and live your life as though every day is your last. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Kicking the Bucket List.

MY THOUGHTS: I am probably the only person who has so far read The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom who hasn’t found it hilarious. Instead, I found it sad, poignant and strangely uplifting.

Jenny has attitude in spades. I loved her ‘well f**k you’ attitude, and her determination to live her life on her terms. I also admired the way she dealt with her husband’s affair.

Maureen was wonderful. She shows the wisdom of age and experience. She sees and understands things that Jenny can’t, because she is too closely involved. And she calls a spade a spade. We all need a Maureen in our lives.

There are a lot of life lessons in this book. Lessons about taking a look at and considering the ‘bigger picture’, not just your own little role in things, about the importance of friendship and the different roles the same people play at different points in your life, about not being too hasty to write people off, and about second chances.

I was expecting a light, fluffy, chic-lit read, but I got so much more from this book. I think that what people will take from this book will depend on where they are at in their lives. But regardless, it is a delightful and touching read. 4.5 surprised stars from me.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2255159900

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

Time, once again, to take a look at what I’m currently reading, what I am planning on reading in the coming week, and what ARCS I have been approved for from NetGalley this week.

Well, all I can say is that I am glad I didn’t have a big week of reading scheduled. I only just managed to finish what I had planned, never mind being able to slip in one from my backlist! It was one of those weeks where if it could possibly go wrong, it did! I completely lost Thursday, so sorry there was no post, but the day just disappeared without trace. . . So here’s to a better week to come.

Currently I am reading

Bring Me Flowers (Detectives Kane and Alton, #2)

Haven’t actually started this yet, but it is loaded and waiting to be read once I have mowed the lawn.

And I am listening to

The Dollhouse

which I am just loving! I have no idea where it is going, but enjoying the journey.

In the coming week, I am planning on reading

The Pact

You made a promise to your sister. It could destroy your daughter.
The Daughter

15-year-old Rosie lies in hospital fighting for her life. She’s trying to tell her mother what happened to her, and how she got there, but she can’t speak the words out loud.

The Mother

Rosie’s mother Toni has a secret. She had a traumatic childhood, and she and her sister Bridget made each other a promise thirty years ago: that they could never speak the truth about what happened to them as children, and that they would protect each other without asking for help from others, no matter what…

Rosie was Toni’s second chance to get things right: a happy, talented girl with her whole life ahead of her. Having lost her husband in a tragic accident, Toni has dedicated her life to keeping Rosie safe from harm.

But Rosie has plans that her mother doesn’t know about. She has dreams and ambitions – of love, of a career, of a life beyond the sheltered existence that her mother has created for her. But the secrets Rosie has been keeping have now put her life in danger.

The Pact

In order to save Rosie, Toni may have to break her lifelong promise to her sister… and open doors to her past she hoped would remain closed forever.

White is the Coldest Colour (Dr David Galbraith, #1)

Be careful who you trust…

The Mailer family is oblivious to the terrible danger that enters their lives when seven-year-old Anthony is referred to the child guidance service by the family GP, following the breakdown of his parents’ marriage.

Fifty-eight-year-old Dr David Galbraith, a sadistic, predatory paedophile, employed as a consultant child psychiatrist, has already murdered one child in the soundproofed cellar below the South Wales Georgian town-house he shares with his wife and two young daughters.

When Anthony becomes Galbraith’s latest obsession he will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality.

But can Anthony be saved before it’s too late?

The book includes content that some readers may find disturbing from the start. It is dedicated to survivors everywhere.

Into the Thinnest of Air (Ishmael Jones, #5)

Dinner at an ancient Cornish inn leads to one baffling disappearance after another in the latest intriguing Ishmael Jones mystery. 

“It’s just a nice weekend, in a nice country inn. Nothing bad is going to happen …”

Ishmael Jones and his partner Penny are attending the re-opening of Tyrone’s Castle, an ancient Cornish inn originally built by smugglers. Over dinner that night, the guests entertain one another with ghost stories inspired by local legends and superstitions. But it would appear that the curse of Tyrone’s Castle has struck for real when one of their number disappears into thin air. And then another . . .

Is the inn really subject to an ancient curse? Sceptical of ghost stories, Ishmael believes the key to the mystery lies in the present rather than the past. But with no bodies, no evidence and no clues to go on, how can he prove it?

Do you notice that the majority of my book covers this week include trees?

And finally, books I have received from NetGalley this week  – I am trying to keep my requests to a manageable level, so only three approvals this week.

My Husband’s Lies

The Next Girl (Detective Gina Harte #1)

Last Night

And there’s another tree!

Don’t forget to let me know what you’re reading and, if you have read any of my upcoming reads, what you thought of them.

Happy reading everyone!

 

After the Funeral by Agatha Christie

After the Funeral by Agatha Christie
After the Funeral 
by Agatha ChristieJohn Moffatt (Narrator)Frank Thornton (Narrator)Jill Balcon (Narrator)
Reviewed by

30817744

 

EXCERPT:”I may,” said Poirot in a completely unconvinced tone, “be wrong.”
Morton smiled. “But that doesn’t often happen to you?”
“No. Though I will admit – yes, I am forced to admit – that it has happened to me.”
“I must say I’m glad to hear it! To be always right must be sometimes monotonous.”
“I do not find it so,” Poirot assured him.ABOUT THE BOOK: Hercule Poirot is called on to investigate the murder of a brother and sister in this classic from the Queen of Mystery.

When Cora Lansquenet is savagely murdered, the odd remark she made the day before at her brother’s funeral becomes chillingly important: “It’s been hushed up very nicely, hasn’t it. . . . But he was murdered, wasn’t he?”

Desperate to learn more about both deaths, the family solicitor turns to detective extraordinaire Hercule Poirot to unravel the mystery. . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I think that After the Funeral is one of Agatha Christie’s best books. It is more of a mystery and less of a vehicle to showcase the talents of Hercule Poirot, although he does, of course, solve the crime in the end. It is a very clever, inventive and unpredictable story. And thoroughly enjoyable. Even upon repeat readings/hearings.

I particularly enjoyed the BBC production, especially Frank Thornton’s role as the family solicitor. He has long been a firm favorite of mine as Truly of the Yard in Last of the Summer Wine.

4.5 shimmering stars for After the Funeral by Agatha Christie, narrated by John Moffat, Frank Thornton and Jill Balcon, produced by BBC Audiobooks. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2296321743

Friday Favorite- Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

Just reading through the review I wrote after finishing Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton makes me want to go and read it again! If you haven’t yet discovered this author, please try her. She is consistently excellent. And if you have read other books by this author, you will know exactly what I mean.

Little Black Lies by Sharon J. Bolton
Little Black Lies 
by Sharon J. Bolton (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: “I’m moving faster now, telling myself to slow down, but feeling the normal panic of a mother who can’t find her children. Even her dead ones.”

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In such a small community as the Falkland Islands, a missing child is unheard of. In such a dangerous landscape it can only be a terrible tragedy, surely…

When another child goes missing, and then a third, it’s no longer possible to believe that their deaths were accidental, and the villagers must admit that there is a murderer among them. Even Catrin Quinn, a damaged woman living a reclusive life after the accidental deaths of her own two sons a few years ago, gets involved in the searches and the speculation.

And suddenly, in this wild and beautiful place that generations have called home, no one feels safe and the hysteria begins to rise.

But three islanders—Catrin, her childhood best friend, Rachel, and her ex-lover Callum—are hiding terrible secrets. And they have two things in common: all three of them are grieving, and none of them trust anyone, not even themselves.

MY THOUGHTS: This is the second truly amazing book I have read this year, and I cannot speak highly enough of it.

I became emotionally entangled with the characters in this spellbinding story of friendship, love, lust, death, guilt, anger, grief and revenge. Often I found myself going back and re-reading passages, rolling their black beauty around in my mind, dwelling, wondering……And then there was the most mind-blowing ending…..

Set in the Falkland Islands, this book focuses on the lives of 3 people, who each take a turn at narrating, in the aftermath of a tragedy.

Two young boys, Ned and Kit, are killed in an accident resulting from a combination of lust and carelessness.

In the following three years, three children go missing, all bearing a strong resemblance to the two dead boys.

Is this the work of the dead boys mother? She has been but a mere ghost of herself since their death.

Or perhaps it is her lover, and ex-Falklands war soldier who suffers Post Traumatic Stress Disorder complete with blackouts.

Or is it someone else entirely?

Thank you to Minotaur Books, NetGalley and author Sharon Bolton for providing a digital copy of Little Black Lies for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1351981665

 

Orange Blossom Days by Patricia Scanlan

Orange Blossom Days by Patricia Scanlan
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: ‘Imagine spending our winters out here, away from freezing winds and non-stop rain. Imagine playing golf every day!’ Austen grinned, his tanned face flushed with pride at the rewards their hard work over the years had now brought them. A penthouse apartment in a plush seafront complex on Spain’s southern coast. Who would have thought they’d ever be able to afford such a luxury, he reflected, remembering that at the beginning of their marriage, all those years ago, he and Annie hadn’t had two pennies to rub together.

THE BLURB: n a beautiful southern Spanish town, where the sea sparkles and orange blossoms scent the air, the gates of a brand new apartment complex, La Joya deAndalucía, glide open to welcome the new owners.

Anna and Austen MacDonald, an Irish couple, are preparing to enjoy their retirement to the full. But the demands of family cause problems they have never foreseen and shake their marriage to the core.

Sally-Ann Connolly Cooper, a feisty Texan mother of two young teenagers, is reeling from her husband’s infidelity. La Joya becomes a place of solace for Sally-Ann, in more ways than one.

Eduardo Sanchez, a haughty Madrileño, has set out with single-minded determination to become El Presidente of the complex’s management committee. But pride comes before a fall.

Jutta Sauer Perez, a sophisticated German who aspires to own her very own apartment in La Joya, works hard to reach her goal. Then the unthinkable happens.

As their lives entwine and friendships and enmities develop, it becomes apparent that La Joya is not quite the haven they all expect it to be…

MY THOUGHTS: I have enjoyed many of Patricia Scanlan’s books over the years, they are a lovely bit of escapism, but I didn’t enjoy Orange Blossom Days as much as I had hoped.

I love the cover, and have to admit that is what first caught my eye. Then the author, and I thought I was on to a sure thing. The characters are well depicted, as are their trials, tribulations and moments of triumph.

Things I didn’t like were the length of the book. At 624 pages, it is a long book, but I have read and loved longer books. This just seemed inordinately long and drawn out. It ‘felt’ like 624 pages, perhaps even a few more.

I would have been much happier had Scanlan focused the book on Anna and Austen alone. Their story was enough to fill a book, or even them and Sally-Ann and Cal Connelly-Cooper. Although, again, the Connelly-Cooper story could have filled another book on its own. Really the rest was extraneous.

The narrator, Jilly Bond, had a perfectly lovely voice until she attempted the American accents and the men’s voices. It would have been a far more pleasant listening experience if she had just used her natural voice to read the book.

I listened to Orange Blossom Days by Patricia Scanlan, narrated by Jilly Bond, and published by Simon and Schuster, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2281124284

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

I feel somewhat guilty as Lily and the Octopus had been sitting on my shelf for around eighteen months, but after dramas with my own dog, I decided to pick it up. Here’s my review  –

Lily and the Octopus by Steven  Rowley
Lily and the Octopus 
by Steven Rowley (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT:
The octopus has a good grip and clings tightly over her eye. It takes me a minute, but I gather my nerve and poke it. It’s harder than I would have imagined. Less like a water balloon, more like . . . bone. It feels subcutaneous, yet there it is, out in the open for all to see. I count its arms, turning Lily’s head around to the back, and sure enough, there are eight. The octopus looks angry as much as out of place. Aggressive perhaps is a better word. Like it is announcing itself and would like the room. I’m not going to lie. It’s as frightening as it is confounding. I saw a video somewhere, sometime, of an octopus that camouflaged itself so perfectly along the ocean floor that it was completely undetectable until some unfortunate whelk or crab or snail came along and it emerged, striking with deadly precision. I remember going back and watching the video again and again, trying to locate the octopus in hiding. After countless viewings I could acknowledge its presence, sense its energy, its lurking, its intent to pounce, even if I couldn’t entirely make it out in form. Once you had seen it, you couldn’t really unsee it—even as you remained impressed with its ability to hide so perfectly in plain sight.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Combining the emotional depth of The Art of Racing in the Rain with the magical spirit of The Life of Pi, Lily and the Octopus is an epic adventure of the heart.

When you sit down with Lily and the Octopus, you will be taken on an unforgettable ride.

The magic of this novel is in the read, and we don’t want to spoil it by giving away too many details. We can tell you that this is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without.

For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog. Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all.

MY THOUGHTS: I expected this to be a sad book, given the subject, but it wasn’t, at least not to the degree that I imagined. And I am writing this as the person who, when my dog went missing the week before last, spent two whole days driving around the streets searching for him, mobilising the town and rural posties to look for him on their rounds, and harassing the vets, the pound and the SPCA. Day three found me in tears, quite certain that he had gone off to die, as elderly blue heelers are prone to do, completely immobilized by my grief. Happy ending, he was located late on the afternoon of the third day, hungry and footsore, making his way back home. $200 later in pound fees and a quick trip to the vet to have him checked over and he was home. Where he had been for those three days remains a mystery; no one sighted him, and he’s not talking!

Anyway, back to Lily and the Octopus. Dogs make the most amazing friends. They are loyal and loving. The emotions we, their humans, feel when our dogs’ health is failing, are extreme. Ted is alone, other than for Lily, and has endowed Lily with many human traits. Well, maybe Lily could play Monopoly. Just because I have never tried playing board games with my dog doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. He is heavily emotionally invested in her, and when her life is threatened, he fights that threat every way he knows how. And in doing so, he learns a lot about himself, about responsibility, and about making tough decisions.

So, I didn’t cry while reading this book. I smiled a lot, at times recognizing myself in Ted, a procrastinator,  and whose character, I have to admit, is very self absorbed and could, quite quickly, become wearing. It was a sweet, nostalgic read for me, bringing back memories of previous dogs I am lucky enough to have had in my life.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1828089987

The Scent of Guilt by Tony J. Forder

The Scent Of Guilt by Tony J. Forder
The Scent Of Guilt 
by Tony J. Forder (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: The elderly woman lay on her back, arms and legs spread out as if she were forming a large X. The hood of her beige parka was like a saucer for her spilled blood. In the unnatural light it gleamed like a halo of slick crude oil. Other than a couple of minor abrasions, her face was untouched. Across the rest of her body there were too many puncture wounds and lacerations to count, but it looked to Bliss as if there must be several dozen. He squatted down beside her body to take a closer look. The victim’s green tartan skirt had been yanked up to her waist, tights shredded and her vulva brutalised, most likely with the same weapon that had punctured the flesh so cruelly. The remainder of the wounds appeared to be randomly distributed, though her breasts had been left completely unscathed. The final sickening debasement, was that all ten nails had been ripped from her fingers.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Twelve years after he left Peterborough under a cloud, DI Bliss returns to the city and the major crimes team. Having spent years policing organised crime, Bliss is plunged straight into the heart of a serial murder investigation.

Meanwhile, Penny Chandler has been promoted to DS and has been working in London on the Met’s sexual crimes team. But when two rapes are reported on her old patch in Peterborough, Chandler volunteers to interview the victims.

Chandler joins the hunt for the attacker and soon notices a possible link between the rapes and Bliss’s murder investigation. Could the same man be responsible?

Just as both cases seem to stall, a call comes in from an ex-policeman who knows of unsolved cases in the USA with a similar MO. Bliss finds himself travelling to California to hunt for a killer whose reach may have stretched further than anyone could possibly imagine.

But in order to catch the murderer, Bliss must discover the killer’s motive. A motive which should have remained buried in the past…

MY THOUGHTS: Stone the crows! That was a journey and a half!

Despite The Scent of Guilt being the second book of the DI Bliss and DC Chandler series, it reads well as a stand alone. I do feel that I missed out on some background information on Bliss’s life, but it is not essential to this story. But having whetted my appetite, I am going to go back and read the first in the series, Bad to the Bone (also the title of one of my favorite George Thorogood songs!).

Bliss, who admits to being ‘a grumpy bastard’, has a reputation for insubordination, for going his own way, for swimming against the tide, and for bringing situations crashing down around his own ears. Yet, his team is fiercely loyal to him and there is a certain chemistry between Bliss and Chandler about which they are fiercely in denial.

Bliss has been through the wringer in his personal life; he is childless, his wife murdered as a consequence of his actions, and suffering from Meniere’s Disease, he has a deep understanding of people’s grief and at times exhibits quite a philosophical side.

An interesting character and a great plot that leaves me begging for ‘more please, Mr Forder.’

Please note: No crows were harmed in the writing of this review.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Scent of Guilt by Tony J Forder for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2291632067

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

Time, once again, to take a look at what I’m currently reading, what I am planning on reading in the coming week, and what ARCS I have been approved for from NetGalley this week.

Currently I am reading

The Scent Of Guilt     

Which was published 17 February 2018, and

Lily and the Octopus

Which, I am ashamed to say, has been sitting on my shelf for 18 months.

In the coming week, I am planning on reading

An Unquiet Ghost (Mina Scarletti #3)

Mina Scarletti returns in her most thrilling mystery yet! Perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie and Antonia Hodgson…

A family is being torn apart by rumours of a murderer in their midst. Can Mina solve the mystery and lay the ghosts to rest? 

Brighton, 1871 .

Mina Scarletti is becoming well known for unmasking fraudulent psychics. So it is no surprise to her when a young couple write to her seeking her advice.

George Fernwood and Mary Clifton, betrothed distant cousins, have a family secret that is preventing them from getting married. Twenty years ago, their alcoholic grandfather died in his bed and since then rumours have been circulating that someone in the family murdered him.

Desperate to find out the truth, they have decided to seek out a medium to communicate with their grandfather, and they want Mina to help them find one who is genuine.

Though she is not a believer in ghosts, Mina is intrigued by the family mystery and decides to help them in any way she can.

Could one of the new mediums advertising in Brighton really be genuine? Will they help George and Mary find the answers they are looking for? 

Or will this Unquiet Ghost ruin the chance of happiness for future generations …?

AN UNQUIET GHOST is the third cosy mystery in Linda Stratmann’s intriguing historical series, the Mina Scarletti Mysteries, a traditional British detective series with a feisty woman sleuth set in Victorian Brighton.

The Last Laugh

I’ve googled it, how to die,’ Jenny says to Maureen. ‘It was full of climbing this mountain, swimming that sea, becoming a marathon runner and raising millions for charity.’

‘Sounds like bloody hard work. You can make it more fun than that surely?’

Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair…

Frankly, her life was tough enough already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago.

And now this: a cheating husband and a death sentence.

Enough is enough. Jenny vows to keep both catastrophes a secret. She takes her life – and death – into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990’s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime?

From No. 1 bestseller Tracy Bloom, The Last Laugh is both hilarious and heartbreaking, a book about how to find happiness and live your life as though every day is your last. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and The Kicking the Bucket List.

And books I have received from NetGalley this week are

White is the Coldest Colour (Dr David Galbraith, #1)          The Retreat

The Visitor          The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

A  reasonably restrained requesting week for me, particularly since I requested The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton months ago, and it has been sitting on my pending shelf ever since. I had almost given up all hope of ever being approved for it. But I have just been to NetGalley and requested Sold on a Monday

after reading Susan Dyers blog, Susanlovesbooks. Thanks Susan!

It looks like a pretty wet week ahead of us here in New Zealand, so I should get plenty of reading in.

Don’t forget to let me know what you’re reading and, if you have read any of my upcoming reads, what you thought of them.

Happy reading everyone!