Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Old by Steven Petrow

EXCERPT: Perhaps you remember a few years ago, ‘Saturday Night Live’ spoofed the American Echo, better known as ‘Alexa’, beginning with this cautionary sentence: ‘The latest technology isn’t always easy for people of a certain age.’ Referring to a fictitious partnership between Amazon and AARP, the announcer declares that the ‘American Echo Silver’ edition is designed specifically for the Greatest Generation. It is super loud, and responds to any name remotely like Alexa, including Allegra, Odessa, Anita, Alberta, Alisha, Alessandra, Excedrin and Alopecia. I especially liked the SNL promo for the Echo Silver’s handy-dandy feature that helps old people find things.

‘Amelia, where did I put the phone?’
‘The phone is in your right hand.’

Alexa also provides the latest in sports:

‘Clarissa, how many times did Satchel Paige strike out last night?’
‘Satchel Paige died in 1982.’
‘How many did he get?’
‘Satchel Paige died. Is dead.’

Unlike other Alexa editions, this one also provides an ‘uh-huh feature’ for long rambling stories – because you know the stereotype of old people always repeating themselves.

Simultaneously hilarious and ageist, the skit highlighted several of the ways that our parents generation struggles to master new devices, social media apps and plain old email. Sure, we laugh – but it’s not like we’re doing so well right now, either.

For instance, one friend told me about her mother’s struggles with the new TV she and her siblings had given her. ‘Mom loved the picture quality, but the remote just about did her in. We heard from neighbours that every so often, they’d get a call asking for help,’ she said. ‘We finally figured out that every time Mom accidentally hit ‘menu’, she practically had to dial 911 – she could press up and down on volume and channels, but the options on the menu were beyond her, so she’d need help getting back to a screen she recognized.’

This friend got a good laugh out of it at the time, but now reports a new found sympathy for her mom. ‘I have a new smart TV that’s definitely smarter than I am,’ she told me.

ABOUT ‘STUPID THINGS I WON’T DO WHEN I GET OLD’: Soon after his 50th birthday, Steven Petrow began assembling a list of “things I won’t do when I get old”—mostly a catalog of all the things he thought his then 70-something year old parents were doing wrong. That list, which included “You won’t have to shout at me that I’m deaf,” and “I won’t blame the family dog for my incontinence,” became the basis of this rousing collection of do’s and don’ts, wills and won’ts that is equal parts hilarious, honest, and practical.

The fact is, we don’t want to age the way previous generations did. “Old people” hoard. They bore relatives—and strangers—with tales of their aches and pains. They insist on driving long after they’ve become a danger to others (and themselves). They eat dinner at 4pm. They swear they don’t need a cane or walker (and guess what happens next). They never, ever apologize. But there is another way . . .

In Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I’m Old, Petrow candidly addresses the fears, frustrations, and stereotypes that accompany aging. He offers a blueprint for the new old age, and an understanding that aging and illness are not the same. As he writes, “I meant the list to serve as a pointed reminder—to me—to make different choices when I eventually cross the threshold to ‘old.’”

Getting older is a privilege. This essential guide reveals how to do it with grace, wisdom, humor, and hope. And without hoarding.

MY THOUGHTS: Getting older. We’re all doing it, until we stop, and Steven has written about his parents and his own journey with an easy humour and realism that had me simultaneously laughing and recognizing little bits of both myself and my husband, and our parents.

He has written a checklist of pitfalls and ways to avoid them as we reach certain milestones. He hasn’t confined himself to those amongst us who are aging healthily – he himself hasn’t, and he offers great advice tempered with experience on judging just how much people want to know, and just how much and how to tell them.

Along with the amusing anecdotes and sage advice on aging both with and without familial support, Steven takes us through the journeys to the end of some of his beloved friends, and how well, or otherwise, they handled their impending demise.

There is plenty to take away from this read. It offers a wonderful insight for children struggling to deal with the changes in their aging parents, and for those of us who have no idea how we got to the number of years we are so rapidly. I am closer to 70 than 60. Some days I feel twenty one and some days I feel ninety one. I have no idea where all those years went, and so fast! but I enjoyed them and I intend to enjoy the years left to me, without being a burden. Thanks to Steven’s lists I now have markers to recognize, and actions I can take.

A book for everyone, no matter your age.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.3

#StupidThingsIWontDoWhenIGetOld #NetGalley

I: @mrstevenpetrow @kensingtonbooks

T: @StevenPetrow @KensingtonBooks

# health #memoir #aging #practicalguide #nonfiction #life

THE AUTHOR: Steven Petrow is an award-winning journalist and book author who is best known for his Washington Post and New York Times essays on aging, health, and LGBTQ issues. He’s currently a contributing writer to The Post and The Times as well as a columnist for USA Today.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Kensington Books, Citadel, via Netgalley for providing both a digital ARC and an audio ARC of Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Old by Steven Petrow, and narrated by Michael Butler Murray, for review. I really enjoyed the audio narration. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

The Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd

EXCERPT: ‘Message four, received today, 12.17 p.m.’

Crackles on the line. Clicks and whistles.

‘…Lucy…’

It’s him. It’s Daniel.

And yet something in his voice – dark, alien – isn’t Daniel at all. In an instant, Lucy knows she’s utterly unprepared for how bad this might get.

Around her, the playground darkens. The sound of children’s voices fades. Time slows, then stops completely. Parents and offspring become graveyard statues welded to a tarmac sea. Colour seeps from their skin, their clothes. Lucy feels no wind in her hair, no speckling of rain on her cheeks. Her heart doesn’t beat. The blood in her veins doesn’t flow.

The phone is clamped so tightly to her ear that the hiss and burr of static fill her head. She concentrates hard, as if by deciphering those electronic shrieks she can divine Daniel’s location, his intent. She hears wind, or what sounds like it. A chaotic symphony of whistles and chirrups, as if the broadcast is reaching her from deep space.

Lucy feels sure the connection is about to drop entirely. And then, with a buzzing that makes her wince, the clarity on the line is restored and she hears something else, something she didn’t expect, another voice, fainter than the first, one that she recognizes as clearly as her own: ‘Daddy, no-‘

ABOUT ‘THE RISING TIDE’: HOW DID IT COME TO THIS?

The news doesn’t strike cleanly, like a guillotine’s blade. Nothing so merciful. This news is a slovenly traveller, dragging its feet, gradually revealing its horrors. And it announces itself first with violence – the urgent hammering of fists on the front door.

Life can change in a heartbeat.

Lucy has everything she could wish for: a beautiful home high on the clifftops above the Devon coast, a devoted husband and two beloved children.

Then one morning, time stops. Their family yacht is recovered, abandoned far out at sea. Lucy’s husband is nowhere to be found and as the seconds tick by, she begins to wonder – what if he was the one who took the boat? And if so, where is he now?

As a once-in-a-generation storm frustrates the rescue operation, Lucy pieces together what happened onboard. And then she makes a fresh discovery. One that plunges her into a nightmare more shocking than any she could ever have imagined . . .

MY THOUGHTS: In a market awash with pale imitations, The Rising Tide is a true psychological thriller. I was thrilled from the first page to the last; never quite on an even keel, always a little off balance, never entirely sure who to believe. That was one enjoyable, wild ride, and I want to do it all over again!

All the words that are bandied about, hold true for this, Sam Lloyd’s second novel. Intense. Thrilling. Suspenseful. Breathtaking. Twisty. Heart pounding. Jaw dropping. Chilling. Compelling. And even all banded together, they don’t do The Rising Tide justice. It is all those things and more. Sam Lloyd scares me. He had me on the edge of my seat, nails digging into my palms, crying out, ‘No, no, no, no!’ as I read. Twenty four hours after finishing The Rising Tide, I still get breathless thinking about it.

Who are these people, Sam Lloyd’s characters? Is Daniel a monster? Or a loving father and stepfather? Is Lucy cold, calculating, cheating and manipulative? Or is she a loving mother who has had her world ripped apart?

My favourite characters are the delightful Bibi Trixibelle Carter, a very sharp eighty something year old, and the doomed Detective Inspector Abraham Rose and, of course, Lucy’s daughter Billie.

The Rising Tide is at the very top of my favourite books list for 2021, and I seriously doubt that anything is going to displace it. Five stars are simply not enough. The Rising Tide deserves a whole galaxy.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#TheRisingTide #NetGalley

I: #samlloyd #randomhouseUK

T: @samlloydwrites @BantamPress

#contemporaryfiction #crime #familydrama #fivestarread #psychologicalthriller #suspense #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Sam Lloyd grew up in Hampshire, where he learned his love of storytelling. These days he lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and a dog that likes to howl.

DISCLOSURE: A huge thank you to Random House, Transworld Publishing, Bantam Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and Goodreads.com

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Photo by Meruyert Gonullu on Pexels.com

I’m late!

It’s been a hectic few days. A stomach bug has been raging through town. My neighbour and friend Helen is down with it. My husband came home from work today with it. I have staff off work with it which resulted in my working 11 1/2 hours yesterday. Fingers crossed that I can avoid it.

So, although it’s Monday, here’s my Sunday post.

Currently I am reading The Heartwood Hotel by Kerry McGinnis

Set in north Queensland outback, I am enjoying this read. Thanks Elise from the Waitomo District Library book group for recommending this. I will be reading more from this author.

I am also reading The Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd. It’s excellent!

And A Mother’s Lie by Leah Mercer which I have only just started. This was previously titled Safe From Harm.

I am listening to Safe Witness by Karin Slaughter

This week I am planning on reading The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous

1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she’s truly part of the family…until they ask her to help them with a harmless game–and nothing is ever the same.

2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It’s strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she’ll be staying at, she figures she’s got nothing to lose.

In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she’d imagined–even with damage from a fire decades before–but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there’s something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone…including her.

And The Marriage Mender by Linda Green

The only relationship she can’t save is her own . . .
Alison is a marriage counsellor. Her job is to help couples who fear they have reached the end of the line. But the trouble with spending your time sorting out other people’s problems is that you tend to take your eye off your own. Even when her husband’s ex Lydia arrives on the doorstep demanding to see her son, Alison thinks she can handle it. But what Alison doesn’t realise is that Lydia is the one person who has the ability to destroy their perfect family. And sometimes the cracks can run so deep that even a marriage mender can’t repair them . . . 

I received only three new ARCs this week, two Kindle format and 1 audiobook, False Witness by Karin Slaughter, which I started this morning.

Summer Island Sisters by Ciara Knight

And The Little Island Secret by Emma Davies

This week I have been to The Isle of Shura in Scotland, briefly to Riva in Italy, and Stockholm, Sweden. Where have your reading travels taken you this week?

Happy reading!

Silver Tears by Camilla Läckberg

EXCERPT: The studio lights were blinding. Faye had lost track of time. She had no idea how long the interview had been going on for, or how long was left. The audience was seated in rows of banked seating – a hungry, amorphous mass, on the alert for every word, every shift in her facial expression.

Usually she thrived in these situations. There was a little diva inside her who liked sitting in front of an audience, feeling the nerves of recording for TV. But today she felt strained and anxious.

Thinking about the shares being bought had kept her awake most of the night, tossing and turning. She had gone over the conversation in advance – conversations with women she would need to persuade to keep their shares without revealing in any way what was happening. No easy task – it would take both tact and finesse.

A slightly too long silence wrenched her away from her thoughts. She had been asked a question and was expected to answer.

‘The plan is to expand to the USA,’ she heard herself say. ‘I ‘m here in Stockholm for a month or so to meet potential investors and put together the final details. And I want to personally oversee the issue of new stock.’

It was horribly warm. A trickle of sweat ran down the small of her back.

Fredrik Skavlan, the Norwegian talk show host, sat up straight.

‘But this hunger . . . What is it that drives you? You’re already a billionaire. A feminist icon.’

Faye strung out the silence. The other guests were an American Hollywood actor, a female professor of linguistics who had just published a non-fiction bestseller, and a woman who had climbed Mount Everest with prosthetic legs. The Hollywood star had been flirting ceaselessly with Faye ever since she arrived at the studio.

‘Before my best friend Chris died, I promised her I would live life for both of us. I want to see how far I can get, what I can build. My biggest fear is dying without achieving my full potential.’

‘And Julienne, your daughter who was murdered by your ex-husband. What does her memory mean to you?’

Fredrik Skavlan leaned forward and the tension in the studio increased.

She didn’t answer right away, letting the temperature rise even further. Reach boiling point. The answer was learned by heart, but it was important it sounded natural.

‘She’s with me in everything I do. When the longing and pain get too much I bury myself in my work. I’m running Revenge, trying to make it grow, so that I don’t lie down and die myself. So that I don’t end up as just another woman silenced in the shadows of a man’s actions. So that he – the man I once loved, but who killed our daughter – doesn’t succeed in killing me too.’

ABOUT ‘SILVER TEARS’: Faye Adelheim has had to fight hard her whole life. But now, she is rich, her business has become a global brand, and she is hidden safely away in Italy with her daughter, where her violent ex-husband, Jack, can no longer harm them.

But Faye’s world is turned upside down when she discovers Jack is no longer behind bars, and she is forced to return to Sweden.

Just as Faye is in the fight of her life to keep her family safe, the dark truth about her childhood, which she has kept buried for years, is dramatically uncovered. And Faye is about to discover that even the best kept secrets have the power to destroy everything…

MY THOUGHTS: I loved Camilla Läckberg’s Patrik Hedström series. This series is completely different.

I should have felt sympathetic towards Faye. I didn’t. I found her cold and calculating, yet also strangely vulnerable. But I didn’t like her. At times I rooted for her. But I didn’t like her.

Another thing I didn’t like was the very graphic and superfluous sex scenes that pepper the book. They add little to nothing to the story and I felt that the majority of them were entirely unnecessary.

Was I bored by the story? No, definitely not. But neither did I love it. I didn’t skim anything other than some sex scenes, and I never considered not finishing it, but I didn’t love it. I liked it, but not a whole lot. It has all the ingredients that should make me love it: secrets, love, betrayal and revenge.

If I had been given this book with no indication of who had written it, I never would have picked Camilla Läckberg. I read the first book in this series after I was declined it on Netgalley, and while I didn’t love it either, I liked The Golden Cage more than Silver Tears. The ending of Silver Tears makes it apparent that there is another book to come. It is one that I won’t be putting my hand up for.

⭐⭐.6

#SilverTears #NetGalley

I: @lackberg @harpercollinsaustralia

T: @camillalackberg

#contemporaryfiction #crime #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Before she became one of Sweden’s most popular crime writers, Camilla Läckberg (b. 1974) worked as a marketing director and product manager for several years.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins Australia for providing a digital ARC of Silver Tears by Camilla Läckberg for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, and Goodreads.com

The Stalker by Sarah Alderson

EXCERPT: She was just standing at the window looking out. I like watching her when she doesn’t know she’s being watched.

I watched her on the beach today as she walked along, pausing now and then to pick up stones, her blonde hair whipping about her slender neck as though it was trying to strangle her. I must admit, the thought made me tingle with something halfway between pleasure and pain.

I thought I caught her looking right at me,and I smile as I recall the fear that flashed across her face for an instant. I breathe in deep. I can still smell that fear, lingering in the air.

ABOUT ‘THE STALKER’: Newly-weds Liam and Laura are spending their honeymoon in paradise: just the two of them on a remote island off the coast of Scotland.
But they soon discover that all is not as it seems, and the island has a tragic past. And they can’t shake the feeling of being watched…

When one morning, they wake to find a message scratched into the window, their worst fears are confirmed. They aren’t alone on the island.

And this stranger wants them dead.

MY THOUGHTS: I am torn by this book, and keep wavering over my rating. There were things I liked about The Stalker, and things I didn’t.

I liked the beginning. While it all seems pretty ordinary with nothing much going on, there’s a slightly creepy undertone. I really enjoyed the first 40% of this book, but then it hit a bit of a flat spot for me and I began skimming. Not a good sign…. But that ending? It is crazy good and revived my reading ardour. Then after I had finished, I began to feel a little cheated. I am going to try to explain why without giving any spoilers away.

The story is told mostly from Laura’s perspective, with occasional input from an unknown person. Now my problem is that the ending, as wonderfully just as it is, makes complete nonsense of a lot of what Laura experiences as we watch her in the earlier parts of the book. And no, it’s not a case of an unreliable narrator. We are seeing the events through her eyes, and experiencing her reactions. If we had been seeing this through Liam’s eyes, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. So there you have it.

⭐⭐⭐.4

#TheStalker #NetGalley

I: @sarahaldersonauthor @avonbooksuk

T: @sarahalderson @AvonBooksUK

#contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #mystery #psychologicalthriller #suspense #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Having spent most of her life in London, Sarah quit her job in the non profit sector in 2009 and took off on a round the world trip with her husband and princess-obsessed daughter on a mission to find a new place to call home. After several months in India, Singapore, Australia and the US, they settled in Bali where they lived for five years.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Avon Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Stalker by Sarah Alderson for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Know No Evil by Graeme Hampton

EXCERPT: BERMONDSEY RIPPER’S LATEST VICTIM?

The body of an eighteen year old woman was discovered by a dog walker in undergrowth in a park near East Dulwich station earlier this morning. She’d been beaten and strangled.

Police are so far refusing to comment on whether the young woman could be the latest victim of the so-called ‘Bermondsey Ripper’, who has been terrorising women in and around South London for the past year. Detective Inspector Ken Walters, who is leading the investigation into the murders, said it was ‘unhelpful to speculate at this early stage.’ He denied police were struggling to make progress with the investigation, insisting there had been a number of breakthroughs in recent days.

The police have come in for constant criticism over their handling of the ‘Bermondsey Ripper’ case, which has so far seen six women viciously murdered in and around South London.

ABOUT ‘KNOW NO EVIL’: Old crimes don’t stay buried forever…

It’s high summer, and London sizzles in the grip of a heatwave. But when the body of young mother, Leanne Wyatt, is discovered in an East London park, the heat rises to boiling point for D.I. Matthew Denning. Under pressure to solve the case, and fast, he delves into Leanne’s history and finds that she was close to some dangerous individuals – could one of them have taken her life in an angry rage? But when another woman is found dead in similar circumstances, Denning is forced to consider that a killer stalks the capital’s streets.

But when young, ambitious, D.S. Molly Fisher, discovers a horrifying link to these deaths and a killing spree in South London a decade ago –a terrifying summer where young women died at the hands of a psychopath the press dubbed ‘The Bermondsey Ripper’, the case is blown wide open. Anthony Ferguson is serving a life sentence for the crimes, so are these new deaths the result of a copycat killer – or did the police convict the wrong man? Whatever the case, Denning and Fisher need to stop a killer in his tracks – before he sets his sights on them.

MY THOUGHTS: Graeme Hampton has written a evenly-paced and well plotted police procedural/crime thriller that kept me intrigued throughout. He has achieved a good balance between the characters private lives and the crime thread, and has even managed to enticingly intertwine them to provide the reader with an extra frisson of suspense and suspicion.

D.I. Matthew Denning is level-headed and experienced. D.S. Molly Fisher is young, ambitious and impetuous, inclined to follow her instincts. This trait is both a blessing and a curse as it frequently lands her in hot water.

I didn’t always like Molly’s character. At times she was a little too mercurial, particularly concerning her private life. I certainly didn’t like her partner and failed to understand the attraction between them. But then, that happens in real life, too. There were a couple of other minor characters who grated on me, mostly because their characters were more caricatures than realistic.

In fact, in the beginning, I didn’t think I was going to like Know No Evil at all. The investigation into Leanne Wyatt’s death starts by focusing on the low-life drug dealing son of a local organised crime boss, which is about as appealing to me as being drenched with a bucket of icy water on a winter’s day. But luckily, the investigation soon moves on, and although the thread is continued throughout the story, it becomes a ‘bit-part’.

The story is told from the perspectives of both Denning and Fisher, which enables the reader to see the difference in their thought processes and their approach to the case. There are plenty of red herrings and dead ends in the investigation and a few good twists which kept my interest. And I must say that I thought the denouement was clever, and one that I hadn’t even entertained.

Narrator, Julie Maisey, was a pleasure to listen to.

Know No Evil is the first in a new detective series, and I will definitely be lining up for #2.

⭐⭐⭐.7

#KnowNoEvil #NetGalley

I: @graeme_hampton #sagaegmont

T: @Gham001

#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #murdermystery #policeprocedural

THE AUTHOR: Graeme Hampton was born in Paisley and grew up in Stirling. After leaving school he trained as a stage manager and worked in London for a number of years. He returned to Scotland in his late twenties to study for a BA in English Literature at Stirling University. After many years of dull jobs and bleak times, he became a full-time writer. His first novel, Know No Evil, was published in July 2019, and was followed up by Blood Family in early 2020. He is currently working on the third novel in the Denning & Fisher series.
He lives in Hastings, East Sussex. (Amazon)

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Saga Egmont for providing an audio ARC of Know No Evil written by Graeme Hampton and narrated by Julie Maisey for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl

EXCERPT: I can’t believe I didn’t realise it before, that what I really wanted all along was to write to you. So that’s what I’m going to do. A memoir, perhaps. No. A confession.

Kristina, I’m waiting for you. I pray that you’ll come. I’m alone and I’m afraid for the future and I want to use this time to put everything I want to say to you into some kind of coherent account. I want to tell you everything myself, I have it all planned out in my head – you’ll come here and you’ll sit across from me and we’ll light the fire and I will start from the beginning and I won’t stop talking until there is absolutely nothing unsaid between us. If you can’t or won’t come or if something outside of my control happens to me, you’ll find what you need here. Either way, I need you to know the truth.

ABOUT ‘CABIN FEVER’: You are her therapist.
Kristina is a successful therapist in central Oslo. She spends her days helping clients navigate their lives with a cool professionalism that has got her to the top.

She is your client.
But when her client Leah, a successful novelist, arrives at her office clearly distressed, begging Kristina to come to her remote cabin in the woods, she feels the balance begin to slip.

But out here in the woods.
When Leah fails to turn up to her next two sessions, Kristina reluctantly heads out into the wilderness to find her.

Nothing is as it seems.
Alone and isolated, Kristina finds Leah’s unfinished manuscript, and as she reads she realises the main character is terrifyingly familiar…

MY THOUGHTS: I read Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl in one sitting, unable to put it down and now, four hours later, my heart is still pounding, my breathing ragged.

The main characters are all onions, multilayered, and eye-wateringly devious. I was shaking my head in delighted disbelief as the truth was slowly revealed, and I mean slowly, one nugget, one gem at a time until the final crescendo.

Alex Dahl has once again written an unsettling, unpredictable, extremely clever and very dark novel full of tension and suspense.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#CabinFever #NetGalley

I:@authoralex @headofzeus

T: @alexdahlauthor @HoZ_Books

#contemporaryfiction #psychologicalthriller #suspense

THE AUTHOR: Half-American, half-Norwegian, Alex Dahl was born in Oslo. She is a serious Francophile and currently lives in both London and Sandefjord.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Head of Zeus via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Death and Croissants by Ian Moore

EXCERPT: ‘So what have you decided?’ She sat down on the bench and he sat back down beside her.

‘I’ve decided that I don’t like being pushed around.’

‘Who’s pushing you around?’

‘You are.’

‘I am not.’

‘Yes you are.’ She looked hurt. ‘Look, it’s not your fault, not really. I’m very easy to push around, but it’s Ava Gardner here who’s paid the price.’

‘I don’t think I’ve pushed you around at all.’

‘Oh, you have. You and everyone else I know.’ He sighed wearily. ‘All I want is a quiet life, but what happens is you end up just being dragged along by other people’s whims. I don’t blame you as such, but in a very short space of time, I’ve lost a guest, very possibly murdered – in your opinion – possibly more than once, if what the Thompsons told you is correct. And two Italian killers – in your opinion – are sending me hen-based mafia death warnings.’

ABOUT ‘DEATH AND CROISSANTS’: Richard is a middle-aged Englishman who runs a B&B in the fictional Val de Follet in the Loire Valley. Nothing ever happens to Richard, and really that’s the way he likes it.

One day, however, one of his older guests disappears, leaving behind a bloody handprint on the wallpaper. Another guest, the exotic Valérie, persuades a reluctant Richard to join her in investigating the disappearance.

Richard remains a dazed passenger in the case until things become really serious and someone murders Ava Gardner, one of his beloved hens … and you don’t mess with a fellow’s hens!

MY THOUGHTS: There is considerably more death than there are croissants.

I loved the setting of this humourous cosy murder mystery. Set in a B&B in the Loire Valley. A hapless ex-pat Brit is drawn into a search for a missing guest after finding a bloody handprint on the bedroom wall, and a pair of broken spectacles. He is aided and abetted, or rather bossed about and led by a beautiful and strong willed Frenchwoman, Valerie de Orcay.

My favourite character was Madame Tablier, the indomitable and irreverent housekeeper, followed closely by Richard’s hens, Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, and Katharine Hepburn. I also enjoyed Richard’s obsession with vintage movies, but there were times that I felt the author had ‘overdone’ the characters, making them more caricatures than relatable people. And that, I think is part of the problem. I really didn’t care about any of the characters, and at times Death and Croissants read more like a ‘Carry On’ novel than a cosy murder mystery.

I have read a lot of this genre lately and unreservedly enjoyed them, but I am afraid that Death and Croissants fell a little short of the mark in comparison. I have to disagree with its description as an unputdownable mystery. I put it down several times, sometimes for days on end.

While I wasn’t tempted at any point to not finish this, it did seem like a much longer read than it actually is. I don’t think I will be reading any more of this series.

⭐⭐.6

#DeathandCroissants #NetGalley

I: #ianmoore @farragobooks

T: @MonsieurLeMoore @farragobooks

#contemporaryfiction #cosymystery #murdermystery

THE AUTHOR: Ian is an English stand up comedian who lives in rural France and spends most of his time travelling grumpily between the two while his family grows and his wife adopts every maladjusted animal in the area.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Farrago Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Death and Croissants by Ian Moore for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and Goodreads.com

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

I didn’t do very well with my reading target last week, mainly because the company who made my kitchen suddenly moved the installation date forward from the end of this month to the end of this coming week! So my house was full builders, taking out the old kitchen and removing another wall, and plumbers and electricians moving everything ready for the installation of the new kitchen. Because I had move the sink and the dishwasher and the fridge. I think the only new appliance being installed in the same place as the old one is the oven. But the result will be that I have a decent amount of bench space, which I didn’t previously have. Plumbers and electricians are back on Monday, then the builders Tuesday and Wednesday to reline the walls and put the ceiling in. Thursday the kitchen arrives and installation begins. This is so exciting!

Anyway, because of all this, I got very little reading done. Instead I was fetching and carrying, making decisions and morning and afternoon teas coffees, and cleaning up behind everyone while I was home. And, of course, I was also working. So the books on my planned reading list last week will reappear this week. 🤦‍♀️

Currently I am reading Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl. Halfway through and it has suddenly taken an extremely interesting turn.

I am almost finished listening to Know No Evil (DI Denning and DS Fisher #1) by Graeme Hampton. This has the makings of really good series. I will certainly be putting my hand up for #2.

This week I am planning on reading Silver Tears by Camilla Lackberg, #2 in her

She’s had to fight for it every step of the way, but Faye finally has the life she believes she deserves: she is rich, the business she built has become a global brand, and she has carefully hidden away her small family in Italy, where Jack, her ex-husband, can no longer harm them. She even has the wherewithal to occasionally turn a business trip to Rome into a steamy tryst. But when several major investors–women Faye had trusted implicitly–suddenly sell off their shares in the company, and the police officer who helped search for her daughter discovers the dark secret of Faye’s childhood, and she learns that Jack is no longer locked behind bars, Faye has no choice but to return to Stockholm. Not only does she have to fight again to keep her family safe, but now, at long last, she is forced to face the truth about her past. In this bold, mesmerizing story of seduction, deceit, and female power, a woman’s secret cannot stay buried forever.

The Stalker by Sarah Alderson

Newly-weds Liam and Laura are spending their honeymoon in paradise: just the two of them on a remote island off the coast of Scotland.
But they soon discover that all is not as it seems, and the island has a tragic past. And they can’t shake the feeling of being watched…

When one morning, they wake to find a message scratched into the window, their worst fears are confirmed. They aren’t alone on the island.

And this stranger wants them dead.

And The Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd

HOW DID IT COME TO THIS?

The news doesn’t strike cleanly, like a guillotine’s blade. Nothing so merciful. This news is a slovenly traveller, dragging its feet, gradually revealing its horrors. And it announces itself first with violence – the urgent hammering of fists on the front door.

Life can change in a heartbeat.

Lucy has everything she could wish for: a beautiful home high on the clifftops above the Devon coast, a devoted husband and two beloved children.

Then one morning, time stops. Their family yacht is recovered, abandoned far out at sea. Lucy’s husband is nowhere to be found and as the seconds tick by, she begins to wonder – what if he was the one who took the boat? And if so, where is he now?

As a once-in-a-generation storm frustrates the rescue operation, Lucy pieces together what happened onboard. And then she makes a fresh discovery. One that plunges her into a nightmare more shocking than any she could ever have imagined . . .

Let’s see how well I can do.

I received five new ARCs this week, and was declined for five (perhaps just as well!) I received The Library by Bella Osborne

The Girl Upstairs by Georgina Lees

The Perfect Ending by Rob Kaufman

About Us by Sinead Moriarty

And finally, The Lies We Tell by Jane Corry

I didn’t travel overly much in the past week. I left Baltimore for Stonesend, a lovely village near Oxford in England, and am currently dividing my time between East London, and Oslo in Norway.

What have you been reading this week? What are planning on reading? And where have you been on your reading travels?

Have a wonderful week of reading!

The Lies She Told by Lynda Renham

EXCERPT: Nothing made any sense. Kate Marshall came home from school on Friday afternoon after seeing her boys off with her husband. Some time between then and six, someone came and attempted to batter her to death. But why?

‘Who’d want to kill a piano teacher?’ said Alice.

ABOUT ‘THE LIES SHE TOLD’: Life in the village of Stonesend is pretty uneventful, that is until Detective Tom Miller is transferred there following a personal tragedy. He is not greeted well by local police officer Beth Harper, who feels he is not up to the job. The day of his arrival, Kate Marshall, a teacher at the local school, is beaten in her own home and left for dead. The villagers are left in a state of shock. Was it a random attack or something more personal?

MY THOUGHTS: The Lies She Told certainly lives up to its title!

Although I worked out early on what was going on with one thread in the plot, it simply never occurred to me that . . . No, I can’t say, because that would be a spoiler. All I can say is that there are plenty of surprises and twists, and that Kate isn’t the only one who is attacked. While Kate survives, the other victim isn’t so lucky. And no, I am not about to tell you who the other victim is.

Renham had my mind working overtime trying to draw the various threads together into some sort of feasible solution, but although I guessed some things, she definitely bested me! I got the who, and the why, but the how? …. that I couldn’t figure out.

I hope we get to read more of Detective Tom Miller and Beth Harper. They make a great team and I loved the village setting of Stonesend.

The Lies She Told is an enjoyable and sometimes shocking read that will have you pitting your wits against the author’s expertise.

⭐⭐⭐.7

#TheLiesSheTold

I: @lyndarenham @raucous_

T: @LyndaRenham

#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #murdermystery

THE AUTHOR: Lynda Renham has been writing for as long as she can remember and had her first work published in a magazine at age nine and has continued writing in various forms since. Lynda lives with her second husband and cat in Oxfordshire, England. She is Associate Editor for the online magazine The Scavenger and contributor to many others. When not writing Lynda can usually be found wasting her time on Facebook.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to author Lynda Renham and Raucous Publishing for providing a digital ARC of The Lies She Told for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com