The Other You by J.S. Monroe

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EXCERPT: ‘We’ve all got a double out there somewhere, watching, waiting. Shadowless.’ He looks around the cove, up at the clifftop behind them. The man with the binoculars has gone. ‘And I’ve already met mine, a long time ago.’

‘When?’ she asks. He doesn’t answer.

‘They say it’s bad enough to see your double once, but it’s meant to be much worse if you meet them a second time.’ He pauses. ‘The day I see him again will be my last. He’ll take over my life, me, you, the house, my company, all that I’ve achieved, everything that’s precious to me.’

He pauses, eyes welling as the Cornish sun disappears behind a solitary cloud, casting the beach into sudden shade. ‘He’ll steal my soul.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: You are waiting for your husband to join you on holiday. But when he arrives, you know it’s not him…

This clever, twisty psychological thriller explores identity and pretence, paranoia and the disturbing notion that we are all, at some level, impostors.

MY THOUGHTS: Clever. Twisty. Chilling. I won’t be sleeping any more tonight.

This is the second book I have read by this author, and he continues to stun me with his unusual plots and his ability to totally creep me out. I love to be creeped out. I can’t remember the last time I had a sleepless night because of it.

This book is edgy and tense, The. Whole. Way. Through. If you are looking for a relaxing read, this isn’t it. This is heart-pounding paranoia. This will have you looking twice at anyone acting a little out of character. This will have you doubting and questioning everything you know about everyone. This will give you sleepless nights…

A ‘couldn’t bear to put it down’ read.

😱😱😱😱😱

#TheOtherYou #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: J.S.Monroe is the pseudonym of the British author Jon Stock. Jon is the author of five spy novels and a new standalone psychological thriller, Find Me, to be published in 2017 under the name of JS Monroe. He lives in Wiltshire with his wife and three children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Head of Zeus via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Other You by J.S. Monroe 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3137489876?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

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EXCERPT: Molly stared at the house through her Ray-Bans. ‘So weird,’ she said. ‘Just to think, you lived there, all of you, you were all just, like, normal kids, going to school and stuff, having friends and then, one by one you all left her and she died, you know, completely alone in, like, the Worst House in Britain, or whatever.’ She shook her head solemnly. ‘Weird,’ she said again. ‘I mean, can you imagine that happening to us? Like, seriously? All four of us just leaving you there and all falling out with each other and Dad going off with some crazy woman and you just going completely mental and not letting anyone in and building, like, tunnels, out of, like, newspapers. Think of our house. Our lovely house, with all its lovely things in it and yeah, okay, it’s a bit too tidy for my liking but, you know, it’s a really nice house, and we all live there and we’re so happy and everything. And when I’m an adult I want to see my brothers all the time, you know, I want to go to their houses and stuff and have my kids play with their kids. I mean, you haven’t seen your brother and sister for, like, five years. Your actual brother and sister. Who you used to live with. And see every day. I mean, I just don’t get it. How can things go, like-‘ she turned to stare at Meg with wide blue eyes so wrong?’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Meet the Bird Family

All four children have an idyllic childhood: a picture-book cottage in a country village, a warm, cosy kitchen filled with love and laughter, sun-drenched afternoons in a rambling garden.

But one Easter weekend a tragedy strikes the Bird family that is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear them apart.

The years pass and the children become adults and begin to develop their own quite separate lives. Soon it’s almost as though they’ve never been a family at all.

Almost.
But not quite.

Because something has happened that will call them home, back to the house they grew up in – and to what really happened that Easter weekend all those years ago.

MY THOUGHTS: I read The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell overnight. I could not put it down. I wanted it to never end. When it did, I felt bereft.

Jewell’s impeccable combination of characters and plot does that to me. I become totally immersed in her writing. Her characters are very ‘real’, they love and hate with passion, they are sensible, but do irrational things, they squabble and row, hold grudges and storm off in huffs, then turn around and support one another through tough times. They could be me, or you, our neighbours, our friends.

I, unusually for me, have not picked up another book since I finished this in the early hours of this morning. I need to gently disentangle myself from this family with whom I have laughed and cried, whose pain and joys I have shared. I don’t want to say goodbye to them. I want to see where Rory’s life goes, how Beth will cope.

But this book is definitely on my favourites list, to be revisited when I want a comfort read.

😍😍😍😍😍

Quote from The House We Grew Up In: The human memory is such a cruel, frustrating thing, the way it just discards things without asking permission, precious things.

THE AUTHOR: Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.

She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.

She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.

DISCLOSURE: I borrowed my copy of The House I Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell and published by Random House from the Waitomo District Library. 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 is also published on https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1389580060

Cold Heart Creek by Lisa Regan

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EXCERPT: Josie felt an involuntary shiver run the length of her spine and hoped Charlotte didn’t sense it. She was beginning to feel completely disarmed and thrown off by this strange woman who smiled as though she knew something Josie did not, who didn’t sweat in ninety degree weather, and who seemed to know Josie’s thoughts before she had time to articulate them.

‘Listen, ‘ Josie said. ‘I’m here as part of an investigation. We have two dead bodies and a missing female who may be ill. I don’t have time for this.

Charlotte remained in place, still as a statue. ‘You’ve never made time for it, don’t you see that?’ She took a step toward Josie and touched her cheek, where the long faded scar ran from Josie’s ear to beneath her chin. She wanted to recoil, but her feet were frozen in place. ‘Now things are coming to an end of some sort, aren’t they? Whatever it is, you’ll only have one chance at it, and you’re wondering whether you should take it or not.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When a park ranger stumbles across the bodies of newlyweds Valerie and Tyler Yates by a creek in the small town of Denton, Detective Josie Quinn is first on the scene. Still reeling from the news that her abusive mother is dying, Josie suspects this is more than just accidental poisoning, and she’s right: someone jammed a crudely carved pendant necklace down Valerie’s throat before she died.

Combing the area, Josie’s team discover a third sleeping bag indicating there could have been an extra guest around the fire that night. A lucky escape? A missing victim? Or a suspect on the run? Finding this person is the key to the entire investigation…

The trail leads Josie to the gates of a farmhouse hidden deep within the forest – a special place where people go to escape, and to hide. There is a young girl there with frightened eyes and bandaged wrists who knows more than she is saying, but the next day she’s found dead, choked with a matching necklace…

With her mother’s life hanging by a thread, Josie has an impossible decision to make as she races to find the meaning of the pendant and catch this twisted killer before another innocent life is taken – but is she already too late?

MY THOUGHTS: This series, of which this is the seventh book, is addictive. And I may have said this before, but this is the best in the series, so far. I read it overnight, finishing just in time to go to work this morning. I was so absorbed in the storyline, it wasn’t until I got to the end and caught my breath that I realized I hadn’t highlighted any sections for my excerpt!

At the end, the author/publishers ask, ‘Did this unputdownable thriller make your heart race and leave you wanting more?’ My answer is a resounding ‘YES!’ This is not a series that continues to be strong, it is one that gets stronger with every book.

We don’t see as much of Josie’s family in Cold Heart Creek as we have in a the previous books, but there are some very interesting characters; Donovan the hermit and,even more so, Charlotte featured in the excerpt above.

I can’t say anything about this book that hasn’t already been said except that if you haven’t already read it, you are missing out on ‘A breathtaking read!’

❤😍❤😍❤

#ColdHeartCreek #NetGalley

My favourite quote: ‘…the darkness had never hurt her. It was always the monsters in the light…..’

THE AUTHOR: Lisa Regan is a suspense novelist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Cold Heart Creek by Lisa Regan 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3035904538?type=review#rating_251048467

Watching What I’m Reading…

Only ten days until Christmas and I am not even remotely organised! But I guess it will happen whether I am organised or not. We held the children’s Christmas party at the local pools today and all 63 of them seemed to have a great time. The only tears were caused by a stubbed toe. So that’s a major that I can cross off my to do list.

I managed to sneak in an extra read again this week which was

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This was a thrilling five star read and I will be publishing my review tomorrow . Although if you want a preview you can find it at https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3035904538

My next read is

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When private detective Agatha Raisin comes across a severed leg in a roadside hedge, it looks like she is about to become involved in a particularly gruesome murder. Looks, however, can be deceiving, as Agatha discovers when she is employed to investigate a case of industrial espionage at a factory where nothing is quite what it seems.

The factory mystery soon turns to murder and a bad-tempered donkey turns Agatha into a national celebrity, before bringing her ridicule and shame. To add to her woes, Agatha finds herself grappling with growing feelings for her friend and occasional lover, Sir Charles Fraith. Then, as a possible solution to the factory murder unfolds, her own life is thrown into deadly peril. Will Agatha get her man at last? Or will the killer get her first?

I am not as much of an Agatha Raisin fan as I am of the Hamish Macbeth series, but I do enjoy Beaton’s writing .

I am also planning on reading

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Ten years have passed since the events described in The Vanishing Box. Edgar Stephens is now a Superintendent and married to former DS Emma Holmes. Edgar’s wartime partner in arms, magician Max Mephisto, is a movie star in Hollywood, while his daughter Ruby has her own TV show, Ruby Magic.

The funeral of Stan Parks, aka Diablo, actor and wartime comrade to Edgar and Max, throws the gang back together. The reunion sparks all sorts of feelings. Bob Willis, now a DI, is dealing with the disappearance of local schoolgirl Rhonda Miles. Emma, frustrated by living the life of a housewife and mother, keeps thinking how much better she would run the case. She is helped by Sam Collins, a woman reporter also hampered by sexism at work. Sam notices a pattern with other missing girls. Edgar listens to the theory but doesn’t give it much credence. He is preoccupied with the threatened invasion of Brighton by Mods and Rockers on the May Bank Holiday.

The case takes a more sinister turn when one of the missing girls is found dead. Then Ruby fails to turn up for a rendezvous and it becomes clear that she too has disappeared. Emma takes risks to track down the killer herself while Edgar is working flat out dealing with violent clashes between rival gangs on Brighton’s seafront. With tension and anger hitting him on all sides, Edgar must keep the coolest of heads to track down the killer.

I have received seven (my lucky number!) new ARCs from Netgalley this week. .😂🤣

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Now all I need in my Christmas stocking is a desert island so that I can read in peace.

Stay calm and read on my friends.

❤😍📚

The Other Daughter by Shalini Boland

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EXCERPT: Catriona realises she still has mud caked in her fingernails. Her clothes are still a bit muddy too. She should go and have a shower before Darren gets home. But then she remembers…and with that vivid flash of memory, her body begins to tremble once more – a strange, unsettling shaking that she has no control over. And she realises that there’s no way she’s going to be able to go back into that bathroom.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Nine years ago her daughter was taken. And now she’s back.

Two-and-a-half-year-old Holly is playing happily in a pink plastic playhouse, while her mother Rachel sips coffee and chats with a friend nearby. It should be an ordinary day for all of them. But, in the blink of an eye, it turns into every family’s worst nightmare.

Holly is taken by a stranger and never found.

Nine years later, Rachel is living a quiet life in Dorset. She’s tried to keep things together since the traumatic day when she lost her eldest daughter. She has a new family, a loving partner and her secrets are locked away in her painful past.

Until one afternoon when Rachel meets a new school parent Kate and her teenage daughter Bella. Rachel’s world is instantly turned upside down – she’s seen Bella before. She’d recognise that face anywhere – it’s her missing child.

And she will stop at nothing to get her back…

MY THOUGHTS: The Other Daughter is one of those books that when you aren’t reading it, you’re still thinking about it.

I started this last night, read until I fell asleep with it in my hand, was a little late to work because I read too long over my breakfast, and came home from work early to finish it because I just had to know what happened, and no, I couldn’t possibly wait another hour and a half to find out.

Now, just a word of warning…there are times when you are going to have to suspend belief, but it’s worth it.
There were times when I was reading along when I would think ‘wtf? Don’t care – read on.’ This doesn’t often happen. Usually little ‘holes’ annoy me no end. But Shalini Boland has written a cracker of a novel that swept me along, keeping me feeling excited and anticipating her next move. And never, in my wildest dreams, did I anticipate that ending!

#TheOtherDaughter #NetGalley

💖💖💖💖💖

THE AUTHOR: Hello 🙂 I write suspense thrillers and dark adventures, and I live in Dorset, England with my husband, two children and our dog.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of The Other Daughter by Shalini Boland 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2985977020?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

I must apologise for no post yesterday. I had the day off work, and we had no internet at home and won’t have for another day or two. Our fibre optic cable is being laid for ultrafast broadband..which will be great when it is finished…

Whatever it Takes by Paul Cleave

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EXCERPT: The house smells of dust and tastes of mold. The last time I was out here was three years ago when Jasmine Kelly called Drew from the other side of the country to say she hadn’t heard from her folks in a week. I flick the light switch but there’s no power. I follow the footprints in the dust. Floorboards creak under my weight. I can feel the heat coming up through the floor. Shadows move across walls as my flashlight lights everything up, and there are lots of everything’s – couches, a dining table, beds, kitchen utilities, a coffee table with magazines and a TV that can’t be any older than five years. There are paintings and photographs on walls and shelves. It feels like the house is waiting for somebody to return. I look into the bedroom where three years ago Ed and Leah Kelly took handfuls of sleeping pills and didn’t leave a note to say why. The farm was heavily in debt and their daughter used to say her dad thought the land was cursed because only the weeds knew how to grow.

I head to the basement. Basements are where men like Conrad Haggerty keep girls like Alyssa Stone. I open the door. It smells like something crawled out of the grave, died all over again, then crawled back in. I hold my breath and light up the steps. They groan as I move down them. The walls are gray cinderblock. There are tools hanging on them. There’s an old chest freezer big enough for a body that I hope is empty. There are piles of blankets and an old dining suite with chairs stacked on top and boxes of junk beneath it. I can no longer hold my breath. The smell doesn’t improve any. There’s an old heater, a couple of bicycles, an old TV. There are shelves full of Christmas lights that could only be ready in time if the untangling started at Easter. The same dust that coated everything upstairs coats everything down here too, even the floor, but the floor also has footprints going back and forth across it.

I follow them.

I don’t have to follow them for long.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When seven-year-old Alyssa is kidnapped, Deputy Noah Harper decides he will do what it takes to find her – but that means crossing lines he can never come back from. Finding the girl safe, isn’t enough to stop Noah from losing his job, his wife, and from being kicked out of Acacia Pines. He’s told if he ever returns, he’ll be put in jail and left there to rot. Now, 12 years later, comes a phone call. Alyssa is missing again and her father wants him to honour the promise he made to her all those years earlier – that he would never let anything bad happen to her again. To find her, Noah is going to have to head back to the pines, and come face to face with the past…

MY THOUGHTS: Whatever I was expecting from Paul Cleave’s latest novel, it wasn’t this. OMG! It certainly wasn’t this. That this could happen never even crossed my mind….he took me places I didn’t want to go. He stunned me with the violence, the sheer evil brought about by greed, the way we can know someone all our lives, but never truly know them.

And I loved it.

I lapped it up. I couldn’t get enough.

And the fact that he could make me laugh at the same time with his little injections of sardonic humour, only more firmly cements him in my top ten author list.

And the ending….you just know that there’s going to be more. Noah Harper is not the sort of man who is going to be able to let this go……

I can’t wait!

Whatever it Takes, get your hands on a copy and read it.

💖😱💖😱💖

THE AUTHOR: Paul Cleave is an internationally bestselling author who is currently dividing his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where all of his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. He has won the Ngaio Marsh award for best crime novel in New Zealand, he won the Saint-Maur book festival’s crime novel of the year in France, has been shortlisted for the Edgar Award and the Barry Award in the US, and shortlisted for the Ned Kelly award in Australia. When he’s not writing, he spends his time swearing on a golf course, swearing on a tennis court, or trying to add to his list of 25 countries where he’s thrown his Frisbee.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Whatever it Takes by Paul Cleave (just as I own a copy of every book he has written), published by Upstart Press. 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 is also published on Twitter and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2982692485?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

No Way Out by Cara Hunter

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EXCERPT: We have our first meeting at three. Somer has only just got back from the mortuary. She still looks a bit pale, and I see Everett asking a silent question and Somer replying with a grimace. Quinn is in the front row with his tablet in his hand and his pen behind his ear (yes, I know, it doesn’t make sense, but that is what he does). Baxter is pinning pictures up on the whiteboard. Felix House, before and after the fire, the former clearly from Google Earth. Various shots of the fire damage inside: the dining room, the stairs, some of the bedrooms, what remains of the furniture – most of it hefty and old-fashioned. A floor plan for all three stories, with cross marks where Matty and Zachary were. Photos of Michael and Samantha Esmond. From DVLA, I’m guessing. Esmond is upright, attentive, his hair dark, his skin pale. His wife’s contrasts are softer: beige-brown hair, pinkish cheeks, light-coloured eyes, probably hazel. Then there are the pictures of the children, salvaged from the house by the state of them. Matty in an Arsenal strip, holding a ball under one arm, his big glasses slightly awry. The toddle on his mother’s lap, a mischievous smile and a mop of unruly bronze curls she probably couldn’t bring herself to cut. And alongside the living child, the dead one. I think, not for the first time, what a cruel mutilator of human flesh fire can be. Believe me, you never get used to that, even when you’ve seen it as many times as I have. And the minute you do, it’s time to quit.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: It’s one of the most disturbing cases DI Fawley has ever worked.

The Christmas holidays, and two children have just been pulled from the wreckage of their burning home in North Oxford. The toddler is dead, and his brother is soon fighting for his life.

Why were they left in the house alone? Where is their mother, and why is their father not answering his phone?

Then new evidence is discovered, and DI Fawley’s worst nightmare comes true.

Because this fire wasn’t an accident.

MY THOUGHTS: Talk about a tense read! I kept having to remind myself to breathe….then only moments later would find myself holding my breath again.

This is a Christmas read, but not a Christmas read…..well, not a merry one anyway. But the author handles the distressing loss of a child under such horrific circumstances with great sensitivity.

The story moves between past and present, giving the reader insight, as the investigation progresses, into how and why these horrific events came about. The storyline is well paced and has plenty of twists that keeps the brain buzzing. The authors writing style is contemporary and exciting, and includes emails, reports and social media. I have seen other authors use this format and haven’t always liked it, but Hunter uses it to great advantage.

I had not read either of the previous books in the series, but I certainly intend to. Gripping. Exciting. Highly recommended. Five star read.

THE AUTHOR: Cara Hunter is a writer who lives in Oxford, in a street not unlike those featured in her series of crime books.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Penguin Books UK via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of No Way Out by Cara Hunter 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2515913355?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1