The Disappeared by Sibel Hodge

EXCERPT: I flicked through a white envelope – bank statement – brown envelope – bill – white, with the name of a loan company on the front that I tossed into the bin without opening. Then I came to another brown one. Maybe it was the fact that my name and address had been written in block capital letters that piqued my curiosity. Most of my mail had computer generated labels or window envelopes that showed my postal details.

I slipped my forefinger underneath the flap and ripped it open.

As I slid the photo out, I didn’t really register what I was seeing initially. Yes, of course, I knew it was of my husband, but I couldn’t comprehend what that meant for a moment.

It was in colour, printed on good quality paper, but those details barely registered at first.

I frowned, my heart slamming to a sudden stop. What the hell? Why would someone send me a photo of Mason?

But before I could even think of possible answers, my gaze was already drinking in the details. His hair was longer than I’d ever seen it before, curling up at the edges of his shirt collar. A beard covered a face that was thin and gaunt. He sat at an outside café table, holding a newspaper across his chest.

I brought the photo closer to my eyes, studied the name of the newspaper, read the date on it. Two days earlier. It felt like my brain was melting inside my head. That couldn’t be right. Mason was dead.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The Widow. The Secret. The Liar.
The Disappeared…

On a routine flight from Africa to England, Dr Mason Palmer is tragically killed when the light aircraft he’s travelling on crashes and disappears in dense bushland.

The Widow…

Ten months later, Nicole Palmer is still trying to block out the grief of her husband’s sudden death. Until one morning she receives a photo of Mason through the post, along with a cryptic message. A message only he could’ve written.

The Secret…

But when Nicole tries to find out if Mason is really alive and what actually happened to him in Africa, everyone she turns to for answers ends up dead.

Determined to find the truth, Nicole uncovers a conspiracy that spans the globe, and discovers there are powerful people who are prepared to kill to keep her silent.

Who’s lying? Who’s watching Nicole? And can she expose their murky secrets before they catch up with her?

MY THOUGHTS: The Disappeared crosses the borders of so many genres, that I simply don’t know where to start! I wasn’t expecting an action-thriller when I picked this up. And although not my favorite genre, and I had to suspend my belief at some of the ‘coincidences’ that occurred, I enjoyed this and powered through it in record time for an audiobook.

Sibel Hodge is an animal and human rights activist, and in The Disappeared has brought to my attention an injustice of which I was previously unaware – child slave labour in the harvesting of the cacao bean for making chocolate. Hodge has clearly done her research into this topic, and I did wonder if she has based her novel loosely on real events. The treatment of the slave children had me in tears.

Her main theme is wrapped up in a mystery concerning Nicole’s husband, Mason, who was declared dead following the crash of the flight he was on in the African jungle. Ten months on, she receives a photo of him taken with a newspaper only days old. . .

While this is not my favorite of Hodge’s books, it is a story that needed to be written, and needs to be read. If you like a lot of action, and have an interest in human right’s stories, then I heartily recommend The Disappeared.

The narration on the audiobook was excellent.

****.2

THE AUTHOR: Sibel Hodge writes in an eclectic mix of genres, and is a passionate human and animal rights advocate.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The Disappeared by Sibel Hodge, narrated by Henrietta Meire, and published by Tantor Audio, via Overdrive. 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 sandysbooksday.wordpress.com

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

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce

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EXCERPT: When Margery was ten, she fell in love with a beetle.

It was a bright summer’s day and all the windows of the rectory were open. She had an idea about sailing her wooden animals across the floor, two by two, but the set had belonged to her brothers once and most of them were either coloured-in or broken. Some were missing altogether. She was wondering if, in the circumstances, you could pair a three legged camel and a bird with spots when her father came out of his study.

‘Do you have a moment, old girl?’ he said. ‘There’s something I want to show you.’

She put down the camel and the bird, and she followed him. She would have stood on her head if he’d asked.

Her father went to his desk. He sat there, nodding and smiling. She could tell he didn’t have a proper reason for calling her: he just wanted her to be with him for a while. Since her four brothers had left for the war, he often called her. Or she’d find him loitering at the foot of the stairs, searching for something without seeming to know what it was. His eyes were the kindest in the world, and the bald top of his head gave him a naked look.

‘I think I have something that might interest you, old girl,’ he said. ‘Nothing much, but maybe you will like it.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Margery Benson’s life ended the day her father walked out of his study and never came back. Forty years later, abandoning a dull job, she advertises for an assistant. The successful candidate is to accompany Margery on an expedition to the other side of the world to search for a beetle that may or may not exist. Enid Pretty is not who she had in mind. But together they will find themselves drawn into an adventure that exceeds all Margery’s expectations, eventually finding new life at the top of a red mountain.

MY THOUGHTS: I desperately wanted to love Miss Benson and her beetle. I didn’t. I adored The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy: it sits firmly in my top ten books for forever. I liked, but did not love The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. But Miss Benson’s Beetle struck me as faintly ridiculous. The characters are not characters, but caricatures. The whole thing played out like an Abbott and Costello movie. A slapstick comedy that didn’t make me laugh. It didn’t make me cry either. I could picture someone like Mary Pickford playing Enid, and hear the dramatic piano music coming from the pit. But I could feel nothing for the characters, and even less for the plot. Farcical is the word that comes to mind.

There were glimmers of Rachel Joyce’s beautiful writing style, but only glimpses. My heart would soar with each one, then come crashing back down to earth.

Maybe it’s me, because the rest of the world appears to love this book. Reading is a very personal subjective experience, and not every book is for every reader. So, if you enjoyed the extract, and the plot summary interests you, please do read Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce. I hope that you are one of the many who love this book.

There are good things in it: life lessons like not judging people by appearance, and waiting until you have gotten to know them before deciding whether or not you like them.

But, ultimately, this was not a book for me. And I am sad about that.

😪😪.3

#MissBensonsBeetle #NetGalley

‘I have begun to feel comforted by the thought of all we do not know, which is nearly everything.’

‘It was as much use as a chocolate teapot.’

‘She experienced the dense feeling…..as if she was always on the other side of a flawed glass wall and seeing the truth way after it was too late.’

‘Her favourite time was still that brief stretch before full daylight when silver filtered into the sky, light blossomed where the stars had been, the air was sweet and fresh, and everything came back to life. It seemed full of such hope.’

‘We are not the things that happened to us. We can be what we like.’

THE AUTHOR: Rachel Joyce has written over 20 original afternoon plays for BBC Radio 4, and major adaptations for both the Classic Series, Woman’s Hour and also a TV drama adaptation for BBC 2. In 2007 she won the Tinniswood Award for best radio play. She moved to writing after a twenty-year career in theatre and television, performing leading roles for the RSC, the Royal National Theatre, The Royal Court, and Cheek by Jowl, winning a Time Out Best Actress award and the Sony Silver. She lives with her family in Gloucestershire.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, Doubleday for providing a digital ARC of Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce 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

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

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EXCERPT: It was 2 pm on the afternoon of May 7, 1915. The Lusitania had been struck by two torpedoes in succession and was sinking rapidly, while the boats were being launched with all possible speed. The women and children were being lined up awaiting their turn. Some still clung desperately to husbands and fathers; others clutched their children closely to their breasts. One girl stood alone, slightly apart from the rest. She was quite young, not more than eighteen. She did not seem afraid, and her grave, steadfast eyes looked straight ahead.

‘I beg your pardon.’

A man’s voice beside her made her start and turn. She had noticed the speaker more than once among the first class passengers. There had been a hint of mystery about him which had appealed to her imagination. He spoke to no one. If anyone spoke to him, he was quick to rebuff the overture. Also he had a nervous way of looking over his shoulder with a swift suspicious glance.

She noticed now that he was greatly agitated. There were beads of perspiration on his brow. He was evidently in a state of overmastering fear. And yet he did not strike her as the kind of man who would be afraid to meet death!

‘Yes?’ Her grave eyes met his inquiringly.

He stood looking at her with a kind of desperate irresolution.

‘It must be!’ He muttered to himself. ‘Yes – it is the only way.’ Then aloud he said abruptly, ‘You are an American?’

‘Yes.’

‘A patriotic one?’

The girl flushed.

‘I guess you’ve no right to ask such a thing! Of course I am!’

‘Don’t be offended. You wouldn’t be if you knew how much there was at stake. But I’ve got to trust someone, and it must be a woman.’

‘Why?’

‘Because of ‘women and children first’.’ He looked round and lowered his voice. ‘I’m carrying papers – vitally important papers. They may make all the difference to the allies in the war. You understand? These papers have got to be saved. They’ve more chance with you than with me. Will you take them?’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Tommy and Tuppence, two young people short of money and restless for excitement, embark on a daring business scheme – Young Adventurers Ltd.

Their advertisement says they are ‘willing to do anything, go anywhere’. But their first assignment, for the sinister Mr Whittington, plunges them into more danger than they ever imagined…

MY THOUGHTS: Tommy and Tuppence have never been my favourite Christie characters, but I must admit to having quite enjoyed The Secret Adversary, the first in the series, in which we learn about their backgrounds, and how they came to be sleuths.

The timeline starts not long before WWII, and then jumps to after the end of the war and the quest to find the young woman to whom the vitally important papers were entrusted.

This is rather a good, adventurous romp, and not at all classic Christie. All the same I did quite enjoy trying to figure out just who was the traitor – I was completely wrong! Again. There are Russians, secret meetings with passwords, kidnappings, and murders.

While not my favourite Christie, this was still a more enjoyable read than I expected.

😊😊😊.3

THE AUTHOR: Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE was an English writer known for her sixty-six detective novels and fourteen short story collections, particularly those revolving around fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. (Wikipedia)

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The Secret Adversary, written by Agatha Christie, narrated by Andrea Giorgani, and published by A.R.N. Publications via Overdrive. 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

Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie

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EXCERPT: ‘I’m sorry I got you into this!’ Charlie Reynolds shouted over the gusts of wind blasting them with icy sleet. ‘It’s the stupid weather! I don’t know where it came from. I can’t see how to get down.’

Neither could Tess. She held on to a shelf of slippery rock on a narrow ledge high on a cliff face with frozen, aching fingers. Beneath them was absolutely nothing. She tried for a smile, for encouragement, because the cute but stupid twenty-three year old was close to panic, but in her head she was swearing: at him, the mountain, the weather, the whole messed-up situation. He had no right to be here. He’d been warned. No – he’d been told. Repeatedly. The Federation Peak climb belonged only to those with the experience to tackle it and enough respect for the extreme Tasmanian conditions to know when not to. And he’d climbed up anyway.

And now this.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: tragic accident, a terrible crime, an unknown threat …

Scarred by a recent tragedy on Federation Peak, Tess Atherton is reluctant to guide a group of young hikers in the wild Tasmanian winter, but it seems safer than remaining amid the violence that threatens them in Hobart. Little does she know that she has brought the danger with her …

Detective Senior Sergeant Jared Denham is closing in on a serial killer, but someone doesn’t want him getting to the truth and the case is becoming personal. He already owes Tess his life, and wants to return the favour – but when it comes to enemies, Jared may be looking in the wrong direction.

Time is running out, and death is stalking them both …

MY THOUGHTS: Straight up, I’m going to say that I hate both heights and cold. Deadman’s Track has both and I felt the fear as Tess hung suspended over cliff edges, and felt every chilling sting of the icy sleet. I swear that my next read has to be set on a tropical island so that I can thaw out!

I have recently read some absolutely brilliant and gripping Australian fiction, and I was looking forward to more of the same. But I am leaving this book feeling a little disappointed. Despite Sarah Barrie’s great descriptive writing, I found the plot lacking. I was dragging my heels by the halfway point and found myself slogging through the remainder of the read. And despite the ending being quite suspenseful and exciting, it wasn’t enough to earn Deadman’s Track more than an extra half a star.

I really wanted to like Tess, the main character, but for someone who leads trail hikes and volunteers for Search and Rescue, she is easily led into dangerous situations. Twice she counsels against doing hikes because of the time of the year and the unpredictable winter weather conditions, and twice she goes ahead with them. I just didn’t find her particularly credible.

Aaron, the controlling ex-boyfriend who won’t accept that Tess no longer wants to be with him, is really well depicted and more development of this storyline would have kept me more interested. I am not so keen on the criminal elements in this book, but that is purely my personal preference.

Deadman’s Track was only an okay read for me, and I am sorry that I didn’t like it more. Many other people have absolutely loved this book, so if you are looking at reading Deadman’s Track, check out some of the more positive reviews.

I loved that Sarah Barrie dedicated Deadman’s Track ‘to the extraordinary men and women who risk their lives every day to save others.’

🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

#DeadmansTrack #NetGalley

‘So many big strong heroes, so little time…’

‘I want to twist his balls until they snap off and shove them so far up his butt they work as breast enhancements!’

THE AUTHOR: Sarah Barrie lives with her husband and children in a rural area on the Central Coast of NSW. She divides her time between writing, being a mum and her position as editor of two equestrian magazines. When she finds a spare moment or two, she enjoys spending time with her Arabian horses and the various other animals that call the farm home. Though her writing career has traditionally revolved around producing articles for various publications, her true passion lies in fiction and she enjoys writing contemporary romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harlequin Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie 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

The House on Widow’s Hill by Simon R. Green

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Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Jones’s Reviews > The House on Widows Hill
The House on Widows Hill by Simon R. Green
The House on Widows Hill (Ishmael Jones #9)
by Simon R. Green
30817744
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Jones’s reviewJul 10, 2020 · edit
really liked it
bookshelves: 2020, netgalley-arc, series, 3-star, 4-star, contemporary-fiction, crime, murder-mystery, paranormal, sci-fi

EXCERPT: ‘I don’t like the feel of the house,’ I admitted. ‘As though it’s hiding something from us.’

‘Are you feeling anything specific?’

Nothing I can put a name to. Not dread or horror, just . . . a general feeling of being watched, by unseen eyes.’

‘I am definitely feeling all of that,’ said Penny.

‘Remember the ink blot,’ I said. ‘It’s more than likely we are only feeling these things because the file told us we would.’

‘But we’re professionals,’ said Penny. ‘You are Space Boy,I am Spy Girl; we’re used to walking into dangerous situations. We don’t get nervous; we make other people nervous. And yet . . . it does feel as if something in that house is waiting for us, and rubbing its hands together in anticipation.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Set high on top of Widows Hill, Harrow House has remained empty for years. Now, on behalf of an anonymous prospective buyer, Ishmael and Penny are spending a night there in order to investigate the rumours of strange lights, mysterious voices, unexplained disappearances, and establish whether the house is really haunted.

What really happened at Harrow House all those years ago? Joined by a celebrity psychic, a professional ghost-hunter, a local historian and a newspaper reporter, it becomes clear that each member of ‘Team Ghost’ has their own pet theory as to the cause of the alleged haunting. But when one of the group suddenly drops dead with no obvious cause, Ishmael realizes that if he can find out how and why the victim died, he will have the key to solving the mystery

MY THOUGHTS: Another amusing and entertaining romp with Ishmael and Penny. Although this is a series, the books are easily enjoyed as stand alones. Author Simon R. Green gives enough information on the unique Ishmael Jones’ history to keep the reader up to speed.

While I easily guessed the murderer and motive, this in no way diminished my enjoyment.

The House on Widow’s Hill is a quick read, read easily in an afternoon, that blends a number of genres and sets us up for the next installment.

😱😱😱.5

#TheHouseonWidowsHill #NetGalley

‘Fight fire with fire. When science can’t protect you, and logic is off in a corner having a panic attack, magic is right there kicking arse and taking names.’

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Because if you do it today and you like it, you can do it again tomorrow.

THE AUTHOR: and fantasy-author. He holds a degree in Modern English and American Literature from the University of Leicester.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Severn House via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The House on Widow’s Hill by Simon R. Green 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 profile page on Goodreads.com or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

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

The Noble Path by Peter May

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EXCERPT: Four hundred miles away in a small, darkened room on the top floor of a building off the Falls Road in Belfast, Elliott’s face was drawn from a large beige envelope. The face was older than in the wedding photographs, and had by now acquired its distinctive scar. The photograph was placed in the centre of a bare wooden table. There were three men seated around it. The man who had taken the print from the envelope turned it through ninety degrees in order that the others could see it clearly.

‘John Alexander Elliott,’ he spoke with a thick Belfast brogue. ‘Ex-British army. Now freelancing. He killed McAlliskey. And O’Neill.’ He paused. ‘We want him dead.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: THE EVIL WRATH
Cambodia, 1978: Amid the Khmer Rouge’s crazed genocide, soldier-of-fortune Jack Elliott is given the impossible task of rescuing a family from the regime.
THE PAINFUL TRUTH
Eighteen-year-old orphan and budding journalist Lisa Robinson has received the impossible news that her father is, in fact, alive. His name is Jack Elliott.
THE NOBLE PATH
As Jack tracks the hostages and Lisa traces her heritage, each intent on reuniting a family. Yet to succeed, they each must run a dangerous gauntlet of bullets and betrayal.

MY THOUGHTS: Not my normal genre but, to be honest, if Peter May wrote the telephone directory, I would probably read it.

Although this book is set in the 1970s, there are so many issues that are still current today.

WAR: There is always one being fought somewhere in the world, in which the civilians, the innocents, bear the brunt.

REFUGEES: A problem that has become worse over the years, not better. Yet who can blame these people who have already suffered so much, for wanting a better life.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: There are always people looking to make money out of selling people dreams, then using them for their own ends.

This novel is not Peter May’s normal fare. And I must say that I prefer his Lewis trilogy, and the Enzo series, but The Noble Path is compelling reading. I vaguely remember newscasts covering the Cambodian war…but I was of an age where I was far more interested in the weekend’s agenda. Yes, I was shallow. I was aware on a peripheral basis, but if it didn’t affect me directly……for which I now unreservedly apologise.

The Noble Path contains graphic violence, but nothing that is gratuitous, in fact, it has probably been toned down. I cannot, and do not want to, imagine the atrocities, the cruelties, that occurred every minute of every day.

I did not enjoy The Noble Path, but at the same time I loved it. I loved the little kindnesses, the humanity of the characters. There were times that I gasped in horror, times that I wept with sorrow, and times that my heart swelled at some small deed.

This is a story of lost innocence on many levels, of human resilience, of the power of the love of a mother, and the search of a daughter for her father. It is a novel of the horrors and inhumanity of war. It is a novel of love, death and survival. It is a novel of hope.

My favourite quote: The dead couldn’t hurt you. But they filled your mind, touching your soul, a reminder that you too were only flesh and blood and would one day return to the earth. Dust to dust.

#TheNoblePath #NetGalley

😳😢😯😍

THE AUTHOR: Peter May is a Scottish television screenwriter, novelist, and crime writer. He is the recipient of writing awards in Europe and America. The Blackhouse won the U.S. Barry Award for Crime Novel of the Year and the national literature award in France, the CEZAM Prix Litteraire.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Noble Path by Peter May 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/2923283324

Watching What I’m Reading

What a merry weekend it has been! Which is the reason this post is a little late. . . We traveled to Rotorua Saturday for my husband’s work Christmas party, then back home early yesterday morning to put the final touches to my staff Christmas lunch so that those who were working yesterday could enjoy it before we had to open for business.

With everything that has been going on, I am afraid that I didn’t get as much reading done during the week as I had planned. I am just about to start

The Memory

which I had planned to read last week .

I have just started listening to

The Beginner's Goodbye

This week I am planning on reading

For Better and Worse

which I featured in last week’s ‘A Taste of … Tuesday’ post.

On their first date back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke bonded over drinks, dinner and whether they could get away with murder. Now married, they’ll put the latter to the test when an unchecked danger in their community places their son in jeopardy. Working as a criminal defense attorney, Nat refuses to rely on the broken legal system to keep her family safe. She knows that if you want justice…you have to get it yourself.

Shocked to discover Nat’s taken matters into her own hands, Will has no choice but to dirty his, also. His family is in way too deep to back down now. He’s just not sure he recognizes the woman he married. Nat’s always been fiercely protective, but never this ruthless or calculating. With the police poking holes in their airtight plan, what will be the first to fall apart: their scandalous secret—or their marriage?

I have received three ARCs from NetGalley this week  –

Between the Lies

The Collector (The Bone Collector, #2)

The View from Alameda Island

And that’s my lot for the week. I hope that you have had a wonderful week’s reading, and that you are not getting stressed by the rapid approach of Christmas, because that’s not what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter if things aren’t perfect. What matters is the love you feel for your family and friends, spending time with them, and creating beautiful memories. And if you can do some random act of kindness to make someone else’s day a little better, that is a bonus.

I bought my almost twelve year old grandson

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)      The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, #2)    The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3)

for Christmas, and I will give him the remainder of the series for his birthday. I also managed to pick up a copy of

We Need to Weaken the Mixture

for my husband, and a couple of titles off the sales table for myself

Need You Dead (Roy Grace, #13)  and  Tell Tale: Short Stories

Have a wonderful week of reading,my friends. 🎅💕💖📚

A taste of. . . Tuesday

Today I am going to give you a little taste of Transcription, Kate Atkinson’s latest novel.

Transcription

She found herself thinking about her son. Matteo. He was twenty-six years old, the result of a brief liaison with an Italian musician – she had lived in Italy for many years. Juliet’s love for Matteo had been one of the overwhelming wonders of her life. She was worried for him – he was living in Milan with a girl who made him unhappy and she was fretting over this when the car hit her.

Lying on the pavement in Wigmore Street with concerned bystanders all around, she knew there was no way out from this. She was just sixty years old, although it had probably been a long enough life. Yet suddenly it all seemed like an illusion, a dream that had happened to someone else. What an odd thing existence was.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Think of it as an adventure Perry had said right at the beginning of all this.And it had seemed like one. A bit of a lark, she had thought. A Girls’ Own adventure.’
In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past for ever.

Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.

 

I hope I have tempted you to try one of my favorite authors or, if you have read her previously, to pick up a copy of Transcription. I have read and loved every book Kate has written. She is a very diverse author, a true storyteller.

Happy reading 😎

Watching What I Read

Well here I am writing my Sunday post in the early hours of Monday morning again. And unfortunately I am probably not going to get a full week of posting in this week either. We move house, not this coming weekend but the one after, so I have started packing and cleaning as I go. On top of that, two of our long-standing club members passed away over the weekend, so we will have two wakes to host during the week. It is going to be a sad, but busy, week.

Currently I am reading

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The Rules of Blackheath

Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m.
There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit.
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer.
Understood? Then let’s begin…

***

Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others…

The most inventive debut of the year twists together a mystery of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.

And I am listening to

The Alice Network

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth…no matter where it leads.

This week I am planning on reading

The Murder of My Aunt (British Library Crime Classics)

Edward Powell lives with his Aunt Mildred in the Welsh town of Llwll.
His aunt thinks Llwll an idyllic place to live, but Edward loathes the countryside – and thinks the company even worse. In fact, Edward has decided to murder his aunt.

A darkly humorous depiction of fraught family ties, The Murder of My Aunt was first published in 1934.

And

The Secrets We Keep

‘Is her life as easy and effortless as it seems from the outside? Or is she feeling lonely, all by herself in that big house, an evening stretching out in front of her just as it is for me?’

When Tessa arrives at the little house by the lake with her two children Ben and Katherine, it is an escape. For all of them. Never mind that the rental house is a bit small – it’s theirs for the summer. A place to hide…

Their isolation is disrupted when they meet the family from the big house next door. Three children Charlotte, Zoe and Max and their glamorous mother Rebecca – who seems absolutely determined to invite Tessa in to their lives.

But Rebecca is harbouring a dark secret of her own. One that will put not only her family at risk, but Tessa’s too. And when she discovers she has no option but to leave her children for several weeks, Tessa feels like the only person she can trust.

Suddenly Tessa finds herself living a life she could only have dreamed of. Wealth, a large brood of children, and Rebecca’s handsome husband Josh visiting at weekends.

But even as powerful bonds are forming between them, secrets have a way of catching up with people. And as the summer comes to an end, who will learn to love again and who will risk losing everything?

I have only had one ARC approved by Netgalley this week

Open Your Eyes

But I did go out and buy the new Kate Atkinson,

Transcription

I am so looking forward to unpacking my 600+ books that have spent the last 3 years crated up in storage  (poor things), but I am going to have to go buy some more bookshelves. Oh, what a chore! 😀😁😂😃😄😅😆

Happy reading my friends 😎

Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia

Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia

EXCERPT: Normally I liked winter – the four-foot drifts, the nostril freezing arctic blasts that drove all the tourists away, leaving the town to the hardy, the survivors who bundled up and shoveled oceans of snow before retreating to our mugs and fleece blankets to wait out the endless December nights. Winter in Duluth was antisocial paradise and for someone whose mother suffered from chronic depression, there was a disconcerting comfort in the isolation. A home I recognized, even if I hadn’t asked for it. Today, though, I wasn’t comforted by the cold blast of wind numbing my ankle. I didn’t find relief in the absence of people on the lake walk. Today I was scared for a man I’d never met.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.

Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later…the son appeared. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he was violent and uncommunicative and sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with their high-profile patient. No matter how she tries, however, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.

MY THOUGHTS: I think that if I lived in Duluth over the winter, I too would be severely depressed. I need sunshine. Mejia’s writing is such that I felt every bite of those icy winds. I longed to wrap myself up in blankets and light the fire as I read.

I am, because of my background, an instant reader for anything set in a psychiatric facility, anything to do with mental illness, and because I have read and enjoyed Mejia’s work previously, I just had to read Leave No Trace.

I raced through the first half of the book, enjoying the setting (despite the cold, icy description!), the character development, the moral and ethical dilemmas Mejia has scripted. But then, for the next quarter of the book, I felt like we were treading water, and my interest waned. But not for long. By the three quarters mark I was once again immersed in the story, not knowing where it was going, what the outcome would be, but rooting for both Maya and Lucas despite their conflicting circumstances.

Kudos to Mindy Mejia for giving us a great read, so very different from every other book currently out there. I will definitely be a starter for her next book. 😍😍😍😍

THE AUTHOR: My name is Mindy Mejia and I’m a writer. I write because, ever since I was six years old, my favorite game has been pretend. My life doesn’t have symmetry, theme, symbolism, or meditated beauty and I gravitate toward these things like a houseplant to the sun. I love the perfect words; I love how “fierce” and “confounded” and “swagger” look on the page and how my chest expands when I read them. I write because I believe in the reality of my fantasies, the truth in my fabrications. I’ve always had stories sneaking around my head, thrillers like THE DRAGON KEEPER and EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE, and sometimes I inhabit those stories more than my own life. (Best not to mention that last part to my husband, kids, or boss.)

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Atria Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia 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/2389804428