Sandy’s Sunday Summary

It feels like it has been raining forever! Not the best weather for looking at houses, you might say, which is what we have been doing this morning, but I beg to differ. If you can fall in love with a house when the weather is cold, wet, windy and miserable, it must be a good one. This is the second time we have been to view this house and we like it even more the second time around. We walk through the door and it feels like home. There are a couple of minor drawbacks, but nothing insurmountable. The one thing that may kill the deal is that the house is not available until October, and I don’t know if we can make that work, but we are going to have a damned good try.

Onto the reason we are all here  –  books!

I have had a good reading week.

Last night I finished

The Silent Sister

and I will be posting my reviewfor this tomorrow.

I am listening to

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library (Mr. Lemoncello's Library #1)

which I am loving!

This week I am planning on reading

Into the Darkness

The Missing…

In a hidden basement, eighteen-year-old Toni is held captive and no one can hear her screams. She’s been abducted after investigating unspeakable things in the darkest corners of the Internet.

The Vigilante…

Fearing the worst, Toni’s mother turns to ex-SAS operative Mitchell to help find her missing daughter. And when Mitchell discovers Toni’s fate rests in the hands of pure evil, he races against the clock to find Toni and bring her out alive. But even that might not be enough to save her.

The Detective…

DS Warren Carter is looking forward to a new job and a simpler life. But when he’s called in to investigate the brutal murder of a seemingly normal couple, he becomes entangled in lives that are anything but simple. And as he digs deeper, he uncovers a crime more twisted than he could ever have imagined.

And

Her Mother's Grave (Detective Josie Quinn, #3)

When two young boys discover human bones buried beneath a tree in a trailer park, Detective Josie Quinn races to join her team at the scene. She used to play in those woods as a child, happier outside and away from her abusive mother, Belinda Rose.

Josie’s past crashes into her present when a rare dental condition confirms the bones belong to a teenage foster-child who was murdered thirty years ago. A girl named Belinda Rose…

Josie hasn’t seen her mother in years but, with an undeniable connection between her mother and the dead girl, does she dare try to track her down?

Just as Josie gets closer to uncovering a secret that will shatter her world forever, another body is uncovered. It’s suddenly clear that someone very close to Josie will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried forever.

As she battles the demons from her past, can Josie stop this killer before another precious life is taken?

And I had a big week of requesting and approvals. . . my version of retail therapy!

9 approvals this week

Her Final Hour

A Little Bird Told Me

The Hangman’s Hold: A gripping serial killer thriller that will keep you hooked (DCI Matilda Darke Series, Book 4)

Into the Darkness

The Coordinates of Loss

Better Than This

The Water Diviner and Other Stories

Tear Me Apart

The Five Wishes of Mr. Murray McBride

So now, if you will all excuse me, I am going to put a roast of lamb in the oven for tonight’s dinner, make a pot of tea and settle into my reading chair for the remainder of the afternoon.

Happy reading my friends. ☔😎

 

Money in the Morgue by Ngaio Marsh and Stella Duffy

Money in the Morgue by Ngaio Marsh

EXCERPT: At about eight o’clock on a disarmingly still midsummer evening, Mr Glossop telephoned from the Transport Office at Mt Seager Hospital to his headquarters twenty miles away across the plains. He made angry jabs with his forefinger at the dial – and to its faint responsive tinkling an invisible curtain rose upon a series of events that were to be confined within the dark hours of that short summer night, bounded between dusk and dawn. So closely did these events follow an arbitrary design of a play that the temptation to represent Mr Glossop as an overture cannot be withstood.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Roderick Alleyn is back in this unique crime novel begun by Ngaio Marsh during the Second World War and now completed by Stella Duffy.

‘Hugely enjoyable’
KATE MOSSE

It’s business as usual for Mr Glossop as he does his regular round delivering wages to government buildings scattered across New Zealand’s lonely Canterbury plains. But when his car breaks down he is stranded for the night at the isolated Mount Seager Hospital, with the telephone lines down, a storm on its way and the nearby river about to burst its banks.

Trapped with him at Mount Seager are a group of quarantined soldiers with a serious case of cabin fever, three young employees embroiled in a tense love triangle, a dying elderly man, an elusive patient whose origins remain a mystery … and a potential killer.

When the payroll disappears from a locked safe and the hospital’s death toll starts to rise faster than normal, can the appearance of an English detective working in counterespionage be just a lucky coincidence – or is something more sinister afoot?

MY THOUGHTS: Money in the Morgue is not going to be remembered as my favorite Ngaio Marsh. Although I was initially excited to find this set in New Zealand, it didn’t last. There seemed to be something missing. . . and the story failed to engage me to the extent that I found myself losing interest in parts. But the ending. .. now, that was worth the read and earned this book a whole extra star.

I have to admit to not enjoying Stella Duffy’s narration. Her New Zealand accents sounded far more Australian to me, and soon began to grate on my nerves. I do wonder if I might have enjoyed Money in the Morgue more had I read it rather than listening to it. At some point, I may just do that and see if it alters my opinion at all.

THE AUTHOR: Dame Ngaio Marsh, born Edith Ngaio Marsh, was a New Zealand crime writer and theatre director. There is some uncertainty over her birth date as her father neglected to register her birth until 1900, but she was born in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Of all the “Great Ladies” of the English mystery’s golden age, including Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh alone survived to publish in the 1980s. Over a fifty-year span, from 1932 to 1982, Marsh wrote thirty-two classic English detective novels, which gained international acclaim. She did not always see herself as a writer, but first planned a career as a painter.

Marsh’s first novel, A MAN LAY DEAD (1934), which she wrote in London in 1931-32, introduced the detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn: a combination of Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey and a realistically depicted police official at work. Throughout the 1930s Marsh painted occasionally, wrote plays for local repertory societies in New Zealand, and published detective novels. In 1937 Marsh went to England for a period. Before going back to her home country, she spent six months travelling about Europe.

All her novels feature British CID detective Roderick Alleyn. Several novels feature Marsh’s other loves, the theatre and painting. A number are set around theatrical productions (Enter a Murderer, Vintage Murder, Overture to Death, Opening Night, Death at the Dolphin, and Light Thickens), and two others are about actors off stage (Final Curtain and False Scent). Her short story “‘I Can Find My Way Out” is also set around a theatrical production and is the earlier “Jupiter case” referred to in Opening Night. Alleyn marries a painter, Agatha Troy, whom he meets during an investigation (Artists in Crime), and who features in several later novels.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to Money in the Morgue by Ngaio Marsh and Stella Duffy, narrated by Stella Duffy and published by Harper Collins Publishers, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2336175884

 

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

It is a bitterly cold and dismal Sunday here in the central North Island of New Zealand, with heavy rain forecast for this afternoon. A perfect day for reading in front of the fire!

Currently I am reading

Blood on the Tracks: Railway Mysteries

A collection of Golden Age detective fiction short stories, which I am really enjoying. I have discovered a few new authors to follow up.

I am listening to

Money in the Morgue: The New Inspector Alleyn Mystery

So you can see that, this weekend, I am firmly ensconced in the past.

For the coming week, I am planning on reading

The Fifth To Die (4MK Thriller, #2)

In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

Walk a Crooked Line (Jo Larsen, #2)

A young girl has taken her own life. But what—or who—drove her to it?

When a teenager’s body is found at the base of the old water tower, Detective Jo Larsen is one of the first on the scene. Tragically, it appears to be a clear case of suicide.

But the more Jo learns about Kelly Amster, the more she finds herself needing to understand why the high school sophomore would take that fatal plunge. As they interview family and friends, Jo and her partner, Hank Phelps, begin to fit together the pieces of a dark puzzle. Something happened to Kelly in their small town of Plainfield, Texas—and it sent the young girl straight over the edge.

Haunted by the memories of her own childhood, Jo digs deep into the shadowy corners of a seemingly tight-knit community—to uncover a devastating secret…

And, oh dear! Six ARCs from NetGalley this week, plus one directly from the author. From NetGalley

The Killing Type: A short story from the bestselling author of My Husband’s Wife

The Silent Sister

The Secret

For Better and Worse

My Real Name Is Hanna

And, finally . . .

Pieces of Her

The publishers have sent me this in epub, which I can’t read on my Kindle. There seems to be a number of different programs out there for converting epub to mobi. Any recommendations?

And Lynda Renham has sent me a copy of

Watching You

Which I am looking forward to.

Now it’s time to make a big pot of tea and get comfy in front of the fire with my book and a do not disturb sign. Happy reading my friends!

 

 

Friday Favorite – A Game For All the Family by Sophie Hannah

Looking for something to read over the weekend ?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?

Take a look at my Friday Favorite. It may be new. It may be old. It may be written by a famous author, or by someone you have never heard of. But wherever in the spectrum it falls, it will be a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

A Game For All The Family by Sophie Hannah
A Game For All The Family 
by

Sophie Hannah (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: Perrine Ingrey dropped Malachy Dodd out of a window. She wanted to kill him and she succeeded. Later, no one believed her when she screamed ‘I didn’t do it!’ Both of their families, the Ingreys and the Dodds, knew that Perrine and Malachy had been in a room upstairs together with no one else around.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better…

After fleeing London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine Merrison plans to spend her days doing as little as possible. But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to seem strangely withdrawn. Checking Ellen’s homework one day, Justine finds herself reading a chillingly articulate story about a series of sinister murders committed at the family’s new house. Can Ellen really have made all this up, as she claims? Why would she invent something so grotesque, set it in her own home and name one of the characters after herself? When Justine discovers that Ellen has probably also invented her best friend at school, who appears not to be known to any of the teachers, Justine’s alarm turns to panic.

Then the anonymous phone calls start: a stranger, making accusations and threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big ones and a smaller one for a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety. If the police can’t help, she’ll have to confront the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be…

MY THOUGHTS: A Game for all the Family is like Lewis Caroll meets Roald Dahl and Dr Seuss (but for adults).

This book is demented, crazy, intriguing and compelling. This is a book you will either love or hate.

I am not even going to try to explain the plot….I will let an extract from the book do that for me: ‘Once upon a time there was a woman called Justine Merrison. She tried so hard to Do Nothing, but she failed. She ended up doing Something, a bigger Something than she had ever done before.”

The whole time I was reading this book I was wondering ‘what if….?’. By the time I finished my head was buzzing like it was occupied by a swarm of bees.

An incredible read.

Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of A Game For All the Family by Sophie Hannah 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/1375045783

Accused (Rosato & DiNunzio #1) by Lisa Scottoline

Firstly,  happy Independence Day to all my Amazon friends.
A while back I had a great run of absolutely wonderful books  –  all four to five star reads. Well now I seem to be having a run of mediocre reads, with Accused by Lisa Scottoline being the latest.
Accused by Lisa Scottoline
Accused (Rosato & DiNunzio, #1) 
by

Lisa Scottoline (Goodreads Author)
30817744


EXCERPT: ‘I’m here about my sister. Her name was Fiona and she was murdered six years ago at a party at my father’s new offices. . . The thing is, I believe they sent the wrong man to jail.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Mary DiNunzio has just been promoted to partner and is about to take on her most unusual case yet, brought to the firm by a thirteen-year-old genius with a penchant for beekeeping. Allegra Gardner’s sister Fiona was murdered six years ago, and it seemed like an open-and-shut case: the accused, Lonnie Stall, was seen fleeing the scene; his blood was on Fiona and her blood was on him; most damningly, Lonnie Stall pleaded guilty. But Allegra believes Lonnie is innocent and has been wrongly imprisoned. The Gardner family is one of the most powerful in the country and Allegra’s parents don’t believe in reopening the case, so taking it on is risky. But the Rosato & Associates firm can never resist an underdog. Was justice really served all those years ago? It will take a team of unstoppable female lawyers, plus one thirteen-year-old genius, to find out.

MY THOUGHTS: 2.5 stars

I am in a bit of a quandary about this book. It was easy to listen to, didn’t strain my brain, and was reasonably enjoyable. It is not something that I am going to remember. I am not going to rush out to read the next in the series, but if I came across it when I had a gap in my reading schedule, I possibly would read it. If nothing else was available.

There were a few things that irked me. A lot of the behavior of the characters was stereotyped. The behavior of Mary, who has just been made partner in a legal firm, and Judy is often childish and I found myself wondering just how old Mary is… Her behavior and comments are often unacceptable. They were, perhaps, meant to be humorous, but they certainly didn’t strike me that way. I did like Mary’s name for her mother-in-law to be, Elvirus, but she too was very much stereotyped.

Overall, a very average read/ listen.

I listened to the audiobook of Accused by Lisa Scottoline, narrated by Katherine Fenton and published by Headline. 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/2433385497

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

Is running a little late this week. .. my two hours at work turned into a full day as I had two staff call in sick 😩. By the time I shut the bar last night and came home, all I wanted was my dinner, a hot bath, and bed. I plan on only doing wages and banking today, then coming home. . .

Despite the long hours last week ,I actually managed to sneak in an extra book!

When Archie Met Rosie by Lynda Renham

Which was a delightful and amusing read. Watch for my review.

Currently I am reading

A Steep Price (Tracy Crosswhite, #6)

A series I have followed from the start.

And I am listening to

Accused (Rosato & DiNunzio, #1)

This week I am planning on reading

Homecomings

At the end of the row of fishermen’s cottages by the harbour’s edge, stands an old granite house.

First it belonged to Ned’s parents; then Ned dropped anchor here after a life at sea and called it home. His nephew Hugo moved in too, swapping London for the small Cornish fishing village where he’d spent so many happy holidays.

It’s a refuge – and now other friends and relations are being drawn to the the house by the sea.
Among them is Dossie, who’s lonely after her parents died and her son remarried. And cousin Jamie, who’s coming home after more than a year, since his career as an RAF pilot was abruptly cut short. Both have to adjust to a new way of life.

As newcomers arrive and old friends reunite, secrets are uncovered, relationships are forged and tested, and romance is kindled.

For those who come here find that the house by the harbour wall offers a warm welcome, and – despite its situation at the very end of the village – a new beginning…

Marcia Willett is an author I have enjoyed in the past, so I am looking forward to reading this.

Her Name Was Rose

Her name was Rose. You watched her die. And her death has created a vacancy. 

When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.

And then she makes a decision she can never take back.

Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?

But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.

Only one ARC from NetGalley this week

The Pupil: Some lessons are deadly - A gripping psychological thriller

and one directly from the author

Seventh (The Seventh Wave Book 1)

The sun is up on another Monday morning here in New Zealand after a cold, wet and windy Sunday. So I had better crack on with all the jobs I never got done over the weekend, and then head off to work again.

Wherever you are, whatever your weather, Happy reading my friends 😎

 

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
Then She Was Gone 
by

Lisa Jewell (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: She had no one to call, no one to ask ‘Have you seen Hanna? Do you know where she is?’ Her life simply didn’t work like that. There were no connections anywhere. Just little islands of life dotted here and there.

It was possible, she thought, that Hanna had met a man, but unlikely. Hannah hadn’t had a boyfriend, not one, ever. Someone once mooted the theory that Hanna felt too guilty to have a boyfriend because her little sister would never have one. The same theory could also be applied to her miserable flat and her nonexistent social life.

Laurel knew simultaneously that she was overreacting and also that she was not overreacting. When you are the parent of a child who walked out of the house one morning with a rucksack full of books to study at a library a fifteen minute walk away and then never came home again, then there is no such thing as overreacting. The fact that she was standing in her adult daughter’s kitchen picturing her dead in a ditch because she hadn’t left a cereal bowl in the sink was perfectly sane and reasonable in the context of her own experience.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s
golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?

MY THOUGHTS: I loved this book. I love Lisa Jewell’s writing. I love her characters. I wanted, so badly, to know what happened, but I wanted the book never to end. I think I am addicted. I have started another of this author’s books straight away. And I seldom, if ever, do that.

The characters are very ordinary people. They are not rich, nor particularly successful. They don’t marry millionaires and live happily ever after. They are ordinary people with ordinary worries who have ordinary awful things happen, and who react like I imagine that I, or any of my friends, would react should a child of mine go missing. And in this very ‘ordinaryness’ Jewell creates compelling characters that we come to love and empathise with, and addictive reads.

A jewel. A treasure. And even though I had an inkling about where this was going, it didn’t diminish my pleasure in this read at all.

Thank you to Random House UK, Cornerstone Arrow for providing a digital ARC of Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell 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/2260903330

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

Who put the world on fast forward ? Sunday again and I have read very little this week due to the craziness at work. One more week and hopefully things will start to settle down a little. There have been times this week when I have wondered if I have bitten off more than I can chew with this position, but really I think that’s just tiredness talking. I didn’t even manage to complete what I had planned on reading this week. I am only half way through

The Summer Children (The Collector, #3)

But  it is a really good read and as soon as I have finished posting today, I will be heading for my reading chair with a ‘do not disturb’ sign.

I am currently listening to

Then She Was Gone

I love this author, and the narrator is magnificent.

When  my Kindle is on the charger, I am reading the latest Stephen King, which I bought last week.

The Outsider

This week I am planning on reading

Night-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense

In the title story of her taut new fiction collection, Night-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense, Joyce Carol Oates writes: Life was not of the surface like the glossy skin of an apple, but deep inside the fruit where seeds are harbored. There is no writer more capable of picking out those seeds and exposing all their secret tastes and poisons than Oates herself―as brilliantly demonstrated in these six stories.

The book opens with a woman, naked except for her high-heeled shoes, seated in front of the window in an apartment she cannot, on her own, afford. In this exquisitely tense narrative reimagining of Edward Hopper’s Eleven A.M., 1926, the reader enters the minds of both the woman and her married lover, each consumed by alternating thoughts of disgust and arousal, as he rushes, amorously, murderously, to her door. In “The Long-Legged Girl,” an aging, jealous wife crafts an unusual game of Russian roulette involving a pair of Wedgewood teacups, a strong Bengal brew, and a lethal concoction of medicine. Who will drink from the wrong cup, the wife or the dance student she believes to be her husband’s latest conquest? In “The Sign of the Beast,” when a former Sunday school teacher’s corpse turns up, the blighted adolescent she had by turns petted and ridiculed confesses to her murder―but is he really responsible? Another young outsider, Horace Phineas Love, Jr., is haunted by apparitions at the very edge of the spectrum of visibility after the death of his tortured father in “Night-Gaunts,” a fantastic ode to H.P. Lovecraft.

Reveling in the uncanny and richly in conversation with other creative minds, Night-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense stands at the crossroads of sex, violence, and longing―and asks us to interrogate the intersection of these impulses within ourselves.

Deception Wears Many Faces

When Lyddie takes her sister to Devon to recover after a recent suicide attempt, it starts a train of events that will put their lives in grave danger.

Ellie has been the victim of a professional con artist, one who stole her savings, then disappeared from her life. Driven by her own history of failed relationships, Lyddie vows revenge on the man who broke her sister’s heart.

Soon she assumes a false identity and begins her hunt for a man she knows to be cold, calculating and ruthless. But who is fooling whom? And can Lyddie find the justice she seeks and heal her damaged sister?

I received only three ARCs this week

When Archie Met Rosie: An Unexpected Love Story

The Murder of My Aunt (British Library Crime Classics)

and Sins of the Fathers by Andrea Fraser, for which I don’t currently have a cover image.

So that’s my week all wrapped up, and next week’sreading mapped out ,but you know what they say about the best laid plans . . .

Happy reading my friends, and don’t forget to let me know what you are reading and what you think of it.

Cheers

Sandy

 

 

 

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
Pretty Baby 
by

Mary Kubica (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: HEIDI

The first time I see her, she is standing at the Fullerton Sta­tion, on the train platform, clutching an infant in her arms. She braces herself and the baby as the purple line express soars past and out to Linden. It’s the 8th of April, forty-eight degrees and raining. The rain lurches down from the sky, here, there and everywhere, the wind untamed and angry. A bad day for hair.

The girl is dressed in a pair of jeans, torn at the knee. Her coat is thin and nylon, an army green. She has no hood, no um­brella. She tucks her chin into the coat and stares straight ahead while the rain saturates her. Those around her cower beneath umbrellas, no one offering to share. The baby is quiet, stuffed inside the mother’s coat like a joey in a kangaroo pouch. Tufts of slimy pink fleece sneak out from the coat and I convince myself that the baby, sound asleep in what feels to me like utter bedlam—chilled to the bone, the thunderous sound of the “L” soaring past—is a girl.

There’s a suitcase beside her feet, vintage leather, brown and worn, beside a pair of lace-up boots, soaked thoroughly through.

She can’t be older than sixteen.

She’s thin. Malnourished, I tell myself, but maybe she’s just thin. Her clothes droop. Her jeans are baggy, her coat too big.

A CTA announcement signals a train approaching, and the brown line pulls into the station. A cluster of morning rush hour commuters crowd into the warmer, drier train, but the girl does not move. I hesitate for a moment—feeling the need to do something—but then board the train like the other do-nothings and, slinking into a seat, watch out the window as the doors close and we slide away, leaving the girl and her baby in the rain.

But she stays with me all day.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning new psychological thriller from national bestselling author Mary Kubica

She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can’t get the girl out of her head…

Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family’s objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.

Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow’s past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she’s willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.

MY THOUGHTS: ‘What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.’ …how true is that!

I can remember my mother telling me that no good deed goes unpunished. At the time I thought she was cynical. Now I wonder. . . But Mary Kubica uses this saying as the basis for her book, Pretty Baby, and uses it to great effect.

What starts out as a ‘good deed’ by Heidi, who works with the disadvantaged, soon turns into something far less simple as Willow, about whom Heidi’s husband says ‘Willow? That’s not a name. That’s a tree.’, and her baby Ruby trigger long suppressed emotions in Heidi.

‘Twisted’ is an excellent word to describe the plot which, although slow-moving at times, has a satisfying depth to it. There is an underlying miasma, evident from the start, that for me, ratcheted up the anticipation of disaster. I was not disappointed.

The book is split over different timelines, and told from the points of view of Heidi, Heidi’s husband Chris and Willow. Heidi and Chris couldn’t be more different from each other. Heidi doesn’t care about money at all. She is only concerned with the neglected, mistreated, overlooked, ignored, uneducated,
abandoned, forgotten, emaciated, abused, and derelict on this earth. Chris is an investment banker. Money is the main focus of his life and, paradoxically, this is what enables Heidi to pursue her passion. Chris loves his wife, loves that she doesn’t care about money, but the fact that she has brought what he sees as ‘her work’ home, makes him uncomfortable. He fears for the safety of his 50″ TV, and of their teenage daughter Zoe. Yes, there are plenty of moments to make you smile mixed in with the gathering darkness. But, eventually, the storm must hit, the results devastating.

Pretty Baby was so very nearly a five star read. But there was one section of the book that I found confusing. I went back over it several times, but was still left scratching my head. I still don’t have it straight, but it is one minor blip in an otherwise excellent read.

I listened to Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica, narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Tom Taylorson and Jorjeana Marle, published by Blackstone Audio via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on myGoodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1241474695

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

It has been a mixed bag this week, reading wise. I have read a 5-star book and a 2-star book. Currently I am enjoying reading

Don't Believe It

The Girl of Sugar Beach is the most watched documentary in television history—a riveting, true-life mystery that unfolds over twelve weeks and centers on a fascinating question: Did Grace Sebold murder her boyfriend, Julian, while on a Spring Break vacation, or is she a victim of circumstance and poor police work? Grace has spent the last ten years in a St. Lucian prison, and reaches out to filmmaker Sidney Ryan in a last, desperate attempt to prove her innocence.

As Sidney begins researching, she uncovers startling evidence, additional suspects, and timeline issues that were all overlooked during the original investigation. Before the series even finishes filming, public outcry leads officials to reopen the case. But as the show surges towards its final episodes, Sidney receives a letter saying that she got it badly, terribly wrong.

Sidney has just convinced the world that Grace is innocent. Now she wonders if she has helped to free a ruthless killer. Delving into Grace’s past, she peels away layer after layer of deception. But as Sidney edges closer to the real heart of the story, she must decide if finding the truth is worth risking her newfound fame, her career . . . even her life.

And I am listening to

Pretty Baby

What I am planning on reading this week  –

Half The Lies You Tell Are True

An unsettling, dark psychological thriller from the author of Ice Cold Alice.

In a world where internet rumour becomes real-world fact, do we ever really know anyone?

High school teacher Dougie Black is brutally attacked in school. Stabbed in front of his class by a pupil with no apparent motive, Dougie fights for his life in ICU whilst DS Lewis Gilmour attempts to unravel the events leading up to the attack.

As the doctors struggle to save Dougie’s life, social media is rife with rumours about his private life. Mr Black’s friends and family begin to question everything they thought they knew about him.

Who is Dougie Black? Why did a child attempt to murder him? How did so many years of lies lead to an horrific moment of violence?

Half The Lies You Tell Are True, is a dark glimpse at what social media has done to our integrity and our perception of each other.

The Summer Children (The Collector, #3)

This FBI agent has come to expect almost anything—just not this…

When Agent Mercedes Ramirez finds an abused young boy on her porch, covered in blood and clutching a teddy bear, she has no idea that this is just the beginning. He tells her a chilling tale: an angel killed his parents and then brought him here so Mercedes could keep him safe.

His parents weren’t just murdered. It was a slaughter—a rage kill like no one on the Crimes Against Children team had seen before. But they’re going to see it again. An avenging angel is meting out savage justice, and she’s far from through.

One by one, more children arrive at Mercedes’s door with the same horror story. Each one a traumatized survivor of an abusive home. Each one chafing at Mercedes’s own scars from the past. And each one taking its toll on her life and career.

Now, as the investigation draws her deeper into the dark, Mercedes is beginning to fear that if this case doesn’t destroy her, her memories might.

And I didn’t request or receive any ARCS this week, although after reading Susan Dyer’s of SusanLovesBooks and Carla Hicks of CarlaLovesToRead’s posts ,I have just been on a request spree! So watch this space. . .

Happy reading my friends.