Watching What I’m Reading . . .

It’s been a cold, wet and windy weekend here in New Zealand. Other than working Saturday morning, I have spent the weekend stretched out on the sofa in front of the fire reading and snoozing. There are lots of other things I could be doing, but I just can’t get motivated.

I have had a wonderful week of travelling through my reads, Maryland USA, Darwin Australia, Malibu California, Jamaica, Sydney Australia, and now Nantucket.

Currently I am reading Golden Girl by Elin Hildebrand. This is my first book by this author and I am loving it. It’s one of those lovely reads that you can just immerse yourself in.

I am still listening to Legacy by Nora Roberts. It is very slow moving and, although I love the characters, I am seriously considering abandoning this. I feel like I have been listening to it forever. Have any of you read or listened to Legacy? Should I persevere and finish it or should I move on?

This week I am planning on reading The Heights by Louise Candlish

The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Shad Thames, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him.

Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years.

You know this for a fact.

Because you’re the one who killed him.

And A Family Affair by Julie Houston

Joining the family business was never going to be easy…

Frankie Piccione is done running away from her responsibilities, well for now anyway. Having escaped Westenbury after suffering a shattered heart, it’s time to take up her place on the family board. Piccione’s Pickles and Preserves needs Frankie. Frankie knows she can make the business work. But with her brother Luca and the new, rather attractive, Cameron Mancini watching her every move, she’s going to have to come up with something special to get them off her back and recognising she belongs on the board just as much as they do.

With the help of her Aunt Pam and best friend, Daisy, Frankie is thriving with her new sense of purpose. Until someone from her past walks right back into it…

And I have received only one new ARC this week, (Sorry Susan 😉😂🤣), which goes some way to making up for my excesses of the previous few weeks. But what a score it is. I have been requesting Ann Cleeves books ever since I joined Netgalley in 2014 and this is the first time I have been approved, which just goes to show that it pays to persevere. The book I received is The Heron’s Cry, #2 in the Two Rivers series, so I am off to the library in morning to pick up #1 in the series, The Long Call.

Have a wonderful weekend, and do let me know where you have been on your reading travels this, and whether or not I should persevere with Legacy.

Happy reading! And happy bookish travels. ❤📚

Still by Matt Nable

Due for publication May 26, 2021

EXCERPT: The snake’s head lifted, it’s hood flared and it looked at the shadowy figures, like a fighter adopting his stance. It unravelled itself and moved away, down the embankment into the large snarls of lantana and wild saltbush.

‘Stand him up.’ The voice came from a large broad-shouldered man, his shape caught briefly in the half-moon’s light. The voice wasn’t much more than a whisper, though considering where they were, it wouldn’t have mattered had he yelled. The only sign of mankind was the corona from the town’s lights to the west of them and even it had been dulled by the ocean mist. In the darkness in front of the blockish end of a derelict machine-gun post, a prone man was pulled up by his armpits. He stood, his face lifting from the shadows and into the light. His bottom lip was split in its centre and fell loosely either side of the gash.

‘You were in the wrong place at the wrong time.’

ABOUT ‘STILL’: Darwin, Summer, 1963.

The humidity sat heavy and thick over the town as Senior Constable Ned Potter looked down at a body that had been dragged from the shallow marshland. He didn’t need a coroner to tell him this was a bad death. He didn’t know then that this was only the first. Or that he was about to risk everything looking for answers.

Late one night, Charlotte Clark drove the long way home, thinking about how stuck she felt, a 23-year-old housewife, married to a cowboy who wasn’t who she thought he was. The days ahead felt suffocating, living in a town where she was supposed to keep herself nice and wait for her husband to get home from the pub. Charlotte stopped the car, stepped out to breathe in the night air and looked out over the water to the tangled mangroves. She never heard a sound before the hand was around her mouth.

Both Charlotte and Ned are about to learn that the world they live in is full of secrets and that it takes courage to fight for what is right. But there are people who will do anything to protect themselves and sometimes courage is not enough to keep you safe.

MY THOUGHTS: Summer. 1963. Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. It’s humid. Hot. There’s crocs, stingers and sharks. The fishing’s good. The beer’s cold. The climate rascist. Corruption rife. Women the property of their men. People went to the Territory to go missing. That’s the way it was.

Matt Nable has given us some of the most magnificent and some of the most despicable characters that I have ever encountered. Charlotte is one of the magnificent ones; a woman in an abusive relationship, the kind that was frequently the norm back then. But a woman who will rise above society’s expectations and make peace with herself and her actions. Constable Ned Potter is a ‘good bastard’. He’s not perfect, but he stands up for what he believes in, at great personal cost.

The story is dark. It flows along at its own pace. Nable spends some considerable time throughout the book creating atmosphere; the damp, stifling heat, the mosquitoes, the drinking, the bullying, which all adds to the personality of this tale. It is a tale of cruelty and abuse, of corruption and cover ups. It is violent. And, in places, shocking.

Don’t expect Still to be fast moving. It’s not. But it will keep you turning the pages in a kind of fascinated horror. Nable doesn’t pull any punches. He tells it how it was, warts and all. Incredibly realistic.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

# Still #NetGalley

I: #mattnable @@hachetteaus

T: @MattNableOnline @HachetteAus

australiancrimefiction #mystery #Darwin

THE AUTHOR: Matthew Nable is an Australian film and television actor, writer, sports commentator and former professional rugby league footballer (Manly Sea Eagles). With his wife and three children, Matt divides his time between Sydney and Los Angeles.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hachette Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Still by Matt Nable 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

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there. May you all have a wonderful day. Mine is being a very lazy one. It’s cool and raining steadily so I haven’t moved far from the fire. The cat and I are very happy at our respective ends of the sofa.

I have spent a great deal of the week in Ireland, mainly Counties Kerry and Mayo, with the occasional foray back to Entry Island, and now I am in Decatur, Georgia. Where have you been this week, and where are you now?

Currently I am reading Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson. I started it this morning and am already a little over halfway through. She sure knows how to ramp up the tension! I have to admit that when I was approved for this I let out a whoop of joy and did a victory dance around the coffee table.

I am not currently listening to an audiobook, having had two dnfs in a row, but I will log into my library site this afternoon and pick something up.

I am still reading Entry Island by Peter May – yes, I know this is week 3, but I am reading a physical copy and only pick it up when my Kindle is on the charger. It is a good read, and I am enjoying it greatly.

This week I am planning on reading The Perfect Lie by Jo Spain.

He jumped to his death in front of witnesses. Now his wife is charged with murder.

Five years ago, Erin Kennedy moved to New York following a family tragedy. She now lives happily with her detective husband in the scenic seaside town of Newport, Long Island. When Erin answers the door to Danny’s police colleagues one morning, it’s the start of an ordinary day. But behind her, Danny walks to the window of their fourth-floor apartment and jumps to his death.

Eighteen months later, Erin is in court, charged with her husband’s murder. Over that year and a half, Erin has learned things about Danny she could never have imagined. She thought he was perfect. She thought their life was perfect.

But it was all built on the perfect lie. 

And Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons

Her stomach lurches as she sits in the windowless room. He throws her phone to the ground, grinds it against the floor with the heel of his shoe and brings his face closer to hers. There was no turning back now, her life as she knew it was gone.

When the lifeless body of a man is found on an industrial estate, Detective Kim Stone arrives on the scene and discovers he’s been tortured in the worst way imaginable.

But as she breaks the devastating news to the victim’s wife, Diane Phipps, Kim can’t help feeling that something isn’t quite right about the woman’s reaction.

Twenty-four hours later, the victim’s family disappears into thin air.

Then a second body is found staked to the ground in a local nature reserve.

Desperate to crack the case open quickly, Kim and her team unravel a vital clue – a fiercely guarded secret that links both victims and could cost even more lives.

A secret that some police officers are also protecting.

Faced with deceit from those she should be able to trust, family members who won’t talk, and local reporter, Tracy Frost, opening a can of worms on the case of a woman murdered by her husband a year ago – Kim is in deep water like never before.

Kim must find the motive if she is to find the killer who is systematically targeting and torturing his victims. But can she unlock the shocking truth and stop him before he strikes again?

My requesting finger has been working overtime again with seven new ARCs on my shelf this week 😬😂❤📚

The Beach House by Jenny Hale – don’t you just love that cover!

Still by Matt Nable – a new Australian author for me.

A Gingerbread House by Catriona McPherson

Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl – an invitation!

A Body at the Tearooms by Dee MacDonald

Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham

And Legacy by Nora Roberts (audiobook)

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and have a wonderful week.

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

EXCERPT:
FERN – The problem, I realise, is that there are two Roses. The Rose I rely on, and the other Rose. The Rose who hated Mum. The Rose who goes behind my back to speak to Wally. The Rose who would possibly betray me to get the baby she wants so badly.

I don’t know which Rose I’m getting. I don’t know which Rose my baby would get.

THE JOURNAL OF ROSE INGRID CASTLE – Everyone accepted that Billy had drowned, even Daniel. The river was full of reeds and he had been trying to beat Fern’s time for the whole week. The coroner recorded a verdict of ‘Death by Misadventure.’ Which meant our plan worked.

Fern got away with murder.

But lately I’m wondering if I did the wrong thing, covering for her. Maybe by not allowing her to face the consequences of her actions, I’ve created a monster. There’s no doubt that Fern can be dangerous when she’s angry. And now that there is a baby involved, I’m terrified that she will pay the price for my mistake.

ABOUT ‘THE GOOD SISTER’: From the outside, everyone might think Fern and Rose are as close as twin sisters can be: Rose is the responsible one and Fern is the quirky one. But the sisters are devoted to one another and Rose has always been Fern’s protector from the time they were small.

Fern needed protecting because their mother was a true sociopath who hid her true nature from the world, and only Rose could see it. Fern always saw the good in everyone. Years ago, Fern did something very, very bad. And Rose has never told a soul. When Fern decides to help her sister achieve her heart’s desire of having a baby, Rose realizes with growing horror that Fern might make choices that can only have a terrible outcome. What Rose doesn’t realize is that Fern is growing more and more aware of the secrets Rose, herself, is keeping. And that their mother might have the last word after all.

MY THOUGHTS: The Good Sister is subtle and it kind of snuck up on me and sucker punched me. 🤣😂 What started out as merely an okay read, slowly developed into a compelling page turner that had me biting my nails towards the end as the balance of power teetered between the sisters. I haven’t bitten my nails for years! It was never a given as to which sister was going to win out and even at the end the conniving and manipulation continues.

The story is told from two points of view, that of Fern in the present, flashbacks, and extracts from Rose’s journal. Fern is a delightful character and I found myself rooting for her, even knowing what she had done as a teenager. And I loved Rocco ‘Wally’ Ryan and Rose’s reaction to him.

The Good Sister is a blend of genres. It is a suspenseful psychological thriller with a touching love story lurking beneath. Enchanting and compelling. Well done Sally Hepworth. I can’t wait to see what you deliver us next.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.3

#NetGalley #sallyhepworth #stmartinspress

@SallyHepworth @StMartinsPress

#australianfiction #contemporaryfiction #familydrama #psychologicalthriller #romance

THE AUTHOR: Drawing on the good, the bad and the downright odd of human behaviour, Sally writes incisively about family, relationships and identity. Her domestic thriller novels are laced with quirky humour, sass and a darkly charming tone.

Sally’s novels are available worldwide in English and have been translated into 20 languages.​

Sally lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to St Martin’s Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth 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

Dear Neighbour by Anna Willett

EXCERPT: it started with her phone buzzing at 3:04 am that morning. Only nine months ago and as fresh in her mind as an unhealed wound. Foggy from sleep, she’d mistaken its sound for her alarm.

‘Amy?’ There was fear in Zane’s voice, something she’d never heard before. ‘Somethings happened. Can you come to my place?’

He was breathing hard. Even half-asleep, she heard the panic in his voice and it acted on her like a cold shock, pulling her into a hyper-alert state.

Her heart stuttered. ‘What is it? Are you okay?’

She remembered jumping out of bed, the phone clamped to her ear. They’d only been together for three months but already everything else, family, friends and work were falling away until Zane was her life.

‘I need help,’ he said.

ABOUT ‘DEAR NEIGHBOUR’: When Amy and her boyfriend Zane move into a house together, she hopes they can put their rocky past behind them.

She gets a job and befriends the older couple who live in the house next door. Amy is impressed by their sophistication, wealth, and love for one another and in turn they somewhat adopt her when Amy’s relationship with her boyfriend deteriorates rapidly.

Jobless, often absent and clearly up to no good, Zane is jealous and increasingly abusive. His hold over the shy Amy has been strong, yet cracks are beginning to show.

When a policeman knocks on her door one innocuous day, it is the start of series of events that will make the two households clash together in a fatal entanglement.

Zane will see an opportunity and greed will get the better of him, but are their new neighbours quite the easy targets they appear to be?

Amy is in the middle of it all and someone is going to get killed.

MY THOUGHTS: ‘Seedy’ is the word I would use to sum up the atmosphere of Dear Neighbour.

Zane has dragged Amy, not exactly unwillingly, into his world of drugs and violence and now she feels trapped in a sick and destructive relationship.

I didn’t like Amy at all, not even at the end. I kept wanting
to yell at her to wake up and get out. She is weak and needy and willing to do anything to keep Zane by her side. Zane is also weak, but exceedingly manipulative, and he has Amy right where he wants her, supporting him both financially and emotionally. Actually, the only characters I liked were Frank and Greta, a devoted elderly couple who are hiding a surprising secret.

It is no secret that I don’t like books with a central theme of drugs and violence. I don’t like weak and stupid female characters. I don’t like weak and stupid characters full stop. I like clever mysteries and psychological thrillers with plenty of surprises and twists. Dear Neighbour didn’t give me that, and yet I kept reading. Right to the end. And while I can’t say that I enjoyed the read, I can see its appeal to others.

Dear Neighbour is a quick, fast-paced read at 184 pages, and certainly packed with action. It reminds me of the pulp fiction published in the 1950s, but lacking the lurid cover and ‘racy’ scenes.

⭐⭐.6

#Dear Neighbour #annawillettauthor #the_book_folks

@AnnaWillett9 @thebookfolks @HenryRoiPR

#australiancrimefiction #contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Raised in Western Australia Anna developed a love for fiction at an early age and began writing short stories in high school. Drawn to dark tales, Anna enjoys writing thrillers with strong female characters. When she’s not writing, Anna enjoys reading, travelling and spending time with her husband and two children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Henry Roi PR for providing a digital ARC of Dear Neighbour by Anna Willett 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

A Home Like Ours by Fiona Lowe

EXCERPT: Riverbend picnic ground greeted her in a spectacular sherbet dawn with myriad shades of pink, purple and peach splaying across the sky in long graceful strands. The Murray River, wide at this bend, glinted violet in the light and a lone pelican glided towards her. Cockatiels shrieked and wheeled above, bursting yet another myth that the country was a quiet and peaceful place.

The wide sandy beach with its tall over-hanging trees – perfect for swinging and bombing into deep water – provided Helen with the real gift. Its existence meant the shire had spent the big bucks installing a boat ramp, gas barbecues, an instant hot water tap, picnic tables and a playground. There was also a state-of-the-art amenities block complete with a toilet for people with a disability, a sink, baby-change area and, miracle of miracles, a shower.

Despite her exhaustion, Helen whooped with delight. She lathered up and washed her hair, herself and then her clothes. Afterwards she fired up a barbecue, cooked an egg in bread and ate it sitting in the folding camping chair she’d found on a roadside collection weeks before. Soaking up the view, she pretended she was living in one of the impressive riverside homes, enjoying her custom-built outdoor kitchen on her deck.

Daylight meant no one would ask her to move on; she had a few hours reprieve. A few hours to luxuriate in normalcy and ignore her homelessness. Then the sun would inevitably sink, giving carte blanche to the insidious march of inky darkness and all the dangers that lurked within.

ABOUT ‘A HOME LIKE OURS’: Tara Hooper is at breaking point. With two young children, a business in a town struggling under an unexpected crime wave, and her husband more interested in his cricket team than their marriage, life is a juggling act. Then, when new neighbours arrive and they are exactly the sort of people the town doesn’t want or need, things get worse.

Life has taught Helen Demetriou two things: being homeless is terrifying and survival means keeping your cards close to your chest. Having clawed back some stability through her involvement in the community garden, she dares to relax. But as she uncovers some shady goings-on in the council, that stability turns to quicksand.

For teenage mother Jade Innes, life can be lonely among the judgement of the town and the frequent absences of her boyfriend. A chance encounter draws her into the endangered community garden where she makes friends for the first time. Glimpsing a different way of life is enticing but its demands are terrifying. Does she even deserve to try?

Can such disparate women unite to save the garden and ultimately stop the town from tearing itself apart?

MY THOUGHTS: I really enjoyed the prologue, in which we meet the homeless Helen who is living in her car.

At 30% I was seriously considering abandoning this book. We have jumped forward in time several years and are introduced to Tara, Jade, and Bob and the various people in their circles. I wasn’t connecting with any of the characters and was bored by the repetition, Tara’s obsession with sex, and Jade’s adoration of her deadbeat boyfriend and father of her baby. And then there’s the machinations of the local council, vandalism, racism, prejudice, Tara’s mainly horrible ‘friends’, her obsession with her gym instructor, and her husband’s medical problem. Too much! It was like tipping several different salads into one bowl, mixing them up and then expecting people to eat them.

I finished the book mainly because of Helen. And Fiza. And Bob and his nephew Lachlan. In the end it was almost okay read, but only just. A Home Like Ours is a long book and frequently dragged. The author tries to address far too many issues at once and while we get a lot of information about some, others are virtually ignored after being introduced. And none of them were really done justice.

I would have loved this book to have focused on Helen’s story, which is where it started. Each of the other main characters and issues deserves their own book.

I finished still feeling mostly dissatisfied. There were questions I had that remained unanswered, and the ending felt glib and shallow. I am glad that others have found this an uplifting read. I didn’t.

Reading is a personal and subjective experience, and what appeals to one may not please another. So if you enjoyed the excerpt from A Home Like Ours, and the plot outline appeals, please do go ahead and read it. Many other people have read and enjoyed A Home Like Ours and rated it higher than I have. Please also check out their reviews.

⭐⭐.3

#AHomeLikeOurs #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Fiona’s been the recipient of a RITA and a RuBY award. Families and communities intrigue her and she loves creating characters you could meet on the street and enjoys putting them in unique situations where morals and values can blur and she begs the reader to ask themselves, ‘What would you do?’

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harlequin Australia & MIRA for providing a digital ARC of A Home Like Ours by Fiona Lowe 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

Watching what I’m reading . . .

I am sitting in the shelter of the windbreak on our deck enjoying the heat of the sun on my back. It’s been a real mixed bag weatherwise today. We have had heavy downpours, strong winds and it was really cold overnight. I can always tell how cold it is by where Tighe, our cat, chooses to sleep. Last night it was on my raspberry mohair throw on the end of our bed. And she was in no hurry to move this morning. Neither was I, but I had to go to work so I had no choice.

After work Pete took me out for a late lunch in Otorohanga, the next town north of here, where he works. The Thirsty Weta has recently changed hands and has been beautifully renovated. We had a delicious lunch; fish and chips for him, and I had chili prawns and a glass of pinot gris as I wasn’t driving.

I think we will just be having something light for dinner tonight, eggs on toast, or toasted sandwiches.

I finished A Home Like Ours by Fiona Lowe in the early hours of this morning and will be posting my review tomorrow.

I am currently listening to Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray.

And reading Raven Black by Ann Cleeves for my Goodreads.com Mystery, Crime and Thriller group read.

This is the first in her Shetland series featuring Detective Jimmy Perez. I love her writing and am finding it hard to put this down. I will probably have finished it before the group read officially starts on the Street 15th (the ides of March?)

This week I am planning on reading Call Me Elizabeth Lark by Melissa Colisanti, an author I haven’t previously read.

Twenty years ago, Myra Barkley’s daughter disappeared from the rocky beach across from the family inn, off the Oregon coast. Ever since, Myra has waited at the front desk for her child to come home. One rainy afternoon, the miracle happens–her missing daughter, now twenty-eight years old with a child of her own, walks in the door.

Elizabeth Lark is on the run with her son. She’s just killed her abusive husband and needs a place to hide. Against her better judgment, she heads to her hometown and stops at the Barkley Inn. When the innkeeper insists that Elizabeth is her long lost daughter, the opportunity for a new life, and more importantly, the safety of her child, is too much for Elizabeth to pass up. But she knows that she isn’t the Barkleys’s daughter, and the more deeply intertwined she becomes with the family, the harder it becomes to confess the truth.

Except the Barkley girl didn’t just disappear on her own. As the news spreads across the small town that the Barkley girl has returned, Elizabeth suddenly comes into the limelight in a dangerous way, and the culprit behind the disappearance those twenty years ago is back to finish the job.

And The Incredible Winston Browne by Sean Dietrich

In the small, sleepy town of Moab, Florida, folks live for ice cream socials, Jackie Robinson, and the local paper’s weekly gossip column. For decades, Sheriff Winston Browne has watched over Moab with a generous eye, and by now he’s used to handling the daily dramas that keep life interesting for Moab’s quirky residents. But just after Winston receives some terrible, life-altering news, a feisty little girl with mysterious origins shows up in his best friend’s henhouse. Suddenly Winston has a child in desperate need of protection—as well as a secret of his own to keep.

With the help of Moab’s goodhearted townsfolk, the humble and well-meaning Winston Browne still has some heroic things to do. He finds romance, family, and love in unexpected places. He stumbles upon adventure, searches his soul, and grapples with the past. In doing so, he just might discover what a life well-lived truly looks like.

This week I have two new ebook ARCs, and one audiobook from Netgalley.

The Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd

And audiobook The Good Neighbour by R.J. Parker

So that’s my lot for today. Let me know what you’re reading and what new books have found their way into your TBR piles.

We are back to the new normal as from 6am today, so just recording where we’ve been with whom, social distancing from people we don’t know and sanitize, sanitize, sanitize! I hope restrictions are also easing wherever you are. ❤📚

The Ex by Nicola Moriarty

EXCERPT: The door was almost closed when an arm was thrust through the crack, causing it to jolt to a stop and then slowly shudder it’s way open again. Georgia stepped back.

Whoever it is, just don’t let it be Cadence, don’t let it be Cadence. Please, please don’t let it be Cadence.

A woman stepped in, her eyes down, her face blotched with angry patches. Blonde hair partly obscured her contorted features. But Georgia could still recognize her.

Cadence.

ABOUT ‘THE EX’: She wants him back. She wants you gone.

Luke is The One. After everything she’s been through, Georgia knows she deserves someone like him, to make her feel loved. Safe.

The only problem is his ex-girlfriend. Luke says Cadence is having trouble moving on. She texts Luke all the time and leaves aggressive notes on Georgia’s car.

Georgia starts to feel afraid. But she decides to confront Cadence … and that’s when things get interesting.

MY THOUGHTS: I went into this expecting it to be more chic-lit than it actually was. Probably one of the reasons I enjoyed this so much. Moriarty slowly builds up the suspense on a base of ever shifting sands. I was more than pleasantly surprised. Intruiged. And entertained.

There’s not a huge number of characters, Moriarty has kept it quite tight, and it works well. The pace is fast and suspenseful. Moriarty had me hooked early on, and kept me wanting more right through to the last word. It’s the sort of book that you think, ‘I’ve got a few minutes to spare, I’ll just read a page or two,’ and instead you end up reading several chapters and being late. I boiled a pot full of eggs dry. Neither the eggs nor the pot survived.

Moriarty has blended a mix of love, betrayal, revenge and manipulation into a suspenseful psychological thriller that has me looking for more titles from this author.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.1

#TheEx #NetGalley
@HarperCollinsAU #HarperCollinsAustralia
#NicolaMoriarty
#australiancrimefiction #contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #psychologicalthriller #suspense

THE AUTHOR: Nicola Moriarty lives in Sydney’s north west with her husband and two small daughters. She is the younger sister of bestselling authors Liane Moriarty and Jaclyn Moriarty. In between various career changes, becoming a mum and studying teaching at Macquarie University, she began to write. Now, she can’t seem to stop.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Ex by Nicola Moriarty 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

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Firstly, apologies for no Friday funnies again this week. I just plain ran out of time, and I am afraid I am going to have time issues for the next month or so until I can get someone in place to replace one of my key staff who left suddenly. I will do what I can, but between working extra long hours and caring for Luke every second weekend while my son gets his new premises ready and then moves (scheduled for Easter) I am going to be pretty time challenged.

Currently and am reading Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay from Netgalley.

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves for the Goodreads.com Crime, Mystery and Thriller group read for March.

And listening to Olive by Emma Gannon

I hope to get another book read this week too, but have not yet decided what it will be.

I have three new ARC ebooks approvals this week, and one audiobook:

Hummingbird Lane by Carolyn Brown

Small Town Secrets by Alys Murray

The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer by Joël Dicker

And the audiobook is Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray

That’s my plan, and I use the word loosely, for the week. We’re back under Level 2 restrictions, with Auckland under Level 3 lockdown. So who knows what is going happen….

My neighbours are stranded in Wellington after taking the train down yesterday. The trains were cancelled overnight. They are trying to get a bus back but don’t know if they are running either. They may have to get a hire car. Their cats are happy and well fed in their absence.

Have a great week everyone. Stay safe and healthy and read on!

A Weekend to Remember by Esther Campion

EXCERPT: ‘We could have gone to Bali!’ Aisling was on one of her moaning rolls as the two friends strode along Freers Beach under a milky blue sky that promised another hot day in Tasmania. ‘Why did I let Mick’s family decide how we’d spend our anniversary?’

Heather was already well versed in the circumstances that had led to the latest drama in the Fitzgerald’s lives, but Aisling went over it again just to blow off steam.

‘The indignity of it! Spending a week in the bogs of Ireland when we could be in some idyllic resort, drinking cocktails at one of those swim up bars.’ But as Aisling knew only too well, the gift from her in-laws, or outlaws as she liked to call them, was as much a present for Mick’s forthcoming fortieth as it was for their anniversary. If it had been left to her, there’d have been a big party. But no, Lilian Fitzgerald had other ideas. She’d give her son a holiday in West Cork and she’d have a few weeks with the grandchildren all to herself in Tasmania.

Aisling had all manner of fantastic ideas for surprise parties, but although loath to admit it, Mick would have hated that. So in the end, Lily Fitz got her way.

ABOUT ‘A WEEK TO REMEMBER’: Whether it was the lure of the rugged coastline or the comforting image of the house, he wasn’t sure, but he couldn’t remember the last time he’d taken a holiday. . .

With its brightly painted front door, white-sash windows and garden path sweeping down toward the sea, Lizzie O’s guesthouse promises a welcome escape from the world. Aisling and Mick Fitzgerald are travelling all the way from Tasmania to celebrate their wedding anniversary, but Aisling is burdened with a secret that could ruin their marriage. Declan Byrne, exhausted from an unhealthy routine of long hours, takeaway and too much red wine, has spontaneously taken the week off to visit the village of his childhood summers. Katie Daly returns to West Cork after an absence of 35 years to care for her ageing mother only to find she must confront her painful past. Finally, Mia Montgomery is taking this holiday without telling her husband.

Each of this group of strangers is at a crossroads. And one week in the middle of winter may change all of their lives.

MY THOUGHTS: A Week to Remember is a lovely, lovely read reminiscent of a Maeve Binchy. It was a delight to read this beautifully written story of a disparate group of people, all at a crossroads in their lives, thrown together in a guest house on the Irish coast. The subplot follows Lilian Fitzgerald as she looks after Mick and Aisling’s two children in Tasmania.

Campion writes with humour and feeling, and A Week to Remember enveloped me from the start. She describes both cultures and landscapes eloquently and accurately. I could smell the Aussie BBQ every bit as clearly as I could hear the lilting Irish voices.

There are a lot of issues dealt with in this gentle drama, both current and historic. There’s a marriage or two on the brink, burnout, infidelity, caring for an aging infirm parent, and in the past, abuse, rape, and the shunting off to a home for unwed mothers of a pregnant teenager. There are tragic pasts to overcome, and present problems to conquer.

I loved this book from start to finish and I will definitely be reading more from this author who blends the Australian and Irish essences seamlessly.

Don’t be put off by the twee cover. A Week to Remember is anything but.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.1

‘Life (is) far too unpredictable to miss an opportunity to eat icecream on a searing hot day with someone you love.’

#AWeekToRemember #NetGalley @hachetteaus @esther_campion_

#contemporaryfiction #australianfiction #irishfiction #domesticdrama #romance #sliceoflife

THE AUTHOR: Esther Campion is from Cork, Ireland and currently lives in north-west Tasmania. She attended North Presentation Convent in Cork and has degrees from University College Cork and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Esther and her Orcadian husband have lived in Ireland, Scotland, Norway and South Australia. They have a grown-up daughter in Adelaide and the two youngest at home in Tassie with an over-indulged chocolate Labrador and two horses, which Esther firmly believes are living proof that dreams really can come true.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hachette Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of A Week to Remember by Esther Campion for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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