Watching what I’m reading . . .

Happy Sunday afternoon, and to all the Dads out there, happy Father’s Day.

Currently I am reading Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly, and finding it enthralling.

THIS REUNION WILL TEAR A FAMILY APART…

Summer, 2021.
 Nell has come home at her family’s insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of The Golden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried – gold and precious stones, each a different part of a skeleton. One by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore’s pelvis remained hidden.

The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous degree. People sold their homes to travel to England and search for Elinore. Marriages broke down as the quest consumed people. A man died. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.

But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.

And listening to Rock, Paper, Scissors by Alice Feeney

Think you know the person you married? Think again…

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife.
Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts – paper, cotton, pottery, tin – and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

This week I have seven books to read for review, all due ffor publication this week. They are:

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris

As a little girl raised amid the hardships of Michigan’s Copper Country, Fenna Vos learned to focus on her own survival. That ability sustains her even now as the Second World War rages in faraway countries. Though she performs onstage as the assistant to an unruly escape artist, behind the curtain she’s the mastermind of their act. Ultimately, controlling her surroundings and eluding traps of every kind helps her keep a lingering trauma at bay.

Yet for all her planning, Fenna doesn’t foresee being called upon by British military intelligence. Tasked with designing escape aids to thwart the Germans, MI9 seeks those with specialized skills for a war nearing its breaking point. Fenna reluctantly joins the unconventional team as an inventor. But when a test of her loyalty draws her deep into the fray, she discovers no mission is more treacherous than escaping one’s past.

Women Like Us: A Memoir by Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse has built a bestselling career on the lives of fictional women. Now she turns the pen on her own life.

I guess the first question to ask is, what kind of woman am I? Well, you know those women who saunter into a room, immaculately coiffed and primped from head to toe?

If you look behind her, you’ll see me.

From her childhood, where there was no blueprint for success, to building a career as a bestselling novelist against all odds, Amanda Prowse explores what it means to be a woman in a world where popularity, slimness, beauty and youth are currency—and how she overcame all of that to forge her own path to happiness.

Sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious and always entirely relatable, Prowse details her early struggles with self-esteem and how she coped with the frustrating expectations others had of how she should live. Most poignantly, she delves into her toxic relationship with food, the hardest addiction she has ever known, and how she journeyed out the other side.

One of the most candid memoirs you’re ever likely to read, Women Like Us provides welcome insight into how it is possible—against the odds—to overcome insecurity, body consciousness and the ubiquitous imposter syndrome to find happiness and success, from a woman who’s done it all, and then some.

In Little Stars by Linda Green

In a divided northern England, love and hate are about to collide . . .

Sylvie and Donna travel on the same train to work each day but have never spoken. Their families are on different sides of the bitter Brexit divide, although the tensions and arguments at home give them much in common.

What they don’t know is that their eldest children, Rachid and Jodie, are about to meet for the first time and fall in love. Aware that neither family will approve, the teenagers vow to keep their romance a secret.

But as Sylvie’s family feel increasingly unwelcome in England, a desire for a better life threatens Rachid and Jodie’s relationship. Can their love unite their families – or will it end in tragedy? 

Becoming Beth by Meredith Appleyard

Since adolescence, 58-year-old Beth has lived her life with blinkers on, repressing the memory of a teenage trauma. Her mother, Marian, took control of that situation, and of all else in their family life – and as much as she could in the small town of Miner’s Ridge as well.

Now Marian is dead, and Beth, unemployed and in the middle of a humiliating divorce, is living with her gentle-hearted father in the family home. Beth feels obliged to take over her mother’s involvement in the local town hall committee, which becomes a source of new friendships, old friendships renewed, and a considerable amount of aggravation.

Researching town hall history, Beth finds photographs that show Marian in a surprising light; sorting through Marian’s belongings, she realises that her mother has left a trail of landmines, cruel revelations that knock the feet out from under her supposed nearest and dearest. Beth struggles to emerge from the ensuing emotional chaos … in middle age, can she really start anew?

The Night Watch by Neil Lancaster

A lawyer is found dead at sunrise on a lonely clifftop at Dunnet Head on the northernmost tip of Scotland. It was supposed to be his honeymoon, but now his wife will never see him again.

He’ll hunt you.
The case is linked to several mysterious deaths, including the murder of the lawyer’s last client – Scotland’s most notorious criminal… who had just walked free. DS Max Craigie knows this can only mean one thing: they have a vigilante serial killer on their hands.

He’ll leave you to die.
But this time the killer isn’t on the run; he’s on the investigation team. And the rules are different when the murderer is this close to home.

He knows their weaknesses, knows how to stay hidden, and he thinks he’s above the law… 

The Lost Notebook by Louise Douglas

A notebook full of secrets, two untimely deaths – something sinister is stirring in the perfect seaside town of Morranez…

It’s summer and holidaymakers are flocking to the idyllic Brittany coast. But when first an old traveller woman dies in suspicious circumstances, and then a campaign of hate seemingly drives another victim to take his own life, events take a very dark turn.

Mila Shepherd has come to France to look after her niece, Ani, following the accident in which both Ani’s parents were lost at sea. Mila has moved into their family holiday home – The Sea House – as well as taken her sister Sophie’s place in an agency which specialises in tracking down missing people, until new recruit Carter Jackson starts.

It’s clear that malevolent forces are at work in Morranez, but the local police are choosing to look the other way. Only Mila and Carter can uncover the truth about what’s really going on in this beautiful, but mysterious place before anyone else suffers. But someone is desperate to protect a terrible truth, at any cost… 

The Santa Killer by Ross Greenwood

The Santa Killer is coming to town…
One night less than two weeks before Christmas, a single mother is violently assaulted. It’s a brutal crime at the time of year when there should be goodwill to all. When DI Barton begins his investigation, he’s surprised to find the victim is a woman with nothing to hide and no reason for anyone to hurt her.

A few days later, the mother of the woman attacked rings the police station. Her granddaughter has drawn a shocking picture. It seems she was looking out of the window when her mother was attacked. And when her grandmother asks the young girl who the person with the weapon is, she whispers two words.

Bad Santa.

The rumours start spreading, and none of the city’s women feel safe – which one of them will be next?

He’s got a list. It’s quite precise. It won’t matter even if you’re nice. 

I received seven new ARCs this week, three of them publishers’ widgets.

In addition to The Skeleton Key, which I have already started, and Becoming Beth, which is on this week’s reading list, I received:

Just Like Family by Barbara Casey (thank you Susan)

Wolf Pack by Will Dean (Publisher’s widget)

The Second Chance Holiday Club by Kate Galley

The Village Vicar by Julie Houston (Publisher’s widget)

And Silent Victim (DCI Matilda Darke #10) by Michael Wood also a publisher’s widget

That’s me for the weekend. Now that the wind has dropped I want to do a few jobs in the garden before it starts cooling off out there.

Have a great week and happy reading my friends. ❤📚


			

Sandy’s July 2022 Reading Roundup

I started July with 18 books to read for review and ended up with 20 🤷‍♀️ Of those I read 15, and am almost finished the 16th, giving me an 80% review success rate, well up on my dismal 64% rate for June. Plus I read or listened to four books purely for pleasure during the month. And read and reviewed two titles from my backlist. So that was a total of twenty-two reads for the month of July.

I read one debut novel during July, A Murder of Crows by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett which I rated ⭐⭐⭐.6

plus I read five books by authors I haven’t previously read. They were: Aft the Flood by Dave Warner ⭐⭐⭐⭐.3

Old Friends Reunited by Maddie Please ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Saint of Lost Things by Tish Delaney ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

One Last Day of Summer by Shari Low ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#Rejected Goddesses by Natalie Watson and Nina Holmes ⭐⭐.9

My Netgalley feedback ratio is still at 69%. I wonder what it will take to crack the 70% mark. I think I would need to stop requesting books entirely, and that’s not likely to happen.

The four books I didn’t read in July that are now added to my backlist are:

Guilt Trip by Ed James

Golden Age Locked Room Mysteries edited by Otto Penzler

Mother of All Secrets by Kathleen M. Willett

Truly, Darkly, Deeply by Victoria Selman

My five star reads for July were: In the Middle of Hickory Lane by Heather Webber

Outside Looking In (DCI Matilda Darke #2) by Michael Wood

A Room Full of Killers (DCI Matilda Darke #3) by Michael Wood

The Lost Children (DCI Matilda Darke #9) by Michael Wood

One Last Day of Summer by Shari Low

Old Friends Reunited by Maddie Please

I have seventeen reads for review scheduled for August. Fingers crossed that there are no late approvals. If I don’t read anything from my backlist I should be able to get through all of these.

Happy August reading!❤📚

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Firstly, I have to apologise for lack of a post on Friday (NZ time). Our internet went down at lunchtime Friday and wasn’t restored until 2 am Saturday.

Currently I am reading One Last Day of Summer by Shari Lowe. I started this in the early hours of this morning and am really enjoying it.

As a flight to St Lucia leaves the runway, four passengers meet for the first time.

After escaping her controlling husband, Bernadette Manson is taking the first extravagant holiday of her new life. But when her best friend cancels, will she be strong enough to fly solo?

Tadgh Donovan is about to jet off to his destination wedding when he sees a shocking text. Has his bride-to-be written her wedding vows… or already broken them?

Hayley Ford is the wife of a top fertility specialist yet her battle to get pregnant has almost broken her marriage. Can a trip to the sun heal their relationship or should she brace for a crash landing?

Dev Robbins is crossing oceans to track down the woman he fell in love with at first sight. Will it be a one way trip to happy ever after or a return journey to singledom?

One Last Day of Summer is due for publication July 19th 2022.

I am also reading Black Mouth by Ronald Malfi

For nearly two decades, Jamie Warren has been running from darkness. He’s haunted by a traumatic childhood and the guilt at having disappeared from his disabled brother’s life. But then a series of unusual events reunites him with his estranged brother and their childhood friends, and none of them can deny the sense of fate that has seemingly drawn them back together.

Nor can they deny the memories of that summer, so long ago – the strange magic taught to them by an even stranger man, and the terrible act that has followed them all into adulthood. In the light of new danger, they must confront their past by facing their futures, and hunting down a man who may very well be a monster. 

This is certainly a chilling read and will also be published July 19th, 2022.

After the Flood by Dave Warner. I was so excited to receive some real book mail, although the excitement was somewhat tempered by one of the three books missing out of the parcel. NOT the publisher’s fault. The bag had obviously been tampered with. Kudos and a huge thank you to Freemantle Press for sending out the missing book.

A disturbing, seemingly ritualistic murder on a remote North-West cattle station has Detective Inspector Dan Clement and his Broome police officers unnerved and baffled. Other local incidents – the theft of explosives from mine site, social justice protests at an abattoir, a break-in at an early childhood clinic- seems mundane by comparison.

But as Clement starts to make troubling connections between each crime, he finds himself caught in terrifying race. In a landmass larger than Western Europe, he must identify and protect an unidentified target before it’s blown to bits by an unidentified terrorist.

Now, don’t usually read books about terrorism, but this has me enthralled.

and I am listening to A Room Full of Killers by Michael Wood (Matilda Darke #3) This is a backtitle read for me from 2017. Currently at 55% through, it’s looking like five star read.

Eight killers. One house. And the almost perfect murder…

Feared by the people of Sheffield, Starling House is home to some of Britain’s deadliest teenagers, still too young for prison. Now the building’s latest arrival, Ryan Asher, has been found brutally murdered – stabbed twelve times, left in a pool of blood.

When DCI Matilda Darke and her team investigate, they uncover the secrets of a house tainted by evil. Kate Moloney, the prison’s manager, is falling apart, the security system has been sabotaged, and neither the staff nor the inmates can be trusted.

There’s only one person Matilda believes is innocent, and he’s facing prison for the rest of his life. With time running out, she must solve the unsolvable to save a young man from his fate. And find a murderer in a house full of killers…

This week, in addition to Black Mouth and One Last Day of Summer, both of which I already reading, I have The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell scheduled for review.

I love Lisa Jewell’s writing and was excited to receive an ARC for this.

Early one morning on the shore of the Thames, DCI Samuel Owusu is called to the scene of a gruesome discovery. When Owusu sends the evidence for examination, he learns the bones are connected to a cold case that left three people dead on the kitchen floor in a Chelsea mansion thirty years ago.

Rachel Rimmer has also received a shock—news that her husband, Michael, has been found dead in the cellar of his house in France. All signs point to an intruder, and the French police need her to come urgently to answer questions about Michael and his past that she very much doesn’t want to answer.

After fleeing London thirty years ago in the wake of a horrific tragedy, Lucy Lamb is finally coming home. While she settles in with her children and is just about to purchase their first-ever house, her brother takes off to find the boy from their shared past whose memory haunts their present.

As they all race to discover answers to these convoluted mysteries, they will come to find that they’re connected in ways they could have never imagined.

This week I received eight new ARCs from Netgalley plus two from Freemantle Press, one being After the Flood by Dave Warner. The second book I received from Freemantle Press is The Ghost of Gracie Flynn by Joanna Morrison. Did I already mention how exciting it is to receive REAL book mail?

And from Netgalley I have received Foster by Claire Keegan

Lovely Girls by Margot Hunt

The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict

Dead Real by Helen H. Durrant

The Stranger Vanishes by Wendy Corsi Staub, a Lily Vale Mystery

And the last is a publiher’s widget, There’s Been a Little Incident by Alice Ryan

Have you read, or do you have any of these to read?

Have a wonderful week!❤📚

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Sunday afternoon; the fire is lit, the day wet and gloomy. We are stretched out in our chairs watching the supercar racing from Townsville, Queensland, where the skies are gloriously blue and everyone is wandering about in t-shirts and sunglasses.

This morning I started Old Friends Reunited by Maddie Please, and I can’t put it down. I have abandoned my other reads in favour of this.

I am also reading We All Have Our Secrets by Jane Corry

And listening to Death of a Green-Eyed Monster (Hamish Macbeth #34) by M.C. Beaton and R.W. Green

In the coming week I have three books to read for review, two of which I have already started. They are:

We All Have Our Secrets by Jane Corry

Emily made a mistake, a mistake midwifes can’t afford to make. Escaping to her dad’s home in Devon to regroup and check in on him – his dementia has been worsening, and her guilt along with it – she is surprised when a beautiful stranger answers the door. Francoise is her dad’s new carer, but Emily’s father seems to have deteriorated under her care.

Emily doesn’t trust Francoise – but she doesn’t trust herself either. Each has a secret. And one of them will kill to keep it.

Rejected Goddesses by Natalie Watson and Nina Holmes

“Every woman is a rejected goddess at some point in her life … but it’s okay to be rejected as long as you feel like a Goddess.”— Robyn Ryan and Cat Romano.

I’m Robyn Ryan.
I’m thirtyish and I’m a third-generation caffeinated Irish. I’m a journalist turned baker on the verge of bankruptcy. I’m a mommy to a dog with a huge attitude.
My personal life sucks.

I’m Catarina Romano, shortly Cat.
I’m thirtyish and I’m a third-generation fiery-tempered Italian with a nuclear explosive and overprotective family.
I’m a notorious male-basher. No wonder I’m single.
I’m also an author of the worstseller “Italian Connections.”

We are two best friends in a temporary rut of our lives in Mystic Oak, MA.

Can our ginormous dreams come true in the smallest town on earth? 

And Old Friends Reunited by Maddie Please

Divorced and on a deadline, bestselling novelist Bea Pinkerton has a serious case of writer’s block. With her agent breathing down her neck, Bea will do ANYTHING to avoid writing another word.

So an invite to a reunion with her old school friends at a beautiful chateau in France, is Bea’s perfect chance to escape. Surely here, relaxing with old friends and drinking cold fizz, Bea will find inspiration?
But as soon as Bea arrives, she realises this is not going to be the peaceful getaway she anticipated. Her old school friends Gin and Audrie are in various states of marital distress and to top it off a camera crew has arrived to film the goings on at Chateau De St Cyr. Far from being calm, the trip is total chaos!

Thank goodness for Bea’s new French neighbour Laurent Sinclair – handsome, charming and perhaps exactly the romantic muse she needs to get her mojo back. But is Bea brave enough to take a second chance at love at her age? Perhaps with a little help from her friends… 

Only two new ARCs this week. They are:

The Missing by Lisa Childs

and The Sandcastle Hurricane by Carolyn Brown

I am picking Luke up on Tuesday and bringing him home to stay for a few days. It’s the first week of the school holidays and the forecast for the whole week is rain, rain and more rain! If it does clear up we will visit the Kiwi House. I’m planning on taking him to the library Wednesday where we will borrow as many books and jigsaws as we can.

We are currently having a Covid resurgence here in New Zealand so I have stocked up on a few treats for him as I really don’t want to be taking him out shopping.

Happy reading my friends ❤📚

The Wednesday Morning Wild Swim by Jules Wake

EXCERPT: Thirty and still waiting for her life proper to start. She lived in a crappy house with four other people she barely knew; had to write her name on her milk, which still didn’t deter the midnight milk thief; couldn’t so much as chill a bottle of wine in the fridge for more than half an hour because that baby would be long gone, and don’t even get her started on the daily battle against the mould in the bathroom which had stained the grouting beyond saving.

As for her job – the latest in a very long line – it turned out that working in a vintage clothes shop wasn’t quite as glamorous as she’d been led to believe. In truth, it was more like working in a charity shop, frequented by young people without the charity element, although she did meet some interesting people and there were perks. Last month, she’d snaffled a pair of vintage Louboutin shoes from an auction lot of accessories, having spotted the scuffed red leather soles. And before anyone should go thinking that was thieving, she’d told Sally, the owner of the shop, that she’d got her eye on a pair of shoes and she’d paid the suggested twenty quid because Sally wasn’t fussed about looking at them. It wasn’t as if she ever got paid overtime for all the times she stayed late at the shop, or had even seen as much as reimbursement for the Mac Red Rock lipstick that Sally insisted was essential for the job. Being blonde, blue-eyed and with a magnolia complexion, it really wasn’t her colour. Ettie felt you needed a brunette bob, nice thick lips and a mysterious smile to pull that look off, and possibly a trench coat that belted in the middle. She had thinnish lips that were quick and ready to smile and there was absolutely nothing mysterious about her. What you saw was what you got. Plenty of enthusiasm and not much staying power.

ABOUT ‘THE WEDNESDAY MORNING WILD SWIM’: Ettie is trying to figure out her future.

Dominic’s just trying to forget his past.

But with the help of some unlikely friends, young and old, a secret lake hidden in the grounds of a beautiful estate and a scruffy dog, a new community is formed – right when they all need each other the most.

MY THOUGHTS: An absolute gem!

This is a fun read about friendship and kindness with a generous dollop of romance and a dressing of humour.

It’s impossible not to love Ettie. She may always be late for work, but her sunny nature, enthusiasm and warmth more than makes up for it. She loves people and loves helping them, even if doing so causes chaos in her own life.

Other characters include Ettie’s granddad, a man with a heart of gold and a wonderful allotment; Gracie, a widow and Dominic’s business partner in the hotel venture; and Dominic, who has been badly hurt in the past and has trust issues.

The Wednesday Morning Wild Swim is a delightful and enchanting romantic-comedy with so much more to it. Beautifully written, it flows along, pulling the reader into the storyline and providing more than a few belly-laughs.

Ettie, with her heart of gold, is torn between trying to be loyal to her boss, helping her granddad instil a sense of worth into a teenage amputee, and some confidence into Gracie, who seems to have given up on life since the death of her husband.

There’s also an assortment of other interesting characters, some of whom were in the first book of this series. Although The Wednesday Morning Wild Swim is the second in the Yorkshire Escape series, it is easily read as a stand-alone. This is one of those lovely series that focuses on a location and each book focuses on a different set of characters.

Laura Brydon’s narration of this audiobook was absolutely superb.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.4

#TheWednesdayMorningWildSwim #NetGalley

I: @juleswakeauthor @harpercollinsuk

T: @Juleswake @HarperCollinsUK

#audiobook #contemporaryfiction #chic-lit #romance

THE AUTHOR: consider myself an honorary Yorkshire woman living in the Chilterns, who still misses proper hills.
I always had an over active imagination which was fuelled by a passion for reading from a young age. A trip to the Bronte’s parsonage at Haworth with my grandmother cemented my desire to be a writer one day.

After reading English at the University of East Anglia, working life began in the glamorous, but deeply shallow world of PR (and I enjoyed every minute of it) , where my fiction writing skills were honed on press releases and copy-writing projects.

One day didn’t happen until I happened to take a break between jobs which also coincided with a local 6 week writing course. This brilliant course started me writing in earnest.. It was now a case of not being able to not write. When the course finished, I set up the Tring Writers Circle. As a writer, its good to network with other like minds who also have people talking in the head, or are dreaming up the latest plot.

I felt obliged to set a good example, which also proved to be a genuine displacement activity for other tasks which I didn’t enjoy so much, such as cooking and ironing. Fortunately my husband is good at the former and an occasional participant in the latter.

In January 2019, with both my children at university, I took the bold decision to give up my job as a school business manager and commit to full-time writing.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins UK Audio via Netgalley for providing an audio ARC of The Wednesday Morning Wild Swim written by Jules Wake and narrated by Laura Brydon 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 is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

It seems like an awfully long time since I last did this post,but in reality it was three Sundays ago. I had a wonderful time with Kyle while he was home. Some days we just sat around and talked, some we visited old haunts like Mokau Beach where we used to go every Christmas holidays when he was small, and other days he went and visited his friends. He’s planning on coming home again somewhere around Christmas. And we are planning to go visit him next winter. Luke was very excited to meet his Uncle Kyle again and they spent hours building Lego together. We’ve had Luke stay two nights this week as his school had a teacher only day Friday. We took him home Saturday morning and watched him play soccer before we came back home. He really enjoyed the ducks and ducklings that seem to have moved into the neighbourhood and drew pictures of them which are now on the fridge doors. As is usual when Luke stays, we read and reread many of his books, and I did very little reading for myself.

Currently I have reading The Beach Babes by Judith Keim, A Seashell Cottage Book.

Although I am enjoying the storyline, I’m finding the dialogue stilted and formal. It’s a quick, enjoyable read though.

I have just started a backlist title from February, The Wedding Murders by Sarah Linley. So far, so good.

And I am listening to The Secret Life of Albert Entwhistle by Matt Cain. Again I have only just started this, but so far, so good.

This week I have five books to read for review. They are:

Blind Justice by David Mark, #10 in the DS McAvoy series

The call comes in before DS Aector McAvoy has had time for breakfast. The news is bad: A body. Found in the woods out at Brantingham.

The reality is even worse.

The young man’s mutilated corpse lies tangled in the roots of a newly fallen tree, two silver Roman coins nailed through his sightless eyes. Who would torture their victim in such a brutal manner – and why?

DS McAvoy makes the victim a promise: I will find answers. You will know justice. But justice always comes at a cost, and this time it may be McAvoy’s own family who pay the price.

Backstory by William L. Myers Jr. I haven’t previously read this author.

In the aftermath of his wife’s apparent suicide, Jackson Robert Hunter wakes up outside a bar with a badly battered head and no memory. Revelations convince Jackson that his wife’s death wasn’t a suicide, but a murder, and he sets out to find the killer.

While hunting the villain and struggling with his amnesia, Jackson discovers that his own backstory is a dark one, littered with broken hearts and dead bodies: a wife he betrayed; a lover he abandoned; a squad of crooked cops he double-crossed; and a city that lives in fear of his name.

Jackson’s odyssey takes him from a small town in Kansas to Philadelphia, then back cross-country to Las Vegas. Along the way he encounters a sister he didn’t know he had, a niece he failed to save, and a mentor ready to lead Jackson down the darkest of paths.

Finally, at the end of his journey, Jackson discovers that it’s not another man he’s been running to, or from, but his own damning deeds, and the paradoxical redemption they might bring.

Her Dying Day by Mindy Carlson. This appears to be a debut novel.

Aspiring filmmaker June Masterson has high hopes for her first documentary, the true story of the disappearance of famed mystery author Greer Larkin. June learned about the vanishing at age fourteen, locked down on her family’s isolated commune. Now, the deeper she digs into the project, the darker the story gets.

Everyone has a theory. Greer’s mother, Blanche, and her best friend, Rachel, believe that Greer’s fiancé, Jonathan, is the culprit. Greer’s agent is convinced that Greer committed suicide after a debilitating bout of writer’s block. And Jonathan claims it was either Greer’s controlling mother or Rachel, whose attachment to Greer went way beyond friendship.

In desperation, Rachel gives June a suitcase full of Greer’s most personal writings in hopes of finding proof against Jonathan. Then Rachel turns up dead. As June pores over Greer’s writings, she makes a devastating discovery that could finally reveal the truth about the author’s fate. But now, June finds herself in the sights of a killer who’ll stop at nothing to keep their darkest secret. 

Local Gone Missing by Fiona Barton, whose writing I love.

Elise King is a successful and ambitious detective–or she was before a medical leave left her unsure if she’d ever return to work. She now spends most days watching the growing tensions in her small seaside town of Ebbing–the weekenders renovating old bungalows into luxury homes, and the locals resentful of the changes.

Elise can only guess what really happens behind closed doors. But Dee Eastwood, her house cleaner, often knows. She’s an invisible presence in many of the houses in town, but she sees and hears everything.

The conflicts boil over when a newcomer wants to put the town on the map with a giant music festival, and two teenagers overdose on drugs. When a man disappears the first night of the festival, Elise is drawn back into her detective work and starts digging for answers. Ebbing is a small town, but it’s full of secrets and hidden connections that run deeper and darker than Elise could have ever imagined. 

And The Gin Sisters Promise by Faith Hogan, an Irish author I have read and enjoyed previously.

When Georgie, Iris and Nola’s mother died and their father disappeared into his grief, the sisters made a pact: they would always be there for one another, no matter what.

Now, decades later, they haven’t spoken for years and can barely stand to be in the same room. As his health declines, their father comes up with a plan to bring them back to one another. In his will, he states that before they can claim their inheritance, they must spend six months living together in their childhood home in the village of Ballycove, Ireland, and try to repair their broken relationships.

As the months progress, old resentments boil over, new secrets threaten to come out and each sister must decide what matters more: their pride, or their family. Can they overcome their past and find a way to love each other once more?

And now to new ARCs I’ve received since I last posted. I’m guessing that there’s going to be quite a few!

The Dark Room by Lisa Gray

The Beach Babes by Judith Keim, which I am currently reading.

Guilt Trip by Ed James, DS Vickie Dodds #5

Me and Paul: Untold Stories of a Fabled Friendship by Willie Nelson with David Ritz

After She’d Gone by Alex Dahl

The Last House on the Cliff by Anne Wyn Clark

Old Friends Reunited by Maddie Please, a new author to me.

The Girl Who Survived by Lisa Jackson

The Will by Rebecca Reid, another new author to me.

Everything in Between by Valerie G. Miller, a collection of short stories on love, loss and family by another new to me author.

The Girl Who Left by Jenny Blackhurst, yet another new author to me.

And one audiobook – The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder, narrated by Dan Bittner and Khristine Hvam

So twelve books over three weeks, I haven’t gone overboard averaging four books a week. I did try to drop in occasionally to see what everyone was doing.

Have a great week of reading. ❤📚

After Happily Ever After by Leslie A. Rasmussen

EXCERPT: A half hour later, I was turning down my block when I realised I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to do any more laundry. I didn’t want to wash any more dishes. Or walk the dog. Or cook dinner. Since Gia started her senior year, and would be leaving for college soon, I’d been struggling with how I was going to find a new purpose to my life. There were plenty of people who would have been happy to not have to go to a job every day, but right now I wasn’t one of them. If I had a job, after she left, I’d have a place where I could still feel important. At forty-five, I was insecure, and I worried whether I’d ever get back into the workforce, and at the same time, wondered if I really wanted to. My mixed-up thoughts depressed me. And then I remembered something that made my day even worse. I’d offered to volunteer at Gia’s school to set up for Winter Carnival. Oh yay! I’d get to be with Mom’s who loved to boss people around.

ABOUT ‘AFTER HAPPILY EVER AFTER’: Maggie Dolan finds herself at forty-five at a crossroads in her life. Once a high-level executive, she’s chosen to be a stay-at-home mom for the last seventeen years. But now with her daughter, Gia, soon leaving for college, and her husband, disconnected and with secrets he hasn’t shared, Maggie decides it’s time to figure out what she wants for the rest of her life. As she begins her journey, she has to deal with a narcissistic mother, a brother who doesn’t like her and most damaging of all, the news that her father, her rock, has medical issues that may take him from her. Overwhelmed by all these issues, she’s led in a direction that could destroy what she’s built and make her question the choices she’s made. She’s torn between the life she’s always known and something more exciting that she never expected.

MY THOUGHTS: If you’re looking for a character to despise, you’ve found her. Meet Maggie Dolan. The book synopsis calls Maggie’s mom narcissistic, but Maggie wins that contest hands down.

In Maggie’s world, everything is about Maggie. ‘Oh, poor me! My daughter’s leaving home, I won’t know what to do with myself. My psychologist husband seems withdrawn and depressed, he should be paying me more attention. My mom is having to cope with my dad, the love of her life, living in a care facility, but she annoys me and I can’t be bothered to give her the time of day except when I want something from her, and anyway, my mom likes my brother more than me, what’s wrong with her?’ And best friend Ellen is just a killjoy because she wants Maggie to stop seeing the hot, much younger guy from the gym.

Maggie set my teeth on edge.

The story is told almost entirely from Maggie’s point of view, with just the occasional and mostly irrelevant chapter from the point of view of Maggie’s husband, and her father.

I liked Maggie’s dad, and his story is the only reason I continued with this read.

I enjoyed Tiffany Phillips narration of the audiobook.

⭐⭐

#AfterHappilyEverAfter #NetGalley

I: @leslierauthor @blackstonepublishing

T: @LeslieRAuthor @BlackstonePub1

#audiobook #chiclit #contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama

THE AUTHOR: Leslie has written personal essays for online magazines such as Huffington Post, MariaShriver, and SheKnows. She loves dogs and besides having two adorable Labradors, she is a member of The Alliance of Therapy Dogs and has volunteered at her local animal shelter. Leslie lives in Los Angeles and has two sons, and a husband she has been with since college.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Blackstone Publishing via Netgalley for providing an audio ARC of After Happily Ever After written by Leslie Rasmussen and narrated by Tiffany Phillips 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 is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Good afternoon all. Currently I am reading The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan. This is very different to her Cormac Reilly series, but is definitely gripping.

I am also reading Beneath Cruel Waters by Jon Bassoff.

and am almost finished listening to The Bletchley Women by Patricia Adrian. Although it’s not what I was expecting, I am enjoying it.

I’ve had a good reading week and will finish all four books I had scheduled either tonight or early tomorrow, although I am again a bit behind with writing reviews.

This week I am reading The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

In every person’s story, there is something to hide…

The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.

Six Graves by Angela Marsons

It’s a typical teenage bedroom with posters covering the walls and clothes littering the floor. But the girl lying on her bed, wearing a delicate chain around her neck, is lifeless. A circle of red stains her white vest top and Kim feels a sharp stab of sadness. How had the girl’s mother looked down at her sleeping child and pulled the trigger?

When Detective Kim Stone rushes to the scene of a house fire, she’s shocked to discover it’s claimed the lives of two teenage children and their parents. But this tragedy is not quite as it seems. Each body is marked by a gunshot wound and the mother, Helen Daynes, is holding the gun.

The case sparks painful childhood memories for Kim who suffered at the hands of her own abusive mother. As she begins to untangle the dark web of secrets within the Daynes family, Kim and her team discover Helen had a history of clinical depression. But could it have driven her to murder her loved ones?

Then Kim uncovers a tiny, vital clue in Helen’s bedroom that throws the investigation wide open. Could someone else have killed the Daynes family?

With the case only just underway, a deadly threat is made to Kim’s own life. Years ago, she rescued two little girls from the clutches of a dangerous psychopath who has just escaped prison and is coming for her.

A witness protection officer glued to her side, Kim must bite back her fear, as she keeps digging into the Daynes’s background and soon hits upon a shocking secret from Helen’s past that could crack the case. With the remaining family members in danger, Kim is under pressure like never before.

The monster circling Kim raises the stakes when he threatens the life of another innocent victim. He’s leading Kim straight to him. Forced to go against direct instructions from her superiors, will that one fateful decision cost her more than her job?

Blood Sugar by Sacha Rothchild

“I could just kill you right now!” It’s something we’ve all thought at one time or another. But Ruby has actually acted on it. Three times, to be exact.

Though she may be a murderer, Ruby is not a sociopath. She is an animal-loving therapist with a thriving practice. She’s felt empathy and sympathy. She’s had long-lasting friendships and relationships, and has a husband, Jason, whom she adores. But the homicide detectives at Miami Beach PD are not convinced of her happy marriage. When we meet Ruby, she is in a police interrogation room, being accused of Jason’s murder. Which, ironically, is one murder that she did not commit, though her vicious mother-in-law and a scandal-obsessed public believe differently. As she undergoes questioning, Ruby’s mind races back to all the details of her life that led her to this exact moment, and to the three dead bodies in her wake. Because though she may not have killed her husband, Ruby certainly isn’t innocent.

And The Last to Disappear by Jo Spain

A small town. A frozen lake. Three missing women. One body.

When young London professional Alex Evans is informed that his sister’s body has been pulled from an icy lake in Northern Lapland, he assumes his irresponsible sister accidentally drowned. He travels to the wealthy winter resort where Vicky worked as a tour-guide and meets Agatha Koskinen, the detective in charge. Agatha is a no-nonsense single mother of three who already thinks there’s more to Vicky’s case than meets the eye.

As the two form an unlikely alliance, Alex also begins to suspect the small town where his sister lived and died is harbouring secrets. It’s not long before he learns that three other women have gone missing from the area in the past and that his sister may have left him a message.

On the surface, Koppe, Lapland is a winter wonderland. But in this remote, frozen place, death seems only ever a heartbeat away. 

I will be listening to After Happily Ever After by Leslie A. Rasmussen

Maggie Dolan finds herself at forty-five at a crossroads in her life. Once a high-level executive, she’s chosen to be a stay-at-home mom for the last seventeen years. But now with her daughter, Gia, soon leaving for college, and her husband, disconnected and with secrets he hasn’t shared, Maggie decides it’s time to figure out what she wants for the rest of her life. As she begins her journey, she has to deal with a narcissistic mother, a brother who doesn’t like her and most damaging of all, the news that her father, her rock, has medical issues that may take him from her. Overwhelmed by all these issues, she’s led in a direction that could destroy what she’s built and make her question the choices she’s made. She’s torn between the life she’s always known and something more exciting that she never expected.

Five new ARCs this week: An Island Summer by Jenny Hale

The Seamstress of New Orleans by Diane C. McPhail

When We Had Wings by Ariel Lawhon, Kristina McMorris, and Susan Meissner

The Guilty Couple by C.L. Taylor

and The Saint of Lost Things by Tish Delaney

The fire is blazing and a roast of lamb is cooking in the oven. We are forecast rain tomorrow. Will it arrive? The clouds look promising, but we’ve been here before . . . To all my friends in Queensland please stay safe. It looks like you have another week of heavy rain on the way. Keep calm and read on.

❤📚

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Happy Easter to you all.

Currently I am reading The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith. I adore Isabel Dalhousie and had a sudden urge to visit with her despite not having finished all my reads for review for the week.

I am almost finished listening to Treasure and Dirt by Chris Hammer which is set in a mining community in the west of New South Wales, Australia.

This week I have four titles to read for review. They are A Rose Petal Summer by Katie Fforde

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO FALL IN LOVE…

Caro Swanson has taken a job in a remote part of Scotland.

She’s answered an ad in The Lady: being a companion to an elderly gentleman who lives in a country estate could be perfect! Surely it’s time to make a change and do something different for a while?

The fact that she may also see Alec, the young man who she met some years previously and who she has always thought of as her ‘one who got away’, is of course purely incidental.

Soon Caro is falling in love – not only with Alec but with the stunning country house she’s now living in. But the estate is in financial difficulties, and Caro soon realises there’s only one way to rescue it.

So begins a magical romantic summer, one that will take Caro from Scotland to London and the south of France, in search of a classic lost perfume that might just restore all their fortunes.

The Beach House by Beverley Jones

When Grace Jensen returns to her home in the ocean-front town of Lookout Beach one day, she finds a body in a pool of blood and a menacing gift left for her: a knife, a coil of rope and handcuffs.

The community of Lookout Beach are shocked by such a brutal intrusion in their safe, close-knit community – particularly to a family as successful and well-liked as the Jensens – and a police investigation begins to find the trespasser.

But Grace knows who’s after her. She might have changed her name and moved across the world, deciding to hide on the Oregon coast, but she’s been waiting seventeen years for what happened in the small Welsh town where she grew up to catch-up with her.

Grace might seem like the model neighbour and mother, but nobody in Lookout Beach – not even her devoted husband Elias – knows the real her. Or how much blood is on her hands.

The Widow’s Husband by Lesley Sanderson

For seven years I believed my husband was dead – until the note arrived this morning…

The day her husband Tom disappeared, Rachel’s life fell apart. Childhood sweethearts with two young children, they’d done everything together. And then, suddenly, Tom was gone. Without a word, without a note, without a single sign of where he might be, leaving Rachel to survive alone.

Now, nearly seven years later, Rachel has come to terms with life as a single mother, caring for their children who still secretly long for their father’s miraculous return.

But in his absence, Tom’s hidden life started to emerge, and Rachel has discovered things a wife should never have to. A secret life that betrayed everything Rachel thought she knew. Not knowing where he’d gone was no longer the main worry keeping her awake at night – it seemed much more likely he’d been silenced. Forever.

Until today, when – with just one month until Tom is to be declared legally dead – Rachel receives a note in handwriting she recognises with dread:

My darling, I’ve missed you so much. Give me a chance to explain. I’m coming home.

The husband she’d lost is alive.

And so are all his secrets… 

And Other People’s Lives by J.E. Rowney

“Let me ask you. Are you worried that someone is watching you, or are you worried that you think someone is watching you?”

Sophie Portman has lost her husband, and she thinks she may be losing her mind.

She seeks the help of psychiatrist Andrew Thacker, but as she starts to open up, the truth begins to unravel and nothing is quite as it seems.

I have received eleven new reads for review this week 😱🤯

Six Graves (DI Kim Stone #16) by Angela Marsons

Beneath Cruel Waters by John Bassoff

Auld Acquaintance by Sofia Slater

The Last to Disappear by Jo Spain

A Familiar Stranger by A.R. Torre

The Blackhouse by Carole Johnstone

Murder Through the English Post by Jessica Ellicott

And four audio ARCs. After Happily Ever After by Leslie A. Rasmussen and narrated by Tiffany Phillips

The Bletchley Women by Patricia Adrian, narrated by Imogen Wilde and Antonia Whillans

The Wednesday Morning Wild Swim by Jules Wake narrated by Laura Brydon

The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hildebrand narrated by Erin Bennett

I think that I have had some older requests from my pending list approved at the last moment as a couple of these are published next week. I now have nine books to read for review in the last week of April. I still have 28 titles on my pending list despite using that wonderful new button that removes your request.

Have a happy Easter everyone and I hope the Easter Bunny has been kind to you. He seems to have lost my address . . . .

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

I tried to take Luke to the library to borrow some books a couple of weeks ago, but he told me he wanted to keep the books forever, so we didn’t go. I had a book to return yesterday, so I took him with me and he brought 4 books home, and suddenly it’s a really good idea to borrow books then take them back and swap them for new ones. These were his selections:

Currently I am reading and loving Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham. I can see myself reading late into the night tonight despite having an early start tomorrow so that I can get done what I need to before going for my Covid vaccination.

I am also reading A Vineyard Crossing by Jean Stone, a new author for me. I have to admit it was the cover that first attracted me. I just wanted to plonk myself down on the sand and soak up the view. The Adirondack chair? Am I the only person earth who finds these uncomfortable? It probably has something to do with my short legs…. But however I came select this, I am enjoying this warm, gentle read.

I am not currently listening to an audiobook, but I have All the Little Hopes by Leah Weiss ready to go.

Deep in the tobacco land of North Carolina, nothing’s the same since the boys shipped off to war and worry took their place. Thirteen-year-old Lucy Brown is curious and clever, but she can’t make sense of it all. Then Allie Bert Tucker comes to town, an outcast with a complicated past, and Lucy believes that together they can solve crimes. Just like her hero, Nancy Drew.

That chance comes when a man goes missing, a woman stops speaking, and an eccentric gives the girls a mystery that takes them beyond the ordinary. Their quiet town, seasoned with honeybees and sweet tea, becomes home to a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp—and more men go missing. The pair set out to answer the big question: do we ever really know who the enemy is?

This week I am planning on reading Stolen by Tess Stimson

You thought she was safe. You were wrong…

Alex knows her daughter would never wander off in a strange place. So when her three-year-old vanishes from an idyllic beach wedding, Alex immediately believes the worast.

The hunt for Lottie quickly becomes a world-wide search, but it’s not long before suspicion falls on her mother. Why wasn’t she watching Lottie?

Alex knows she’s not perfect, but she loves her child. And with all eyes on her, Alex fears they’ll never uncover the truth unless she takes matters into her own hands.

Who took Lottie Martini? And will she ever come home?

And The Noise by James Patterson and J.D. Barker

If you hear it, it’s too late. Can two sisters save us all?

In the shadow of Mount Hood, sixteen-year-old Tennant is checking rabbit traps with her eight-year-old sister Sophie when the girls are suddenly overcome by a strange vibration rising out of the forest, building in intensity until it sounds like a deafening crescendo of screams. From out of nowhere, their father sweeps them up and drops them through a trapdoor into a storm cellar. But the sound only gets worse .

I received 8 new ARCs this week 🤦‍♀️

Lil’s Bus Trip by Judy Leigh – I was excited by this as I have been requesting this author for some time, and this is my first approval.

The Sunshine Club by Carolyn Brown

Darkness Falls by David Mark

The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths

Plus Cause of Death by Jeffery Deaver. This is an excellent novella which I read last night. Watch for my review later this week.

The Noise by James Patterson and J.D. Barker which I am reading this week

A Vineyard Crossing by Jean Stone, which I am currently reading

And the audiobook All the Little Hopes by Leah Weiss, which I will start tomorrow.

I have travelled mainly in USA this week, Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Porto Rico; Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts; Martinsville County, also Massachusetts; with side trips to Porthteal,Cornwall; and Hendon, a suburb of London. Where have you travelled this week?

Have you read any of the books I have coming up, or are they on your TBR? Or have I tempted you to add them to your TBR?

Have a wonderful week. Stay safe and keep on reading!❤📚