Einstein’s Beach House by Jacob M Appel

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

If you have been following my blog for some time, you will be familiar with Jacob M Appel’s work. He writes with a wry humour and a strong grasp of our all too human foibles. If you are new to my blog, then I am delighted to introduce you to one of my favorite short story authors who has recently branched out into writing novels. Please do wander through my archives and take a look at the other works of this amazing author.

Einstein's Beach House by Jacob M. Appel
Einstein’s Beach House 
by Jacob M. Appel (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: That year Lizzie’s kid sister kept a list of things that were funny when they happenedto other people: tarring and feathering, Peeping Toms, mad cow disease. The rare encephalopathy from which their father suffered didn’t actually come from eating infected cattle, it turned out, but from a spontaneous somatic mutation – which Bill Sucram’s neurologist described as ‘losing the Genetic lottery ‘ – yet the ailment was enough like mad cow that Lizzie’s mother swore off animal products. Overnight Myra Sucram stopped fricasseeing duck and took to ordering exotic soy dishes from a newly opened vegan-kosher deli on Walloon Street. Her family’s health consumed her: she spent mornings arguing with Bill’sinsurance carrier, afternoonsresearching manganese contamination and do it yourself dioxin tests at the public library, and evenings promising her husband and daughters that medical breakthroughs can happen overnight. She wore her smile like a shroud.
Lizzie’s father resigned himself to his diagnosis. He informed the Pontefract Board of Education that he had six months to live and that he did not intend to spend them at the office. Then he composed a list of people who harbored him ill will – a shady plumber he’d sued in small claims court, his estranged step-brother in Las Vegas – and he telephonedeach one to apologize. One night, the thirty-eight year old agnostic middle school principal summoned his daughters to hot cocoa at the kitchen table and announced, “I fear I’ve taught you girls too much grammar and not enough forgiveness.” So Lizzie was mortified, but not unprepared, when her father insisted on taking them to meet the sex offender.

THE BLURB: A couple adopts a depressed hedgehog; a stranger shows up, claiming to be the father of a girl’s imaginary friend; a woman kidnaps her ex-husband’s turtle; a family is evicted from their home, but was it ever really theirs? Heartbreaking and hilarious, the eight stories of Einstein’s Beach House examine how we deceive ourselves and others, all to arrive at something far more real.

MY THOUGHTS: I loved these stories and will be seeking out more of Mr Appel’s works.
I tried to limit myself to one story per day as they are so thought provoking, but was not always successful.

This is a quirky, eclectic and occasionally dark collection of stories about human nature – mostly about that “aha!” moment in our lives, when things become perfectly clear, even if only momentarily.
Both Appel’s stories and his characters remain with you long after you have finished reading.
Highly recommended.

Thank you to author Jacob M Appel for providing a copy of Einstein’s Beach House 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/1249010959

Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker

Keep Her Safe by Richard Jay Parker
Keep Her Safe 
by Richard Jay Parker (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Maggie waited, her heart feeling as if it was frantically clawing it’s way up her chest. She still didn’t move. Her thoughts were rewinding to the previous week, when she’d been sick with terror outside another door. . .

THE BLURB: How far would you go to protect your child?

Maggie’s daughter Penny is her whole world… and she’d do anything to protect her. So when Maggie wakes one night to find a strange woman in her home, she runs to lock herself in her bedroom with her child. But Maggie knows why she’s come…

Someone has been targeting mothers and offering them a choice: do as he says or their child disappears. This stranger in her home has until dawn to follow his orders… but Maggie too has the ‘choice’ to make. Can she put the pieces together to stop the cycle before her time is up?

MY THOUGHTS: Once I got beyond the first chapter of Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker, I found this very fast paced and action packed thriller to be a quick and easy read. The problem with the first chapter was that although there was obviously only one person attacking Maggie in her home, the author constantly referred to the attacker as ‘them’, ‘they’ and ‘their’, making the script unwieldy, clumsy and irritating to read. A short example – ‘Maggie kicked again, and this time caught their chin. As they grunted, she wrenched her ankle from their grip and slid away. . .’. I think that the author has written it this way in an effort to hide the sex of Maggie’s assailant. But, as this is given away by the blurb, Maggie knows, and it is revealed just pages later, it seems an unnecessary and detrimental precaution.

As I said, Keep Her Safe is fast paced and action filled, but I found it to be a bit OTT and lacking in depth for my taste. There could have been a lot more made of the psychological aspects motivating the person manipulating the women, but this is glossed over and ‘rushed’.

If I had to use just one word to describe Keep Her Safe, it would be ‘lurid’. This is a book that relies on sensational action scenes to keep the reader’s interest rather than well-developed plot twists and good characterisation. I certainly wouldn’t class it as a psychological thriller, but do believe that it would make a popular movie. I don’t think that this is an author I will be reading again, but that is purely personal preference. There will be a good market for this book, and if you enjoyed my excerpt and find the blurb interesting, I urge you to pick up a copy of Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker and give it a try.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker 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/2250134183

The Confession by Jo Spain plus a glimpse of what I am currently reading, what is coming up, and ARCs I have been approved for this week.

You’re going to get a mixed bag today! It ‘s been busy, busy, busy in the world of books. So don’t tune out after the review!

Firstly, let’s do the ‘What I ‘ve been reading’ – The Confession by Jo Spain

The Confession by Jo Spain
The Confession 
by Jo Spain (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: It’s the first spray of my husband’s blood hitting the television screen that will haunt me in the weeks to come – a perfect diagonal splash, each droplet descending like a vivid red tear.

That and the sound of his skull cracking as the blows from the golf club rain down.

THE BLURB: Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?

This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who – of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one? And is Carney’s surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?

MY THOUGHTS: I was excited by the first third of The Confession by Jo Spain. After that point, the novel seemed to lose some impetus and I began to struggle to maintain my interest. I found myself skimming large parts of the characters back stories, which were mainly irrelevant, in parts downright depressing, and far too long. And it never really picked up again. I never regained that feeling of excitement and by 70% in I had figured out what was going on, which is not necessarily a problem, as it could have been clever, but I found the ending to be somewhat clumsily executed and too drawn out.

The story is told from three points of view: that of Julie, the victim’s wife; JP, the victim’s killer; and Alice, the investigating officer. Don’t expect to like any of the characters, not even the murder victim.
They are all thoroughly unlikeable, but quite realistic, so full marks to Jo Spain for her characterisation. She has a good grasp of human relationships, the petty jealousies and games of oneupmanship.

Instead of just being an okay read, The Confession could be a really good book. It just needs a bit more judicious editing. Having said that, a lot of people will love this book, and you may be one of them. So if you enjoyed the excerpt and like the sound of the blurb, please go ahead and get a copy of The Confession and let me know what you think of it.

The Confession by Jo Spain will be published by Hachette Australia 11 January, 2018.

Thank you to Hachette Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Confession by Jo Spain 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/2199347899

Never one to do things by halves, I have 3 books on the go at the moment.
I always like to have an audio book loaded to listen to while I am working around the house and the yard. Currently I am listening to
The Red Hunter
What is the difference between justice and revenge?

Claudia Bishop’s perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old house–one that unbeknownst to her has an ugly history and may hide long buried secrets.

For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific murder of her parents. Years later, she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the past–and within.

Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision course–because Zoey’s past nightmare and Claudia’s dreams for her future take place in the same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the terrifying monsters at the door.

Yesterday I began a book loaned to me by a friend,
The Agency (The Dan Calder Series Book 1)
I am only 20 pages into this, but it is a very interesting and controversial premise. I am looking forward to seeing how it progresses. It is not at all what I was expecting!
Dan Calder is an ex Brit and ex policeman looking for a fresh start in a new country but still carrying the baggage of failed relationships and a depressed, repressed past. He chose New Zealand because it was as far as he could get from his old life but did not take into account the universal six degrees of separation is no more than two or three in the land of the long white cloud.

The Agency provides a service like no other and New Zealand is the ideal location to find a new client. When Calder first encounters it by sheer chance, his life instantly changes and before long others are depending on him too.

Engaged in a deadly game with an unknown foe; this was not the new life Dan Calder planned for himself but now at stake is the ultimate reward; his own salvation.

And I am just about to begin a Netgalley ARC
Coming Home to Island House
From Erica James, bestselling author of Summer at the Lake, comes an enchanting tale of one family coming together and finding their way.

It’s the summer of 1939, and after touring an unsettled Europe to promote her latest book, Romily Temple returns home to Island House and the love of her life, the charismatic Jack Devereux.

But when Jack falls ill, his estranged family are called home and given seven days to find a way to bury their resentments and come together.

With war now declared, each member of the family is reluctantly forced to accept their new stepmother and confront their own shortcomings. But can the habits of a lifetime be changed in one week? And can Romily, a woman who thrives on adventure, cope with the life that has been so unexpectedly thrust upon her?

I have always enjoyed this author as a little light relief from my darker reading habits.
And finally, ARC books I have been approved for from NetGalley this week
Portrait of a MurdererNight-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense
Bring Me Flowers (Detectives Kane and Alton, #2)
Let me know what you are reading, and what you have coming up! Happy reading.

The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre

The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre
The Ghostwriter 
by Alessandra Torre (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: “What’s happened to you, Helena?”
What’s happened to me? I have a story that I don’t have time to tell. I have an empty house that reeks of death. I have no friends, no family, and no one to ask for help. I’m dying, and it’s the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time.

THE BLURB: Four years ago, I lied. I stood in front of the police, my friends and family, and made up a story, my best one yet. And all of them believed me.

I wasn’t surprised. Telling stories is what made me famous. Fifteen bestsellers. Millions of fans. Fame and fortune.

Now, I have one last story to write. It’ll be my best one yet, with a jaw-dropping twist that will leave them stunned and gasping for breath.

They say that sticks and stones will break your bones, but this story? It will be the one that kills me.

This book is not a romance. It is contemporary fiction, but very suspenseful in nature. It is about a famous romance author and a dark secret she keeps.

MY THOUGHTS: The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre gripped me from the start- I come, I eat, and afterward, while Bethany draws and I settle into the recliner to write, he does the dishes. A perfect morning. A perfect husband. A perfect daughter. A perfect lie. 

This is a book that I devoured, hungrily, yet a book in which I savoured every word. It is a book in which I became completely absorbed. It is intense. It is vivid. In its own way, it is scary. It is painful. It is wonderful! It is a story that is not going to leave me in a hurry, not just for its magnificent plot, but for the emotions it engendered.

5 very bright and shining stars ☆☆☆☆☆

Thank you to DCA via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Ghostwriter 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/2136965818

Murder in the Family by Faith Martin

MURDER IN THE FAMILY (DI Hillary Greene #5) 
by Faith Martin

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: He was a big lad, but not fat, with dark hair and what she thought might be blue eyes. He might be as old as an under-developed sixteen, or as young as a well-developed thirteen, it was hard to tell. He was dressed in dark blue tracksuit bottoms and a T-shirt. The logo was hard to make out, mostly due to the fact that he had a pair of garden shears sticking out of his chest. The dark stain of blood had pooled into his lap, but very little had made it to the floor. And from that alone she surmised that his heart must have stopped beating almost immediately. She had hoped so anyway, the poor little bugger.

THE BLURB: 15–year-old Billy Davies is found dead in his father’s shed. A pair of gardening shears thrust brutally into his chest.

DI Hillary Greene tries to get to the bottom of this baffling crime.

How had Billy come into contact with such a vicious killer? Who wanted him dead and why? The investigation reveals that the teenager was not such an innocent young man.

Meanwhile, Hillary’s having a tough time at work. She’s been passed over for promotion, and her reliable constable Tommy Lynch is to be transferred out. But Hillary won’t let distractions get in the way of solving crimes.

To catch this killer, Hillary will need to dig deep into the dark secrets of a small community.


MY THOUGHTS: Who would want to stick a pair of gardening shears into the chest of a fifteen year old boy? A good question. And there are multiple possible answers. DI Hillary Greene is tasked with solving the crime.

Although this is #5 in the DI Hillary Greene series, it works well as a stand alone read.

Murder in the Family could almost be classed as a cosy murder mystery. There is no overt violence, no sexual content and, I ‘m afraid, not much in the way of suspense either. While I didn’t find this particularly suspenseful, it was still a good read. Faith Martin has created interesting and realistic characters and a plot with plenty of red herrings and suspects. She has a good balance between the investigative story, and the personal lives of the characters. She writes humorously at times – I loved the name of Hillary’s ancient Volkswagen, Puff the Tragic Wagon.

I would have liked a little more suspense, and I felt that the ending was a little rushed. Otherwise it was a good solid read, if nothing particularly special. Would I read other titles in the series? Yes, it was an easy, undemanding and enjoyable read. 3.5 stars.

One more thing, I much prefer the books original title, Through A Narrow Door. It somehow seems more mysterious.

Thank you to Joffe Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Murder in the Family by Faith Martin 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/2193740836

Where We Went Wrong by Andi Holloway

Where We Went Wrong by Andi Holloway
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: “I’m sorry, but your son is dead.” Detective Vern Wilkes inspects your study, workplace of the great Bertram Stone, former best-selling and now bereaved novelist. This is a career-making case, and though he apologizes for your loss, he isn’t sorry. He’s suspicious, and I wonder how much he knows.

THE BLURB: Two families’ pasts unravel when the last person to see a missing girl alive is murdered and the victim’s crime-writing father becomes the prime suspect.

“This suspenseful narrative will grip even the most discerning readers of thriller/suspense. There are elements of such engaging texts as Gone Girl and even Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and there’s a lot to like about this book. The author does a wonderful job with the slow burn, making me believe but simultaneously question most of the characters, and the revelations that unfold in the last act are truly surprising.” Kate B., Line Editor, Red Adept Editing

“With its great storytelling and jaw-dropping revelations, this book is hard to put down. Readers who enjoy a tightly crafted mystery and well-written characters will appreciate this story. Highly recommended!” Kristina B., Proofreader, Red Adept Editing

Second wife Harper Stone’s life is nothing like she imagined. A talented writer bound for the kind of greatness she inspires in her husband, Harper exchanges her lifelong dreams of becoming a bestselling author for the ready-made family of her nightmares.

With her eight-year-old stepson at the center of a missing person’s investigation, Harper struggles to balance the obligations of motherhood with her calling as an author, ultimately sacrificing her success in support of her husband, whose crime-writing career is fueled by their ordeal.

It’s only when he becomes the prime suspect in his son’s murder, years later, that she begins asking the difficult questions about his past, about their marriage, and about the disappearance of the little girl whose remains have never been found.

As Harper looks into the cold case where their problems began, she discovers people aren’t who they seem. Not the missing girl’s mother. Not Matthew, the last person to see the girl alive. Not her husband, whose obsession with the disappearance has caused an irreparable rift between them. Not even Harper herself, a woman trapped by obligation and circumstance.

In the throes of an investigation based in the past, solving Matthew’s murder means getting to the bottom of what happened all those years ago. Two families are destroyed by a single bad decision. The question is which decision, and whose was it?

MY THOUGHTS: Where We Went Wrong by Andi Holloway explores the complications of blended families, of second marriages, infidelity, jealousy, resentment, mental illness, success and failure. And if that’s not complicated enough, throw in the disappearance of a child, the murder of another child, and many many lies and deceptions. And while parents are expected to love their children unconditionally, it would seem that children are able to blame their parents for everything that is wrong with their lives.

We all tell lies of some sort, even if they are only little white lies. We all have secrets. Most of us have self-serving agendas. But believe me, the characters in Where We Went Wrong take this to a whole new level.

It did take me a few pages to get accustomed to Andi Holloway’s writing style, which at first I found a little confusing, but it suits the plot brilliantly. The story is told in the first person by Harper, Bert’s second wife, step-mother to Matthew, Bert’s disturbed son who, as a child, was involved in the disappearance of his friend Hannah. As an adult, estranged from his father and step-mother, his body is discovered stabbed to death in a park. Prime suspect is his father.

This is an amazing debut novel. Andi Holloway is an author to watch.

Thank you to Andi Holloway via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Where We Went Wrong 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/2241528382

Saving Noah by Lucinda Berry

Saving Noah by Lucinda Berry
Saving Noah 
by Lucinda Berry (Goodreads Author)


EXCERPT: Noah being charged as a sex offender sucker punched our entire suburban community. Child molesters were adults – dirty old men who lured children into their cars with promises of candy and treats. They weren’t A-honor roll students who ran varsity track and went to mass every Sunday.

THE BLURB: Not since Lionel Shriver brought us We Need to Talk About Kevin has a writer delved into the complexities of a disturbed mother/son relationship. Until now.

Meet Noah—an A-honor roll student, award-winning swimmer, and small-town star destined for greatness. There weren’t any signs that something was wrong until the day he confesses to molesting little girls during swim team practice. He’s sentenced to eighteen months in a juvenile sexual rehabilitation center.

His mother, Adrianne, refuses to turn her back on him despite his horrific crimes, but her husband won’t allow Noah back into their home. In a series of shocking and shattering revelations, Adrianne is forced to make the hardest decision of her life. Just how far will she go to protect her son?

Saving Noah challenges everything you think you know about teenage sexual offenders. It will keep you up at night long after you’ve read the last page, questioning beliefs you once thought were true.

MY THOUGHTS: Child molestation. Bullying. Suicide. Family relationships. Secrets and lies. Author Lucinda Berry, a clinical psychologist specialising in childhood trauma, tackles some difficult subjects with sensitivity. That is not to say she pussy-foots around them, because she certainly doesn’t do that! She tackles everything head on, bravely, but with great sensitivity.

How did a boy who seemed so good do something so bad?

The story of Noah’s fall from grace is told mainly from his mother, Adrianne’s point of view, and that of Noah himself. It chronicles the fallout following 15 year old Noah’s shock admission that he has molested two young girls, the wedge it drives between the family members themselves, their friends and community. It chronicles Noah’s treatment and rehabilitation back into ‘society’ and school. But it doesn’t end there . . .

I don’t quite know what I was expecting when I began Saving Noah, but I got far more than I bargained for. I don’t quite know how to review this book without major spoilers, so I won’t. Nor do I know how to do it justice. Let me just say that it is one of the most touching, emotionally intense and sad books that I have recently read.

Thank you to Rise Press for providing a digital copy of Saving Noah by Lucinda Berry 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/2237496491

Friday Favorite – The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

I read a publishers ARC of a book this week called Dead Ernest by Frances Garrood, which I will be talking about closer to its March publication date. Although their plots are nothing alike, there was something about the ambience of the book that brought to mind The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce, which I loved. So here is the Friday Favorite for this week  –

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Your letter arrived this morning. We were in the dayroom for morning activities. Everyone was asleep.

Sister Lucy, who is the youngest nun volunteering in the hospice, asked if anyone would like to help with her new jigsaw. Nobody answered. “Scrabble?” she said.

Nobody stirred.

“How about Mousetrap?” said Sister Lucy. “That’s a lovely game.”

I was in a chair by the window. Outside, the winter evergreens flapped and shivered. One lone seagull balanced in the sky.

“Hangman?” said Sister Lucy. “Anyone?”

A patient nodded, and Sister Lucy fetched paper. By the time she’d got sorted, pens and a glass of water and so on, he was dozing again.

Life is different for me at the hospice. The colors, the smells, the way a day passes. But I close my eyes and I pretend that the heat of the radiator is the sun on my hands and the smell of lunch is salt in the air. I hear the patients cough, and it is only the wind in my garden by the sea. I can imagine all sorts of things, Harold, if I put my mind to it.

Sister Catherine strode in with the morning delivery. “Post!” she sang. Full volume. “Look what I have here!”

“Oh, oh, oh,” went everyone, sitting up.

Sister Catherine passed several brown envelopes, forwarded, to a Scotsman known as Mr. Henderson. There was a card for the new young woman. (She arrived yesterday. I don’t know her name.) There is a big man they call the Pearly King, and he had another parcel though I have been here a week and I haven’t yet seen him open one. The blind lady, Barbara, received a note from her neighbor—­Sister Catherine read it out—­spring is coming, it said. The loud woman called Finty opened a letter informing her that if she scratched off the foil window, she would discover that she’d won an exciting prize.

“And, Queenie, something for you.” Sister Catherine crossed the room, holding out an envelope. “Don’t look so frightened.”

I knew your writing. One glance and my pulse was flapping. Great, I thought. I don’t hear from the man in twenty years, and then he sends a letter and gives me a heart attack.

THE BLURB: When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note had explained she was dying. How can she wait?

A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold everything. In confessing to secrets she has hidden for twenty years, she will find atonement for the past. As the volunteer points out, ‘Even though you’ve done your travelling, you’re starting a new journey too.’

Queenie thought her first letter would be the end of the story. She was wrong. It was the beginning.

MY THOUGHTS: I didn’t want this book to end……I quite fell in love with Miss Queenie Hennessey and the other residents of the hospice.

This book moved me to tears, made me laugh, made me think about me relationship with my mother, with my grandmothers, with my sons.

It made me remember how selfish we are as young adults, so uncertain in ourselves, but so certain that we know so much more than our parents.

It brought back memories, both good and painful. This delightful book is a journey in itself.

Queenie has had to move into the hospice to die – she is removed from her beloved house by the sea and her sea garden, her garden of tribute to those she has loved, her garden of memories.
Faced by her imminent death, she writes to Harold Fry, her unrequited love, and he sets out to walk the length of England to be with her. Scared that she will not live long enough to see him, she takes up the challenge when a new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold everything.

His unlikely pilgrimage captivates the other hospice residents, with whom Queenie – who has kept herself apart since her arrival – slowly makes friends.

I will be seeking out Rachel Joyce’s other works. An unreserved recommendation from me.

I own my copy of this book. 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/1206539049

A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave

A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave
A Killer Harvest 
by Paul Cleave (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: “It’s all fairly routine,” Mitchell says – only it isn’t. None of this is. Mitchell is forty years old, and is fast approaching the date when he will have spent exactly half his life on the force, and in that time he’s learned that the bigger the lie, the bigger the secret. Today the lie is going to be massive. The man they are here to see is going to tell them he was on the other side of the planet visiting his sick mother in hospital. He was on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean rescuing dolphins. He was orbiting the moon. He was anywhere except the one place they know he had been – Andrea Walsh’s car. And where is Andrea Walsh? They don’t know. But the bloody power saw found near her car suggests she could be discovered in a variety of places – all at the same time. Not only was there blood on the saw, but hair and bone and pieces of flesh, some no bigger than a splinter, others the size of a knuckle, including, what the coroner told them, was an actual knuckle. The car was found abandoned two nights ago, pulled up off the motorway, out of petrol. A motorist who had almost run into it reported it. The police had not been able to contact the owner and, the following day, had begun to search the area. The bloody saw was found in a ditch fifty metres off the side of the road with the knuckle lodged under the retractable guard.

THE BLURB: A new thriller from the Edgar-nominated author of Trust No One and Joe Victim about a blind teenager who receives new eyes through corneal donation and begins to see and feel memories that he believes belong to the previous owners a detective and a serial killer.

Joshua is convinced there is a family curse. It’s taken away his biological parents, robbed him of his eyesight, and is the reason his father Logan, the detective who raised him, is killed while investigating the homicide of a young woman. The suspect, Simon Bowers, is killed by Logan’s partner Ben, whose intentions are murkier than expected.

After this tragedy Joshua is handed an opportunity he can’t refuse: a new pair of eyes. But a mishap during the surgery leads to Joshua unknowingly getting one eye from his father, and the other from Simon. As Joshua navigates a world of sight, he gets glimpses of what his eyes might have witnessed in their previous life. Memories, truths, and lies Joshua discovers a world darker than the one he has emerged from. What else has he failed to see?

Meanwhile, Simon’s accomplice Vincent is bent on revenge, going after the loved ones of those involved in Simon’s death and Vincent is drawing closer and closer to Joshua.

MY THOUGHTS: OMG! I read the majority of A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave in one day with, I must add, my gut muscles clenched and the fingernails of my right hand firmly gripped between my teeth. And I DO NOT chew my fingernails!

Paul Cleave specialises in the ‘moral dilemma’, good cop frustrated with ‘the system’ taking things into his own hands in order to make the world a better/safer place. Add to this mix a bit of medical intrigue, in this case organ transplants, and you have the recipe for a great thriller.

Cleave’s bad guys are always chillingly evil, usually masquerading as a perfectly normal (or almost normal) members of society. His good guys (or gals as the case may be), are dedicated to their jobs, their families, their communities. They don’t like that after all their hard work catching the criminals, that the justice system is so lenient. They don’t like it that bad things happen to good people, and bad people just keep on doing bad things, and even worse things.

If you like a dark thriller, Paul Cleave is an excellent choice. Cleave is a New Zealand author from Christchurch in the South Island, the setting for his books. He is an author of whom we can feel justifiably proud.

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/2230119239

The Wanted by Robert Crais

The Wanted by Robert Crais
Reviewed by


Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Jones

Dec 31, 2017  
really liked it

bookshelves: 2017netgalley-arc4-starcontemporary-fiction,crimesandy-s-ng-nirvanasandy-s-reading-retreatsuspensethriller

Read 2 times. Last read December 28, 2017 to December 31, 2017.

EXCERPT: “…these kids leave prints and DNA everywhere.”
The world slowed when I heard him.
I said, ” Kids.”
“They’re kids. Three morons.”
I said it again, just to be sure.
“Teenagers, young adults, whatever. A female and two males. I’m not saying they’re little children.”
I stared out the window. Wilcox described big nasty mothers and multiple burglaries.
“How many burglaries are we talking about?”
“Seventeen, eighteen, something like that. The number’s in play. The task force is playing connect-the-dots with fingerprints.”
“A task force has the case?”
“This is big, brudda man. You mess with rich people, you get the fullcourt press.”
“They have prints and DNA, but no IDs.”
“It happens. Never been busted, so they aren’t in the system. They hood up, they’re good about ducking the cameras, but the one kid, he finally screwed up. Unknown Male Numero Uno. We got him. First Tier got his face.”
Dave was so proud of himself he laughed.
“Can I see his picture?”
“Sure. On the way.”
My phone chimed when the picture arrived.
I knew who I would see even before I opened Dave’s email.

THE BLURB: It seemed like a simple case before the bodies starting piling up. Investigator Elvis Cole and his partner, Joe Pike, take on the deadliest case of their lives, in the new masterpiece of suspense from the #1 New York Times bestselling author
When single mother Devon Connor hires private investigator Elvis Cole, it’s because her troubled teenage son Tyson is flashing cash and she’s afraid he’s dealing drugs. But the truth is devastatingly different. With two other partners in crime, he’s been responsible for a string of high-end burglaries, a crime spree that takes a deadly turn when one of them is murdered and Tyson and his girlfriend disappear.

They stole the wrong thing from the wrong man. Determined to get it back, he has hired a team that is smart and brutal, and to even the odds, Cole calls in his friends Joe Pike and Jon Stone. But even they may be overmatched. The hired killers are leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. A few more won’t make any difference.

MY THOUGHTS: In the almost four years since I joined Goodreads.com, so many people have told me that I must read/will enjoy Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series. They were right. Sometimes I am a little slow . . .

Yes, I know that I have joined the series at #17, but it really doesn’t matter. The book is written so that it can be read as a stand alone. References to past history are few and well explained.

The Wanted is fast paced, action filled, and yet is remarkably tender when dealing with the emotions of the teenagers. And the teenagers are teenagers. They play follow the leader; the leader being the most assertive, the one who knows best, the one who is sure that the adults know nothing, the one who can manipulate, the emotionally damaged one.

As I said, this was my first encounter with the Cole/Pike team. It won’t be my last. I am joining their massive fan club.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Wanted by Robert Crais for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/2199349164