Watching what I’m reading . . .

Happy Sunday afternoon. We were supposed to have heavy rain all day, but other than a couple of light drizzly showers, there’s been nothing, so I have had to water the vege garden. I picked another seven cucumbers for Luke’s roadside stand, but I fear that’s the last of them. It doesn’t look as though there are many feijoas on the tree, and there’s no sign yet of mandarins, so he may have a bit of a dry spell for a while. Dustin and Luke have been down for the afternoon and have just left to go back home so that they’ve time to give Timmy a run before it’s dark. Daylight saving ends here next week, so it will get dark even earlier.

Helen and I went and investigated the two new antique shops in the area Friday morning. We had a lovely time and finished with coffee out.

Currently I am reading, and almost finished, The Only Suspect by Louise Candlish. I’m not over-enamoured, but reserving my final opinion as she often pulls something out of the hat right at the end.

I am still listening to the family saga, The House at Riverton by Kate Morton.


I am not quite caught up with my March reads yet, hopefully this week. I have two reads for review due this week: Those Empty Eyes by Charlie Donlea

Alex Armstrong has changed everything about herself—her name, her appearance, her backstory. She’s no longer the terrified teenager a rapt audience saw on television, emerging in handcuffs from the quiet suburban home the night her family was massacred. That girl, Alexandra Quinlan, nicknamed Empty Eyes by the media, was accused of the killings, fought to clear her name, and later took the stand during her highly publicized defamation lawsuit that captured the attention of the nation.

It’s been ten years since, and Alex hasn’t stopped searching for answers about the night her family was killed, even as she continues to hide her real identity from true crime fanatics and grasping reporters still desperate to locate her. As a legal investigator, she works tirelessly to secure justice for others, too. People like Matthew Claymore, who’s under suspicion in the disappearance of his girlfriend, a student journalist named Laura McAllister.

Laura was about to break a major story about rape and cover-ups on her college campus. Alex believes Matthew is innocent, and unearths stunning revelations about the university’s faculty, fraternity members, and powerful parents willing to do anything to protect their children.

Most shocking of all—as Alex digs into Laura’s disappearance, she realizes there are unexpected connections to the murder of her own family. For as different as the crimes may seem, they each hinge on one sinister truth: no one is quite who they seem to be . . .

And A Pen Dipped in Poison by J.M. Hall, which I can’t wait to get to. I loved the first book in this series and am looking forward to catching up with Liz, Pat and Thelma again.

Signed. Sealed. Dead?

Retired schoolteachers Liz, Pat and Thelma never expected they would be caught up in a crime even once in their lives, let alone twice.

But when poison pen letters start landing on the doorsteps of friends and neighbours in their Yorkshire village, old secrets come to light.

With the potential for deadly consequences.

It won’t be long until the three friends are out on a case yet again…

Only one publisher’s Widget this week, and one ARC. The widget is Summer at the Cornish Farmhouse by Linn B. Halton

And ARC is The Widow of Weeping Pines by Amanda McKinney

I am back at work fulltime from Monday. Hopefully not for too long. I will still be going to aquarobics, but other interests will be taking a back seat while I deal with the end of the financial year and training someone new for my job. *sigh* I have a meeting with the outgoing manager tomorrow. She walked off the job at lunchtime Friday after having, only days earlier, agreed to work through to the end of March. 🤷‍♀️

Enjoy however much remains of your weekend. I’m making toasted sandwiches for dinner tonight – ham, cheese, mustard. Then I will sort out the menu for the rest of the week and make a shopping list. We’re a bit like Mother Hubbard’s cupboard here as I haven’t done a grocery shop for two weeks.

Happy reading!❤📚

First Lines Friday

Photo by Meszu00e1rcsek Gergely on Pexels.com

Welcome to First Lines Friday originally hosted by Reading is my SuperPower.

Instead of judging a book by its cover, here are the first few lines which I hope will make you want to read this book.

A scream ripped through the air. She didn’t know if it came from her, or from him as his hands flew up to cover his face, or from the car itself as it left the road with a screech of tyres on tarmac. Then silence, the tree filling the windscreen, its leaves black in the headlights. A crunch of metal and the lights went out. Her face rammed hard against something, pain flowered in bright colours inside her skull. She tilted her face and opened her eyes, seeing blues and reds and nasty purples. There was a silence in the car. Terror washed through her, and the terror was bigger than the pain.

‘Please help me,’ Jude said to no one at all.

Like what you’ve just read?

Want to read more?

These are the opening lines of one of my current reads, The Favour by Nicci French.

It’s a simple enough favor.

Jude hasn’t seen Liam in years, but when he shows up at her work asking for a favor, she finds she can’t refuse. All Jude has to do is pick Liam up at a country train station—without telling anyone. So what if she has to lie to her fiancé? Jude is still committed to him and their imminent wedding, even if she and Liam were in love once.

She owes him.

After the car crash that changed everything years ago, bright, ambitious Jude went to medical school, back on the path she had planned before meeting moody, artistic Liam. Meanwhile, he never fully recovered from the dark stain the accident left on his record.

Now he’s gone.

When the police show up at the station instead of Liam, Jude realizes that she knows nothing about the man he’s become. Now she’s tangled up in his life, the last person to have seen him, and maybe the only one who can uncover the truth about what went wrong—even if she destroys her own life in the process.

Tempted?

Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger

EXCERPT: Hannah drifted into the dining area to get a closer look at the sculpture. As she drew closer, she felt goose bumps come up on her flesh.
Yes, it was a skull, but not an animal. It was unmistakably human. She found herself transfixed by the dark eyeholes, moved in closer.
What surrounded it was not bleached wood but more bones. She was no expert but she could make out ribs, pieces of vertebrae, hip bones, collarbones, shards and fragments, sharp and ragged. Hannah released a little gasp, then backed up and found herself knocking into Chef Jeff.
‘Interesting piece, isn’t it?’ he said.
Hannah felt at a loss for words. ‘Is that real? Are those – human bones?’
He smiled coolly, holding a big pair of grilling tongs. His apron was smeared with something dark. It looked like – blood. His gaze was steely. Hannah felt her stomach churn a bit.
‘Yes,’ he confirmed. ‘Those are human bones. This piece is created by a local artist, a friend of the host’s. Are you familiar with the concept of memento mori?’
Hannah shook her head, wishing she could just return to the group but not wanting to be rude.
‘From the Latin,’ he went on. ‘Remember that you must die

ABOUT ‘SECLUDED CABIN SLEEPS SIX’: Three couples rent a luxury cabin in the woods for a weekend getaway to die for in this chilling locked-room thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger.

What could be more restful, more restorative, than a weekend getaway with family and friends? An isolated luxury cabin in the woods, complete with spectacular views, a hot tub and a personal chef. Hannah’s loving and generous tech-mogul brother found the listing online. The reviews are stellar. It’s his birthday gift to Hannah and includes their spouses and another couple. The six friends need this trip with good food, good company and lots of R & R, far from the chatter and pressures of modern life.

But the dreamy weekend is about to turn into a nightmare. A deadly storm is brewing. The rental host seems just a little too present. The personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated past, with secrets that run blood deep. How well does Hannah know her brother, her own husband? Can she trust her best friend? And who is the new boyfriend, crashing their party? Meanwhile, someone is determined to ruin the weekend, looking to exact a payback for deeds long buried. Who is the stranger among them?

MY THOUGHTS: I had no idea where Lisa Unger was taking me, but was I worried? No.

The characters are all flawed. There are layers of mistakes made both in the present and the past, bad judgments, failures, lies, deception and secrets.

Mako (Mickey), Tech Entrepreneur, and wife Liza, yoga instructor and lifestyle influencer, have an enviable lifestyle. But there are rumours about Mako, about both his business practices and what he gets up to in private. Liza is a very different person to Mako, almost diametrically opposite. She’s clean living and concerned about the environment. She’s also well aware of what Mako is really like, but loves him in spite of his deficiencies and deceptions.

Mako’s sister Hannah is married to Bruce, a nice solid guy who also works in the tech industry, currently for Mako. They have a baby daughter, Gigi, who they are leaving for the first time. Hannah adores her brother and always has. Although younger than Mako, it is she that has always been on the lookout for him, the one who has, on numerous occasions, pulled his ass out of the fire; not the other way around.

Cricket has been Hannah’s best friend, through school and beyond. She’s Mako’s ex, and they still have a very close relationship. Hannah, Mako and Cricket have been through a lot together, have a lot of history, a lot of shared secrets. This weekend Cricket is accompanied by her new boyfriend, Joshua who, she excitedly reveals to Hannah, may just be ‘the one.’

The approaching storm isn’t the only trouble on the horizon for this group. People are acting oddly, the chef and his wait staff are creepy, and Hannah is sure that they are being watched.

Running parallel to the main thread is the story of Henry, a young man of dubious origin, orphaned in his teenage years and brought up in a group home. I loved Henry’s character. Henry is the centre of a great mystery. Officially, he doesn’t exist.

Unger takes these two threads and weaves them together in a way I certainly wasn’t expecting, but one that I found very satisfying.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

#SecludedCabinSleepsSix #NetGalley

I: @launger @legend_times

T: @lisaunger @Legend_Times

#contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #familydrama #mystery #thriller #suspense

THE AUTHOR: Lisa Unger is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author. With books published in thirty languages and millions of copies sold worldwide, she is widely regarded as a master of suspense. She lives on the west coast of Florida with her family.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Legend Press for providing a digital ARC of Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger 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

The Mistress Next Door by Lesley Sanderson

EXCERPT: He calls me his mistress. I like it; it sounds quaint and old fashioned and brings to mind a powerful woman, à la Anne Boleyn. Milk-white skin, dark hair and dangerous eyes, swishing around in her heavy brocade dress made from cascades of the ornate fabric, only her delicate shoulders and collarbones visible above her neckline, playing hard to get before eventually securing her prize.
I’ve already secured mine, and once that was done, I set my attention on his wife. Who’d have thought that we’d become friends, popping in and out of one another’s houses, stretching at yoga classes and sweating on the treadmill and sharing thick, green gloop afterwards, believing it is good for us. I even get to spend time with their children, which is extra sweet, and there’s no danger of them becoming mine. Children aren’t part of a mistress’s lot. But once I’m no longer the mistress . . .

ABOUT ‘THE MISTRESS NEXT DOOR’: I know what you did. You destroyed my life. Now I’m going to take everything from you, starting with your husband. I’m your worst nightmare, and I’m closer than you think.

Oliver, my husband and the father of our three little girls, used to be my rock. But recently he’s been behaving strangely, staying out late, working weekends and emotionally absent even when home. Now as I clutch a receipt for a hotel room and champagne for two, hidden away in his coat pocket, I’m devastated. What else can I assume other than he’s cheating?

I’ve risked everything for the life I have now, a life that’s a million miles from… before. Not that Oliver would know anything about that. I would do anything to hold on to the perfect future I so dearly long for. A future that is now about to come crashing down.

Because Oliver’s cheating isn’t the only threat to my family. This morning I received an anonymous note. One that changes everything. The past isn’t just haunting me, it’s coming back to destroy me. It seems that someone in our close-knit community of Prospect Close knows my secret. Someone who’s willing to do whatever it takes to get their revenge. They’ve already stolen my husband. How much further will they go? And what can I do to stop them…?

MY THOUGHTS: Is it me? Or is it you? I’m not sure. Usually Lesley Sanderson’s books draw me right in and I devour them in a day or two. But somehow The Mistress Next Door missed the mark for me.

The story is told over two timelines – now and 2006 – by the main character, Harriet, and the prologue from the point of view of the anonymous mistress. Maybe we should have heard a little bit more from her to keep the tension ramped up? And her revelation? – I’ll deal with that later.

I do admit that I had great fun trying to decide who she was, and frequently changed my mind as to her identity.

I had no particularly strong feelings about Harriet, whom I should have felt empathy for. She came across as sulky and petulant at times. Her husband Oliver I didn’t like at all. Martin and Edward were the most interesting characters, and we didn’t see nearly enough of them. They had a great vantage point from their penthouse apartment and I’m sure they saw and knew far more than they let on.

The motive behind all this and the great revelation just didn’t ring my bells and was disappointing, as was the revelation of Harriet’s secret. It was obvious from the moment she started telling her backstory what it was going to be.

This particular novel lacked the suspense I have come to expect from this author. While have enjoyed Lesley Sanderson’s books to varying degrees previously, this is definitely my least favourite. I kind of enjoyed this, mainly with a sense of anticipation that wasn’t, in the end, realised.

I was lucky enough to receive both a digital and audio ARC of The Mistress Next Door, switching from one format to the other depending on what I was doing. I absolutely adored Eilidh Beaton’s narration.

⭐⭐.9

#TheMistressNextDoor #NetGalley

I: @lesleysandersonauthor @bookouture

T: @LSandersonbooks @Bookouture

#contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #mystery

THE AUTHOR: Lesley spends her days writing in coffee shops in Kings Cross where she lives and also works as a librarian in a multicultural school. She loves the atmosphere and eclectic mix of people in the area, and she loves languages.

She attended the Curtis Brown Creative novel writing course in 2015/6, and in 2017 was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish fiction prize.

Lesley discovered Patricia Highsmith as a teenager and has since been hooked on psychological thrillers. She is particularly interested in the psychology of female relationships.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing both a digital and audio ARC of The Mistress Next Door written by Lesley Sanderson and narrated by Eilidh Beaton. 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 . . .

We’re currently having lovely warm days and very cold nights, something I can live with. But we have more rain forecast next week and apparently a cold spell as well that may see me hibernating.

The Eastern Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand has been hit by a swarm of earthquakes over the past 36 hours. To all my bookish friends in that region, my thoughts are with you and I hope you are all safe.

I am currently reading A Gentle Murderer by Dorothy Salisbury Davis, set in the 1950s. It took me a wee bit to settle into, but now I’m enjoying it immensely. It’s not quite a murder-mystery as we meet the murderer making confession early in the book, but it’s the police and the Priest to whom he confessed trying to ascertain just who he is, and then trying to find him, that provides the entertainment.

I am also reading #1 in a New Zealand crime/detective series by Vanda Symon, Overkill. I read the 5th in the series last week and loved it so much that I decided to begin at the beginning. Loving it. At this point it’s looking like another 5 star read.

Book 1 in the PC Sam Shephard series. Action-packed, tension-filled and atmospheric police procedural set in rural New Zealand.

When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems. Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast said her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands. To find the murderer… and clear her name. A taut, atmospheric and pageturning thriller, Overkill marks the start of an unputdownable and unforgettable series from one of New Zealand s finest crime writers.

I am listening to The House at Riverton by Kate Morton, narrated by Emilia Fox. This was originally published as The Shifting Fog.

The House at Riverton is a gorgeous debut novel set in England between the wars. Perfect for fans of “Downton Abbey,” it’s the story of an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death, and a way of life that vanished forever, told in flashback by a woman who witnessed it all.

The novel is full of secrets – some revealed, others hidden forever, reminiscent of the romantic suspense of Daphne du Maurier. It’s also a meditation on memory and the devastation of war and a beautifully rendered window into a fascinating time in history.

I, again, have only one read for review due this week, just as well as I am still reading books that were published two weeks ago. Her Deadly Game by Robert Dugoni is due for publication 23rd March, and hopefully I will be caught up by then.

A defense attorney is prepared to play. But is she a pawn in a master’s deadly match? A twisting novel of suspense by New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni.

Keera Duggan was building a solid reputation as a Seattle prosecutor, until her romantic relationship with a senior colleague ended badly. For the competitive former chess prodigy, returning to her family’s failing criminal defense law firm to work for her father is the best shot she has. With the right moves, she hopes to restore the family’s reputation, her relationship with her father, and her career.

Keera’s chance to play in the big leagues comes when she’s retained by Vince LaRussa, an investment adviser accused of murdering his wealthy wife. There’s little hard evidence against him, but considering the couple’s impending and potentially nasty divorce, LaRussa faces life in prison. The prosecutor is equally challenging: Miller Ambrose, Keera’s former lover, who’s eager to destroy her in court on her first homicide defense.

As Keera and her team follow the evidence, they uncover a complicated and deadly game that’s more than Keera bargained for. When shocking information turns the case upside down, Keera must decide between her duty to her client, her family’s legacy, and her own future.

I have received two publishers widgets this week, and one ARC via Netgalley. The Netgalley ARC is Summer Nights at the Starfish Cafe by Jessica Redland. I’m excited about this as I haven’t previously been approved for any of her books.

The two publishers widgets are: Black Thorn by Sarah Hilary

And The Seventh Victim by Michael Wood. This is a series that has consistently been 5 star reads.

I’ve done quite well with my posting this week. I’m not promising the same for this week.

I’ve a shoulder of lamb in the oven for tonight’s dinner and it smells delicious. The vegetables are just waiting to be tipped into the roasting dish. I’ll be sneaking a slice or two before I dish up and putting between two slices of the fresh bread I bought from the bakery today slathered in butter, salt and pepper. That’s one of life’s guilty pleasures for me.

Enjoy your weekend!❤📚

The House Guest by Hank Phillipi Ryan

EXCERPT: She patted her face dry with a fluffy white towel, monogrammed, and wondered if she could somehow cut all the monograms off. She reached out to pull down the blue-and-white striped duvet, then paused, arm in mid-air. She had never been in this bed alone.
Now she stared at it, a thing suddenly from another life. The elaborate headboard had been crafted from local driftwood, buffed and painted a bleached blue, like a stone tumbled by the waves and left in the sand. Blue-striped linens, thin white matelassé blankets, and an oversize almost threadbare antique quilt of pale blue and white diamonds draped across the foot of the bed, so lavish that both ends draped on the floor. Bill’s favourite ship model, the Cutty Sark, he’d explained, still sailed to nowhere atop three steamer trunks, stacked like unpacked Russian Dolls in the corner. She had half a mind to throw the thing over the balcony and onto the grass below, and it gave her chills, thinking about destroying Bill’s possessions. Destroying what he loved, just the way he’d destroyed her.

ABOUT ‘THE HOUSE GUEST’: After every divorce, one spouse gets all the friends. What does the other one get? If they’re smart, they get the benefits. Alyssa Macallan is terrified when she’s dumped by her wealthy and powerful husband. With a devastating divorce looming, she begins to suspect her toxic and manipulative soon-to-be-ex is scheming to ruin her—leaving her alone and penniless. And when the FBI shows up at her door, Alyssa knows she really needs a friend.

And then she gets one. A seductive new friend, one who’s running from a dangerous relationship of her own. Alyssa offers Bree Lorrance the safety of her guest house, and the two become confidantes. Then Bree makes a heart-stoppingly tempting offer. Maybe Alyssa and Bree can solve each others’ problems.

But no one is what they seem. And the fates and fortunes of these two women twist and turn until the shocking truth emerges: You can’t always get what you want. But sometimes you get what you deserve.

MY THOUGHTS: Yeah, nah, maybe . . .

Sometimes reading this was like wading through molasses, or being caught in a whirlpool, going round and round and round in circles over and over again. At other times it was intriguing and engaging.

The story started well with Alyssa meeting another down on her luck woman in a bar and taking her home to stay with her. Shortly after this the story gets a bit bogged down and repititious, not really becoming interesting again until the final 20%.

During the middle period my mind ran over all the possible scenarios and I was 90% correct with my predictions. Which isn’t a criticism, but had I been fully engaged and living ‘in the moment’ of the storyline, I wouldn’t have had time for my mind to wander . . .

None of the characters, with the exception of Mickey, are particularly likeable. And I was kind of rooting for Alyssa throughout but, for such a smart woman, she made some remarkably dumb decisions.

The plot is clever, but I never became fully invested. I have previously read books by this author and loved them. Had I gone into this not knowing who the author was, I never would have picked it to be Hank Phillipi Ryan.

A story of love, betrayal and revenge that isn’t up to the author’s normal standard. But I adore the cover.

⭐⭐⭐.2

#TheHouseGuest #NetGalley

I: : @hankpryan @macmillanusa

T: @MacmillanUSA

#contemporaryfiction #crime #domesticdrama #friendship #psychologicaldrama

THE AUTHOR: Hank Phillippi Ryan is an American investigative reporter for Channel 7 News on WHDH-TV, a local television station in Boston, Massachusetts. She is also an author of mystery novels.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The House Guest by Hank Phillipi Ryan 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

Who Did You Tell by Lesley Kara

EXCERPT: Just because you imagine yourself doing something and enjoy the way it makes you feel, doesn’t mean you actually want to do it. It doesn’t mean you’re going to do it. Of course not. Because sometimes the very opposite is true and something you never in a million years could imagine yourself doing is done in the blink of an eye and changes your life forever.
So if, in my head, I’m grabbing a handful of her braids and slamming her head into a brick wall till her skull’s smashed in, it doesn’t mean that’s what I’ll do. It doesn’t make me a bad person just thinking about it. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s normal to have the odd violent fantasy about someone you hate so much every muscle in your body contracts when you think of them. I mean, everybody does it sometimes, don’t they? Don’t they?
Seven slams, if you’re interested. That’s how many it takes till her braids run red.

ABOUT ‘WHO DID YOU TELL ?’: It’s been 192 days, seven hours and fifteen minutes since her last drink. Now Astrid is trying to turn her life around. Having reluctantly moved back in with her mother, in a quiet seaside town away from the temptations and painful memories of her life before, Astrid is focusing on her recovery. She’s going to meetings. Confessing her misdeeds. Making amends to those she’s wronged. But someone knows exactly what Astrid is running from. And they won’t stop until she learns that some mistakes can’t be corrected. Some mistakes, you have to pay for.

MY THOUGHTS: Wow! That was a crazy ride and a half!

Astrid is a resentful and angry character. She is an alcoholic, back living with her mum, who is insisting that she attends AA. Astrid can’t get her head around the whole ‘God’ thing and believes that only a few of the twelve steps apply to her.

Her fellow AA attendees are an odd bunch, but only three play a significant role in the storyline. Rosie is an older homeless woman who seems to be taking an unusual amount of interest in Astrid’s life. She repeatedly warns Astrid against continuing her friendship with Helen, another new attendee, the only person Astrid feels that she can relate to. She is surprised to find that a colourless seemingly ineffective man, Jeremy (Jez), is actually a well-respected lawyer and connected to a family Astrid is painting for. Which worries Astrid as she hasn’t revealed to them that she is an alcoholic.

It’s really engaging following Astrid’s faltering steps through her recovery which are complicated by a past she is unprepared to reveal and a series of threatening notes she receives which makes her sure that she is being targeted by someone who knows exactly what she is guilty of.

While initially I didn’t particularly care for Astrid, by the end of the book, I came to like and admire her.

Astrid’s mum is another great character. She loves her daughter and will do anything within her power to help her daughter through her battle with alcohol. But she’s no pushover. She doesn’t take any shit from her daughter.

There’s a little romance, but it fits nicely into the storyline and isn’t overpowering.

Lesley Kara has created a wonderful mix of psychological drama and personal struggles that was difficult to put down.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.4

#WhoDidYouTell? #WaitomoDistrictLibrary

I: @lesleykarawriter @penguinukbooks

T: @LesleyKara @TransworldBooks

#contemporaryfiction #crime #mystery #suspense

THE AUTHOR: THE AUTHOR: Lesley Kara is an alumna of the Faber Writing Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course. She lives in the small town of Flinstead-on-Sea on the North Essex coast. The Rumour is her first novel.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Waitomo District Library for providing a paperback copy of Who Did You Tell by Lesley Kara 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 is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Good Sunday afternoon. We’ve had a lazy weekend and have accomplished very little. I don’t even have to think about dinner tonight as we’re off to a friend’s later this afternoon to watch the Supercar racing out of Australia and staying for dinner. I’m really looking forward to it.

I didn’t manage to accomplish much reading wise over the past week either. I have only managed to finish one of my six reads for review for the week, but will probably finish the second tonight.

Currently I am reading The Summer

And a book by a new to me New Zealand author, Vanda Symon. Loving it!

A killer targeting pregnant women.

A detective expecting her first baby…


The shocking murder of a heavily pregnant woman throws the New Zealand city of Dunedin into a tailspin, and the devastating crime feels uncomfortably close to home for Detective Sam Shephard as she counts down the days to her own maternity leave.

Confined to a desk job in the department, Sam must find the missing link between this brutal crime and a string of cases involving mothers and children in the past. As the pieces start to come together and the realisation dawns that the killer’ s actions are escalating, drastic measures must be taken to prevent more tragedy.

For Sam, the case becomes personal, when it becomes increasingly clear that no one is safe and the clock is ticking…

I am listening to The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly

I am hoping to catch up on the reads I didn’t get to last week as I have only one read for review due this week. It is Murder at the Willows by Jane Adams.

Meet Rina Martin, a retired actress with a taste for tea, gardening and crime solving.

She played a TV sleuth for years, but now she has to do it for real.

There’s something strange about the scene . . . Famous artist Elaine appears to have passed peacefully in her sleep as she rested against a tree in the garden of her home, the Willows. Her legs are outstretched, hands tenderly clutching a small blue flower.

But upon closer inspection, things don’t add up. Where is Elaine’s trusty walking stick? Why did she choose to slumber on the ground when there is a comfortable lounge chair nearby? Where did that blue flower come from? . . . not from her garden, that’s for sure.

The clues soon point to murder. Elaine was beloved by the community, who would do such a thing? Her grandson is determined to uncover the truth and hires Rina to investigate.

The trail leads Rina to a series of shocking secrets, stretching back over twenty years. And a murderer who has unfinished business . . . Can our favourite amateur sleuth catch this killer before it’s too late?

Suddenly, because I decided to stop requesting ARCs for review, several that were on my pending list were approved, and I received three widgets from publishers!🤣🤣🤣 Is someone in the great library in the sky trying to tell you something?

The three publishers widgets are:

Windmill Hill by Lucy Atkins

The People Watcher by Sam Lloyd

And Don’t Look Back by Jo Spain

Other ARCs I received via Netgalley are:

The Guest House by the Sea by Faith Hogan

A Cornish Seaside Murder by Fiona Leitch

A Lonesome Blood-Red Sun by David Putnam

and The Lucky Shamrock by Carolyn Brown

Oh, well, I was obviously meant to have these. 🤷‍♀️❤📚

Thanks to all of you who have been asking after Pete. We’re back to Oncology Monday when they will plot a detailed map of the cancer for the radiation treatment which will be starting in the next two to three weeks.

Have a great week of reading and I’ll be popping in whenever I can. 🤗❤📚

The Doctor’s Wife by Daniel Hurst

EXCERPT: As the woman at the window watched the activity on the beach, she knew the body on the sand was going to be the event that turned this quiet seaside village into a hive of activity for several days to come. This isolated place was usually only frequented by local residents, delivery drivers from the nearby towns and the occasional tourist passing in and out of Scotland. Now it would be teeming with forensic experts, journalists and bystanders harbouring a morbid curiosity.
That was the thing about the appearance of a body in an unexpected place.
It demanded attention.
And it always got it.

ABOUT ‘THE DOCTOR’S WIFE’: He thinks his secret is safe. But she knows the truth…

My husband is a doctor. He’s smart and charming and everybody trusts him. Except me.

On the surface, it looks like I have it all – the perfect marriage, the perfect husband, the perfect life. But it’s far from the truth.

Doctor Drew Devlin is not the respectable figure he makes out to be. The reason we moved to this beautiful, old property with a gorgeous view of the sea was because we needed to put our past behind us. It should’ve been a fresh start for us both.

Except I’ve discovered my husband has been lying to me again. He’s using the power he has in his job to mess with people’s lives, and to get exactly what he wants – no matter who it hurts.

But he’s underestimated me. I’ve had plenty of time, in this big, isolated house, to think about all of his mistakes.

And my husband has no idea what’s about to happen next…

MY THOUGHTS: Which character did I dislike the most? I honestly don’t know!

I initially felt sorry for Fern, until she started to reveal her true colours. I disliked Drew throughout. I could have felt sorry for Alice, but I don’t. I do feel sorry for Rory. He was the true victim in all of this. He was easily manipulated by Fern, who is diabolically clever, and cold-hearted.

The story is told from the points of view of both Fern and Drew, covering both the present and the couple’s past in Manchester.

Don’t come into The Doctor’s Wife looking for a mystery, or a ‘whodunit’ – you know who’s doing what. The big question is, are they going to get away with it?

There are multiple twists and turns in this quick, entertaining read. There’s no depth to the characters, but in this case, it really doesn’t matter. I always finish Daniel Hurst’s books with a smile on my face, and I certainly did with The Doctor’s Wife, which ended with a bit of a cliffhanger. Normally I don’t particularly like cliffhanger endings, but in this case it was the perfect way to end and leaves the reader to decide whether or not the killer gets the comeuppance they deserve.

I was lucky enough to have both an audio and a digital ARC of The Doctor’s Wife for review and chopped and changed between the two media, enjoying both equally. One small point I don’t understand about the audiobook narrator’s roles is why David Wayman doesn’t narrate all the male voices as Sarah Durham’s rendition of male voices isn’t at all convincing.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.1

#TheDoctorsWife #Bookouture

I: @danielhurstbooks @bookouture

T: @dhurstbooks @Bookouture

THE AUTHOR: Writer/wanderer.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing both an audio and digital ARC of The Doctor’s Wife, written by Daniel Hurst and narrated by Sarah Durham and David Wayman, for review. All opinions expressed in the review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page on Goodreads.com or the about page on Sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review is also posted on Twitter, Instagram, Amazon and Goodreads.com

All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham

EXCERPT: ‘As I’m sure you all know, my name is Isabelle Drake, and my son, Mason, was kidnapped one year ago,’ I say. ‘His case is still unsolved.’
Chairs squeak; throats are cleared. A mousy woman in the front row is shaking her head gently, tears in her eyes. She is loving this right now, I know she is. It’s like she is watching her favourite movie, mindlessly snacking on popcorn as her lips move gently, reciting every word. She’s heard my speech already; she knows what happened. She knows, but she still can’t get enough. None of them can. The murderers on the t-shirts are the villains; the uniformed men in back, the heroes. Mason is the victim . . . and I’m not really sure where that leaves me.
The lone survivor, maybe. The one with a story to tell.

ABOUT ‘ALL THE DANGEROUS THINGS’: One year ago, Isabelle Drake’s life changed forever: her toddler son, Mason, was taken out of his crib in the middle of the night while she and her husband were asleep in the next room. With little evidence and few leads for the police to chase, the case quickly went cold. However, Isabelle cannot rest until Mason is returned to her—literally.

Except for the occasional catnap or small blackout where she loses track of time, she hasn’t slept in a year.

Isabelle’s entire existence now revolves around finding him, but she knows she can’t go on this way forever. In hopes of jarring loose a new witness or buried clue, she agrees to be interviewed by a true-crime podcaster—but his interest in Isabelle’s past makes her nervous. His incessant questioning paired with her severe insomnia has brought up uncomfortable memories from her own childhood, making Isabelle start to doubt her recollection of the night of Mason’s disappearance, as well as second-guess who she can trust… including herself. But she is determined to figure out the truth no matter where it leads.

MY THOUGHTS: First off, I don’t class this as a thriller. Go into All the Dangerous Things expecting a thriller, and you will be disappointed. A more honest classification, in my opinion, is psychological drama. A slow-burning psychological drama.

The story is told entirely from Isabelle’s pov, over two timelines – the present and the past, encompassing her own childhood and her early years with Ben – so we are privy to her innermost thoughts, her doubts and fears. She has a lot of both.

Obsessed with finding her son, her marriage to Ben has broken down and she is sleep deprived. Isabelle has always had sleep issues. She was a sleepwalker as a child and is now an insomniac. Flickers of the memory of something that happened when she was a child, and a death she has always blamed herself for continue to haunt her. Is it possible that she has harmed her own son?

For most of this read I was thinking 3-stars, but the final twenty percent totally blew me away.

⭐⭐⭐.9

#AlltheDangerousThings #NetGalley

I: @stacyvwillingham @harpercollinsuk

T: @svwillingham @HarperCollinsUK

#contemporaryfiction #crime #domesticdrama #mystery #psychologicaldrama

THE AUTHOR: Prior to writing fiction full time, Stacy worked as a copywriter and brand strategist for various marketing agencies. She earned her BA in Magazine Journalism from the University of Georgia and MFA in Writing from the Savannah College of Art & Design.

She currently lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband, Britt, and her Labradoodle, Mako.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins UK, Harper Fiction via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham 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 my webpage