Watching what I’m reading . . .

Happy Sunday. Luke has just gone home with his Dad and I have done a quick sweep around the house. I found a pair of his socks halfway down the hall, and his raptor in the dining room after we had been playing dinosaur hide and seek.

We have also baked cookies, caught up with all the laundry, and read lots of stories. He is starting to make up stories of his own now. I should write them down for him and illustrate them. Something to keep in mind for his next visit. Luke turns 4 next week and we’re having a birthday party for him next Saturday.

But, on to books….. I am currently reading Sally Hepworth’s The Good Sister.

Die of Shame by Mark Billingham

And listening to Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo, #2 in the Kate Burkholder series that I had somehow missed reading.

This week I am planning on reading The Whispers by Heidi Perks.

A MISSING WIFE. FOUR FRIENDS. WHO IS TELLING THE TRUTH?

Anna Robinson hasn’t been seen since she went on a night out with her four closest friends.

She has a loving husband and a son she adores. Surely she wouldn’t abandon them and her perfect life. . .

But what has happened to her?

At the school gates, it’s not long before the rumours start. Anna’s oldest friend Grace is beside herself with worry – desperately searching for answers, and certain that someone is hiding the truth.

With each day that passes, Anna’s life is under increasing threat. And a the pressure mounts, it won’t be long before something cracks. . .

I am keeping my reading load deliberately light because of my workload, but if I can, I will add a title from my backlist.

Only two new ARCs this week: Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons

And A Family Affair by Julie Houston

What are you planning on reading this week? Have a great one.

Cheers

Sandy ❤📚

The Best of Friends by Alex Day

EXCERPT: ‘There were things that you had hidden from even your closest friends, weren’t there?’

Silence.

‘One thing in particular, wouldn’t you agree?’

He’s going to reveal it and very soon everyone will know her history. She wills it over and done with. The jackals wait with bated breath, eager for the next titbit to feast upon. The QC inhales deeply before continuing, as if believing that oxygen will be in short supply once he has made the revelation.

The collective gasp that follows seems to prove him right. It emits forth with such force it might have come from the walls themselves. The woman’s blonde hair falls across her face as she drops her head in despair.

The case that has hitherto slithered back and forth has turned on a sixpence. The entire courtroom can see that the defendant has no way back from this.

The QC turns back to the judge. ‘No more, m’lord.’

He sits, and his black gown balloons around him like the darkening sky before a thunderstorm.

ABOUT ‘THE BEST OF FRIENDS’: Susannah is rebuilding her life…
Susannah has had a tough year. After a sticky divorce and losing the life she had grown accustomed to, moving to a small town in the south of England with her two sons is exactly the fresh start she needs.

Charlotte seems to have it all…
Charlotte is delighted when Susannah moves in. Charlotte may appear to have the perfect husband, the perfect family, the perfect house, but deep down she’s lonely, and she needs someone to confide in.

But one of them is not who they pretend to be…
The two women instantly become best friends. But underneath the surface, secrets, lies and betrayals are all hiding. And when the truth comes out, not everyone will live to tell the tale…

MY THOUGHTS: I thought that I would like The Best of Friends by Alex Day more than I did. There’s a poor little rich girl, Charlotte, and a poor little poor girl, Susannah, who become best friends. Both are needy. Both have secrets. Both lie. But Charlotte has something Susannah wants – a wealthy, handsome husband – and it would seem that Dan is ripe for the picking.

So, you know where this is going, right? And you would be mostly right. There are few surprises and even less tension and suspense in this read. There is a twist at the end that didn’t quite work for me. It left me with more questions than answers. And a vital piece of information is given away in the prologue, which spoiled things for me. The best part is around the middle of the book where the two women are circling each other like a pair of male lions spoiling for a fight.

Other than an overabundance of cliches and similies, there is not much wrong with the author’s writing that a good edit couldn’t fix. But overall, it is decidedly average. Not bad. Not
good. Just average. Next week I won’t even remember the plot.

⭐⭐.5

#NetGalley #HarperCollinsUK #onemorechapterhc

@HarperCollinsUK @OneMoreChapter_

#contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #psychologicalthriller

THE AUTHOR: Alex Day is a writer, teacher, parent and dreamer who has been putting pen to paper to weave stories for as long as she can remember. The Missing Twin is her first psychological thriller but she is a bestselling author of fiction under the name Rose Alexander.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter for providing a digital ARC of The Best of Friends by Alex Day for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Hummingbird Lane by Carolyn Brown

EXCERPT:Emma wondered if it could have been the chocolate cake that kept her from having the recurring nightmares the night before? Or was it the fact that she was so far away from that big mansion of a house and her overbearing mother, or even the many centres she’d been sent to for more than two decades? Whatever happened, it sure was nice to sleep all night without drugs and horrible dreams. If it was because she’d arrived at Hummingbird Lane, then Emma didn’t ever want to leave the place.

ABOUT ‘HUMMINGBIRD LANE’: Ever since childhood, Emma Merrill and Sophia Mason were bound by a passion for painting. Like all young best friends, they promised to never lose touch. But the girls came from different worlds, and their paths diverged when Emma went to an elite college and Sophie worked her way through state school.

After a decade they’ve reconnected, both in a time of need. Emma has been struggling with depression since her college years, and she’s lost herself under the suffocating influence of her controlling and manipulative mother. Sophie, under pressure to prepare for an upcoming gallery show, whisks the fragile Emma away to a small artist’s colony in south Texas. It’s a raw and beautiful landscape where wildflowers bloom—and perhaps Emma can bloom there, too. In the company of such nurturing and creative strangers—especially Josh Corlen, the openhearted manager of the commune—Emma allows herself to breathe again.

For Sophie and Emma, it’s the perfect place for reflection and to finally share the secret burdens each has carried. Most of all it’s a chance to rediscover their true selves and to make good on the old promise that their friendship would last forever.

MY THOUGHTS: This is a story about the power of friendship and how sometimes, friendship can endure and transcend both distance and years of separation.

Emma and Sophie are such wonderful characters. I laughed and cried with them and got angry with them at times. They support each other and recognize each other’s strengths, but fail to see their own.

Art and Filly, the elderly permanent residents of Hummingbird Lane, are the sort of people everyone needs in their lives. Wise and humourous, kind and generous.

My only criticism is the brief, one month, period of time that it takes for Emma to turn her life around. And the author makes quite a big thing about the small time frame, frequently. Perhaps if she hadn’t have mentioned the time frame at all, this would have been a five star read. Her recovery was far too fast, and far too easy. It annoyed me enough to knock a star off, but not enough to put me off reading more from this wonderful author.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

#HummingbirdLane #NetGalley #carolynbrownbooks #montlakeromance @thecarolynbrown

#contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #romance

THE AUTHOR: Hi! I’m twenty five years old and movie star gorgeous. The camera added thirty plus years and a few wrinkles. Can’t trust those cameras or mirrors either. Along with bathroom scales they are notorious liars! Honestly, I am the mother of three fantastic grown children who’ve made me laugh and given me more story ideas than I could ever write. My husband, Charles, is my strongest supporter and my best friend. He’s even willing to eat fast food and help with the laundry while I finish one more chapter! Life is good and I am blessed!

Reading has been a passion since I was five years old and figured out those were words on book pages. As soon as my chubby little fingers found they could put words on a Big Chief tablet with a fat pencil, I was on my way. Writing joined reading in my list of passions. I will read anything from the back of the Cheerio’s box to Faulkner and love every bit of it. In addition to reading I enjoy cooking, my family and the ocean. I love the Florida beaches. Listening to the ocean waves puts my writing brain into high gear.

I love writing romance because it’s about emotions and relationships. Human nature hasn’t changed a bit since Eve coveted the fruit in the Garden of Eden. Settings change. Plots change. Names change. Times change. But love is love and men and women have been falling in and out of it forever. Romance is about emotions: love, hate, anger, laughter… all of it. If I can make you laugh until your sides ache or grab a tissue then I’ve touched your emotions and accomplished what every writer sets out to do.

I got serious about writing when my third child was born and had her days and nights mixed up. I had to stay up all night anyway and it was very quiet so I invested in a spiral back notebook and sharpened a few pencils. The story that emerged has never sold but it’s brought in enough rejection slips to put the Redwood Forest on the endangered list.

Folks ask me where I get my ideas. Three kids, fifteen grandchildren, two great grandchildren. Note: I was a very young grandmother! Life is a zoo around here when they all come home. In one Sunday afternoon there’s enough ideas to keep me writing for years and years. Seriously, ideas pop up at the craziest times. When one sinks its roots into my mind, I have no choice but to write the story. And while I’m writing the characters peek over my shoulder and make sure I’m telling it right and not exaggerating too much. Pesky little devils, they are!

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Montlake for providing me with a digital ARC of Hummingbird Lane by Carolyn Brown for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my Goodreads.com

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Dusk on Good Friday.

It’s Easter Sunday today, and despite the Easter Bunny forgetting me, it’s been a beautiful day, a beautiful weekend after a week of thunder, lightning and heavy rain.

Currently I am reading Hummingbird Lane by Carolyn Brown. This is the second book that I have read by this author and she is definitely on my favourites list. Her characters are superb.

I am listening to A Gathering of Secrets by Linda Castillo, #10 in the Kate Burkholder series.

This week I am planning on reading The Best of Friends by Alex Day.

Susannah is rebuilding her life…
Susannah has had a tough year. After a sticky divorce and losing the life she had grown accustomed to, moving to a small town in the south of England with her two sons is exactly the fresh start she needs.

Charlotte seems to have it all…
Charlotte is delighted when Susannah moves in. Charlotte may appear to have the perfect husband, the perfect family, the perfect house, but deep down she’s lonely, and she needs someone to confide in.

But one of them is not who they pretend to be…
The two women instantly become best friends. But underneath the surface, secrets, lies and betrayals are all hiding. And when the truth comes out, not everyone will live to tell the tale…

That is probably all I will get read this week as I am training my new staff member plus have a number of functions on including a lunch for our over 60s group, an engagement party and the speedshear. We have travelled up to our son in Hamilton each day this week to help get his new workshop ready to move into. He had been planning the move for this weekend but delays in the electrical cabling for the hoists has put him behind. I have spent the weekend sanding down and painting the offices, customer area, lunch room, bathrooms and library. One final coat tomorrow and at least that area will be ready. I could hardly move when I got out of bed this morning. I have found muscles that I’d forgotten I had!

I received 4 new Netgalley ARCs this week, all of them from Carla and Susan’s lists from last week.

A Road Trip to Remember by Judith Kleim. Isn’t that cover delicious! I could do with some time at the beach right now.

A Bucket List to Die For by Lorraine Fouchet

The Lost Girls of Ireland by Susanne O’Leary

And Little Boy Lost by Ruhi Choudhary.

I am going to leave you with this morning’s sunrise. If you look closely you will see the Easter Cross lit up between the trees on the skyline.

Happy Easter, and happy reading my friends.

Small Town Secrets by Alys Murray

EXCERPT: On the outskirts of Fortune Springs, the houses lined the streets with modern, rustic elegance, but the closer I got to the heart of town, the older those buildings grew. Sure, it had two whole traffic lights and wired electricity and everything else you’d expect from a modern town, but the buildings were constructed in that classic, Western settlement style. Some dark, timber structures soaked up all the light of the street, while some of the brightly coloured shops and hotspots reflected it, nearly blinding in the afternoon sunshine.

It was all so beautiful. So simple. So painfully quaint and so obvious that the entire town had been built by love and determination. It was part real-life fairytale and part Hollywood Old West backlot. The muscle buried in the left side of my cheek tweaked painfully as I tried to school my enthusiasm back into cool indifference.

This place was a means to an end. It couldn’t be anything more. I couldn’t let it be.

ABOUT ‘SMALL TOWN SECRETS’: “Young women needed for the Fortune Springs Town Improvement Initiative. One year’s room and board provided.”

I should have known it was too good to be true when I first saw the ad. It turns out that Fortune Springs, Colorado isn’t just a one-horse town, it’s a two-woman one, and this is their attempt to keep the community alive. I want to say the scheme is ridiculous, totally outdated, but I’m carrying everything I own in my canvas backpack and the greyhound I stepped off this morning is long gone. If this is my chance at a fresh start, I’d better grab it with both hands.

I know I should feel guilty about pretending to be a lonely heart willing to help repopulate this rural logging town, but all I feel is relief at having escaped the apartment in Savannah. And after all, what’s one more secret to add to the pile? I only hope I’ve hidden my tracks well enough, and that the kind Fortune Springs locals who’ve opened their doors to me will never find out what made me run away in the first place…

MY THOUGHTS: Although it was obvious from the outset where Alys Murray was taking us in Small Town Secrets, it was an enjoyable journey that left me with a big smile on my face.

I picked up this book for two reasons. I adored the cover. It is simple, eye catching and enigmatic. And I thought of Middlemarch, a small town in the South Island of New Zealand that, pre-Covid, biennially hosted a singles ball which, inspired by the matchmaking dances of the 1950s, has been bringing together thousands of young, mostly unattached, people every two years since 2001. There is a well known man drought in New Zealand, so ‘the event has become especially appealing to single women. That in turn has attracted rural men – shepherds, stock agents and farmers in the high country of the underpopulated South Island. Isolated and time-poor, they are often ignored on dating apps such as Tinder because the GPS pinpoints their location as hundreds of kilometres from the nearest cocktail bar. So for many the singles ball at Middlemarch (normal population 186) is a significant calendar event, a genuine opportunity to meet a partner, a companion, a husband or wife.’ (The Guardian)

I guess I was expecting Small Town Secrets to be a little like this. It was, and it wasn’t.

While Virginia is looking for sanctuary, she definitely is not looking for love. She just needs somewhere to hide out for a while, to get her life back together, and then she plans to high tail it out of this one horse town the moment her year is up and head for sunny California.

Only she hadn’t reckoned on Calla, Willa, Owen and a bunch of Dalmatian puppies.

There are very few characters in this book. Virginia, her ex Porter, and those mentioned above is just about it…..there are, of course, a few on the periphery, but really, that is it.

I loved Calla from the outset, and I would love to know what her story is. She has obviously been through some tough times, but she is warm and generous and big-hearted. Calla’s granddaughter Willa, Virginia, and Owen have also been through some bad times. They have all suffered trauma, physical and emotional, and find it difficult to open up and trust people. Although there are very few characters, they are well developed, and their stories captured my heart.

Small Town Secrets is a lovely, if predictable, read. I will be reading more from this author.

⭐⭐⭐.9

#SmallTownSecrets #NetGalley #writeralys #bookouture

@writeralys @bookouture

#contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #romance

THE AUTHOR: Alys Murray is an author who writes for the romantic in all of us. Though she graduated with a degree in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and a Master’s in Film Studies from King’s College London, her irrepressible love of romance led her to a career as an author, and she couldn’t be happier to write these stories!

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Small Town Secrets by Alys Murray for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Storm clouds are gathering. The weather that has flooded New South Wales this week is due to hit New Zealand tonight. The sunrise this morning was spectacular, but I’m afraid that I just lay in bed and enjoyed it this morning. I did think about leaping out of bed and grabbing the camera, but my body wasn’t listening 🤷‍♀️

Currently I am reading Small Town Secrets by Alys Murray, which is absolutely delightful! This is a book that I requested because the cover appealed, but it is definitely a winner. It’s a light romance with a few life lessons. I love the characters, who are well developed, quirky, and believable.

I am listening to Partners in Crime by Stuart MacBride, (Logan McRae 6.5-7.5) I love this author’s sense of humour.

I am also reading The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. This is another book peopled by characters I love. This is the April group read for the ‘All About Books’ Goodreads.com group. This would make an excellent movie.

This week I am planning on reading Syrian Brides by Anna Halabi. The author provided me with an ARC.

This delightful collection of short stories offers insight into the lives of Syrian women, both the married and the brides-to-be. It reveals the warmth and humor as well as the oppression in the Syrian society. The stories make the reader laugh while addressing serious issues such as domestic violence.
Um Hussam can’t find a suitable bride for her son, testing each candidate’s sight, hearing and reading skills, occasionally cobbing a feel. Jamila’s husband Hassan can’t forget his deceased wife, until she makes sure he never mentions her again. Rami can’t help but wonder whether his new bride is a natural beauty or a talented surgeon’s masterpiece. Khadija’s maid stabs her in the back while Rana’s husband Muafak can’t find the right excuse to avoid a fight. 

And Of Magpies and Men by Ode Ray. This is also an author ARC.

Can any good come of longings that a person can never satisfy? If so, good for whom?

Two corpses wash ashore in a picturesque Italian village, the violence that put them there is bound to a long-held secret and two strangers living worlds apart with seemingly nothing in common.

Benedict Grant a wealthy Londoner, leading a lonely life.

Marie Boulanger a nurse and single mum, struggling to make ends meet in Marseille.

However, a mother’s illicit revelation will set in motion a chain of events that will reshape their identities, stir poignant family affairs and delve into the by-products of lawless decisions.

I am possibly being a little ambitious this week as it is the end of our financial year so there’s a lot of extra work to be done.

I received three new Netgalley ARCs this week:

The Last Night in London by Karen White

My Little Girl by Shalini Boland

and The Whispers by Heidi Perks

What are you planning on reading this week? I have three reviews I need to write, but as I am having trouble stringing my thoughts together coherently, I will wait until the morning to make a start, and hope that get a good night’s sleep tonight.

Has anyone else had any trouble downloading the audiobook Mrs Wiggins? I have made several unsuccessful attempts to download it to my ipod. It jams at around 10% and goes no further. I haven’t had this problem with any of the other audiobooks I have downloaded from Netgalley.

Have a wonderful week everyone!❤📚

Dear Neighbour by Anna Willett

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

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

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

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

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

‘I need help,’ he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

⭐⭐.6

#Dear Neighbour #annawillettauthor #the_book_folks

@AnnaWillett9 @thebookfolks @HenryRoiPR

#australiancrimefiction #contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #thriller

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

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Henry Roi PR for providing a digital ARC of Dear Neighbour by Anna Willett for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Another weekend draws to a close here in New Zealand. I really don’t know where this one went. There’s a distinct nip in the air when the sun goes behind the clouds, and the first of the leaves are beginning to colour.

I got the plans for my new kitchen on Friday, and I love it. I am going to take a couple of hours out of work on Wednesday and go pick my bench top, cupboards, etc. So excited!

I am about to start reading Dear Neighbour by Anna Willett.

I am listening to The Whole Truth by Cara Hunter

This week I am also planning on reading Whoever Fights Monsters by Angelo Marcos.

You’d kill to protect your family. The question is… how many times?

Three men are about to begin the worst bombing campaign in history, targeting schools in order to kill as many innocent children as they can.

One night, the mysterious Aurora appears and tells family man Nathaniel Bennett three things.

Firstly, that his daughter will be one of the victims.

Secondly, that he is the only one who can stop these atrocities from happening.

Thirdly, to stop them he’ll have to kill all three of the men. If even one is left alive, the bombings will still happen and hundreds of children – including his daughter – will die.

We follow Nathaniel as he wrestles with his mission – and himself. Is he a soldier following orders and saving children, or is he the monster, stalking and killing three men who – so far – have done nothing wrong?

And, to the rest of the world – and the police – does it even make a difference?

This week I received a Publisher’s widget for Sleepless by Romy Hausmann

A Netgalley ARC for The Restarting Point by Marci Bolden

and one audiobook ARC, Mrs Wiggins by Mary Monroe

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!❤📚

The Good Neighbour by R.J. Parker

EXCERPT: ‘Come and have a seat. I hope you don’t mind me saying but you’re looking a bit pale.’

‘That’s OK.’ She held up a hand. ‘I’ve disturbed your evening enough.’ Her gaze went to the lit kitchen beyond.

‘It’s no problem. Just me here.’ He’d read her mind.

‘You live here alone?’

‘Put it this way, you’re not disturbing a romantic dinner.’

That wasn’t an answer. Leah heard a small internal alarm bell. Her car was down the road and she hadn’t told Elliot in her message that she was inside a stranger’s house on Plough Lane.

‘Come and sit down while I call the AA.’

Despite feeling light-headed, Leah nodded but didn’t move.

He obviously sensed her unease. ‘Does my cooking smell that bad?’

Leah was about to smile but at that moment a dog came down the stairs. It was a white and brown basset hound and its ears flapped about its head as it descended awkwardly.

‘He doesn’t bite either.’

The animal slid down the last few green stairs on its stomach and made a beeline for Leah.

She bent to pet the dog. ‘What’s his name?’

‘Her. It’s Sheila.’

She tried to pat its head while it snuffled at her jeans. ‘Hi, Sheila.’ Leah held out her hand so Sheila could sniff it, but the dog ignored her. She stood up but felt giddy and staggered back.

‘Whoa.’ Tate caught her firmly by the arm.

He had a very tight grip but as soon as she’d regained her balance, he released her.

‘Sorry.’ He pulled both his arms in as if he shouldn’t have touched her.

‘That’s OK. I think I do need to sit down though, if you wouldn’t mind.’

‘Just in here.’ He immediately turned and led her towards the doorway of the kitchen.

Leah followed and found herself in a very impressive and modern space. More dark slate walls were broken up by bright white splash tiles behind the huge sink and cooking range. In the middle was a long breakfast bar and several stools. A half-eaten meal lay on it with a full bowl-glass of red wine beside it.

Leah’s scalp prickled cold. ‘I’m sorry. I’ve interrupted your dinner.’ Her mouth felt dry.

‘Not at all.’ He pulled out a stool. ‘Sit yourself down.’

But Leah stumbled, fell and blacked out before she reached it.

ABOUT ‘THE GOOD NEIGHBOUR’: He isn’t who you think he is…
When Leah Talbot hits a deer on a deserted road near her village she spots a light on in a nearby house and approaches, hoping that someone is home.

He is.

Charming, handsome, Martin Tate answers the door to the bedraggled and traumatised Leah, inviting her in. Though she’s not there for long, Leah feels an indescribable pull to the man who has helped in her hour of need.

But when she returns the next morning to say thank you, it isn’t Martin who answers the door this time. It’s the police.

There’s been a brutal murder and the sole female resident is dead.

There’s no sign of Martin…
Until he comes looking for Leah.

MY THOUGHTS: This was a fast-paced, fun read and I am glad I gave this author a second chance after really not liking the only other book I have read by him, While You Slept.

There were not so many characters as to be confusing, and they were each quite distinct from the others. The plot is one I have not come across before, and it is very clever and well thought out.

I became quite involved with the characters, mentally screaming at Leah at times because she made some really dumb decisions. But then, had I been in her place, I may well have made those same decisions, although I would like to think that I wouldn’t.

Yes, this was crazy, and in places improbable, but it was also enjoyable. I think that had it gone on any longer it would have been too over the top, but the author wisely knew when to call time.

Narrator Rose Robinson was excellent and used exactly the right tones and inflections in her voice to suit the circumstances. I would listen to more books narrated by her.

And I will definitely be looking for more to read from Mr Parker.

⭐⭐⭐.8

#TheGoodNeighbour #NetGalley #rjparkerauthor #harpercollinsuk

@netgalley @harpercollins

#contemporaryfiction #crime #domesticdrama #psychologicalthriller

THE AUTHOR: R J Parker’s creative career began as a TV script writer, script editor and producer. It was this background that fed into a series of cinematic, high-concept thrillers that grabs the reader from the very first page and doesn’t release them until the last. R J Parker now lives in Salisbury.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins UK Audio for providing an audio ARC of The Good Neighbour by R.J. Parker for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

After a week of cool,wet and stormy weather, the weekend has been magnificent. Clear blue skies, and hot. Just how I like it. 🏖

I have been working every day since my 2-i-c left, and will work right through until my new one starts after Easter. I have had Luke this weekend too, so other than Luke’s books, I haven’t read anything.

Currently I am reading The Incredible Winston Browne by Sean Dietrich.

and listening to The Good Neighbour by R.J. Parker

This week I am planning on reading The Night Gate by Peter May

In a sleepy French village, the body of a man shot through the head is disinterred by the roots of a fallen tree.
A week later a famous art critic is viciously murdered in a nearby house.
The deaths occurred more than seventy years apart.
Asked by a colleague to inspect the site of the former, forensics expert Enzo Macleod quickly finds himself embroiled in the investigation of the latter.  Two extraordinary narratives are set in train – one historical, unfolding in the treacherous wartime years of Occupied France; the other contemporary, set in the autumn of 2020 as France re-enters Covid lockdown.

And Enzo’s investigations reveal an unexpected link between the murders – the Mona Lisa.

Tasked by the exiled General Charles de Gaulle to keep the world’s most famous painting out of Nazi hands after the fall of France in 1940, 28-year-old Georgette Pignal finds herself swept along by the tide of history. Following in the wake of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa as it is moved from château to château by the Louvre, she finds herself just one step ahead of two German art experts sent to steal it for rival patrons – Hitler and Göring.

What none of them know is that the Louvre itself has taken exceptional measures to keep the painting safe, unwittingly setting in train a fatal sequence of events extending over seven decades.

Events that have led to both killings.

And Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy

Newlyweds Sam Statler and Annie Potter are head over heels, and excited to say good-bye to New York and start a life together in Sam’s sleepy hometown in upstate New York. Or, it turns out, a life where Annie spends most of her time alone while Sam, her therapist husband, works long hours in his downstairs office, tending to the egos of his (mostly female) clientele.

Little does Sam know that through a vent in his ceiling, every word of his sessions can be heard from the room upstairs. The pharmacist’s wife, contemplating a divorce. The well-known painter whose boyfriend doesn’t satisfy her in bed. Who could resist listening? Everything is fine until the French girl in the green mini Cooper shows up, and Sam decides to go to work and not come home, throwing a wrench into Sam and Annie’s happily ever after.

This week I received 4 Kindle ARCs and 1 audiobook from Netgalley.

The Lights of Sugarberry Cove by Heather Webber

A Million Things by Emily Spurr

The Dead Husband by Carter Wilson

Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson

and the audiobook is The Whole Truth by Cara Hunter

I am super excited about both The Dead Husband by Carter Wilson and Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson.

And now I had better get back to Luke…he has devised another game for us to play, one that requires me to make a tent 🤣😂