The Island Girls by Noelle Harrison

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EXCERPT: The Vinalhaven ferry wove between the brightly coloured lobster pot buoys bobbing up and down among the fishermen’s boats. How Orla would have loved the pretty little harbour of this Maine Island with its wooden houses all different colours and the wharf sitting high atop wooden stilts. Sunlight was dancing on the dappled water, the scent of the sea everywhere, its salty tang on Emer’s lips. How many times had her sister declared her dream of island life? Well here Emer was, living her sister’s dream, running away from her own nightmare.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When young nurse Emer loses her beloved sister, she is haunted by grief and desperate to escape her memories. Taking a job in Vinalhaven, a rocky outpost in the wild Atlantic, feels like the refuge she so badly needs.

Her patient, Susannah, has lived in isolation for many years, since the tragic death of her sister Kate caused her to withdraw from island life. However, when Emer discovers a bundle of letters in a rainbow quilt in her bedroom and shares the story of her own loss, Susannah opens up. She begins to tell the story of Kate’s brutal and secret past, and her marriage to a man with a heart as cold as the ocean.

But when Emer starts asking locals about Kate, the island air sizzles with hostility. There are people who would rather that Susannah kept quiet, who have no qualms about threatening Emer. But despite the warnings to stay away, Emer is determined to find out what really happened the night Kate died – and the final secret that is keeping Susannah a prisoner to the past.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The first thing I would like to say about The Island Girls is that the publicity blurb isn’t at all true to the story. Yes, this is about two sets of sisters whose lives are separated by almost sixty years.

1950s: Susannah and Kate are natives of the small island off the coast of Maine. Susannah hates island life and dreams of going to college. Kate thinks of nothing but marrying an island boy and raising her children in her old home.

2011: Emer has lost her sister Orla to cancer, and feeling guilty for having abandoned her sister in her final hours, she runs from her job and her lover to be the palliative carer of an old woman, also dying of cancer, on a remote Maine island.

I had high hopes of this novel for the first two thirds. There was the implied promise of mystery and deeply buried family secrets. An old lady on her death bed, a secret cache of letters, family estrangements – all the ingredients were there. But a story that should have been intriguing was, instead, lackluster and predictable. I lost interest to the point where I put it down for twenty four hours and just walked away from it.

The characters were flat. They never reached out to draw me into the story, which is told by both Susannah and Emer. Susannah narrates her childhood with Kate, and her time at Harvard with her lover, Ava. This is interspersed with Emer’s story of caring for Susannah, of adapting to life on the island, and of battling her own guilt and grief. We also get to read some of the letters from Kate to Susannah, which are of little value.

I was disappointed. I expected more. I didn’t get it.

😔😕.5

#TheIslandGirls #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: pseudonym: Evie Blake

Born in London, I moved to Ireland in 1991, shortly afterwards setting up the theatre company Aurora. I have written four stage plays, Northern Landscapes, Black Virgin, Runaway Wife and The Good Sister, and one short film, Blue Void. I have also written extensively on visual art in Ireland, contributing to various journals and artists’ catalogues over the years.

I currently live in Bergen in Norway. In September 2012 Beatrice was published by Juritzen Forlag in Norwegian. My books have also been translated and published in Italy, Germany, Holland, and Hungary.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Island Girls by Noelle Harrison 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3240888081

Can You See Her by S.E. Lynes

Happy publication day for Can You See Her to author S.E. Lynes and publishers Bookouture.

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EXCERPT: ‘There are things I don’t know. But I know people are dead, I know I killed them and I know it all started the day I realized I was invisible.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: What would you do if no-one was watching?

Rachel is afraid she may have done something terrible. She’s sitting in a room, being asked whether she killed someone.

She doesn’t understand how her life has changed so completely. When she was younger, heads would turn when she walked into a room. Her children needed her; her husband adored her.

But somehow the years wore that all away. She was so busy raising her children, looking after her parents, that the woman who used to be Rachel Ryder, whose husband told her she was out of his league, now quietly washes his clothes and makes his dinner, and can walk into a room without anyone knowing she’s there.

She knows that she thought: what would it take for you to see me again? What if I did something no-one thought I was capable of?

MY THOUGHTS: A most unusual book – intriguing and touching.

There is probably very few amongst us that haven’t felt invisible at times. You’ll be saying something, and someone else will talk over top of you. You will wave/call out to someone you know and they blank you, maybe not intentionally, but how do you know? Or maybe, just like Rachel, if you don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. And you wonder where the person you used to be, that vital, alive, interesting, fun person, went.

Rachel is struggling. Struggling with her marriage. Struggling with her children, son Kieron has gone off to uni, daughter Katie is taking a gap year which she is spending out partying or shut up in her room on YouTube and Instagram. Struggling with menopause. Struggling with her body image and ageing. Struggling with her sense of self. And angry. Very angry.

The high points in her life are her shifts as barmaid at a local pub, and the walks she takes her dog on at night. In both roles, she can talk to people who listen, and she listens to them. She has her regulars in the pub, also struggling with their lives, and she meets some lovely people while out walking the dog. People she can empathize with and relate to. But then people she has interacted with are found murdered….and Rachel starts to wonder, could she have done this?

Can You See Her is told from the point of view of Rachel, both as events are occurring and as she relates them to Amanda, forensic psychiatrist. This is interspersed with police interviews with Ingrid – Rachel’s new neighbour, Lisa – Rachel’s best friend, Katie – her daughter, and Mark, her husband.

The first 50% of the book is slower moving, but sets the scene for the events in the second half, where it really gets interesting.

This book is emotional, thought provoking, and should touch all of us on some level. Strongly recommended.

❤❤❤❤

#CanYouSeeHer #NetGalley

‘My diets always start on Mondays. By Wednesday I think I can still turn it round. By Friday I’ve reached ‘Sod it. I’ll try again next week, pass the chocolate….’

Marriage is a spiral into madness sometimes. It’s like Alice in Wonderland, except with a lot more chores.

THE AUTHOR: S.E. Lynes is the Amazon best selling author of psychological thrillers, VALENTINA, MOTHER, THE PACT and THE PROPOSAL.

After graduating from Leeds University, Susie lived in London before moving to Aberdeen where she worked as a producer at the BBC before moving with her husband, Paul, and two young children to Rome.
In Rome, she began to write, snatching time where she could. After the birth of her third child and upon her return to the UK, she gained an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University.
She now combines writing, mentoring and lecturing. She has also published two children’s books in Italy.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Can You See Her? by S.E. Lynes 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 and my webpage

Watching What I’m Reading…

Hello everyone. I hope you are all safe and well and that there’s light at the end of this tunnel.

I am about to begin A Cold Trail, #7 in the Tracy Crosswhite series by Robert Dugoni.

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I am currently listening to Mary Kubica’s The Other Mrs

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This week I am planning on reading Can You See Her by S.E. Lynes

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What would you do if no-one was watching?

Rachel is afraid she may have done something terrible. She’s sitting in a room, being asked whether she killed someone.

She doesn’t understand how her life has changed so completely. When she was younger, heads would turn when she walked into a room. Her children needed her; her husband adored her.

But somehow the years wore that all away. She was so busy raising her children, looking after her parents, that the woman who used to be Rachel Ryder, whose husband told her she was out of his league, now quietly washes his clothes and makes his dinner, and can walk into a room without anyone knowing she’s there.

She knows that she thought: what would it take for you to see me again? What if I did something no-one thought I was capable of?

And The Island Girls by Noelle Harrison

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I guess our life on the island was one which never fit you right. I like to imagine you some days when I look out the window across the harbour, all those miles of sea and land between us. But, sister, we are always connected.

When young nurse Emer loses her beloved sister, she is haunted by grief and desperate to escape her memories. Taking a job in Vinalhaven, a rocky outpost in the wild Atlantic, feels like the refuge she so badly needs.

Her patient, Susannah, has lived in isolation for many years, since the tragic death of her sister Kate caused her to withdraw from island life. However, when Emer discovers a bundle of letters in a rainbow quilt in her bedroom and shares the story of her own loss, Susannah opens up. She begins to tell the story of Kate’s brutal and secret past, and her marriage to a man with a heart as cold as the ocean.

But when Emer starts asking locals about Kate, the island air sizzles with hostility. There are people who would rather that Susannah kept quiet, who have no qualms about threatening Emer. But despite the warnings to stay away, Emer is determined to find out what really happened the night Kate died – and the final secret that is keeping Susannah a prisoner to the past.

Then I have a small gap until my next scheduled read for review, so I plan on doing a lucky dip with my backlist and plucking something out at random.

Only 4 new ARCs this week:

A Million Little Lies by Betty Lee Crosby

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Killing Mind by Angela Marsons

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The Last Bathing Beauty by Amy Sue Nathan

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And The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea

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I did have one more ARC, The Women Who Ran Away by Sheila O’Flanagan. I was approved for this at the last moment, and it had already been archived when I went to download it. I am going to contact the publisher and BEG! 😂🤣

And just so you all know that I am taking my lockdown fitness regime seriously, here is what I did this morning:

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Stay sane….oops, I meant safe and healthy. Stay home and read.

Happy reading
😷❤😍📚

The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kabler

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Happy publication day to author Jackie Kabler and publishers Harper Impulse, Killer Reads, One More Chapter for The Perfect Couple

Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Jones’s Reviews > The Perfect Couple
The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kabler
The Perfect Couple
by Jackie Kabler
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Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Jones’s reviewApr 16, 2020 · edit
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bookshelves: 2020, 3-star, 4-star, contemporary-fiction, crime, domestic-drama, murder-mystery, netgalley-arc, new-to-me-author, serial-killer-thriller, stand-alone

EXCERPT: Back home, as the police officers arrived to start searching the house, I was still reeling from the bombshells of the previous day, shaky from another night of little sleep. It was all becoming too much, too impossible. Danny pretending to go to work. No money taken out of his bank account for weeks. Danny appearing on a dating app. And two murders. Two dead men. Two victims who looked so similar to my husband, and who had been using the same app before they died. I could no longer think in any sort of logical way, couldn’t even begin to process it at all. What did it mean? Where was Danny? Was he dead now, too? Why had he lied to me about so many things? Was he sleeping around, seeing other women, or was his appearance on the dating site just a stupid, juvenile joke by one of his friends? But why? What would be the point? I just couldn’t work it out . . . and then there was this latest thing, the thing they’d told me earlier, when they’d arrived to start trawling through my cupboards. What had it been again, exactly? That my closest neighbours, both of them, when questioned, had said they thought I’d moved in here alone? That they’d never seen or heard anything of Danny, of a husband, living here?

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The perfect couple…or the perfect lie?

A year and a half ago, Gemma met the love of her life, Danny. Since then, their relationship has been like something out of a dream. But one Friday evening, Gemma returns home to find Danny is nowhere to be seen.

After two days with no word from her husband, Gemma turns to the police. She is horrified with what she discovers – a serial killer is on the loose in Bristol. When she sees the photos of the victims she is even more stunned…the victims all look just like Danny.

But, the detectives aren’t convinced by Gemma’s story. Why has no one apart from Gemma seen or heard from Danny in weeks? Why is there barely a trace of him in their flat? Is she telling them the truth, or are there more secrets and lies in this marriage than meets the eye?

MY THOUGHTS: The Perfect Couple is mostly a good, solid read, with a few little faults. While I didn’t find it gripping or compelling, there was enough going on to keep me interested.

The story is told from the points of view of Gemma, wife of the missing man, and Helena, SIO. The characters are well developed. I liked the relationships between the investigating officers, and between Gemma and her friends. The dialogue between the characters is well written and realistic. Certain facets of the plot are very clever. Others need a little more attention.

For instance, I can understand Gemma waiting 48 hours to report Danny’s disappearance, but standard procedure is for the police to contact family and close friends. Danny’s family wasn’t contacted for a week. There were also a couple of minor contradictions in the story.

There is a distinct lack of tension and suspense in the writing, which would have made a world of difference to this read. In the acknowledgements, the author states that her first three books were cosy crime novels, but felt that she wanted to try writing something darker. This is darker, definitely, but but I don’t think that she has quite shaken off her cosy mantle yet.

The ending, I thought, was a little OTT. I am not fond of endings where the ‘perpetrator’ confesses all to the person he is about to kill. That, to me, is taking the easy way out of making the revelation. It also appears that the author has left the way open for a follow up to this story.

This isn’t a bad read, in fact it’s slightly better than average. There were a few places that amused me: ‘Winnie-the-poodle’ being one. I also enjoyed the information on the various Saints that was imparted on Danny and Gemma’s visit to the O’Connor home. Saints Christopher and Anthony were the only saints I was familiar with. I had been totally unaware that there was a patron saint of eye diseases and, weirdly enough, television and laundry, Saint Clare. ‘Laundry? Why did laundry need a patron saint?’ At least I now know who to pray to when I have stubborn stains!

Would I read more from this author? Yes. I think it may take another book or two for her to get fully into her psychological thriller stride, but she is obviously a good writer and I am certain that she will make it.

🚔🚴‍♂️💔.3

#ThePerfectCouple #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Jackie Kabler is a journalist, TV presenter and author. She spent twenty years as a TV news reporter for GMTV, ITV and BBC news, and now works as a presenter for shopping channel QVC and is author of the Cora Baxter Mysteries, a series of murder mysteries set in a television newsroom.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Impulse and Killer Reads, One More Chapter for providing a digital ARC of The Perfect Couple 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 and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3059955020

B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton

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EXCERPT: ‘What can I help you with?’

‘I hope you can locate my sister for me,’ she said.

She was searching through her handbag again. She took out her address book, a rosewood pen and pencil set, and a long white envelope, which she placed on the edge of my desk. I’d never seen anyone so self-absorbed, but it wasn’t unattractive stuff. She gave me a quick smile then, as though she knew that. She opened the address book and turned it so that it faced me, pointing to one of the entries with a rosy fingertip.

‘You’ll want to make a note of the address and telephone number,’ she said. ‘Her name is Elaine Boldt. She has a condo on Via Madrina, and that second one is her address in Florida. She spends several months a year down in Boca.’

‘How long has she been missing?’ I asked.

Beverley Danziger gave me an uncomfortable look. ‘Well, I don’t know that she is ‘missing’ exactly. I just don’t know where she is…’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Book 2 in the Kinsey Millhone Alphabet series from the New York Times bestselling author, Sue Grafton.

“Female, age thirty-two, self-employed and wiser than she used to be. For Kinsey Millhone, private investigator, only one thing stays the same. When a client sits down in the chair across the desk, she never knows what’s going to happen next…”

There was nothing about Beverly Danziger to cause Kinsey concern. She was looking for her sister. There was a will to be settled. She paid up front. And if it seemed a lot of money for a routine job, Kinsey wasn’t going to argue. She kicked herself later for the things she didn’t see – Beverly Danziger did not look as if she needed a few thousand dollars and she didn’t seem like someone longing for a family reunion.

But just as Kinsey begins to suspect foul play and start asking questions, Beverly Danziger pulls her off the case and fires her…

MY THOUGHTS: Book 2 in my stroll down memory lane with Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone. It is so long since I originally read this book that I remembered none of the plot.

This was a little more involved than many of the plots in this series, but it’s still an easy read. There are many interesting side stories that enhance the main mystery including drug dealing, insurance fraud, and identity theft. I did find the choice of murder weapon a little unusual and slightly puzzling.

This is set in the 1980s, before the advent of personal computers and mobile phones. There is no security in the airports, and record keeping is entirely manual.

This was a satisfying read deserving of 📺📷📼🔍

THE AUTHOR: Sue Grafton was a #1 New York Times bestselling author. She is best known for her “alphabet series” featuring private investigator Kinsey Millhone in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California. Prior to success with this series, she wrote screenplays for television movies. Her earlier novels include Keziah Dane (1967) and The Lolly-Madonna War (1969), both out of print. In the book Kinsey and Me she gave us stories that revealed Kinsey’s origins and Sue’s past.

Grafton never wanted her novels to be turned into movies or TV shows. According to her family she would never allow a ghost writer to write in her name. Because of these things, and out of respect for Sue’s wishes, the family announced the alphabet now ends at “Y”

Grafton was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America, the Ross Macdonald Literary Award, three Shamus Awards, and many other honors and awards.

Grafton had three children from previous marriages and several grandchildren, including a granddaughter named Kinsey. She and her husband lived in Montecito, California, and Louisville, Kentucky.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of B is for Burglar written by Sue Grafton, narrated by Mary Peiffer and published by Books on Tape, via Overdrive. All opinions expressed 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 and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3253235010

Watching What I’m Reading

I am sitting here on a cool New Zealand autumn afternoon watching the storm clouds mass and churn in the sky. Even though we are under lockdown and everyone was told to stay home for the long weekend, our emergency services alert siren has been very active. I feel very sorry for and appreciative of our volunteer Fire Brigade members, Ambulance crews and Police who are continually being called upon to put their own lives in danger because people can’t do as they are told and stay home. Thank you to all of these brave people, and also all those in the medical community who continue to go to work to care for the ill. Bless you all.

I am currently reading The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell which is due for publication April 14.

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And I am almost finished listening to Susan Mallery’s Meant to be Yours (Happily Inc. #5) This is delightfully different, humorous, and I am not finding the fact that I have read none of the earlier books in the series a handicap. And isn’t that cover just beautiful!

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This week I am planning on reading Find Her Alive (Detective Josie Quinn #5) by Lisa Regan

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Detective Josie Quinn hasn’t heard from her sister since Trinity stormed out of the house in the heat of an argument three weeks ago. So, when human remains are found at the remote hunting cabin where Trinity was last seen, Josie can only assume the worst.

Gathering her team, Josie feels a surge of relief when the dental records match a different body – that of a missing single mother from a neighboring town. But now Josie’s is not the only broken family desperate for answers.

Dusting the crime scene for prints, a name smudged into the side of a nearby car is the first in a trail of clues Trinity left for Josie. In need of a big story to save her journalism career, it seems Josie’s sister was attempting to make contact with a dangerous serial killer known for creating sculptures with his victim’s bones. And Trinity won’t stop until she’s found him, even if it means becoming his next masterpiece…

Josie is certain there’s a critical clue in the ivory hair comb delivered to Trinity just days before she went missing. But as more bones surface, each set more likely to be Trinity’s than the last, time is running out to find her alive. Can Josie’s team trust her instincts in a case that is so deeply personal? Can she find her sister without putting other innocent lives in danger?

The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kabler

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A year and a half ago, Gemma met the love of her life, Danny. Since then, their relationship has been like something out of a dream. But one Friday evening, Gemma returns home to find Danny is nowhere to be seen.

After two days with no word from her husband, Gemma turns to the police. She is horrified with what she discovers – a serial killer is on the loose in Bristol. When she sees the photos of the victims she is even more stunned…the victims all look just like Danny.

But, the detectives aren’t convinced by Gemma’s story. Why has no one apart from Gemma seen or heard from Danny in weeks? Why is there barely a trace of him in their flat? Is she telling them the truth, or are there more secrets and lies in this marriage than meets the eye?

And Never Forget by Martin Michaud

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When an eccentric homeless man jumps to his death in Old Montreal, the police discover two wallets in his possession: those of a retired psychiatrist who was recently murdered in a bizarre ritual and a powerful corporate lawyer who has vanished. As police detective Victor Lessard and his partner, Jacinthe Taillon, work to solve the separate mysteries, a dark history begins to emerge.

While the pressure builds and the bodies accumulate, dark and disturbing secrets come to light about a pivotal moment in Quebec’s history. But will Lessard and Taillon crack the case in time to prevent the killer from striking again?

I have received five new ARCs from NetGalley this week:

Little Whispers by K.L. Slater

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The Lost Orphan by Stacey Halls

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All Our Summers by Holly Chamberlin

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The Coast-to-Coast Murders by James Patterson with J.D. Barker

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The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

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I was a little more restrained than last week, but I still have seven requests on my pending shelf ☺

Stay safe. Stay home and read. And be kind, my friends.

😷❤😍📚

My Husband’s Lie by Emma Davies

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EXCERPT: Something stirred in me on that holiday and, whatever it was, it wouldn’t lie back down. Was it just nostalgia, or something deeper? I don’t know, but it grew inside of me just as surely as the two girls I had once carried.

It wasn’t as if we were unhappy, sure, things had been difficult when Chloe and Lauren were little, but show me a family with young children where things don’t get fraught. We got through it and, and although the girls and our lives filled our three bedroom terrace house to the rafters, I never thought I hated it, not really, not until two weeks of space and fresh air and love, actually, made me realise how cramped we all were. Not just our house, but us, everything that made us what we were, was being slowly crushed to death. So when I stumbled across the details for Pevensey House I knew I had found a way for us to be free, to settle the thing that had stirred inside of me and I didn’t hesitate. I should have done, I realise that now.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When Thea sees her old family home is up for sale – a beautiful old rectory in the small town where she and her childhood sweetheart, now husband, Drew, grew up – she knows she has to have it. Her parents moved her away suddenly when she was eleven, but her childhood there was filled with happy memories. Drew seems less sure, but Thea is certain it’s the perfect place to raise their two children.

But as the last boxes are unpacked, Thea can’t seem to settle. She thought the move would bring her family closer together, but Drew is growing more distant. And why do old friends cross to the other side of the road when they see her coming?

Alone in the house, exploring the creaky corridors she used to cartwheel down as a young girl, Thea smiles as she slides open the loose panel she once used as a hiding place. But it only takes one look at the faded local newspaper clipping hidden inside for the bonds holding her perfect family together to break.

It’s not long before news of the scandal spreads further and the whole town turns against her. Thea’s life is in freefall as her head and her heart wrestle between taking the blame, and fighting for her innocence. In a small town where no one ever forgets the past, can Thea find a way to save her family’s future?

MY THOUGHTS: I started off really liking this book. The writing is relaxed and interesting, the characters believable. But somewhere around 60%, I began to get really annoyed by Thea. I kind of understood her reaction, but even so I thought it was totally OTT. And from there on, even though it kept me interested, I was not as invested as I had been.

I felt sorry for Thea’s husband, Drew. And I think that this book is mistitled.

The strongest theme in this book is bullying, both by children and adults. And yes, spreading unsubstantiated rumours is just another form of bullying.

I was hoping for more of a mystery than what we were given. It was never fully developed and I found the resolution unsatisfactory.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👧👩‍🎨🤦‍♀️. 4

#MyHusbandsLie #NetGalley

‘People always feel that they should do something when they hold information (like this) as if it’s the proverbial hot potato that will burn a hole in their pocket unless they pass it on. But of course the option always remains to do nothing. To merely set it down and let it cool. It’s a pity more people don’t use it. ‘

THE AUTHOR: Emma Davies once applied for her dream job in the following manner;

‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.’ Well she’s now a forty something mother of three, and is working on the rest.

By day she’s a finance manager and looks at numbers a lot of the time, but by night she gets to use actual words and practices putting them together into sentences. Her twitter bio says she loves her family, her job, reading, writing, singing loudly in the car, and Pringles, so that must be true then.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of My Husband’s Lie by Emma Davies 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 and Goodreads.com https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3212303226

After She Wrote Him by Sulari Gentill

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EXCERPT: There was Black Forest cake in the refrigerator. Edward made coffee and served the cake onto plates with generous scoops of vanilla bean icecream.

Willow disappeared up the iron staircase to swap Edward’s jacket for something more comfortable. She descended wearing one of his sweatshirts over her cocktail dress and took both plates to the couch, placing his on the glossy surface of the coffee table beside a small Matchbox Mercedes Benz.

‘You’re writing something new?’ she accused, picking up the toy car.

He brought in two mugs of coffee, set them down, and took the car from her. ‘Yes.’

She gazed up at him. ‘So, tell me.’

Edward sat beside her on the couch and told her about Madeleine d’Leon, his crime writer.

Willow listened, eating cake as she concentrated on the picture he was building. ‘And so the story is about…?’

‘It’s an exploration of an author’s relationship with her protagonist, an examination of the tenuous line between belief and reality, imagination and self, and what happens when that line is crossed.’

Willow nodded gravely. ‘I’m not sure what that means, but it does sound award winning.’

Edward laughed.

Willow’s high-arched brow furrowed slightly. ‘Isn’t your heroine a little ordinary, Ned? Maybe you should jazz her up a bit, give her a dark past as, say, a stripper or a drug dealer.’

‘She’s a lawyer.’

‘I suppose that’s pretty close. But – I don’t know – what about a bizarre hobby? She could be a taxidermist. Taxidermists are interesting.’

‘She’s a writer, Will.’

‘But how are you going to make that sustain an entire book? Opening a laptop and typing isn’t exactly an action scene.’

‘The story is about what goes on in her head and how powerful that becomes.’ He took a gulp of coffee as he tried to explain. ‘She has to be outwardly normal. But, Will, her mind is extraordinary. It’s exciting.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Madeleine d’Leon doesn’t know where Edward came from. He is simply a character in her next book. But as she writes, he becomes all she can think about. His charm, his dark hair, his pen scratching out his latest literary novel . . .

Edward McGinnity can’t get Madeleine out of his mind–softly smiling, infectiously enthusiastic, and perfectly damaged. She will be the ideal heroine for his next book.

But who is the author and who is the creation? And as the lines start to blur, who is affected when a killer finally takes flesh?

MY THOUGHTS: Awesome! Awesome! And absolutely brilliant!!!!!

After She Wrote Him will mess with your head. Who is real? Everyone? No one?

At one point during this read I wanted to jump up and dance about, whooping and hollering with excitement. It’s THAT good.

After She Wrote Him (but did she write him? Or did he write her? Or were they writing each other?) starts out in a fairly ordinary manner, then gradually becomes more complex as the characters begin to interact. By the end of the book I had absolutely no idea who, if anyone, was the author, and who,if anyone, was the creation.

And that ending…totally unexpected and tragic. An ending that left me not only wanting to read more from this author, but craving a large portion of Black Forest Gateau with vanilla bean icecream. (There is a lot of descriptions of beautiful food in this book.)

🎂🎂🎂🎂🎂

#AfterSheWroteHim #NetGalley

‘We writers, we’re crafters of lies. We call them novels, or stories, or narratives but, in essence, they’re a collection of lies, interesting, thrilling lies that make you laugh and cry but, in the end, still lies.’

‘Real life is full of coincidences and scenarios too far-fetched for fiction. It’s also full of liars. In fiction, the only liar is the author himself.’

THE AUTHOR: Not so long ago, Sulari Gentill was a corporate lawyer serving as a director on public boards, with only a vague disquiet that there was something else she was meant to do. That feeling did not go away until she began to write. And so Sulari became the author of the Rowland Sinclair Mysteries: thus far, six historical crime novels chronicling the life and adventures of her 1930s Australian gentleman artist, and the Hero Trilogy, based on the myths and epics of the ancient world. In 2014 she collaborated with National Gallery of Victoria to write a short story which was produced in audio to feature in the Fashion Detective Exhibition, and thereafter published by the NGV.

Sulari lives with her husband, Michael, and their boys, Edmund and Atticus, on a small farm in Batlow where she grows French Black Truffles and refers to her writing as “work” so that no one will suggest she get a real job.

Sulari’s first novel was shortlisted for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize – Best First Book. She won the 2012 Davitt Award for Crime Fiction, was shortlisted in 2013 Davitt Award, the NSW Genre Fiction Award, 2012 Boroondara Literary Award, and the 2013 Scarlett Stiletto Award. She was offered a Varuna Fellowship in 2010.

In the final stages of a new standalone manuscript, Sulari is also working on the seventh book of the Rowland Sinclair Mysteries, and playing with ideas for a new series or two… perhaps three.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of After She Wrote Him by Sulari Gentill 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 and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3062167499

Watching What I’m Reading

Eleven days into lockdown, and I know that I am the odd one out here, but I am still loving it, except for not being able to see my son and grandson. Most of those little jobs around the house that kept getting put off due to lack of time are getting done. My fruit is getting preserved, vegetables frozen down. And our cat, Miss Tiggywinkle Twinklebum,loves having us home. 🐈

I have just finished the absolutely brilliant, captivating, riveting and slightly creepy Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins. You can expect my review for this 5-star read tomorrow.

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I will be starting One of Us is Lying by Shalini Boland later this afternoon.

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I have read a couple of other books by this author and really enjoyed them.

I am almost finished listening to B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton. I have read these randomly over the years, but following the recent death of the author, I have decided to start from the beginning and work my way through, reading one or two titles a year.

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This week I am planning on reading Buried Deep by Susan Wilkins

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Megan has to climb round and step across the body to get a proper view. What’s left is like a chalk white mask in the rough shape of a face. The innocence is still there, and a hint of the cheekiness. But perhaps she is imagining that.

Detective Megan Thomas moved to Devon for a fresh start, after years spent undercover. She’s staying with her sister and swimming in the sea daily, battling the tides and letting the waves wash her past away. But she can’t outrun everything.

On her first day back, she’s called to a murder. The body lies deep in an underground bunker, and when Megan forces herself to look, it triggers a panic attack. As her heart races and her breathing stalls, she realises she’s not sure if she can go back to life in a regular crime unit. Her memories are too powerful to be buried – maybe too powerful to let her do her job.

But when another body is found on the stretch of beach where she swims every day, Megan remembers why she joined the force, and what she’s fighting for. The victim came to the police for help, and Megan knows they failed her. She won’t rest until she gets answers. But how can she find justice for others, when she’s no longer sure of herself?

and River of Lies by R.M.Greenaway

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February is the month of romance, but in North Vancouver it’s also become the month of murder. While the North Shore RCMP slog through the rain in the search for whoever left a young woman to die in the Riverside Secondary School parking lot — their first clue a Valentine’s Day card — a toddler mysteriously vanishes from a Riverside Drive home in the midst of a dinner party.

With Constable JD Temple’s full attention on the parking lot murder, Constables Dave Leith and Cal Dion work the kidnap … until a tenuous connection is made between the two cases, along with the thinnest ray of hope that the child could be alive and well in the hands of a childless couple.

But when more tragedy rains down on the North Shore, lies must be unveiled before the ugly truth can emerge.

This week I have 5 new ARCS from NetGalley – The Museum of Forgotten Memories by Anstey Harris

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Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

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Three Single Wives by Gina LaManna

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The Stepdaughter by Debbie Howells

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and finally, The Best of Friends by Lucinda Berry

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Be kind to yourselves, my friends. Stay positive. Stay home. Stay safe and stay healthy.

Cheers
Sandy
❤😍📚

Strangers by C.L. Taylor

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EXCERPT: Alice Fletcher has never seen a dead body before. She always imagined they’d look peaceful: their skin slackened, their muscles softened and their mouths settled, not into a smile exactly, but a loose, contented line. Alice Fletcher was wrong. The body lying motionless at her feet looks nothing like the soothing mental images she’s been carrying around with her for the last forty-six years; the mouth is open, the jaw is hinged into a silent scream and the glassy, lifeless eyes are staring into the distance, somewhere beyond the toes of her sensible court shoes.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.
And Alice is being stalked.

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.

Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.

MY THOUGHTS: This is essentially a novel about loneliness.

Alice’s husband has left her for another woman, not even a younger, prettier, sexier woman, just another woman. Ursula’s husband is dead. She could perhaps have saved him had she stayed and fought beside him instead of running for help, but she will never know. Gareth wanted to be a policeman, but failed, and now spends his days on security in a shopping mall, his evenings with his mother who suffers from dementia.

All three are lonely. But there is a tenuous connection between all three. Alice is manager of a clothing store in the mall where Gareth is a security officer, and Ursula frequently shoplifts from Alice’s store. But none of that really has anything to do with this story. Except for the loneliness…

So, we have three separate stories and, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how the three were going to connect, until they did. Very late in the book. And then it was game on!

Even the secondary characters have interesting stories and hidden depths. Very hidden depths in a couple of instances. Just wait until you find out what Larry is going to do with his retirement!

Strangers by C.L. Taylor is one of those books where you’re reading along thinking, ‘Yeah, good read, but not great,’ and, ‘Hell, we’re getting awfully close to the end and nothing’s happening to change my mind. 3 stars. 3 stars….🤯’ It happens THAT fast!

‘What happens?’ you ask. Not telling. Read this for yourself.

🤐🤐🤐🤐

#Strangers #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son. She is a five times Sunday Times bestseller and her books have hit the number one spots on Amazon, Kobo, Audible, iBooks and Google Play. Cally has a degree in Psychology, with particular interest in abnormal and criminal Psychology.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Avon Books UK via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Strangers by C.L. Taylor 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 and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3123425645