Watching What I’m Reading . . .

A quick post today. I have been at work since early this morning and it’s now almost time to start dinner – rare roast beef with red wine jus, and roast vegetables. I also have two reviews to write.

I haven’t done any great travels this week, having split my time between Venice Beach and another unspecified location in California, a fictional location on outskirts of Manchester in England, and Christchurch New Zealand.

. Have you been anywhere interesting?

I am currently reading The Guilty Wife by Alison James, which was previously titled Happily Ever After

A Million Things by Emily Spurr

And I am listening to A Hand to Hold in Deep Water by Shawn Nocher

I have a really busy week ahead of me, so I am not going overcommit myself on what I intend to read.

Sleepless by Romy Hausmann

It’s been years since Nadja Kulka was convicted of a cruel crime. After being released from prison, she’s wanted nothing more than to live a normal life: nice flat, steady job, even a few friends. But when one of those friends, Laura von Hoven–free-spirited beauty and wife of Nadja’s boss–kills her lover and begs Nadja for her help, Nadja can’t seem to refuse.

The two women make for a remote house in the woods, the perfect place to bury a body. But their plan quickly falls apart and Nadja finds herself outplayed, a pawn in a bizarre game in which she is both the perfect victim and the perfect murderer…

If I can get through what I currently reading, and Sleepless, I will be quite happy, especially as I have only just started all my current reads.

I have three new ARCs this week, which is relief after last week’s 27! They are:

The Affair by Hilary Boyd

Silver Tears by Camilla Lackberg

And Survive the Night by Riley Sager. I am so excited as this is the first of Riley Sager’s books that I have been approved for.

I am looking forward to Tuesday, my only day off in coming week. The way I feel right now I think I will spend it sleeping!

Have a great week of reading and don’t forget to pop in and tell me what you’re reading where you’ve been in your reading travels.

Have great week ❤📚

The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter

EXCERPT: Tom – This isn’t the first time I’ve been in a police station, but it is the first time I have been interviewed in relation to a murder.

I clench my fists under the rectangular table. My wedding ring digs into the flesh of the neighbouring fingers. I will my hands to relax again, pulling my arms from beneath the table and resting them loosely in front of me. I’ll come across as less stressed if I do that. I close my eyes lightly, blocking out the dull yellow, windowless walls. The room is claustrophobic, airless, and that’s without other bodies in here. Why couldn’t they ask their questions in the comfort of my own home, for God’s sake?

‘Because it’s bad,’ the voice in my head answers.

‘Oh, God. What’s coming?’

My eyes spring open at the sound of the door.

I guess I’m about to find out.

MY THOUGHTS: The Serial Killer’s Wife is not bad, but it is rather ordinary. It is slow, particularly so in the first half. There are a few twists in the second half, but other than one OMG! moment, there was nothing that I didn’t see coming. And that was a problem for me. I kept waiting for some great unexpected revelation, some surprise, but it didn’t happen.

There is a distinct lack of suspense, always a problem for me, and I didn’t relate to the characters at all. There was no depth to any of them, and the dialogue was equally as shallow. The book’s publicity blurb isn’t entirely accurate either.

I liked the fact that there were three different people narrating this audiobook. However, their voices weren’t particularly expressive. At times they sounded like they were reading a telephone directory.

The whole book felt rather flat. The premise is wonderful and clever, but the author just didn’t pull it off. The Serial Killer’s Wife might have earned a whole three stars if it weren’t for that final chapter because, despite my comments, there was never a moment where I considered not finishing it. The final chapter was totally extraneous, and totally pointless. Sometimes less is more.

⭐⭐.5

#TheSerialKillersWife #NetGalley

I: @alicehunter_author #harpercollinsaudio #harpercollinsaudiobooks

T: @Alice_Hunter_1 @HarperCollinsUK

#audiobook #contemporaryfiction #crime #domesticdrama #psychologicalthriller #serialkillerthriller

THE AUTHOR: After completing a psychology degree, Alice Hunter became an interventions facilitator in a prison. There, she was part of a team offering rehabilitation programmes to men serving sentences for a wide range of offences, often working with prisoners who’d committed serious violent crimes. Previously, Alice had been a nurse, working in the NHS. She now puts her experiences to good use in fiction.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins Audio via Netgalley for providing an audio ARC of The Serial Killer’s Wife written by Alice Hunter and narrated by Sarah Paul, James Mcnaughton, and Kristin Atherton. All opinions expressed in this review are 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 . . .

We have had a beautiful week of weather: cool but not actually cold nights, and gloriously sunny days with temperatures not quite reaching those of summer, but very close. But it seems that is coming to an end. We had thick fog this morning and now it is mizzling. The forecast for the week to come is rain, all week. I am glad my new dryer arrived and was installed on Friday.

We were planning on going out for lunch today at a new bar about 3/4 hour away. It has Heineken on tap and I have heard only good things about the food. But I was much longer at work this morning than I thought I was going to be, and then I got home to find friend had called in, so lunch out has been postponed for a couple of weeks. I made us all toasted sandwiches instead, and we caught up on each other’s news before he had to head off again. If he hadn’t been travelling in the opposite direction, we would have suggested he join us.

I have had a wonderful week’s reading based mainly in England, with a little time in Wales. Have you been anywhere interesting?

Currently I am reading The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. Intriguing!

I am also reading Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben. I only started this yesterday, and am almost finished.

And I am about to begin listening to If I Had Two Lives by A.B. Whelan and narrated by Kristen James

This week I am planning to read Dead Sorry by Helen H. Durrant

Twenty-five years ago a schoolgirl was attacked by three bullies in her home where she lived with her grandmother.

Now, the mother of one of those bullies is found murdered on the Hobfield housing estate. Written on the wall in the victim’s blood is the word, “sorry.”

There is a link to the discovery of bones at an old house up in the hills — the home of the teenage girl who was attacked.

Detective Tom Calladine and his partner DS Ruth Bayliss have more than this puzzling case on their hands. Arch-villain Lazarov is threatening Calladine’s granddaughter and a valuable hoard of Celtic gold is coming to a local museum.

The pressure is on, and this time Calladine is cracking . . .

Discover an absolutely unputdownable crime thriller from a best-selling author.

If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, Mel Sherratt, Ruth Rendell, or Mark Billingham you will enjoy this exciting new crime fiction writer.

DEAD SORRY is book eleven of a new series of detective thrillers featuring DS Ruth Bayliss and DI Tom Calladine.

What readers are saying about the series
“I read it in one sitting.” Aileen

“This books has lots of twists and turns throughout and with a cracking ending to this brilliant book.” Nessa

“Really enjoyed this book.” Nerys

“Kept me guessing till the end.” Anna Maria

“I finished it in twenty-four hours and enjoyed every page.” Joan

THE DETECTIVES
Tom Calladine is a detective inspector who is devoted to his job. His personal life, however, is not so successful. Having been married and divorced before the age of twenty-one has set a pattern that he finds difficult to escape.

Ruth Bayliss is in her mid-thirties, plain-speaking but loyal. She is balancing her professional life with looking after a small child.

THE SETTINGThe fictional village of Leesdon is on the outskirts of an industrial northern English city. There is little work and a lot of crime. The bane of Calladine’s life is the Hobfield housing estate, breeding ground to all that is wrong with the area that he calls home.

The Vacation by John Marrs

Venice Beach, Los Angeles. A paradise on earth.

Tourists flock to the golden coast and the promise of Hollywood.

But for eight strangers at a beach front hostel, there is far more on their mind than an extended vacation.

All of them are running from something. And they all have secrets they’d kill to keep…

I went to my local library last week to return a book. Honest. I had no intention of picking up anything new to read. You will understand why when you see the number of ARCs I received this week. And sitting there, right beside the return slot, is a shelf of recent releases – and if that’s not fighting dirty, I don’t know what is! – and New Zealand author Paul Cleave’s latest, The Quiet People. But it wasn’t just sitting there, quietly. Oh no. It was fluttering it’s pages alluringly at me, whispering seductively, ‘How about I come home with you. I can show you a really good time’ . . . Then it literally (no pun intended) threw itself at me and manoeuvred me to checkouts. I know when I’m beaten and gave in quietly. So this week I will also be reading

Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful crime-writers. They have been on the promotional circuit, joking that no-one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.So when their 7 year old son Zach goes missing, naturally the police and the public wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time – are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime? 

I had a day during the week when I was feeling quite overwhelmed by an accumulation of different things. So that night when I couldn’t sleep and couldn’t concentrate on my reading, I took refuge in Netgalley with result that I received twenty-seven (yes, Susan. 27.) ARCs this week 🤦‍♀️🤸‍♀️🤸‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤸‍♀️🤸‍♀️🤦‍♀️ I don’t know whether to be appalled or excited.

As well as the audiobook If I Had Two Lives by A.B. Whelan, Dead Sorry by Helen H. Durrant, and The Vacation by John Marrs, I received:

What’s Not True by Valerie Taylor

My Mother’s Children by Annette Sills

In Another Light by A.J. Banner

The Darkest Flower by Kristin Wright (thank you Michael David https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com/)

The Beauty of Fragile Things by Emma Hartley

Summer Island Book Club by Ciara Knight

Death and Croissants by Ian Moore

I Don’t Forgive You by Aggie Blum Thompson

The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021

Snow Country by Sebastian Faulks

The Crooked Shore by Martin Edwards

The Murder Box by Olivia Kiernan

One Left Behind by Carla Kovach

The Shut Away Sisters by Suzanne Goldring

The Grandmother Plot by Caroline B. Cooney

The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous

Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Slough House by Mick Herron

Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillipi Ryan

A Hand to Hold in Deep Water (audiobook) by Shawn Nocher, narrated by Elizabeth Evans

The Third Grave by Lisa Jackson

And two more audiobooks, Know No Evil by Graeme Hampton, narrated by Julie Maisey

And, The Man I Married by Elena Wilkes, narrated by Colleen Prendergast

I have never had that many ARCs in one week before. I bet that does a bit of damage to my review ratio! What is the most ARCs you have received in any one week?

Now I have two reviews to write so I had better get writing and get them done before dinner. Nice fresh snapper tonight with an avocado salsa and salad.

Happy reading my friends. ❤📚

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

We’re having another dismal weekend. It’s been damp and foggy. Luke has been with us for the weekend and I think that the weather is even getting him down. He certainly hasn’t been his normal bouncy self. He’s quite happy to snuggle up with a book or Paw Patrol. I hope that he is not coming down with anything else!

I didn’t travel quite so widely with my reading this past week, Nantucket and Maryland in the USA, and London, Devon and the village of Westenbury in England. Have you been anywhere exciting or exotic?

I am currently reading A Family Affair by Julie Houston



And

And I am also reading The Long Call by Ann Cleeves, the first book in the Detective Matthew Venn series, the second of which, A Heron’s Cry, I received last week.

This week I am planning to read Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse

1984. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame—and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.

2021. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss—the hope, the trust, the joy—Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.

Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?

And Fragile by Sarah Hilary

Everything she touches breaks . . .

Nell Ballard is a runaway. A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperate to keep, all Nell wants is to find a place she can belong.

So when a job comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes the opportunity with both hands.

Only her new lodgings may not be the safe haven that she was hoping for. Her employer lives by a set of rigid rules and she soon sees that he is hiding secrets of his own.

But is Nell’s arrival at the Villas really the coincidence it seems? After all, she knows more than most how fragile people can be – and how easy they can be to break . . .

And I am going to be listening to The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter

They’re saying he’s a monster. And they’re saying she knew.

Beth and Tom Hardcastle are the envy of their neighbourhood – they have the perfect marriage, the perfect house, the perfect family.

When the police knock on their door one evening, Beth panics. Tom should be back from work by now – what if he’s crashed his car? She fears the worst.

But the worst is beyond imagining.

As the interrogation begins, Beth will find herself questioning everything she believed about her husband.

They’re husband and wife – till death do them part…

I have five new ARCs this week:

The One to Blame by S.E. Lynes

The Evidence by K.L. Slater

Invisible Victim by Mel Sherratt

The Wedding Night by Harriet Walker

and The Devil’s Choir by Martin Michaud

So, as you can see, my resolve to request less than what I have read didn’t last long, thanks in a large part to Carla of Carlalovestoread.wordpress.com If you haven’t visited her site, pop over and see what she is reading.

Have a great week and happy reading!

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

It’s been a cold, wet and windy weekend here in New Zealand. Other than working Saturday morning, I have spent the weekend stretched out on the sofa in front of the fire reading and snoozing. There are lots of other things I could be doing, but I just can’t get motivated.

I have had a wonderful week of travelling through my reads, Maryland USA, Darwin Australia, Malibu California, Jamaica, Sydney Australia, and now Nantucket.

Currently I am reading Golden Girl by Elin Hildebrand. This is my first book by this author and I am loving it. It’s one of those lovely reads that you can just immerse yourself in.

I am still listening to Legacy by Nora Roberts. It is very slow moving and, although I love the characters, I am seriously considering abandoning this. I feel like I have been listening to it forever. Have any of you read or listened to Legacy? Should I persevere and finish it or should I move on?

This week I am planning on reading The Heights by Louise Candlish

The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Shad Thames, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him.

Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years.

You know this for a fact.

Because you’re the one who killed him.

And A Family Affair by Julie Houston

Joining the family business was never going to be easy…

Frankie Piccione is done running away from her responsibilities, well for now anyway. Having escaped Westenbury after suffering a shattered heart, it’s time to take up her place on the family board. Piccione’s Pickles and Preserves needs Frankie. Frankie knows she can make the business work. But with her brother Luca and the new, rather attractive, Cameron Mancini watching her every move, she’s going to have to come up with something special to get them off her back and recognising she belongs on the board just as much as they do.

With the help of her Aunt Pam and best friend, Daisy, Frankie is thriving with her new sense of purpose. Until someone from her past walks right back into it…

And I have received only one new ARC this week, (Sorry Susan 😉😂🤣), which goes some way to making up for my excesses of the previous few weeks. But what a score it is. I have been requesting Ann Cleeves books ever since I joined Netgalley in 2014 and this is the first time I have been approved, which just goes to show that it pays to persevere. The book I received is The Heron’s Cry, #2 in the Two Rivers series, so I am off to the library in morning to pick up #1 in the series, The Long Call.

Have a wonderful weekend, and do let me know where you have been on your reading travels this, and whether or not I should persevere with Legacy.

Happy reading! And happy bookish travels. ❤📚

The Vacation by M.M. Chouinard

EXCERPT: Please, God. Please let Lily be safe. Please bring her back to us. Please forgive me – please don’t make her pay the cost for my demons.

She repeats the prayers in a mantra designed to atone, and to break a cycle of obsessive thinking. How many times has her therapist told her to chase away anxiety with reason and facts? God doesn’t work that way, she tells herself. This isn’t because of you.

But how can it not be? It’s too much. It’s too coincidental.

Stop.

She short-circuits the cycle of thoughts and returns to the prayer.

But Brandon was right –

Stop.

This isn’t her fault. It can’t be, it just can’t.

Unless it is.

ABOUT ‘THE VACATION’: One of them is missing… One of them did it…

The Thanksgiving retreat was meant to be a time for them to get away from it all, miles from the secrets that threaten to tear their family apart. But they’re each hiding something:

Rose hopes the pretty house overlooking the sea is just the break her family needs. But as she gazes at the water and remembers her own childhood, she is utterly terrified.

Brandon knows his wife Rose has barely forgiven him for his affair. He’s started drinking again, a road that led him to disaster once before.

Brianna, Rose’s sister-in-law, is recovering from her fifth miscarriage, and when she looks at her adorable niece, she can’t help but see the daughter she deserves.

Then three-year-old Lily disappears from her bed in the villa. Isolated in what should have been paradise, it quickly becomes clear that one of them took her.

As one by one their secrets are uncovered, who will be destroyed next?

MY THOUGHTS: I not only found it impossible to connect with any of these characters, I found it difficult to tell them apart. They were all interchangeable and unremarkable. None of them were particularly likeable or memorable.

A child going missing from it’s bed is every parent’s nightmare. Was Lily abducted? Did she wander off? The Vacation ought to have been taut and suspenseful. I didn’t feel that. The writing felt flat, the plot predictable. None of the twists surprised me, and I figured out both the who and the why well before the end.

A lot of what occurs in The Vacation I found improbable and contrived, which is a pity. There was so much scope to develop this into a tense and chilling psychological thriller. But it was very wide of the mark for me. Even the ending was ‘meh.’

I am aware that I am very much out on a limb with my feelings about The Vacation. This book currently has an average rating of 4 stars. So if you enjoyed the excerpt from The Vacation, and the plot outline appeals, please do go ahead and read it. Just because this wasn’t for me, doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy it.

⭐⭐.2

#TheVacation #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: M.M. Chouinard writes crime fiction (including suspense, procedurals, and cozies), and women’s fiction. M.M. Chouinard’s first fiction story was published in her local paper when she was eight, and she fell in love with Agatha Christie novels not long after. While pursuing a Ph.D in psychology and helping to found the first U.S. research university of the new millenium, the stories kept rattling around inside her skull, demanding to come out. For sanity’s sake, she released them.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Vacation by M.M. Chouinard 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 . . .

Well, not much reading done this week as my lovely husband whisked me away for a short break for my birthday. But more about that in Tuesday travels. We arrived back Friday night, I caught up with the laundry yesterday, Dustin and Luke came down today and we went out for lunch. It’s been a lovely birthday week.

This week I have travelled to New York, Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, and am currently in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, and Marlow on the Thames.

I am currently reading, and almost finished, Still by Matt Nable, set in Darwin in 1963.

I am still listening to The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood, but only because I didn’t take it with me. 😉 I should finish this tomorrow.

This week I am planning on reading Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins-Reid, my first by this author.

Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over–especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud–because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own–including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

And The Vacation by M.M. Chouinard

One of them is missing… One of them did it…

The Thanksgiving retreat was meant to be a time for them to get away from it all, miles from the secrets that threaten to tear their family apart. But they’re each hiding something:

Rose hopes the pretty house overlooking the sea is just the break her family needs. But as she gazes at the water and remembers her own childhood, she is utterly terrified.

Brandon knows his wife Rose has barely forgiven him for his affair. He’s started drinking again, a road that led him to disaster once before.

Brianna, Rose’s sister-in-law, is recovering from her fifth miscarriage, and when she looks at her adorable niece, she can’t help but see the daughter she deserves.

Then three-year-old Lily disappears from her bed in the villa. Isolated in what should have been paradise, it quickly becomes clear that one of them took her.

As one by one their secrets are uncovered, who will be destroyed next?

I also plan on listening to Legacy by Nora Roberts

The first time Adrian met her father was the day he tried to kill her…

Adrian Rizzo didn’t have the easiest childhood, to put it mildly, but she’s worked hard to put it behind her and to the outside world she is a beautiful young woman with a successful, high-profile career and a wonderful family and friends.

When, out of the blue, she receives a death threat in the post, she is shocked but puts it down to someone’s jealousy of her success and tries to forget about it. But Adrian doesn’t realise that it’s more than just spite. Someone is very, very angry about her happy life and will stop at nothing to bring it all crashing down.

and I did a little better with keeping my requesting finger under control this week with only five new ARCs from Netgalley:

If Only by Angela Marsons

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

Golden Girl by Elin Hildebrand, another first for me.

Sisterhood by V.B. Grey

And an audiobook The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter

Have you read any of these? Do you have any of these to read? And where have you been on your bookish travels this week? Please do stop by and let me know.

Happy reading!

The Marriage by K.L. Slater

EXCERPT: Bridget – April 2019

I stood in front of the full-length mirror in my new ivory silk dress. Simple and classy, it skimmed my curves but crucially remained demure in all the right places.

I’d had a salon spray tan. My moisturised skin looked smooth and youthful, but when I pinched the top of my hand, the skin did not spring back immediately. I’d curled my hair and pinned it up, adding a tiny sprig of fresh gypsophila here and there to soften my look, and applied a pretty pink lipstick, the latest spring shade according to the sales assistant at the department store make-up counter.

Peering closer to the mirror, I studied my reflection. Tiny lines fanned out from the corners of my eyes and lips. My cheeks gave way to a soft sagging that spoiled the razor-sharp jawline I’d enjoyed in my thirties.

In two years time I would be fifty years old, but age was just a number. Today, I felt young, vibrant and free. I’d planned this fresh start for what felt like a very long time.

Today I would start a new life with a man twenty years younger than me.

In one hour’s time, I would marry the man I loved.

The same man who ten years earlier had killed my only son.

ABOUT ‘THE MARRIAGE’: Ten years ago he killed my son. Today I married him.

Ten years ago my darling son Jesse was murdered and our perfect family was destroyed. My strong, handsome boy, so full of life, became a memory, a photo I carried with me everywhere.

But today I’m finally close to finding happiness again. My ash-blonde hair has been curled into ringlets. Carefully placed white flowers frame my delicate features. The small, drab chapel has been prettied up with white satin, and there are tiny red hearts scattered on the small table where I will soon sign the register with my new husband.

The man who killed my son.

My friends and family can’t understand it. My neighbours whisper in the street whenever I walk past. How can I love a man like Tom?

They don’t really know me at all…

MY THOUGHTS: K.L. Slater can sure write a good twisty domestic drama. The Marriage is not what I would call a psychological thriller. It does, however, have an excellent plot, well-crafted characters and plenty of surprising twists and turns. It certainly didn’t go where I thought it was going, and I loved that!

I have long been a fan of this author, and she doesn’t disappoint with this quick, rewarding read that challenges our preconceptions of relationships. I was drawn in from the first chapter and Slater kept me guessing right to the end, both with the enticing main storyline, and the unexpected subplot which had me thinking that everyone was guilty of something!

So, did Bridget marry Tom for love? Or is she hell-bent on a convoluted plan for revenge? If you want to know the answer, one that I was not expecting, one that surprised and delighted me, you’ll have to read The Marriage.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.3

#TheMarriage #Bookouture

I: @KLSlaterAuthor @bookouture

T: @KimLSlater @Bookouture

#contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #crime #mystery

THE AUTHOR: For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents and collected an impressive stack of rejection slips. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating in 2012, she gained literary agent representation and a book deal. As Kim says, ‘it was a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottinghamshire with her husband.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Marriage by K.L. Slater 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

The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter

EXCERPT: The photos of the Straubs provided me with terrific comfort. I clicked through several of Natalie and her friends and several of Natalie alone. Then I landed on one of Fritz, leaning against the library wall, laughing, his intense green eyes looking straight into the camera. It was his kindness and intelligence that made him handsome. I’d sensed those qualities in him the instant we met. I felt a tug of longing in my gut – some combination of emptiness and desire.

I pulled up some shots of myself that I’d used for my website and superimposed my body, in profile, next to an image of Fritz in profile. I moved his face close to mine, so it looked as though we were confiding in each other, in a close conversation that others couldn’t hear. And then, practically feeling his breath on my face, I closed the gap between the two mouths. His warm lips pressed against mine. Then his fingers in my hair. A frisson of surprised delight surged through my body.

ABOUT ‘THE PHOTOGRAPHER’: WHEN PERFECT IMAGES

As a photographer, Delta Dawn observes the seemingly perfect lives of New York City’s elite: snapping photos of their children’s birthday parties, transforming images of stiff hugs and tearstained faces into visions of pure joy, and creating moments these parents long for.

ARE MADE OF BEAUTIFUL LIES

But when Delta is hired for Natalie Straub’s eleventh birthday, she finds herself wishing she wasn’t behind the lens but a part of the scene—in the Straub family’s gorgeous home and elegant life.

THE TRUTH WILL BE EXPOSED

That’s when Delta puts her plan in place, by babysitting for Natalie; befriending her mother, Amelia; finding chances to listen to her father, Fritz. Soon she’s bathing in the master bathtub, drinking their expensive wine, and eyeing the beautifully finished garden apartment in their townhouse. It seems she can never get close enough, until she discovers that photos aren’t all she can manipulate.

MY THOUGHTS: I can remember, as a teenager, babysitting for some nice people up the street with whom I shared a love of horses and reading. I wanted to belong to them, and spent every moment that I could at their house. I used to fantasize that people would think I was their daughter (unlikely as Julie was only 7 years older than me) or Julie’s sister. So I can kind of relate to Delta, but then I was fourteen, not twenty-eight.

I can tend towards voyeuristic behaviour, but on a much lower level than Delta. I like people watching, I listen to their conversations and make up stories about them. I can get a bit nosy about my neighbours movements. But there I draw the line.

I really enjoyed the early part of The Photographer; it was both disturbing and entertaining. But then about halfway through it fizzled a little. I started going, ‘hmmm,’ and, ‘really?’, and my interest waned. It didn’t die completely, but it definitely took a hit. I remained curious, but not frantically, which is how I felt in the early part of the book, and how I wanted to feel throughout the read.

The twists didn’t surprise me, and I was disappointed with the ending. BUT, as this is the author’s first novel, I am prepared to cut her some slack. And I will definitely be putting my hand up to read anything else she writes in the future.

⭐⭐⭐.4

#ThePhotographer #NetGalley

I: @marydixiecarter @hodderbooks

T: @MaryDixieCarter @HodderBooks

#contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #psychologicalthriller

THE AUTHOR: Mary Dixie Carter’s writing has appeared in TIME, The Economist, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Sun, The New York Observer and other print and online publications. She worked at The Observer for five years, where she served as the publishing director. In addition to writing, she also has a background as a professional actor. Mary Dixie graduated from Harvard College with an honors degree in English Literature and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two young children. The Photographer is her first novel.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter 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 . . .

I have had an extraordinary reading week! Three five star reads!!! This is totally unprecedented. Anyone who follows me regularly knows that I don’t hand out five stars willy-nilly. They have to be earned.

Currently I am reading The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward. Mind-boggling! I read 60% in the first sitting last night and only stopped because I needed sleep before I went to work this morning.

I absolutely agree with Joe Hill!

I am halfway through listening to The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood and loving it.

And I am almost finished listening to the enigmatic Entry Island by Peter May. This is a little different to anything else I have read by this author, but oh so good!

This week I am planning on reading The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter

WHEN PERFECT IMAGES

As a photographer, Delta Dawn observes the seemingly perfect lives of New York City’s elite: snapping photos of their children’s birthday parties, transforming images of stiff hugs and tearstained faces into visions of pure joy, and creating moments these parents long for.

ARE MADE OF BEAUTIFUL LIES

But when Delta is hired for Natalie Straub’s eleventh birthday, she finds herself wishing she wasn’t behind the lens but a part of the scene—in the Straub family’s gorgeous home and elegant life.

THE TRUTH WILL BE EXPOSED

That’s when Delta puts her plan in place, by babysitting for Natalie; befriending her mother, Amelia; finding chances to listen to her father, Fritz. Soon she’s bathing in the master bathtub, drinking their expensive wine, and eyeing the beautifully finished garden apartment in their townhouse. It seems she can never get close enough, until she discovers that photos aren’t all she can manipulate.

And The Marriage by K.L. Slater

Ten years ago he killed my son. Today I married him.

Ten years ago my darling son Jesse was murdered and our perfect family was destroyed. My strong, handsome boy, so full of life, became a memory, a photo I carried with me everywhere.

But today I’m finally close to finding happiness again. My ash-blonde hair has been curled into ringlets. Carefully placed white flowers frame my delicate features. The small, drab chapel has been prettied up with white satin, and there are tiny red hearts scattered on the small table where I will soon sign the register with my new husband.

The man who killed my son.

My friends and family can’t understand it. My neighbours whisper in the street whenever I walk past. How can I love a man like Tom?

They don’t really know me at all…

And I am afraid that my requesting finger ran amuck again this week – it does that when I am tired and my resistance levels are low (or nonexistent!) and I have 8 new ARCs from Netgalley. They are:

The Edelweiss Sisters by Kate Hewitt. I love this author, but this will be the first historical novel I have read by her.

Safe From Harm by Leah Mercer

One Way Street by Trevor Wood

Happily Ever After by Alison James

The Child in the Photo by Kerry Wilkinson

A Hand to Hold in Deep Water by Shawn Nocher

An Unwelcome Guest by Amanda Robson

And Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase by Jane Riley

I can’t wait to get started!

This past week I have travelled to Decatur, Georgia, Wasjington Woods, and Long Island in the USA, Halesowen and Marlow in England, as well as Entry Island in Canada with brief forays into the Outer Hebrides off Scotland. Where have you been this week?

Have a wonderful week of reading. I am hurrying back to Needless Street. 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️ ❤📚