Watching What I’m Reading…..

Apologies for the lateness of my Sunday post….I am currently overwhelmed with commitments in every aspect of my life. I know it will pass and I just have to keep breathing, the most important thing! I am 5 books short of finishing my October reads, and I haven’t even looked at my November list yet….

I have started reading

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which I am really intrigued by.

I am listening to

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which I requested for review pre-release, and was declined for.

This week I am planning on reading

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1941, Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. An unforgettable story of love, hope and betrayal, and a testament to the courage of humanity in history’s darkest days.

University professor Josef Held has never recovered from the loss of his wife. He has no intention of letting anyone new into his quiet, safe world, where the ticking clock in his mathematics classroom drowns out the beat of Nazi soldiers’ boots.

But when his Jewish pupil Michael comes to him, saying Jews will no longer be allowed to study, Josef can ignore the situation no longer. In an impulsive act of courage, he offers Michael a place to hide in his attic.

In the quiet gloom of the secret room, Josef discovers Michael is everything he himself is not: spontaneous, poetic, and unafraid to love, though his passionate relationship with a non-Jewish Dutch girl is strictly forbidden. Michael insists: not even the Nazis will keep him from his fearless, beautiful, chestnut-haired Elke.

Josef sees the determination in his young friend’s eyes. Remembering his own heartbreak, he feels desperate to give Michael and Elke a chance. But in the dark days of war, with danger and betrayal at every turn, no-one can be trusted.

And then tragedy strikes, facing Josef with an impossible choice. If Michael is to survive and get back to the woman he loves, it will be down to Josef – to find the hero inside himself, and do whatever it takes to keep Michael alive.

Even if it means putting his own life on the line.

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As a child, Evie Lindsay was unnerved by her premonitions. As an adult, they have become a simple fact of life—sometimes disruptive but also inescapable, much like her quirky, loveable family. Evie’s mother, Poppy, and her aunts, Camellia and Iris, are well known on San Orcanita island for their free-spirited ways and elaborately decorated hats. Their floral shop and Evie’s bookstore draw streams of visitors all summer long. This season promises to be extra busy: Evie’s sister, Jules, is getting married on the island.

As Jules plans her unconventional wedding, she arranges to do a DNA test with her mother, sister, and aunts, to see how much accepted lore about their heritage holds true. The results blow apart everything Evie has grown up believing about herself and her family. Spurred on by the revelations, Evie uncovers the real story of her past. But beyond her feelings of shock and betrayal, there are unexpected opportunities—to come to terms with a gift that has sometimes felt like a curse, to understand the secrets that surrounded her childhood, and to embrace the surprising new life that is waiting for her . .

I have received 4 new ARCs this week. …

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I hope you are all happy and well, my friends. Happy reading

❤😍📚

Deadly Harm by Owen Mullen

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EXCERPT: A breeze rustled the branches of the trees above them. Mackenzie felt sweat drying on her brow. She closed her eyes, savouring the sensation. Panic was the enemy. No good lay down that road. Whatever story they gave the police wouldn’t save them now. Digging was their only hope.

She let her breath out slowly, forcing herself to stay calm. ‘We had that chance. It’s gone.’

‘But it’s the truth.’

‘Is it?’

‘You know it is.’

Mackenzie leaned on the spade, struggling to keep hold of her impatience. ‘I’ll tell you what I know. There’s a man with half a face lying in our garden. Explain that.’

‘I’ll tell them he attacked me.’

‘We discussed this. The way he died… they’ll never believe you.’ Mackenzie pointed to the trench at her feet. ‘And what about this?’

Caitlyn didn’t answer.

‘That’s what I thought.’ She stepped out of the grave. ‘Your turn to dig.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: It’s been five years since Mackenzie Darroch was abducted and held captive in a derelict house.

She thought she’d found her way out of the darkness. She was wrong.

When she witnesses a car crash and saves the driver’s life, it sets in motion a chain of events that will alter both their futures.

The two women get involved in a high profile police case and draw the attention of a ruthless reporter. Gina Calvi is convinced Mackenzie is not what she appears and is prepared to do anything to prove it.

Meanwhile, across the city, Kirsty McBride, a young single mother, is persuaded to leave a violent relationship. Her partner, Malkie Boyle a Glasgow hardman, is due to be released from prison. Once back on the street and bent on revenge, Boyle is determined to find the people responsible for stealing his family from him.

Can Mackenzie save them or will Boyle get his revenge?

MY THOUGHTS: I didn’t want to put this down. I didn’t want to go to work. I wanted to stay home and read. I was late for work (just one more chapter….), and I dared not take Deadly Harm to work with me….

Mullen has a fairly unique writing style, a seamless blend of frantic and flowing. His prose is terse, but he leaves nothing out, and sweeps the reader along to a breathtaking finale – one that I never saw coming.

It was great to see some characters from Mullen’s previous books back – Charlie Cameron puts in a brief appearance, but the book belongs to the characters of Mackenzie Darroch, an abduction survivor whom we first met in In Harm’s Way, and DI Andrew Geddes, whose methods aren’t always in line with law enforcement norms, an aetheist, and who likes a drink. Well, maybe more than one. He made regular appearance’s in Mullen’s Charlie Cameron series.

Mullen tackles the subject of domestic abuse head on. There is no side-stepping issues, no oblique references. He calls a spade a space, but does so with finesse.

I simply galloped through this read, swept along by Mullen’s passion, both for his craft and his subject. I will be giving this a second, slower, more considered read to fully enjoy his little snippets of humour and the finer nuances of the plot.

My favourite quote: Some people don’t have relationships, they take hostages.

5 absolutely brilliant stars!

#DeadlyHarm

THE AUTHOR: Bestselling author Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year long-listed novelist.

Owen Mullen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; Owen still loves to perform on occasion. His great love for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home away from home in the Greek Islands where the Charlie Cameron and Delaney series’, and the In Harm’s Way psychological thriller were created.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to author Owen Mullen for providing a digital ARC of his book Deadly Harm 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, or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others also appear on Twitter, and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3026545606?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Watching What I’m Reading….

I was so looking forward to this weekend, the first that I haven’t had to work for some time. The weather has been perfect for the gardening I had planned to do. Instead I have been laid up with a particularly nasty stomach bug that is doing the rounds. I am feeling better this afternoon (Sunday) and even though it is a long weekend here in New Zealand, the weather forecast for tomorrow is cold, wet and windy 😞 so I won’t be getting much done outside. I guess I will just have to read, and the lawn and gardens will have to wait!

Currently I am reading

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Which I am loving!

I am almost finished listening to 38225791._sy475_-1

This week I plan on reading

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It’s been five years since Mackenzie Darroch was abducted and held captive in a derelict house.

She thought she’d found her way out of the darkness. She was wrong.

When she witnesses a car crash and saves the driver’s life, it sets in motion a chain of events that will alter both their futures.

The two women get involved in a high profile police case and draw the attention of a ruthless reporter. Gina Calvi is convinced Mackenzie is not what she appears and is prepared to do anything to prove it.

Meanwhile, across the city, Kirsty McBride, a young single mother, is persuaded to leave a violent relationship. Her partner, Malkie Boyle a Glasgow hardman, is due to be released from prison. Once back on the street and bent on revenge, Boyle is determined to find the people responsible for stealing his family from him.

Can Mackenzie save them or will Boyle get his revenge?

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Pennsylvania, 1940s. The only life Brighton Friedrich has ever known is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of Riverside Home—the rural asylum where she was born. A nurse, Joann, has educated and raised Brighton, whose mother is a patient at the hospital. But Joann has also kept vital information from Brighton—secrets that if ever revealed would illuminate Brighton’s troubling past and the circumstances that confine her to Riverside. Brighton’s best friend is a boy she calls Angel, and as they grow up together and face the bleak future that awaits them, they determine to make a daring escape.

Nothing can prepare Brighton and Angel for life beyond Riverside’s walls. They have no legal identities, very little money, and only a few leads toward a safe place to land. As they struggle to survive in a world they’ve never seen before, they must rely on each other and the kindness of strangers—some of whom may prove more dangerous than the asylum they’ve fled.

5 ARCs from Netgalley this week, plus I picked up 2 books from my library sale….

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Were all from Netgalley. And from the library sale I purchased

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Plus I have been buying books for the grandchildren’s Christmas parcels. But as the eldest regularly reads my blog, I have to keep mum.

Have a wonderful week’s reading my friends and keep well.

🤗❤😍📚🎅🎅🎅🎅🎅

Close to You by Kerry Wilkinson

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EXCERPT: ‘You can tell me anything…’

This is the moment when I can either let it out, or I’m going to have to hold on to it. Even with that, there is truth within truth. If I tell her that I think David was in the back of her photo from the hotel, then do I leave it at that? Do I say that David’s dead? That I killed him? It’s the problem with lying. It’s like chocolate digestives with a cup of tea: one is never enough.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: I pinch the screen to zoom until I’m staring at the face of a ghost. A man with very short hair, staring directly at the camera with piercing brown eyes.

He is as he was when I last saw him: wrinkles around the corners of the eyes and a knowing smirk. That’s the expression I see when I can’t sleep.

My body tenses. It can’t be him. It’s not my ex-husband. It’s not David.

I know that better than anyone because he didn’t walk out on me.

He didn’t disappear two years ago and he’s not a missing person.

I know that for a fact because I’m the one who killed him.

MY THOUGHTS: There were things I liked about this book, and things I didn’t.

It was an interesting premise….I killed my husband, but now he’s back. I liked it. It has great possibilities. I admit I hadn’t thought of the possibility that Kerry Wilkinson chose, but I did cotton on to it reasonably early in the book. There are a couple of little tells if you watch for them.

The book is told entirely from the view of Morgan (which makes a nice change), over two timelines, NOW and WHY. I can’t say that I liked Morgan, who seems to have no real affection for anyone, but I liked David even less. Interesting characters. In fact, the book is full of interesting characters, even if they are mostly unlikeable.

However, I just didn’t feel the tension, the suspense that I was expecting from this writer. I love his Jane Daniels series, and for me, this just didn’t measure up to his usual standard.

I am not saying this is a bad book, because it isn’t. It was an interesting read, but not a particularly gripping one. 3.5 stars

THE AUTHOR: Kerry Wilkinson has had No.1 crime bestsellers in the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa and Singapore. He has also written two top-20 thrillers in the United States. His book, Ten Birthdays, won the RNA award for Young Adult Novel of the Year in 2018.

As well as his million-selling Jessica Daniel series, Kerry has written the Silver Blackthorn trilogy – a fantasy-adventure serial for young adults – a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter, plus numerous standalone novels. He has been published around the world in more than a dozen languages.

Originally from the county of Somerset, Kerry has spent far too long living in the north of England, picking up words like ‘barm’ and ‘ginnel’.

When he’s short of ideas, he rides his bike or bakes cakes. When he’s not, he writes it all down.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Close to You by Kerry Wilkinson for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own 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 EXCERPT: ‘You can tell me anything…’

This is the moment when I can either let it out, or I’m going to have to hold on to it. Even with that, there is truth within truth. If I tell her that I think David was in the back of her photo from the hotel, then do I leave it at that? Do I say that David’s dead? That I killed him? It’s the problem with lying. It’s like chocolate digestives with a cup of tea: one is never enough.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: I pinch the screen to zoom until I’m staring at the face of a ghost. A man with very short hair, staring directly at the camera with piercing brown eyes.

He is as he was when I last saw him: wrinkles around the corners of the eyes and a knowing smirk. That’s the expression I see when I can’t sleep.

My body tenses. It can’t be him. It’s not my ex-husband. It’s not David.

I know that better than anyone because he didn’t walk out on me.

He didn’t disappear two years ago and he’s not a missing person.

I know that for a fact because I’m the one who killed him.

MY THOUGHTS: There were things I liked about this book, and things I didn’t.

It was an interesting premise….I killed my husband, but now he’s back. I liked it. It has great possibilities. I admit I hadn’t thought of the possibility that Kerry Wilkinson chose, but I did cotton on to it reasonably early in the book. There are a couple of little tells if you watch for them.

The book is told entirely from the view of Morgan (which makes a nice change), over two timelines, NOW and WHY. I can’t say that I liked Morgan, who seems to have no real affection for anyone, but I liked David even less. Interesting characters. In fact, the book is full of interesting characters, even if they are mostly unlikeable.

However, I just didn’t feel the tension, the suspense that I was expecting from this writer. I love his Jane Daniels series, and for me, this just didn’t measure up to his usual standard.

I am not saying this is a bad book, because it isn’t. It was an interesting read, but not a particularly gripping one. 3.5 stars

THE AUTHOR: Kerry Wilkinson has had No.1 crime bestsellers in the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa and Singapore. He has also written two top-20 thrillers in the United States. His book, Ten Birthdays, won the RNA award for Young Adult Novel of the Year in 2018.

As well as his million-selling Jessica Daniel series, Kerry has written the Silver Blackthorn trilogy – a fantasy-adventure serial for young adults – a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter, plus numerous standalone novels. He has been published around the world in more than a dozen languages.

Originally from the county of Somerset, Kerry has spent far too long living in the north of England, picking up words like ‘barm’ and ‘ginnel’.

When he’s short of ideas, he rides his bike or bakes cakes. When he’s not, he writes it all down.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Close to You by Kerry Wilkinson for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own 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

Watching What I’m Reading…..

It’s already Monday here in New Zealand so I am a day late with my post. I worked through the weekend and had visitors yesterday, plus a friend arrives today and is staying for the next two weeks while he is working in the area…

Last night I started reading

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And I am listening to

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Which I was declined for pre publication. I love this author and am enjoying this YA drama.

This week I am planning on reading

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When the discovery of a body on a vacant lot puts an end to Police Chief Callie Morgan’s surprise birthday party, Christmas week loses some of its charm. Not only does she know the dead man, he’s a relation . . . of sorts.

Soon she’s juggling a murder investigation and a rash of burglaries that may have been committed by the mythical Edisto Santa—a holiday secret Santa, who may have taken a page from Robin Hood’s book and begun robbing from the tourist rich and giving to the local poor.

Since the suspects for both crimes are Edisto residents, no matter how delicately Callie treads, this holiday season will pit Callie against her beloved Edisto and leave her feeling like the Grinch, Scrooge, and Old Man Potter rolled into one. But she has no choice. Murder trumps Santa.

This year Callie is making a list and checking it twice.

And hopefully I will be able to start The House of Brides by Jane Cockram, the cover of which refuses to download today!

Miranda’s life and career has been a roller-coaster ride. Her successful rise to the top of the booming lifestyle industry as a social media influencer led to a humiliating fall after a controversial product she endorsed flopped. Desperate to get away from the hate-spewing trolls shaming her on the internet, she receives a mysterious letter from a young cousin in England that plunges her into a dark family mystery.

Miranda’s mother Tessa Summers, a famous author, died when Miranda was a child. The young woman’s only connection to the Summers family is through Tessa’s famous book The House of Brides—a chronicle of the generations of women who married into the infamous Summers family and made their home in the rambling Barnsley House, the family’s estate. From Gertrude Summers, a famed crime novelist, to Miranda’s grandmother Beatrice, who killed herself after setting fire to Barnsley while her children slept, each woman in The House of Brides is more notorious than the next. The house’s current “bride” is the beautiful, effervescent Daphne, her Uncle Max’s wife—a famed celebrity chef who saved Barnsley from ruin turning the estate into an exclusive culinary destination and hotel.

Curious about this legendary family she has never met, Miranda arrives at Barnsley posing as a prospective nanny answering an advertisement. She’s greeted by the compelling yet cold housekeeper Mrs. Mins, and meets the children and her Uncle Max—none of whom know her true identity. But Barnsley is not what Miranda expected. The luxury destination and award-winning restaurant is gone, and Daphne is nowhere to be found. Most disturbing, one of the children is in a wheelchair after a mysterious accident. What happened in this house? Where is Daphne? What darkness lies hidden in Barnsley?

Only two ARCs this week

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And that’s my lot! I have some reviews written, ready for publication over the next few days just in case I find myself running out of time again.

Happy reading my friends.

🤗❤😍📚

Picture of Innocence by T.J. Stimson

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EXCERPT: I crawl back into bed and stare blindly up into the darkness. I won’t sleep; not tonight, not for many nights to come. I doubt I’ll ever sleep soundly again.

I start to shake. The adrenalin that brought me this far suddenly drains away and I begin to shiver so violently my muscles cramp. I press my fist against my mouth to still the chatter of my teeth. If I had anything left in my stomach, I would be sick again.

I’ve always thought of myself as a fundamentally good person. I’m not perfect, but I’ve spent a lifetime trying to do the right thing. I rescue spiders from the bath; I stop traffic to let a mother lead her row of ducklings across the road. A month ago I’d never have believed myself capable of killing a mouse, never mind another human being in cold blood.

But human nature had an infinite capacity to surprise.

We teach our children to fear dark alleys and strangers, but the real danger is much closer to home. You’re more than twice as likely to be murdered by someone you love than by someone you’ve never met. If you’re a child, it’s nearer three times. If you want a reason to be scared, look in the mirror.

Evil doesn’t have two horns and a tail. It’s ordinary, just like me.

Those jealous husbands who bludgeon their wives to death, the women who smother their babies, the estranged fathers who lock their children in the car and connect the exhaust. Ordinary men and women, all of them.

Just like me.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: My name is Lydia. I’m 12 years old. I’m not an evil person, but I did something bad.

My name is Maddie. I’d never hurt my son. But can I be sure if I don’t remember?

With three children under ten, Maddie is struggling. On the outside, she’s a happy young mother, running a charity as well as a household. But inside, she’s exhausted. She knows she’s lucky to have to have a support network around her. Not just her loving husband, but her family and friends too.

But is Maddie putting her trust in the right people? Because when tragedy strikes, she is certain someone has hurt her child – and everyone is a suspect, including Maddie herself…

The women in this book are about to discover that looks can be deceiving… because anyone is capable of terrible things. Even the most innocent, even you.

This is the story of every mother’s worst fear. But it’s not a story you know… and nothing is what it seems.

MY THOUGHTS: I read Picture of Innocence in one sitting; horrified and appalled, I honestly felt like one of those people who stands around rubbernecking at an accident site. But I could not put this down. Chilling, twisty and addictive reading.

It is hard to say that I could enjoy a book that is as dark and disturbing as this – WARNING: there are plenty of triggers for those so affected – but I did. I could empathise with Maggie and her struggle with Noah, having had a baby who never slept and screamed with colic for hours on end. I was lucky. I also had a strong support network, but still I struggled.

And Lydia….oh, Lydia, what that child endured.

Know, going into this book, that you are heading for a train wreck. Be prepared for carnage. Be prepared to have your heart ripped out of your breast, to experience turmoil.

This book is not for the faint-hearted. I loved it.

5 stars

P.S. – this book is published in some countries under the title of ‘The Mother’.

THE AUTHOR: Writing as Tess Stimson, T J Stimson is the author of eleven novels, including top ten bestseller The Adultery Club, and two non-fiction books, which between them have been translated into dozens of languages.
A former journalist and reporter, Stimson was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Florida in 2002 and moved to the US. She now lives and works in Vermont with her husband Erik, their three children, and (at the last count) two cats, three fish, one gerbil and a large number of bats in the attic.
Picture of Innocence is T J Stimson’s first foray into psychological thrillers.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Avon Books via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Picture of innocence by T.J. Stimson 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 and other reviews are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2769258524?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1