Watching What I’m Reading…

Summer has returned to New Zealand after a week of very strong winds and cooler temperatures. The wind has browned off all the grass and everything is very dry . Even the lawn in our backyard has big cracks running through it. The farmers will be hoping for rain , and my garden could certainly use it, but please can we have it at night…😂🤣😂🤣

I am currently reading

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And listening to

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This week, despite the fact that I can only read my Kindle when it is connected to the power as it won’t hold a charge, I am planning on reading

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You are waiting for your husband to join you on holiday. But when he arrives, you know it’s not him…

This clever, twisty psychological thriller explores identity and pretence, paranoia and the disturbing notion that we are all, at some level, impostors.

They say she’s a murderess. She claims she’s innocent. But Lucy has been known to tell lies…

1855, New Hampshire. Lucy Blunt is set to hang for a double murder. Murderess or victim? Only Lucy knows the truth.

In the shadow of the gallows, Lucy reflects on the events that led to her bitter downfall—from the moment she arrived at the rambling Burton mansion looking for work and a better life to the grisly murders themselves.

In a mysterious household of locked doors and forbidden affections, Lucy slips comfortably into the shadows, where she believes the indiscretions of her past will remain hidden. But when Lucy’s rising status becomes a threat to the mistress’s current companion, the delicate balance of power and loyalty begins to shift, setting into motion a brewing storm of betrayal, suspicion, and rage.

Now, with her execution looming closer, Lucy’s allies fight to have her sentence overturned as the tale she’s spinning nears its conclusion. But how much of her story can we trust? After all, Lucy’s been known to bend the truth…

I have received 4 new ARCs this week

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That’s my lot for the week.
Wishing you a happy and safe week.

Cheers and happy reading
Sandy
❤😍📚

Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths

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EXCERPT: May 1964

At first, Edgar thought he wasn’t coming. They were all there in church: Edgar and Emma, Bob and Betty, Queenie in the front pew, sobbing into a lace-edged handkerchief. Even Mrs M was there, her hair white now but as striking as ever in a black cape with a fur collar. Ruby had caused a stir when she entered the church, followed, as ever, by Joe. There were even a few photographers waiting outside, just for the chance to snap the star of ‘Ruby Magic’, the nation’s favourite TV show. Ruby swept up the front to sit with Queenie, who welcomed her with a hug.

‘Isn’t she lovely?’ said someone. Edgar looked at Emma but her face was expressionless.

And then, as the wheezy music started up, a door banged at the back of the church and Edgar knew. The photographers must have known too because there was a shout outside, something like ‘That’s him.’ Edgar couldn’t resist looking round and there he was, in the blackest suit with the thinnest tie, taking off his hat, unchanged by the last eleven years. Max.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A wild mystery with DI Edgar Stephens and the magician Max Mephisto, as they help Edgar’s new wife investigate the disappearance of one of their own in the swinging 1960s.

MY THOUGHTS: Set in 1964 against the backdrop of the infamous bank holiday mods and rockers fight on Brighton beach, we catch up with DI Stephens and Max Mephisto eleven years after we last met with them in The Vanishing Box.

This was an interesting period in time. A time of Beatlemania, of protest marches against the Vietnam war, the advent of the contraceptive pill (available only to married women), and the emergence of female activists demanding more rights for women, whose role in society began to change as women realised they could have motherhood and a career too.

Policing was a completely different ballgame, with trunchons instead of tasers, no kevlar vests or body cameras, very little in the way of forensics, and communication via the unreliable ‘walkie talkie’.

Elly Griffiths has cleverly interwoven these social changes into the fabric of Now You See Them, a tale of mystery and intrigue that centres around the disappearance of 4 very different girls and women. Edgar not only has to cope with the mounting pressure to find these women, but also with the growing discontent of his wife Emma, who is missing her life as a detective on the force (married women could not work in the police force), and the effects of her ‘meddling’ in his case.

Griffiths has gathered together an interesting cast of characters with real depth and melds them with the changing social and cultural climate to produce an intriguing mystery. Although very different to her Ruth Galloway series, the Stephens and Mephisto series is every bit as good.
Highly recommended. But it is probably wise to read the earlier books in the series, set in the 1950s, for the characters back stories.

🚓🛵😍❤.5

THE AUTHOR: Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway novels take for their inspiration Elly’s husband, who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist, and her aunt who lives on the Norfolk coast and who filled her niece’s head with the myths and legends of that area. Elly has two children and lives near Brighton.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hodder Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths 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/3010324083

Midwinter Mysteries: A Christmas Crime Anthology

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EXCERPT: Galway, Ireland, 2019

It could be said that everything that happens is good news for somebody. How driving along a motorway, at two o’clock in the morning shortly before Christmas, with a dead Santa Claus in the back of his cab could ever be good news for Ben Miller was anybody’s guess. (The Stolen Santa Sack by Sean Gibbons)

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Eleven authors. Eleven stories. One festive collection! Perfect for fans of crime fiction, short stories, thrillers — and Christmas!

Deck the halls with tales of murder!

To get you in the mood for Christmas, Sapere Books has brought eleven of their authors together in this thrilling, festive short story anthology.

From dead bodies in Victorian London, to fraudulent identities in modern-day Cheltenham and a dead Santa in Galway, each story in this collection follows a mystery in the lead-up to Christmas.

Follow Charles Dickens as he turns private investigator.; a feisty couple challenging the status quo in 17th century England; a young woman unmasking fraudulent psychics in Victorian Brighton; an enigmatic policeman manning the streets of Prague; a strong-willed female detective taking down criminals in Wales; and a law-enforcement team investigating a death on a small Scottish island.

MY THOUGHTS: A quick and quirky read. This enjoyable collection of murders based around Christmas time contains a ghost who appears in a wedding photo, a dead Santa, a Russian policeman with a sense of humour, and even Charles Dickens makes an appearance! The times span from Victorian to current day, and the locations include London, Wales and Ireland.

While some of the stories rely heavily on Christmas and all the traditions and customs that come along with it, in others the fact that it is Christmas is just a misfortune of timing.

Most of the authors are unfamiliar to me, but I have read one or two previously.

Definitely recommended if you want a little mayhem in the guise of theft and murder in your Christmas stocking. My personal favourite was Footprints in the Snow by JC Briggs.

#MidwinterMysteries #NetGalley

😍😍😍😍

THE AUTHORS: Graham Brack – Away in a Manger
J C Briggs – Footprints in the Snow
Keith Moray – Lost and Found
Cora Harrison – The Spirit of Christmas
Sean Gibbons – The Stolen Santa Sack
Marilyn Todd – Will Power
Gaynor Torrance – Christmas Spirits
David Field – The Essex Nativity
Kim Fleet – Secret Santa
MJ Logue – Stir Up Sunday
Linda Stratman – The Christmas Ghost

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Sapere Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Midwinter Mysteries 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/3051774895?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Watching What I’m Reading…

It is a hot summer day here in my little corner of New Zealand. It is not often that you will hear me say this, but it’s actually too hot to be out in the garden. It was the same yesterday, and apparently we have a whole week of this lovely weather to look forward to. Bring on summer…this is my kind of weather. It is lovely sitting out on the deck in the shade, my book in one hand and a nice cold drink in the other.

I actually squeezed an extra book in last week

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Which I read last night. Watch for my review.

I am about to begin

And I am listening to

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the follow up to The Lilac Girls.

This week I am planning on reading

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When Nick’s wife Kerry falls ill and dies, he realises for the first time how fragile his happiness has always been, and how much he’s been taking his good life and wonderful family for granted. Now, he suddenly finds himself navigating parenthood alone, unsure how to deal with his own grief, let alone that of his teenage son, Olly.

In the depths of his heartbreak, Nick must find a way to navigate life that pleases his son, his in-laws, his family and his friends—while honouring what Kerry meant to them all. But when it comes to his own emotions, Nick doesn’t know where to begin. Kerry was his childhood sweetheart—but was she really the only one who could ever make him happy?

And in the aftermath of tragedy, can Nick and his son find themselves again?

And hopefully I will also be able to start

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Louise Bridges has the perfect life.

A loving husband, Patrick. Two adorable children. A comfortable home.

So when PC Becca Holt arrives to break the news that Patrick has been killed in an accident, she thinks Louise’s perfect world is about to collapse around her.

But Louise doesn’t react in the way Becca would expect her to on hearing of her husband’s death. And there are only three plates set out for dinner as if Louise already knew Patrick wouldn’t be home that night…

The more Becca digs, the more secrets she uncovers in the Bridges’ marriage – and the more she wonders just how far Louise would go to get what she wants…

Is Louise a loving wife – or a cold-hearted killer?

And I have seven new ARCs from Netgalley….well what can I say? There are currently just so many tempting titles out there begging to be read. And those of you who know me well will know that I can resist everything but temptation 🤣😂🤣😂

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I also bought two books this week…

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So I had better go get some reading done! I hope you got some lovely books to read this week….

Happy reading my friends
❤😍📚

The Noble Path by Peter May

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EXCERPT: Four hundred miles away in a small, darkened room on the top floor of a building off the Falls Road in Belfast, Elliott’s face was drawn from a large beige envelope. The face was older than in the wedding photographs, and had by now acquired its distinctive scar. The photograph was placed in the centre of a bare wooden table. There were three men seated around it. The man who had taken the print from the envelope turned it through ninety degrees in order that the others could see it clearly.

‘John Alexander Elliott,’ he spoke with a thick Belfast brogue. ‘Ex-British army. Now freelancing. He killed McAlliskey. And O’Neill.’ He paused. ‘We want him dead.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: THE EVIL WRATH
Cambodia, 1978: Amid the Khmer Rouge’s crazed genocide, soldier-of-fortune Jack Elliott is given the impossible task of rescuing a family from the regime.
THE PAINFUL TRUTH
Eighteen-year-old orphan and budding journalist Lisa Robinson has received the impossible news that her father is, in fact, alive. His name is Jack Elliott.
THE NOBLE PATH
As Jack tracks the hostages and Lisa traces her heritage, each intent on reuniting a family. Yet to succeed, they each must run a dangerous gauntlet of bullets and betrayal.

MY THOUGHTS: Not my normal genre but, to be honest, if Peter May wrote the telephone directory, I would probably read it.

Although this book is set in the 1970s, there are so many issues that are still current today.

WAR: There is always one being fought somewhere in the world, in which the civilians, the innocents, bear the brunt.

REFUGEES: A problem that has become worse over the years, not better. Yet who can blame these people who have already suffered so much, for wanting a better life.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: There are always people looking to make money out of selling people dreams, then using them for their own ends.

This novel is not Peter May’s normal fare. And I must say that I prefer his Lewis trilogy, and the Enzo series, but The Noble Path is compelling reading. I vaguely remember newscasts covering the Cambodian war…but I was of an age where I was far more interested in the weekend’s agenda. Yes, I was shallow. I was aware on a peripheral basis, but if it didn’t affect me directly……for which I now unreservedly apologise.

The Noble Path contains graphic violence, but nothing that is gratuitous, in fact, it has probably been toned down. I cannot, and do not want to, imagine the atrocities, the cruelties, that occurred every minute of every day.

I did not enjoy The Noble Path, but at the same time I loved it. I loved the little kindnesses, the humanity of the characters. There were times that I gasped in horror, times that I wept with sorrow, and times that my heart swelled at some small deed.

This is a story of lost innocence on many levels, of human resilience, of the power of the love of a mother, and the search of a daughter for her father. It is a novel of the horrors and inhumanity of war. It is a novel of love, death and survival. It is a novel of hope.

My favourite quote: The dead couldn’t hurt you. But they filled your mind, touching your soul, a reminder that you too were only flesh and blood and would one day return to the earth. Dust to dust.

#TheNoblePath #NetGalley

😳😢😯😍

THE AUTHOR: Peter May is a Scottish television screenwriter, novelist, and crime writer. He is the recipient of writing awards in Europe and America. The Blackhouse won the U.S. Barry Award for Crime Novel of the Year and the national literature award in France, the CEZAM Prix Litteraire.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Noble Path by Peter May 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/2923283324

The Return of Mr. Campion by Margery Allingham

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Somehow, I have lost my notes containing the excerpts from this collection of short stories thatthat I wanted to share with you. Hopefully they will turn up in some unexpected place, some time in the future, and I will be able to add them.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In this fantastic collection of thirteen short stories, Margery Allingham explores both the Mystery and the other genres it has allowed her to write.

From a Christmastime story and a portrait of her leading man, Albert Campion, to classic capers and the traditional British mystery, Allingham displays her wit, her humour, and her prowess not just as a Mystery writer but as a storyteller.

Published thirty years after it’s first publication, The Return of Mr Campion proves that both The Mystery and Allingham are still everywhere.

The Return of Mr Campion was first published in 1989 and contains the following short stories:
The case is altered — Mr friend Mr. Campion — The dog day — The wind glass — The beauty king — The black tent — Sweet and low –Once in a lifetime — The kernel of truth — Happy Christmas — The wisdom of Esdras — The curious affair in Nut Row — What to do with an ageing detective

MY THOUGHTS: This was a mixed bag of short stories, many of which didn’t actually feature Mr Campion. But there is plenty to keep the reader interested, with tales of crime, blackmail, romance and even a ghost story.

Of great interest to me is the lack of political correctness that was very evident at the time this collection was written. Very strict social mores are also in evidence. People talk of living in simpler times, but it seems to me that the difficulties were just different.

3.5

THE AUTHOR: Margery Louise Allingham was born in Ealing, London in 1904 to a family of writers. Her father, Herbert John Allingham, was editor of The Christian Globe and The New London Journal, while her mother wrote stories for women’s magazines. Margery’s aunt, Maud Hughes, also ran a magazine. Margery earned her first fee at the age of eight, for a story printed in her aunt’s magazine.

Soon after Margery’s birth, the family left London for Essex. She returned to London in 1920 to attend the Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster), and met her future husband, Philip Youngman Carter. They married in 1928. He was her collaborator and designed the cover jackets for many of her books.

Margery’s breakthrough came 1929 with the publication of her second novel, The Crime at Black Dudley . The novel introduced Albert Campion, although only as a minor character. After pressure from her American publishers, Margery brought Campion back for Mystery Mile and continued to use Campion as a character throughout her career.

After a battle with breast cancer, Margery died in 1966. Her husband finished her last novel, A Cargo of Eagles at her request, and published it in 1968.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Agora Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Return of Mr Campion by Margery Allingham 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 are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2753056259?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

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EXCERPT: May 19, 1924
It had started when Hattie was a little girl.

She’d had a cloth-bodied doll with a porcelain head called Miss Fentwig. Miss Fentwig told her things – things that Hattie had no way of knowing, things that Hattie didn’t really want to hear. She felt it deep down inside her in the way that she’d felt things all her life.

Her gift.

Her curse.

One day, Miss Fentwick told her that Hattie’s father would be killed, struck by lightening, and that there was nothing Hattie could do. Hattie tried to warn her daddy and her mother. She told them just what Miss Fentwick had said. “Nonsense, child,” they’d said, and sent her to bed without supper for saying such terrible things.

Two weeks later, her daddy was dead. Struck by lightening while he was putting his horse in the barn.

Everyone started looking at Hattie funny after that. They took Miss Fentwig away from her, but Hattie, she kept hearing voices. The trees talked to her. Rocks and rivers and little shiny green beetles spoke to her. They told her what was to come.

‘You have a gift,’ the voices told her.

But Hattie, she didn’t see it that way, Not at first. Not until she learned to control it.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate abandon the comforts of suburbia and their teaching jobs to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this charming property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. As Helen starts carefully sourcing decorative building materials for her home–wooden beams, mantles, historic bricks–she starts to unearth, and literally conjure, the tragic lives of Hattie’s descendants, three generations of “Breckenridge women,” each of whom died amidst suspicion, and who seem to still be seeking something precious and elusive in the present day.

MY THOUGHTS: This wasn’t chilling, but it was a good listen. It didn’t give me goosebumps, or night horrors, or any sort of horror really, but it kept me interested.

Really this is a family drama with a little paranormal thrown in. It centres on greed, obsession and jealousy, and the effects it has on people. Which is a lot scarier than ghosts, any day.

😱😱😱.5

THE AUTHOR: I’m the author of seven suspense novels, including Promise Not to Telll, The Winter People, and most recently, The Night Sister . I live in central Vermont with my partner and daughter, in an old Victorian that some neighbors call The Addams Family house.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The Invited by Jennifer McMahin, narrated by Amanda Carlin and Justine Eyre, published by Random House Audio, via Overdrive. 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/3031299201?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1