Behind Dark Doors (One) by Susan May

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EXCERPT: Then this producer rang from ‘Today Tonight’ – or ‘Yesterday Morning’, or something sounding equally cliched – and asked if he could do a piece on them.

A piece, he thought. He wished he could have done just a piece of marriage, instead of the whole lot. They never ask you that during the wedding ceremony. ‘How much do you think you can do? Five years? Twenty? Fifty? After fifty we’ll come and get you out, George.’ No, they do not. They say ‘until the day you die.’ And that is that.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Twilight Zone, Darker Things and Black Mirror.
These tales will delight fans of the horror short story with their ingenius twists and wicked irony. Brought to you by the international best-selling author readers have named the new Stephen King.

Enter strange worlds and meet their unusual and sometimes terrifying residents.Dive into the first collection of ;Behind Dark Doors, filled with stories of suspense, horror, paranormal and supernatural, from the dark mind of short story award-winning author Susan May.

DO US PART
When you’ve been married seventy years, what secret and deadly thoughts lie behind the smiles?

HELL’S KITCHEN
Gordon must survive the elimination round in an intense cooking competition. But he’s made a fatal mistake and winning is now a matter of life and death.

MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES
When a mother feels she’s not being heard at a parent-teacher meeting, sometimes actions can speak louder than words.

I HATE EMMA CARTER
New girl in school, Emma Carter, is assigned Angie Dutton as her babysitter. Angie’s nobody’s keeper but perhaps this time she’s picked the wrong victim.

IT’S IN THE GENES
Ever since Brandon joined his father on his late-night fishing trips he’s changed from Helen’s happy-go-lucky son. Today, she’ll discover why.

THE WAR VETERAN
For seventy years, World War II veteran Jack Baker has endured vivid flashbacks to that horrific June day on Omaha Beach. Tonight, Jack’s seventy-year-old secret comes back to claim him.

MY THOUGHTS: Susan May has a twisted mind….be very careful around her and her family. Don’t upset her. You may, if her stories are anything to go by, live (or not live, as the case may be) to regret it.

My favourite story was Do Us Part. It’s something that I have often wondered about…. as my dear husband often says, you get less for murder.

This is a wonderful collection of macabre stories, some of which will amuse, while others will chill. Sit back and enjoy the ride…..

🤣😱🤯😳

THE AUTHOR: I was four when I decided I would be a writer, packed a bag, and marched down the road looking for a school. But for forty-six years, I suffered from life-gets-in-the-way-osis. Setting a goal to write just one page a day cured me in 2010. This discipline grew into an addictive habit that has since borne several novels, and dozens of short stories and novellas–many of which are published award-winners in Australia, the US and the UK.

My childhood reading diet consisted of Edgar Allen Poe, O’Henry, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, plus horror comics like Tales From the Crypt. Anything out of this world like The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits had me glued to the television.

Inspired by these classics, I attempt to pen tales that are simply about the story and the characters and not about fancy words or beautiful descriptions. At the end of my stories I hope, wonderful reader, that you will feel you’ve enjoyed a journey into the fantastic with a neat twist at the end.

Every day I pinch myself that I am able to do what I love and be in control of every facet of it. And I can wear my track suit pants and slippers while doing it. Bliss.

Most days I’m just an average mother and wife living in Perth, Western Australia, but this darn imagination of mine keeps constantly venturing into the crevices of dark worlds, whether I want to go there or not.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to author Susan May for providing a digital copy of her short story collection Behind Dark Doors 1 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1386311068?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni

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EXCERPT: The bus wound its way along the Moskva River, already filling with chunks of floating ice, another harbinger of the wicked winter to come. Thirty minutes after Zarina boarded, the bus reached her stop in front of the supermarket on Filevsky Bulvar. She crossed the bleak park, listening to the spindling tree limbs click and clack with each wind gust. Soviet-era apartment buildings stood like sentries around the park, grotesque concrete blocks with tiny windows and tagged with graffiti. Zarina pushed open a brown metal door to a spartan lobby.The light fixtures had long ago been stolen – along with the marble floor and brass stair railing. Russians had interpreted capitalism to mean: “Steal what you can sell.” Attempts to replenish the buildings had only led to more thefts.

Zarina rode the elevator to the twelfth floor and stepped into a hallway as drab and bare as the lobby. She undid the four locks to what had once been her parents’ apartment, wiped the soles of her boots on the mat so as not to mark the oak floor, inlaid with an intricate geometric design, and hung her coat and hat on the rack before she stepped into the living area.

“We were beginning to wonder if you were coming home, Ms Kazakova.”

The man’s voice startled her, and Zarina screamed.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Former CIA case officer Charles Jenkins is a man at a crossroads: in his early sixties, he has a family, a new baby on the way, and a security consulting business on the brink of bankruptcy. Then his former bureau chief shows up at his house with a risky new assignment: travel undercover to Moscow and locate a Russian agent believed to be killing members of a clandestine US spy cell known as the seven sisters.

Desperate for money, Jenkins agrees to the mission and heads to the Russian capital. But when he finds the mastermind agent behind the assassinations—the so-called eighth sister—she is not who or what he was led to believe. Then again, neither is anyone else in this deadly game of cat and mouse.

Pursued by a dogged Russian intelligence officer, Jenkins executes a daring escape across the Black Sea, only to find himself abandoned by the agency he serves. With his family and freedom at risk, Jenkins is in the fight of his life—against his own country.

MY THOUGHTS: I am not a fan of the spy-thriller/legal thriller genres, and had this book been written by anyone other than Robert Dugoni, I may not have finished it. Even so, I struggled at times to maintain my interest. And, if I have to be honest, I probably didn’t check out the subject matter as carefully as I should have before hitting the ‘request’ button. Just seeing the Robert Dugoni name was recommendation enough for me.

And as I said, if The Eighth Sister had been written by anyone other than Dugoni, I probably wouldn’t have finished it. However, his writing style carried me through; that and the mystery of the eight ‘sisters’, a spy ring.

While this is definitely not my favorite of Dugoni’s books, it is certainly to be recommended if you are a spy-thriller aficionado.I am glad I read it, but not entirely sure that I want to repeat the experience with more of this series to come.

#The Eighth Sister #NetGalley

🤔😏🤔.5

THE AUTHOR: Robert Dugoni is the New York Times, #1 Amazon, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author of the Tracy Crosswhite series. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, released April 2018. Dugoni’s first series featured attorney David Sloane and CIA agent Charles Jenkins, both of whom appear in The Eighth Sister.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Thomas & Mercer via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2701024725?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

Watching What I’m Reading…

I woke this morning to heavy rain on the roof and pelting against the windows. The wind was swirling through the trees, whistling under the eaves and screaming around the corners of the house. I lay in bed and thought what a wonderful day it was to stay in bed and read. Then came the dawning realisation that I had to work today…

Tonight I will finish reading

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This week I plan on reading

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Just when she’d sworn off men for good, Sarah Evans met Eddie. Sarah was a magazine editor, living in Manhattan, and loving her life—except for the heartbreaks. A successful real estate developer, Eddie was a breath of fresh air, a meeting of minds—and bodies. Soon came wedded bliss, baby number one—and the proverbial move to the suburbs . . .

You just sit there like a slob while I do all the work. Nine years later, this is increasingly what goes through Sarah’s mind when she looks at Evan, propped in front of the TV with a beer, ignoring their two children. The truth is, she misses her old life. She misses the old Eddie. She can’t help wondering if she’d be happier alone . . .

When Eddie’s job sends him to Chicago indefinitely, Sarah shocks him by suggesting a trial separation. But she knows it’s just a precursor to divorce—even if Eddie chooses to think of it as a “vacation.” Yet a lot can change—on both sides—as time goes by. And once Christmas arrives, Sarah and Eddie might re-discover gifts they’d forgotten they had . . .

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Discredited British Army officer Jack Elliot is a man with nothing left to lose—or to live for. For him, life is cheap and death expensive: He kills now for money. So when Ang Yuon, a wealthy Cambodian refugee, asks him to cross Thailand to rescue his wife and children from the Khmer Rouge, Elliot demands a large price. This time he expects, even hopes, to die. But two things curse him with a reason to live—the enormous suffering of the Cambodian people and the appearance of his estranged daughter, Lisa. On the day of her mother’s death, Lisa learns that there is more to her father’s past than the picture of the heroic soldier killed in battle her mother had painted for her. So Lisa sets out in search of Elliot and follows him as far as Bangkok, where she falls foul of his Thai associates, Tuk Than and “La Mère Grace,” ruthless people whose business interests encompass girls as well as guns. From the fetid jungles of Cambodia to the sleazy back streets of Bangkok, The Noble Path is a hard-hitting tale of suspense and intrigue.

Only 2 ARCs from Netgalley this week. Didn’t I do well achieving my target for the first time in who knows how long!

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Happy reading my friends.

I’m going to snuggle up with my book now until it’s time to cook dinner. I am really enjoying All About Evie. I want her for my BFF!

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.

🤗❤😍📚🎅🎅🎅🎅🎅

Watching what I’m reading…

At last the weather is starting to warm up. I have spent a few hours in the garden today and enjoyed the sunshine.

I am a little over half way through

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and enjoying it, but so far The Rules of Magic is still my favourite by this author.

I am also a little over half way through listening to

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Which is one of those books where I find myself talking to the characters 😂🤣

This week I am planning on reading

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Her only daughter has just gone away to college, and Maggie O’Farrell knows she’s turning into one of those helicopter parents she used to mock. Worrying constantly, texting more than she should, even occasionally dropping by the campus “just to say hi.” But Maggie can’t shake the feeling that something terrible is about to happen to Emma. And then, just as Maggie starts to relax, her daughter disappears.

The clues are disturbing. An empty dorm room where Emma was supposedly living. A mysterious boy described as Future Husband in her phone. Dormmates who seem more sinister than friendly. As Maggie combs over the campus looking for signs of her daughter, she learns more about Emma’s life than she ever thought possible.

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A married woman’s affair with her boss spirals into a dangerous game of chess with the police when she discovers he’s been murdered and she clears the crime scene of all evidence.

One little secret between a married woman, her lover, and a killer.

It should have been just a mid-life fling. A guilty indiscretion that Neve Connolly could have weathered. An escape from twenty years of routine marriage to her overworked husband, and from her increasingly distant children. But when Neve pays a morning-after visit to her lover, Saul, and finds him brutally murdered, their pied-à-terre still heady with her perfume, all the lies she has so painstakingly stitched together threaten to unravel.

After scrubbing clean every trace of her existence from Saul’s life—and death—Neve believes she can return to normal, shaken but intact. But she can’t get out of her head the one tormenting question: what was she forgetting?

An investigation into the slaying could provide the answer. It’s brought Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Hitching, and Neve’s worst fears, to her door. But with every new lie, every new misdirection to save herself, Neve descends further into the darkness of her betrayal—and into more danger than she ever imagined. Because Hitching isn’t the only one watching Neve. So is a determined killer who’s about to make the next terrifying move in a deadly affair…

This week I have had 3 new ARCs from Netgalley…

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And one direct from the author

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That’s my lot for the week. Enjoy your Sunday and happy reading my friends.

❤😍📚

Watching What I’m Reading…

I am 3/4 of the way through

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which I should finish tonight, and review tomorrow. And I am at about the same place with listening to

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so I should finish that either tomorrow or Tuesday.

This week I am planning on reading

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Nathan West loved his wife Laura with all his heart. But now she’s gone, taken from him in a seemingly random act of violence. Laura was the glue that held their family together. And for Nathan, life without her feels almost meaningless.

As he tries to find hope in the darkness, his three young daughters express their grief in different and challenging ways – with one set on a path of self-destruction that could devastate their family all over again. Desperate to understand his own heartbreak better, he reaches out to others who had known Laura. Including her new friend Maria, whose light and warmth are exactly what their grieving family needs, and who is soon helping out and providing emotional support for them all.

But the picture Maria paints of Laura is unfamiliar to Nathan – of a wife who felt ignored, a mother who felt she couldn’t do enough – and he struggles to reconcile it with his own memories of the woman he loved. Is it possible he didn’t know his wife after all? And can he trust Maria? He can’t escape the feeling that she’s keeping something from him.

Maria is hiding a secret with the power to rock Nathan’s family to its core. Because it is about what happened the day that Laura died…

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In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.

Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she’s destined to be.

What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending.

I have received 4 new ARCs from Netgalley this week….

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Plus two directly from the authors….

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Have a wonderful week reading….I have just been and requested the latest Susan Mallery, so fingers crossed that you will see it in next week’s list of approvals.

Cheers
Sandy