Hadley and Grace by Susanne Redfearn

EXCERPT: Five minutes later, they are on their way. (Hadley) glances at Mattie beside her and Skipper behind her, unable to believe it, stunned that it is happening. For fifteen years, she’s been searching for a way out, and now, just like that, she is doing it, driving away with the kids. Her heart pounds with adrenaline and a small sense of pride.

‘We’re not going back?’ Mattie says, startling Hadley from her thoughts.

‘You packed your mom’s apron,’ she says to Hadley’s surprised expression.

Hadley swallows hard, wondering if her last minute decision to shove the keepsake in her bag will tip Frank off as well. The apron is hand embroidered with daisies and stained in a dozen places; her mother wore it almost every day of Hadley’s childhood, and it is one of the few things of her mom’s she has left.

‘Don’t worry,’ Mattie says, reading Hadley’s fear. ‘Dad never goes in the kitchen drawers.’ And all the pride Hadley felt the moment before deflates, knowing how much she has failed her daughter all these years.

ABOUT ‘HADLEY AND GRACE’: Needing to escape her abusive marriage, Hadley flees with her two kids, knowing it might be her only chance. A woman who can’t even kill a spider, Hadley soon finds herself pushed to the limits as she fights to protect her family.

Grace, new mother of baby Miles, desperately wants to put her rough past behind her for good, but she finds it impossible when her path crosses with Hadley’s, and her quest for a new start quickly spirals out of control and turns into a terrifying flight for survival.

Stronger together than apart, the two find their fates inextricably entwined, and as the danger closes in, each must decide how much she is willing to risk for the other.

MY THOUGHTS: I started off by not liking this story or its characters very much: A shallow, beautiful, abused wife and her husband’s secretary, a single mum with a criminal record who has left her compulsive gambler husband. What’s to like? As it turns out, there’s a lot to like about this book. Once Hadley and Grace have robbed Frank and are on the run, we get the real measure of these two women and the children they have in tow.

From a fairly average start, Hadley and Grace explodes into an implausible but thoroughly entertaining romp involving the FBI, a kidnapping or two, occasional gunfire and several car chases. This is a read that will have you holding your breath one minute, then bursting into laughter the next, and reinforces my theory that the best friends are found in the oddest of places.

Hadley and Grace has been compared to Thelma and Louise, but I enjoyed this a whole lot more. A fun read.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.4

#HadleyandGrace #NetGalley
#crime #thriller #humour #contemporaryfiction #familydrama

‘Today is not forever. It’s just today.’

‘You brought your baby to a robbery?’
‘You wore stilettos to a robbery?’ (Abridged)

‘The first three letters in diet are a warning.’

THE AUTHOR: Suzanne Redfearn is the award-winning author of four novels: Hush Little Baby, No Ordinary Life, In an Instant, and Hadley & Grace. In addition to being an author, she’s also an architect specializing in residential and commercial design. She lives in Laguna Beach, California, where she and her husband own two restaurants.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Lake Union Publishing via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Hadley and Grace 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

Friday Funnies . . .

I hope these brighten your day a little, perhaps bring a smile to your face. Happy Friday everyone!

Driving, a lost skill –


 

Have a wonderful weekend and, if you’re on the road, drive safely.

And thanks again to Grumps for sending me stuff to keep me sort of sane during the working week. It seems that he has too much time on his hands and I don’t have enough…🤣😂

Friday Funnies….

Thanks to my Aussie friend Grumps again for supplying the Friday Funnies. They were just what I needed to read when I got home from work all tense and stressed!

Have a laugh on me, and a very happy Friday!

 

Vorona                                                           Cirus

Very Clever

Very                                                           Clever

Funny But True

Funny But                                                           True

Seems Like They’ve Had Some Bad Customers

Seems                                                           Like They've                                                           Had Some Bad                                                           Customers Caw                                                           Caw

Doctors Be Like

Doctors                                                           Be Like

This Synagogue Sign In Toronto

This                                                           Synagogue Sign                                                           In Toronto

You’re Obsessing About This!

You’re                                                           Obsessing                                                           About This!

We All Know That One Guy

We All                                                           Know That One                                                           Guy

Target

Target

Sign In India

Sign In                                                           India

F

Noah

Noah

No Trespassing

No                                                           Trespassing

The Good News Is We Do Accept Debit Cards

The Good                                                           News Is We Do                                                           Accept Debit                                                           Cards

Heard

Heard

#39 

Wonder How Many Times Someone Knocked Before The Sign Was Made

Wonder                                                           How Many Times                                                           Someone                                                           Knocked Before                                                           The Sign Was                                                           Made

That’s A Big Muffin

That's A                                                           Big Muffin

Strip Clubs Quarantined Sign

Strip                                                           Clubs                                                           Quarantined                                                           Sign

Well…

Well...

What’s your favourite? I love both the Algebra one (I was never any good at algebra, or geometry….letters are for reading, and numbers for counting!) and the wet floor sign.

I hope that I have brightened up your day. ❤📚

Friday funnies…

I don’t have a review ready for you today, so I thought that I would share some funnies from my Aussie friend Grumps (he isn’t really, but that is what his little grandchildren named him when they tried saying Gramps!) and ex-boss.

  I like this one best!

I hope that I have added a smile to your day, and I will be back tomorrow with a review. ❤📚

Watching what I’m reading…2021!

Here we are, 3 days into 2021 already, and nothing much seems to have changed except my back yard looks much tidier than it has for ages. I have olives forming on my olive tree for the first time, and my avocado tree which bore 9 avocado last year is absolutely laden! I need to get a watering system up to that corner of the garden as the hose doesn’t reach and, apparently, if they don’t get enough water they will just drop their fruit.

Is anyone else having difficulty referring to 2020 as last year? I am still referring to 2019 as last year!

I was reading in the early hours of New Year’s Day, a paperback as my Kindle was on the charger, and decided that I really did need some sleep when I started tapping the right hand side of the page and wondering why it wasn’t going to the next page! 🤷‍♀️🤦‍♀️😂🤣❤📚

Currently I am reading The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher on my Kindle and all I can say is wow! It’s making the back of my neck tingle in anticipation. The Wrong Family is due for publication 6 January. Order your copy now!

I am halfway through reading the paperback of Force of Nature (Aaron Falk #2) by Australian author Jane Harper. So far I am enjoying it even more than The Dry.

I am currently listening to Blue Genes by Val McDermid, #5 in the Kate Brannigan series. I haven’t previously read or listened to any of this series, but that isn’t impacting my enjoyment at all.

This week I plan on reading Family by Owen Mullen

Family – might be the death of you…
The Glass family business is crime, and they’re good at what they do. Vengeance took Luke Glass behind bars – but now he’s free and he’s never going back. Luke wants out of the gangster life – all he has to do is convince his family to let him go.

His brother holds the reins of the South London underworld in his brutal hands – nobody tells Danny Glass no and expects to live – not even DCI Oliver Stanford, bent copper and one of the Met’s rising stars. The way Danny sees it, his younger brother and sister Nina owe him everything. The price he demands is loyalty, and a war with their arch enemy gives him the leverage he needs to tie Luke to the family once more.

Luke can’t see a way out, until Danny commits a crime so terrible it can’t be forgiven. Love turns to hate when secrets are unearthed which pit brother against brother. Left with no choice but to choose a side, Nina holds the fate of the family in her hands.

And Your Neighbour’s Wife by Tony Parsons

Tara Carver seems to have the perfect life. A loving mother and wife, and a business woman who runs her own company, she’s the sort of person you’d want to live next door to, who might even become your best friend.

But what sort of person is she really?

Because in one night of madness, on a work trip far from home, she puts all this at risk. And suddenly her dream life becomes a living nightmare when the married man she spent one night with tells her he wants a serious relationship with her. And that he won’t leave her or her precious family alone until she agrees.

There seems to be only one way out.
And it involves murder …

Only one Netgalley ARC this week, and that’s an audiobook, Bibliomysteries, A must-listen collection of thirteen bibliomysteries by bestselling and award-winning authors Bibliomysteries Volume 1 includes: – “An Acceptable Sacrifice” by Jeffery Deaver – “The Final Testament” by Peter Blauner – “What’s in a Name?” by Thomas H. Cook – “Book Club” by Loren D. Estleman – and many others

Thank you Carla! I will be starting this as soon as I finish Blue Genes, probably tomorrow.

Enjoy whatever is left of your holiday period and keep calm, we survived 2020.

Tall Tales and Wee Stories by Billy Connolly

Here is the review that you never got yesterday! It is somewhat shorter than the original.

EXCERPT: And into this (pub) one day wandered a guy called Gordon, with his vertical-stripe velvet coat, his shoes that turned up at the front, his Brylcreemed hair, his Ascot tie and his violin. And a wierd look about his face. I became instantly friendly with him.

Gordon only had one eye – he’d lost the other one in a motoring accident in Spain – but that’s not when we discovered it, that came later. We found that out one day when it was somebody’s birthday in the pub. ‘Happy birthday!’ – chink-chink – ‘Happy birthday! All the best!’ – chink-chink – ‘Yeah, happy birthday to you!’ – chink-chink. And Gordon went; ‘Yeah, happy birthday!’ and he lifted his glass and chink-chinked it with his glass eye. We were amazed: ‘Did you see that? He chinked the glass off his fucking eye!’

He was a crazy bloke. He drank Guinness and when he needed to pee, he’d take his eye out and put it in the foam, because there were a lot of thieves in the pub. We called them ‘mine-sweepers’, because they’d go up and grab somebody else’s glass, saying, ‘That’s mine!’ Well, they’d try it with Gordon’s – ‘That’s mine!’ – and then they’d see this eye floating in the foam: ‘Aaaggghhh!’

Well I was walking through the pub one day, and he came in the door with his arm in a sling. I said, ‘What happened to you?’ He said, ‘You’ll never believe it. I was driving up Sauchiehill Street, I was scratching my good eye, and I ran into a bus.’ He’d thought because his artificial eye was so expensive he could see through it!

ABOUT ‘TALL TALES AND WEE STORIES’: In December 2018, after fifty years of belly-laughs, energy and outrage, Billy Connolly announced his retirement from live stand-up comedy. It had been an extraordinary career.

When he first started out in the late sixties, Billy played the banjo in the folk clubs of Scotland. Between songs, he would improvise a bit, telling anecdotes from the Clyde shipyard where he’d worked. In the process, he made all kinds of discoveries about what audiences found funny, from his own brilliant mimes to the power of speaking irreverently about politics or explicitly about sex. He began to understand the craft of great storytelling. Soon the songs became shorter and the monologues longer, and Billy quickly became recognised as one of the most exciting comedians of his generation.

Billy’s routines always felt spontaneous. He never wrote scripts, always creating his comedy freshly on stage in the presence of a live audience. A brilliant comic story might be subsequently discarded, adapted or embellished. A quick observation or short anecdote one night, could become a twenty-minute segment by the next night of a tour.

Billy always brought a beautiful sense of the absurd to his shows as he riffed on his family, hecklers, swimming in the North Sea or naked bungee jumping. But his comedy can be laced with anger too. He hates pretentiousness and calls out hypocrisy wherever he sees it. His insights about the human condition have shocked many people, while his unique talent and startling appearance on stage gave him license to say anything he damn well pleased about sex, politics or religion.

Billy got away with it because he has always had the popular touch. His comedy spans generations and different social tribes in a way that few others have ever managed.

MY THOUGHTS: I bought this book from a small independent bookstore in Russell, northern New Zealand, when we were up there on holiday over the 2019/20 Christmas/New Year period.

I love Billy Connolly and was lucky enough to see him live last time he toured New Zealand. I came out of his show with my mascara all down my face, and my sides ached for days.

Billy writes exactly as he talks, so I could hear him as I was reading. Some of the stories were familiar to me, some were new. All were entertaining. No one escapes his attention. Not his wife, daughters, friends, workmates, or the scone loving, brogue, twinset and heather coloured tweed wearing elderly ladies of Scotland.

If you’re a Billy Connolly fan, or simply need a good laugh, this is the book you need. It has joined The World of Pooh: The Complete Winnie-The-Pooh and the House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne as my all time favourites. They are never put away on a shelf, but instead are always somewhere close at hand where I can pick one up and while away a few minutes, or hours.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

THE AUTHOR: William “Billy” Connolly, Jr., CBE is a Scottish comedian, musician, presenter and actor. He is sometimes known, especially in his native Scotland, by the nickname The Big Yin (The Big One). His first trade, in the early 1960s, was as a welder (specifically a boilermaker) in the Glasgow shipyards, but he gave it up towards the end of the decade to pursue a career as a folk singer in the Humblebums and subsequently as a soloist. In the early 1970s he made the transition from folk-singer with a comedic persona to fully-fledged comedian, a role in which he continues. He also became an actor.

It is as a stand-up comedian that Connolly is best known. His observational comedy is idiosyncratic and often off-the-cuff. He has outraged certain sectors of audiences, critics and the media with his free use of the word “fuck”. He has made jokes relating to masturbation, blasphemy, defecation, flatulence, haemorrhoids, sex, his father’s illness, his aunts’ cruelty and, in the latter stages of his career, old age (specifically his experiences of growing old). In 2007 and again in 2010, he was voted the greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups.

Connolly has been married to comedian and psychologist Pamela Stephenson since 1989. In the book Billy, and in a December 2008 online interview, Connolly states he was sexually abused by his father between the ages of 10 and 15. He believes this was a result of the Catholic Church not allowing his father to divorce after his mother left the family. Due to this, Connolly has a “deep distrust and dislike of the Catholic church and any other organization that brainwashes people”. In a 1999 interview with “The Sunday Herald” Connolly condemned the SNP as “racist” and the new Scottish parliament as a “joke”.

In November 1998, Connolly was the subject of a two-hour retrospective entitled Billy Connolly: Erect for 30 Years, which included tributes from Judi Dench, Sean Connery, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, and Eddie Izzard.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Tall Tales and Wee Stories written by Billy Connolly and published by Two Roads. 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, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Wednesday!

Well, Wednesday just slipped right on past me this week. It was my day off as I am working Sunday, and I had plans. . . I was called in to work in the morning to sort out a few issues. There went the morning. I needed groceries, and no need to tell you how crowded the supermarkets are at this time of the year, so that took forever and I still managed to come home without several things on my list, so that means another trip back. Am I alone in detesting doing the supermarket shop?

I just managed to get everything unpacked and put away before it was time to leave for the hospital as I was booked for a two thirty pm lung function test. They were running late. I forgot my book….yes, it was one of those days, because I never go anywhere without my book! My results were dismal. Then I had to go back and see my doctor who discovered that I have yet another infection in my left lung so I’m back on antibiotics and steroids. 🤦‍♀️

On a lighter note, my husband ventured into my book room the other night looking for something. The shelves are all full and there are piles of books all over the floor. ‘Have you been buying more books?’ he asked. ‘Are you still smoking?’ I enquired. End of conversation 🤣😂🤣😂❤📚

Happy Wednesday/Thursday everyone.

A few more thoughts on random things . . .

Some food for thought, borrowed from Shay-Lee Wiley

  1. When one door closes and another door opens, you are probably in prison.
  2. To me, “drink responsibly” means don’t spill it.
  3. Age 60 might be the new 40, but 9:00 pm is the new midnight.
  4. It’s the start of a brand new day, and I’m off like a herd of turtles.
  5. The older I get, the earlier it gets late.
  6. When I say, “The other day,” I could be referring to any time between yesterday and 15 years ago.
  7. I remember being able to get up without making sound effects.
  8. I had my patience tested. I’m negative.
  9. Remember, if you lose a sock in the dryer, it comes back as a Tupperware lid that doesn’t fit any of your containers.
  10. If you’re sitting in public and a stranger takes the seat next to you, just stare straight ahead and say, “Did you bring the money?”
  11. When you ask me what I am doing today, and I say “nothing,” it does not mean I am free. It means I am doing nothing.
  12. I finally got eight hours of sleep. It took me three days, but whatever.
  13. I run like the winded.
  14. I hate when a couple argues in public, and I missed the beginning and don’t know whose side I’m on.
  15. When someone asks what I did over the weekend, I squint and ask, “Why, what did you hear?”
  16. When you do squats, are your knees supposed to sound like a goat chewing on an aluminum can stuffed with celery?
  17. I don’t mean to interrupt people. I just randomly remember things and get really excited.
  18. When I ask for directions, please don’t use words like “east.”
  19. Don’t bother walking a mile in my shoes. That would be boring. Spend 30 seconds in my head. That’ll freak you right out.
  20. Sometimes, someone unexpected comes into your life out of nowhere, makes your heart race, and changes you forever. We call those people cops.
  21. My luck is like a bald guy who just won a comb.
    Which one is YOUR favorite?

The Great Escape From Woodlands Nursing Home by Joanna Nell

EXCERPT: Hattie

Never one to dwell on the past, Hattie Bloom hurried from hers – the last few days of it, at least – and headed for the waiting taxi. She wouldn’t look back, determined to put the whole unfortunate episode behind her. There were only so many sing-alongs, only so many games of carpet bowls and bingo that a sane person could endure. Legs eleven? She’d settle for two that actually worked.

The taxi driver held the small plastic bag of Hattie’s belongings and her walking stick while she wrestled her unyielding limbs into the back seat. He was in his fifties, or perhaps forties after a hard life, and smelled strongly of onions. With his sweat-stained shirt and open- mouthed breathing, he wouldn’t have been her first choice, but Hattie couldn’t afford to be picky when it came to getaway drivers. This was, after all, her one and only chance to escape from Woodlands Nursing Home.

ABOUT ‘THE GREAT ESCAPE FROM WOODLANDS NURSING HOME ‘: At nearly ninety, retired nature writer Hattie Bloom prefers the company of birds to people, but when a fall lands her in a nursing home she struggles to cope with the loss of independence and privacy. From the confines of her ‘room with a view’ of the carpark, she dreams of escape.

Fellow ‘inmate’, the gregarious, would-be comedian Walter Clements also plans on returning home as soon as he is fit and able to take charge of his mobility scooter.

When Hattie and Walter officially meet at The Night Owls, a clandestine club run by Sister Bronwyn and her dog, Queenie, they seem at odds. But when Sister Bronwyn is dismissed over her unconventional approach to aged care, they must join forces — and very slowly an unlikely, unexpected friendship begins to grow.

MY THOUGHTS: Joanna Nell writes with her usual wit and warmth about the perils, pitfalls and joys of old age. Her books are proof that just because you may have lost the use of your legs, your mind hasn’t necessarily accompanied them.

To Hattie, eighty-nine, reclusive retired ornithologist, human behaviour is a mystery. So when she finds herself in a residential ‘care’ home following a fall from a ladder while trying to save a family of endangered owls, she is like a fish out of water and can think only of escaping back to her dilapidated but comfortable home where all is quiet and peaceful, apart from those pesky new neighbours. She has nothing in common with the other residents (prisoners), who are either loud and gregarious, or somnolent zombies. But that’s before she meets Sister Bronwyn, the night nurse who puts the ‘life’ back into assisted living, and who shows her that there is far more to her fellow ‘inmates’ than she could possibly guess.

If, like me, you have ever dreaded ending your days ‘in care,’ where you may feel like you’re ‘out of sight, out of mind’, this may give you another perspective. It is a reminder that these people have not always been frail of body and/or mind; that they have lived full and productive lives, that they have stories to tell if we only take the time to listen, and that while they are still breathing, there’s always time for one more adventure.

Like all of Joanna Nell’s books, The Great Escape From Woodlands Nursing Home is written with warmth, wit and empathy about people who could be us in a few years time. I found it very easy to relate to Hattie, and I could quite imagine one of my brothers as the golf mad, cheesy, loud, Walter. I laughed, cried and laughed some more, and as I closed the cover of this delightful read for the final time, I wondered what the author has in store for us next.

⭐⭐⭐.9

#TheGreatEscapeFromWoodlandsNursingHome #NetGalley

‘What’s the point of having his stomach stapled shut if his mouth still opens?’

‘However old you feel, tomorrow it will seem young.’

THE AUTHOR: Joanna Nell is a UK born writer and doctor. Her short fiction has won multiple awards and has been published in various journals and literary anthologies. In 2016 she was awarded a residency at The Bundanon Trust. Her bestselling debut novel The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village was published by Hachette Australia and Hodder & Stoughton (UK) in 2018.
A former ship’s doctor, Joanna now works as a GP with a passion for women’s health and care of the elderly. She writes character-driven stories for women in their prime, creating young-at-heart characters who are not afraid to break the rules and defy society’s expectations of ageing.
Joanna lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, and as the mother of teenagers enjoys long walks with her dog and talking to herself.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hachette Australia for providing a digital ARC of The Great Escape From Woodlands Nursing Home by Joanna Nell 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