Sandy’s Sunday Summary

Is it my imagination or, as the year progresses, do Sundays come around faster and faster? Or is it just a side effect of aging?

Anyway, it is time to take a look at what I’m currently reading, what I am planning on reading in the coming week, and what ARCS I have received from NetGalley this week.

Currently I am reading

Those Other Women

which I was very excited to be approved for, having been declined for her previous release The Fifth Letter. Just over 10% in and wondering where this is going. Somewhere wonderful no doubt!

And I am listening to

Meet Mr. Mulliner

I loved Wodehouse’s Jeeves series but had never heard of the Mulliner series until a fellow Wodehouse enthusiast on Goodreads suggested I try it. Can’t now remember who it was, but thank you. I love the absolute ‘Englishness’ while at the same time  ‘taking the Mickey’ out of the English class system that existed at that time.

This week I am planning on reading

The Neighbor

In a taut psychological thriller filled with breathtaking twists, Joseph Souza explores the tangle of betrayal and deception between two neighboring couples, and asks how well we can really know others–or ourselves.

It all seems so promising at the start . . .

When Leah and her husband, Clay, move from Seattle to Maine, she envisions a vibrant new neighborhood packed with families–playmates for her twins, new friends she can confide in and bond with. But while Clay works long hours to establish his brewery, Leah is left alone each day in a nearly deserted housing development where the only other occupants are aloof and standoffish.

Bored and adrift, Leah finds herself watching Clarissa and Russell Gaines next door, envying their stylishly decorated home and their university careers. But Leah’s obsession with the intriguing, elegant Clarissa grows until she’s not just spying from afar but sneaking into their house, taking small objects . . . reading Clarissa’s diary. It contains clues to a hidden turmoil Leah never guessed at–and a connection to a local college girl who’s disappeared.

The more Leah learns about Clarissa, the more questions emerge. Because behind every neighbor’s door there are secrets that could shatter lives forever .

Cross Your Heart (Detective Jess Bishop, #2)

Blinking her eyes open, she looks around the room, taking in the bed and the wardrobe full of clothes she’s never seen before. This isn’t her bedroom. Those aren’t her clothes. She begins to cry as she wonders if she’ll ever see her own home again.

Three young girls are missing. All of them cold cases. All of them forgotten. But when Detective Jess Bishop identifies a disturbing link between them, she’s determined to find out what happened, and fights to re-open their cases.

At the scene of each abduction the kidnapper left a clue – a small bag of candy – in place of the missing child.

And then a fourth child is taken. Eight-year-old Ava is snatched from her hospital bed and when a bag of candy is found in her room, Jessica knows it’s the same kidnapper.

As the pressure to solve the case pushes Jess and her team to breaking point, Jess takes a personal risk she fears she’ll live to regret. But she has no choice.

Out of hospital, Ava can only get sicker: Jess is running out of time. Can she find Ava before it’s too late?

The Family at Number 13

The most perfect lives can hide the darkest secrets…
Mary has everything. Beautiful and rich, she lives on an exclusive street in the heart of the city, in a house with gorgeous views and an immaculately maintained garden. Her life looks perfect.

But behind closed doors the truth is very different. Her husband Andrew barely speaks to her, spending his days down in the basement alone. Her teenage nephew is full of rage, lashing out with no warning. Her carefully constructed life is beginning to fall apart.

And then someone starts sending Mary anonymous notes, threatening her and her family…

Everyone has secrets. But is someone at number 13 hiding something that could put the whole family in danger?

And as far as new ARCs from NetGalley this week, 3! So I have been a little more restrained, but my goal is 2 per week, which would ease the pressure and allow me to catch up on my rather alarming pile of back titles. . .

The Fifth To Die (4MK Thriller, #2)

Dying Truth (D.I. Kim Stone, #8)

The Killing Habit: A Tom Thorne Novel

As you can see, I scored the latest books in two series I have followed from their outset. So stoked!

And, in case you missed yesterday’s post, my posting may well be a little erratic again this week due to pressure of work. So I apologize in advance 😳

Please don’t be shy about letting me know what you like and don’t like. I love getting your feedback. And I love hearing about what you are reading, or if you have read something that is on my list, what you thought of it.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, have a lovely week and  happy reading.😎

The Amazing Mr Morality by Jacob M. Appel

The Amazing Mr. Morality by Jacob M. Appel
The Amazing Mr. Morality: Stories 
by

Jacob M. Appel (Goodreads Author)
Reviewed by
30817744


EXCERPT: When I’d first gone to live with Aunt Faye, she was alone in the house. She’d once had a husband, a fellow named Tate, but like most of the men in our family, he’d drifted from history into mist, leaving behind only his surname and not much else. (All I knew of my own father, Len Kuritsky, was that he’d asphyxiated on a chicken bone at a music festival in California several weeks after my birth.) At some point, long before I entered the scene, Aunt Faye had staffed the front desk at the Powick Bridge Public Library and, pushing seventy, she carried with her an atmosphere of dusty encyclopedias. We had lots of visitors in those days: A klatch of female relations whose precise perch on the family tree wasn’t worth locating. Even Marcella had stayed overnight once but left in a huff before breakfast, incensed that Aunt Faye had stipulated a separate bed downstairs for her niece’s boyfriend. Four years later, a widowed girlhood friend of my grandaunt – the aptly named Edie Coffin – moved permanently into the same chamber. (To this day, I don’t know whether Aunt Faye and ‘Cousin’ Edie were lovers, or had once been lovers, or were merely faithful late-life companions.) The third female in our estrogen-perfumed Cape Codder, Cindy-Jane, arrived only four months before Marcella. She was a genuine cousin – the sixteen year old cashew-shaped, eggplant-hued spawn of two heroin junkies, one of them loosely descended from Granny Bess. Aunt Faye had again opened her doors to the family’s jetsam.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The Amazing Mr. Morality features tenacious men and women whose determination to buck middle-class social convention draws them toward unforeseen challenges. A failed television producer insists upon having a woodchuck relocated from his lawn, only to receive desperate letters in which the woodchuck begs to return. An overconfident ne’er-do-well obtains a lucrative lecture invitation intended for a renowned ornithologist and decides to deliver the speech himself. An innocuous dispute over whether to rename a local street opens up racial fault lines that prove deadly.

The collection concludes with the title novella in which two unscrupulous ethicists, writing rival newspaper columns, seek to unseat each other by addressing questions such as: If you’re going to commit a murder, is it worse to kill when the victim is sleeping or awake?

MY THOUGHTS: The Amazing Mr Appel has done it again! He has penned a collection of amusing, thought-provoking short stories featuring quirky, and sometimes naive, characters in both mundane and challenging situations, their actions fuelled by misconception, anger, desire, or the desire for revenge.

I have rationed myself to one story at a time, drawing out the pleasure of reading, savouring each individual tale, swirling it around in my mind like a fine wine on the palate. A wine I will be savouring again and recommending to all.

Thank you to author Jacob M. Appel and publisher Vandalia Press for providing a copy of The Amazing Mr. Morality for my great enjoyment and for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2333443100

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna  Cannon
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: Mrs Creasy disappeared on a Monday.

I know it was a Monday, because it was the day the dustbin men came, and the Avenue was filled with a smell of scraped plates.

‘What’s he up to?’ My father nodded at the lace in the kitchen window. Mr Creasy was wandering the pavement in his shirt sleeves. Every few minutes he stopped wandering and stood quite still, peering around his Hillman Hunter and leaning into the air as though he were listening for something.

‘He’s lost his wife.’ I took another slice of toast, because everyone was distracted. ‘Although she’s probably finally just buggered off.’

‘Grace Elizabeth!’ My mother turned from the stove so quickly that flecks of porridge turned with her and escaped onto the floor.

‘I’m only quoting Mr Forbes,’ I said. ‘Margaret Creasy never came home last night. Perhaps she’s finally buggered off. ‘

ABOUT THIS BOOK: England, 1976.

Mrs. Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands.

And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined…

MY THOUGHTS: The summer of 1976 is hot, and a lot of things are blamed on the heat. No one is acting normally, and the disappearance of Margaret Creasy only serves to exacerbate the strangeness.

It was the title that attracted me, ‘The Trouble With Goats and Sheep’. It is a very clever title, just as this is a very clever book. Cannon is an author who can take the ordinary, the mundane, and transform them into something more than a little magical.

Whoever would have thought that the story of two little girls, taking something that the Vicar says quite literally and spending their summer looking for God (because God is everywhere), would turn into such a charming book? If you are looking for something light, heartwarming and charming, this will more than fit the bill.

Don’t expect everything to be tied up, nice and neatly, at the end, because it isn’t. The author left me with just as many questions as she answered, but she also left me smiling, satisfied and wanting to read more of her books.

4.5 very smiley stars for The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon, narrated by Paula Wilcox, published by Simon and Schuster Audio, which I listened to via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2323144514

Friday Favorite – Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets by Jacob M. Appel

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

Those of you who are regular readers of my blog will know that I love the writing of Jacob M. Appel, an incredibly gifted and talented man with many strings to his bow. I treasure each and every one of his books which have their very own shelf in my library. I have left plenty of room for all the books that are going to flow from his pen in the future. This was only the second book from Appel that I had read.

Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets by Jacob M. Appel
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: We’re sitting on one of the cast iron benches that line the footpath between Red Brick Cottage II and Red Brick Cottage III. Abbington Manor feels more like a university campus than a psychiatric facility: waves of jonquils rising through beds of red woodchips, a Gothic revival chapel where bells peal on the hour. Ten weeks have passed since my mother tried to drown herself – long enough for the ice sheath to melt off Long Island Sound. The firemen who rescued her are now battling brush fires along the interstate. Jay Bergman, the veterinary student responsible for my positive pregnancy test, is dating a city planner. My mother has already worked her way up to ‘level three privileges’, meaning she may explore the grounds without supervision. The tranquility is killing her slowly. – taken from The Grand Concourse

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A visitor from a distant planet opens a Latvian restaurant next to an abortion clinic; a magician learns that true love will cost him a kidney; a blind barber cuts hair for tourists in a gentrifying Harlem…. Enter the mad, moving university of Jacob M. Appel’s short fiction.

MY THOUGHTS: There was not one story in this collection that did not bring a smile to my face or a tear to my eye – often it was both!

Each story is a tragedy in it’s own right, yet each one demonstrates the resilience, kindness and honour of mankind (and once – an alien!). But don’t expect to be depressed by this collection – to the contrary – all are in some way uplifting. This collection has the common theme of relocation running through it.

This book is a keeper for me…..I know I am going to get just as much pleasure out of it in the future as I just did.

Jacob M Appel appears to be an extraordinary man…..he is a physician (which explains the medical aspect to many of these stories), attorney and bioethicist; he currently teaches at Gotham Writers Workshop and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine; he is also the author of over 200 published short stories and winner of many awards.

If you haven’t yet sampled any of Jacob’s work, I strongly urge you to do so. This is the second of his collections I have read and thoroughly enjoyed.

Thank you Jacob for the gift of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1377590397

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

Time, once again, to take a look at what I’m currently reading, what I am planning on reading in the coming week, and what ARCS I have been approved for from NetGalley this week.

Currently I am reading

The Scent Of Guilt     

Which was published 17 February 2018, and

Lily and the Octopus

Which, I am ashamed to say, has been sitting on my shelf for 18 months.

In the coming week, I am planning on reading

An Unquiet Ghost (Mina Scarletti #3)

Mina Scarletti returns in her most thrilling mystery yet! Perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie and Antonia Hodgson…

A family is being torn apart by rumours of a murderer in their midst. Can Mina solve the mystery and lay the ghosts to rest? 

Brighton, 1871 .

Mina Scarletti is becoming well known for unmasking fraudulent psychics. So it is no surprise to her when a young couple write to her seeking her advice.

George Fernwood and Mary Clifton, betrothed distant cousins, have a family secret that is preventing them from getting married. Twenty years ago, their alcoholic grandfather died in his bed and since then rumours have been circulating that someone in the family murdered him.

Desperate to find out the truth, they have decided to seek out a medium to communicate with their grandfather, and they want Mina to help them find one who is genuine.

Though she is not a believer in ghosts, Mina is intrigued by the family mystery and decides to help them in any way she can.

Could one of the new mediums advertising in Brighton really be genuine? Will they help George and Mary find the answers they are looking for? 

Or will this Unquiet Ghost ruin the chance of happiness for future generations …?

AN UNQUIET GHOST is the third cosy mystery in Linda Stratmann’s intriguing historical series, the Mina Scarletti Mysteries, a traditional British detective series with a feisty woman sleuth set in Victorian Brighton.

The Last Laugh

I’ve googled it, how to die,’ Jenny says to Maureen. ‘It was full of climbing this mountain, swimming that sea, becoming a marathon runner and raising millions for charity.’

‘Sounds like bloody hard work. You can make it more fun than that surely?’

Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair…

Frankly, her life was tough enough already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago.

And now this: a cheating husband and a death sentence.

Enough is enough. Jenny vows to keep both catastrophes a secret. She takes her life – and death – into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990’s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime?

From No. 1 bestseller Tracy Bloom, The Last Laugh is both hilarious and heartbreaking, a book about how to find happiness and live your life as though every day is your last. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and The Kicking the Bucket List.

And books I have received from NetGalley this week are

White is the Coldest Colour (Dr David Galbraith, #1)          The Retreat

The Visitor          The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

A  reasonably restrained requesting week for me, particularly since I requested The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton months ago, and it has been sitting on my pending shelf ever since. I had almost given up all hope of ever being approved for it. But I have just been to NetGalley and requested Sold on a Monday

after reading Susan Dyers blog, Susanlovesbooks. Thanks Susan!

It looks like a pretty wet week ahead of us here in New Zealand, so I should get plenty of reading in.

Don’t forget to let me know what you’re reading and, if you have read any of my upcoming reads, what you thought of them.

Happy reading everyone!

 

My Man Jeeves & Thank You, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse

While I have been working around the yard over the past week, I have been listening to audiobooks, primarily books in the Jeeves series, which are light and amusing. Here are my reviews.

My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
Reviewed by

30817744

EXCERPT: Jeeves – my man, you know – is really a most extraordinary chap. So capable. Honestly, I shouldn’t know what to do without him. On broader lines he’s like those chappies who sit peering over the marble battlements in the Pennsylvania Station in the place marked ‘inquiries’. You know the Johnnies I mean. You go up to them and say: ‘When’s the next train for Melonsquashville, Tennessee?’ and they reply, without stopping to think, “Two-forty-Three, track Ten, change at San Francisco.” And they’re right, every time. Well, Jeeves gives you the same impression of omniscience.

THE BLURB: Who can forget our beloved gentleman’s personal gentleman, Jeeves, who ever comes to the rescue when the hapless Bertie Wooster falls into trouble. My Man Jeeves is sure to please anyone with a taste for pithy buffoonery, moronic misunderstandings, gaffes, and aristocratic slapstick.

Contents:
“Leave It to Jeeves”
“Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest”
“Jeeves and the Hard-boiled Egg”
“Absent Treatment”
“Helping Freddie”
“Rallying Round Old George”
“Doing Clarence a Bit of Good”
“The Aunt and the Sluggard”

MY THOUGHTS: I had, of course, heard of Jeeves, but until I was sick in bed some time ago and had the great fortune to discover the TV series playing, I had never encountered Wodehouse’s paragon of virtue. Had Stephen Fry not been playing Jeeves, I probably would have flicked on past. Thankfully I didn’t.

This is my first encounter with Jeeves off screen, and a thoroughly enjoyable encounter it was. I loved the good natured but bumbling Bertie, and Georgie Pepper, an earlier prototype for Bertie Wooster. The stories simply reinforce a belief of mine that no good deed goes unpunished.

British humour at its best.

I listened to My Man Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse, narrated by Simon Pebble, produced by Blackstone Audio, courtesy of OverDrive.

Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
Reviewed by

30817744


EXCERPT: About three months before, noting a certain liveliness in my Aunt Agatha, I had deemed it prudent to pop across to New York for a space to give her time to blow over. And about halfway through my first week there, in the course of a beano of some description at the Sherry-Netherland, I made the acquaintance of Pauline Stoker.

She got right in among me. Her beauty maddened me like wine.

THE BLURB: Thank You, Jeeves is the first novel to feature the incomparable valet Jeeves and his hapless charge Bertie Wooster – and you’ve hardly started to turn the pages when he resigns over Bertie’s dedicated but somewhat untuneful playing of the banjo. In high dudgeon, Bertie disappears to the country as a guest of his chum Chuffy – only to find his peace shattered by the arrival of his ex-fiancée Pauline Stoker, her formidable father and the eminent loony-doctor Sir Roderick Glossop. When Chuffy falls in love with Pauline and Bertie seems to be caught in flagrante, a situation boils up which only Jeeves (whether employed or not) can simmer down…A display of sustained comic brilliance, this novel shows Wodehouse rising to the top of his game.

MY THOUGHTS: I have been having a bit of a Wodehouse/Jeeves fest this week. You really can’t beat a bit of bumbling Bertie and the dry acerbic wit of Jeeves. The British do the ‘comedy of manners’ superbly well. I will be listening to more episodes of the series.

I listened to the audiobook Thank You, Jeeves recorded live by L. A. Theatre Works via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. These reviews and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page