Watching what I’m reading . . .

Good afternoon from an unexpectedly sunny afternoon in New Zealand, where we are still in lockdown. Areas outside of Auckland will drop to Level 3 on Wednesday, which someone has famously dubbed lockdown with takeaways. Auckland remains at Level 4 as all but 15 cases of Covid are there and new cases are still occurring at around 80 a day.

Currently I am reading The Restarting Point by Marci Bolden. What a wonderful read! With warm, unlikely friendships, and wonderful characters, I have both laughed and cried while reading this.

I am also reading Lost Angels (Nikki Hunt #3) by Stacy Green which is every bit as good as her previous books.

And I am listening to Whisper Cottage, written by Ann Wyn Clark, and narrated by Lauren Moakes. I really am on a roll this week as so far this, too, is excellent.

This coming week I am planning on reading All About Ella by Meredith Appleyard. Don’t you just love this cover!

At 70, and widowed, Ella is about to find out that blood is not always thicker than water. A wise and warm-hearted story about aging, family and community for readers of Tricia Stringer and Liz Byrski.

At 70, Ella’s world is upended, leaving her at odds with her three adult children, whose attention is fixed more firmly on her money than her ongoing welfare. After an argument with her son Anthony, she flees his Adelaide home for Cutlers Bay, a seaside town on the Yorke Peninsula. There she befriends Angie, a 40-year-old drifter, and becomes an irritant to local cop Zach. He’s keen to shift Ella off his turf, because Anthony phones daily, demanding his mother be sent home. And besides, Zach just doesn’t trust Angie.

Ella warms to Cutlers Bay, and it warms to her. In a defiant act of self-determination, she buys an entirely unsuitable house on the outskirts of town, and Angie agrees to help make it habitable. Zach is drawn to the house on the clifftop, and finds himself revising his earlier opinions of Ella, and Angie.

The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves, #2 in her new series Two Rivers. I loved the first, The Long Call, and can’t wait to get stuck into this.

North Devon is enjoying a rare hot summer with tourists flocking to its coastline. Detective Matthew Venn is called out to a rural crime scene at the home of a group of artists. What he finds is an elaborately staged murder–Dr Nigel Yeo has been fatally stabbed with a shard of one of his glassblower daughter’s broken vases.

Dr Yeo seems an unlikely murder victim. He’s a good man, a public servant, beloved by his daughter. Matthew is unnerved, though, to find that she is a close friend of Jonathan, his husband.

Then another body is found–killed in a similar way. Matthew soon finds himself treading carefully through the lies that fester at the heart of his community and a case that is dangerously close to home.

And Snow Country by Sebastian Faulks, an author I admire greatly.

1914: Young Anton Heideck has arrived in Vienna, eager to make his name as a journalist. While working part-time as a private tutor, he encounters Delphine, a woman who mixes startling candour with deep reserve. Entranced by the light of first love, Anton feels himself blessed. Until his country declares war on hers.

1927: For Lena, life with a drunken mother in a small town has been impoverished and cold. She is convinced she can amount to nothing until a young lawyer, Rudolf Plischke, spirits her away to Vienna. But the capital proves unforgiving. Lena leaves her metropolitan dream behind to take a menial job at the snow-bound sanatorium, the Schloss Seeblick.

1933: Still struggling to come terms with the loss of so many friends on the Eastern Front, Anton, now an established writer, is commissioned by a magazine to visit the mysterious Schloss Seeblick. In this place of healing, on the banks of a silvery lake, where the depths of human suffering and the chances of redemption are explored, two people will see each other as if for the first time.

This week I received five new digital ARCs, and two audiobooks. It’s a lovely mix of new and favourite authors.

The books are: Birds of a Feather by Tricia Stringer

The Parents by Claire Seeber

Her Perfect Twin by Sarah Bonner

The Curse of Morton Abbey by Clarissa Harwood

And 1979 by Val McDermid

The two audiobooks I received are: A Dream to Die For by Susan Z. Ritz and narrated by Rachel Perry

And Over My Dead Body by Jeffrey Archer, narrated by George Blagden

Over the past week I have very briefly been in Boston, Massachusetts; spent more time in Hull, East Yorkshire; Salterley, somewhere in England; France, Belgium and Amsterdam; Stillwater, Minnesota; Chammont Point, East Virginia; and Avoncot, Wiltshire. Have our paths crossed this week? Where have you been on your bookish travels?

I still have 25 Netgalley requests pending.

Have a great week of reading, and stay safe my friends.

Mrs March by Virginia Feito

EXCERPT: When she padded back to bed, something caught her eye in the building opposite. A red light in one of the windows. She tensed, her first thought that it was a fire, but as she looked longer, she realized it was a lamp draped in cherry coloured organza, which cast a warm glow. The various other windows in building were mostly dark, some strobing with the soft pulse of a television screen.

She moved closer to her own window, her nose almost pressing against the glass. It had begun to snow. The snowflakes floated down, the ones passing by the window illuminated red for a split second, lighting up like embers before continuing their descent, the black night flickering saffron, hellish.

Her eyes went back to the glowing room. It was a bedroom, dark except for the reddish glow. After some seconds she managed to make out a woman, bent over, her back to the window. She was wearing a pink silk slip, her milky thighs on full display. Mrs March cleared her throat, then looked over her own shoulder, as if someone had caught her spying. She trained her eyes back on the woman. What was she bending over? Mrs March could see the corner of a mattress, or a couch cushion. Leaning further, she bumped her forehead against the windowpane and, as if she had heard her, the woman in the pink slip turned around.

From Mrs March’s throat issued an unwilling sound, some tortured garble between a gasp and a scream. There was blood – so much blood – soaking the front of the woman’s slip and matting her hair and staining her hands – hands now pressed against the window to form bloody prints. Mrs March pushed herself away from the window in one jerky movement, falling backward onto the bed, her book crunching underneath her spine. She failed her arms toward George’s bedside table, shaking her hands free of the numbness creeping up to her fingers. She pulled the telephone to her and crept to the window. The cord went taut, halting her movement.

She stood there, the receiver pressed to her ear – the dial tone now a harsh beeping – as she looked out across the courtyard. The red glow was gone. The woman was gone, too.

ABOUT ‘MRS MARCH’: George March’s latest novel is a smash hit. None could be prouder than Mrs. March, his dutiful wife, who revels in his accolades and relishes the lifestyle and status his success brings.

A creature of routine and decorum, Mrs. March lives an exquisitely controlled existence on the Upper East Side. Every morning begins the same way, with a visit to her favourite patisserie to buy a loaf of olive bread, but her latest trip proves to be her last when she suffers an indignity from which she may never recover: an assumption by the shopkeeper that the protagonist in George March’s new book – a pathetic sex worker, more a figure of derision than desire – is based on Mrs. March.

One casual remark robs Mrs. March not only of her beloved olive bread but of the belief that she knew everything about her husband – and herself – sending her on an increasingly paranoid journey, one that starts within the pages of a book but may very well uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of Mrs. March’s past.

MY THOUGHTS: Mrs March by Virginia Feito is a strangely compelling and disturbing read.

We follow the journey of Mrs March as she descends from a lifestyle of privilege and status as the wife of a successful author, into the realms of paranoia and psychosis as she comes to believe that the main character in her husband’s latest book, an ugly prostitute named Johanna, is based on her.

Mrs March is very much a character driven book, and Mrs March is very much the main character. She appears to have no friends, merely acquaintances. She is terrified of her housekeeper. She maintains a very distant relationship with her son. And even the relationship between her and her husband is very formal. We don’t even know Mrs March’s first name until the final few sentences. She is quite childlike in her inability to take care of herself and her family.

The era Mrs March is set in isn’t specified, although I would guess it to be the late 1950s or early 1960s.

The book itself is a bit of an enigma. I had questions racing through my mind all the time I was reading. Some were answered. Some weren’t. The finale is quite spectacular, and for me was totally unexpected.

This is an outstanding debut novel.

⭐⭐⭐.9

#MrsMarch #NetGalley

I: @4thestatebooks

#domesticdrama #historicalfiction #mentalhealth #mystery #psychologicalsuspense

THE AUTHOR: A native of Spain, Virginia Feito was raised in Madrid and Paris, and studied English and drama at Queen Mary University of London. She lives in Madrid, where she writes her fiction in English. (Amazon)

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to 4th Estate and William Collins via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Mrs March by Virginia Feito 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 is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham

EXCERPT: ‘So, what do you think happened, Al?’ L-Plate asked.

I didn’t tell her what I thought because, to be honest, I was scared as much as anything. I was excited, don’t get me wrong, all those professional instincts starting to kick in, but I was . . . wary. Right then, with a body cooling just yards away, it was no more than a feeling and I try to steer clear of those, with good reason. Eighteen months before, I’d had a feeling that the crack-head who’d invited us into his flat on the Mile End Road was harmless. If it hadn’t been for that, there wouldn’t have been any PTSD or any need for the variety of things I poured and snorted and popped into my body to numb that pain. I would not have ended up thinking that the people I loved most in the world were trying to kill me or that strangers could read my mind. I would not have hurt anyone.

ABOUT ‘RABBIT HOLE’: Alice Armitage is a police officer. Or she was.

Or perhaps she just imagines she was.

Whatever the truth is, following a debilitating bout of PTSD, self-medication with drink and drugs, and a psychotic breakdown, Alice is now a long-term patient in an acute psychiatric ward.

When one of her fellow patients is murdered, Alice becomes convinced that she has identified the killer and that she can catch them. Ignored by the police, she begins her own investigation. But when her prime suspect becomes the second victim, Alice’s life begins to unravel still further as she realizes that she cannot trust anyone, least of all herself.

MY THOUGHTS: Mark Billingham is an amazing author. His depiction of Alice Armitage is brilliant, his forays into her mind, scary.

Reading Rabbit Hole was a nostalgic experience for me. It reawakened a lot of memories of patients and incidents from my psychiatric nursing days, some amusing, some not. Billingham has done his research well.

I particularly loved his reference to ‘the seven dwarves of lunacy’ – Angry, Jumpy, Nervy, are the three he named, but let me add Twitchy, Dopey, Spacey, and Deluded to his list. He definitely hasn’t lost his trademark sense of humour, e.g. the Detective Constables who, when she can’t recall their names, Alice dubs French and Saunders. In fact, in Rabbit Hole, Billingham has been able to give his sense of humour free reign. He certainly got plenty of chuckles out of me! Neither do I think naming his main character Alice was a random inclination.

He also has a lot of fun with the nicknames that Alice gives her fellow patients, and I apprecited the run down we got on both them and the staff who care for them.

Billingham uses first person narrative to tell this story. Everything you see, you see from Alice’s perspective. So we are privy to all Alice’s erratic and, at times, manic thoughts, as well as her flashes of lucidity. But, just like Alice, we don’t know what happens when she has her blackouts, or even that they are occurring, which makes for very interesting reading.

Please don’t go into Rabbit Hole expecting a Tom Thorne thriller/police procedural. You will be disappointed. Instead, go into Rabbit Hole with an open mind and be prepared to enjoy a ‘locked room’ murder-mystery set in a (supposedly) secure acute psychiatric ward told from the not always reliable point of view of one of the patients. I had a ball with this read, and I hope that you do too.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

#RabbitHole #NetGalley

I: #markbillingham @groveatlantic

T: @MarkBillingham @groveatlantic

#contemporaryfiction #crime #mentalhealth #murdermystery

THE AUTHOR: Mark Billingham was born and brought up in Birmingham. Having worked for some years as an actor and more recently as a TV writer and stand-up comedian his first crime novel was published in 2001. Mark lives in North London with his wife and two children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Grove Atlantic via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham 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 will also be published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Photo by Meruyert Gonullu on Pexels.com

I’m late!

It’s been a hectic few days. A stomach bug has been raging through town. My neighbour and friend Helen is down with it. My husband came home from work today with it. I have staff off work with it which resulted in my working 11 1/2 hours yesterday. Fingers crossed that I can avoid it.

So, although it’s Monday, here’s my Sunday post.

Currently I am reading The Heartwood Hotel by Kerry McGinnis

Set in north Queensland outback, I am enjoying this read. Thanks Elise from the Waitomo District Library book group for recommending this. I will be reading more from this author.

I am also reading The Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd. It’s excellent!

And A Mother’s Lie by Leah Mercer which I have only just started. This was previously titled Safe From Harm.

I am listening to Safe Witness by Karin Slaughter

This week I am planning on reading The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous

1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she’s truly part of the family…until they ask her to help them with a harmless game–and nothing is ever the same.

2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It’s strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she’ll be staying at, she figures she’s got nothing to lose.

In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she’d imagined–even with damage from a fire decades before–but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there’s something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone…including her.

And The Marriage Mender by Linda Green

The only relationship she can’t save is her own . . .
Alison is a marriage counsellor. Her job is to help couples who fear they have reached the end of the line. But the trouble with spending your time sorting out other people’s problems is that you tend to take your eye off your own. Even when her husband’s ex Lydia arrives on the doorstep demanding to see her son, Alison thinks she can handle it. But what Alison doesn’t realise is that Lydia is the one person who has the ability to destroy their perfect family. And sometimes the cracks can run so deep that even a marriage mender can’t repair them . . . 

I received only three new ARCs this week, two Kindle format and 1 audiobook, False Witness by Karin Slaughter, which I started this morning.

Summer Island Sisters by Ciara Knight

And The Little Island Secret by Emma Davies

This week I have been to The Isle of Shura in Scotland, briefly to Riva in Italy, and Stockholm, Sweden. Where have your reading travels taken you this week?

Happy reading!

Know No Evil by Graeme Hampton

EXCERPT: BERMONDSEY RIPPER’S LATEST VICTIM?

The body of an eighteen year old woman was discovered by a dog walker in undergrowth in a park near East Dulwich station earlier this morning. She’d been beaten and strangled.

Police are so far refusing to comment on whether the young woman could be the latest victim of the so-called ‘Bermondsey Ripper’, who has been terrorising women in and around South London for the past year. Detective Inspector Ken Walters, who is leading the investigation into the murders, said it was ‘unhelpful to speculate at this early stage.’ He denied police were struggling to make progress with the investigation, insisting there had been a number of breakthroughs in recent days.

The police have come in for constant criticism over their handling of the ‘Bermondsey Ripper’ case, which has so far seen six women viciously murdered in and around South London.

ABOUT ‘KNOW NO EVIL’: Old crimes don’t stay buried forever…

It’s high summer, and London sizzles in the grip of a heatwave. But when the body of young mother, Leanne Wyatt, is discovered in an East London park, the heat rises to boiling point for D.I. Matthew Denning. Under pressure to solve the case, and fast, he delves into Leanne’s history and finds that she was close to some dangerous individuals – could one of them have taken her life in an angry rage? But when another woman is found dead in similar circumstances, Denning is forced to consider that a killer stalks the capital’s streets.

But when young, ambitious, D.S. Molly Fisher, discovers a horrifying link to these deaths and a killing spree in South London a decade ago –a terrifying summer where young women died at the hands of a psychopath the press dubbed ‘The Bermondsey Ripper’, the case is blown wide open. Anthony Ferguson is serving a life sentence for the crimes, so are these new deaths the result of a copycat killer – or did the police convict the wrong man? Whatever the case, Denning and Fisher need to stop a killer in his tracks – before he sets his sights on them.

MY THOUGHTS: Graeme Hampton has written a evenly-paced and well plotted police procedural/crime thriller that kept me intrigued throughout. He has achieved a good balance between the characters private lives and the crime thread, and has even managed to enticingly intertwine them to provide the reader with an extra frisson of suspense and suspicion.

D.I. Matthew Denning is level-headed and experienced. D.S. Molly Fisher is young, ambitious and impetuous, inclined to follow her instincts. This trait is both a blessing and a curse as it frequently lands her in hot water.

I didn’t always like Molly’s character. At times she was a little too mercurial, particularly concerning her private life. I certainly didn’t like her partner and failed to understand the attraction between them. But then, that happens in real life, too. There were a couple of other minor characters who grated on me, mostly because their characters were more caricatures than realistic.

In fact, in the beginning, I didn’t think I was going to like Know No Evil at all. The investigation into Leanne Wyatt’s death starts by focusing on the low-life drug dealing son of a local organised crime boss, which is about as appealing to me as being drenched with a bucket of icy water on a winter’s day. But luckily, the investigation soon moves on, and although the thread is continued throughout the story, it becomes a ‘bit-part’.

The story is told from the perspectives of both Denning and Fisher, which enables the reader to see the difference in their thought processes and their approach to the case. There are plenty of red herrings and dead ends in the investigation and a few good twists which kept my interest. And I must say that I thought the denouement was clever, and one that I hadn’t even entertained.

Narrator, Julie Maisey, was a pleasure to listen to.

Know No Evil is the first in a new detective series, and I will definitely be lining up for #2.

⭐⭐⭐.7

#KnowNoEvil #NetGalley

I: @graeme_hampton #sagaegmont

T: @Gham001

#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #murdermystery #policeprocedural

THE AUTHOR: Graeme Hampton was born in Paisley and grew up in Stirling. After leaving school he trained as a stage manager and worked in London for a number of years. He returned to Scotland in his late twenties to study for a BA in English Literature at Stirling University. After many years of dull jobs and bleak times, he became a full-time writer. His first novel, Know No Evil, was published in July 2019, and was followed up by Blood Family in early 2020. He is currently working on the third novel in the Denning & Fisher series.
He lives in Hastings, East Sussex. (Amazon)

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Saga Egmont for providing an audio ARC of Know No Evil written by Graeme Hampton and narrated by Julie Maisey 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

Death and Croissants by Ian Moore

EXCERPT: ‘So what have you decided?’ She sat down on the bench and he sat back down beside her.

‘I’ve decided that I don’t like being pushed around.’

‘Who’s pushing you around?’

‘You are.’

‘I am not.’

‘Yes you are.’ She looked hurt. ‘Look, it’s not your fault, not really. I’m very easy to push around, but it’s Ava Gardner here who’s paid the price.’

‘I don’t think I’ve pushed you around at all.’

‘Oh, you have. You and everyone else I know.’ He sighed wearily. ‘All I want is a quiet life, but what happens is you end up just being dragged along by other people’s whims. I don’t blame you as such, but in a very short space of time, I’ve lost a guest, very possibly murdered – in your opinion – possibly more than once, if what the Thompsons told you is correct. And two Italian killers – in your opinion – are sending me hen-based mafia death warnings.’

ABOUT ‘DEATH AND CROISSANTS’: Richard is a middle-aged Englishman who runs a B&B in the fictional Val de Follet in the Loire Valley. Nothing ever happens to Richard, and really that’s the way he likes it.

One day, however, one of his older guests disappears, leaving behind a bloody handprint on the wallpaper. Another guest, the exotic Valérie, persuades a reluctant Richard to join her in investigating the disappearance.

Richard remains a dazed passenger in the case until things become really serious and someone murders Ava Gardner, one of his beloved hens … and you don’t mess with a fellow’s hens!

MY THOUGHTS: There is considerably more death than there are croissants.

I loved the setting of this humourous cosy murder mystery. Set in a B&B in the Loire Valley. A hapless ex-pat Brit is drawn into a search for a missing guest after finding a bloody handprint on the bedroom wall, and a pair of broken spectacles. He is aided and abetted, or rather bossed about and led by a beautiful and strong willed Frenchwoman, Valerie de Orcay.

My favourite character was Madame Tablier, the indomitable and irreverent housekeeper, followed closely by Richard’s hens, Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, and Katharine Hepburn. I also enjoyed Richard’s obsession with vintage movies, but there were times that I felt the author had ‘overdone’ the characters, making them more caricatures than relatable people. And that, I think is part of the problem. I really didn’t care about any of the characters, and at times Death and Croissants read more like a ‘Carry On’ novel than a cosy murder mystery.

I have read a lot of this genre lately and unreservedly enjoyed them, but I am afraid that Death and Croissants fell a little short of the mark in comparison. I have to disagree with its description as an unputdownable mystery. I put it down several times, sometimes for days on end.

While I wasn’t tempted at any point to not finish this, it did seem like a much longer read than it actually is. I don’t think I will be reading any more of this series.

⭐⭐.6

#DeathandCroissants #NetGalley

I: #ianmoore @farragobooks

T: @MonsieurLeMoore @farragobooks

#contemporaryfiction #cosymystery #murdermystery

THE AUTHOR: Ian is an English stand up comedian who lives in rural France and spends most of his time travelling grumpily between the two while his family grows and his wife adopts every maladjusted animal in the area.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Farrago Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Death and Croissants by Ian Moore 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 Goodreads.com

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

I didn’t do very well with my reading target last week, mainly because the company who made my kitchen suddenly moved the installation date forward from the end of this month to the end of this coming week! So my house was full builders, taking out the old kitchen and removing another wall, and plumbers and electricians moving everything ready for the installation of the new kitchen. Because I had move the sink and the dishwasher and the fridge. I think the only new appliance being installed in the same place as the old one is the oven. But the result will be that I have a decent amount of bench space, which I didn’t previously have. Plumbers and electricians are back on Monday, then the builders Tuesday and Wednesday to reline the walls and put the ceiling in. Thursday the kitchen arrives and installation begins. This is so exciting!

Anyway, because of all this, I got very little reading done. Instead I was fetching and carrying, making decisions and morning and afternoon teas coffees, and cleaning up behind everyone while I was home. And, of course, I was also working. So the books on my planned reading list last week will reappear this week. 🤦‍♀️

Currently I am reading Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl. Halfway through and it has suddenly taken an extremely interesting turn.

I am almost finished listening to Know No Evil (DI Denning and DS Fisher #1) by Graeme Hampton. This has the makings of really good series. I will certainly be putting my hand up for #2.

This week I am planning on reading Silver Tears by Camilla Lackberg, #2 in her

She’s had to fight for it every step of the way, but Faye finally has the life she believes she deserves: she is rich, the business she built has become a global brand, and she has carefully hidden away her small family in Italy, where Jack, her ex-husband, can no longer harm them. She even has the wherewithal to occasionally turn a business trip to Rome into a steamy tryst. But when several major investors–women Faye had trusted implicitly–suddenly sell off their shares in the company, and the police officer who helped search for her daughter discovers the dark secret of Faye’s childhood, and she learns that Jack is no longer locked behind bars, Faye has no choice but to return to Stockholm. Not only does she have to fight again to keep her family safe, but now, at long last, she is forced to face the truth about her past. In this bold, mesmerizing story of seduction, deceit, and female power, a woman’s secret cannot stay buried forever.

The Stalker by Sarah Alderson

Newly-weds Liam and Laura are spending their honeymoon in paradise: just the two of them on a remote island off the coast of Scotland.
But they soon discover that all is not as it seems, and the island has a tragic past. And they can’t shake the feeling of being watched…

When one morning, they wake to find a message scratched into the window, their worst fears are confirmed. They aren’t alone on the island.

And this stranger wants them dead.

And The Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd

HOW DID IT COME TO THIS?

The news doesn’t strike cleanly, like a guillotine’s blade. Nothing so merciful. This news is a slovenly traveller, dragging its feet, gradually revealing its horrors. And it announces itself first with violence – the urgent hammering of fists on the front door.

Life can change in a heartbeat.

Lucy has everything she could wish for: a beautiful home high on the clifftops above the Devon coast, a devoted husband and two beloved children.

Then one morning, time stops. Their family yacht is recovered, abandoned far out at sea. Lucy’s husband is nowhere to be found and as the seconds tick by, she begins to wonder – what if he was the one who took the boat? And if so, where is he now?

As a once-in-a-generation storm frustrates the rescue operation, Lucy pieces together what happened onboard. And then she makes a fresh discovery. One that plunges her into a nightmare more shocking than any she could ever have imagined . . .

Let’s see how well I can do.

I received five new ARCs this week, and was declined for five (perhaps just as well!) I received The Library by Bella Osborne

The Girl Upstairs by Georgina Lees

The Perfect Ending by Rob Kaufman

About Us by Sinead Moriarty

And finally, The Lies We Tell by Jane Corry

I didn’t travel overly much in the past week. I left Baltimore for Stonesend, a lovely village near Oxford in England, and am currently dividing my time between East London, and Oslo in Norway.

What have you been reading this week? What are planning on reading? And where have you been on your reading travels?

Have a wonderful week of reading!

The Lies She Told by Lynda Renham

EXCERPT: Nothing made any sense. Kate Marshall came home from school on Friday afternoon after seeing her boys off with her husband. Some time between then and six, someone came and attempted to batter her to death. But why?

‘Who’d want to kill a piano teacher?’ said Alice.

ABOUT ‘THE LIES SHE TOLD’: Life in the village of Stonesend is pretty uneventful, that is until Detective Tom Miller is transferred there following a personal tragedy. He is not greeted well by local police officer Beth Harper, who feels he is not up to the job. The day of his arrival, Kate Marshall, a teacher at the local school, is beaten in her own home and left for dead. The villagers are left in a state of shock. Was it a random attack or something more personal?

MY THOUGHTS: The Lies She Told certainly lives up to its title!

Although I worked out early on what was going on with one thread in the plot, it simply never occurred to me that . . . No, I can’t say, because that would be a spoiler. All I can say is that there are plenty of surprises and twists, and that Kate isn’t the only one who is attacked. While Kate survives, the other victim isn’t so lucky. And no, I am not about to tell you who the other victim is.

Renham had my mind working overtime trying to draw the various threads together into some sort of feasible solution, but although I guessed some things, she definitely bested me! I got the who, and the why, but the how? …. that I couldn’t figure out.

I hope we get to read more of Detective Tom Miller and Beth Harper. They make a great team and I loved the village setting of Stonesend.

The Lies She Told is an enjoyable and sometimes shocking read that will have you pitting your wits against the author’s expertise.

⭐⭐⭐.7

#TheLiesSheTold

I: @lyndarenham @raucous_

T: @LyndaRenham

#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #murdermystery

THE AUTHOR: Lynda Renham has been writing for as long as she can remember and had her first work published in a magazine at age nine and has continued writing in various forms since. Lynda lives with her second husband and cat in Oxfordshire, England. She is Associate Editor for the online magazine The Scavenger and contributor to many others. When not writing Lynda can usually be found wasting her time on Facebook.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to author Lynda Renham and Raucous Publishing for providing a digital ARC of The Lies She Told 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

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

We’ve had beautiful weekend. Temperatures below zero at night, heavy frosts, and glorious days. I have had a busy weekend. Luke came for sleepover Friday night. I have been trying different paint colours for the lounge and dining room and we have finally settled on a lovely soft sea green.

My reading travels have kept me mainly in the UK this week, in Nottingham and London, with a trip to Australia, the Loire Valley in France, and Baltimore in the USA. Have you been anywhere interesting in your reading travels this week?

Currently I am reading and loving Dream Girl by Laura Lippman. I have no idea where this is going to end up, but I am loving the journey.

I am also reading Death and Croissants by Ian Moore. I am loving the reticent character of Richard, and the ebullient exotic one of Valerie.

I am listening to Know No Evil by Graeme Hampton

This week I plan to read The Lies She Told by Linda Renham

Life in the village of Stonesend is pretty uneventful, that is until Detective Tom Miller is transferred there following a personal tragedy. He is not greeted well by local police officer Beth Harper, who feels he is not up to the job. The day of his arrival, Kate Marshall, a teacher at the local school, is beaten in her own home and left for dead. The villagers are left in a state of shock. Was it a random attack or something more personal? 

Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl

You are her therapist.
Kristina is a successful therapist in central Oslo. She spends her days helping clients navigate their lives with a cool professionalism that has got her to the top.

She is your client.
But when her client Leah, a successful novelist, arrives at her office clearly distressed, begging Kristina to come to her remote cabin in the woods, she feels the balance begin to slip.

But out here in the woods.
When Leah fails to turn up to her next two sessions, Kristina reluctantly heads out into the wilderness to find her.

Nothing is as it seems.
Alone and isolated, Kristina finds Leah’s unfinished manuscript, and as she reads she realises the main character is terrifyingly familiar..

And The Stalker by Sarah Alderson

Newly-weds Liam and Laura are spending their honeymoon in paradise: just the two of them on a remote island off the coast of Scotland.
But they soon discover that all is not as it seems, and the island has a tragic past. And they can’t shake the feeling of being watched…

When one morning, they wake to find a message scratched into the window, their worst fears are confirmed. They aren’t alone on the island.

And this stranger wants them dead.

I received three new ARCs this week:

Lost Angels (Nikki Hunt #3) by Stacy Green

Home Sweet Home by Nicole Trope

And I Let Him In by Jill Childs

What lovely new reads have you received this week?

The wall between my kitchen and dining room has gone, and what a difference that has made. My kitchen feels much larger lighter. Unfortunately my kitchen is still being held up by a lack of drawer glides. For third month in row, none have arrived. But I have ordered all new replacement windows for along the front of the house, and my new laundry is in. So a little progress has been made.

Happy reading my friends!❤📚

Sleepless by Romy Hausmann

EXCERPT: He realised he had to notify the police. This was serious, this was real; someone had snatched Vivi away from him and every second counted. With child abductions the first forty-eight hours were crucial. Gero felt his insides wrench. He didn’t want to think of his daughter as a victim; she couldn’t be one. As he took his hand from his brow, his gaze fell on another door: the metal one that led to the roof terrace. He went over to it as if on automatic pilot, pressed the handle and climbed the first few steps of the metal staircase. And then he suddenly sensed it: Vivi’s presence. He sensed it even before he saw her in the arms of the woman who was standing perilously close to the edge of the roof. Only the panel railing – a thin sheet of perforated metal – lay between her and the ground below, between Vivi and a good fifteen metres of free-fall.

‘Nadja,’ he said, stretching out a hand. ‘Please don’t do anything silly.’

ABOUT ‘SLEEPLESS’: It’s been years since Nadja Kulka was convicted of a cruel crime. After being released from prison, she’s wanted nothing more than to live a normal life: nice flat, steady job, even a few friends. But when one of those friends, Laura von Hoven – free-spirited beauty and wife of Nadja’s boss – kills her lover and begs Nadja for her help, Nadja can’t seem to be able to refuse.

The two women make for a remote house in the woods, the perfect place to bury a body. But their plan quickly falls apart and Nadja finds herself outplayed, a pawn in a bizarre game in which she is both the perfect victim and the perfect murderer . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I wanted to love Sleepless, but it was just too disjointed. Imagine if you will, ripping all the chapters out of a book except the first and last, shuffling them into random order, and rebinding the book. That was how it felt. There was no rhyme or reason for order of the chapters. The timeline jumped about erratically. It drove me insane!

There are two separate storylines – the common factor being Nadja. Plus there are letters written from one unknown person to another, but which are never sent. The author and intended recipient are revealed at the end.

About halfway through the book, things started to come together and I got excited, but it didn’t last. What should have been a suspenseful, thrilling and chilling section of the book disappointed, because the timeline jumps continued, interrupting the flow.

My honest opinion? This could have been an absolute amazing and brilliant read. But the author has tried to be too clever to the detriment of the read.

And the epilogue? NO. IDEA.

There is some beautiful writing in here. It just gets lost in the chaos, as does the rather wonderful plot.

Please note: no books were harmed in the writing of this review.

⭐⭐.8

#Sleepless #NetGalley

I: @romyhausmann @quercusbooks

#contemporaryfiction #crime #familydrama #murdermystery

THE AUTHOR: Romy Hausmann was born in the former GDR in 1981. At the age of twenty-four she became chief editor at a film production company in Munich. Since the birth of her son, Romy has been working as a freelancer in TV. She lives with her family in a remote house in the woods near Stuttgart.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Sleepless by Romy Hausmann 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