The Secret, Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams

The Secret, Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams
The Secret, Book and Scone Society 
by Ellery Adams (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by
EXCERPT: I read all the time. And I listen to people. I really listen…Stories don’t change much across continents and centuries. Hearts are broken. Pride is wounded. Souls wander too far from home and become lost. The wrong roads are taken. The incorrect choice is made. Stories echo with loneliness. Grief. Longing. Redemption. Forgiveness. Hope. And love.

THE BLURB: From New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams comes the first in an intriguing new series set within a quirky small-town club where the key to happiness, friendship—or solving a murder—can all be found within the pages of the right book . . .

Miracle Springs, North Carolina, is a place of healing. Strangers flock here hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone from the Gingerbread House bakery, they exchange their stories with owner Nora Pennington in return for a carefully chosen book. That’s Nora’s special talent—prescribing the perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain and lighten their heaviest burden.

When a visiting businessman reaches out to Nora for guidance, she knows exactly which novels will help. But before he can keep their appointment at Miracle Books, he’s found dead on the train tracks.

Stunned, Nora forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, a group of damaged souls yearning to gain trust and earn redemption by helping others. To join the society, members must divulge their darkest secret—the terrible truth that brought each of them to Miracle Springs in the first place.

Determined to uncover the truth behind the businessman’s demise, the women meet in Nora’s cramped and cozy bookstore to share stories and trade support. And as they untangle a web of corruption, they also discover their own courage, purpose, and a sisterhood that will carry them through every challenge—proving it’s never too late to turn the page and start over . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I finished The Secret, Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams last night and I am still undecided. I liked the book. I didn’t love it, but I wanted to. It was just a little bit too ‘twee’, too saccharine. And yet I love the work of Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen, to which this has been compared.

I loved the concept of the book, that the right selection of books can soothe our souls, that we can take from books things that will improve our lives, that we can learn great lessons from what we read. I believe that no man is an island, that our friends are our greatest assets. I believe all this. So why didn’t The Secret, Book and Scone Society work for me? After pondering for almost 24 hours, I am none the wiser.

Perhaps Nora could recommend some books to sort me out.

3.5☆ I believe that this is the first installment of a planned series. I could be tempted to read the next book.

Thank you to Kensington Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Secret, Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/2167216850

Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo

Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo
Reviewed by
Nov 02, 2017  
EXCERPT: I haven’t seen or heard from Joseph King in twenty years, but I heard the stories. Not only from the Amish, but from law enforcement as well. Evidently, King was a troubled man with a marriage on the rocks, a litter of kids he didn’t want, and a loose interpretation of his marital vows.

I vividly recall the day I learned his wife had been found dead—and Joseph was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. I couldn’t believe the kid I’d known—the one with the toothy grin and big laugh—could do something so horrific. But no one knows better than me how profoundly life can change people—and that too often those changes are not for the best.

I’d wanted to talk to him, ask him myself if he’d done it. But I knew it was only that tiny part of my heart that remembered what it was like to be thirteen years old and in the throes of my first crush. The part of me that was loyal to a fault and still believed people were fundamentally good. I never went to see him.

I did, however, follow the investigation and trial. Joseph King, his wife, and their five children lived on a small farm near Middlefield, Ohio, which is about two hours northeast of Painters Mill. The night of the murder, King claimed to have gone fishing on Lake Erie. Since his destination was too far to travel via buggy, he’d paid a local Yoder toter to drive him to a cabin. During the night, someone walked into his unlocked home, picked up his shotgun, and shot his wife in her bed while their five children slept across the hall. Come morning, the children discovered their mother’s body. Two days later, Joseph was arrested and charged with murder.

THE BLURB: In this electrifying new thriller in the New York Times bestselling series, a convicted murderer is on the run and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder must catch him before he strikes again.

Eight years ago Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. He was a “fallen” Amish man and, according to local law enforcement, a known drug user with a violent temper. Now King has escaped, and he’s headed for Painters Mill.

News of a murderer on the loose travels like wildfire and putting Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team of officers on edge. A nightmare scenario becomes reality when King shows up with a gun and kidnaps his five children from their Amish uncle’s house. He’s armed and desperate with nothing left to lose.

Fearing for the safety of the children, Kate leaps into action, but her frantic search for a killer leads her into an ambush. When King releases her unharmed, asking her to prove his innocence, she begins to wonder whether the police are hiding something, and she embarks on her own investigation to discover the truth.

MY THOUGHTS: I hadn’t read a Linda Castillo book in a while, so I was excited to find Down a Dark Road in the audio section of my library service. Her books, and I admit to only having read some of her Kate Burkholder series and out of order at that, are fast paced, gripping and realistic.

There is a great blend of police procedure with Kate’s personal life. I particularly like the way she still has respect for the Amish way of life, although she has left it behind, and the conflict she feels about the lack of relationship with her brother and sister and their families, who have remained in the Amish community.

In Down A Dark Road, Kate follows her heart rather than her head, putting her position as Chief of Police in jeopardy. We get to take a look at her childhood through flashbacks, and we learn a lot more about what makes Kate the woman she is.

An extremely satisfying reading/listening experience.

I listened to the audio version of Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo, narrated by Kathleen McInerney, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/1997736515

Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft

Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft
Silent Lies 
by Kathryn Croft (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘Who…who are you?’

‘Exactly who I said I was. I just didn’t mention that I know who you are, or that I’m here to tell you your husband didn’t kill himself.’

THE BLURB: ‘Your husband didn’t kill himself.’
Five years rebuilding your life. Five words will destroy it again.

Mia Hamilton lived the perfect life with her husband, university teacher Zach, and their two-year-old daughter, Freya. But everything changed when Zach committed suicide on the same night one of his students, Josie Carpenter, vanished.

Five years later, and Josie is still missing but Mia has finally found some happiness with new boyfriend Will.

Until one day when stranger Alison walks into her life and tells Mia that her husband didn’t kill himself.

Desperate to find out what really happened to Zach, Mia is forced to put her trust in Alison. But she soon discovers that Alison has her own agenda behind exposing the details of Zach’s death. Can Mia really believe anything Alison says?

Mia must decide how far she is willing to go to uncover the truth – even if she risks losing everything she loves.

MY THOUGHTS: ‘How do you know who to trust?’ This is the question that is the crux of Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft. And after reading this, I don’t know that I am ever again going to believe anything I am told that I haven’t seen with my own eyes.

Silent Lies is told from the viewpoints of Mia and Josie over two different timelines that gradually merge. There are more twists and turns than is likely to be found in a plateful of spaghetti. All the way through, I was wondering why……..why Mia was taking such risks, why she couldn’t just settle down with Will and be happy, why she couldn’t look to the future instead of the past, why she was listening to Alison who was manipulative and scheming?

All my questions were answered in an absolutely unexpected ending.

If you are looking for a gripping psychological thriller, I can recommend Silent Lies.

Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital copy of Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2141504402?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1 and on Twitter @SandraFayJones2

P is for Peril by Sue Grafton

P is for Peril by Sue Grafton
P is for Peril (Kinsey Millhone, #16) 
by Sue Grafton

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: By the time I rang the bell, my breathing had slowed and I’d done a quick mental review of the subject I was here to discuss. Fiona Purcell’s ex-husband, Dr. Dowan Purcell, had been missing for nine weeks. She’d had a messenger deliver a manila envelope filled with newspaper clippings that recapped events surrounding his disappearance. I’d sat in my office, tilted back in my swivel chair, my Sauconys propped on the edge of my desk while I studied the articles she’d sent. She’d arranged them chronologically but had otherwise presented them without editorial comment. I’d been following the story in the local papers, but I’d never anticipated my involvement in the case. I found it helpful to have the sequence laid out again in this truncated form.

I noticed that over the course of nine weeks, the character of the coverage had shifted from the first seventy-two hours of puzzlement, through days of feverish speculation, and into the holding pattern that represented the current state of the investigation. Nothing new had come to light–not that there was ever much to report. In the absence of fresh revelations, the public’s fascination had begun to dwindle and the media’s attention to the matter had become as chilly and abbreviated as the brief November days. It is a truth of human nature that we can ponder life’s mysteries for only so long before we lose interest and move on to something else. Dr. Purcell had been gone since Friday, September 12, and the lengthy column inches initially devoted to his disappearance were now reduced to an occasional mention nearly ritual in its tone. The details were recounted, but the curiosity had shifted to more compelling events.

Dr. Purcell, sixty-nine years old, had practiced family medicine in Santa Teresa since 1944, specializing in geriatrics for the last fifteen years. He’d retired in 1981. Six months later, he’d been licensed as the administrator of a nursing care facility called Pacific Meadows, which was owned by two businessmen. On the Friday night in question, he’d worked late, remaining in his office to review paperwork related to the operation of the nursing home. According to witnesses, it was close to nine o’clock when he stopped at the front desk and said good-night to the nurses on duty. At that hour, the occupants had settled down for the night. The corridors were empty and the residents’ doors were closed against the already dimmed hall lights. Dr. Purcell had paused to chat with an elderly woman sitting in the lobby in her wheelchair. After a cursory conversation, less than a minute by her report, the doctor passed through the front door and into the night. He retrieved his car from his reserved space at the north side of the complex, pulled out of the lot, and drove off into the Inky Void from which he’d never emerged. The Santa Teresa Police and the Santa Teresa County Sheriff’s Departments had devoted endless hours to the case, and I couldn’t think what avenues remained that hadn’t already been explored by local law enforcement.

THE BLURB: It is now nine weeks since Dr Dowan Purcell vanished without trace. The sixty-nine-year-old doctor had said goodnight to his colleagues at the Pacific Meadows nursing home, had climbed into his car and driven away – never to be seen again.

His embittered first wife Fiona is convinced he is still alive. His second wife, Crystal – a former stripper forty years his junior – is just as sure he is dead. Enter private investigator Kinsey Malone, hired by Fiona to find out just what has happened to the man they loved.

Enter also Tommy Hevener, an attractive flame-haired twenty-something who has set his romantic sights on Kinsey. And Tommy is a man with a very interesting past . . .

MY THOUGHTS: The Kinsey Millhone series is my literary equivalent to junk food. It’s a fast easy read that is always fun, never complicated, and leaves me feeling happy. And I just keep coming back for more.

I listened to P is for Peril by Sue Grafton on audiobook via OverDrive. It was beautifully narrated by Judy Kaye. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/2155479044

London Noir by Ann Girdharry

London Noir by Ann Girdharry
London Noir (Kal Medi #2) 
by Ann Girdharry (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: I suppose the realization I was different stole up on me slowly.

There were signs from early on, if I’m honest. Like my first year in primary school when Mirabella wet her knickers in front of the whole class – the girls were mortified and the boys laughed and I was excited.

So, yeah, I knew I was different. To survive, I learned to act like my friends and I’m so good, pretty much everyone in my life would say I’m normal and I like that because it means I’m clever.

One thing I’ve learned is that when you’ve wanted something for a long time, your mind makes tracks in the sand showing exactly how it’s going to turn out. You anticipate your own excitement, your own arousal, and what the other person will say and do. Those tracks start out delicate and then solidify with each replaying of the fantasy, until they get to be as firm as a rail track. The fantasy can keep me occupied for months only, at some point, I have to have the real deal – the flash of horror in their eyes, the desperate urge to plead for mercy, bowels voiding and dribbling down a leg. It’s the helplessness that grabs me – when they realize there’s absolutely nothing they can do. It’s the best drug in the world.

And with me, it’s the eyes that are captivating. The windows of the soul – unable to lie in the final moments.

THE BLURB: Memory loss, nightmares, the urge to kill – Sophie has it all.
Is it Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Or something more sinister? Kal is about to find out…

After a near-fatal road accident, Kal helps a young girl in trouble. The girl’s friends are being murdered one by one. Why? And who by?

Kal must kick start herself out of her downward spiral to save the young stranger.

But Kal is in the grip of the London Cartel and is someone after the girl, or is the girl after someone?

Crime suspense thriller. A stand alone novel. The second in the Kal Medi series.

MY THOUGHTS: I hadn’t read Kal Medi #1 before reading London Noir by Ann Girdharry. I think it would have helped, as there are numerous references to events that occurred in that first book that are not adequately explained, like what had happened to put Marty in hospital in a coma or why Kal was in the grip of the London Cartel. So I don’t really recommend this as a stand alone book. But if you do read London Noir without reading Good Girl, Bad Girl, then chances are you will do what I am doing, and lay your hands on a copy of #1 anyway.

Ann Girdharry had me hooked from the beginning. In fact at the 7% mark my comment was ‘WOW!’. Of course, this frenetic pace could not be maintained, although London Noir continued to be a fast paced book and a quick read. And while I didn’t always find Kal’s actions believable or at all rational, I was happy to suspend belief and just enjoy the read.

3.5 stars for London Noir by Ann Girdharry

Thank you to author Ann Girdharry for providing me with a digital copy of London Noir for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2124446897?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Weycombe by G.M. Malliet

Weycombe by G.M. Malliet
Weycombe 
by G.M. Malliet (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: What happened to Anna could so easily have been an accident. She could have been running flat out on her chubby legs, minding her own business, when some solicitor speeding by on his way to his office in Walton-on-Thames, anonymous in his ventilated helmet and ubiquitous black bike shorts, pushed her off the path, sending her rolling downhill and breaking her neck. That time of year, the path could be slick with wet fallen leaves. She might simply have slipped and fallen on her head.

That is certainly how it could have happened. Except that of course she was murdered, dead before her body came to rest at the edge of the river.

THE BLURB: Weycombe is the chocolate-box village of everyone’s dreams. For American Jillian White, a gated life of pleasure and comfort with her titled English husband was a fantasy come true.

But the murder of a local estate agent mars the village’s so-pretty surface. Are people actually dying to live in Weycombe? Jill investigates, piecing together clues along the snaking paths and winding lanes of her adopted village. She knows truth has many versions, depending on who is doing the telling. And that few can be trusted in Weycombe, where nothing is as perfect as it seems.

MY THOUGHTS: After reading the synopsis, I thought I was in for a cosy Agatha Christie like read. But it seems G.M. Malliet is very clever. She has written a chameleon of a novel. To start with, she uses her acerbic wit to paint a portrait of life in an English village. Even at slightly over half way, I made the following comment- “This is so not about murder. It is an amusing, sometimes laugh out loud hilarious, tongue-in-cheek, slightly bitchy poke at life in an English village. The murder is merely the vehicle.”

Yes, I was well and truly sucked in. For, almost without me noticing, the story turned in on itself in the second half and became something far more sinister. This was definitely not Christie!

This is a book that I read with a smile on my face, especially at the end. Although I picked up the odd hiccup with continuity, this was an uncorrected ARC and so I would expect these minor imperfections to have been corrected before Weycombe is unleashed on the public.

All in all, a very enjoyable read that kept my interest from the first page to the last. I have added all this authors other works to my reading list.

Thank you to Midnight Ink via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Weycombe for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2153334557?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

And So It Began (Delaney #1) by Owen Mullen

And So It Began by Owen Mullen
And So It Began (Delaney #1)
by Owen Mullen (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘It was good to feel apart from the herd. Different from the masses. What could be worse than being just another walking number on the earth? Thank God that wasn’t the way of it. Society saw it otherwise of course, that was to be expected. Closed minds.

A woman passed with a child dressed in top hat and tails. Fred Astaire? The kid was bawling something impossible to make out, its small face distorted in an anguish that would cease the second the mother relented and let it have its way. When children acted like that they were almost as unattractive as the adults who spawned them. Well, the mother could relax, her whining offspring was safe; repulsively secure.

No matter, there were plenty more.

Lots and lots and lots more.

Where to begin? The biggest question. The answer would dictate how the rest of the day would go. The trick was not to wait too long. That was dangerous. Anxiety about missing out produced poor-quality decisions. Risk was all very well so long as the thrill allowed for escape.

It was all about timing.

A lost looking girl came close. Pretty, but pretty wasn’t enough. There were many here who outscored her on that, boys as well as girls, it didn’t matter.

Cute. Cute. Cute. Nothing but cute.

‘Darlene! Darlene, honey!’

A woman bent to scoop up her daughter.

Mother and child reunion.

Time to make a move. But what was the rush? There was a whole day ahead.

All day. All day, every day if need be.

THE BLURB: PI Vincent Delaney thought he was done with the NOPD until a string of seemingly unrelated child murders brings an unexpected invitation from the FBI, and his old boss.

A serial killer is roaming the South, preying on children appearing in pageants, and the police want him to go undercover using his own family. Accepting would mean lying to people he loves and maybe even putting them in harm’s way.

In Baton Rouge, a violent criminal has escaped and is seeking revenge for the brother Delaney shot dead. But Delaney isn’t going anywhere. He has unfinished business.

Meanwhile, north of the French Quarter, shopkeepers are being extorted and ask for Delaney’s help. Extortion is a matter for the police.

But what do you do when those responsible are the police?

Delaney has his work cut out and he’ll be lucky if he makes it out of this alive…

MY THOUGHTS: Owen Mullen knows how to write.

I rank him right up there with Mr King. Different genres, but there is something in the writing style that just sucks me right in. Cocoons me from the outside world. Has me snarling at anyone that would dare try interrupt my reading.

I fell in love with Charlie Cameron, Mullen’s Glaswegian PI in his first series. Now we have Delaney in New Orleans. And I’m in love all over again.

Delaney has a past. But that doesn’t guarantee he has a future. Delaney is dedicated. When he is on a case, all else is pushed to the side. I would hate to be in a relationship with this man. He is unfailingly loyal. He is stubborn. And tenacious. He reminds me of my very favorite chocolates, strong and hard on the outside, liquid inside. This is a man who will go to any lengths to protect those he loves.

And he is a man with old scores to settle.

And So It Began by Owen Mullen is a breathtaking read. There is nothing ordinary or mediocre about this book. It grips from page one and never lets go.

Crime fiction has a new master.

Thank you to author Owen Mullen for providing an ARC of And So It Began. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/2143545068?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Coven by Graham Masterton

The Coven by Graham Masterton
The Coven
by Graham Masterton

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘Some of these girls are veritable savages when we first take them in. They are used to drinking gin and smoking and their everyday language would make Satan shrivel. They have been used by men ever since they can remember, sometimes by their own fathers and brothers, so they think nothing of virtue or virginity. In some cases, their own mothers have sold their maidenheads to the highest bidder to make ends meet…..A fair number learn to be thankful, I’ll grant you. But some regard us as pious busy bodies and cannot wait to return to their life on the streets. They relish the flattery they are given by licentious men, and the money. They enjoy the orgies, and the drink. They have never been used to discipline or decorum, and they cannot understand that they are not only destroying themselves here on earth but abnegating any chance they might have had of going to heaven. ‘

THE BLURB: London, 1758. Beatrice Scarlet has returned to London and found work at St. Mary Magdalene’s Refuse for fallen women. Beatrice enjoys the work and her apothecary skills are much needed. The home cooperates with a network of wealthy factory owners across London, finding their charges steady work and hopes of rehabilitation. But when 12 girls sent to a factory in Clerkenwell disappear, Beatrice is uneasy. Their would-be benefactor claims they were witches, sacrificed by Satan for his demonic misdeeds. But Beatrice is sure something much darker than witchcraft is at play.

MY THOUGHTS: I have to admit that I almost dnf’d this a couple of times in the earlier part of the book. I really only kept reading because I wanted to know if Noah was ever going to be found. I got the answer to my question, but if you want to know you can read the book for yourself.

The Coven is definitely not my favourite Masterton book. It is the second book in a series of, so far, two. I had not read the first, but The Coven can stand on its own. There is enough background information given so that the relevant events of the first in the series are explained.

My first quibble is with the title, The Coven. If you read this book you will see the relevance, which I still feel is rather tenuous anyway. The Coven gives the impression that the book is about witchcraft. It isn’t. Not even remotely. Which is not why I chose to read it anyway, but people with reading interests which lie in that field would be disappointed. This book could definitely have been better titled.

Masterton’s writing does get, somewhat uncharacteristically, laborious in parts. Although just occasionally his quirky sense of humour shines through, and again,occasionally, there are passages of his trademark beautiful prose.

Overall, I am glad I read The Coven. I liked it more than not, but only just. But probably not enough to bother with reading any more of the series, although Beatrice’s future does look rather more interesting. I will leave the jury out on that decision.

WARNING: The Coven contains graphic violence and sexual content.

Thank you to Head of Zeus via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Coven for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2143005304?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Lay Me To Rest by E.A. Clark

Lay Me to Rest by E.A. Clark
Lay Me to Rest
by E.A. Clark (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘After pulling the door to, we walked down the slope and across to the farm, the sun a huge blood orange sphere at our backs, sinking behind the distant mountains.
If I had turned then I might have seen. Might have seen that the shadow that I had mistaken for mere imagination was standing, looking down at us, from my bedroom window. And that the glowing dark eyes that bore into the back of our unwitting heads exuded what could only be described as resentment and malevolence. I might have had some premonitory sense of what was in store for me and how I ought to flee before becoming irrevocably changed forever by the terror and intensity of my experience.
But for the time being I would remain in ignorance of the depth of hostility cast in our direction. And that was how it would all begin.’

THE BLURB: Some secrets never stay buried for long…
Devastated by the death of her husband, Annie Philips is shocked to discover she is pregnant with his unborn child. Hoping for a fresh start, she travels to a remote stone cottage in Anglesey, amidst the white-capped mountains of North Wales.

She settles in quickly, helped by her mysterious new neighbour, Peter. But everything changes when Annie discovers a small wooden box, inlaid with brass and mother-of-pearl. A box she was never supposed to find…

Annie soon realises that she isn’t alone in the cottage. And now she’s trapped. Can she escape the nightmare that she has awoken, or will the dark forces surrounding the house claim her life – and that of her baby?

A gripping thriller from E. A. Clark, perfect for fans of Kerri Wilkinson, Sarah Wray and Stella Duffy. You won’t be able to put it down!

MY THOUGHTS: Lay Me To Rest is E. A. Clark’s first adult novel after having written short stories and poetry for many years. Although her prose is a little overblown in places, this is a credible effort. It is an easy and quick read, ideal for reading in front of the fire on a cold and stormy night, as I did.

I have to admit to not having picked up on the paranormal reference in the blurb. Had I done, I probably wouldn’t have requested it, and I would have missed out on a read that became more interesting the further I read on. It was a little predictable in places, and it seems obvious from the way the ending was crafted that there is going to be at least one more book featuring Annie Philips and her newly discovered psychic ability to come. But if you are a fan of paranormal romantic suspense, Lay Me To Rest is a book that you will, in all probability, enjoy, and E.A. Clark is an author you will need to watch.

Thank you to HQ Digital via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Lay Me To Rest by E.A. Clark for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or my ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com pages https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2138842672

This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber
This Side of Murder (Verity Kent, #1)
by Anna Lee Huber (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


AN EXCERPT: ‘You might question whether this is all a ruse, whether I truly have anything to reveal. But I know what kind of work you really did during the war. I know the secrets you hide. Why shouldn’t I also know your husband’s?’

THE BLURB: The Great War is over, but in this captivating new series from award-winning author Anna Lee Huber, one young widow discovers the real intrigue has only just begun . . .

An Unpardonable Sin?

England, 1919. Verity Kent’s grief over the loss of her husband pierces anew when she receives a cryptic letter, suggesting her beloved Sidney may have committed treason before his untimely death. Determined to dull her pain with revelry, Verity’s first impulse is to dismiss the derogatory claim. But the mystery sender knows too much—including the fact that during the war, Verity worked for the Secret Service, something not even Sidney knew.

Lured to Umbersea Island to attend the engagement party of one of Sidney’s fellow officers, Verity mingles among the men her husband once fought beside, and discovers dark secrets—along with a murder clearly meant to conceal them. Relying on little more than a coded letter, the help of a dashing stranger, and her own sharp instincts, Verity is forced down a path she never imagined—and comes face to face with the shattering possibility that her husband may not have been the man she thought he was. It’s a truth that could set her free—or draw her ever deeper into his deception . . .

MY THOUGHTS: ‘Who of us really knows what’s coming? Or what secrets will come back to haunt us in the end? The war might be over, but it still echoed through our lives like an endless roll of thunder. ‘
This Side of Murder is an excellent beginning to a new series, Verity Kent, by Daphne Award winning author Anna Lee Huber. I must rather shamefully admit that I had never heard of her prior to reading this book. I intend to remedy that, and sooner rather than later. She has two other series available, The Lady Darby Mysteries and Gothic Myths. Both sound equally appealing.

Huber had me hooked from the beginning. Set in post WWI England, Huber has written an absorbing and thrilling tale of spies, murder, treason and a little romance with a strong young female lead. The plot is complex, but not confusing, and the characters are magnificently portrayed. Like Verity, I never even came close to suspecting who was pulling the strings until all was finally revealed.

Full of action and suspense, This Side of Murder is an excellent read on many levels. It is both humorous and poignantly sad in places. It reveals the toll of the war from both sides; those left at home – ‘..how I had dreaded those letters. Each one seemed to relay news of another death, another tragedy. ‘; and those away fighting for their country – ‘they’d had no clue how dreadful the conditions were at the front, or the horrors their men had faced almost daily. The press never told the truth; propaganda at its finest. And the men didn’t want their loved ones back home to know it anyway, even though it caused countless divides and misunderstandings. They didn’t want the terrors they’d confronted to touch those they’d loved and gone to war to protect and preserve. ‘

This Side of Murder is both a touching and thrilling read.

Thank you to Kensington Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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 my Goodreads.com page.