Watching What I’m Reading. . .

It’s almost a month since I last did this post, for which I must apologize. A ‘comedy of errors’ conspired to give me an enforced break, and now we are moving house again so my posts may be a bit sporadic over the coming week or two.

Currently I am reading

Pray for the Girl

Lucy Abbott never pictured herself coming back to Fawn Grove, Maine. Yet after serving time in Afghanistan, then years spent as a sous chef in New York, she’s realized her only hope of moving on from the past involves facing it again. But Fawn Grove, like Lucy herself, has changed.

Lucy’s sister, Wendy, is eager to help her adapt, almost stifling her with concern. At the local diner, Lucy is an exotic curiosity–much like the refugees who’ve arrived in recent years. When a fifteen-year-old Muslim girl is found murdered along the banks of the river, difficult memories of Lucy’s time overseas come flooding back and she feels an automatic connection. At first glance, the tragedy looks like an honor killing. But the more Lucy learns about her old hometown, the less certain that seems.

There is menace and hostility here, clothed in neighborly smiles and a veneer of comfort. And when another teen is found dead in a cornfield, his throat slit, Lucy–who knows something about hiding secrets–must confront a truth more brutal than she could have imagined, in the last place she expected it . . .

and listening to

Valley of the Shadow (Cornish Mystery #3)

A cryptic message spurs Eleanor, Megan, and Nick Gresham on a frantic search for a refugee’s missing family, in The Valley of the Shadow, a Cornish Mystery from Carola Dunn.

While out on a walk, Eleanor Trewynn, her niece Megan, and her neighbor Nick spot a young, half-drowned Indian man floating in the water. Delirious and concussed, he utters a cryptic message about his family being trapped in a cave and his mother dying. The young man, unconscious and unable to help, is whisked away to a hospital while a desperate effort is mounted find the missing family in time.

The local police inspector presumes that they are refugees from East Africa, abandoned by the smugglers who brought them into England, so while the Cornwall countryside is being scoured for the family, Eleanor herself descends into a dangerous den of smugglers in a desperate search to find the man responsible while there is still time.

This week I am planning on reading:

What She Saw

She lied to her daughter to save her family.

Everyone knows Leona would do anything for her daughter Beth: she moved to Church Langdon to send Beth to the best school, worked hard to build a successful business to support them and found them the perfect little cottage to call home. Leona and Beth hike together, shop together, share their hopes and fears with one another. People say they’re more like best friends than mother and daughter.

It’s the relationship every mother dreams of.

But their closeness means that Beth struggles to make friends. Her mother has kept her sheltered from the world. She’s more reliant on her mother’s love. More vulnerable.

When Beth finds an envelope hidden under the floorboards of their home, the contents make her heart stop. Everything she thought she knew about her mother is a lie. And she realises there is no one she can turn to for help.

What if you’ve been protected from strangers your whole life, but the one person you can’t trust is the person closest to home? 

Last of the Magpies

The chilling conclusion to the #1 bestseller The Magpies.

Twelve months ago, Jamie Knight walked straight into Lucy Newton’s trap. Both Jamie and his ex-wife Kirsty barely survived. Now, with the police investigation into Lucy’s disappearance going nowhere, Jamie teams up with a true crime podcaster to track down his nemesis.

But can Jamie persuade Kirsty to help? Can Kirsty forgive him for his past mistakes? And who, if anyone, will survive the final showdown? Featuring extracts from Lucy’s secret memoir, Last of the Magpies brings the trilogy to a shocking conclusion.

Books I have been approved for since I last posted are:

Pretty Guilty Women

#taken (Max Wolfe, #6)

Those People

Sleep

No Way Out (DI Adam Fawley, #3)

Till Sudden Death Do Us Part (Ishmael Jones #7)

I don’t have a heavy reading load for May, which is probably a blessing, so maybe I can make inroads into some of my back titles. I am also way behind on writing my reviews because of being without my tablet for three weeks, so I need to catch up on those in between packing, moving and unpacking. It will be lovely to have our own home again rather than renting, and I am going to claim the spare bedroom that opens out onto the deck as my library/ office space.

Have a wonderful week my friends, and happy reading 💕📚

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Two Silver Crosses by Beryl Kingston

Two Silver Crosses by Beryl Kingston

EXCERPT: ‘Don’t worry,’ Ginny whispered as she kissed her sister goodbye outside the Advocate’s house. ‘I shan’t come to any harm. She’s exaggerating.’

Emily didn’t argue because there wasn’t time, and because Maman might hear it and, in any case, she was too drained by the emotion of the last few minutes to want to provoke any more outbursts. She simply kissed Ginny’s cheek and said a private prayer for her safety. But she was still cold with dread and she went on feeling afraid for the rest of the day; when she finally got into bed, she carried her unspoken fears into nightmares.

Lacerated with rage, Ginny ran to the station. To say such things just at the very moment when she was packed and ready to go! It was hateful. And unnecessary. She felt upset all the way to Paris, justifying her anger with her mother and pushing pity to one side, concentrating on feeling aggrieved and hurt so that she didn’t have to face the possible truth of what had been said. Because it couldn’t be true. She wouldn’t let it be true. It was too horrible.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: ‘Nobody is to know where we are. You must forget England. That part of your lives is over.’

Twins Ginny and Emily Holborn have everything they could ever need in their Wolverhampton home: a loving family, a garden to play in and a staff waiting to attend to their every need. Until, one summer day in 1926, they disappear without a trace.

Ten years later, bright-eyed solicitor Charlie Commoner is given his first job: track down the still-missing Holborn twins. Despatched to France, he’s left to unravel a web of infidelity, mystery, and terrifying family secrets.

MY THOUGHTS: I almost abandoned this book at one early point, but I am so very glad that I didn’t. I ended up heavily invested in the lives, struggles and very different romances of the Holborn twins.

This is not a short read, but the appeal for me was two-fold: Beryl Kingston is an author I remember my mother enjoying immensely; and I have recently found myself enjoying historical fiction set around the two world wars.

The story travels from a wealthy beginning in England, to poverty and almost destitution in France. The contrast in life-styles is immense. It is told mostly from four points of view: that of Hortense, the young French wife of the only son of a wealthy industrialist and mother to the twins; Agnes her sister-in-law, married to the social climbing Claude; and the twins themselves, Virginia and the blind Emily.

The mystery is really not that mysterious; in fact, I thought it rather obvious. I also thought that Charlie should have made the connection between the missing heiresses and Jeannie a lot sooner. That, I felt, was a little too drawn out. The constant string of near misses became somewhat irritating. Perhaps the story would have had more appeal had we begun with the death of the twins grandfather, and the resulting search for them, and learned their earlier history in flashbacks. But we must also remember that this book was written and first published almost thirty years ago.

It was an interesting read, and I might be tempted to read another by this author at some point in the future.

☺☺☺.5

THE AUTHOR: BERYL KINGSTON has been a writer since she was seven when she started producing ‘poetry’ which, according to her, was very, very bad. She was evacuated to Felpham at the start of WWII, igniting an interest in one time resident poet William Blake (which later inspired her novel The Gates of Paradise). She was a school teacher until 1985, but became a full-time writer when her debut novel became a bestseller. Kingston lives in west Sussex, and has three children, five grandchildren and one great grandchild.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Agora Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Two Silver Crosses by Beryl Kingston 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/2701023084

Watching What I’m Reading. . .

Happy Sunday everyone. I have been to work this morning, now home and making Quince Jelly. So while it is simmering away, I will talk about what I am currently reading, what I am planning on reading in the coming week, and what new approvals I have received.

Currently I am reading

Two Silver Crosses: A heartwarming family saga of love and war

I remember my mother enjoying this author. I blew hot and cold on this book for the first third, but now 2/3 through I am enjoying it.

In 1926 the Holborn twins, Ginny and her blind sister Emily, disappear from their comfortable home in Wolverhampton. Why? No one knew. Ten years later, aspiring solicitor Charlie Commoner is dispatched to France to track them down. What he finds instead is a mystery, a tragedy and a love affair.

But as the Second World War darkens over Europe, so, too, does the legacy from a terrifying disease that holds the family in its grip . . .

I need to download a new audiobook book, but as we are going away Thursday, I probably won’t bother until we get back.

As you may have gathered, I have not yet started on

Run Away

which was on last week’s list. . .

You’ve lost your daughter.

She’s addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to be found.

Then, quite by chance, you see her busking in New York’s Central Park.

But she’s not the girl you remember. This woman is wasted, frightened and clearly in trouble.

You don’t stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.

She runs.

And

The Woman I Was Before

The perfect picture hides the darkest lies.

A new home can be a happy ending. Or a fresh start. Or a hiding place…

Kate Jones is running away. She has left her old life behind, changing both her own name and her daughter’s. No-one must ever connect Kate with the mistake that destroyed her life.

Starting afresh on Parkview Road – a brand new street full of newly built houses – Kate looks at the other women on the street with envy. They seem to have it all: Gisela with her busy life, full house and successful children, Sally with her exciting spontaneous marriage, her glamorous holidays, her high-flying career. The pictures that Kate’s new friends post online confirm their seemingly perfect existence, whilst Kate hides from the world at all costs.

Until one day, everything changes. Kate is called to the scene of a devastating accident, which is about to test everything the women thought they knew about each other, and themselves.

My requesting finger has been a bit out of control this week. . .this week I have received

The Summer of Sunshine and Margot

The Dark Bones (A Dark Lure, #2)

Picture of Innocence

A Family of Strangers

So much for only two requests a week so that I can reduce my huge pile of back titles. I have no self control when it comes to books, okay?!

Tomorrow  is the first day of the new financial year here in New Zealand, so between stocktaking, closing off the financial records for the year, setting up for the new financial year, and doing rollover of our membership records, and getting everything set up for my relief staff while I am away,  I am unlikely to get anything posted, possibly for a couple of days.

So until next time, happy reading my friends. 💕📚

 

 

Five Star Friday – Safe With Me by K. L. Slater

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me!’?

Why not take a look at my Friday Favorite. . . It may be old. It may be new. But it is a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

Safe With Me

EXCERPT: So, they’re tucked up in bed at last. You take a handful of matches and you light each one, watching the burn die to a powdery black dot.

The embers in the open fireplace are dying down but there’s still the white hot core, deep in the centre, still powerful enough to help you set things straight one final time.

‘Two squashy seat cushions piled on the floor. Four squashy seat cushions piled on the floor.’ It’s fun to sing to the tune of ‘Ten Green Bottles’.

You push the chair right up next to them so that the fabrics are touching. You carefully extract two balls of molten coal from the ashes with the tongs, carefully placing each one in the middle of the cushions. Now you sit back to watch them melting in, deep down. The glowing balls sink greedily into the soft foam, and the scorched fabric cover of the cushion shrinks back like it’s trying to escape.

There is no noise and you enjoy the silence.

Entranced, you watch as the small flames start to dance, flicking their pretty, lethal tongues. The power amazes, terrifies and comforts you all at once. You feel the layers of protection you have tried to coat yourself with over the years being stripped away. You needed them so you had a chance of getting through each day and drunken night, but you are safe now. The flames will make it safe.

You have tried to tell them many times, of course, tried to ask for help. But they didn’t understand what you were trying to get through to them. And now the rawness of your fear, your sadness – it’s here for all to see in the sharpness of the thick, sulphured air.

You mustn’t cough. You don’t want to wake them, set the sillies screaming and crying. Leave them to their dreams, they will learn soon enough.

The flames grow larger, then fuse together. You know that it’s a sign that they’re promising to help you and yet, for a second, you actually consider changing your mind. You could stomp down the flames and shout for help. You could wake them up.

Then you hear it.

‘Let us do our work,’ the flames whisper. ‘Everything will be better in the morning.’

And that’s when you decide to finally walk away.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Thirteen years ago someone did something very bad to Anna. Now it’s her turn to get even …

Anna lives a solitary existence, taking solace in order and routine. Her only friend is the lonely old lady next door. She doesn’t like to let people get too close – she knows how much damage they can do.

Then one ordinary day Anna witnesses a devastating road accident and recognises the driver as Carla, the woman who ruined her life all those years ago. Now it’s Anna’s chance to set things straight but her revenge needs to be executed carefully …

First she needs to get to know Liam, the man injured in the accident. She needs to follow the police investigation. She needs to watch Carla from the shadows…

But as Anna’s obsession with Carla escalates, her own secrets start to unravel. Is Carla really dangerous or does Anna need to worry about someone far closer to home?

MY THOUGHTS: Anna is a solitary person. She has had a hard life. She is damaged but has built a new life on her own terms, one she can cope with.

As long as nothing goes wrong. . . But go wrong it does.

Told from multiple viewpoints and over two timelines, this novel is seriously twisted. Creepy twisted. Turn the pages very carefully, creepy, twisted. . . because you’re never quite sure what Slater is going to spring on you next.

Safe With Me is a debut novel by KL Slater which has me completely blown away. This is a chilling psychological thriller that had me devouring every word.

I want more from this author. Soon.

😨😨😨😨😨

THE AUTHOR: Kim is the million-copy bestselling author of seven psychological crime thrillers. Her eighth thriller, FINDING GRACE, will be published 14th February 2019 and is now available for pre-order.

Kim’s titles are also published in paperback by Sphere in the UK and Grand Central in the USA.

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents and collected an impressive stack of rejection slips. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating in 2012, she gained literary agent representation and a book deal. As Kim says, ‘it was a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer. She has one daughter, two stepsons and lives with her husband in Nottingham and Yorkshire.

Publishers: Bookouture, Sphere, Grand Central, Audible
Agent: Camilla Bolton at Darley Anderson

Author website: www.KLSlaterAuthor.com
Twitter: @KimLSlater
Facebook: KL Slater Author
Instagram: KLSlaterAuthor

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for providing me with a digital ARC 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/1816507423

A Taste of . . . Tuesday – The Woman I Was Before by Kerry Fisher

Looking at what I have coming up to read over the next week or two, I am very excited to be reading The Woman I Was Before by Kerry Fisher. Here’s a little tidbit to tempt your reading tastebuds . . .

The Woman I Was Before

EXCERPT:<i> Daisy raced through into the living room and hovered behind the curtain, peering at the driveway over the road. I stood back, not wanting to get a reputation as the community curtain twitcher. Naturally, the biggest house on the estate would have to have a conventional family set-up, like the Topsy and Tim books my mum used to read to Daisy when she was little. There they all were, Mum, Dad, son and daughter twisting into a back-breaking pose, all four of them laughing with their hands on the door handle while the daughter tried to capture them all in a selfie. The big sign that said ’21 Parkview’ would probably be in the corner of that picture, for any casual Facebook observer to see. I couldn’t imagine living a life where it didn’t matter.

Daisy stopped me disappearing down those familiar, well trodden routes that never led to a solution, by saying ‘Shall we go over and say hello?’

I hoped she didn’t see me shudder. It was years since strangers had recognised me, horrified fascination passing over their faces before the most brazen dared to ask, ‘Aren’t you that woman who was in the newspaper?’ I still dreaded that flicker of puzzlement, followed by wary curiosity . ‘They won’t want us going over now. They’ll be getting on with their unpacking. We’d better make a start with  ours if we’re not going to end up sleeping on a mattress on the floor. There’ll be time to introduce ourselves later.’

And with that we went outside where Jim and Darren, the blokes I had found to bring us from Peterborough to our new home in a little market town in Surrey, were tag teaming alternate scratches of man boobs and balls. Jim was muttering about his back already aching. ‘Hope you’re going to give us a hand up them stairs with that wardrobe. Mind you , looks a bit narrow at the top there. Going to be tight to turn.’

Darren nodded. ‘These new houses aren’t meant for big pieces of furniture like that,’ he said , his face arranging into some kind of satisfaction that I might end up with a pine wardrobe wedged between the bannisters and the landing.

Over the road, my new neighbor let out a shriek of delight. ‘The kettle! Who wants a cuppa?’

I resisted shouting ‘Me!’ as a team of professional movers made manoeuvring a solid oak table through her front door look like they were flipping a piece of balsa wood on its side.

I dragged my eyes back to the battered van and smiled. ‘Come on then. Let’s put our backs into it! You too , Daisy.’ I resisted the temptation to snap, ‘Put my phone down, and grab the toaster!’

There was a waft of BO as Jim reached for the bin bag full of coats I’d grabbed off the pegs as we’d left the old house. A wave of loneliness washed over me at the thought of doing all of this on my own again. But nowhere near as acute as the day when my husband, Oskar, told me he was leaving to go and work with his cousin in Argentina ‘where I can start again and forget about all of this’.

Even if I moved to the furtherest corner of Australia, I would never forget. </i>

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The perfect picture hides the darkest lies.

A new home can be a happy ending. Or a fresh start. Or a hiding place…

Kate Jones is running away. She has left her old life behind, changing both her own name and her daughter’s. No-one must ever connect Kate with the mistake that destroyed her life.

Starting afresh on Parkview Road – a brand new street full of newly built houses – Kate looks at the other women on the street with envy. They seem to have it all: Gisela with her busy life, full house and successful children, Sally with her exciting spontaneous marriage, her glamorous holidays, her high-flying career. The pictures that Kate’s new friends post online confirm their seemingly perfect existence, whilst Kate hides from the world at all costs.

Until one day, everything changes. Kate is called to the scene of a devastating accident, which is about to test everything the women thought they knew about each other, and themselves.

I hope I have tempted you to take the chance to read The Woman I Was Before by Kerry Fisher, along with me. I look forward to hearing your views and thoughts on this book.

Happy reading! 💕

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Firstly I must apologize for my absence over the past few days. We had wedding #2 of the three family weddings in 9 weeks. The weather gods were kind to us, the bride was radiant, and everyone had fun. Now a little less than three weeks to wedding #3, for which we will be heading to Australia.

Now onto the real reason we are here. . . Books! Currently I am reading

My Daughter's Secret

for which I gave you a sneak preview last Tuesday. I can’t wait to see where this is going. Only started this last night, and very intrigued.

I am listening to

The Dead Tracks (David Raker, #2)

I have been wanting to get into this series for some time now.

This week I am planning on reading

Two Silver Crosses: A heartwarming family saga of love and war

In 1926 the Holborn twins, Ginny and her blind sister Emily, disappear from their comfortable home in Wolverhampton. Why? No one knew. Ten years later, aspiring solicitor Charlie Commoner is dispatched to France to track them down. What he finds instead is a mystery, a tragedy and a love affair.

But as the Second World War darkens over Europe, so, too, does the legacy from a terrifying disease that holds the family in its grip . . .

Run Away

You’ve lost your daughter.

She’s addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to be found.

Then, by chance, you see her playing guitar in Central Park. But she’s not the girl you remember. This woman is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly in trouble.

You don’t stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.

She runs. 

And you do the only thing a parent can do: you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Before you know it, both your family and your life are on the line. And in order to protect your daughter from the evils of that world, you must face them head on.

I have to admit to not particularly liking the cover of this one.

This week I have received four ARC approvals from NetGalley.

The Bones She Buried (Detective Josie Quinn #5)

The Last Thing She Remembers

Tomorrow's Bread

Pray for the Girl

I hope you have had a wonderful week’s reading, and that you have another lined up ahead of you. 💕📚

Only Daughter by Sarah A. Denzil

Only Daughter by Sarah A. Denzil

EXCERPT: If you were here with me now, I’d say sorry for everything.

I know I’ve let you down, disappointed you, and it hurts. This is how it ends for me, isn’t it? Alone with my thoughts, with my pain, all the regrets about who I am and how I acted coming back to haunt me. I let you down more than anyone else. Maybe one day you’ll be able to forgive me, but I know I’ll never forgive myself. . .

If you were here now, I’d apologize for everything.

But I wouldn’t just say sorry; I’d warn you, too.

Because they’re coming after you next. . .

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In one moment, Kat Cavanaugh’s perfect world is shattered into tiny fragments. The flash of her daughter’s yellow dress, the blonde hair hanging across her precious face. Her own heart-broken sob…

Kat experiences every mother’s worst nightmare when her only child’s body is found lifeless in an overgrown, abandoned quarry.

Desperate to find out what happened, Kat questions those closest to her as she tries to piece together the last days of Grace’s life. But as a darker side to her little girl begins to unravel, Kat wonders if she ever really knew Grace.

As Kat is drawn into a twisted game of lies, is she also in terrible danger? And will she be able to unlock her daughter’s final shocking secret?

Even if the truth is unthinkable…

MY THOUGHTS: I blew hot and cold on Only Daughter as I read. I thought it started with promise, and there were moments, a few absolutely brilliant moments, during the book when I fist pumped the air, thinking yes, she’s hit her stride! But, unfortunately, they didn’t last.

I found it neither addictive, nor emotional. In fact, my lack of feeling was so noticeable that, several times, I wondered if I was the sociopath!

I found the characters hard to relate to, and never got fully involved in the storyline. Only one twist surprised me, and I pretty much had sussed out what was going on by a little over half way through the book. But that doesn’t necessarily ruin a book for me. I have recently read a book where I knew what the outcome was, having previously read a later book in the series, and still rated it 5-stars because the journey was extremely enjoyable. And I think herein lies the problem with Only Daughter for me. The journey was, for the most part, pretty ordinary. I had the feeling that I had read it all before.

Beautiful cover art and those few brilliant moments raised this from 2.5 to 😐😐😐

THE AUTHOR: Sarah A. Denzil is a suspense writer from Derbyshire, England. She is also known as young adult author Sarah Dalton.

Sarah lives in Yorkshire with her partner, enjoying the scenic countryside and rather unpredictable weather.

She is the author of international bestselling psychological thriller SILENT CHILD, which topped the bestseller lists on Amazon in the US, UK and Australia.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Only Daughter 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/2752542707