Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan 

EXCERPT: It would be the easiest thing in the world to lose everything, Furlong knew. Although he did not venture far, he got around – and many an unfortunate he’d seen around town and out on the country roads. The dole queues were getting longer and there were men out there who couldn’t pay their ESB bills, living in houses no warmer than bunkers, sleeping in their coats. Women, on the first Friday of every month, lined up at the post office wall with shopping bags, waiting to collect their children’s allowances. And farther out the country, he’d known cows to be left bawling to be milked because the man who had their care had upped, suddenly, and taken the boat to Fishguard. Once, a man from St Mullins got a lift into town to pay his bill, saying that they’d had to sell the car as they couldn’t get a wink of sleep knowing what was owing, that the bank was coming down on them. And early one morning, Furlong had seen a young schoolboy eating from a chip bag that had been thrown down on the street the night before.

ABOUT ‘SMALL THINGS LIKE THESE’: It is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man faces into his busiest season. Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery which forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church.

MY THOUGHTS: It is no small thing that coal and fuel merchant William (Bill) Furlong does. 1985 was a time of great hardship. Bill, although not wealthy, is doing all right for himself and is able to provide for his family – wife Eileen and his five daughters, through careful money management.

Bill Furlong has come from nothing, less than nothing really. But he and his mother were shown great kindness and that is something Billy is dwelling on this Christmas. When Billy discovers someone being treated cruelly and inhumanely, and discovers that his beloved Catholic church is covering it up, he faces a dilemma. Does he help, as his mother was helped? Or does he take heed of the warning and walk away?

For such a short book (128 pages), Small Things Like These packs a solid punch. While a work of fiction, the truth is that many thousands of girls and women were incarcerated and forced to work, hidden in disgrace behind church walls, never to be spoken of nor seen again. The children were adopted out, sold, or simply disappeared. Records were nonexistent or destroyed.

Small Things Like These is a powerful book about family, love, and trying to do the right thing. It is not a read that I am likely to forget in a hurry.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#SmallThingsLikeThese #NetGalley

I: #clairekeeganfiction @groveatlantic

T: @CKeeganFiction @GroveAtlantic

#fivestarread #christmasfiction #historicalfiction #irishfiction #novella

THE AUTHOR: Claire Keegan was born in County Wicklow, the youngest of a large family. She travelled to New Orleans, Louisiana when she was seventeen, and studied English and Political Science at Loyola University. She returned to Ireland in 1992 and lived for a year in Cardiff, Wales, where she undertook an MA in creative writing and taught undergraduates at the University of Wales.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Grove Atlantic via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan 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

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

EXCERPT: It would be the easiest thing in the world to lose everything, Furlong knew. Although he did not venture far, he got around – and many an unfortunate he’d seen around town and out on the country roads. The dole queues were getting longer and there were men out there who couldn’t pay their ESB bills, living in houses no warmer than bunkers, sleeping in their coats. Women, on the first Friday of every month, lined up at the post office wall with shopping bags, waiting to collect their children’s allowances. And farther out the country, he’d known cows to be left bawling to be milked because the man who had their care had upped, suddenly, and taken the boat to Fishguard. Once, a man from St Mullins got a lift into town to pay his bill, saying that they’d had to sell the car as they couldn’t get a wink of sleep knowing what was owing, that the bank was coming down on them. And early one morning, Furlong had seen a young schoolboy eating from a chip bag that had been thrown down on the street the night before.

ABOUT ‘SMALL THINGS LIKE THESE’: It is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man faces into his busiest season. Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery which forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church.

MY THOUGHTS: It is no small thing that coal and fuel merchant William (Bill) Furlong does. 1985 was a time of great hardship. Bill, although not wealthy, is doing all right for himself and is able to provide for his family – wife Eileen and his five daughters, through careful money management.

Bill Furlong has come from nothing, less than nothing really. But he and his mother were shown great kindness and that is something Billy is dwelling on this Christmas. When Billy discovers someone being treated cruelly and inhumanely, and discovers that his beloved Catholic church is covering it up, he faces a dilemma. Does he help, as his mother was helped? Or does he take heed of the warning and walk away?

For such a short book (128 pages), Small Things Like These packs a solid punch. While a work of fiction, the truth is that many thousands of girls and women were incarcerated and forced to work, hidden in disgrace behind church walls, never to be spoken of nor seen again. The children were adopted out, sold, or simply disappeared. Records were nonexistent or destroyed.

Small Things Like These is a powerful book about family, love, and trying to do the right thing. It is not a read that I am likely to forget in a hurry.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#SmallThingsLikeThese #NetGalley

I: #clairekeeganfiction @ faberbooks

T: @CKeeganFiction @FaberBooks

#fivestarread #christmasfiction #historicalfiction #irishfiction #novella

THE AUTHOR: Claire Keegan was born in County Wicklow, the youngest of a large family. She travelled to New Orleans, Louisiana when she was seventeen, and studied English and Political Science at Loyola University. She returned to Ireland in 1992 and lived for a year in Cardiff, Wales, where she undertook an MA in creative writing and taught undergraduates at the University of Wales.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Faber and Faber via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan 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

Cause of Death by Jeffery Deaver

EXCERPT: The man identifies himself as the county medical examiner. After we sit, he assumes the same forward-leaning angle as the counsellor. He withdraws two photographs from a file folder, asking me if they are of my wife, Patience Susan Addison. Here, in Martinsville County, Massachusetts, one doesn’t identify the corpse itself by looking at the body in a file cabinet tray, the way it works in TV shows and perhaps other jurisdictions.

The pictures are color printouts, four-by-fives. Maybe they’ve discovered that larger pictures are more likely to ignite hysteria.

I look at the heart-shaped face, her eyes closed, complexion understandably paler than when she was among the living. There are no scars or bruises. She died of a broken neck. A different camera angle would have revealed that, I know.

I regard a second photograph. The tattoo of a ginkgo leaf on her ankle.

‘Yes. That’s her.’

ABOUT ‘CAUSE OF DEATH’: Jon Talbot is a history professor who makes sense of the past by examining facts. He also knows how to speculate about the what-ifs. Jon’s doing both following the death of his wife, Pax. Driving home late from a volunteer assignment, she plunged off a mountain highway and died. The police find nothing suspicious about the facts: a deer in the road, a blown tire, a broken neck. But the what-ifs are leading Jon down a twisting trail of secrets. After five years of marriage, he is finally getting to know his wife.

MY THOUGHTS: Jeffery Deaver has written a gripping short story about a history professor investigating his wife’s death. Unusually for a short story, the main characters are really well fleshed out. Jon Talbot deals with life the same way he teaches history: in microscopic pieces. And he uses the same method to investigate the death of his wife, even though the police have ruled it accidental, when he discovers a few inconsistencies, such as a burner phone. Why would an aid worker need a burner phone?

Cause of Death is gripping, exciting, entertaining and tense. I enjoyed getting to know Jon, and through him, his wife.

A highly recommended one-sitting read.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.4

#CauseofDeath #NetGalley

I: @officialjefferydeaver #amazonoriginalstories

T: @JefferyDeaver #AmazonOriginalStories

#contemporaryfiction #crime #domesticdrama #mystery #shortstory

THE AUTHOR: Jeffery Deaver is an international number-one bestselling author. His novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into twenty-five languages. He has served two terms as president of Mystery Writers of America, and was recently named a Grand Master of MWA, whose ranks include Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Mary Higgins Clark and Walter Mosely.

The author of more than forty novels, three collections of short stories and a nonfiction law book, and a lyricist of a country-western album, he’s received or been shortlisted for dozens of awards.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Amazon Original Stories via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Cause of Death by Jeffery Deaver 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, Instagram, Amazon and Goodreads.com

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

I tried to take Luke to the library to borrow some books a couple of weeks ago, but he told me he wanted to keep the books forever, so we didn’t go. I had a book to return yesterday, so I took him with me and he brought 4 books home, and suddenly it’s a really good idea to borrow books then take them back and swap them for new ones. These were his selections:

Currently I am reading and loving Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham. I can see myself reading late into the night tonight despite having an early start tomorrow so that I can get done what I need to before going for my Covid vaccination.

I am also reading A Vineyard Crossing by Jean Stone, a new author for me. I have to admit it was the cover that first attracted me. I just wanted to plonk myself down on the sand and soak up the view. The Adirondack chair? Am I the only person earth who finds these uncomfortable? It probably has something to do with my short legs…. But however I came select this, I am enjoying this warm, gentle read.

I am not currently listening to an audiobook, but I have All the Little Hopes by Leah Weiss ready to go.

Deep in the tobacco land of North Carolina, nothing’s the same since the boys shipped off to war and worry took their place. Thirteen-year-old Lucy Brown is curious and clever, but she can’t make sense of it all. Then Allie Bert Tucker comes to town, an outcast with a complicated past, and Lucy believes that together they can solve crimes. Just like her hero, Nancy Drew.

That chance comes when a man goes missing, a woman stops speaking, and an eccentric gives the girls a mystery that takes them beyond the ordinary. Their quiet town, seasoned with honeybees and sweet tea, becomes home to a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp—and more men go missing. The pair set out to answer the big question: do we ever really know who the enemy is?

This week I am planning on reading Stolen by Tess Stimson

You thought she was safe. You were wrong…

Alex knows her daughter would never wander off in a strange place. So when her three-year-old vanishes from an idyllic beach wedding, Alex immediately believes the worast.

The hunt for Lottie quickly becomes a world-wide search, but it’s not long before suspicion falls on her mother. Why wasn’t she watching Lottie?

Alex knows she’s not perfect, but she loves her child. And with all eyes on her, Alex fears they’ll never uncover the truth unless she takes matters into her own hands.

Who took Lottie Martini? And will she ever come home?

And The Noise by James Patterson and J.D. Barker

If you hear it, it’s too late. Can two sisters save us all?

In the shadow of Mount Hood, sixteen-year-old Tennant is checking rabbit traps with her eight-year-old sister Sophie when the girls are suddenly overcome by a strange vibration rising out of the forest, building in intensity until it sounds like a deafening crescendo of screams. From out of nowhere, their father sweeps them up and drops them through a trapdoor into a storm cellar. But the sound only gets worse .

I received 8 new ARCs this week 🤦‍♀️

Lil’s Bus Trip by Judy Leigh – I was excited by this as I have been requesting this author for some time, and this is my first approval.

The Sunshine Club by Carolyn Brown

Darkness Falls by David Mark

The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths

Plus Cause of Death by Jeffery Deaver. This is an excellent novella which I read last night. Watch for my review later this week.

The Noise by James Patterson and J.D. Barker which I am reading this week

A Vineyard Crossing by Jean Stone, which I am currently reading

And the audiobook All the Little Hopes by Leah Weiss, which I will start tomorrow.

I have travelled mainly in USA this week, Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Porto Rico; Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts; Martinsville County, also Massachusetts; with side trips to Porthteal,Cornwall; and Hendon, a suburb of London. Where have you travelled this week?

Have you read any of the books I have coming up, or are they on your TBR? Or have I tempted you to add them to your TBR?

Have a wonderful week. Stay safe and keep on reading!❤📚

Bodies from the Library edited by Tony Medawar

EXCERPT: The murderer killed apparently at random, anyone, any time, any place. The quick incapacitating stab in the back, the body turned over and stabbed and stabbed and stabbed again. A plastic sheet would be thrown down, which had protected the killer from the spurting blood; and for the rest, no sign left, ever, no clue left for a police force stretched to its limit, on the edge of desperation. And every crank in the country ringing up, writing in, with their crackpot theories. (No Face by Christiana Brand)

ABOUT BODIES FROM THE LIBRARY 2: This anthology of rare stories of crime and suspense brings together 15 tales from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction for the first time in book form, including a newly discovered Gervase Fen novella by Edmund Crispin that has never previously been published.

With the Golden Age of detective fiction shining ever more brightly thanks to the recent reappearance of many forgotten crime novels, Bodies from the Library offers a rare opportunity to read lost stories from the first half of the twentieth century by some of the genre’s most accomplished writers.

This second volume is a showcase for popular figures of the Golden Age, in stories that even their most ardent fans will not be aware of. It includes uncollected and unpublished stories by acclaimed queens and kings of crime fiction, from Helen Simpson, Ethel Lina White, E. C. R. Lorac, Christianna Brand, Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, to S. S. Van Dine, Jonathan Latimer, Clayton Rawson, Cyril Alington and Antony and Peter Shaffer (writing as Peter Antony).

This book also features two highly readable radio scripts by Margery Allingham (involving Jack the Ripper) and John Rhode, plus two full-length novellas – one from a rare magazine by Q Patrick, the other an unpublished Gervase Fen mystery by Edmund Crispin, written at the height of his career. It concludes with another remarkable discovery: ‘The Locked Room’ by Dorothy L. Sayers, a never-before-published case for Lord Peter Wimsey!

MY THOUGHTS: I have a strong affection for Golden Age Detective and mystery fiction, and I enjoyed the majority of these novellas and short stories. My very favourites – I couldn’t pick between The Locked Room by Dorothy L. Sayers featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, and one of the shortest, A Joke’s a Joke by Jonathan Latimer.

My one and only criticism of this collection is that the pen portraits of the authors is sometimes longer than the story!

Strongly recommended for all Golden Age aficionado.

⭐⭐⭐.8

THE EDITOR: Tony Medawar is a detective fiction expert and researcher with a penchant for tracking down rare stories. His other collections of previously uncollected stories include WHILE THE LIGHT LASTS (Agatha Christie), THE AVENGING CHANCE (Anthony Berkeley), THE SPOTTED CAT (Christianna Brand), A SPOT OF FOLLY (Ruth Rendell) and THE ISLAND OF COFFINS (John Dickson Carr). (Amazon)

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of Bodies From the Library, collated by Tony Medawar, narrated by Philip Bretherton and published by Harper Collins via Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page on Goodreads.com or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Elevation by Stephen King

EXCERPT: That was a gorgeous late October in Castle Rock, with day after day of cloudless blue skies and warm temperatures. The politically progressive minority spoke of global warming; the more conservative majority called it an especially fine Indian summer that would soon be followed by a typical Maine winter; everyone enjoyed it. Pumpkins came out on stoops, black cats and skeletons danced in the windows of houses, trick-or-treaters were duly warned at an elementary school assembly to stay on the sidewalks when the big night came, and only take wrapped treats. The high schoolers went in costume to the annual Halloween dance in the gym, for which a local garage band, Big Top, renamed themselves Pennywise and the Clowns.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face–including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

MY THOUGHTS: King has, in his own relaxed and enjoyable style, written an enigmatic medical mystery. No, there’s no beautiful nurses, but there is one elderly, retired physician, Doctor Bob Ellis, who initially believes that Scott Carey is playing some kind of prank on him. For Scott can stand on the good doc’s scale in his heaviest winter clothes with his pockets full of rocks and weigh the same as he does buck naked. But that’s not all . . . but then it never is with Mr King, is it?

This is not a horror story, so don’t be afeared that monsters are going to lure little kiddies down drains, or that evil clowns are going to pop out of them. This is a story that I read with a smile on my face, and finished with a tear in my eye.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

‘Everyone should have this, he thought, and perhaps, at the end, everyone does. Perhaps in their time of dying, everyone rises.’

‘He thought he had discovered one of life’s great truths (and one he could have done without): the only thing harder than saying goodbye to yourself, a pound at a time, was saying goodbye to your friends.’

THE AUTHOR: Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father’s family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen’s grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men’s magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale (“The Glass Floor”) to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men’s magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels

DISCLOSURE: I own my paperback copy of Elevation by Stephen King, published by Hodder. I purchased it during the initial stages of the New Zealand Covid-19 lockdown, but it has only just called to me to be read. I have this strange relationship with Mr King’s books. I buy them as soon as they are released, then place them on my bedside table where I see them first thing in the morning and last thing at night, where I smile at them and think of the joy of reading them, and occasionally trail my fingers lovingly across the covers, until one day they seem to say to me, ‘All right, just get on with it, will you!’ And I do.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Seven Years (Bibliomysteries) by Peter Robinson

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EXCEPT: Imagine my surprise then, when I found that the selection of Robert Browning’s poetry I had been so thrilled to find had been defaced on the flyleaf. I am usually careful enough to flip through a book before I buy it, but in this instance the pages had stuck together and that prevented me from noticing the inscription on my cursory examination in the shop. As far as I had been able to tell, the book was in mint condition; there were no signs of wear, no price clipping or creases on the spine, and certainly no tell-tale coffee rings on the cover. In fact, it looked as if it had never been read.

Curious, I sipped some more ale and flipped open the flyleaf so that I might read the offending scribble:

‘Miss Scott,
You know you want to read Browning’s poetry. ‘My Last Duchess’ and ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ in particular. ‘The Ring and The Book’ too perhaps, though that one is rather long and much abbreviated here. No poet quite captures adultery, betrayal and the act of murder the way Browning does. Try this:

‘…I found
a thing to do, and all her hair,
in one long yellow string I wound
three times her little throat around,
and strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.’
(Porphyria’s Lover)

Then she is his forever. Don’t you just love that? Doesn’t it sound like fun? I know that I would enjoy it. And don’t forget our little bargain. The time is fast approaching!

Happy reading Miss Scott!

Barnes’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Retired Cambridge professor Donald Aitcheson loves scouring antiquarian bookshops for secondhand treasures—as much as he loathes the scribbled marginalia from their previous owners. But when he comes upon an inscription in a volume of Robert Browning’s poetry, he’s less irritated than disturbed. This wasn’t once a gift to an unwitting woman. It was a threat—insidious, suggestively sick, and terribly intriguing.

Now Aitcheson’s imagination is running wild. Was it a sordid teacher-pupil affair that ended in betrayal? A scorned lover’s first salvo in a campaign of terror? The taunt of an obsessive psychopath? Then again, it could be nothing more than a tasteless joke between friends.

As his curiosity gets the better of him, Aitcheson can’t resist playing detective. But when his investigation leads to a remote girls’ boarding school in the Lincolnshire flatlands, and into the confidence of its headmistress, he soon discovers the consequences of reading between the lines.

MY THOUGHTS: There is a lot packed into this novella. It is interesting, fast-paced, and had an outcome I never ever envisaged. The characters are well rounded, especially for something so short, and the plot well developed. I was more than satisfied with this novella.

****.5

THE AUTHOR: Peter Robinson was born in Yorkshire. After getting his BA Honours Degree in English Literature at the University of Leeds, he came to Canada and took his MA in English and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor, with Joyce Carol Oates as his tutor, then a PhD in English at York University. He has taught at a number of Toronto community colleges and universities and served as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Windsor, 1992-93.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of Seven Years by Peter Robinson, narrated by Greg Patmore, and published by Blackstone Audio. 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 or the about page on sandysbookaday.com

This review and others are also published on https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3224583835

Treacherous by Barbara Taylor Bradford

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EXCERPT: It was in the fifth grade, when they were ten, that Fiona Chambers crossed the soccer field to stand with, and up for, the new girl. Skinny, awkward, and out of place at the posh prep school in New York, Hayley Martin had become a target for the establishment’s well-heeled bullies.

She was taunted about everything; her clothes, an unruly tangle of auburn curls, her status as a scholarship student, and the street slang that popped out of her mouth at inopportune times.

After an essay Hayley wrote about her time living in a homeless shelter was deemed best in the English class, and published in the school paper, the torment became almost intolerable.

Then one day Fiona walked over to the embattled girl, put an arm around her and asked if they could sit together at lunch. That act of compassion changed everything for Hayley.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Heartbreak and betrayal in the gripping new novella from the incomparable Barbara Taylor Bradford.

Hayley Martin and Fiona Chambers have been best friends since they were ten. From the moment that beautiful Fiona stood up to the school bullies for Hayley, the misfit, the two have been inseparable.

Twenty years on, they still share everything, and even run their own business together.

Until a dark secret threatens to test their loyalty to breaking point… What would you do if you discovered that your best friend could be your worst enemy?

MY THOUGHTS: I used to enjoy Barbara Taylor Bradford’s writing. I have not read her, other than the wonderful Cavendish series, for many years. And if this is any indication of what she is writing these days, I won’t be taking any more trips down memory lane with this particular author.

The first third of this novella was fine. Not riveting, but fine. Then enter ‘the man’, and the plot became incredibly and sickeningly saccharine, stupid, and unrealistic. I gave up and turned it off just over 50% through, (view spoiler)

*

#Treacherous

THE AUTHOR: Barbara Taylor Bradford is the author of 30 bestselling novels, including The Cavendon Women, Cavendon Hall, and The Ravenscar Dynasty. She was born in Leeds, England, and from an early age, she was a voracious reader: at age 12, she had already read all of Dickens and the Brontë sisters. By the age of twenty, she was an editor and columnist on Fleet Street. She published her first novel, A Woman of Substance, in 1979, and it has become an enduring bestseller.

Barbara Taylor Bradford’s books are published in over 90 countries in 40 languages, with sales figures in excess of 88 million. Ten of her novels have been adapted into television mini-series starring actors including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Liam Neeson, Deborah Kerr and Elizabeth Hurley. She has been inducted into the Writers Hall of Fame of America, and in June of 2007, Barbara was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to Literature.

She lives in New York City with her husband, television producer Robert Bradford, to whom all her novels are dedicated.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of Treacherous by Barbara Taylor Bradford, narrated by Jennifer Woodward and published by Harper Collins, via Overdrive. 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 and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3174725846

The Affair by Emma Kavanagh

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EXCERPT: I trail behind her, watching as the crowd begin to slip away into their waiting houses. One or two of them watch us as we leave, their faces pursed in disapproval, and my heart sinks. I know what people think of journalists – that we are simply there to cash in on the grief of others. I try to comfort myself with the notion that it isn’t only about that; I am offering this woman some sympathy where others have not, I’m getting her in out of the rain.

But lying to myself has never been one of my greater skills and, down at the heart of it, I understand my own motivations. That she was Sian’s friend. That she saw the Myricks on what was possibly their last day. And something else, tickling at the edges of my awareness – that there are things that happen in the privacy of people’s homes, that there are whispers.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A couple have been found dead in their living room.
Was it a simple domestic misunderstanding or is there more to it than meets the eye…?

MY THOUGHTS: A short story, 56 pages, in which a couple are found dead in their house. Brief, but with impact. I have previously read and enjoyed several of this author’s novels.

😊😊😊.5

THE AUTHOR: Emma Kavanagh was born and raised in South Wales. After graduating with a PhD in Psychology from Cardiff University, she spent many years working as a police and military psychologist, training firearms officers, command staff and military personnel throughout the UK and Europe. Now she is lucky enough to be able to write for a living. She lives in South Wales with her husband, young sons, and a dog named Dobby.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free digital download of The Affair by Emma Kavanagh, published by Cornerstone Digital. 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1238983107?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

In Plain Sight by Linda Costillo

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EXCERPT:…he’d kissed the girl he loved. It was their first, a moment he’d anticipated for weeks, and he’d been grinning like a fool since leaving the high school. That had been twenty minutes ago and already he couldn’t wait to see her again. Ashley Hodges was the sweetest, prettiest girl God had ever put on this earth, and Noah loved her more than his own life.

As perfect as all of that was, Noah wasn’t so blind that he couldn’t see the troubled waters ahead. His parents disapproved of him dating a non-Amish girl. They hadn’t come right out and said it, but he figured they were quietly hoping that he would break up with her once his rumspringa was over. As much as he hated the thought of disappointing them, that wasn’t going to happen.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Seventeen year old Amish boy, Noah Kline, is struck by a car as he walks alongside a dark country road late one night in Painters Mill. Seriously injured, he lapses into a coma. Initially, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder believes it’s a straightforward hit and run, a driver that panicked and fled. But evidence soon emerges that the incident wasn’t accidental at all–and Kate uncovers a story of teenage passion and jealousy that may have led to attempted murder.

MY THOUGHTS: A quick read or, in my case, listen. There wasn’t much of a mystery here, but then just how much mystery can you pack into 67 pages?

A sweet story, but a forgettable one.

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THE AUTHOR: Linda Castillo is the New York Times bestselling author of the Kate Burkholder series, including Sworn to Silence and Gone Missing, crime thrillers set in Amish country. Sworn to Silence was recently adapted into a Lifetime original movie titled An Amish Murder starring Neve Campbell as Kate Burkholder.

Castillo is the recipient of numerous industry awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence and the Holt Medallion, and she received a nomination for the Rita. In addition to writing, Castillo’s other passion is horses, particularly her appaloosa George. She lives in Texas with her husband and is currently at work on her next novel.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of In Plain Sight by Linda Costillo, narrated by Kathleen McInerney, published by Macmillan Audio via Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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