Watching What I’m Reading…

It is a hot summer day here in my little corner of New Zealand. It is not often that you will hear me say this, but it’s actually too hot to be out in the garden. It was the same yesterday, and apparently we have a whole week of this lovely weather to look forward to. Bring on summer…this is my kind of weather. It is lovely sitting out on the deck in the shade, my book in one hand and a nice cold drink in the other.

I actually squeezed an extra book in last week

48664805._sy475_-1

Which I read last night. Watch for my review.

I am about to begin

And I am listening to

40988979

the follow up to The Lilac Girls.

This week I am planning on reading

45891138

When Nick’s wife Kerry falls ill and dies, he realises for the first time how fragile his happiness has always been, and how much he’s been taking his good life and wonderful family for granted. Now, he suddenly finds himself navigating parenthood alone, unsure how to deal with his own grief, let alone that of his teenage son, Olly.

In the depths of his heartbreak, Nick must find a way to navigate life that pleases his son, his in-laws, his family and his friends—while honouring what Kerry meant to them all. But when it comes to his own emotions, Nick doesn’t know where to begin. Kerry was his childhood sweetheart—but was she really the only one who could ever make him happy?

And in the aftermath of tragedy, can Nick and his son find themselves again?

And hopefully I will also be able to start

46370336._sy475_

Louise Bridges has the perfect life.

A loving husband, Patrick. Two adorable children. A comfortable home.

So when PC Becca Holt arrives to break the news that Patrick has been killed in an accident, she thinks Louise’s perfect world is about to collapse around her.

But Louise doesn’t react in the way Becca would expect her to on hearing of her husband’s death. And there are only three plates set out for dinner as if Louise already knew Patrick wouldn’t be home that night…

The more Becca digs, the more secrets she uncovers in the Bridges’ marriage – and the more she wonders just how far Louise would go to get what she wants…

Is Louise a loving wife – or a cold-hearted killer?

And I have seven new ARCs from Netgalley….well what can I say? There are currently just so many tempting titles out there begging to be read. And those of you who know me well will know that I can resist everything but temptation 🤣😂🤣😂

48734117._sy475_

48720860

46667059._sy475_

48889152._sx318_

48805505._sy475_

4753680948668295._sy475_

I also bought two books this week…

452268

10147962

So I had better go get some reading done! I hope you got some lovely books to read this week….

Happy reading my friends
❤😍📚

The Return of Mr. Campion by Margery Allingham

44292635._sy475_

Somehow, I have lost my notes containing the excerpts from this collection of short stories thatthat I wanted to share with you. Hopefully they will turn up in some unexpected place, some time in the future, and I will be able to add them.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In this fantastic collection of thirteen short stories, Margery Allingham explores both the Mystery and the other genres it has allowed her to write.

From a Christmastime story and a portrait of her leading man, Albert Campion, to classic capers and the traditional British mystery, Allingham displays her wit, her humour, and her prowess not just as a Mystery writer but as a storyteller.

Published thirty years after it’s first publication, The Return of Mr Campion proves that both The Mystery and Allingham are still everywhere.

The Return of Mr Campion was first published in 1989 and contains the following short stories:
The case is altered — Mr friend Mr. Campion — The dog day — The wind glass — The beauty king — The black tent — Sweet and low –Once in a lifetime — The kernel of truth — Happy Christmas — The wisdom of Esdras — The curious affair in Nut Row — What to do with an ageing detective

MY THOUGHTS: This was a mixed bag of short stories, many of which didn’t actually feature Mr Campion. But there is plenty to keep the reader interested, with tales of crime, blackmail, romance and even a ghost story.

Of great interest to me is the lack of political correctness that was very evident at the time this collection was written. Very strict social mores are also in evidence. People talk of living in simpler times, but it seems to me that the difficulties were just different.

3.5

THE AUTHOR: Margery Louise Allingham was born in Ealing, London in 1904 to a family of writers. Her father, Herbert John Allingham, was editor of The Christian Globe and The New London Journal, while her mother wrote stories for women’s magazines. Margery’s aunt, Maud Hughes, also ran a magazine. Margery earned her first fee at the age of eight, for a story printed in her aunt’s magazine.

Soon after Margery’s birth, the family left London for Essex. She returned to London in 1920 to attend the Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster), and met her future husband, Philip Youngman Carter. They married in 1928. He was her collaborator and designed the cover jackets for many of her books.

Margery’s breakthrough came 1929 with the publication of her second novel, The Crime at Black Dudley . The novel introduced Albert Campion, although only as a minor character. After pressure from her American publishers, Margery brought Campion back for Mystery Mile and continued to use Campion as a character throughout her career.

After a battle with breast cancer, Margery died in 1966. Her husband finished her last novel, A Cargo of Eagles at her request, and published it in 1968.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Agora Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Return of Mr Campion by Margery Allingham 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 or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2753056259?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

40065317-1

EXCERPT: May 19, 1924
It had started when Hattie was a little girl.

She’d had a cloth-bodied doll with a porcelain head called Miss Fentwig. Miss Fentwig told her things – things that Hattie had no way of knowing, things that Hattie didn’t really want to hear. She felt it deep down inside her in the way that she’d felt things all her life.

Her gift.

Her curse.

One day, Miss Fentwick told her that Hattie’s father would be killed, struck by lightening, and that there was nothing Hattie could do. Hattie tried to warn her daddy and her mother. She told them just what Miss Fentwick had said. “Nonsense, child,” they’d said, and sent her to bed without supper for saying such terrible things.

Two weeks later, her daddy was dead. Struck by lightening while he was putting his horse in the barn.

Everyone started looking at Hattie funny after that. They took Miss Fentwig away from her, but Hattie, she kept hearing voices. The trees talked to her. Rocks and rivers and little shiny green beetles spoke to her. They told her what was to come.

‘You have a gift,’ the voices told her.

But Hattie, she didn’t see it that way, Not at first. Not until she learned to control it.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate abandon the comforts of suburbia and their teaching jobs to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this charming property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. As Helen starts carefully sourcing decorative building materials for her home–wooden beams, mantles, historic bricks–she starts to unearth, and literally conjure, the tragic lives of Hattie’s descendants, three generations of “Breckenridge women,” each of whom died amidst suspicion, and who seem to still be seeking something precious and elusive in the present day.

MY THOUGHTS: This wasn’t chilling, but it was a good listen. It didn’t give me goosebumps, or night horrors, or any sort of horror really, but it kept me interested.

Really this is a family drama with a little paranormal thrown in. It centres on greed, obsession and jealousy, and the effects it has on people. Which is a lot scarier than ghosts, any day.

😱😱😱.5

THE AUTHOR: I’m the author of seven suspense novels, including Promise Not to Telll, The Winter People, and most recently, The Night Sister . I live in central Vermont with my partner and daughter, in an old Victorian that some neighbors call The Addams Family house.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The Invited by Jennifer McMahin, narrated by Amanda Carlin and Justine Eyre, published by Random House Audio, 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, and other reviews, are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3031299201?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen

44554544._sy475_-1

EXCERPT: Even now I still dream about Brodie’s Watch, and the nightmare is always the same. I am standing in the gravel driveway and the house looms before me like a ghost ship adrift in the fog. Around my feet mist curls and slithers and it coats my skin in icy rime. I hear waves rolling in from the sea and crashing against the cliffs, and overhead, seagulls scream a warning to stay far, far away. I know that Death waits behind that front door, yet I do not retreat because the house is calling to me. Perhaps it will always call to me, its siren song compelling me to once again climb the steps to the porch, where the swing creaks back and forth.

I open the door.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A woman trying to outrun her past is drawn to a quiet coastal town in Maine–and to a string of unsolved murders–in this haunting tale of romantic suspense from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.

Ava Collette is punishing herself for an unspeakable tragedy. So she flees Boston and rents an old home named Brodie’s Watch on a remote coastal peninsula of Maine, hoping to work on a cookbook inspired by New England cuisine that she’s been trying to finish for months. She immediately feels at peace in the isolated house–until she starts to hear strange noises.

Rumor has it that a sea captain named Brodie has haunted the house for decades. Then, one night, Ava is awakened to find herself face to face with an apparition who looks–and feels–all too real. Meanwhile, there’s been a series of accidental deaths nearby that don’t add up. And as Ava starts to check into the previous renter’s mysterious disappearance, she starts to realize that there’s a disturbing secret some in town are desperate to keep hidden.

Soon all of Ava’s waking hours are consumed by her investigation, and her nights are ignited by Captain Brodie’s ghostly visits. But even as she questions her own sanity, she knows she must uncover the truth before a killer strikes again.

MY THOUGHTS: 12% onto this 5 star read I wrote: “There is something in the cadence of Gerritsen’s writing, the atmosphere she has created, that is reminiscent of Du Maurier’s Rebecca. This is delicious. It sends tingles down my spine.” After finishing The Shape of Night and mulling it over for a couple of days, I would not change one word of my comment.

This is a delicious book set in a house of secrets, in a town with secrets. But Ava has secrets too. And guilt. A terrible, crippling guilt that threatens to smother her and causes her to cut herself off from those she loves most.

Gerritsen introduces a paranormal aspect to her book, something she does not normally do, and something I am not normally attracted by. But this works, and works superbly. I almost fell in love with Captain Brodie myself. There are also several sex scenes in the text, not graphic, but tastefully done with more left to the imagination than not. They are not gratuitous, but a wonderful part of this story.

This is a real departure for Gerritsen, but one I enthusiastically applaud, and I would like to see more in this vein from her. Two comments, and neither a criticism…..each page should come with a bold reminder to ‘KEEP BREATHING’, because many times during this read I found myself holding my breath with anticipation and/or suspense. And the second….I wish she had included some of the lovely recipes.

One of my favorite passages from The Shape of Night: Brodie’s Watch was where I found inspiration, and it’s true. Here is where I tested and perfected my recipes, where I learned there is no finer condiment than the scent of sea air. It’s where I learned that wine does not cure grief, and when you dine with guilt, even the most tenderly prepared meal is tasteless.

Five brightly shining stars from me 🙂

THE AUTHOR: Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.

While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, Bantam Press vis Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen 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 book review is also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2931222169

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

44175791._sy475_-1

EXCERPT: Her father was a great rabbi, but she was the one who had a true talent. For the thousandth time she wished she were a boy. She had no interest in marriage or babies, only in the world of scholars, from which she was prohibited. She could taste the bitter dirt as they finished digging, and she nearly choked on it. It occurred to her that once she broke the rules of her family and her faith, there would be no going back. But on this morning, all she knew was that she wanted to live.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In 1941, during humanity’s darkest hour, three unforgettable young women must act with courage and love to survive, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites Alice Hoffman.

In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.

Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she’s destined to be.

What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending.

MY THOUGHTS: ‘Once upon a time something happened that you never could have imagined, a spell was broken, a girl was saved, a rose grew out of a tooth buried deep in the ground, love was everywhere, and people who had been taken away continued to walk with you, in dreams and in the waking world.’

This is a book that can’t be buttonholed into one or even two categories. Historical, magical, fantasy, love, family drama doesn’t even begin to describe The World That We Knew.

The author’s introduction is one of the most moving that I have read. Please don’t skip it. It tells how this book was born. And the relationship between fairytales and real life. If you don’t think there is one, then you really do need to read it.

The magical aspects of Hoffman’s writing does nothing to dilute the horrors of the Holocaust; in fact, if anything, it heightens the inhumanity of man against man. She writes beautifully and lyrically about one of the darkest periods in the history of man, holding nothing back, but always there is hope that shines like a beacon.

I was a history student, and WWII was one of my pet subjects, but I have learned more from Hoffman’s writing than I ever did in school. It is far easier to relate to and has far greater significance when it is on a more personal level.

I finished The World That We Knew last night and I have written a dozen reviews in my head during the day, all of which were far more eloquent and reflective than this. I had highlighted dozens of passages in an effort to capture the essence of this book. But after reading and rereading them, I stayed with the first; the one that says ‘all she knew was that she wanted to live.’ There is no greater desire in life than to live and to keep your loved ones safe. ‘If you are loved, you never lose the person who loved you. You carry them with you all your life.’ And the reverse is true, that if you love someone, you can never lose that person. You carry them with you all your life. And that, to me, is the essence of The World That We Knew; the magic of love.

❤❤❤❤

THE AUTHOR: Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The World That We Knew, The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. Her most recent novel is The World That We Knew. She lives near Boston.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The World That We Knew 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 or the about page on my webpage sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2941683080?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Watching what I’m reading…

At last the weather is starting to warm up. I have spent a few hours in the garden today and enjoyed the sunshine.

I am a little over half way through

44175791._sy475_

and enjoying it, but so far The Rules of Magic is still my favourite by this author.

I am also a little over half way through listening to

923045

Which is one of those books where I find myself talking to the characters 😂🤣

This week I am planning on reading

46820250._sy475_

Her only daughter has just gone away to college, and Maggie O’Farrell knows she’s turning into one of those helicopter parents she used to mock. Worrying constantly, texting more than she should, even occasionally dropping by the campus “just to say hi.” But Maggie can’t shake the feeling that something terrible is about to happen to Emma. And then, just as Maggie starts to relax, her daughter disappears.

The clues are disturbing. An empty dorm room where Emma was supposedly living. A mysterious boy described as Future Husband in her phone. Dormmates who seem more sinister than friendly. As Maggie combs over the campus looking for signs of her daughter, she learns more about Emma’s life than she ever thought possible.

42274073._sy475_

A married woman’s affair with her boss spirals into a dangerous game of chess with the police when she discovers he’s been murdered and she clears the crime scene of all evidence.

One little secret between a married woman, her lover, and a killer.

It should have been just a mid-life fling. A guilty indiscretion that Neve Connolly could have weathered. An escape from twenty years of routine marriage to her overworked husband, and from her increasingly distant children. But when Neve pays a morning-after visit to her lover, Saul, and finds him brutally murdered, their pied-à-terre still heady with her perfume, all the lies she has so painstakingly stitched together threaten to unravel.

After scrubbing clean every trace of her existence from Saul’s life—and death—Neve believes she can return to normal, shaken but intact. But she can’t get out of her head the one tormenting question: what was she forgetting?

An investigation into the slaying could provide the answer. It’s brought Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Hitching, and Neve’s worst fears, to her door. But with every new lie, every new misdirection to save herself, Neve descends further into the darkness of her betrayal—and into more danger than she ever imagined. Because Hitching isn’t the only one watching Neve. So is a determined killer who’s about to make the next terrifying move in a deadly affair…

This week I have had 3 new ARCs from Netgalley…

41448823._sy475_

48208828._sy475_

48356086

And one direct from the author

47936597._sy475_

That’s my lot for the week. Enjoy your Sunday and happy reading my friends.

❤😍📚

The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman

30759310

EXCERPT: It stood on a rise above a curve in the river like a medieval watchtower. The old brick was mellowed with age and warmed from centuries of river light, the windows made from wavy cockled glass with tiny bubbles in it that held the light like good champagne. The sunken gardens surrounding an ornamental pond were already cool and dark, promising a dusky retreat even on the hottest summer day. For a moment I thought I heard the sound of glasses clinking and laughter from a long-ago summer party, but then I realised it was just some old windchimes hanging from the gatehouse. There hadn’t been any parties here for a while. When the sun went behind a cloud and the golden glow disappeared my eyes lingered more on the missing slate tiles in the roof, the weeds growing up between the paving stones of the front flagstones, the paint peeling off the porch columns, and the cracked and crumbling front steps. I even thought I could detect on the river breeze the smell of rot and mildew. And when Jess turned, his fingers still gripping the gate, I saw that without that light his face had turned sallow again and the look of longing was replaced with the certainty that he would always be on the wrong side of that gate. That’s how he had become such a good mimic, by watching and listening from the other side. It made my heart ache for him.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When Jess and Clare Martin move from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to their former college town in the Hudson River valley, they are hoping for rejuvenation—of their marriage, their savings, and Jess’s writing career.

They take a caretaker’s job at Riven House, a crumbling estate and the home of their old college writing professor. While Clare once had dreams of being a writer, those plans fell by the wayside when Jess made a big, splashy literary debut in their twenties. It’s been years, now, since his first novel. The advance has long been spent. Clare’s hope is that the pastoral beauty and nostalgia of the Hudson Valley will offer some inspiration.

But their new life isn’t all quaint town libraries and fragrant apple orchards. There is a haunting pall that hangs over Riven House like a funeral veil. Something is just not right. Soon, Clare begins to hear babies crying at night, and sees strange figures in fog at the edge of their property. Diving into the history of the area, she realizes that Riven House has a dark and anguished past. And whatever this thing is—this menacing force that destroys the inhabitants of the estate—it seems to be after Clare next…

MY THOUGHTS: ‘Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.’ But, just who are ‘they’?

This is excellent domestic suspense with a touch of gothic thrown in. It is atmospheric, and twisty, and just a little creepy.

The author sets the scene beautifully. She doesn’t rush into anything; the beginning is evocative of a slow running river meandering through a summer pasture. But slowly the atmosphere changes and it is the dark of winter, icy cold and threatening. Goodman’s writing is powerfully descriptive; I felt like I was there, watching and listening from shadowy corners, lurking with the ghosts.

I really couldn’t make up my mind if Clare was crazy, if Jess was being manipulative, or if the tragic ghosts who occupy Riven House (yes, you will find out how the house came to be called that) were meddling.

And now that I have finished, I wonder if the story has finished for Clare? I feel like there should be more coming, and that ‘happy ever after’ doesn’t feature in her future.

I will be reading more from this author.

****
THE AUTHOR: Carol Goodman is the author of The Lake of Dead Languages, The Seduction of Water, which won the Hammett Prize, and The Widow’s House, which won the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She is also the co-author, with her husband Lee Slonimsky, of the Watchtower fantasy trilogy. Her work has appeared in such journals as The Greensboro Review, Literal Latte, The Midwest Quarterly, and Other Voices. After graduation from Vassar College, where she majored in Latin, she taught Latin for several years in Austin, Texas. She then received an M.F.A. in fiction from the New School University. Goodman currently teaches literature and writing at The New School and SUNY New Paltz, and lives with her family in the Hudson Valley.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman, narrated by Cassandra Campbell and published by Harper Audio, via Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own 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 and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2972824581?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1