Shatter the Night by Emily Littlejohn

43263379

EXCERPT: ‘Time’s up, old friend. I will take your eyes and then your tongue, leaving you unable to see or speak. Only then will your lies end. I’m one nightmare you’ll never wake up from.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: It’s Halloween night in Cedar Valley. During the town’s annual festival, Detective Gemma Monroe takes a break from trick or treating with her family to visit an old family friend, retired Judge Caleb Montgomery, at his law office. To Gemma’s surprise, Caleb seems worried—haunted, even—and confides in her that he’s been receiving anonymous threats. Shortly after, as Gemma strolls back to her car, an explosion at Caleb’s office shatters the night.

Reeling from the shock, Gemma and her team begin eliminating suspects and motives, but more keep appearing in their place, and soon another man is killed. Her investigation takes her from a chilling encounter with a convicted murderer at the Belle Vista Penitentiary, to the gilded rooms of the renovated Shotgun Playhouse, where Shakespeare’s cursed play Macbeth is set to open in a few weeks.

Yet most disturbing of all is when Gemma realizes that similar murders have happened before. There is a copycat killer at play, and if Gemma can’t stop him, he’ll carry out his final, deadly act.

MY THOUGHTS: This is the second book of four in this series that I have read. This is an exciting read with just the right balance between Gemma’s professional and private lives.

As the countdown to her wedding begins, there is an explosion that rocks the town in more ways than one. Set at Halloween, it involves injustices and revenge.

Just like Gemma, I kept coming up with suspects, but I was wrong every time. I enjoyed this fairly fast paced read and it was almost a five star read for me except for two things…one would be a spoiler so I’m not going there, and the second is that I found the ending, although exciting, a little jumbled and untidy.

This is a series that I intend to continue to follow. I like the characters and the setting of Cedar Valley. I do recommend that, should you want to read this book, you start at the beginning of the series. While Shatter the Night could work as a stand alone, references are made to incidents in the previous books, and there are things in the characters histories that you will not understand. This series would make an ideal holiday binge read.

Highly recommended.

😍😲😍😮

Two quotes from this book that I just loved:

‘Halloween. What a joke. The ghouls are here now, they’re always here. As if they’d only come out on one night to play.’

‘Marriages are like leftovers in the fridge; you stop paying attention and pretty soon you’ve got mold on what was once a nice meal.’

#ShatterTheNight #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Emily Littlejohn writes the Detective Gemma Monroe mysteries, called “a series to watch” by Booklist.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to St Martin’s Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Shatter the Night by Emily Littlejohn for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3051772178

Watching What I’m Reading….

I am, in all probability, not going to get another post in until after New Year so I will wish you all a very Merry Christmas (or whatever you may be celebrating) and a happy and healthy 2020 filled by all the people you love.

I am currently reading

48285041._sy475_

This is a heart wrenching read and tissues are mandatory.

I am listening to

32895291

Which is excellent! Great narrator too.

I can’t see myself getting much reading done in the next week or so . I am in hospitality so this is our crazy busy time, and then I am at the beach with the grandchildren for a week, so fingers crossed that the weather holds . But hopefully I will be able to get to

48349791._sy475_-1

The discovery of a young student floating face down in Lake Windermere, her naked skin almost translucent in the freezing water, looks like yet another tragic teen suicide. But the victim’s lack of clothes make Forensic Pathologist Beth Adams want to investigate further. Anything to distract her from the arrival of her abusive ex-boyfriend’s body on the mortuary table that morning.

With witnesses keeping tight-lipped and any clues washed away by the tides, it’s up to Beth to find the evidence her team needs. But then another girl is found in the lake, this time still clinging to life. She tells them she was at a party on a boat, and that she was pushed…

As more bodies surface, Beth finds tiny traces of boat paint present on each victim. It’s a critical lead that links these attacks back to a tragic accident involving a group of school children years ago.

Faced with a killer hungry for revenge, and with her own life spiralling out of control, it’s going to take every ounce of skill and determination for Beth to catch this monster before he takes another innocent life. But will Beth realise he’s been right beside her all along?

I have 4 new ARCs from Netgalley this week

45892860

48517719._sy475_

49580909._sx318_sy475_

46753633._sy475_

Happy holidays my friends

❤😍📚🌞

Cold Heart Creek by Lisa Regan

48158182._sy475_-1

EXCERPT: Josie felt an involuntary shiver run the length of her spine and hoped Charlotte didn’t sense it. She was beginning to feel completely disarmed and thrown off by this strange woman who smiled as though she knew something Josie did not, who didn’t sweat in ninety degree weather, and who seemed to know Josie’s thoughts before she had time to articulate them.

‘Listen, ‘ Josie said. ‘I’m here as part of an investigation. We have two dead bodies and a missing female who may be ill. I don’t have time for this.

Charlotte remained in place, still as a statue. ‘You’ve never made time for it, don’t you see that?’ She took a step toward Josie and touched her cheek, where the long faded scar ran from Josie’s ear to beneath her chin. She wanted to recoil, but her feet were frozen in place. ‘Now things are coming to an end of some sort, aren’t they? Whatever it is, you’ll only have one chance at it, and you’re wondering whether you should take it or not.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When a park ranger stumbles across the bodies of newlyweds Valerie and Tyler Yates by a creek in the small town of Denton, Detective Josie Quinn is first on the scene. Still reeling from the news that her abusive mother is dying, Josie suspects this is more than just accidental poisoning, and she’s right: someone jammed a crudely carved pendant necklace down Valerie’s throat before she died.

Combing the area, Josie’s team discover a third sleeping bag indicating there could have been an extra guest around the fire that night. A lucky escape? A missing victim? Or a suspect on the run? Finding this person is the key to the entire investigation…

The trail leads Josie to the gates of a farmhouse hidden deep within the forest – a special place where people go to escape, and to hide. There is a young girl there with frightened eyes and bandaged wrists who knows more than she is saying, but the next day she’s found dead, choked with a matching necklace…

With her mother’s life hanging by a thread, Josie has an impossible decision to make as she races to find the meaning of the pendant and catch this twisted killer before another innocent life is taken – but is she already too late?

MY THOUGHTS: This series, of which this is the seventh book, is addictive. And I may have said this before, but this is the best in the series, so far. I read it overnight, finishing just in time to go to work this morning. I was so absorbed in the storyline, it wasn’t until I got to the end and caught my breath that I realized I hadn’t highlighted any sections for my excerpt!

At the end, the author/publishers ask, ‘Did this unputdownable thriller make your heart race and leave you wanting more?’ My answer is a resounding ‘YES!’ This is not a series that continues to be strong, it is one that gets stronger with every book.

We don’t see as much of Josie’s family in Cold Heart Creek as we have in a the previous books, but there are some very interesting characters; Donovan the hermit and,even more so, Charlotte featured in the excerpt above.

I can’t say anything about this book that hasn’t already been said except that if you haven’t already read it, you are missing out on ‘A breathtaking read!’

❤😍❤😍❤

#ColdHeartCreek #NetGalley

My favourite quote: ‘…the darkness had never hurt her. It was always the monsters in the light…..’

THE AUTHOR: Lisa Regan is a suspense novelist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Cold Heart Creek by Lisa Regan for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3035904538?type=review#rating_251048467

The Bones She Buried by Lisa Regan

43369624._sy475_

EXCERPT: As they passed through the back door, Noah called again ‘Mom?’

Their feet sunk into the lush grass as they stopped to scan the large back yard. A tall white fence lined with blooming flower beds marked the perimeter, and a small wooden shed sat in one corner. Josie took a step in the direction of the patio in the centre of the yard that was crowded with heavy metal furniture, her eyes tracing every inch of the garden. With a gasp, she pointed to something sticking out of one of the beds in the far corner. ‘Oh my god, Noah. Is that….?’

The words died in her throat as she sprinted across the yard, Noah behind her.

Colette was on her stomach, her upper body in the flower bed, her protruding feet the only thin visible at a distance. Up close, Josie immediately noticed the gardening gloves on her hands and a small handheld shovel in the dirt a few inches away.

‘Mom!’ Noah cried, panic ringing in his voice. He dropped to his knees, and Josie fell to hers beside him. Together they rolled Colette onto her back. Her eyes were closed and dirt smudged her cheeks and clothes. Cold seeped from Colette’s body into Josie’s hands as her fingers searched Colette’s neck for a pulse, but found nothing.

Noah was already leaning into her chest, one hand on top of the other, fingers laced, giving her compressions. As he counted out thirty presses, Josie angled Colette’s chin so that her mouth was open, and pinched her nostrils closed.

‘Now!’ Noah urged her as he stopped pumping.

Josie’s mouth closed over Colette’s and she exhaled into her, trying to inflate Colette’s lungs. Something fetid and granular stuck to Josie’s lips, and the air wasn’t moving through to Colette’s chest like it should. Coughing, she sat back up and wiped her mouth.

‘What are you doing? Jesus, Josie. Keep going. We have to save her,’ Noah cried.

He pushed her out of the way and sealed his lips over Colette’s, but after one breath, he also pulled away, coughing and spitting onto the ground.

‘It’s soil,’ Josie said. ‘Jesus, Noah, it’s soil!’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Arriving with her partner Noah for dinner at his family’s immaculate countryside home, Detective Josie Quinn is devastated to find Noah’s mother, Colette, lying lifeless in the back garden, her mouth clogged with soil.

Searching the house for answers, Josie’s team don’t know what to make of the rosary beads buried in the dirt near the body, or the hidden file labelled “Drew Pratt”, the small town of Denton’s most famous missing person.

As she delves deeper into Pratt’s case, Josie quickly discovers he had a brother whose body mysteriously washed up on the banks of a river. There’s also a diary entry suggesting that Colette may have met him on the last day he was seen alive. Can Josie believe the unthinkable, that a kind old soul like Colette might have been involved in their murders? And, will Josie’s new relationship with Noah survive the accusation?

Josie’s only hope lies in tracking down Pratt’s daughter. But when she arrives at her home to find she’s been murdered just minutes before, Josie knows the real killer is one step ahead and won’t stop until Colette’s secret is buried forever. With many more innocent lives on the line, how deep is Josie prepared dig to reach the truth?

MY THOUGHTS: I will never live in any town where Detective Josie Quinn works. This woman attracts trouble, weirdos, and maniac’s like iron filings to a magnet. And while this makes for a great read, things do sometimes get just a little OTT and unbelievable, hence the four not five stars for a book that I read overnight just because it was so exciting!

This is a series best read from the beginning because I believe that the reader needs to understand the dynamics of the relationships, and Josie’s personal history, to get the best from these books. But, believe me, it is no hardship. The books are all quick and easy reads, entertaining in their own twisted way, and the characters become compelling.

Josie doesn’t always make the best choices, either professionally or personally, and although she has matured somewhat over the previous books, her lack of judgement again provides this book with plenty of material and interest.

Regan has the knack of weaving seemingly unconnected occurrences together to form a tight and twisty plot that keeps the reader glued to the page.

A highly recommended series.

😳😍😳😍

#The BonesShe Buried #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Lisa Regan is a suspense novelist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture, via Netgalley, for providing a digital ARC of The Bones She Buried by Lisa Regan 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 and other reviews are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2761807454?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Her Dark Heart by Carla Kovach

47943149._sy475_-1

EXCERPT: Something big was about to happen and it would blow her life apart. They had an agenda, one that Susan was a part of. Her own words came back to haunt her.

‘A secret becomes a secret, not by making a vow that it will remain a secret; it’s more of a subtle process. It’s unwritten, unspoken – a memory buried in the deepest recesses of one’s mind.’

They’d promised to keep her secret. So much for promises. Her life would be ruined when everything came out.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Susan Wheeler is a devoted mother. She would do anything for her three children. She drops them off and picks them up every single day. Until one day when Susan kisses them goodbye and then never comes to pick them up.

Susan’s mother Mary is worried. Susan is recently divorced and has been finding things hard recently, but she loves her kids – she’d never leave them.

Susan’s sister Clare is furious. It’s just like her to go missing. It’s not the first time, either. Susan has always been a troublemaker. Always seeking attention. She knows Susan has been lying to the family for years. And she knows that Susan has been sneaking out of her family home for weeks…

As the hours turn into days, even Clare becomes fearful for Susan. And, when Mary discovers Susan’s diary, she begins to uncover a dark secret from her childhood. Something no one in the family knew. When the final diary entry leads the police to a man who is discovered dead in a local park, they’re left wondering whether Susan has vanished because she is a victim. Or because she is a suspect.

MY THOUGHTS: I really liked the first book in this series, The Next Girl. Although I didn’t immediately take to the main character, DI Gina Harte, I grew to like her as the book progressed. There were some interesting personalities amongst the supporting characters, and I looked forward to seeing them grow. And therein, I think, lies the problem. They have not developed at all. And while Gina may have changed her character a little, she doesn’t seem to have grown as a person either. To be quite honest, I don’t understand how she ever made it into the Police Force!

The second book in this series, Her Final Hour, was a real let down for me. While it had similar faults to the first, in that some of the investigative techniques left a lot to be desired, where The Next Girl had developed into a good crime thriller, this didn’t happen in Her Final Hour, and it hasn’t happened in Her Dark Heart either.

I am going to quote a passage from my review of Her Final Hour because it is equally true of Her Dark Heart….’This book is clumsily written, as though it was dashed off in a hurry. The dialogue is mostly stilted. As I said earlier, there is zero character development. It was repetitive, and the characters constant dwelling on and rehashing of their traumatic pasts became extremely wearing.’

The greatest pity is that the actual plot is good. It could have been a really good read. The execution has let it down.

I said in my review of Her Final Hour, that I probably would not read any more of this series. But I did. Now, I will definitely not be reading any further books in this series. But, on a positive note, all the covers are exquisite.

I understand that reading is an entirely subjective experience and that, while this book wasn’t one I enjoyed, you may well love it. So if the excerpt piques your interest and you like the sound of the plot synopsis, please get a copy Her Dark Heart by Carla Kovach and read it. I sincerely wish that I had enjoyed this more than I did.

#HerDarkHeart #NetGalley

😕😕.5

THE AUTHOR: Carla Kovach was born in Birmingham, UK and now resides in Redditch, Worcestershire. Author of supernatural drama ‘Flame,’ psychological thriller ‘To Let,’ crime thriller ‘Whispers Beneath the Pines, and romantic comedy ‘Meet Me at Marmaris Castle.’ Carla also writes stage and screen plays, some of which have been produced in the Worcestershire area.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Her Dark Heart by Carla Kovach for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3010323018?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Watching What I’m Reading ….

It is a funny afternoon, hot and windy with a storm brewing. We have had storms mid to late afternoon for the last three days . It’s almost like living in the tropics 😂🤣

I am currently reading

47943149._sy475_

and should finish it tonight. I am listening to

35894056

after abandoning listening to Lost Roses.

This week I am planning on reading

48356086

Her husband says it’s suicide. The police say it’s murder.
Liam Buckley was a married man with two teenage children when he moved out of the family home to start a new life with his lover. His wife Jennifer never forgave him, but now she needs him to come back: she’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and the kids can’t cope alone.

One day after Liam moves home, Jennifer is found dead. Liam thinks it’s suicide. But the police, led by DS Louise Kennedy, are convinced it’s murder.

Liam hires a retired detective to help prove his innocence, but it’s no easy task. The children are distraught, and Jennifer’s best friend, Sarah, is waging a campaign against Liam, determined to expose him for a liar and a cheat.

As secrets surface from the complex web of Buckley family life, DS Kennedy must decide. Did Jennifer Buckley end her own life, or did Liam take it from her? The answer, when it comes, will shock them all…

47960945._sy475_

As a child, Vicky Hall never had the sort of family she wanted. The least important person in her new step-family, ignored by her mother in favour of her two younger half-siblings, Vicky was always an afterthought. Sitting alone at her graduation ceremony at the age of twenty-one, she vows to create her own family and her own life, one which is full of the love and attention she has always craved.

When Vicky meets William and falls pregnant in Greece that summer, it isn’t planned. But the two of them believe they can make it work, showering their child with the love which they believe should be enough.

But when her son Theo is two, Vicky leaves him in the care of her mother-in-law, walks out of her front door and drives to a hotel where she takes a room for the night. She doesn’t return.

I have received four new ARCs from Netgalley this week, plus a widget directly from the publisher for a book I had already been approved for from Netgalley…

cover177546-medium

48349791._sy475_

46870302

cover176250-mini

and the widget I received was

48889152._sx318_

I am slowly catching up to where I should be on my reading schedule, I think I am currently only five books behind. Though I haven’t yet looked at my December list 😂🤣 that’s a job for tomorrow.

My big excitement for the week was the arrival of my new oven. It is stored downstairs ready for next February when my new kitchen is due to be fitted.

I hope you all have your Christmas wish lists sorted…only three and a bit weeks to go now. it will be here and gone before we know it . In the meantime, happy reading my friends, and don’t stress.
Cheers
Sandy

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
❤😍📚