Watching what I’m reading . . .

Oh my goodness, have seen what is happening in Tonga? My thoughts and prayers are with you all, and all those in low lying areas that may be impacted by tsunamis caused by the volcanic eruptions. The far north of the North Island has suffered some damage in marinas but thankfully no loss of life.

Currently I am reading The Night of the Party by Anna-Lou Weatherley. If I hadn’t had to go to work today I would have finished this. All I can say is that if you don’t have this on your radar, add it!

I am also reading Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty, purely for pleasure, and loving it!

I am currently listening to Fallen (Kate Burkholder #13) by Linda Castillo.

This week I plan on reading The Girl She Was by Alafair Burke

HOPE CAN BE A DANGEROUS THING…

She calls herself Hope Miller, but she has no idea who she really is.

Fourteen years ago, she was found thrown from an overturned vehicle, with no clue to her identity. Hope started a new life, but never recovered her memory.

Now she’s missing. With nowhere else to turn, Hope’s best friend, Lindsay Kelly, calls NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher.

In pursuit of answers, three women search for the truth beneath long-buried secrets. And when their searches converge, what they find will upend everything they’ve ever known.

And Where There’s A Will by Sulari Gentill. I absolutely loved the last book I read by this author and am really looking forward to reading this.

Hell hath no fury like a family disinherited…

American millionaire Daniel Cartwright has been shot dead: three times in the chest, and once in the head. His body is found in Harvard Yard, dressed in evening attire. No one knows who he planned to meet there, or why the staunch Oxford man would be caught dead at Harvard–literally.

Australian Rowland Sinclair, his mate from Oxford and longtime friend, is named executor of the will, to his great surprise–and that of Danny’s family. Events turn downright ugly when the will all but disinherits Danny’s siblings in favor of one Otis Norcross, whom no one knows or is able to locate. Amidst assault, kidnapping, and threats of slander, Rowly struggles to understand Danny’s motives, find the missing heir, and identify his friend’s killer before the clock–and his luck–run out.

A deft blend of history and mystery, WHERE THERE’S A WILL offers an alternately charming and chilling snapshot of Boston and New York in the 1930s, with cameo appearances by luminaries of the day including Marion Davies, Randolph Hearst, Errol Flynn, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and an arrogantly ardent Joe Kennedy, who proves no match for Rowly’s sculptress friend Edna.

I have read and enjoyed few books lately about families and inheritances, and loved this author’s previous book so I am looking forward to this.

I have another three books scheduled for this week, but as I am starting to train my replacement at work it’s unlikely that I will get to them on time. So apologies to authors and publishers.

Six new ARCs were approved this week; so much for keeping my TBR mountain under control!

This week I have been approved for: Local Gone Missing by Fiona Barton. I have absolutely loved everything I have read by this author so am looking forward to reading this.

The Baby Shower by S.E. Lynes, an author I follow avidly.

Dead End Street by Trevor Wood

A Village Secret by Julie Houston

The Killing Kind by Jane Casey

And the audiobook The Captain’s Wife by Norma Curtis and narrated by Josh Wichard.

I am honestly going to try and avoid Netgalley for the coming week. 🤣😂🤣😂 Well, you just know how successful that’s going to be!

Anyway, I’m off to bed. It’s been a long day at work and Pete has a 4am start tomorrow. I seldom go back to sleep after he goes to work so I need to cram as much sleep in before as I can.

Stay safe and keep reading. We’ve had our first community case of Omicron announced today so I guess we will soon be following in everyone else’s footsteps. We’ve had our boosters, and I interact with the public as little as possible, so I hope that will be enough to protect us.

Watching what I’m reading . . .

The first week of 2022 is done and dusted and now most of us are, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, facing going back to work. We’ve had a lovely break, mixing getting a few of those niggly little jobs around the house and yard done with catching up with friends whom we don’t get to see very often. We’ve eaten out a lot, which has been a real treat, been to the beach, and had lot of fun. The weather has been absolutely magnificent. Now, it’s back to reality and work tomorrow and there is, apparently, rain on the horizon for which my garden will be grateful. I have been watering the fruit trees and vegetable garden, but everything else is having to fend for itself.

While I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions this year, I have decided to try and take control of my reading life. Instead of reading 3 books at a time, I am just going to read one and listen to one at any one time. I have been doing this for the past week and, so far, it’s working well. I am enjoying my reading more and feeling less pressured. I also intend reading more titles for pleasure and made a good start over the Christmas break while also reducing the number of titles on my backlist. I hope I can keep this up. I tried last year with variable results, although I did get my Netgalley ratio up to 68% from 64%.

Currently I am reading To Love and Be Loved by Amanda Prowse which is due for publication 11 January. One third through and I have already shredded innumerable tissues.

I am listening to The Lost Days of Agatha Christie by Carole Owens and, although I am halfway through, I’m still not sure what to make of it.

This week I am planning on reading A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Laguna Beach, California, 1968. The Age of Aquarius is in full swing. Timothy Leary is a rock star. LSD is God. Folks from all over are flocking to Laguna, seeking peace, love, and enlightenment.

Matt Antony is just trying get by.

Matt is sixteen, broke, and never sure where his next meal is coming from. Mom’s a stoner, his deadbeat dad is a no-show, his brother’s fighting in Nam . . . and his big sister Jazz has just gone missing. The cops figure she’s just another runaway hippie chick, enjoying a summer of love, but Matt doesn’t believe it. Not after another missing girl turns up dead on the beach.

All Matt really wants to do is get his driver’s license and ask out the girl he’s been crushing on since fourth grade, yet it’s up to him to find his sister. But in a town where the cops don’t trust the hippies and the hippies don’t trust the cops, uncovering what’s really happened to Jazz is going to force him to grow up fast.

If it’s not already too late.

And, The Night of the Party by Anna-Lou Weatherley

Two Couples. Three Secrets. One Murder.

In a beautiful house surrounded by woodland, the Drayton family and their dearest friends are enjoying dinner together. The wine is flowing, the meal has been lovingly prepared, and it’s going to be an evening none of them will ever forget…

A doting mother
with a manipulative daughter.

A loving husband
lying to his family.

A close friend
keeping a shocking secret.

A beautiful girl
who will be dead by the end of the night.

I have three new ARCs this week: Secrets to the Grave by Steve Frechs

One For Sorrow by Helen Fields

and One of Us is Dead by Jeneva Rose which I requested after reading Michael David’s review on https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com/

In the past week my reading travels have taken me to the Yorke Peninsula and Adelaide in South Australia; Louisiana in the USA; Hastings in the UK; Sèvèrac Le Chateau, France; Langdale, North Yorkshire; and Marin County, San Francisco. Have we crossed paths this week?

To all my friends in the Fraser Coast area of Queensland, Australia please stay safe. Although Tropical Cyclone Seth has been downgraded to a tropical storm, it still has sting in its tail with heavy rain and severe flooding.

Everyone, no matter where you are, take care. Stay safe and read on.

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Well here we are, the first Sunday of 2022. I am still very much in holiday mode and not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, although it is only for the one day and then I have the remainder of the week off. I’m not sure that I can drag myself out of bed in time!

Currently I am reading The Woman Who Came Back to Life by Beth Miller. What characters!

And The Family Inheritance by Tricia Stringer, a library book. This is my first book by this Australian author and I am loving it.

I am also listening to an audiobook from the library, Murder is Easy (Superintendent Battle #4) by Agatha Christie. I haven’t previously read any of this series, but am enjoying this immensely. I have a firm suspect in mind for the murderer, but am I right?

This week I am planning to read The House Fire by Rosie Walker

Play with fire and you’ll get burned . . .

Who can you trust in this brand new edge-of-your-seat thriller.

A tired old seaside town hiding a series of unsolved arson attacks.

A derelict mansion in the woods with a long-buried secret.

A bundle of old love letters that mask a dark story.

When Jamie’s documentary investigation gets too close to uncovering the truth behind a series of deadly arson attacks that tormented Abbeywick in the 1980s, her family might be the ones who pay the price.

But for her younger sister Cleo, the secrets Jamie uncovers have the potential to get exactly what Cleo wants: to remove her mum’s toxic new husband from their lives, forever.

All it takes is one spark to send everything up in smoke . . .

And The Betrayal by Terry Lynn Thomas

Attorney Olivia Sinclair is shocked when she receives an anonymous video showing her husband Richard sleeping with someone else. After years of handling other people’s divorces, she thought she could recognise a marriage in trouble.

She angrily throws Richard out of the home they share. But days later she’s arrested—for the murder of his mistress.

Olivia knows she’s innocent but, with all the evidence pointing at her and an obvious motive, she must find the real killer to clear her name.

She may be used to dealing with messy divorces, but this one will be her most difficult case yet. Olivia’s husband has already betrayed her—but would he set her up for murder?

I received three new ARCs in the past week: The Bluebonnet Battle by Carolyn Brown

Shadow in the Glass by M.E. Hilliard

And, better late than never, The Bells of Christmas II: Eight stories of Christmas hope

What are you reading this New Year?

Happy reading my friends. It’s too hot to be out in the garden so I am going to stretch out on the daybed out on my deck where there is a little breeze and read some more. Enjoy your New Year reads my friends.

Watching what I’m reading . . .

It’s a beautiful, fine,hot Boxing Day here in New Zealand. Dustin and Luke left for Lake Taupo late this afternoon, and I have been pottering around the house, pausing every now and then to read a story from A Place Like Home, a wonderful collection of short stories by Rosamunde Pilcher published posthumously.

I am almost finished Survive the Night by Riley Sager

An also almost finished listening to Twenty Years Later by Charlie Donlea

I haven’t got anything scheduled for read for review this week other than Twenty Years Later, so I am going to read books picked totally at random from my backlist.

I received three new ARCs this week: The Child I Never Had by Kate Hewitt

Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins ( a widget from the publisher)

And Ocean State by Stewart O’Nan

A short post today as I am in holiday mode, and I am guessing that you all will be too. Happy holidays and enjoy your families and friends. And please, be kind.

The Life She Wants by Mel Sherratt

EXCERPT: We stand together in the silence of the night, in the clearing in the woods. Our breathing is the only thing I can hear.

We are as one, but only because we’ve agreed to cover up what’s happened.

It wasn’t supposed to end like this. When is killing someone ever a satisfactory solution? This was just a momentary lapse of concentration. A burst of anger. A fist of infuriation. Hands squeezing something they shouldn’t have.

But now the body is buried. We’ve hidden the crime. If anyone finds out, we’ll make up lies and pretend it never happened. No one will ever know the truth.

Because I won’t let them find out.

ABOUT ‘THE LIFE SHE WANTS’: From behind the curtains, Sarah spotted the man coming out of the house, followed by the woman. It would be strange seeing people in the property. She wondered how much it would change their lives. For now, she would bide her time and hopefully get to know them better. She needed to gain their trust.

When I met Richard, I fell for him instantly. He was able to give me everything I had always wanted, the dream house, security and above all, love like I’d never known. We lived a quiet life in the middle of nowhere; we didn’t need anyone else.

So, when the empty house next door is sold, I am wary. Will our neighbours invade the perfect life Richard has built for us? As soon as I meet Juliette and Danny, I am reassured. Overwhelmed by grief after the death of their young daughter, they have moved in search of a quiet life and a chance to start again. Over dinner one evening, we hit it off instantly and I know they are just the neighbours we need.

All is well until Juliette spots a young girl in our garden. Richard convinces her that she is seeing things, that it’s the grief taking over. But Juliette won’t let it go. She is sure she saw a child. She believes that Richard is threatening her. She starts to think that I’m not safe.

I need to convince Juliette that she’s imagining it. I need to keep Richard happy. If I am to protect everything I have built for myself, she must never find out the truth.

That my perfect life is built on the deadliest lie.

MY THOUGHTS: This is a book that you really need to concentrate on as you read because it is not always obvious just whose point of view you are reading. There is also a fair bit of jumping about in the timeline, also not always apparent. I think that had I listened to the entire audiobook instead of reading the first 80% and listening to the last 20%, it may have been a little clearer. But, in the end, it all makes sense. It’s just a little frustrating getting to that point.

Although The Life She Wants packs a punch, I didn’t find it a particularly enjoyable experience. There are characters that I absolutely hated; sly, nasty and manipulative. They left a nasty taste in my mouth. I really found it difficult to connect with any of the characters other than Juliette and her husband. And I found the child totally unbelievable, although very little is seen and absolutely nothing heard from her. So very wrong on all levels.

The book reminds me a little in format of the old western movies, where you have the good guys and the bad guys. The good guys are really, really good, and the bad guys are really, really bad. There’s a whole heap of tussling and wrangling and jostling for position going on, and the good guys appear to be coming off worst until the very end, when justice prevails, albeit usually with a few bodies strewn about along the way. But did justice prevail here? I’ll let you make up your own mind.

⭐⭐⭐.5

#TheLifeSheWants #NetGalley

I: @mel_sherratt @bookouture

T: @writermels @Bookouture

#contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #mystery #psychologicalthriller

THE AUTHOR: write police procedurals, psychological suspense and women’s fiction with a punch – or grit-lit, as I call it.

I live in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with my husband and terrier, Dexter (named after the TV serial killer) and makes liberal use of my hometown as a backdrop for some of my books.

I also write women’s fiction under the pen name of Marcie Steele.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC and an audio ARC of The Life She Wants by Mel Sherratt and narrated by Emma Gregory, 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

The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

EXCERPT: AGATHA

I am not the most important person in this story. That honor belongs to Meg, who is married to Jack, and they are the perfect parents of two perfect children, a boy and a girl, blond and blue-eyed and sweeter than honey cakes. Meg is pregnant again and I couldn’t be more excited because I’m having a baby too.

Leaning my forehead against the glass, I look in both directions along the pavement, past the greengrocer and hairdressing salon and fashion boutique. Meg is running late. Normally she has dropped Lucy at primary school and Lachlan at his preschool by now and has joined her friends at the café on the corner. Her mothers’ group meets every Friday morning, sitting at an outdoor table, jostling prams into place like eighteen-wheelers on the vehicle deck of a ferry. One skinny cappuccino, one chai latte, and a pot of herbal tea . . .

A red bus goes past and blocks my view of Barnes Green, which is opposite. When it pulls away again I see Meg on the far side of the road. She’s dressed in her stretch jeans and a baggy sweater, and carrying a colorful three-wheeled scooter. Lachlan must have insisted on riding to his preschool, which would have slowed her down. He will also have stopped to look at the ducks and at the exercise class and at the old people doing tai chi who move so slowly they could almost be stop-motion puppets.

Meg doesn’t appear pregnant from this angle. It’s only when she turns side-on that the bump becomes a basketball, neat and round, getting lower by the day. I heard her complaining last week about swollen ankles and a sore back. I know how she feels. My extra pounds have turned climbing stairs into a workout and my bladder is the size of a walnut.

Glancing both ways, she crosses Church Road and mouths the word “sorry” to her friends, double-kissing their cheeks and cooing at their babies. All babies are cute, people say, and I guess that’s true. I have peered into prams at Gollum-like creatures with sticky-out eyes and two strands of hair, yet always found something to love because they’re so newly minted and innocent.

ABOUT ‘THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS’: Agatha is pregnant and works part-time stocking shelves at a grocery store in a ritzy London suburb, counting down the days until her baby is due. As the hours of her shifts creep by in increasing discomfort, the one thing she looks forward to at work is catching a glimpse of Meghan, the effortlessly chic customer whose elegant lifestyle dazzles her. Meghan has it all: two perfect children, a handsome husband, a happy marriage, a stylish group of friends, and she writes perfectly droll confessional posts on her popular parenting blog—posts that Agatha reads with devotion each night as she waits for her absent boyfriend, the father of her baby, to maybe return her calls.

When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again, and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever…

MY THOUGHTS: This is the third book by Michael Robotham that I have read and loved. He writes women so convincingly and realistically, describing our fears and insecurities very accurately and with empathy.

The Secrets She Keeps is an emotionally charged domestic/psychological thriller that focuses on two women: Meghan with the seemingly perfect life; and Agatha who has nothing. Their paths cross and Agatha hatches a plan that will give her what she wants. The story is told from the points of view of both Agatha and Meghan, and what begins as an apparently accidental and innocent friendship soon develops into tension filled drama.

I didn’t like Agatha. She is needy, manipulative and mentally unstable, but I felt for her. Robotham has crafted magnificently believable characters. Even Jack, Meghan’s apparently devoted sportscaster husband is brilliantly depicted. The only character I couldn’t really get a handle on was Hayden, the supposed father of Agatha’s baby.

The story is peppered with surprises and skillfully placed twists and I never quite knew what was going to happen next. I am a firm fan of this author and am reading everything of his that I can get my hands on.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.4

#TheSecretsSheKeeps

I: @michaelrobotham

T: @michaelrobotham

#contemporaryfiction #crime #domesticdrama #psychologicalthriller #suspense

THE AUTHOR: Michael Robotham was born in Australia in November 1960 and grew up in small country towns that had more dogs than people and more flies than dogs. He escaped became a cadet journalist on an afternoon newspaper in Sydney.

For the next fourteen years he worked for newspapers and magazines in Australia, Europe, Africa and America. As a senior feature writer for the UK’s Mail on Sunday he was among the first people to view the letters and diaries of Czar Nicholas II and his wife Empress Alexandra, unearthed in the Moscow State Archives in 1991. He also gained access to Stalin’s Hitler files, which had been missing for nearly fifty years until a cleaner stumbled upon a cardboard box that had been misplaced and misfiled.

In 1993 he quit journalism to become a ghostwriter, collaborating with politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and showbusiness personalities to write their autobiographies.

His first novel ‘THE SUSPECT’, a psychological thriller, was chosen by the world’s largest consortium of book clubs as only the fifth “International Book of the Month”, making it the top recommendation to 28 million book club members in fifteen countries.

Since then, Michael’s psychological thrillers have been translated into twenty-five languages and his Joe O’Loughlin series is are currently in development for TV by World Productions. A six-part TV series based upon his standalone novel THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS was aired on BBC1 in 2020, and a second series begins filming in 2021.

Michael lives in Sydney with his wife and a diminishing number of dependent daughters.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to the Waitomo District Library for providing a copy of The Secrets She Keeps 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, Instagram and my webpage

Watching what I’m reading . . .

I am almost finished reading The Mark by Matt Brolly, and hope to get it finished and my review written tonight. I am also reading The Life She Wants by Mel Sherratt. I also have this on audiobook and was planning a read/listen, but that won’t happen until my new ipod arrives, hopefully tomorrow.

But I will need to finish listening to The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham first

I somehow scheduled seven reads for this week, and I can tell you now that that’s not going to happen. 🤦‍♀️ So the ones I have selected are:

A Little Bird by Wendy James, an Australian mystery/thriller

Running from a bad relationship, journalist Jo Sharpe heads home to Arthurville, the drought-stricken town she turned her back on years earlier. While some things have changed—her relationship with her ailing, crotchety father, her new job at the community newspaper—Jo finds that her return has rekindled the grief and uncertainty she experienced during her childhood following the inexplicable disappearance of her mother and baby sister.

Returning to Arthurville has its unexpected pleasures, though, as Jo happily reconnects with old friends and makes a few new ones. But she can’t let go of her search for answers to that long-ago mystery. And as she keeps investigating, the splash she’s making begins to ripple outward—far beyond the disappearance of her mother and sister.

Jo is determined to dig as deep as it takes to get answers. But it’s not long before she realises that someone among the familiar faces doesn’t want her picking through the debris of the past. And they’ll go to any lengths to silence the little bird before she sings the truth. 

And Unforgiven by Sarah Barrie, another Australian crime/mystery/thriller, the ARC for which I received this week.

Lexi Winter is tough, street-smart and has stood on her own two feet since childhood, when she was a victim of notorious paedophile the Spider. All she cares about now is a roof over her head and her long-term relationship with Johnny Walker. She isn’t particular about who she sleeps with … as long as they pay before leaving.

Lexi is also an ace hacker, tracking and entrapping local paedophiles and reporting them to the cops. When she finds a particularly dangerous paedophile who the police can’t touch, she decides to gather enough evidence to put him away. Instead, she’s a witness to his death …

Detective Inspector Rachael Langley is the cop who cracked the Spider case, 18 years earlier – but failed to protect Lexi. Now a man claiming to be the real Spider is emulating his murderous acts, and Rachael is under pressure from government, media and her police colleagues. Did she get it wrong all those years ago, or is this killer is a copycat?

Lexi and Rachael cross paths at last, the Spider in their sights … but they may be too late … 

I received four new ARCs this week, including Unforgiven. The other three are: Lily Harford’s Last Request by Joanna Buckley

The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker

Nine Lives by Peter Swanson

I still have 25 requests pending, probably half of which are already published.

This week I have been on the road travelling USA tourist spots in Arizona, Archer’s national park in Utah, St Louis, Houston and the Ozarks in Missouri. I have also been to Montreal, Canada, where it seemed to rain every day, and Bath and Weston-Super-Mare in England.

This week I seem to have done nothing but work. I did have Saturday off and Dustin came down with his chainsaw and took a dead tree and a couple of out of control box out for me. I have been wanting to get rid of them ever since we moved in over two years ago. There were some lovely native trees struggling behind them, so now they will have a chance to grow, and I will plant a kowhai this autumn.

Another busy week this coming week as New Zealand changes to the traffic light system and, as well as scanning into venues, anyone entering a hospitality venue must be double vaccinated and present their individual QR code and also scan that. So as well as figuring out how to operate the system myself, I also have to train the staff, not to mention our members!

But on a positive note, the only unvaccinated member of our family, our second son Les, has finally agreed to go get his first vaccination tomorrow. We had a long phone conversation this afternoon and we discussed all the issues he was concerned about, but it is the safety of his young daughter that swung it. So pleased and relieved, especially with this new variant starting to spread through the world.

So wherever you are, please stay safe, stay home and read. 😉❤📚

Stolen Ones by Angela Marsons (Kim Stone #15)

EXCERPT: ‘Hope your lunch was okay,’ Kim said stepping back into the interview room with Bryant right behind her.

Alison had instructed her not to bait him, and her boss had warned her to go gently. Do whatever it takes to find Grace Lennard had been his instruction.

It was clear that she was expected to play nicely with a man who, in her mind, had kidnapped two girls, killed Melody Jones, and knew the whereabouts of Grace Lennard. She’d certainly give it her best.

ABOUT ‘STOLEN ONES’: 25 years ago he took a girl. Today he takes another.

One August afternoon, eight-year-old Grace Lennard skips into the garden of the childcare centre she attends and vanishes into thin air.

Hours before, Steven Harte walks into Halesowen police station and confesses to having information that will lead Detective Kim Stone to Melody Jones – the little girl who was taken from a playground exactly twenty-five years ago. But something about his confession is off and Kim dismisses his claims.

Arriving at the scene of Grace’s disappearance, Kim finds a chilling piece of evidence: the heart bracelet belonging to Melody. Now Kim must play Steven’s twisted game if she is to find Grace alive. But they’re going to play by Kim’s rules.

With only twenty-four hours to make every second of Steven’s interrogation count, and scan his behaviour for hidden clues, Kim and her team soon link Steven to the abduction of several vulnerable girls – two were kept for a year and then released, unharmed – but where are Melody and the others?

Then small bones are discovered in the grounds of a local park, and Kim fears the worst.

Kim may be close to convicting a killer, but there’s another who wants revenge against her – Dr Alex Thorne – the evil woman Kim did her best to keep behind bars. Alex is about to reveal a shocking secret to Kim that will hit her where it hurts the most. And if Kim lets Alex mess with her head, she might not be able to save Grace and find the other missing girls in time.

MY THOUGHTS: #15. That means only one book to go in this series…. 😬

Stolen Ones completely different to any other book in the Detective Kim Stone series, but every bit as good. It’s psychologically more subtle, more cat and mouse, but no less thrilling. It is deliciously challenging and puzzling. I stayed up a good part of the night to finish it.

Why would a man walk into a police station and confess to having information that will lead Detective Kim Stone to Melody Jones and then not provide it? Is he telling the truth? Or is he lying?

Alison Lowe, Consultant Behaviourist, is called in to study the man’s body language, those little ‘tells’ that give away more than the words that are said. I always enjoy Alison’s involvement in the series and she really proves her worth here.

Stacey acts a part brilliantly in an effort to get Harte to open up and, sorry Penn, but I figured out the password for his phone well before you.

Psychopathic psychiatrist Dr Alexandra Thorne is once again needling Kim, trying to gain advantage. She’s a dangerous and devious woman who, I believe, has a major role to play in the next book. Her machinations here will be nothing compared to what she has planned for Kim, and while her inclusion in Stolen Ones seems extraneous, I believe Marsons is setting the stage for the final denouement.

I wish Kim could just ignore Alex, but it seems that she has a way of getting under her skin and manipulating her. But then, that is Alex’s talent. They are very well matched as opponents and when it comes to the final showdown, although I know who I want to win, I would not be confident in picking the winner.

Stolen Ones has left me both longing for and dreading #16. While I want to know how it all ends, I don’t want this brilliant series to end at all.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#StolenOnes #NetGalley

I: @angelamarsonsauthor @bookouture

T: @WriteAngie @Bookouture

#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #mystery #policeprocedural #psychologicalthriller

THE AUTHOR: Angela is the author of the Kim Stone Crime series. She discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.
Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.
She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Stolen Ones by Angela Marsons 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, Instagram and Goodreads.com

The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021 edited by Steph Cha and Alafair Burke

EXCERPT: Taken from Let Her Be by Lisa Unger – We move away, the bell ringing as we exit. Emily is far ahead of me, out in the night. She doesn’t hear him say before the door closes: “They say the brother did it. There was always something off about that boy.”

I pretend I didn’t hear it, don’t let it upset me the way it used to. There were endless rumours then – a beautiful young girl dies by accident, and no one wants to accept that. No one wants to accept the randomness of it all.

Believe me, I get it.

ABOUT ‘THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY AND SUSPENSE 2021’: Steph Cha, a rising star who brings a fresh perspective as series editor, takes the helm of the new TheBest American Mystery and Suspense, with best-selling crime novelist Alafair Burke joining her as the first guest editor.

Beginning with the 2021 volume, the annual short story anthology The Best American Mystery Stories will become The Best American Mystery and Suspense. New series editor Steph Cha and best-selling guest editor Alafair Burke select the best short mystery and suspense fiction of the year.

“Crime writers, forgive the pun, are killing it right now creatively,” writes guest editor Alafair Burke in her introduction. “It was difficult—painful even—to narrow this year’s Best American Mystery and Suspense to only twenty stories.” Spanning from a mediocre spa in Florida, to New York’s gritty East Village, to death row in Alabama, this collection reveals boundless suspense in small, quiet moments, offering startling twists in the least likely of places. From a powerful response to hateful bullying, to a fight for health care, to a gripping desperation to vote, these stories are equal parts shocking, devastating, and enthralling, revealing the tension pulsing through our everyday lives and affirming that mystery and suspense writing is better than ever before.

MY THOUGHTS: There’s a very mixed bag of stories in this year’s collection. There is a small handful of excellent stories: Neighbours by Nikki Dolsan; Green Eyed Monster by Charis Jones; Slow Burner by Laura Lippman; and Let Her Be by Lisa Unger. But the majority of the stories sat in the 2.5 – 3.5 range for me.

My biggest gripe about most of the stories were that they weren’t suspenseful, nor were they a mystery. The ones I have rated highly were either intriguing, or had my heart pounding as I frantically flipped virtual pages.

There were a couple of stories that I thought were totally pointless, and one that seemed to me like a chapter extracted from a book. It seemed that there ought to have been something before it, and definitely something after it. But most were simply average.

Here’s a list of the contents and my ratings:
1. Return to India by Jenny Bhatt ⭐⭐
2. Swaj by Christopher Bolton ⭐⭐⭐.5
3. Neighbours by Nikki Dolson ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
4. Mala Suerte by E. Gabriel Flores ⭐⭐⭐
5. Where I Belong by Alison Gaylin ⭐⭐⭐.5
6. With Footnotes and References by Gar Anthony Haywood ⭐⭐⭐.5
7. The Good Thief by Ravi Howard ⭐⭐⭐
8. Everything is Going to be Okay by Gabino Iglesias ⭐⭐⭐
9. Green Eyed Monster by Charis Jones ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
10. Potato Sandwich Days by Preston Lang ⭐⭐
11. Frederick Douglass Elementary by Aya de León ⭐⭐.5
12. Infinity Sky by Kristen Lepionka ⭐⭐.5
13. Slow Burner Laura Lippman ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
14. Mr Forble by Joanna Pearson ⭐⭐
15. The Killer by Delia Pitts ⭐⭐.5
16. Wings Beating by Eliot Schrefer ⭐⭐⭐⭐
17. 90 Miles by Alex Segura ⭐⭐
18. Land of Promise by Brian Silverman ⭐⭐.5
19. One Bullet, One Vote by Faye Snowden ⭐⭐⭐.5
20. Let Her Be by Lisa Unger ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Overall rating – ⭐⭐⭐.25

#TheBestAmericanMysteryandSuspense2021 #NetGalley

#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #domesticdrama #familydrama #mystery #historicalfiction #murdermystery #privateinvestigator #shortstories #psychologicalthriller #romanticsuspense

THE AUTHORS: STEPH CHA is the author of the Juniper Song mystery series and Your House Will Pay, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller and has been nominated for a Young Lions Fiction Award, a Macavity Award, a Lefty Award, a Barry Award, and a Dagger Award, as well as long-listed for the Aspen Prize. She’s an editor and critic whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she edited the noir section for almost five years. A native of the San Fernando Valley, she lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Alafair Burke is the New York Times, Edgar-nominated author of fourteen crime novels, including The Ex, The Wife, The Better Sister, and the forthcoming Find Me. She is also the co-author of several novels with Mary Higgins Clark. A graduate of Stanford Law School and a former Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon, Alafair is now a Professor of Law at Hofstra Law School, where she teaches criminal law and procedure.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021 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

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Well, the office never got finished during the week as our new aluminium joinery arrived Monday and I had builders here all week fitting it. I seem to have spent my week cooking morning teas, lunches and afternoon teas, and cleaning up behind them. So now we’re all double glazed and with the stacker doors we installed, we now have a wonderful indoor/outdoor flow. But I do have a lot of stopping and painting ahead of me this week.

It is my cousin’s birthday today. She’s seventy-nine and had her children and grandchildren to lunch today. We are meeting up for coffee and cake tomorrow.

Currently I am reading: A Life Without Water by Marci Bolden. I do love this author. Reading her books is like sitting down with an old friend. A Life Without Water is the first in A Life Without series, and I have the other two lined up right behind it, ready to go.

The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021 edited by Alafair Burke

and I am listening to The Second Marriage written by Jess Ryder and narrated by Rosamund Hine, which is absolutely delicious!

This week I am planning to read: The Widow by K.L. Slater

My husband was not a monster. No matter what they say…

The day my husband, Michael, stepped in front of a lorry after being questioned by the police, my world fell apart. He was devoted to me and our six-year-old daughter. But they’d connected him to the disappearance of a young mother from our tiny village.

Now I stand at Michael’s funeral, clutching my little girl’s hand, with tears in my eyes as I insist to all our friends that he died an innocent man. Yet the questions have started, and nothing I say will stop them digging for the truth.

But none of them can read the secrets in my heart, or know about the phone I found hidden in his toolbox…

I’m determined that my daughter will not remember her father as a monster. I will erase any hint of wrongdoing in this house whatever the cost.

Because to keep my daughter safe, the last thing I need is for people to start looking at me…

The Stolen Ones by Angela Marsons

My husband was not a monster. No matter what they say…

The day my husband, Michael, stepped in front of a lorry after being questioned by the police, my world fell apart. He was devoted to me and our six-year-old daughter. But they’d connected him to the disappearance of a young mother from our tiny village.

Now I stand at Michael’s funeral, clutching my little girl’s hand, with tears in my eyes as I insist to all our friends that he died an innocent man. Yet the questions have started, and nothing I say will stop them digging for the truth.

But none of them can read the secrets in my heart, or know about the phone I found hidden in his toolbox…

I’m determined that my daughter will not remember her father as a monster. I will erase any hint of wrongdoing in this house whatever the cost.

Because to keep my daughter safe, the last thing I need is for people to start looking at me…

and Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King

Told in the intimate voices of unique and endearing characters of all ages, these tales explore desire and heartache, loss and discovery, moments of jolting violence and the inexorable tug toward love at all costs. A bookseller’s unspoken love for his employee rises to the surface, a neglected teenage boy finds much-needed nurturing from an unlikely pair of college students hired to housesit, a girl’s loss of innocence at the hands of her employer’s son becomes a catalyst for strength and confidence, and a proud nonagenarian rages helplessly in his granddaughter’s hospital room. Romantic, hopeful, brutally raw, and unsparingly honest, some even slipping into the surreal, these stories are, above all, about King’s enduring subject of love.

Eight new ARCs this week 🤦‍♀️, one of which I am already listening to: The Second Marriage by Jess Ryder

Other ARCs are: The Mark by Matt Brolly

The Perfect Neighbour by Susanna Beard, which I read during the week and the review for which will be posted this week

The Girl in the Ground by Stacy Green

The House Fire by Rosie Walker

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

Dreaming of Flight by Catherine Ryan-Hyde

and No Less the Devil by Stuart MacBride

My reading schedule for the first six months is already looking quite daunting, and I still have 28 requests pending.

This week I have been in the Cotswolds in England; Menlo Beach, Victoria, Australia; Reading, England; all over England and America in various short story collections; and Houston, Texas. Have we crossed paths anywhere this week?

I have to take my car up to my son’s on Tuesday for a service, so I will get to see Luke and collect him from daycare. I am so looking forward to it. Nothing can replace hugs and cuddles.

Have a wonderful week everyone. ❤📚