Watching What I’m Reading . . .

We have had a beautiful week of weather: cool but not actually cold nights, and gloriously sunny days with temperatures not quite reaching those of summer, but very close. But it seems that is coming to an end. We had thick fog this morning and now it is mizzling. The forecast for the week to come is rain, all week. I am glad my new dryer arrived and was installed on Friday.

We were planning on going out for lunch today at a new bar about 3/4 hour away. It has Heineken on tap and I have heard only good things about the food. But I was much longer at work this morning than I thought I was going to be, and then I got home to find friend had called in, so lunch out has been postponed for a couple of weeks. I made us all toasted sandwiches instead, and we caught up on each other’s news before he had to head off again. If he hadn’t been travelling in the opposite direction, we would have suggested he join us.

I have had a wonderful week’s reading based mainly in England, with a little time in Wales. Have you been anywhere interesting?

Currently I am reading The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. Intriguing!

I am also reading Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben. I only started this yesterday, and am almost finished.

And I am about to begin listening to If I Had Two Lives by A.B. Whelan and narrated by Kristen James

This week I am planning to read Dead Sorry by Helen H. Durrant

Twenty-five years ago a schoolgirl was attacked by three bullies in her home where she lived with her grandmother.

Now, the mother of one of those bullies is found murdered on the Hobfield housing estate. Written on the wall in the victim’s blood is the word, “sorry.”

There is a link to the discovery of bones at an old house up in the hills — the home of the teenage girl who was attacked.

Detective Tom Calladine and his partner DS Ruth Bayliss have more than this puzzling case on their hands. Arch-villain Lazarov is threatening Calladine’s granddaughter and a valuable hoard of Celtic gold is coming to a local museum.

The pressure is on, and this time Calladine is cracking . . .

Discover an absolutely unputdownable crime thriller from a best-selling author.

If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, Mel Sherratt, Ruth Rendell, or Mark Billingham you will enjoy this exciting new crime fiction writer.

DEAD SORRY is book eleven of a new series of detective thrillers featuring DS Ruth Bayliss and DI Tom Calladine.

What readers are saying about the series
“I read it in one sitting.” Aileen

“This books has lots of twists and turns throughout and with a cracking ending to this brilliant book.” Nessa

“Really enjoyed this book.” Nerys

“Kept me guessing till the end.” Anna Maria

“I finished it in twenty-four hours and enjoyed every page.” Joan

THE DETECTIVES
Tom Calladine is a detective inspector who is devoted to his job. His personal life, however, is not so successful. Having been married and divorced before the age of twenty-one has set a pattern that he finds difficult to escape.

Ruth Bayliss is in her mid-thirties, plain-speaking but loyal. She is balancing her professional life with looking after a small child.

THE SETTINGThe fictional village of Leesdon is on the outskirts of an industrial northern English city. There is little work and a lot of crime. The bane of Calladine’s life is the Hobfield housing estate, breeding ground to all that is wrong with the area that he calls home.

The Vacation by John Marrs

Venice Beach, Los Angeles. A paradise on earth.

Tourists flock to the golden coast and the promise of Hollywood.

But for eight strangers at a beach front hostel, there is far more on their mind than an extended vacation.

All of them are running from something. And they all have secrets they’d kill to keep…

I went to my local library last week to return a book. Honest. I had no intention of picking up anything new to read. You will understand why when you see the number of ARCs I received this week. And sitting there, right beside the return slot, is a shelf of recent releases – and if that’s not fighting dirty, I don’t know what is! – and New Zealand author Paul Cleave’s latest, The Quiet People. But it wasn’t just sitting there, quietly. Oh no. It was fluttering it’s pages alluringly at me, whispering seductively, ‘How about I come home with you. I can show you a really good time’ . . . Then it literally (no pun intended) threw itself at me and manoeuvred me to checkouts. I know when I’m beaten and gave in quietly. So this week I will also be reading

Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful crime-writers. They have been on the promotional circuit, joking that no-one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.So when their 7 year old son Zach goes missing, naturally the police and the public wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time – are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime? 

I had a day during the week when I was feeling quite overwhelmed by an accumulation of different things. So that night when I couldn’t sleep and couldn’t concentrate on my reading, I took refuge in Netgalley with result that I received twenty-seven (yes, Susan. 27.) ARCs this week 🤦‍♀️🤸‍♀️🤸‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤸‍♀️🤸‍♀️🤦‍♀️ I don’t know whether to be appalled or excited.

As well as the audiobook If I Had Two Lives by A.B. Whelan, Dead Sorry by Helen H. Durrant, and The Vacation by John Marrs, I received:

What’s Not True by Valerie Taylor

My Mother’s Children by Annette Sills

In Another Light by A.J. Banner

The Darkest Flower by Kristin Wright (thank you Michael David https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com/)

The Beauty of Fragile Things by Emma Hartley

Summer Island Book Club by Ciara Knight

Death and Croissants by Ian Moore

I Don’t Forgive You by Aggie Blum Thompson

The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021

Snow Country by Sebastian Faulks

The Crooked Shore by Martin Edwards

The Murder Box by Olivia Kiernan

One Left Behind by Carla Kovach

The Shut Away Sisters by Suzanne Goldring

The Grandmother Plot by Caroline B. Cooney

The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous

Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Slough House by Mick Herron

Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillipi Ryan

A Hand to Hold in Deep Water (audiobook) by Shawn Nocher, narrated by Elizabeth Evans

The Third Grave by Lisa Jackson

And two more audiobooks, Know No Evil by Graeme Hampton, narrated by Julie Maisey

And, The Man I Married by Elena Wilkes, narrated by Colleen Prendergast

I have never had that many ARCs in one week before. I bet that does a bit of damage to my review ratio! What is the most ARCs you have received in any one week?

Now I have two reviews to write so I had better get writing and get them done before dinner. Nice fresh snapper tonight with an avocado salsa and salad.

Happy reading my friends. ❤📚

Fragile by Sarah Hilary

EXCERPT: ‘Rosie,’ I thought. ‘Little, little Rosie.’

It was so cold the night she disappeared, the night I stayed, looking for her. A shiver of stars crept across the lake but it was too dark to separate sky from mountains, or mountains from slag heaps. Waiting for the first breath of dawn to stir in the darkness like an animal waking. The lake breathed at my feet as if it too were sleeping and might wake. All night I stayed, my eyes open on the water. When the first clouds covered the stars, the lake turned grey. So grey I could have reached out and twitched it away, caught it in my fingers and pulled and pulled until it was all gone, except what lay under the surface, also curled, as if asleep. I’d lost everything. Not only at the lake two summers ago, but here and now, in Starling Villas. Everything I’d worked so hard to make, this small happiness, the frail living I’d scratched for myself under his roof. All lost.

ABOUT ‘FRAGILE’: Everything she touches breaks . . .

Nell Ballard is a runaway. A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperate to keep, all Nell wants is to find a place she can belong.

So when a job comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes the opportunity with both hands.

Only her new lodgings may not be the safe haven that she was hoping for. Her employer lives by a set of rigid rules and she soon sees that he is hiding secrets of his own.

But is Nell’s arrival at the Villas really the coincidence it seems? After all, she knows more than most how fragile people can be – and how easy they can be to break . . .

MY THOUGHTS: She can run, but she can’t hide. Especially not from herself. Guilt, shame and regret are her shadow.

Nell thinks that by running away to London, she and Joe can leave their old selves behind, shed the tragedy of Rosie’s disappearance. Instead, when Joe bails out on her, Nell (Death Knell as Meagan Flack calls her) is caught up in a web of lies, deceit, and manipulation. She is unable to shed her past, which continues to haunt her, and it seems that the future she has planned for herself in a place she thought she could call home may not turn out to be too much different from her past.

Fragile is a grim story. Disturbing. A story of children abandoned for various reasons, flung together in a foster home where their carer, Meagan Flack, wasn’t in the habit of making happy memories for her charges. A home where those who ought to have been cared for, were doing the caring. It is a story of greed, and abuse at many levels. It is a story of the children who fall through the cracks, who live in fear. Continuing to fear Meagan, even after they have fled her, knowing that she will never forgive them, never forget.

It is made all the more dark and disturbing by the beautiful writing. ‘Fear was everywhere in Starling Villas now. Not hiding any longer, but sitting in the sun like a cat, stretching as the sky stretched, greedy for its heat.’

The story is told over two timelines, now at Starling Villas, London, and then at the foster home in Bala, Wales. The story of Rosie’s disappearance is cleverly eked out, so that we don’t learn what actually happened to her until the very end. We are fed snippets of information, teased and tormented by the mystery.

I can’t say that I enjoyed Fragile. I don’t think that it was written to be enjoyed, but it certainly hit its mark with me. It is heartbreaking. It is sad. It tore at my sensibilities. It is beautifully written, and gut wrenching.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.1

#Fragile #NetGalley

I: @sarah_hilary999 @panmacmillan

T: @Sarah_Hilary @PanMacmillan

#contemporaryfiction #mystery #psychologicalthriller

THE AUTHOR: Sarah Hilary is a UK crime novelist and former bookseller.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Pan Macmillan via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Fragile by Sarah Hilary 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

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

We’re having another dismal weekend. It’s been damp and foggy. Luke has been with us for the weekend and I think that the weather is even getting him down. He certainly hasn’t been his normal bouncy self. He’s quite happy to snuggle up with a book or Paw Patrol. I hope that he is not coming down with anything else!

I didn’t travel quite so widely with my reading this past week, Nantucket and Maryland in the USA, and London, Devon and the village of Westenbury in England. Have you been anywhere exciting or exotic?

I am currently reading A Family Affair by Julie Houston



And

And I am also reading The Long Call by Ann Cleeves, the first book in the Detective Matthew Venn series, the second of which, A Heron’s Cry, I received last week.

This week I am planning to read Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse

1984. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame—and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.

2021. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss—the hope, the trust, the joy—Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.

Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?

And Fragile by Sarah Hilary

Everything she touches breaks . . .

Nell Ballard is a runaway. A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperate to keep, all Nell wants is to find a place she can belong.

So when a job comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes the opportunity with both hands.

Only her new lodgings may not be the safe haven that she was hoping for. Her employer lives by a set of rigid rules and she soon sees that he is hiding secrets of his own.

But is Nell’s arrival at the Villas really the coincidence it seems? After all, she knows more than most how fragile people can be – and how easy they can be to break . . .

And I am going to be listening to The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter

They’re saying he’s a monster. And they’re saying she knew.

Beth and Tom Hardcastle are the envy of their neighbourhood – they have the perfect marriage, the perfect house, the perfect family.

When the police knock on their door one evening, Beth panics. Tom should be back from work by now – what if he’s crashed his car? She fears the worst.

But the worst is beyond imagining.

As the interrogation begins, Beth will find herself questioning everything she believed about her husband.

They’re husband and wife – till death do them part…

I have five new ARCs this week:

The One to Blame by S.E. Lynes

The Evidence by K.L. Slater

Invisible Victim by Mel Sherratt

The Wedding Night by Harriet Walker

and The Devil’s Choir by Martin Michaud

So, as you can see, my resolve to request less than what I have read didn’t last long, thanks in a large part to Carla of Carlalovestoread.wordpress.com If you haven’t visited her site, pop over and see what she is reading.

Have a great week and happy reading!

The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter

EXCERPT: The photos of the Straubs provided me with terrific comfort. I clicked through several of Natalie and her friends and several of Natalie alone. Then I landed on one of Fritz, leaning against the library wall, laughing, his intense green eyes looking straight into the camera. It was his kindness and intelligence that made him handsome. I’d sensed those qualities in him the instant we met. I felt a tug of longing in my gut – some combination of emptiness and desire.

I pulled up some shots of myself that I’d used for my website and superimposed my body, in profile, next to an image of Fritz in profile. I moved his face close to mine, so it looked as though we were confiding in each other, in a close conversation that others couldn’t hear. And then, practically feeling his breath on my face, I closed the gap between the two mouths. His warm lips pressed against mine. Then his fingers in my hair. A frisson of surprised delight surged through my body.

ABOUT ‘THE PHOTOGRAPHER’: WHEN PERFECT IMAGES

As a photographer, Delta Dawn observes the seemingly perfect lives of New York City’s elite: snapping photos of their children’s birthday parties, transforming images of stiff hugs and tearstained faces into visions of pure joy, and creating moments these parents long for.

ARE MADE OF BEAUTIFUL LIES

But when Delta is hired for Natalie Straub’s eleventh birthday, she finds herself wishing she wasn’t behind the lens but a part of the scene—in the Straub family’s gorgeous home and elegant life.

THE TRUTH WILL BE EXPOSED

That’s when Delta puts her plan in place, by babysitting for Natalie; befriending her mother, Amelia; finding chances to listen to her father, Fritz. Soon she’s bathing in the master bathtub, drinking their expensive wine, and eyeing the beautifully finished garden apartment in their townhouse. It seems she can never get close enough, until she discovers that photos aren’t all she can manipulate.

MY THOUGHTS: I can remember, as a teenager, babysitting for some nice people up the street with whom I shared a love of horses and reading. I wanted to belong to them, and spent every moment that I could at their house. I used to fantasize that people would think I was their daughter (unlikely as Julie was only 7 years older than me) or Julie’s sister. So I can kind of relate to Delta, but then I was fourteen, not twenty-eight.

I can tend towards voyeuristic behaviour, but on a much lower level than Delta. I like people watching, I listen to their conversations and make up stories about them. I can get a bit nosy about my neighbours movements. But there I draw the line.

I really enjoyed the early part of The Photographer; it was both disturbing and entertaining. But then about halfway through it fizzled a little. I started going, ‘hmmm,’ and, ‘really?’, and my interest waned. It didn’t die completely, but it definitely took a hit. I remained curious, but not frantically, which is how I felt in the early part of the book, and how I wanted to feel throughout the read.

The twists didn’t surprise me, and I was disappointed with the ending. BUT, as this is the author’s first novel, I am prepared to cut her some slack. And I will definitely be putting my hand up to read anything else she writes in the future.

⭐⭐⭐.4

#ThePhotographer #NetGalley

I: @marydixiecarter @hodderbooks

T: @MaryDixieCarter @HodderBooks

#contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #psychologicalthriller

THE AUTHOR: Mary Dixie Carter’s writing has appeared in TIME, The Economist, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Sun, The New York Observer and other print and online publications. She worked at The Observer for five years, where she served as the publishing director. In addition to writing, she also has a background as a professional actor. Mary Dixie graduated from Harvard College with an honors degree in English Literature and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two young children. The Photographer is her first novel.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter 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

Watching what I’m reading . . .

I have had an extraordinary reading week! Three five star reads!!! This is totally unprecedented. Anyone who follows me regularly knows that I don’t hand out five stars willy-nilly. They have to be earned.

Currently I am reading The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward. Mind-boggling! I read 60% in the first sitting last night and only stopped because I needed sleep before I went to work this morning.

I absolutely agree with Joe Hill!

I am halfway through listening to The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood and loving it.

And I am almost finished listening to the enigmatic Entry Island by Peter May. This is a little different to anything else I have read by this author, but oh so good!

This week I am planning on reading The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter

WHEN PERFECT IMAGES

As a photographer, Delta Dawn observes the seemingly perfect lives of New York City’s elite: snapping photos of their children’s birthday parties, transforming images of stiff hugs and tearstained faces into visions of pure joy, and creating moments these parents long for.

ARE MADE OF BEAUTIFUL LIES

But when Delta is hired for Natalie Straub’s eleventh birthday, she finds herself wishing she wasn’t behind the lens but a part of the scene—in the Straub family’s gorgeous home and elegant life.

THE TRUTH WILL BE EXPOSED

That’s when Delta puts her plan in place, by babysitting for Natalie; befriending her mother, Amelia; finding chances to listen to her father, Fritz. Soon she’s bathing in the master bathtub, drinking their expensive wine, and eyeing the beautifully finished garden apartment in their townhouse. It seems she can never get close enough, until she discovers that photos aren’t all she can manipulate.

And The Marriage by K.L. Slater

Ten years ago he killed my son. Today I married him.

Ten years ago my darling son Jesse was murdered and our perfect family was destroyed. My strong, handsome boy, so full of life, became a memory, a photo I carried with me everywhere.

But today I’m finally close to finding happiness again. My ash-blonde hair has been curled into ringlets. Carefully placed white flowers frame my delicate features. The small, drab chapel has been prettied up with white satin, and there are tiny red hearts scattered on the small table where I will soon sign the register with my new husband.

The man who killed my son.

My friends and family can’t understand it. My neighbours whisper in the street whenever I walk past. How can I love a man like Tom?

They don’t really know me at all…

And I am afraid that my requesting finger ran amuck again this week – it does that when I am tired and my resistance levels are low (or nonexistent!) and I have 8 new ARCs from Netgalley. They are:

The Edelweiss Sisters by Kate Hewitt. I love this author, but this will be the first historical novel I have read by her.

Safe From Harm by Leah Mercer

One Way Street by Trevor Wood

Happily Ever After by Alison James

The Child in the Photo by Kerry Wilkinson

A Hand to Hold in Deep Water by Shawn Nocher

An Unwelcome Guest by Amanda Robson

And Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase by Jane Riley

I can’t wait to get started!

This past week I have travelled to Decatur, Georgia, Wasjington Woods, and Long Island in the USA, Halesowen and Marlow in England, as well as Entry Island in Canada with brief forays into the Outer Hebrides off Scotland. Where have you been this week?

Have a wonderful week of reading. I am hurrying back to Needless Street. 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️ ❤📚

The Perfect Lie by Jo Spain

EXCERPT: ‘I’m afraid I have bad news.’

The day your life changes can begin in the most ordinary way. I’ve experienced it once before. Just like this, the knock on the door.

I wait for it, my stomach tight, the battle response of a war weary soldier.

Who’s dead?

ABOUT ‘THE PERFECT LIE’: He jumped to his death in front of witnesses. Now his wife is charged with murder.

Five years ago, Erin Kennedy moved to New York following a family tragedy. She now lives happily with her detective husband in the scenic seaside town of Newport, Long Island. When Erin answers the door to Danny’s police colleagues one morning, it’s the start of an ordinary day. But behind her, Danny walks to the window of their fourth-floor apartment and jumps to his death.

Eighteen months later, Erin is in court, charged with her husband’s murder. Over that year and a half, Erin has learned things about Danny she could never have imagined. She thought he was perfect. She thought their life was perfect.

But it was all built on the perfect lie.

MY THOUGHTS: Where do I start? All the time I was reading, frantically flipping pages, I was puzzling: her husband jumped, there were witnesses – Police, no less – so, mystery #1, how could Erin possibly be charged with murdering her husband?

About 75% through, and I had an inkling. Yes, I was right, but did that impact my enjoyment of this intriguing and riveting thriller? Hell, no! That was one wild, mind-bending read.

The story is split over three timelines:
Erin, then (July 2019) – starts with the day of husband Danny’s death and moves forward to merge with
Erin, now (December 2020)- current day dealing with Erin on trial some seventeen months after Danny’s death; and
Harvard (December 2016) with Lauren and Ally.

So mystery #2 is what do Lauren and Ally have to do with Erin? Not telling, but it is important. I did feel that these sections were a little long winded and repetitive in places, hence the ‘only just short of the full five stars’ rating.

If you can imagine a rollercoaster ride through a hall of mirrors, that was my experience reading The Perfect Lie by Jo Spain. I always read this author on a day I have cleared of everything else, because once I start, there’s no separating me from her latest.

I also enjoyed the author’s little humourous asides, they produced quite a few chuckles. Thanks for a brilliant read Jo Spain!

⭐⭐⭐⭐.8

#ThePerfectLie #NetGalley

I: @jospainauthor @quercusbooks

T: @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks

#contemporaryfiction #crime #mystery #psychologicalthriller #suspense #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Jo Spain is the author of the bestselling Inspector Tom Reynolds series and several international No. 1 bestselling standalone novels. Her first book, With Our Blessing, was a finalist in the 2015 Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller.
Jo, a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, writes TV screenplays full-time. Her first crime series was broadcast on RTE in 2018 and she’s currently involved in a number of TV developments including adaptations of her own novels. In 2021, she co-wrote Harry Wild, starring Jane Seymour, with the Emmy award-winning David Logan (airing 2022).
Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and four young children. In her spare time (she has four children, there is no spare time really) she likes to read. Her favourite authors include Pierre Lemaitre, Jo Nesbo, Liane Moriarty, Fred Vargas and Jodi Picoult. She also watches TV obsessively.
Jo thinks up her plots on long runs in the woods. Her husband sleeps with one eye open. (I can see why!)

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Perfect Lie by Jo Spain 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 my Goodreads.com page

Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson

EXCERPT: The dynamite piled around the car seat was old. Very old. So old it was sweating, and the papery layers had begun peeling away. It must be as unstable as all hell, and there was a lot of it, stacked in a horseshoe around the baby.

ABOUT ‘MOTHER MAY I’: Growing up poor in rural Georgia, Bree Cabbat was warned by her single mother that the world was a dark and scary place. Bree rejected her mother’s fearful outlook, and life has proved her right. Having married into a family with wealth, power, and connections, Bree now has all a woman could ever dream of: a loving lawyer husband, two talented teenage daughters, a new baby boy, a gorgeous home, and every opportunity in the world.

Until the day she awakens and sees a witch peering into her bedroom window—an old gray-haired woman dressed all in black who vanishes as quickly as she appears. It must be a play of the early morning light or the remnant of a waking dream, Bree tells herself, shaking off the bad feeling that overcomes her.

Later that day though, she spies the old woman again, in the parking lot of her daugh­ters’ private school . . . just minutes before Bree’s infant son, asleep in his car seat only a few feet away, vanishes. It happened so quickly—Bree looked away only for a second. There is a note left in his place, warning her that she is being is being watched; if she wants her baby back, she must not call the police or deviate in any way from the instructions that will follow.

The mysterious woman makes contact, and Bree learns she, too, is a mother. Why would another mother do this? What does she want? And why has she targeted Bree? Of course Bree will pay anything, do anything. It’s her child.

To get her baby back, Bree must complete one small—but critical—task. It seems harmless enough, but her action comes with a devastating price, making her complicit in a tangled web of tragedy and shocking secrets that could destroy everything she loves. It is the beginning of an odyssey that will lead Bree to dangerous places, explosive confrontations, and chilling truths.

MY THOUGHTS: Mother May I is the second book that I have read by this author. The second book by this author that I have just hoovered up, reading it in less than twenty-four hours. The second book that has made me breathless, excited, and very vocal as I read. The second book that I am going to go out and buy a physical copy of to put on my shelves.

I loved Bree. She is a strong character, wanting all the available information before she judges or makes decisions. Not an easy task in some of the situations she finds herself. Bree is family oriented. She will do anything to protect her family, and when you know about her past, how she was raised, you can understand why.

I loved the taut plotting in Mother May I. There is something about Jackson’s writing that sucks me in at the beginning and spits me out at the end. There are no confusing multiple points of view, or multiple timelines; just a tense, nailbiting, gripping and thrilling story that will keep you wondering just what is going to happen next.

I can’t wait to read whatever Joshilyn Jackson produces next.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#MotherMayI #NetGalley

I: @joshilyn_jackson @bloomsburypublishing

T: @JoshilynJackson @BloomsburyPubli

#contemporaryfiction #crime #domesticdrama #mystery #psychologicalthriller #suspense #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Joshilyn Jackson is the author of nine books which have been translated into more than a dozen languages. A former actor, she also reads the audio version of her novels. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her family.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing, Raven Books, via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson 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 my Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there. May you all have a wonderful day. Mine is being a very lazy one. It’s cool and raining steadily so I haven’t moved far from the fire. The cat and I are very happy at our respective ends of the sofa.

I have spent a great deal of the week in Ireland, mainly Counties Kerry and Mayo, with the occasional foray back to Entry Island, and now I am in Decatur, Georgia. Where have you been this week, and where are you now?

Currently I am reading Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson. I started it this morning and am already a little over halfway through. She sure knows how to ramp up the tension! I have to admit that when I was approved for this I let out a whoop of joy and did a victory dance around the coffee table.

I am not currently listening to an audiobook, having had two dnfs in a row, but I will log into my library site this afternoon and pick something up.

I am still reading Entry Island by Peter May – yes, I know this is week 3, but I am reading a physical copy and only pick it up when my Kindle is on the charger. It is a good read, and I am enjoying it greatly.

This week I am planning on reading The Perfect Lie by Jo Spain.

He jumped to his death in front of witnesses. Now his wife is charged with murder.

Five years ago, Erin Kennedy moved to New York following a family tragedy. She now lives happily with her detective husband in the scenic seaside town of Newport, Long Island. When Erin answers the door to Danny’s police colleagues one morning, it’s the start of an ordinary day. But behind her, Danny walks to the window of their fourth-floor apartment and jumps to his death.

Eighteen months later, Erin is in court, charged with her husband’s murder. Over that year and a half, Erin has learned things about Danny she could never have imagined. She thought he was perfect. She thought their life was perfect.

But it was all built on the perfect lie. 

And Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons

Her stomach lurches as she sits in the windowless room. He throws her phone to the ground, grinds it against the floor with the heel of his shoe and brings his face closer to hers. There was no turning back now, her life as she knew it was gone.

When the lifeless body of a man is found on an industrial estate, Detective Kim Stone arrives on the scene and discovers he’s been tortured in the worst way imaginable.

But as she breaks the devastating news to the victim’s wife, Diane Phipps, Kim can’t help feeling that something isn’t quite right about the woman’s reaction.

Twenty-four hours later, the victim’s family disappears into thin air.

Then a second body is found staked to the ground in a local nature reserve.

Desperate to crack the case open quickly, Kim and her team unravel a vital clue – a fiercely guarded secret that links both victims and could cost even more lives.

A secret that some police officers are also protecting.

Faced with deceit from those she should be able to trust, family members who won’t talk, and local reporter, Tracy Frost, opening a can of worms on the case of a woman murdered by her husband a year ago – Kim is in deep water like never before.

Kim must find the motive if she is to find the killer who is systematically targeting and torturing his victims. But can she unlock the shocking truth and stop him before he strikes again?

My requesting finger has been working overtime again with seven new ARCs on my shelf this week 😬😂❤📚

The Beach House by Jenny Hale – don’t you just love that cover!

Still by Matt Nable – a new Australian author for me.

A Gingerbread House by Catriona McPherson

Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl – an invitation!

A Body at the Tearooms by Dee MacDonald

Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham

And Legacy by Nora Roberts (audiobook)

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and have a wonderful week.

Watching what I’m reading . . .

I have had a busy week dashing from dashing back and forth from the remote Entry Island in the Gulf of St Lawrence 850 miles from the Canadian mainland with Peter May, to Scotland with Stuart MacBride, to Gozo, a Maltese Island, and Snowdonia with C.L. Taylor, to Alexandria, Cairo and London with Carol Cooper! I feel quite exhausted 😂🤣

Where have you been this week? Leave me a message and tell me about your travels.

Currently I am reading the amazing and addictive The Dead Husband by Carter Wilson. I started it this morning and haven’t been able to put it down! I adored Mr Tender’s Girl back in 2017, and The Dead Husband is on track to be another five star read.

I am also reading Entry Island by Peter May.

And am almost finished listening to The Coffin Maker’s Garden by Stuart MacBride. This has taken somewhat longer than usual as I am training new staff, so can’t listen to my audiobooks as I am working. Definitely no reflection on the plot, author or narrator. All are excellent.

This week I am planning on reading The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club by Faith Hogan

When Elizabeth’s husband dies, leaving her with crippling debt, she must turn to her friend, Jo for help, who calls in her daughter, Lucy to run the village surgery. Leaving her city life, and past demons, behind, Lucy is determined to make the most of her fresh start.

As life slowly begins to resemble something normal for the three women, Jo’s world is turned upside down when she receives some shocking news.

In search of some solace, Jo and Elizabeth find themselves enjoying midnight dips in the freezing Irish sea. Here they can laugh, cry and wash away all their fears. As well as conjure a fundraising plan for the local hospice; to take a dip in the nip. 

And The Lost Girls of Ireland by Susanne O’Leary

The picturesque beach of Wild Rose Bay is the last place Lydia Butler thought she’d be. But having just lost everything, the run-down cottage she inherited from her Great Aunt Nellie is the only place she can take her daughter, Sunny. Hidden away in a tiny Irish village, she can protect Sunny from the gossip in Dublin, and the real reason they have nowhere else to live…

The cottage is part of the old coastguard station and other eccentric residents are quick to introduce themselves when Lydia arrives. Lydia instantly feels less alone, fascinated by the stories they have about Nellie, and she’s charmed by American artist, Jason O’Callaghan, the mysterious man who lives next door.

But the longer Lydia relaxes under the moonlit sky, the more the secret she’s keeping from Sunny threatens to come out. And as she finds herself running into Jason’s arms, she knows she must be honest and face up to the past she has tried to forget. Has she finally found people who will truly accept her, or will the truth force her to leave the cottage for good?

I also plan on listening to The Silent Suspect by Nell Pattison

A FIRE. A MURDER. A SILENT SUSPECT…

On a quiet street, one house is burning to the ground…

By the time sign language interpreter Paige Northwood arrives, flames have engulfed her client’s home. Though Lukas is safe, his wife is still inside. But she was dead before the fire started…

Lukas signs to Paige that he knows who killed his wife. But then he goes silent – even when the police charge him with murder.

Is he guilty, or afraid? Only Paige can help him now…

I have seven new ARCs this week . . .

An Ambush of Widows by Jeff Abbott, an author I used to read regularly but whom has somehow dropped off my reading radar for no particular reason that I can recall. Though I have just noticed that this is an excerpt only, which is a bit disappointing.

The Marriage Mender by Linda Green

Boy Underground by Catherine Ryan-Hyde

Dream Girl in Laura Lippman

The Stalker by Sarah Alderson

Invite Me In by Emma Curtis

And 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

So that’s it from me for today. I need to get back to The Dead Husband . . . I am going to have to finish this before I go to sleep tonight.

Please do tell me where your reading travels have taken you this week. Happy reading!❤📚 Sandy

When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins

EXCERPT: On her bedside table, the clock clicks forward another minute. Each tiny hair on her arm rises until her skin is stippled with goosebumps.

4.07 am

Even now, that combination of digits has the power to root her in place.

Twenty-one years ago, in another bedroom and another life, a different clock stopped forever at precisely the same time, a web of hairline cracks across its face.

(She) never speaks about that night. The past is put away now. It will not define her. She tries her best not to think about it, but every now and then it shoves its way in, ugly and unwelcome. The devil’s clock, her mother called it, those hollow hours before dawn when the darkness is full of horrors and sleep will not come.

ABOUT ‘WHEN I WAS TEN’: Everyone remembered Sara and Shannon Carter, the little blonde haired sisters. Their Dad was the local GP and they lived in the beautiful house on the hill. Their best friend, Brinley Booth, lived next door. They would do anything for each other but everything shifted on that fateful day when Dr Richard Carter and his wife Pamela were stabbed fourteen times with a pair of scissors in what has become the most talked about double murder of the modern age.

The girls were aged ten and twelve at the time. One, nicknamed the Angel of Death, spent eight years in a children’s secure unit accused of the brutal killings. The other lived in foster care out of the limelight and prying questions. Now, on the anniversary of the trial, a documentary team has tracked down one of the sisters, persuading her to speak about the events of that night for the first time.

Her explosive interview sparks national headlines and Brinley Booth, now a journalist, is tasked with covering the news story which brings to light fresh evidence and triggers a chain of events which will have devastating consequences.

MY THOUGHTS: Fiona Cummins does this to me every time. No matter how prepared I think I am, I end up breath held, heart in my mouth, my whole body tensed and poised to take flight.

When I Was Ten is not a comfortable, nor a comforting read. But it was one that I couldn’t put down, or stop thinking about. Nature vs Nurture, and what goes on behind closed doors …. this book is like Pandora’s box. You open the cover and there are things contained within that will forever be on your mind. The subject matter is very dark – parricide, and child abuse to start with. As well as the more mundane and ordinary topics of loss, grief, infidelity, grooming, secrets, lies, betrayals, manipulation and . . . . well, you name it, and Cummins has it covered. But it works – brilliantly.

The characters are well crafted and believable, not to mention interesting. Very interesting.

When I Was Ten also examines the powerful influence of social media and the press, and the ways in which the users of social media can and do flout the law.

There is a lot of food for thought in this novel. But it’s not going to demand that you acknowledge it. If you are simply looking for a read that will leave your heart pounding – this is it. The rest is window dressing. Chilling and thrilling.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#WhenIWasTen #NetGalley

I: @fionacumminsauthor @panmacmillan

T:

THE AUTHOR: Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course. She lives in Essex with her family.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Pan Macmillan via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins 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 my Goodreads.com