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

Watching what I’m reading . . .

I was so looking forward to Luke coming to stay for a three day weekend, but he has been unwell since the trip home with an upset stomach that started when we broke our journey to take advantage of the wonderful playground in the next town north of here. It’s a lovely playground but we had only been there a little over five minutes and we had to dash for the toilets. 🤦‍♀️

So we’ve done none of the things I had planned. He’s been quite content to lay on the couch with his cuddlies and have me read him books. He will probably come right just in time for me to take him home. 🤷‍♀️

Currently I am reading When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins.

There’s more to this than immediately obvious and I have my suspicions. Time will tell if I am right.

And I am listening to The Coffin Maker’s Garden by Stuart MacBride

This week I am planning on reading Her Last Holiday by C.L. Taylor.

Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong.

Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of two people. But he has never let on what happened to the third victim: Jenna.

Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden?

And The Girls From Alexandria by Carol Cooper

Memories are fragile when you are seventy years old. I can’t afford to lose any more of them, not when remembering the past might help with the here and now.

Nadia needs help. Help getting out of her hospital bed. Help taking her pills. One thing she doesn’t need help with is remembering her sister. But she does need help finding her.

Alone and abandoned in a London hospital, 70-year-old Nadia is facing the rest of her life spent in a care home unless she can contact her sister Simone… who’s been missing for 50 years.

Despite being told she’s ‘confused’ and not quite understanding how wi-fi works, Nadia is determined to find Simone. So with only cryptic postcards and her own jumbled memories to go on, Nadia must race against her own fading faculties and find her sister before she herself is forgotten.

I also plan on starting Entry Island by Peter May for the Goodreads.com Mystery, Crime and Thriller group read for April. I am a bit behind everyone else in starting this, but really enjoy Peter May and haven’t previously read this title.

When Detective Sime Mackenzie boards a light aircraft at Montreal’s St. Hubert airfield, he does so without looking back. For Sime, the 850-mile journey ahead represents an opportunity to escape the bitter blend of loneliness and regret that has come to characterise his life in the city.

Travelling as part of an eight-officer investigation team, Sime’s destination lies in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Only two kilometres wide and three long, Entry Island is home to a population of around 130 inhabitants – the wealthiest of which has just been discovered murdered in his home.

The investigation itself appears little more than a formality. The evidence points to a crime of passion: the victim’s wife the vengeful culprit. But for Sime the investigation is turned on its head when he comes face to face with the prime suspect, and is convinced that he knows her – even though they have never met.

Haunted by this certainty his insomnia becomes punctuated by dreams of a distant past on a Scottish island 3,000 miles away. Dreams in which the widow plays a leading role. Sime’s conviction becomes an obsession. And in spite of mounting evidence of her guilt he finds himself convinced of her innocence, leading to a conflict between the professonal duty he must fulfil, and the personal destiny that awaits him.

I have five new ARCs from Netgalley again this week and one audiobook ARC.

The audiobook is The Day She Died by S.M. Freeman and narrated by Lauren Ezzo.

The Kindle ARCs are The Hope Chest by Carolyn Brown

The Vacation by M.M. Chouinard

The Forever Home by Sue Watson

You Need to Know by Nicola Moriarty

And The Heights by Louise Candlish

And that’s a lot more than I intended requesting!

Happy reading my friends ❤📚

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Is it my imagination, or are Sundays, and therefore Mondays, coming around more quickly than they did earlier in the year? Or is it just because I am still working 7 days….? Not quite true as I had yesterday off for Luke’s 4th birthday. It was a lovely day, the children were all very well behaved and had lots of fun. The birthday cake was a lovely rich moist chocolate cake in the shape of two volcanoes with lava flows and roaming dinosaurs.

The smaller volcano was Dustin’s gluten free cake. We had a dehumidifier under the larger volcano but the kids were so excited and wanting to help Luke blow out his candles that we didn’t have a chance to plug it in and let it blow steam. I wish I had taken a photo when we did the very brief test run as it was quite spectacular! Luke got lots of dinosaur themed gifts and had a great time with his friends.

I am just about to start Robert Dugoni’s In Her Tracks, Tracy Crosswhite #8.

Returning from an extended leave in her hometown of Cedar Grove, Detective Tracy Crosswhite finds herself reassigned to the Seattle PD’s cold case unit. As the protective mother of an infant daughter, Tracy is immediately drawn to her first file: the abduction of a five-year-old girl whose parents, embattled in a poisonous divorce, were once prime suspects.

While reconstructing the days leading up to the girl’s disappearance, Tracy is brought into an active investigation with former partner Kinsington Rowe. A young woman has vanished on an isolated jogging trail in North Seattle. Divided between two critical cases, Tracy has little to go on except the treacherous deceptions behind a broken marriage—and now, the secrets hiding behind the closed doors of a deceptively quiet middle-class neighborhood.

To find two missing persons, Tracy will have to follow more than clues, which are both long cold and unsettlingly fresh. Given her own traumatic past, Tracy must also follow her instincts—to whatever dark and dangerous places they may lead. 

I also intend to read When I was Ten by Fiona Cummins.

She had lived a lie for thirteen years, and the perfect life as she had known it was about to change forever.

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.

I have just started listening to The Coffin Maker’s Garden, #3 in Stuart MacBride’s Ash Henderson series.

A village on the edge…
As a massive storm batters the Scottish coast, Gordon Smith’s home is falling into the North Sea. But the crumbling headland has revealed what he’s got buried in his garden: human remains.

A house full of secrets…
With the storm still raging, it’s too dangerous to retrieve the bodies and waves are devouring the evidence. Which means no one knows how many people Smith’s already killed and how many more he’ll kill if he can’t be found and stopped.

An investigator with nothing to lose…
The media are baying for blood, the top brass are after a scapegoat, and ex-Detective Inspector Ash Henderson is done playing nice. He’s got a killer to catch, and God help anyone who gets in his way.

I am also reading The Women Who Ran Away by Sheila O’Flanagan. Don’t you just love this cover!

Deira is setting out on the holiday she’d planned with her long-term partner Gavin… only she’s on her own. Gavin will not be amused when he finds out she’s ‘borrowed’ his car, but since their brutal break-up Deira’s not been acting rationally. Maybe a drive through beautiful France will help her see things differently…Grace is also travelling alone, each stage of her journey outlined in advance by her late husband. Ken was head of the household when he was alive, and it seems he’s still in charge. His last decision was a surprise – could there be more surprises to come? There’s only one way to find out, galling though it is to dance again to Ken’s tune…Thrown together by chance, Deira and Grace are soon motoring down the French highways, sharing intriguing stories of their pasts, as they each consider the future.

I will be lucky to finish all these this week, but I will give it my best shot.

I was excited to receive a publisher’s widget for Stolen by Tess Stimson this week. One in Three by the same author was one of the best books that I read last year.

I also received four ARCs from Netgalley – All Her Fault by Andrea Mara

The Car Share by Zoe Brisby

The Marriage by K.L. Slater

Finding Tessa by Jaime Lynn Hendricks

Is that better, Susan? I did it for you, my friend! 🤣😂

Have a wonderful week of reading and please do pop in and tell me what you currently turning the pages of. ❤📚

Die of Shame by Mark Billingham

EXCERPT: The Visitor – The Final Visit

‘I didn’t think you were coming back,’ the prisoner says. He had begun to roll a cigarette as soon as he’d sat down and now he licks the edge of the paper, his eyes fixed on the person in the chair opposite.

‘I had a lot of running around to do.’

‘Yeah?’

‘A bit of detective work, after what you said last time.’

He is trying hard not to look nervous, or even particularly interested, struggling to remember exactly what he said all those weeks before. What he might have given away. He says, ‘It’s rubbish, isn’t it? Everything you put in that first letter. The reason you’ve been coming.’

‘Sorry about that.’

He slaps his hand on the table, but not in anger. He’s just pleased to have been proved right. ‘I knew it.’

‘What do you care? You’ll be out soon enough.’

‘Yeah, I knew it first time I saw you.’

‘Really?’

‘You don’t look like a student.’

‘What do I look like?’

He shrugs, roll-up complete. ‘Well, you’re obviously some kind of nutter.’

The visitor nods. ‘I can’t really argue with that. Some kind.’

‘So you know, if I see you once I’m out, I won’t be quite so friendly.’

‘There’s no danger of that.’

‘Just as long as we’re clear.’

‘I mean, we all know about that famous temper of yours, don’t we?’ A smile. ‘The only reason I came back at all was to say thank you.’

‘For what?’

‘For giving me what I needed. For putting me on the right track.’

Now he doesn’t much care whether he looks nervous or not. All these years saying nothing; not even then, after it had happened.

He hadn’t let something slip, had he?

No, he can’t have been that stupid.

He sits up straight and lays his hands flat on the table. He says, ‘You hear stories about people like you.’

‘Really? What kind of people is that?’

People who get off on all this. Who just like being close to it.’ Now, he leans forward, confident that he’s hit a nerve. That he’s back in charge. ‘All this shit you’ve been giving me, all those questions, and I reckon you just want to know what it’s like.’

‘What it’s like?’

‘To kill someone.’

The visitor’s face breaks into a grin. ‘Oh, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. I’ll know for myself soon enough.’

ABOUT ‘DIE OF SHAME’: Every Monday evening, six people gather in a smart North London house to talk about shame. Among them are a grieving surgeon, a betrayed housewife, a taunting gay model, a barely recovered heroin addict. All they have in common is a history of pain and compulsions—until they’re linked by the brutal murder of one of their members. Det. Inspector Nicola Tanner is drawn into this intimate circle to find the killer. Unfortunately, not a single one of them is willing to share.

Now it’s up to Tanner to delve into their pasts on her own. But what secret could be so shameful as to kill for it? Or die for it? And how can she possibly find the truth when lies and denial are second nature to her suspects?

MY THOUGHTS: I had absolutely no idea ‘who dunnit’. Billingham adeptly casts suspicion on all of the remaining characters, so that I kept changing my mind. But the motive was the stumbling block, although all of the people are living on the edge, teetering between their pasts, and the future that lays ahead of them if they can only stay clean.

There’s Robin, a respected doctor in his early sixties, with a marriage breakup and a history of addiction to a variety of easily obtainable medications behind him. But he’s being blackmailed, threatened with exposure to the medical council.

Tony is the therapist, himself a recovered addict and ex-musician with a less than satisfying home life. His wife seems bored with him and is openly critical of his ‘work’, and his relationship with his clients. His daughter alternates between ignoring him, and openly flaunting her drug use.

Heather is a thirty two year old woman, once addicted to drugs and gambling. She is needy, the group peacemaker and has a ‘thing’ for Tony. She admits in a group session that she is the one she trusts least in the group.

Chris is a young gay man, living in hostels, shelters and anywhere else he can crash that won’t cost him money. He has swapped his drug dependency for an addiction to computer games and online pornography. He is not comfortable in his own skin and enjoys shocking the other group members with tales of his sexuality.

Diana is a well to do housewife who became an alcoholic after her marriage disintegrated and her daughter rejected her. She too has swapped her addiction to alcohol for compulsive shopping.

Caroline is new to the group, obese, a compulsive overeater.

One of these people will be murdered. One of these people is a murderer.

Billingham has, as always, constructed a diabolically clever plot. His characters are a complex lot, but totally believable, an interesting mix of personalities. Put together in a room, ostensibly to support one another’s recovery, there are conflicts and resentments, lies and betrayals, and occasionally outright hatred.

The ending is not going to suit everyone, but I liked it.

Although this is a stand alone novel, it amused me that Billingham was unable to resist inserting the characters of Phil Hendricks, a much-pierced medical examiner, and even that of Tom Thorne himself.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.4

#DieOfShame #NetGalley #MarkBillingham #GroveAtlantic

@MarkBillingham @groveatlantic

#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #murdermystery

THE AUTHOR: Also writes as Will Peterson with Peter Cocks.

Mark Billingham was born and brought up in Birmingham. Having worked for some years as an actor and more recently as a TV writer and stand-up comedian his first crime novel was published in 2001. Mark lives in North London with his wife and two children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Grove Atlantic via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Die of Shame by Mark Billingham 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 Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

EXCERPT:
FERN – The problem, I realise, is that there are two Roses. The Rose I rely on, and the other Rose. The Rose who hated Mum. The Rose who goes behind my back to speak to Wally. The Rose who would possibly betray me to get the baby she wants so badly.

I don’t know which Rose I’m getting. I don’t know which Rose my baby would get.

THE JOURNAL OF ROSE INGRID CASTLE – Everyone accepted that Billy had drowned, even Daniel. The river was full of reeds and he had been trying to beat Fern’s time for the whole week. The coroner recorded a verdict of ‘Death by Misadventure.’ Which meant our plan worked.

Fern got away with murder.

But lately I’m wondering if I did the wrong thing, covering for her. Maybe by not allowing her to face the consequences of her actions, I’ve created a monster. There’s no doubt that Fern can be dangerous when she’s angry. And now that there is a baby involved, I’m terrified that she will pay the price for my mistake.

ABOUT ‘THE GOOD SISTER’: From the outside, everyone might think Fern and Rose are as close as twin sisters can be: Rose is the responsible one and Fern is the quirky one. But the sisters are devoted to one another and Rose has always been Fern’s protector from the time they were small.

Fern needed protecting because their mother was a true sociopath who hid her true nature from the world, and only Rose could see it. Fern always saw the good in everyone. Years ago, Fern did something very, very bad. And Rose has never told a soul. When Fern decides to help her sister achieve her heart’s desire of having a baby, Rose realizes with growing horror that Fern might make choices that can only have a terrible outcome. What Rose doesn’t realize is that Fern is growing more and more aware of the secrets Rose, herself, is keeping. And that their mother might have the last word after all.

MY THOUGHTS: The Good Sister is subtle and it kind of snuck up on me and sucker punched me. 🤣😂 What started out as merely an okay read, slowly developed into a compelling page turner that had me biting my nails towards the end as the balance of power teetered between the sisters. I haven’t bitten my nails for years! It was never a given as to which sister was going to win out and even at the end the conniving and manipulation continues.

The story is told from two points of view, that of Fern in the present, flashbacks, and extracts from Rose’s journal. Fern is a delightful character and I found myself rooting for her, even knowing what she had done as a teenager. And I loved Rocco ‘Wally’ Ryan and Rose’s reaction to him.

The Good Sister is a blend of genres. It is a suspenseful psychological thriller with a touching love story lurking beneath. Enchanting and compelling. Well done Sally Hepworth. I can’t wait to see what you deliver us next.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.3

#NetGalley #sallyhepworth #stmartinspress

@SallyHepworth @StMartinsPress

#australianfiction #contemporaryfiction #familydrama #psychologicalthriller #romance

THE AUTHOR: Drawing on the good, the bad and the downright odd of human behaviour, Sally writes incisively about family, relationships and identity. Her domestic thriller novels are laced with quirky humour, sass and a darkly charming tone.

Sally’s novels are available worldwide in English and have been translated into 20 languages.​

Sally lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to St Martin’s Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth 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 . . .

Happy Sunday. Luke has just gone home with his Dad and I have done a quick sweep around the house. I found a pair of his socks halfway down the hall, and his raptor in the dining room after we had been playing dinosaur hide and seek.

We have also baked cookies, caught up with all the laundry, and read lots of stories. He is starting to make up stories of his own now. I should write them down for him and illustrate them. Something to keep in mind for his next visit. Luke turns 4 next week and we’re having a birthday party for him next Saturday.

But, on to books….. I am currently reading Sally Hepworth’s The Good Sister.

Die of Shame by Mark Billingham

And listening to Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo, #2 in the Kate Burkholder series that I had somehow missed reading.

This week I am planning on reading The Whispers by Heidi Perks.

A MISSING WIFE. FOUR FRIENDS. WHO IS TELLING THE TRUTH?

Anna Robinson hasn’t been seen since she went on a night out with her four closest friends.

She has a loving husband and a son she adores. Surely she wouldn’t abandon them and her perfect life. . .

But what has happened to her?

At the school gates, it’s not long before the rumours start. Anna’s oldest friend Grace is beside herself with worry – desperately searching for answers, and certain that someone is hiding the truth.

With each day that passes, Anna’s life is under increasing threat. And a the pressure mounts, it won’t be long before something cracks. . .

I am keeping my reading load deliberately light because of my workload, but if I can, I will add a title from my backlist.

Only two new ARCs this week: Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons

And A Family Affair by Julie Houston

What are you planning on reading this week? Have a great one.

Cheers

Sandy ❤📚

The Best of Friends by Alex Day

EXCERPT: ‘There were things that you had hidden from even your closest friends, weren’t there?’

Silence.

‘One thing in particular, wouldn’t you agree?’

He’s going to reveal it and very soon everyone will know her history. She wills it over and done with. The jackals wait with bated breath, eager for the next titbit to feast upon. The QC inhales deeply before continuing, as if believing that oxygen will be in short supply once he has made the revelation.

The collective gasp that follows seems to prove him right. It emits forth with such force it might have come from the walls themselves. The woman’s blonde hair falls across her face as she drops her head in despair.

The case that has hitherto slithered back and forth has turned on a sixpence. The entire courtroom can see that the defendant has no way back from this.

The QC turns back to the judge. ‘No more, m’lord.’

He sits, and his black gown balloons around him like the darkening sky before a thunderstorm.

ABOUT ‘THE BEST OF FRIENDS’: Susannah is rebuilding her life…
Susannah has had a tough year. After a sticky divorce and losing the life she had grown accustomed to, moving to a small town in the south of England with her two sons is exactly the fresh start she needs.

Charlotte seems to have it all…
Charlotte is delighted when Susannah moves in. Charlotte may appear to have the perfect husband, the perfect family, the perfect house, but deep down she’s lonely, and she needs someone to confide in.

But one of them is not who they pretend to be…
The two women instantly become best friends. But underneath the surface, secrets, lies and betrayals are all hiding. And when the truth comes out, not everyone will live to tell the tale…

MY THOUGHTS: I thought that I would like The Best of Friends by Alex Day more than I did. There’s a poor little rich girl, Charlotte, and a poor little poor girl, Susannah, who become best friends. Both are needy. Both have secrets. Both lie. But Charlotte has something Susannah wants – a wealthy, handsome husband – and it would seem that Dan is ripe for the picking.

So, you know where this is going, right? And you would be mostly right. There are few surprises and even less tension and suspense in this read. There is a twist at the end that didn’t quite work for me. It left me with more questions than answers. And a vital piece of information is given away in the prologue, which spoiled things for me. The best part is around the middle of the book where the two women are circling each other like a pair of male lions spoiling for a fight.

Other than an overabundance of cliches and similies, there is not much wrong with the author’s writing that a good edit couldn’t fix. But overall, it is decidedly average. Not bad. Not
good. Just average. Next week I won’t even remember the plot.

⭐⭐.5

#NetGalley #HarperCollinsUK #onemorechapterhc

@HarperCollinsUK @OneMoreChapter_

#contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #psychologicalthriller

THE AUTHOR: Alex Day is a writer, teacher, parent and dreamer who has been putting pen to paper to weave stories for as long as she can remember. The Missing Twin is her first psychological thriller but she is a bestselling author of fiction under the name Rose Alexander.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter for providing a digital ARC of The Best of Friends by Alex Day 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 . . .

Storm clouds are gathering. The weather that has flooded New South Wales this week is due to hit New Zealand tonight. The sunrise this morning was spectacular, but I’m afraid that I just lay in bed and enjoyed it this morning. I did think about leaping out of bed and grabbing the camera, but my body wasn’t listening 🤷‍♀️

Currently I am reading Small Town Secrets by Alys Murray, which is absolutely delightful! This is a book that I requested because the cover appealed, but it is definitely a winner. It’s a light romance with a few life lessons. I love the characters, who are well developed, quirky, and believable.

I am listening to Partners in Crime by Stuart MacBride, (Logan McRae 6.5-7.5) I love this author’s sense of humour.

I am also reading The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. This is another book peopled by characters I love. This is the April group read for the ‘All About Books’ Goodreads.com group. This would make an excellent movie.

This week I am planning on reading Syrian Brides by Anna Halabi. The author provided me with an ARC.

This delightful collection of short stories offers insight into the lives of Syrian women, both the married and the brides-to-be. It reveals the warmth and humor as well as the oppression in the Syrian society. The stories make the reader laugh while addressing serious issues such as domestic violence.
Um Hussam can’t find a suitable bride for her son, testing each candidate’s sight, hearing and reading skills, occasionally cobbing a feel. Jamila’s husband Hassan can’t forget his deceased wife, until she makes sure he never mentions her again. Rami can’t help but wonder whether his new bride is a natural beauty or a talented surgeon’s masterpiece. Khadija’s maid stabs her in the back while Rana’s husband Muafak can’t find the right excuse to avoid a fight. 

And Of Magpies and Men by Ode Ray. This is also an author ARC.

Can any good come of longings that a person can never satisfy? If so, good for whom?

Two corpses wash ashore in a picturesque Italian village, the violence that put them there is bound to a long-held secret and two strangers living worlds apart with seemingly nothing in common.

Benedict Grant a wealthy Londoner, leading a lonely life.

Marie Boulanger a nurse and single mum, struggling to make ends meet in Marseille.

However, a mother’s illicit revelation will set in motion a chain of events that will reshape their identities, stir poignant family affairs and delve into the by-products of lawless decisions.

I am possibly being a little ambitious this week as it is the end of our financial year so there’s a lot of extra work to be done.

I received three new Netgalley ARCs this week:

The Last Night in London by Karen White

My Little Girl by Shalini Boland

and The Whispers by Heidi Perks

What are you planning on reading this week? I have three reviews I need to write, but as I am having trouble stringing my thoughts together coherently, I will wait until the morning to make a start, and hope that get a good night’s sleep tonight.

Has anyone else had any trouble downloading the audiobook Mrs Wiggins? I have made several unsuccessful attempts to download it to my ipod. It jams at around 10% and goes no further. I haven’t had this problem with any of the other audiobooks I have downloaded from Netgalley.

Have a wonderful week everyone!❤📚

Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy

EXCERPT: October 20

I look up as a man with ruddy cheeks walks into the restaurant, shaking rain from his baseball cap. ‘Hey, sweetheart,’ he calls to the pink-haired girl mixing drinks behind the bar. ‘Any chance you can hang this in the window?’

‘Sure thing,’ she says, nodding toward the piece of paper in his hand. ‘Another fundraiser for the fire department?’

‘No, someone’s gone missing,’ he says.

‘Missing? What happened to her?’

‘Not her. Him.’

‘Him? Well that’s not something you hear every day.’

‘Disappeared the night of the storm. Trying to get the word out.’

The door closes behind him as she walks to the end of the bar and picks up the flyer, reading aloud to the woman eating lunch at the corner seat. ‘Dr. Sam Statler, a local therapist, is six foot one, with black hair and green eyes. He’s believed to be driving a 2019 Lexus RX350.’ Whistling, she holds up the piece of paper. ‘Whoever he’s gone missing with is a lucky lady.’ I steal a glance at Sam’s photograph – those eyes, that dimple, the word MISSING in seventy-two-point font above his head.

‘I saw the story in the paper this morning,’ the woman at the bar says. ‘He went to work and never came home. His wife reported him missing.’

The pink-haired girl goes to the window. ‘Wife, huh? Sure hope she has a good alibi. You know the old saying: ‘When a man goes missing, it’s always the wife.’ ‘

ABOUT ‘GOODNIGHT BEAUTIFUL’: Newlyweds Sam Statler and Annie Potter are head over heels, and excited to say good-bye to New York and start a life together in Sam’s sleepy hometown in upstate New York. Or, it turns out, a life where Annie spends most of her time alone while Sam, her therapist husband, works long hours in his downstairs office, tending to the egos of his (mostly female) clientele.

Little does Sam know that through a vent in his ceiling, every word of his sessions can be heard from the room upstairs. The pharmacist’s wife, contemplating a divorce. The well-known painter whose boyfriend doesn’t satisfy her in bed. Who could resist listening? Everything is fine until the French girl in the green mini Cooper shows up, and Sam decides to go to work and not come home, throwing a wrench into Sam and Annie’s happily ever after.

MY THOUGHTS: I made this comment when I was 38% through Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy, ‘OMG! This is like a packet of chocolate biscuits. You just can’t stop at one!’ Only it’s not like a packet of chocolate biscuits, it’s like a box of your favourite chocolates. An endless box….

I read Goodnight Beautiful voraciously. I devoured it, and licked my fingers afterwards. This is a cleverly plotted and addictive read. I read it every moment I could, and many when I shouldn’t have.

Goodnight Beautiful is a true psychological thriller. I am not going to recap the plot, or talk about the characters. I read the synopsis back in September 2020 when I requested the ARC. I didn’t reread it before I started reading, and I recommend you do the same. The twists and turns will knock you for six, so clear your day and settle down to read this in one session.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.8

#GoodnightBeautiful #NetGalley #aimeemolloy718 #hodderstoughton

@aimeenmolloy @hodderbooks

#fivestarread #contemporaryfiction #crime #psychologicalthriller #suspense

THE AUTHOR: Aimee Molloy is a New York Times bestselling author of several books such as: However Long the Night: Molly Melching’s Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph. She is also the co-author of many non-fiction books like Jantsen’s Gift and The Perfect Mother.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy 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