The Bletchley Women by Patricia Adrian

EXCERPT: ‘Where are we?’ I ask the army officer, while he pushes me towards the guards hut. I brush by the other two girls I came with, not registering their faces. ‘Where are we?’

‘Move inside,’ he barks, hurrying me along. ‘You talk a lot, miss.’

‘Welcome to Bletchley Park,’ says one of the guards, a man about my father’s age with a drooping moustache.

Bletchley Park? Hmmm.

I am still none the wiser.

I may have no clue about where I am, but I certainly know what brought me here.

Aunt Mavis, of course. Last Christmas.

ABOUT ‘THE BLETCHLEY WOMEN’: From debutante to farmer’s daughter all roads lead to Bletchley…

In a different world, Evie Milton would have accepted her fate, married an aristocrat, and become the doyenne of one of England’s finest estates, just like her mother.

In a different world, Rose Wiley would have married her fiancé, David, established a modest homestead, and brought up a brood of babies, just like her mother.

But this isn’t a different world and these women are not their mothers. Rose dreams of a life filled with more than family and duty to her husband – a life of purpose – and Evie dreams of a life far away from her rarefied existence. Now, as they perform vital work at Bletchley Park decoding intercepted Luftwaffe messages, their role in turning the tide of war in the Allies favour shows Evie and Rose they don’t have to settle for the life once laid out before them.

MY THOUGHTS: I expected more than what I got from The Bletchley Women. It’s very vanilla. I have read and enjoyed several other books set around the code breaking work of Bletchley Park. This had many subplots based on family and relationship issues and petty rivalries within the workplace. It was too long with too many irrelevancies and lacked intrigue.

We never really get to know the characters in depth, but I really did get fed up with Rose blethering on about her ‘darling David.’

I would have liked more focus on the work the decoders did and the problems they faced. What we learned was very superficial and I finished this feeling both disappointed and frustrated. It’s a nice, light read, but not what I was looking for.

The narrators, Imogen Wilde and Antonia Whillans, narrated well with good range of tones and expression.

⭐⭐.5

#TheBletchleyWomen #NetGalley

I: @onemorechapterhc

T: @P_Adrian_Writer @OneMoreChapter_

#historicalfiction #romance #WWII

THE AUTHOR: Patricia Adrian always wanted to write books, ever since she penned (literally, with a pen) her dozen-page long ‘novel’ in fifth grade. Her interests also include history (especially women in history), skulking around social media for much longer than she should, and reading, particularly when she’s on a tight deadline and should be writing instead.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins UK Audio, One More Chapter via Netgalley for providing an audio ARC of The Bletchley Women 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 . . .

Good afternoon from a damp and drizzly New Zealand. My garden and all the farmers will be loving this weather. It’s cool, but not cold and the rain hasn’t been so heavy that it will run off the baked hard ground instead of sinking into it. And I believe that we’ve been forecast rain for the week. That’ll make the weeds grow!

Less than a week now until Kyle arrives home. I pick him up from the airport on Friday. I’m excited and counting down!

I have just finished The Last to Disappear by Jo Spain. It was an overnight read for me. I couldn’t put it down. Watch for my review.

I am also reading Before the Storm by Di Morrissey. This is a title from my backlist and I am really enjoying it. It’s been far too long since I last read anything by this author.

and I am listening to The Wednesday Morning Wild Swim written by Jules Wake and narrated by Laura Brydon. Etti is a hoot! Who wouldn’t love her?

I have five books to read for review in the coming week, but I doubt I will get through them all because of work commitments and Kyle coming home. Rest assured, I will do my best!

Long Lost Girl by Jill Childs

The little girl you lost is back… but who is she really?

When three-year-old Sara disappeared from their lives, it tore the Turner family apart. Years later, they are still startling at every knock, convinced it is Sara at the door. But the only trace of the cherished little girl is a fading photo in the hall, a single white knitted baby shoe tucked behind the frame.

Then, one day, as they pick at sandwiches in a crowded local café, a beautiful girl approaches, claiming to be Sara. With her wide green eyes and soft, straight hair, could she really be their long-lost girl? But where has she been all this time, and what happened to stop her from coming home?

Soon, Sara is turning up for Sunday lunch, and then moving her things into the little bedroom upstairs. But as Sara makes herself at home, not everyone is happy that she’s back in their lives once more. Long-held secrets are threatening to surface, and someone in this tight-knit family doesn’t want them to be told…

Gone But Still Here by Jennifer Dance

Coming to terms with advancing dementia, Mary has no choice other than to move into her daughter’s home. Her daughter, Kayla, caught between her cognitively impaired mother and her belligerent teenage son, soon finds caregiving is more challenging than she imagined. Sage, the family’s golden retriever, offers comfort and unconditional love, but she has her own problems, especially when it comes to dealing with Mary’s cat.

Throughout it all, Mary struggles to complete her final book — a memoir, the untold story of the love of her life, who died more than forty years earlier. Her confused and tangled tales span Trinidad, England, and Canada, revealing the secrets of a tragic interracial love story in the 1960s and ’70s. But with her writing skills slipping away, it’s a race against time.

The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

The moment she laid eyes on Heather Wisher, Tully knew this woman was going to destroy their lives.

Tully and Rachel are murderous when they discover their father has a new girlfriend. The fact that Heather is half his age isn’t even the most shocking part. Stephen is still married to their mother, who is in a care facility with end-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Heather knows she has an uphill battle to win Tully and Rachel over – particularly while carrying the shameful secrets of her past. But, as it turns out, her soon-to-be stepdaughters have secrets of their own.

The announcement of Stephen and Heather’s engagement threatens to set off a family implosion, with old wounds and dark secrets finally being forced to the surface.

A garage full of stolen goods. An old hot-water bottle, stuffed with cash. A blood-soaked wedding. And that’s only the beginning… 

Good Neighbours by Mary Grand

was meant to be a safe place to start again…

In need of an escape from her failing marriage, Nia agrees to house-sit her aunt’s cottage on the Isle of Wight. She feels sure the cosy close in a quaint harbour town will be a safe place to hide and figure out what to do next.

But things are not all as they seem in the close, and the neighbours who welcome her with open arms, are keeping secrets. When Nia finds the body of one of her new friends lying on the beach, she feels sickeningly sure that the killer is dangerously near to home.

Who killed her friend and why did she have to die? And if Nia discovers the answers she’s looking for, is she next on their hit list? Good neighbours may become good friends, but they can also make deadly enemies…

And I have the audiobook of The Island written by Adrian McKinty and narrated by Mela Lee

After moving from a small country town to Seattle, Heather Baxter marries Tom, a widowed doctor with a young son and teenage daughter. A working vacation overseas seems like the perfect way to bring the new family together, but once they’re deep in the Australian outback, the jet-lagged and exhausted kids are so over their new mom.

When they discover remote Dutch Island, off-limits to outside visitors, the family talks their way onto the ferry, taking a chance on an adventure far from the reach of iPhones and Instagram.

But as soon as they set foot on the island, which is run by a tightly knit clan of locals, everything feels wrong. Then a shocking accident propels the Baxters from an unsettling situation into an absolute nightmare.

When Heather and the kids are separated from Tom, they are forced to escape alone, seconds ahead of their pursuers.

Now it’s up to Heather to save herself and the kids, even though they don’t trust her, the harsh bushland is filled with danger, and the locals want her dead.

Heather has been underestimated her entire life, but she knows that only she can bring her family home again and become the mother the children desperately need, even if it means doing the unthinkable to keep them all alive.

I overextended myself yet again. The Netgalley fairies dropped six new ARCs onto my Kindle . . .

Fatal Witness by Robert Bryndza

His Other Wife by Nicole Trope

The Party Guest by Amanda Robson

The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell

The Lost Children by Michael Wood

The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen-Marie Wiseman

Do we have any books in common this week?

Have a great week. I am planning on taking a sabbatical while Kyle is home so once we get to Friday (New Zealand time) I will be offline until June.

Happy reading!

In Bloom by Fern Michaels, Lori Foster and Carolyn Brown

EXCERPT: (from The Mother’s Day Crown by Carolyn Brown)

‘I feel as free as a bird,’ Dotty held up a hand to high-five her best friend Winnie.

The crack when they slapped hands could be heard all up and down the halls of the Pecan Valley Retirement Centre. A smile deepened the wrinkles around Dotty’s mouth and bright blue eyes.

‘It’s liberating, not to think about mowing the lawn and making sure the plants are watered this summer, ain’t it? But I thought Monica was going to cry when I handed her the keys and the paperwork.’

‘She’ll settle into the change, and didn’t I tell you how good it would feel to be free of all that stuff?’ Winnie eased down on the brown and orange plaid sofa. ‘It’s like making peace with the fact that we’re both happy as baby piglets in a fresh mudhole right here in this retirement home. We should’ve done this five years ago. You are welcome.’

‘For what?’ Dotty asked.

‘Putting our names on the list to live here,’Winnie answered.

‘I suppose you’re going to lord it over me like you do the trophy for best afghan, aren’t you?’ Dotty sighed.

‘Yep, I am,’Winnie said, nodding. ‘If you’d have agreed to come with me, you wouldn’t have had to wait three months for an apartment, but oh, no, you weren’t leaving your home. They gave your place to someone else, and you had to be lonely for all those weeks. So, you are welcome for me putting both our names on the list, and for me begging the supervisor here to put your name back at the top when this place came open. If it hadn’t been for that, you wouldn’t live here, and you wouldn’t even have a chance to be Mother of the Year.’

ABOUT ‘IN BLOOM’: AMAZING GRACIE by Fern Michaels

After years spent traveling the world as a flight attendant, Gracie Walden is ready to stay a little closer to her roots, starting with two weeks at home in Amarillo, Texas. But there’s unexpected turbulence between her mother, Ella, and her older sister, Hope—and it will lead to a revelation that changes Gracie’s life in amazing ways . . .

THE MOTHER’S DAY CROWN by Carolyn Brown

Monica Allen still hasn’t forgiven Tyler Magee for breaking her heart when they were teenagers. Ten years on, they’re back in Luella, Texas, visiting their respective grandmothers. and there’s just a white picket fence and a whole lot of awkwardness between them. Will two weeks be long enough for Monica to learn to stop holding a grudge—and hold on to love?

MEANT TO BE by Lori Foster

When Cory Creed was just a little girl, she knew she’d grow up to marry Austin Winston—and she made the mistake of telling him so. Tired of watching him avoid her ever since, Cory has decided it’s time to leave Visitation, North Carolina, and Austin, behind. But Austin has finally realized what Cory was once so sure of, and now it’s his turn to prove they belong together . . . with a little help from their mothers.

MY THOUGHTS: I am just going to say straight out that it was the Carolyn Brown story that saved this read for me. InBloom contains 3 novellas. I have rated each separately.

Amazing Gracie by Fern Michaels was just an okay read. It was pretty obvious what had happened and there seemed to be an awful lot of ‘filler’ before Gracie got to the truth. I didn’t feel anything for the characters. ⭐⭐.5

Meant to Be by Lori Foster enthralled me even less. To me, it was just plain silly and based on this, I am unlikely to ever read anything else by this author. ⭐⭐

THE MOTHER’S DAY CROWN by Carolyn Brown was a wonderful story about two feisty matchmaking octagenarians and their grandchildren. It’s written with the author’s customary warmth and wit, and she makes the characters come alive on the page. I didn’t want this story to end. ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

Overall rating ⭐⭐⭐

#InBloom #NetGalley

#contemporaryfiction #familydrama #romance

THE AUTHORS: FERN MICHAELS: Fern Michaels isn’t a person. I’m not sure she’s an entity either since an entity is something with separate existence. Fern Michaels® is what I DO. Me, Mary Ruth Kuczkir.
Most writers love what they do and I’m no exception. I love it when I get a germ of an idea and get it down on paper. I love breathing life into my characters. I love writing about women who persevere and prevail. I’ve been telling stories and scribbling for 37 years. I hope I can continue for another 37 years.
LORI FOSTER: Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. Lori has published through a variety of houses, including Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin, Silhouette, Samhain, and Berkley/Jove. She is currently published with HQN.
Lori hosts a very special annual “Reader & Author” event in West Chester, Ohio. Proceeds from the event have benefited many worthy causes, including the Hamilton County YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, the Animal Adoption Foundation, The Conductive Learning Center for children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and The One Way Farm, Children’s Home.
Each year Lori donates all proceeds from one book to charity.
CAROLYN BROWN: Hi! I’m twenty five years old and movie star gorgeous. The camera added thirty plus years and a few wrinkles. Can’t trust those cameras or mirrors either. Along with bathroom scales they are notorious liars! Honestly, I am the mother of three fantastic grown children who’ve made me laugh and given me more story ideas than I could ever write. My husband, Charles, is my strongest supporter and my best friend. He’s even willing to eat fast food and help with the laundry while I finish one more chapter! Life is good and I am blessed!

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Kensington Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of In Bloom by Fern Michaels, Lori Foster and Carolyn Brown 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

Sandy’s April Roundup

A chance to see what I managed achieve and what I didn’t manage to read over April, which was a scary month to begin with.

I started off with twenty-four books to read/listen for review, but with last minute approvals this blew out to twenty nine 🤯 I managed to read/listen to and review twenty books in April, which is a record for me. I was assisted by taking part in the April extended readathon with the All About Books group on Goodreads.com My April completion rate for a paltry 69% compared with 80% last month and 75% for each of the preceding two months.

Of the books that I read, one was a debut novel – The Echo Man by Sam Holland, and four were authors that I haven’t previously read. I didn’t manage to read any books from my backlist in April, but I did read three books purely for pleasure (in addition to the reads for review), two of them belonged to series I am trying to catch up on. I had Luke for the first week of the school holidays, and although we read a lot, it was all his books 🤣🤣❤

I am relieved see that my Netgalley feedback rate is still sitting on 69%. I felt sure it would have dropped.

So, to the books I never got to read during the month and which are joining my backlist:

The Caretakers by Amanda Bestor-Seigal

Paris, 2015. A crowd gathers outside the Chauvet home in the affluent suburban community of Maisons-Larue, watching as the family’s American au pair is led away in handcuffs after the sudden death of her young charge. The grieving mother believes the caretaker is to blame, and the neighborhood is thrown into chaos, unsure who is at fault–the enigmatic, young foreigner or the mother herself, who has never seemed an active participant in the lives of her children.

The truth lies with six women: Geraldine, a heartbroken French teacher struggling to support her vulnerable young students; Lou, an incompetent au pair who was recently fired by the family next door; Charlotte, a chilly socialite and reluctant mother; Nathalie, an isolated French teenager desperate for her mother’s attention; Holly, a socially anxious au pair yearning to belong in her adopted country; and finally, Alena, the one accused of the crime, who has gone to great lengths to avoid emotional connection, and now finds herself caught in the turbulent power dynamics of her host family’s household.

Set during the weeks leading up to the event, The Caretakers is a poignant and suspenseful drama featuring complicated women. It’s a sensitive exploration of the weight of secrets, the pressures of country, community, and family–and miscommunications and misunderstandings that can have fatal consequences.

The Girls by Bella Osborne

Four old friends. Thrown back together after fifty years apart. What could possibly go wrong?

In the 1970s, The Girls were best friends sharing a flat and good times: Zara the famous diva actor, Val the uptight solicitor, Jackie the wild child and Pauline the quirky introvert. Now they’re in their twilight years, and Zara suggests that they live with her to support each other through old age.

Initially, being housemates again is just as much fun as in their heyday. But then Zara reveals the real reason she asked them to move in with her, and suddenly things take a sinister turn.

As the women confront their demons they come under the spotlight of the press, the police and an angry parrot. With their lives spiralling out of control can they save their friendships and each other?

The Best of Me by Sharon Sala

An orphaned little girl who desperately needs a new home
A couple ready to welcome her with open arms
Friendly neighbors who are always there for each other
A Southern small town where great things happen to good people

Ruby Butterman and her husband, Peanut, cannot have children, but they’re given a second chance at a family when eight-year-old orphan Carlie is left in their care. It’s a challenge for Carlie to adapt to a new town, a new school, and a new family, and when she gets bullied at school, Ruby and Peanut discover how to step up as parents, and how to make a forever family for their beloved little girl. 

Other People’s Lives by J.E. Rowney

Let me ask you. Are you worried that someone is watching you, or are you worried that you think someone is watching you?”

Sophie Portman has lost her husband, and she thinks she may be losing her mind.

She seeks the help of psychiatrist Andrew Thacker, but as she starts to open up, the truth begins to unravel and nothing is quite as it seems.

The Patient by Jane Shemilt

She is his doctor. He will be her downfall.

The bestselling phenomenon returns…

When Rachel meets Luc, the attraction is instant.
But she is a doctor, and he is her patient.
She gives him the drugs he needs – but in doing so, risks everything.
And when a secret is exposed, they’re both in the firing line.
Not all patients are telling the truth.

The Removal Man by R.J. Parker

Rose is moving. For her and her son, Noah, this is going to be a fresh start.

She’s almost finished packing but Noah is determined to spend one last night camping out in the garden like he used to. Rose agrees as long as he wraps up warm inside their small tent.

Four hours later she’s woken by a frantic banging on the window.

It’s Noah.

There’s someone in the garden.

That’s when Rose picks up the kitchen knife. 

A Body on the Beach by Dee MacDonald

It’s Tinworthy village’s summer fete: a brass band, cream teas, gentle gossip… and a body on the beach? The party’s just getting started for super sleuth Kate Palmer!

Kate Palmer thought spending the day at Tinworthy’s annual summer party would involve sea air, sunshine and Cornish cream cake – how very wrong she was! When Kate goes for a cliff-top walk she is shocked to spot the body of Sienna Stone – Cornwall’s biggest gossip – on the sandy beach below.

Rumours swirl around the close-knit community and all eyes are on Kate. Half the village saw her arguing with Sienna at the party earlier that day. It was the usual bickering between neighbours, but when Kate finds herself in the frame can she – and her new husband Woody Forrest – solve the puzzling death and clear her name?

There’s a long list of people who might have wanted to push Sienna – her long-suffering husband Irvin, her jealous younger sister Sally and Timmy Thomson, the man who idolised her, not to mention all the villagers who felt the sharp end of her tongue. Finding out the truth isn’t going to be easy…

Just as Kate thinks she’s getting closer to an answer, an unexpected afternoon visitor shares some curious information over tea and scones that sets her on an entirely different path. And soon she starts to wonder if she might be in real danger too…

Can Kate solve the curious case before the murderer declares the party over? Or have her days of sleuthing come to an end? 

Plus the audiobook The Wednesday Morning Wild Swim by Jules Wake

Ettie is trying to figure out her future.

Dominic’s just trying to forget his past.

But with the help of some unlikely friends, young and old, a secret lake hidden in the grounds of a beautiful estate and a scruffy dog, a new community is formed – right when they all need each other the most.

And I have started listening to The Bletchley Women by Patricia Adrian today

From debutante to farmer’s daughter all roads lead to Bletchley…

In a different world, Evie Milton would have accepted her fate, married an aristocrat, and become the doyenne of one of England’s finest estates, just like her mother.

In a different world, Rose Wiley would have married her fiancé, David, established a modest homestead, and brought up a brood of babies, just like her mother.

But this isn’t a different world and these women are not their mothers. Rose dreams of a life filled with more than family and duty to her husband – a life of purpose – and Evie dreams of a life far away from her rarefied existence. Now, as they perform vital work at Bletchley Park decoding intercepted Luftwaffe messages, their role in turning the tide of war in the Allies favour shows Evie and Rose they don’t have to settle for the life once laid out before them. 

Looking at May I have twenty Netgalley ARCs to read/listen for review, so hopefully that is achievable, as long as there are no late approvals for May published books. I am going back to work one or two days a week, and my youngest son is coming home from Australia for ten days so my reading time may take a bit of a hit.

I am currently reading one of my backtitles from 2017!😇

Have you read any of the titles I didn’t get to this month. Let me know what you thought of them.

Happy reading for May!❤📚

Watching what I’m reading…

Tomorrow, Monday 25 April, is a national day of remembrance observed in both Australia and New Zealand. Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the First World War (1914–1918). Now it commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “acknowledges the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”. My father served in the peace-keeping J-Force in Hiroshima. He loved his time in Japan and always wanted to return.

Autumn is definitely making its presence felt now. Our temperatures are down in single digits overnight and there is a very cool and gusty south-westerly blowing today. The trees are beginning to change colour and the grass growth has slowed down significantly. We’ve collected firewood this weekend and trimmed all the hedges.

Luke has been with us during the week and we took him home this morning. He starts school when it goes back in May. He seems to have grown up all of a sudden.

currently I am reading The Widow’s Husband by Lesley Sanderson

Forgotten by Nicole Trope, a title from my backlist.

and listening to One of Us is Dead by Geneva Rose

This week I have, again, overcommitted myself. My reads for review due are: In Bloom, a spring themed anthology by Fern Michaels, Carolyn Brown and Lori Foster

AMAZING GRACIE * Fern Michaels

After years spent traveling the world as a flight attendant, Gracie Walden is ready to stay a little closer to her roots, starting with two weeks at home in Amarillo, Texas. But there’s unexpected turbulence between her mother, Ella, and her older sister, Hope—and it will lead to a revelation that changes Gracie’s life in amazing ways . . .

THE MOTHER’S DAY CROWN * Carolyn Brown

Monica Allen still hasn’t forgiven Tyler Magee for breaking her heart when they were teenagers. Ten years on, they’re back in Luella, Texas, visiting their respective grandmothers. and there’s just a white picket fence and a whole lot of awkwardness between them. Will two weeks be long enough for Monica to learn to stop holding a grudge—and hold on to love?

MEANT TO BE * Lori Foster

When Cory Creed was just a little girl, she knew she’d grow up to marry Austin Winston—and she made the mistake of telling him so. Tired of watching him avoid her ever since, Cory has decided it’s time to leave Visitation, North Carolina, and Austin, behind. But Austin has finally realized what Cory was once so sure of, and now it’s his turn to prove they belong together . . . with a little help from their mothers.

No Less the Devil by Stuart MacBride

‘We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.’

It’s been seventeen months since the Bloodsmith butchered his first victim and Operation Maypole is still no nearer to catching him. The media is whipping up a storm, the top brass are demanding results, but the investigation is sinking fast.

Now isn’t the time to get distracted with other cases, but Detective Sergeant Lucy McVeigh doesn’t have much choice. When Benedict Strachan was just eleven, he hunted down and killed a homeless man. No one’s ever figured out why Benedict did it, but now, after sixteen years, he’s back on the streets again – battered, frightened, convinced a shadowy ‘They’ are out to get him, and begging Lucy for help.

It sounds like paranoia, but what if he’s right? What if he really is caught up in something bigger and darker than Lucy’s ever dealt with before? What if the Bloodsmith isn’t the only monster out there? And what’s going to happen when Lucy goes after them?

A Tidy Ending by Joanna Cannon

Linda has lived in a quiet neighborhood since fleeing the dark events of her childhood in Wales. Now she sits in her kitchen, wondering if this is all there is: pushing the vacuum around and cooking fish sticks for dinner, a far cry from the glamorous lifestyle she sees in the glossy magazines coming through the mail slot addressed to the previous occupant, Rebecca.

Linda’s husband Terry isn’t perfect—he picks his teeth, tracks dirt through the house, and spends most of his time in front of the TV. But that seems fairly standard—until he starts keeping odd hours at work, at around the same time young women in the town start to go missing.

If only Linda could track down and befriend Rebecca, maybe some of that enviable lifestyle would rub off on her and she wouldn’t have to worry about what Terry is up to. But the grass isn’t always greener and you can’t change who you really are. And some secrets can’t stay buried forever… 

A Body on the Beach (Kate Palmer #5) by Dee MacDonald

it’s

Tinworthy village’s summer fete: a brass band, cream teas, gentle gossip… and a body on the beach? The party’s just getting started for super sleuth Kate Palmer!

Kate Palmer thought spending the day at Tinworthy’s annual summer party would involve sea air, sunshine and Cornish cream cake – how very wrong she was! When Kate goes for a cliff-top walk she is shocked to spot the body of Sienna Stone – Cornwall’s biggest gossip – on the sandy beach below.

Rumours swirl around the close-knit community and all eyes are on Kate. Half the village saw her arguing with Sienna at the party earlier that day. It was the usual bickering between neighbours, but when Kate finds herself in the frame can she – and her new husband Woody Forrest – solve the puzzling death and clear her name?

There’s a long list of people who might have wanted to push Sienna – her long-suffering husband Irvin, her jealous younger sister Sally and Timmy Thomson, the man who idolised her, not to mention all the villagers who felt the sharp end of her tongue. Finding out the truth isn’t going to be easy…

Just as Kate thinks she’s getting closer to an answer, an unexpected afternoon visitor shares some curious information over tea and scones that sets her on an entirely different path. And soon she starts to wonder if she might be in real danger too…

Can Kate solve the curious case before the murderer declares the party over? Or have her days of sleuthing come to an end?

The Patient by Jane Shemitt

When Rachel meets Luc, the attraction is instant.
But she is a doctor, and he is her patient.
She gives him the drugs he needs – but in doing so, risks everything.
And when a secret is exposed, they’re both in the firing line.
Not all patients are telling the truth.

The Removal Man by R.J. Parker

Rose is moving. For her and her son, Noah, this is going to be a fresh start.

She’s almost finished packing but Noah is determined to spend one last night camping out in the garden like he used to. Rose agrees as long as he wraps up warm inside their small tent.

Four hours later she’s woken by a frantic banging on the window.

It’s Noah.

There’s someone in the garden.

That’s when Rose picks up the kitchen knife. 

And the audios Every Little Secret by Sarah Clarke

From the outside, it seems Grace has it all. Only she knows about the cracks in her picture-perfect life… and the huge secret behind them. After all, who can she trust?

Her brother Josh is thousands of miles away, and he and Grace have never been close – he was always their parents’ favourite.

Her best friend Coco walked away from her years ago, their friendship irreparably fractured by the choices they’ve made.

And her husband Marcus seems like a different man lately. Grace can’t shake the feeling that he’s hiding something.

But when her seven-year-old daughter makes a troubling accusation, Grace must choose between protecting her child and protecting her secret… before she loses everything. 

The Bletchley Women written by Patricia Adrian, narrated by Imogen Wilde and Antonia Whillans

In a different world, Evie Milton would have accepted her fate, married an aristocrat, and become the doyenne of one of England’s finest estates, just like her mother.

In a different world, Rose Wiley would have married her fiancé, David, established a modest homestead, and brought up a brood of babies, just like her mother.

But this isn’t a different world and these women are not their mothers. Rose dreams of a life filled with more than family and duty to her husband – a life of purpose – and Evie dreams of a life far away from her rarefied existence. Now, as they perform vital work at Bletchley Park decoding intercepted Luftwaffe messages, their role in turning the tide of war in the Allies favour shows Evie and Rose they don’t have to settle for the life once laid out before them. 

The Wednesday Morning Wild Swim (Yorkshire Escape #2) written by Jules Wake and narrated by Laura Brydon

Ettie is trying to figure out her future.

Dominic’s just trying to forget his past.

But with the help of some unlikely friends, young and old, a secret lake hidden in the grounds of a beautiful estate and a scruffy dog, a new community is formed – right when they all need each other the most.

I received eight new ARCs for review this week. They are: The Murder Book by Mark Billingham

The Night Ship by Jess Kidd

A Murder of Crows by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett

A Wedding at Sandy Cove by Bella Osborne

Black Mouth by Ronald Malfi

Good Neighbours by Mary Grand

Lying Beside You by Michael Robotham

and the audio ARC of The Island written by Adrian McKinty and narrated by Mela Lee

A Few of the Girls: a collection of short stories by Maeve Binchy

EXCERPT: Taken from ‘Half of Ninety’
Kay woke up because the curtains in her bedroom were being pulled back. This hadn’t happened for a long time, not for five long years since Peter had left. It gave her a shock.

Then she heard a breakfast tray rattling and saw a big vase of flowers on a table. Her daughter Helen must have let herself into the house and was giving her a birthday treat.

‘It’s all from Nick as well,’ Helen explained, not wanting to take all the praise. ‘He delivered the flowers, reminded me to keep the half bottle of champagne cold, he would have been here if he could.’

‘Champagne!’ Kay couldn’t believe it.

She felt tears in her eyes. They were so good to her and always had been.

‘Just half a bottle and fresh orange juice – you are going to have a Bucks Fizz or a Mimosa or whatever they call it.’ Helen was struggling with the cork.

Kay sat up in bed happily. There were fresh croissants on a warmed plate and a Thermos flask of coffee. This breakfast could go on all morning if she wanted it to. And why not? Her day was her own until ten o’clock when she went to work in a nearby antique shop, and it wouldn’t really matter if she were late. They didn’t depend on her to run it, exactly.

But she wouldn’t think of that now as she sipped the fizzy orange. Alcohol at eight in the morning – whatever next?

‘I’ll just have a sip then I must go to work.’ Helen was all busy and excited. ‘Anyway, tonight Mum, it’s the birthday present. Nick and I will be here at seven o’clock to pick you up and we’ll all go to this restaurant and give you our present.’

‘But this is my present, this and the dinner, surely?’ Kay protested.

‘Nonsense. We have to do something special – after all, it’s not every day your mother makes it to half of ninety!’

ABOUT ‘A FEW OF THE GIRLS’: The Irish do love telling stories, and we are suspicious of people who don’t have long, complicated conversations. There used to be a rule in etiquette books that you should invite four talkers and four listeners to a dinner party. That doesn’t work in Ireland, because nobody knows four listeners’

Maeve Binchy’s bestselling novels not only tell wonderful stories, they also give an insight in to how Ireland has changed over the decades, but how people remain the same: they still fall in love, sometimes unsuitably; they still have hopes and dreams; they have deep, long-standing friendships, and some that fall apart. From her earliest writing to her most recent, Maeve’s work has included wonderfully nostalgic pieces and also sharp, often witty writing which is insightful and topical. But at the heart of all Maeve’s fiction are the people and their relationships with each other.

MY THOUGHTS: A Few of the Girls is a collection of short stories from much loved author Maeve Binchy that were published posthumously. They are stories focusing on relationships, both good and bad. And just as there are good and bad relationships in the stories, there are good and bad stories in this collection. Some of them show their age and others are totally relevant. A mixed, but perfectly enjoyable, bag.

⭐⭐⭐.6

THE AUTHOR: Maeve Binchy was born in County Dublin and educated at the Holy Child convent in Killiney and at University College, Dublin. After a spell as a teacher she joined the Irish Times. Her first novel, Light a Penny Candle, was published in 1982 and she went on to write over twenty books, all of them bestsellers. Several have been adapted for cinema and television, most notably Circle of Friends and Tara Road. Maeve Binchy received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Book Awards in 1999 and the Irish PEN/A. T. Cross award in 2007. In 2010 she was presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bord Gais Irish Book Awards by the President of Ireland. She was married to the writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell for 35 years, and died in 2012.

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Greetings from the house of Covid. I tested positive Thursday, and Pete yesterday. Other than feeling tired, I’m fine. Pete has the flu like symptoms.

Currently I am reading and loving Other People Manage by Ellen Hawley.

The Scholar, #2 in Cormac Reilly series, by Dervla McTiernan

And I am listening to Treasure & Dirt by Chris Hammer

I’ve got another full week of reading ahead of me with the following titles due to be read and reviewed:

The Caretakers by Amanda Bestor-Siegel

Paris, 2015. A crowd gathers outside the Chauvet home in the affluent suburban community of Maisons-Larue, watching as the family’s American au pair is led away in handcuffs after the sudden death of her young charge. The grieving mother believes the caretaker is to blame, and the neighborhood is thrown into chaos, unsure who is at fault–the enigmatic, young foreigner or the mother herself, who has never seemed an active participant in the lives of her children.

The truth lies with six women: Geraldine, a heartbroken French teacher struggling to support her vulnerable young students; Lou, an incompetent au pair who was recently fired by the family next door; Charlotte, a chilly socialite and reluctant mother; Nathalie, an isolated French teenager desperate for her mother’s attention; Holly, a socially anxious au pair yearning to belong in her adopted country; and finally, Alena, the one accused of the crime, who has gone to great lengths to avoid emotional connection, and now finds herself caught in the turbulent power dynamics of her host family’s household.

Set during the weeks leading up to the event, The Caretakers is a poignant and suspenseful drama featuring complicated women. It’s a sensitive exploration of the weight of secrets, the pressures of country, community, and family–and miscommunications and misunderstandings that can have fatal consequences.

The New Neighbor by Carter Wilson

Aidan holds the winning Powerball numbers.

Is today the best day of his life… or the worst?

Aidan Marlowe is the superstitious type—he’s been playing the same lottery numbers for fifteen years, never hitting the jackpot. Until now. On the day of his wife’s funeral.

Aidan struggles to cope with these two sudden extremes: instant wealth beyond his imagination, and the loss of the only woman he’s ever loved, the mother of his twin children. But the money gives him and his kids options they didn’t have before. They can leave everything behind. They can start a new life in a new town. So they do.

But a huge new house and all the money in the world can’t replace what they’ve lost, and it’s not long before Aidan realizes he’s merely trading old demons for new ones. Because someone is watching him and his family very closely. Someone who knows exactly who they are, where they’ve come from, and what they’re trying to hide. Someone who will stop at nothing to get what they want…

Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins

THE PLACE: Seawings, a beautiful Art Deco home overlooking the sweep of the bay in Midtown-on-Sea.

THE CRIME: The gilded Holden family – Piper and Gray and their two teenage children, Riva and Artie – has vanished from the house without a trace.

THE DETECTIVE: DS Saul Anguish, brilliant but with a dark past, treads the narrow line between light and shade.

One late autumn morning, Piper’s best friend arrives at Seawings to discover an eerie scene – the kettle is still warm, all the family’s phones are charging on the worktop, the cars are in the garage. But the house is deserted.

In fifteen-year-old Riva Holden’s bedroom, scrawled across the mirror in blood, are three words:

Make
Them
Stop.

What happens next?

A Village Secret by Julie Houston

When Jennifer goes up to Cambridge University with her head full of the Romantic Poets, she never dreams that she will find her very own Byron. But then she meets gorgeous actor Laurie Lewis, and finds herself living a real-life love poem.

Fifteen years and two children later, Jennifer and Laurie’s relationship is starting to feel more like an epic tragedy. After a series of revelations turn her world upside down, Jennifer will do anything to keep her family together – even if it means moving hundreds of miles away to Laurie’s childhood home in Westenbury, Yorkshire.

As she reluctantly enters into village life – complete with interfering in-laws, new friends and a surprise delivery of alpacas – Jennifer is amazed to find herself feeling happy for the first time in years. But the village holds one last, devastating secret and Jennifer must decide once and for all what she wants her future to hold.

First Born by Will Dean

Sisters. Soulmates. Strangers.

Molly Raven lives a quiet, structured life in London, finding comfort in security and routine. Her identical twin Katie, living in New York, is the exact opposite: outgoing, spontaneous, and adventurous.

But when Molly hears that Katie has died, possibly murdered, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. As terrifying as it is, she knows she must travel across the ocean and find out what happened. But as she tracks her twin’s final movements, cracks begin to emerge, and she slowly realizes her sister was not who she thought she was and there’s a dangerous web of deceit surrounding the two of them.

The Girls by Bella Osborne

Four old friends. Thrown back together after fifty years apart. What could possibly go wrong?

In the 1970s, The Girls were best friends sharing a flat and good times: Zara the famous diva actor, Val the uptight solicitor, Jackie the wild child and Pauline the quirky introvert. Now they’re in their twilight years, and Zara suggests that they live with her to support each other through old age.

Initially, being housemates again is just as much fun as in their heyday. But then Zara reveals the real reason she asked them to move in with her, and suddenly things take a sinister turn.

As the women confront their demons they come under the spotlight of the press, the police and an angry parrot. With their lives spiralling out of control can they save their friendships and each other? 

I have only added two new titles to my ARC mountain this week:

Long Lost Child by Jill Childs

And an audiobook Every Little Secret by Sarah Clarke and narrated by Katy Federman

I hope you’re all having a great weekend and that you’ve had great week’s reading. I’m off to Facetime Luke. He had his fifth birthday party yesterday, a week before actual birthday, and we had miss it. I did ask him to save me a piece of birthday cake, so I need to check that he did. We’ll be out of isolation Saturday (his actual birthday) so hopefully we will be able to deliver his gifts and the Easter egg.

Have wonderful week. I’m going to put my feet up and finish Other People Manage. Homemade Tomato Chili Soup with garlic bread for dinner tonight.

Bride For A Day by Carolyn Brown

EXCERPT: She had said that she didn’t want to ever get married, but Ted wondered if that was the truth. Had she envisioned herself in a church, standing beside a man who’d swept her off her feet, who had promised to give her the sun, the moon and all the stars? Did she wish she was wearing a white satin gown, not a faded red sweatshirt, well-worn sneakers and bleached-out jeans?

‘Do you?’ Sam asked.

‘I do,’ she whispered.

ABOUT ‘BRIDE FOR A DAY’: Cassie O’Malley is a woman on the run when she when gets tangled up with a suspicious local sheriff and, on the spur of the moment, turns to a handsome stranger to get herself out of a tight spot.

Ted Wellman didn’t go to town to get hitched but that sweet girl with her big green eyes looked desperate. Suddenly he finds himself married to a stranger. No problem, his uncle’s a lawyer and everybody knows he’s in no emotional condition to settle down, not since the death of his brother put him on emotional lock down.

Much to his surprise, instead of helping get out of it, Ted’s crazy family seemed determined to keep him and Cassie together. What could they be thinking? That there is a chance of finally thawing Ted’s frozen heart?

MY THOUGHTS: This was a quick fun read with endearing, if a little prickly at times, characters that I just wanted to have a HEA. And, of course, that’s what Carolyn Brown is so good at, although she does love to throw in the odd complication along the way.

I read Bride For a Day in one sitting, unable to tear myself away from learning the fate of Ted and Cassie. Loved the big, extended family and the way they all pull together at the first sign of trouble.

Written with Brown’s trademark warmth and wit, this is an updated rewrite of the 1997 title Love is the Answer.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

#BrideForaDay #NetGalley

I: @carolynbrownbooks @sourcebooks

T: @thecarolynbrown @sourcebooks

#contemporaryfiction #romance

THE AUTHOR: Hi! I’m twenty five years old and movie star gorgeous. The camera added thirty plus years and a few wrinkles. Can’t trust those cameras or mirrors either. Along with bathroom scales they are notorious liars! Honestly, I am the mother of three fantastic grown children who’ve made me laugh and given me more story ideas than I could ever write. My husband, Charles, is my strongest supporter and my best friend. He’s even willing to eat fast food and help with the laundry while I finish one more chapter! Life is good and I am blessed!

Reading has been a passion since I was five years old and figured out those were words on book pages. As soon as my chubby little fingers found they could put words on a Big Chief tablet with a fat pencil, I was on my way. Writing joined reading in my list of passions. I will read anything from the back of the Cheerio’s box to Faulkner and love every bit of it. In addition to reading I enjoy cooking, my family and the ocean. I love the Florida beaches. Listening to the ocean waves puts my writing brain into high gear.

I love writing romance because it’s about emotions and relationships. Human nature hasn’t changed a bit since Eve coveted the fruit in the Garden of Eden. Settings change. Plots change. Names change. Times change. But love is love and men and women have been falling in and out of it forever. Romance is about emotions: love, hate, anger, laughter… all of it. If I can make you laugh until your sides ache or grab a tissue then I’ve touched your emotions and accomplished what every writer sets out to do.

I got serious about writing when my third child was born and had her days and nights mixed up. I had to stay up all night anyway and it was very quiet so I invested in a spiral back notebook and sharpened a few pencils. The story that emerged has never sold but it’s brought in enough rejection slips to put the Redwood Forest on the endangered list.

Folks ask me where I get my ideas. Three kids, fifteen grandchildren, two great grandchildren. Note: I was a very young grandmother! Life is a zoo around here when they all come home. In one Sunday afternoon there’s enough ideas to keep me writing for years and years. Seriously, ideas pop up at the craziest times. When one sinks its roots into my mind, I have no choice but to write the story. And while I’m writing the characters peek over my shoulder and make sure I’m telling it right and not exaggerating too much. Pesky little devils, they are!

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Bride For A Day by Carolyn Brown 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

As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

EXCERPT: January 1918 – Pauline

Morning light shimmers on the apricot horizon as I stand at the place where my baby boy rests. Stouthearted Chickadees are singing in the day, just like they have done every other winter’s dawn, but when this same sun sets tonight, I will be miles away from them, and inside an unfamiliar house. There will be no reminders anywhere that Henry was ever mine. Not visible ones anyway.

I kneel on the dead grass, brittle with icy moisture. The fabric of my skirt draws in the chilled damp, as if it was parched with thirst. The growing wetness at my knees is unhurried and easy, like a clean, slow blade. I look at the little marble slab that bears Henry’s name and the carving of a sweet lamb curled up among lilies, and I’m reminded again that he was my angel child, even before he flew away to heaven.

From the moment I held my boy, glistening and new, I knew that he wasn’t like the other babies I’d given birth to. He wasn’t like my girls. They’d slipped out annoyed by the noise and chill and sharp edges of this world. Not Henry. He didn’t cry. He didn’t curl his tiny hands into fists. He didn’t shout his displeasure at being pulled out of the only safe place he knew.

When the doctor placed him in my arms, Henry merely looked at me with eyes so blue they could’ve been sapphires. He held my gaze like he knew who I was. Knew everything about me. Like he still had the breath of eternity in his lungs.

He didn’t care when I parted the folds of his blanket to look at his maleness and marvel at the pearly sheen of his skin against mine. I could scarcely believe I’d given birth to a boy after three girls and so many years since the last one. I just kept staring at Henry and he just let me.

ABOUT ‘AS BRIGHT AS HEAVEN’: In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters–Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa–a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without–and what they are willing to do about it.

MY THOUGHTS: As Bright as Heaven is so very reflective of the world situation since 2020. What amazes me most is how very little has changed in 100 years. The response to Covid-19 largely mirrors the 1918 response to the Spanish Flu, although it must be noted that the Spanish Flu was over and done with far more rapidly than Covid, which continues to visit it’s permutations upon us. Just as with Covid, the response to the Spanish Flu was PPE gear, admittedly decidedly more basic than what we currently have available, and isolation. A vaccine was developed within a year of the outbreak but there is no mention of people protesting against its use.

But Spanish Flu is only one aspect of this beautifully written book. In 1918, although the end of WWI was imminent, young men, and then all men under a certain age, were being conscripted to fight.

Both these events are the backdrop for As Bright as Heaven, the story of the Bright family, parents Pauline and Thomas and their three daughters, Evie, Maggie and Willa. This is a family already familiar with loss after their beloved baby Henry died at the tender age of four months. Desperate to provide their daughters with a better life, Thomas and Pauline accept an offer from Tom’s childless Uncle Fred to move to Philadelphia and join him in his undertaker’s business. How different would their lives have been had they not gone? This is a question that will come back to haunt them.

There story is told from the viewpoints of Pauline and her three daughters as they move from small town Quakerville to the bustling metropolis of Philadelphia where they know no one other than Uncle Fred. The story takes in their period of adjustment both to living in a city and living with elderly Uncle Fred who is very set in his ways.

As Bright as Heaven is a story of forming relationships, living with loss, and of finding hope and love in the most unlikely of places. The characters are magnificently depicted and the plot compelling. It drew me in to the point where I was futilely yelling at one stage, ‘Don’t let him die, please don’t let him die!’

This is a reminder to us all we are not singled out to suffer; the world has seen it all before, and will likely see it all again. We will get through this pandemic and we need to learn to appreciate what we have and to take comfort in our loved ones.

An emotional, uplifting and heartwarming read.

I listened to the audiobook of As Bright as Heaven superbly narrated by Cassandra Morris, Tavia Gilbert, Jorjeana Marie and Abigail Revasch

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

#AsBrightasHeaven

I: @susanmeissnerauthor @penguinaudio

T: @SusanMeissner @PRHAudio

#audiobook #familydrama #historicalfiction #romance #WWI

THE AUTHOR: Susan Meissner attended Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego and is a former managing editor of a weekly newspaper. Susan’s expertise as a storyteller and her thoroughly researched topics make her a favorite author of book clubs everywhere. Her engaging and warm speaking style appeal to all manner of women’s groups, literary organizations, libraries and learning institutions, and service clubs.

When she is not working on a new novel, she enjoys teaching workshops on writing and dream-following, spending time with her family, music, reading great books, and traveling.

Watching what I’m reading . . .

It’s late Sunday evening here in New Zealand and we have just got home from a fishing trip where I was a last minute fill in for someone who became ill and was unable to go. We couldn’t have had better conditions, beautiful flat seas, great company and enough fish caught that we will all be fed a meal or two from the catch.

Currently I am reading A Few of the Girls, a collection of short stories by Maeve Binchy.

The Echo Man by Sam Holland

Detectives Cara Elliott and Noah Deakin are on the case of a series of seemingly unconnected murders, each different in method, but each shocking and brutal. As the body count increases, they can’t ignore the details that echo famous cases of the past—Manson, Kemper, Dahmer, and more. As Elliott and Deakin get closer to unmasking the killer, the murders are moving closer to home.

Meanwhile, Jessica Ambrose is on the run. She’s been implicated as the arsonist who killed her neglectful husband and injured her young daughter. With the help of disgraced and suspended detective Nate Griffin, Jess discovers a shocking link between her case and that of the ultimate copycat killer working on his horrifying masterpiece. 

and listening to 214 Palmer Street by Karen McQuestion

A house with a secret. A woman with nothing to lose.

When Maggie sees the beautiful Venetian blinds moving in the Caldwells’ front window, she freezes. Her favorite neighbours Cady and Josh are away, so who is in their house?

The pretty young woman who answers the door tells a convincing story. She’s Sarah. The house-sitter. Just here for a month. An old friend of Cady’s who needed a place to stay. She’s pleasant and warm, and Maggie wanders back to her house thinking she might have made a new friend. Yet she can’t help but wonder why Cady never mentioned Sarah.

What Maggie doesn’t know is that on the other side of the door, Sarah is starting to panic. No one was meant to see her at 214 Palmer Street…

This week, in addition to the above with the exception of the Maeve Binchy, I have four books to read for review. They are: Shadow in the Glass (Greer Hogan Mystery #2) by M.E. Hilliard

Murder rocks a wedding celebration at an idyllic lakeside home—and librarian-turned-sleuth Greer Hogan could be next on the killer’s guest list in this second exciting installment, perfect for fans of Louise Penny.

Librarian Greer Hogan is on hand to celebrate her old friend Sarah Whitaker’s nuptials at the Whitaker summer home on beautiful Mirror Lake, just outside the upstate New York village of Lake Placid. But Greer has an ulterior motive—to gather information that could reopen the investigation into her husband’s murder, a crime for which she believes an innocent man went to prison. Her plans come to a shuddering halt when a wedding guest goes missing and turns up dead in the lake. The guest, Brittany Miles, was an employee of the Whitaker family whom Sarah had long suspected was up to no good at work.

The police have no leads, but Greer—an avid reader of crime fiction who possesses an uncanny knack for deduction—begins her own investigation. She learns that the victim was seen with a mystery man right before she disappeared. Then the autopsy reveals that she didn’t drown in the lake after all, but in the reflecting pool in the Whitaker garden.

The suspect list is as long as the guest list itself, with no apparent motive. Now, Greer must rely on the wisdom of her favorite fictional detectives to tease out truth from lies—and keep herself out of the killer’s sights.

Who’s Lying Now by Susan Lewis

You think you’re safe.
You think you know your neighbours.
But can you ever really know who’s telling the truth?

Jeannie Symonds is a force to be reckoned with – an eccentric, award-winning publisher, spending lockdown with her husband in a house near Kesterly-on-Sea. She seems to have it all: a high-flying career, a happy marriage, a niece she adores.

And then one day, she vanishes.

Cara Jakes is a new trainee investigator – young, intelligent and eager to prove herself. When she teams up with detective Andee Lawrence to look into the disappearance, she is determined to find out what has really happened to Jeannie. Cara begins to question the residents of this close-knit community, sure that someone has a secret to hide.

But how can she separate the truth from the lies?

Other People Manage by Ellen Hawley

it’s Minneapolis in the 1970s, and two women meet in the Women’s Coffeehouse. Marge is a bus driver, and Peg is training to be a psychotherapist.

Over the next twenty years, they stay together, through the challenges any couple faces and some that no one expects. Then one day things change, and Marge has to work out what she’s left with – and if she still belongs to the family she’s adopted as her own.

Other People Manage is a novel about hard-earned but everyday love. It’s about family and it’s about loss. It’s the kind of novel that only someone who has lived enough of life could write – frequently funny, at times almost unbearably moving, but above all extraordinarily wise. 

The Other Son by J.M. Hewitt

She saved her son once. Would she do the same again?

Sara and her family needed a fresh start after a tragedy that ruined many lives. They have found peace since arriving at their new home in the Kielder Forest National Park twelve months ago. That is, unless you count the dark cloud that has settled over them, and the crippling tension behind closed doors. Sara tries to pretend everything is normal, but in reality she is haunted by a devastating truth about one of her children.

Travis has a reputation as a counsellor skilled at helping troubled teens. He has been watching Sara. He sees her fragility, and believes that he can fix her and her eldest son. Like his mother, Scott barely speaks, and has a look in his eye that hints at unimaginable trauma. If Travis could only get close to Sara she would see that he can protect her, and put an end to their suffering.

Yet below the surface, Sara is anything but weak. No matter what, she won’t give up on her child. And when she is cornered, she will go to extreme lengths to protect her most precious boy. 

Eight new ARCs received for review this week. At this rate my review ratio is going to take a dip again! The new titles are:

Other People’s Lives by J.E. Rowney

Carolina Moonset by Matt Goldman

The Hidden Truth by Hilary Boyd (publisher’s widget)

Women Like Us: A Memoir by Amanda Prowse


Gone But Still Here by Jennifer Dance

The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark

The Murders at Fleat House by Lucinda Riley

And finally another publisher’s widget, The Best of Me by Sharon Sala

Do you have any of these to read, or perhaps you have already read some of them. Let me know!

It’s late and I’m off to bed. Happy reading. ❤📚