The Man I Married by Elena Wilkes

EXCERPT: Blood has a smell.

I look around me. I’m sitting on a bench.

It comes again.

It’s visceral, like meat.

I gaze down at my hands. I don’t recognize them; they lie upturned and curled in my scarlet-stained lap. Every crease is dark with what looks like rust. My palms open like flowers and I feel the skin stretch and tighten. A cold breeze skims the wet patches on my dress. The wool sticks unpleasantly to my skin and a chill slides down my spine.

I close my eyes.

Behind the lids the dying winter sunlight zigzags in orange and purple flashes. Somewhere behind the bushes I can hear the girls, giggling. I squint; I can’t see them now, but I know they’re there.

‘You can’t hide in here forever you know!’

There’s a woman’s voice. She’s getting closer.

‘I think it’s time we should be going though, don’t you? Come on.’

I squint. The viburnum bush trembles; its propeller-headed flowers nod and bounce in bright pink bells against the thicket of black. I imagine her reaction as she walks past. She’ll see the state of me and I’ll see her face: the shock at my matted hair and disheveled clothes. She doesn’t know who I am and I don’t want to scare her. ‘You don’t know me -‘ I’ll say. She’ll look at me, wary and unsure.

‘-But can I tell you what happened? I think you’ll understand when I explain.’ I’ll hold out my hands and she’ll see the state of them.

I know my story is also her story.

I’ve done this for her, for the children, for all of us… that’s why he’s dead.

ABOUT ‘THE MAN I MARRIED’: This is the story of Lucy and Paul.

They met. They fell deeply in love. They got married.

Lucy thought that she had everything she wanted.

Until she found the photograph from Paul’s past life, read the text messages he’s so desperately trying to hide. Until she uncovered Paul’s darkest secrets.

Now Lucy realizes she doesn’t really know her husband. She doesn’t know if she can trust her own mind. She doesn’t know the lengths Paul would go to keep his perfect life.

And worst of all, she doesn’t know that she’s in danger…

MY THOUGHTS: The character of Lucy both irritated me and intrigued me. I couldn’t understand why she married this man. I couldn’t understand why she continued to stay married to this man. I wanted to slap some sense into her. I wanted to watch the train wreck that I knew was coming.

Paul is a master manipulator. He plays Lucy like a virtuoso. He has a past that he continually lies about. Lucy is afraid that his past is colliding with her present. But how can she tell what is true and what isn’t?

Although there were things in The Man I Married that didn’t quite gel for me, and Lucy comes across as desperate and unhinged, I enjoyed it. This was due in part to the relentless pace of the plot, but also to the sterling narration by Colleen Prendergast.

My jury is still out on the ending. It’s quite a strange ending, and I am not totally convinced that this was the best possible outcome.

The Man I Married is Elena Wilkes debut novel, and I am excited to see what she writes next.

⭐⭐⭐.7

#TheManIMarried #NetGalley

I: #elenawilkes #sagaegmont

T:

#audiobook #contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #mystery #psychologicalthriller #romanticsuspense

THE AUTHOR: Elena Wilkes grew up in Walsall in the West Midlands and then worked for eighteen years in H.M Prison Service. The people she met there provided the basis for all her novels.

Many of the prisoners there came across as very ordinary people who had committed the most appalling crimes but would, one day, walk straight back on the streets.

This begged the question: how much do we know about anyone, really? The people who live amongst us may seem no different from us at all, but when you scratch a little deeper, you realise they hold some very dark secrets.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Saga Egmont Audio via Netgalley for providing an audio ARC of The Man I Married written by Elena Wilkes and narrated by Colleen Prendergast for review.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, and Goodreads.com

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Really enjoyed this book.” Nerys

“Kept me guessing till the end.” Anna Maria

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

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

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

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

The Vacation by John Marrs

Venice Beach, Los Angeles. A paradise on earth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Not True by Valerie Taylor

My Mother’s Children by Annette Sills

In Another Light by A.J. Banner

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

The Beauty of Fragile Things by Emma Hartley

Summer Island Book Club by Ciara Knight

Death and Croissants by Ian Moore

I Don’t Forgive You by Aggie Blum Thompson

The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021

Snow Country by Sebastian Faulks

The Crooked Shore by Martin Edwards

The Murder Box by Olivia Kiernan

One Left Behind by Carla Kovach

The Shut Away Sisters by Suzanne Goldring

The Grandmother Plot by Caroline B. Cooney

The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous

Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Slough House by Mick Herron

Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillipi Ryan

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

The Third Grave by Lisa Jackson

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

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

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

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

Happy reading my friends. ❤📚

Suspicious Minds by David Mark

EXCERPT: It didn’t matter that this was where his last real lover had died.

It was their place now.

Theirs

She saw a tartan blanket, a thermos of tea; triangular sandwiches packed in opaque Tupperware, all plucked from a wicker hamper. She’d visualized him, leaning against the old beech tree, both arms around her like lengths of tarred rope, telling her the names of the plants and plucking stray twigs and silvery catkins from her hair. She saw herself barefoot; dirty-kneed in a ragamuffin dress, a tartan shawl pinned with a sprig of holly. Fantasy, of course, but one of her best…

‘Sweet chestnut,’ he’d said, slapping a random tree trunk. ‘This one’s ash. The brambles have bound their branches. They’re holding hands, look. And up there; that bracket of mushrooms – they can cure sore throats. Taste OK too. Nice in a stir-fry. They tend to explode if you let the fat get too hot, but I like a meal that offers an element of danger . . . ‘

Come back, Liz. Liz! Oh for God’s sake . . . Betsy!’

The words come from within her: a chorus of voices, each gasping as if running out of air. She registers pain, suddenly. Pain and loss and fear.

ABOUT ‘SUSPICIOUS MINDS’: Liz Zahavi is desperate. Desperate for her controlling partner, Jay, to stay with her, to actually love her. Desperate to be well again, after a recent diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. Desperate to be understood.

Private therapy seems like the answer to her prayers, but Liz doesn’t even make it to her first appointment. Lost in a maze of country roads, she crashes her car, only to be rescued by a brooding local farmer . . . who just keeps on rescuing her. Attractive and intense, Jude is a dream, and Liz doesn’t want to wake up.

But four years ago, Jude’s perfect, pretty wife died alone in the woods near their house. And as Jude’s past boils into the present, threatening to destroy their new happiness, Liz begins to wonder what exactly her new man is capable of . . . and how far he’s willing to go.

MY THOUGHTS: David Mark’s writing style is both raw and brutal, and almost poetic. He certainly has a way with words and an innate ability to draw the reader into the scene he has created. His characters are larger than life – they seem to explode from the page and wedge themselves firmly into the reader’s mind.

Liz Zahavi, legally Elizabeth, but Betsy in her heart, has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. This is a disorder of mood and how a person interacts with others. It is characterized by emotional instability, disturbed patterns of thinking, impulsive behaviour and the tendency to form intense but unstable relationships. Her partner, Jay, is controlling, domineering, almost OCD. Liz, not Betsy, thinks that if she ran past him in flames, his major concern would be that the curtains didn’t catch alight. He threatens her, often, telling her that no one else would put up with her,that she cannot survive without him. He erodes her confidence, stamps out any small spark of independence. But she has a good relationship with his young daughter Anya, who sees her as a free spirit, a welcome antidote to her rigid, work obsessed parents. Her family is a nightmare. Her mother was abusive. Her sister thinks she is lucky to have Jay to look after her.

Lost and alone she meets Jude, who rescues her from an encounter with Campion, local landowner, bully and worse. I thought of Hitler. And then he just keeps on rescuing her, dismissing her concerns about her BPD, saying that he loves the fire in her, that it should never be dampened or extinguished. And Betsy (not Liz, though Liz will come to visit from time to time) senses something timeless in Jude. He is nurturing and gentle, but there is a sense of darkness and violence lurking beneath.

Suspicious Minds is a book that crosses a lot of boundaries. There is a fair bit of darkness and violence in this story. But it is not gratuitous. It fits. It is a story of greed and dominance, of people who use violence and threats as a means to an end, interwoven with a beautiful story of two lost people finding themselves and each other. It is also tempered with a dry wit that had me snorting with laughter at times. I was impressed and will be seeking out other books this author has written.

Oh, and just for the record, the cover doesn’t do this book justice.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.3

#SuspiciousMinds #NetGalley

‘She finds herself furious that she smell of freshly baked scones cannot be trapped in an aerosol and sold as a room deodoriser.’

‘Don’t overthink it. Don’t analyse it to death. Don’t deconstruct it, because it might not fit back together again.’

‘Long before social media, the world was full of wankers.’

THE AUTHOR: David Mark spent more than 15 years as a journalist, including seven years as a crime reporter with The Yorkshire Post—walking the Hull streets that would later become the setting for the Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy novels. He lives in Yorkshire, England.

DISCLOSURE Thank you to Severn House via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Suspicious Minds 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 my webpage

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Apologies for disappearing on you so suddenly last week. I was rushed off to ED in the early hours of last Sunday morning with breathing difficulties, which resulted in a five day stay in hospital. I am not yet allowed back to work, and will be going for more tests and follow up during the week ahead.

Currently I am not reading anything. I have finished two books this morning, the delightful Three Women and a Boat by Anne Youngson

And Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

Which as well as being a Netgalley ARC, was a group read for my Goodreads.com Mystery, Crime and Thriller group.

I started listening to Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout this morning.

This week I only have one ARC that I need to read for review which is Nothing Good Happens After Midnight: A suspense magazine anthology, with contributions by Jeffrey Deaver, Linwood Barclay and John Lescroart, amongst others.

I will use any other reading time I get to catch up on back titles.

I have received ten new ARCs over the past two weeks:

The Haunting of Beatrix Greene by Rachel Hawkins, Ash Parsons, and Vicky Alvear Shecter

Murder Most Festive by Ada Moncrieff

Ask No Questions by Claire Allen

The Perfect Life by Nuala Elwood

Her Sister’s Child by Alison James

Suspicious Minds by David Mark

Without Blood by Martin Michaud

Limelight by Graham Hurley

Our Little Secret by Lesley Sanderson

And finally I’m So Effing Tired by Amy Shah

And on that note, I am off for a nap.

Happy reading ❤📚

Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie

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EXCERPT: ‘I’m sorry I got you into this!’ Charlie Reynolds shouted over the gusts of wind blasting them with icy sleet. ‘It’s the stupid weather! I don’t know where it came from. I can’t see how to get down.’

Neither could Tess. She held on to a shelf of slippery rock on a narrow ledge high on a cliff face with frozen, aching fingers. Beneath them was absolutely nothing. She tried for a smile, for encouragement, because the cute but stupid twenty-three year old was close to panic, but in her head she was swearing: at him, the mountain, the weather, the whole messed-up situation. He had no right to be here. He’d been warned. No – he’d been told. Repeatedly. The Federation Peak climb belonged only to those with the experience to tackle it and enough respect for the extreme Tasmanian conditions to know when not to. And he’d climbed up anyway.

And now this.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: tragic accident, a terrible crime, an unknown threat …

Scarred by a recent tragedy on Federation Peak, Tess Atherton is reluctant to guide a group of young hikers in the wild Tasmanian winter, but it seems safer than remaining amid the violence that threatens them in Hobart. Little does she know that she has brought the danger with her …

Detective Senior Sergeant Jared Denham is closing in on a serial killer, but someone doesn’t want him getting to the truth and the case is becoming personal. He already owes Tess his life, and wants to return the favour – but when it comes to enemies, Jared may be looking in the wrong direction.

Time is running out, and death is stalking them both …

MY THOUGHTS: Straight up, I’m going to say that I hate both heights and cold. Deadman’s Track has both and I felt the fear as Tess hung suspended over cliff edges, and felt every chilling sting of the icy sleet. I swear that my next read has to be set on a tropical island so that I can thaw out!

I have recently read some absolutely brilliant and gripping Australian fiction, and I was looking forward to more of the same. But I am leaving this book feeling a little disappointed. Despite Sarah Barrie’s great descriptive writing, I found the plot lacking. I was dragging my heels by the halfway point and found myself slogging through the remainder of the read. And despite the ending being quite suspenseful and exciting, it wasn’t enough to earn Deadman’s Track more than an extra half a star.

I really wanted to like Tess, the main character, but for someone who leads trail hikes and volunteers for Search and Rescue, she is easily led into dangerous situations. Twice she counsels against doing hikes because of the time of the year and the unpredictable winter weather conditions, and twice she goes ahead with them. I just didn’t find her particularly credible.

Aaron, the controlling ex-boyfriend who won’t accept that Tess no longer wants to be with him, is really well depicted and more development of this storyline would have kept me more interested. I am not so keen on the criminal elements in this book, but that is purely my personal preference.

Deadman’s Track was only an okay read for me, and I am sorry that I didn’t like it more. Many other people have absolutely loved this book, so if you are looking at reading Deadman’s Track, check out some of the more positive reviews.

I loved that Sarah Barrie dedicated Deadman’s Track ‘to the extraordinary men and women who risk their lives every day to save others.’

🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

#DeadmansTrack #NetGalley

‘So many big strong heroes, so little time…’

‘I want to twist his balls until they snap off and shove them so far up his butt they work as breast enhancements!’

THE AUTHOR: Sarah Barrie lives with her husband and children in a rural area on the Central Coast of NSW. She divides her time between writing, being a mum and her position as editor of two equestrian magazines. When she finds a spare moment or two, she enjoys spending time with her Arabian horses and the various other animals that call the farm home. Though her writing career has traditionally revolved around producing articles for various publications, her true passion lies in fiction and she enjoys writing contemporary romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harlequin Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie 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 . . .

It’s late Sunday evening here in New Zealand. I have, rather reluctantly, been at work this afternoon working with our management committee setting up the practical aspects of reopening the business after the easing of our Covid restrictions. Although I have been back at work for the past week, I haven’t been doing full days, so this coming week is going to be a bit of a shock to my system. But I am lucky, and still have a job to go back to.

I got more reading done this week than I expected and accomplished all my goals set in last weeks Watching What I’m Reading post, but no more. I have a fairly big week at work ahead so am keeping my reading goals for the week very realistic.

Currently I am reading, and am totally consumed by, Dear Child by Remy Hausmann. If I hadn’t had to go to work today I would have finished it. I read over half of it in one sitting! And this is the debut novel by this author. Amazing!

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I haven’t yet selected a new audiobook to listen to after finishing The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian and am almost finished The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup.

My next read is going to be Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan-Hyde.

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Brooke is a divorced single mom, financially strapped, living with her mother, and holding tight to the one thing that matters most: her two-year-old daughter, Etta. Then, in a matter of seconds, Brooke’s life is shattered when she’s carjacked. Helpless and terrified, all Brooke can do is watch as Etta, still strapped in her seat, disappears into the Los Angeles night.

Miles away, Etta is found by Molly, a homeless teen who is all too used to darkness. Thrown away by her parents, and with a future as stable as the wooden crate she calls home, Molly survives day to day by her wits. As unpredictable as her life is, she’s stunned to find Etta, abandoned and alone. Shielding the little girl from more than the elements, Molly must put herself in harm’s way to protect a child as lost as she is.

Out of one terrible moment, Brooke’s and Molly’s desperate paths converge and an unlikely friendship across generations and circumstances is formed. With it, Brooke and Molly will come to discover that what’s lost—and what’s found—can change in a heartbeat.

The second book I am planning on reading this week is Little Whispers by K.L. Slater

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Janey Markham is thrilled to be moving with her family to Buckingham Crescent, the smartest address in a desirable suburban town.

Worried she’ll be excluded by the glossy local mothers, Janey is thrilled when she meets Tanya, the kind of woman she has always looked up to. Tanya takes Janey under her wing, and her teenage daughter Angel is amazing with Janey’s little boy. As Janey and Tanya grow closer, Janey feels she can finally leave her troubled past behind.

But then everything changes…

In a weak moment over a bottle of wine, Janey finds herself telling Tanya her most shocking secret. Why wouldn’t she trust her new friend?

The following day, Janey sees Angel, with a man old enough to be her father, pushing someone into a car. The next day a body is found and police appeal for witnesses – and share a picture of the same car…

When Janey tells Tanya she is going to the police, Tanya turns threatening. She’ll stop at nothing to defend Angel, even if her daughter is guilty. If Janey says anything, Tanya will make sure that her dark secret gets out.

Janey faces an impossible choice. Stay quiet about what she saw that terrible day. Or speak up, and destroy the family she has worked so hard to protect.

If I finish these two reads with time to spare before starting next weeks schedule I will pick something at random from my backlist. I thought I might have made a dent in my backlist over lockdown, but it just never happened.

And OMG! I have 14, yes 14 ARCs landed in my inbox this week. Susan and Carla, just stop laughing right this moment! A good number of these are down to my browsing your reading lists. And Tina, you are just as big a (good) bad influence. It didn’t help that I am stressed about going back to work, so instead of resorting to drugs or alcohol, I buy and request books!

The Book of CarolSue by Lynne Hugo

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The Sunset Sisters by Cecelia Lyre

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My Darling by Amanda Robson

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To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

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The Day She Came Back by Amanda Prowse

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Murder, Forgotten by Deb Richardson-Moore

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The Bad Sister by Kevin O’Brien

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Stories We Never Told by Sonja Yoerg

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Secrets of a Serial Killer by Rosie Walker

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When Grace Went Away by Meredith Appleyard

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Shadow Sands by Robert Bryndza

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Bloodline by Jess Lourey

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The Baby Group by Caroline Corcoran

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And finally, Gone in Seconds by Ed James

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What was I thinking????

Happy reading. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Be kind.

Cheers
Sandy
😷❤😍📚

Watching What I’m Reading

Eleven days into lockdown, and I know that I am the odd one out here, but I am still loving it, except for not being able to see my son and grandson. Most of those little jobs around the house that kept getting put off due to lack of time are getting done. My fruit is getting preserved, vegetables frozen down. And our cat, Miss Tiggywinkle Twinklebum,loves having us home. 🐈

I have just finished the absolutely brilliant, captivating, riveting and slightly creepy Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins. You can expect my review for this 5-star read tomorrow.

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I will be starting One of Us is Lying by Shalini Boland later this afternoon.

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I have read a couple of other books by this author and really enjoyed them.

I am almost finished listening to B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton. I have read these randomly over the years, but following the recent death of the author, I have decided to start from the beginning and work my way through, reading one or two titles a year.

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This week I am planning on reading Buried Deep by Susan Wilkins

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Megan has to climb round and step across the body to get a proper view. What’s left is like a chalk white mask in the rough shape of a face. The innocence is still there, and a hint of the cheekiness. But perhaps she is imagining that.

Detective Megan Thomas moved to Devon for a fresh start, after years spent undercover. She’s staying with her sister and swimming in the sea daily, battling the tides and letting the waves wash her past away. But she can’t outrun everything.

On her first day back, she’s called to a murder. The body lies deep in an underground bunker, and when Megan forces herself to look, it triggers a panic attack. As her heart races and her breathing stalls, she realises she’s not sure if she can go back to life in a regular crime unit. Her memories are too powerful to be buried – maybe too powerful to let her do her job.

But when another body is found on the stretch of beach where she swims every day, Megan remembers why she joined the force, and what she’s fighting for. The victim came to the police for help, and Megan knows they failed her. She won’t rest until she gets answers. But how can she find justice for others, when she’s no longer sure of herself?

and River of Lies by R.M.Greenaway

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February is the month of romance, but in North Vancouver it’s also become the month of murder. While the North Shore RCMP slog through the rain in the search for whoever left a young woman to die in the Riverside Secondary School parking lot — their first clue a Valentine’s Day card — a toddler mysteriously vanishes from a Riverside Drive home in the midst of a dinner party.

With Constable JD Temple’s full attention on the parking lot murder, Constables Dave Leith and Cal Dion work the kidnap … until a tenuous connection is made between the two cases, along with the thinnest ray of hope that the child could be alive and well in the hands of a childless couple.

But when more tragedy rains down on the North Shore, lies must be unveiled before the ugly truth can emerge.

This week I have 5 new ARCS from NetGalley – The Museum of Forgotten Memories by Anstey Harris

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Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

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Three Single Wives by Gina LaManna

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The Stepdaughter by Debbie Howells

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and finally, The Best of Friends by Lucinda Berry

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Be kind to yourselves, my friends. Stay positive. Stay home. Stay safe and stay healthy.

Cheers
Sandy
❤😍📚

Watching What I’m Reading…

It is with great sadness that I announce that we had our first death due to Covid-19 in New Zealand today. And still people are flouting the rules. There was a massive party a couple of streets away last night, and this morning a SUV load of people arrived at a house down the street, mingling, hugging and kissing. I would love to go see my son and grandson, give them a hug and spend time with them, but I value their health more than my needs. Covid-19 can be present and not show any symptoms in some people. So please stay home, stay safe, and keep your loved ones safe.

I thought that the lockdown would be a chance to catch up on my reading, and I am. But I am also watching what you all out there are reading, and doing a lot of requesting on NetGalley. I guess I will never learn 🤣😂🤣😂

So currently I am reading Problem Child by Victoria Helen Stone

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And listening to

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This week I am planning on reading

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent

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Three brothers are at the funeral. One lies in the coffin.

Will, Brian and Luke grow up competing for their mother’s unequal love. As men, the competition continues – for status, money, fame, women …

They each betray each other, over and over, until one of them is dead.

But which brother killed him?

She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J.D. Barker

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After the loss of his parents, young Jack Thatch first met Stella as a child–this cryptic little girl of eight with dark hair and darker eyes, sitting alone on a bench in the cemetery clutching her favorite book. Gone moments later, the brief encounter would spark an obsession. She’d creep into his thoughts, his every waking moment, until he finally finds her again exactly one year later, sitting upon the same bench, only to disappear again soon after.

The body of a man found in an alley, every inch of his flesh horribly burned, yet his clothing completely untouched. For Detective Faustino Brier, this wasn’t the first, and he knew it wouldn’t be the last. It was no different from the others. He’d find another just like it one year from today. August 9, to be exact.

Isolated and locked away from the world in a shadowy lab, a little boy known only as Subject “D” waits, grows, learns. He’s permitted to speak to no one. He has never known the touch of another. Harboring a power so horrific, those in control will never allow him beyond their walls.

All of them linked in ways unimaginable.

As I said, I have been doing a fair bit of requesting this week and have seven new ARCs from NetGalley

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce

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While You Slept by R.J. Parker

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The Playdate by Alex Dahl

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The Vow by Debbie Howells

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Dead End by Nancy Mehl

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Buried Deep by Susan Wilkins

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The Orphan’s Gift by Renita D’Silva

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That’s my lot for the week….please take care.

Stay home and read ❤😍📚

Sandy

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

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EXCERPT: NOW – The Wedding Night

The lights go out.

In an instant, everything is in darkness. The band stop their playing. Inside the marquee the wedding guests squeal and clutch at one another. The light from the candles on the tables only adds to the confusion, sends shadows racing up the canvas walls. It’s impossible to see where anyone is or hear what anyone is saying: above the guests voices the wind rises in a frenzy.

Outside a storm is raging. It shrieks around them, it batters the marquee. At each assault the whole structure seems to flex and shudder with a loud groaning of metal; the guests cower in alarm. The doors have come free of their ties and flap at the entrance. The flames of the paraffin torches that illuminate the doorway snicker.

It feels personal, this storm. It feels as though it has saved all its fury for them.

This isn’t the first time the electrics have shorted. But the last time the lights snapped back on again within minutes. The guests returned to their dancing, their drinking, their pill-popping, their screwing, their eating, their laughing…and forgot it ever happened.

How long has it been now? In the dark it’s difficult to tell. A few minutes? Fifteen? Twenty?

They’re beginning to feel afraid. This darkness feels somehow ominous, intense. As though anything could be happening beneath its cover.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.

Old friends.
Past grudges.

Happy families.
Hidden jealousies.

Thirteen guests.
One body.

The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.
One guest won’t leave this wedding alive . . .

MY THOUGHTS: The air of menace is palpable from the outset, but we don’t find out at whom it is directed until almost the end. There is no shortage of possibilities. It seems that all the main characters bear a grudge against someone, and all have secrets to hide and protect.

Most of the characters aren’t at all likeable, but the cast is an interesting one. The story is told from multiple points of view: Jules, the bride, a success in her own right, who is marrying Will, star of a TV ‘survival’ show;

Olivia, the bride’s sister and only bridesmaid, fragile following her own failed romance;

Johno, best man, odd man out, serial failure, and friend of the groom from their boarding school days;

Hannah, the plus one, mother of two and wife of the bride’s best friend, Charlie;

Aoife, wedding planner and venue owner with her partner Freddie.

Add to this mix the ushers, also Will’s friends from boarding school, and the combination becomes even more volatile.

The story is told over two days, that of the wedding, and the preceding day as the wedding party arrives on the island.

Lucy Foley has created an incredibly atmospheric setting for her novel. There is a whispering cave, a graveyard, a crumbling castle edifice, and a wedding party trapped on an island during a violent storm.

The secrets are slowly revealed, the suspense teased out as we await the inevitable. But who will be the victim? And who is the killer?

A surprising and inventive novel.

🍾🍾🍾🍾.5

#TheGuestList #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities and worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry, before leaving to write full-time. The Hunting Party is her debut crime novel, inspired by a particularly remote spot in Scotland that fired her imagination.

Lucy is also the author of three historical novels, which have been translated into sixteen languages.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Guest List by Lucy Foley for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3150406183?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Lucky Ones by Tiffany Reisz

The Lucky Ones

EXCERPT: Allison gasped, then held a hand over her mouth in shock.

“Allison?” McQueen had been retreating during the conversation, but now he rushed to her. “Honey, what’s wrong? You look like you’re going to faint.”

“It’s from my brother,” she breathed. “This is from my brother.”

McQueen stared at her like she’d grown a second head in the past three seconds.

“Your brother?” he repeated. “I’ve known you seven years. You never told me you had a brother.”

Allison looked at him with tears in her eyes.

“That’s because. . . I don’t.”

ABOUT THIS BOOK: They called themselves “the lucky ones.” They were seven children either orphaned or abandoned by their parents and chosen by legendary philanthropist and brain surgeon Dr. Vincent Capello to live in The Dragon, his almost magical beach house on the Oregon Coast. Allison was the youngest of the lucky ones living an idyllic life with her newfound family…until the night she almost died, and was then whisked away from the house and her adopted family forever.

Now, thirteen years later, Allison receives a letter from Roland, Dr. Capello’s oldest son, warning her that their father is ill and in his final days. Allison determines she must go home again and confront the ghosts of her past. She’s determined to find out what really happened that fateful night–was it an accident or, as she’s always suspected, did one of her beloved family members try to kill her?

But digging into the past can reveal horrific truths, and when Allison pieces together the story of her life, she’ll learns the terrible secret at the heart of the family she once loved but never really knew.

MY THOUGHTS: This book has received very mixed reviews, but I enjoyed it. This is my first book by this author and I will definitely be reading more from her. Reisz has hit a good balance between drama, suspense and romance.

Seven children, from seven different sets of parents, are raised in the home of a respected surgeon, a single parent with no biological children. Unlikely, yes. But putting that aside, this story of a family reuniting to support the man who raised them, who was their father in every sense but biological, of secrets that slowly come to light, lies that are revealed years after they were first told (and some new ones that are told), suspicion, death, grief and love, captivated me. It is tightly woven, unpredictable and enjoyable.

And I liked the cover. .. I find it hard to resist a book with a creepy looking old house on the cover.

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THE AUTHOR: Tiffany Reisz is the USA Today-bestselling author of the Romance Writers of America RITA®-winning Original Sinners series from Harlequin’s Mira Books.

Born in Owensboro, Kentucky, Tiffany graduated from Centre College with a B.A. in English. She began her writing career while a student at Wilmore, Kentucky’s Asbury Theological Seminary. After leaving seminary to focus on her fiction, she wrote The Siren, which has sold more than half a million copies worldwide.

Tiffany also writes mainstream women’s suspense fiction, including The Bourbon Thief (winner of the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence Award) and the RITA®-nominated The Night Mark.

Her erotic fantasy The Red—self-published under the banner 8th Circle Press—was named an NPR Best Book of the Year and a Goodreads Best Romance of the Month. It also received a coveted starred review from Library Journal.

Tiffany lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her husband, author Andrew Shaffer, and two cats. The cats are not writers.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The Lucky Ones, written by Tiffany Reisz, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller, and published by Harper Audio, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35083342-the-lucky-ones