Watching What I Read. . .

It is the last Sunday of the year . . . I hope you have all had a wonderful year’s reading and are looking forward to an even better one in 2019.

2019… good grief, it only seems like 5 minutes since the new Millennium was staring us in the face and we were all worrying about computer systems crashing and major disasters.

I am currently reading

Watching You

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

And, oh my! This is good. .. a slow burner, but sooooo good!

I am also reading

Rattle (The Bone Collector, #1)

A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

I am reading this after the second book in the series, The Collector, which I loved. I am only 4 chapters into this, and absolutely enthralled.

This week I am planning on reading

The Rumour

When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back . . .

Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.

Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realizes what it is she’s unleashed?

SHADOWS OF REGRET: If your life was ruined, would you seek redemption or take revenge?

for which I am participating in a blog tour later in the month.

From the #1 bestselling author of Fifty Years of Fear, SHADOWS OF REGRET is the unforgettable story of a woman’s struggle to rejoin society.
Katie committed a terrible crime. Sixteen years was the price she had to pay.

Once released from prison, she finds the world has changed.

Isolated and alone, she struggles to make sense of her new life. Starting again isn’t easy, especially after what she’s done.

Despite not feeling free or safe, Katie overcomes her fears and confronts the future. But history won’t remain forgotten.

Gradually, memories of the past are revealed. When Katie finally exposes the awful truth and sees there are others who share the blame, she must choose her path.

Will she seek redemption, or will she take revenge?

I have received no ARC approvals this week. No surprise there as I guess everyone is on holidays, except me. There is a song I love sung by Willy Nelson and Waylon Jennings called ‘Mothers,  Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys’. I would like to amend that to “Mothers Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Work in Hospitality’!





The Collector by Fiona Cummins

Merry Christmas to all! It is Boxing Day here in New Zealand, overcast, mild, a little drizzly. We had a superb Christmas Day with family, and the weather was much nicer than was forecast. At 20 months, our little grandson thoroughly enjoyed himself and provided much entertainment. He loved his new books, and went off to bed, somewhat later than usual, singing.

I debated posting about The Collector today, as I have started this series on the second book, but it is so good I simply cannot resist telling you about it.

The Collector by Fiona Cummins

EXCERPT: Detective Sergeant Etta Fitzroy. Her name rolls across his tongue. He conjures up her face, the opposing colors of her eyes. An eye for an eye. His fingers twitch.

Seven bones surround the orbital cavity. He wonders if they will splinter and break when he presses her eye from its socket.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The Collector by Fiona Cummins is the gripping sequel to Rattle.

Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town. His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting…

Clara, the girl he left behind, is clinging to the hope that someone will come and save her.

Life has fallen apart for Clara’s mother as she starts to lose hope.

The Bone Collector has a new apprentice to take over his family’s legacy. But he can’t forget the boy who got away and the detective who had destroyed his dreams.

Detective Etta Fitzroy’s life collapsed when the Collector escaped. With Clara still missing, and a new wave of uncannily similar murders beginning, will she be able to find him again?

The Collector is back and this time he has nothing to lose . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I was left breathless. I basically read The Collector in one sitting, interrupted only by the hours I was at work, and even then I read in my breaks.

I went cold into The Collector. I had not read Rattle. I had it on order, hoping to read it before I started The Collector. But I was almost finished before Rattle arrived. Not to worry. There was enough background information to give the reader some idea of what had happened, but not so much as to spoil it for those of us reading the first book after the second. Rattle is sitting on my bedside table ready to go.

The Collector is extremely well written. It is dark and deliciously creepy. I recommend you read it with all the lights on, and doors and windows locked. The author generates, then maintains, a high level of suspense. There is not one extraneous word in the book. The chapters are short and to the point. The characters are well crafted, their back stories cleverly woven into the fabric of the plot.

I am looking forward to more from this author. In the meantime, I have thrown my reading schedule out the window and am off to be Rattled!

😨😨😨😨😨 Definitely in my top ten books of 2018.

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

DISCLOSURE: A huge and heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Kensington Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Collector by Fiona Cummins for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page


A Taste of. . . Tuesday

Today I would like to tempt your reading tastebuds with a little tidbit from The Collector by Fiona Cummins, published by Kensington Books.

The Collector (The Bone Collector, #2)



24 February 2013

The parents of missing Clara Foyle will today mark one hundred days since the five-year-old’s abduction.

Miles and Amy Foyle will join family and friends at a vigil on Blackheath Common to light candles and release balloons.

Clara, who has cleft hands, vanished on her way home from school in November last year. The chief suspect in her disappearance, ‘Butcher of Bromley’ Brian Howley, is on the run after escaping police custody.

According to witnesses, including Met police officer Etta Fitzroy, who was briefly held captive by the killer, Howley was a collector of human skeletons with deformities.

He housed the bones in a personal museum at the home of his late father Marshall Howley. The macabre collection is understood to have dated back generations due to a family connection to London’s Hunterian Museum, with which the former hospital night worker was obsessed.

Six-year- old Jakey Frith, who suffers from the devastating bone disorder Stone Man Syndrome, was rescued from Howley seniors house just moments before it was destroyed by fire.

Extensive DNA tests on human remains discovered in the ashes have confirmed that one of the victims was teenager Grace Rodriguez, the so-called Girl in the Woods. Detectives were able to link her disappearance to Howley after it emerged she suffered from a bone condition known as Cervical Ribs.

They have so far failed to find any trace of Clara Foyle.

I hope you have found this tidbit as tempting as I did. The Collector by Fiona Cummins is due to be published in just a few days, December 19th 2018.


Watching What I’m Reading

What a merry weekend it has been! Which is the reason this post is a little late. . . We traveled to Rotorua Saturday for my husband’s work Christmas party, then back home early yesterday morning to put the final touches to my staff Christmas lunch so that those who were working yesterday could enjoy it before we had to open for business.

With everything that has been going on, I am afraid that I didn’t get as much reading done during the week as I had planned. I am just about to start

The Memory

which I had planned to read last week .

I have just started listening to

The Beginner's Goodbye

This week I am planning on reading

For Better and Worse

which I featured in last week’s ‘A Taste of … Tuesday’ post.

On their first date back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke bonded over drinks, dinner and whether they could get away with murder. Now married, they’ll put the latter to the test when an unchecked danger in their community places their son in jeopardy. Working as a criminal defense attorney, Nat refuses to rely on the broken legal system to keep her family safe. She knows that if you want justice…you have to get it yourself.

Shocked to discover Nat’s taken matters into her own hands, Will has no choice but to dirty his, also. His family is in way too deep to back down now. He’s just not sure he recognizes the woman he married. Nat’s always been fiercely protective, but never this ruthless or calculating. With the police poking holes in their airtight plan, what will be the first to fall apart: their scandalous secret—or their marriage?

I have received three ARCs from NetGalley this week  –

Between the Lies

The Collector (The Bone Collector, #2)

The View from Alameda Island

And that’s my lot for the week. I hope that you have had a wonderful week’s reading, and that you are not getting stressed by the rapid approach of Christmas, because that’s not what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter if things aren’t perfect. What matters is the love you feel for your family and friends, spending time with them, and creating beautiful memories. And if you can do some random act of kindness to make someone else’s day a little better, that is a bonus.

I bought my almost twelve year old grandson

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)      The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, #2)    The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3)

for Christmas, and I will give him the remainder of the series for his birthday. I also managed to pick up a copy of

We Need to Weaken the Mixture

for my husband, and a couple of titles off the sales table for myself

Need You Dead (Roy Grace, #13)  and  Tell Tale: Short Stories

Have a wonderful week of reading,my friends. 🎅💕💖📚

Watching What I Read

Today is Remembrance Day, so before we talk books I would like to pause for a moment to remember and give thanks to those who fought for our country and our freedom over 100 years ago.

Once again I am glad I didn’t set my reading sights too high this week. I finished Mark Edwards In Her Shadow yesterday, and I will post my review tomorrow.

Currently I am reading

The Comforts of Home (Simon Serrailler, #9)

Which I started this morning and am now 2/3 through, despite having had to go to work this morning.

I am listening to

The Blackhouse (Lewis Trilogy, #1)

which is incredibly atmospheric. The narrator does a wonderful job .

This week I am planning on reading

Fatal Promise (D.I. Kim Stone, #9)

Eeeny meeny, miney, moe. Who lives, who dies only I know.

When the body of a doctor is discovered brutally murdered in local woodland, Detective Kim Stone is shocked to discover the victim is Gordon Cordell – a man linked to a previous case she worked on involving the death of a young school girl. Gordon has a chequered past, but who would want him dead?

As the investigation gets underway, Gordon’s son is involved in a horrific car crash which leaves him fighting for his life. Kim’s sure this was no accident.

Then the body of a woman is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Kim makes a disturbing link between the victims and Russells Hall Hospital. The same hospital where Gordon worked.

With Kim and her team still grieving the loss of one of their own, they’re at their weakest and facing one of the most dangerous serial killers they’ve ever encountered. Everything is on the line. Can Kim keep her squad together and find the killer before he claims his next victim?

The killer is picking off his victims at a terrifying pace, and he’s not finished yet. 

One Dark Night

He sees his wife’s eyes watching him in the rear-view mirror, the kids up on their knees to get a better look. That’s when he hears the scream…

You’re driving home from a family outing one afternoon, when a speeding car cuts you up, nearly causing you to crash. Like anyone would, you pull over to confront the driver.

But a glance into the backseat of the speeding car reveals a woman fighting to escape. She is terrified and she’s screaming for your help: these men have murdered her husband…

What would you do?

I have received no approvals from NetGalley this week. It seems that everything I have wanted to request , I have had to wish for!

I hope you have all had more luck than I with your requests, but perhaps the great book god is trying to tell me something , like I should read some of my backtitles and get caught up.

Have a wonderful week of reading my friends 💕💖💕😎


The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood

The Hangman’s Hold by Michael    Wood

EXCERPT: ‘Chris?’ she called out to the dark, silent house. ‘Chris, are you home?’

She kicked off her expensive but painful shoes and sighed with relief. She headed for the kitchen when a dull thud from the living room caused her to stop in her tracks. There was someone in her house. If Chris was home, he would have made himself known by now.

She turned and studied the door. Her eyes were locked on the handle, as if waiting for it to be pushed down from the other side. She grabbed it, and opened the door carefully.

Adele opened it wide enough to put her arm through and flick on the living room light. The yellow glow made her squint. She listened intently but couldn’t hear anything from the other side of the door. She pushed it fully open and froze in horror.

‘Who the bloody hell are you?’ she asked.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Your life is in his hands.

In the gripping new serial killer thriller from Michael Wood, Matilda Darke faces a vicious killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Helen Fields.

There’s a killer in your house.
The Hangman waits in the darkness.

He knows your darkest secrets.
He’ll make you pay for all the crimes you have tried desperately to forget.

And he is closer than you think.

DCI Matilda Darke is running out of time. Fear is spreading throughout the city. As the body count rises, Matilda is targeted and her most trusted colleagues fall under suspicion. But can she keep those closest to her from harm? Or is it already too late?

MY THOUGHTS: I have picked up this series on book #4, which has in no way diminished my enjoyment. The Hangman’s Hold can easily be read as a stand-alone, as plenty of background is supplied where needed.

How refreshing to have a lead female police officer who is not an alcoholic, into kinky sex practices, or generally screwed up. Don’t get me wrong, she has issues. Her husband, James, has died and she is bereft. She also has an unsolved case that haunts her. She battles with both these things. But she has a good friend, and good relationships with her older team members. She is strong in some areas, yet vulnerable in others. An interesting character whose loyalties are tested in this book.

The plot moves at a good pace. There are plenty of twists, turns and red herrings. My suspicions veered from one character to another. There are plenty of surprises, and a few jaw-dropping OMG! moments. This is a series I am going to read more of.


THE AUTHOR: Before he became an author, Michael Wood used to serve as a journalist and a proofreader. Wood resides in Sheffield, Yorkshire. For Unknown Reasons was Michael Wood’s debut novel, which was published in the year 2015. HarperCollins published the second installment, Outside Looking In in the 2016.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Impulse and Killer Reads via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page

The Fifth to Die by J.D. Barker

The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker

EXCERPT: Darkness.

It swirled around him deep and thick, eating the light and leaving nothing behind but an inky void. A fog choked his thoughts – the words tried to come together, tried to form a cohesive sentence, to find meaning, but the moment they seemed close, they were swallowed up and gone, replaced by a growing sense of dread, a feeling of heaviness – his body sinking into the murky depths of a long-forgotten body of water.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

MY THOUGHTS: OMG! Intense! Mind-blowing! Bizarre! Addictive! Twisted and twisty. . . Never saw that coming. Full marks Mr Barker, you utterly sucker-punched me with that one.

I remember going to the movies as a child, a vastly different experience to what it is today, and before the main feature there would be a newsreel, a cartoon or two, and a serial. The sort where, at the end, the girl is tied to the railway tracks with a train approaching, the hero riding hell-for-leather to get to her before the train did. Cliffhanger to ensure you returned the next week which, of course, we did.

Reading The Fifth To Die is like that. Don’t expect any resolution baby, because you ain’t gonna get it. You are going to be left teetering on the edge of a cliff, the ground crumbling beneath your feet as the villain races towards you from one direction intending to push you off, and the good guys race towards you from the opposite direction intent on sweeping you to safety. All you can do is stand there helplessly wondering who is going to get to you first. . . and let me assure you that, unlike the old serials, the outcome is not guaranteed!

But this is one hell of a ride. One that will leave you breathless, exhilarated, and screaming AAAAARRGH! when your heart is pounding, your blood racing, and the final sentence reads ‘To be concluded. . .’

Mr Barker? I hope you are writing fast. Because I want that next damned book. Now!

Warning – You really need to read The Fourth Monkey first.

Recommendation: read the author’s acknowledgements which includes, among other things of interest, this little gem ‘Finally, to Anson Bishop – are you ready to finish this little dance?’ I am glad I can’t see inside your head, Mr Barker, I imagine it to be a very scary place indeed.

Thank you to publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

I apologize for my absence yesterday. I have been battling a virus all week and yesterday it won! I spent the day sleeping and alternately sweating and being chilled. Not nice, but there is a lot of it around. I hope none of you fall ill with it. I feel like I have turned the corner today and am on the mend. Stay well and stay warm. Happy reading my friends