Watching What I’m Reading. . .

Well, one week down the track and we are still in lockdown. Our 75th Jubilee has been cancelled, and we are waiting to hear tomorrow whether or not we will remain in lockdown. I am not hopeful that we will be coming out any time soon. Still I am enjoying the break and getting caught up on lots of little jobs around the house and garden. On nice days my neighbour and I sit outside on our respective sides of the fence and have coffee and chat.

I bumped into Allison from the library book group in the pharmacy in town yesterday and she said the thing that she misses most is human contact; actually being able to touch someone. She is in her eighties, lives alone and has no family close by. We ended up crossing the street to sit at either end of a park bench in the sun and talking for quite some time. So I hope that, for her sake and the sakes of everyone else in the same position, that we will soon be allowed to move around a little more freely. Though having just glanced at today’s figures, it’s not looking all that likely.

Currently I am reading Oh William by Elizabeth Strout. I love her writing; reading Strout is like sitting down having a ‘remember when’ conversation with a friend.

The Room in the Attic by Louise Douglas, which is set in an old mental asylum – although they were called lunatic asylums in 1903 which is one of the two time periods in the book. The other is 1993 when it is a boys school.

I am listening to The Killer in the Snow by Alex Pine which is certainly an interesting murder-mystery/police procedural.

This week I plan to read A Body at the Altar by Dee MacDonald

Jilted grooms, sudden deaths, broken hearts and threatening letters. All in a day’s work for super sleuth Kate Palmer!

Nurse Kate Palmer thought the pretty Cornish village of Tinworthy would be the perfect place for a peaceful retirement. She couldn’t have been more wrong! But even she is shocked when she attends a beautiful wedding at St. Pirin’s Church and the handsome groom drops dead in front of her very eyes.

While the rest of the wedding party panics, Kate notices the strange behaviour of the not-so-blushing bride and the posh mother-in-law – and vows to find out the truth behind the poor young man’s sudden demise. Especially when the new detective Charlotte Martin makes it known that she doesn’t want Kate involved – and also shows an interest in Woody Forrest, Kate’s partner in crime-solving.

Undeterred, Kate discovers this isn’t the only wedding to have been sabotaged. A series of peculiar letters contain the clues Kate needs to get to the heart of the matter. But is the mystery letter writer behind the unusual deaths? Or is more than one person responsible for the strange goings on in the seaside village…

As Kate digs deeper, she adds more suspects to her growing list: the world-weary vicar, the unlucky-in-love cleaner and the bride’s former flame. But, as a pair of boots bring Kate closer to the killer, it becomes clear their investigation has placed Woody in danger.

Can Kate solve the murder and save the man she loves at the same time?

The Geometry of Holding Hands by Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel finds herself entangled in some tricky familial and financial situations that will require all of her kindness, charm, and philosophical expertise to navigate.

Just when Isabel and Jamie finally seem to have some time to connect and unwind, a wealthy Edinburgh resident reaches out to Isabel with an unusual request–he would like her to become the executor of his large Highland estate. Though Isabel initially demurs, he presses on. He has only a short time to live, and, without any direct heirs, is struggling to determine which of his three cousins would be the best caretaker. Should it go to the bohemian artist, the savvy city property developer, or the quiet, unassuming bachelor?

As if this weren’t enough to keep Isabel occupied, she’s also spending more time helping her niece Cat at the deli. Cat, perennially unlucky in love, seems to have finally found her match in the leonine Leo. But Isabel is beginning to suspect that Leo might be interested in more than Cat’s charms, namely her access to the family trust. Isabel will need to rely upon remarkable reserves of intelligence and compassion in order to give all parties exactly what they want and deserve–no more, and no less. 

And I have made up for the excesses of the previous few weeks with only one new ARC this week:

The Life She Wants by Mel Sherratt

I still have 27 requests pending, though there are quite a few that have already been published so I presume that I will never see them. I do wish that the publishers would hit the ‘decline’ button though, and remove them from my pending list.

In the past week I have been to Sydney, Australia; Glasgow, Scotland; Sweden; various locations in England in the mid-1900s; and Exeter, England. Have we crossed paths anywhere?

Safe travels and happy reading. ❤📚

Darkness Falls by David Mark

EXCERPT: McAvoy freezes, his mind filling with pictures as his fading dream surges back to fill his vision. Suddenly the whole world is her, his nostrils clogged with the smell of spoiled meat, his vision nothing but torn silk and sticky blood. He wraps his arms around Fin. Holds his son until the moment passes.

They have been getting worse, these visions. As the court case has inched closer he has found himself thinking more and more of the dead girl he had so hoped to find alive. He found himself thinking of Shane Cadbury – the plump, slow-witted sex pest who had plunged a knife into her again and again and laid her out in his bed like a trophy. He has never truly felt clean since that day. He knows that scents are particularl, that each aroma is made of tiny fragments of a source. Each time he smells Ella Butterworth, he remembers that she drifted inside him. She has done more than climb under his skin. Her body, corrupted, defiled, is within him. She is his responsibility.

ABOUT ‘DARKNESS FALLS’: A city united in grief
A journalist ready to kill to keep his secrets
A copper capable of darker deeds than any of the murderers he puts away
An unworldly detective ready to do whatever it takes to save an innocent man.

Welcome to Hull.

In this masterful prequel to the Sunday Times bestseller Dark Winter, Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy is the outsider who must confront his darkest fears while hunting a killer that nobody else believes in.
In a landscape at once tender and brutal, McAvoy must tread the path between the darkness and the light, before facing an enemy who will brand him for life.

MY THOUGHTS: My trio of ‘go to’ crime writers when I am looking for a dark gritty read complete with black humor, has just expanded to a quartet.

A prequel to the Aector McAvoy series, Darkness Falls is dark, disturbing, thrilling and addictive. David Mark has created a compelling central character in McAvoy, a man haunted by his own demons, just not ones that you would necessarily expect. He is a man who cannot lie to save himself, a good man, a kind man, a man with a conscience, a man for whom justice means getting it right, not just getting a result.

And yet it is not McAvoy, a misfit amongst his peers, who takes centre stage in Darkness Falls. That distinction is shared between Owen Lee, a Press Association correspondent who has reached the end of his tether; and Head of the Major Crimes Unit, media darling Detective Superintendent Doug Roper, a man adept at manipulating not only the media, but anyone else he is able to dig up dirt on.

Mark’s vast experience as a crime reporter shines through in his graphically realistic and chilling descriptions and obvious understanding of the criminal mind.

This is my first encounter with McAvoy, and author David Mark. I am pleased to see that I have many more books in this series to look forward to.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#DarknessFalls #NetGalley

I: @davidmarkwriter @ariafiction

T: @DavidMarkWriter @Aria_Fiction

#fivestarread #crime #detectivefiction #murdermystery #serialkillerthriller #suspense #thriller

THE AUTHOR: David 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 internationally bestselling Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy novels.

His writing is heavily influenced by the court cases he covered: the defeatist and jaded police officers; the inertia of the justice system and the sheer raw grief of those touched by savagery and tragedy.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Aria and Aries, Head of Zeus, for providing a digital ARC of Darkness Falls by David Mark 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

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

EXCERPT: Edward Fosca was a murderer.

This was a fact. This wasn’t something Mariana knew just on an intellectual level, as an idea. Her body knew it. She felt it in her bones, along her blood, and deep within every cell.

Edward Fosca was guilty.

And yet – she couldn’t prove it, and might never prove it. This man, this monster, who had killed at least two people, might, in all likelihood, walk free.

He was so smug, so sure of himself. ‘He thinks he’s got away with it’, she thought. He thought he had won.

But he hadn’t. Not yet.

Mariana was determined to outsmart him. She had to.

She would sit up all night and remember everything that had happened. She would sit here in this small, dark room in Cambridge, and think, and work it out. She stared at the red bar of the electric heater on the wall, burning, glowing in the dark, willing herself into a kind of trance.

In her mind, she would go back to the very beginning and remember it all. Every single detail.

And she would catch him.

ABOUT ‘THE MAIDENS’: Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.

MY THOUGHTS: Where to start? At the beginning seems to be the best place:

‘Tell me tales of thy first love –
April hopes, the fools of chance;
Till the graves begin to move,
And the dead begin to dance.’
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Vision of Sin

Love. It has a lot to answer for, or rather the deeds done in the name of love do.

Love is blind – and I am sure deaf and dumb at times too.

As they say, “nothing brings people together like a tragedy.” But in The Maidens, one tragedy piles on top of another.

Mariana has lost the love of her life, Sebastian, who drowned while they were on holiday in Naxos, a Greek Island where Mariana had grown up.

Zoe, Mariana’s niece, was orphaned following the death of her parents in an accident. Mariana and Sebastian raised Zoe, and now Zoe has also lost Sebastian.

Tara is Zoe’s friend and colleague at Cambridge. Now Tara is dead, brutally murdered. And Zoe reaches out to Mariana seeking solace.

Mariana, a psychotherapist, is still struggling to come to terms with her husband’s death, and is being stalked by one of her clients. Cambridge, where Zoe is studying, is also the place where Mariana and Sebastian first met.

Bittersweet memories and murder. Or murders. Tara will not be the last of the elite group of ‘Maidens’ to be murdered. And as in Romeo and Juliet, the emotions of love and hate are the lifeblood of The Maidens. Everything that happens seems to be caused by one, the other, or both, of these two forces.

This really is a classic murder-mystery. There is a little misdirection, and a few good fat red herrings. Agatha Christie with a good dollop of Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Greek mythology thrown in. Which I didn’t mind at all. In fact, I mostly found it quite interesting.

There is a diverse cast of characters. I found Henry quite scary, Edward an enigma (a rather creepy one), and I really didn’t know what to make of Fred. Even the peripheral characters are interesting and have their own individual quirks. Between the characters, and Michaelides beautifully atmospheric settings, runs a thread of evil, of menace. The postcards are a great touch.

The plot moves on steadily, casting suspicion on multiple characters before reaching a crescendo where all is revealed. Now it seems that a lot of people were disappointed with the ending, but personally, I liked it. It certainly wasn’t what I expected, but it worked for me.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.3

#TheMaidens #NetGalley

I: @alex.michaelides #orionpublishing

T: @AlexMichaelides @orionbooks

#contemporaryfiction #crime #murdermystery #psychologicalthriller #serialkillerthriller #suspense

THE AUTHOR: Alex Michaelides was born and raised in Cyprus. He has an M.A. in English literature from Trinity College, Cambridge University, and an M.A. in screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. He now lives in London.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Orion Publishing via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Maidens by Alex Michaelides for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

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

The Serial Killer’s Wife by Alice Hunter

EXCERPT: Tom – This isn’t the first time I’ve been in a police station, but it is the first time I have been interviewed in relation to a murder.

I clench my fists under the rectangular table. My wedding ring digs into the flesh of the neighbouring fingers. I will my hands to relax again, pulling my arms from beneath the table and resting them loosely in front of me. I’ll come across as less stressed if I do that. I close my eyes lightly, blocking out the dull yellow, windowless walls. The room is claustrophobic, airless, and that’s without other bodies in here. Why couldn’t they ask their questions in the comfort of my own home, for God’s sake?

‘Because it’s bad,’ the voice in my head answers.

‘Oh, God. What’s coming?’

My eyes spring open at the sound of the door.

I guess I’m about to find out.

MY THOUGHTS: The Serial Killer’s Wife is not bad, but it is rather ordinary. It is slow, particularly so in the first half. There are a few twists in the second half, but other than one OMG! moment, there was nothing that I didn’t see coming. And that was a problem for me. I kept waiting for some great unexpected revelation, some surprise, but it didn’t happen.

There is a distinct lack of suspense, always a problem for me, and I didn’t relate to the characters at all. There was no depth to any of them, and the dialogue was equally as shallow. The book’s publicity blurb isn’t entirely accurate either.

I liked the fact that there were three different people narrating this audiobook. However, their voices weren’t particularly expressive. At times they sounded like they were reading a telephone directory.

The whole book felt rather flat. The premise is wonderful and clever, but the author just didn’t pull it off. The Serial Killer’s Wife might have earned a whole three stars if it weren’t for that final chapter because, despite my comments, there was never a moment where I considered not finishing it. The final chapter was totally extraneous, and totally pointless. Sometimes less is more.

⭐⭐.5

#TheSerialKillersWife #NetGalley

I: @alicehunter_author #harpercollinsaudio #harpercollinsaudiobooks

T: @Alice_Hunter_1 @HarperCollinsUK

#audiobook #contemporaryfiction #crime #domesticdrama #psychologicalthriller #serialkillerthriller

THE AUTHOR: After completing a psychology degree, Alice Hunter became an interventions facilitator in a prison. There, she was part of a team offering rehabilitation programmes to men serving sentences for a wide range of offences, often working with prisoners who’d committed serious violent crimes. Previously, Alice had been a nurse, working in the NHS. She now puts her experiences to good use in fiction.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins Audio via Netgalley for providing an audio ARC of The Serial Killer’s Wife written by Alice Hunter and narrated by Sarah Paul, James Mcnaughton, and Kristin Atherton. All opinions expressed in this review are my own personal opinions.

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

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

Watching what I’m reading . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it was all built on the perfect lie. 

And Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons

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

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

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

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

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

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

A secret that some police officers are also protecting.

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

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

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

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

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

A Gingerbread House by Catriona McPherson

Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl – an invitation!

A Body at the Tearooms by Dee MacDonald

Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham

And Legacy by Nora Roberts (audiobook)

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

The Coffin Maker’s Garden by Stuart MacBride

EXCERPT: There were shackles fixed to the bricks opposite, the chains furry with rust. A mattress on the floor, filthy with brown stains. Heavy-duty stainless-steel hooks, screwed into the beams of the floor above. More brown stains on the concrete floor beneath them.

Another line of Polaroids hung on either side of the shackles. Only in these ones, the people weren’t smiling. In these ones, the colours were mostly reds and blacks.

Alice crept forwards, pulling a reluctant Henry with her.

‘What the hell is this place?’

I cleared my throat.

Wasn’t easy.

All those small, square photographs in their rectangular white ‘frames’, the greying plastic stained with the dark swirls of bloody fingerprints.

Just like the ones that used to turn up on the birthday cards for Rebecca . . .

‘Ash?’

I swallowed something bitter. ‘It’s a kill room.’

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

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

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

MY THOUGHTS: I don’t know how Stuart MacBride does it. Innovative plotting, the most complete characters, and black humor. MacBride is one of those few authors whose books play out like a movie in my head as I read. I can see what he writes. I can hear his characters. I can feel their emotions.

No one would ever want to cross this author. Death would be painful and drawn out, the body never recovered. He’s so good, he’s scary!!! Oldcastle is a fictional town in the northeast of Scotland, home to ‘Mother’s Misfits’, the dumping ground for Police Scotland’s disgraced and undesirables. It’s also a place where terrible things happen.

The Coffin Maker’s Garden is deliciously creepy and oh so twisty. A tale that starts out on a dark and stormy night and just keeps getting better and better. My interest never flagged for a second.

If you like dark, gruesome reads with great characters and a good dollop of black humour, you can’t beat a Stuart MacBride novel.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

P.s. I would listen to narrator Ian Hanmore read the telephone book.

#TheCoffinMakersGarden

I: @stuart.macbride @harpercollins

T: @StuartMacBride @HarperCollins

#fivestarread #contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #murdermystery #scottishnoir #serialkillerthriller #suspense #thriller

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The Coffin Maker’s Garden written by Stuart MacBride and narrated by Ian Hanmore.

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, Instagram, and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

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

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

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

I am also reading Entry Island by Peter May.

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

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

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

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

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

And The Lost Girls of Ireland by Susanne O’Leary

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

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

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

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

A FIRE. A MURDER. A SILENT SUSPECT…

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

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

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

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

I have seven new ARCs this week . . .

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

The Marriage Mender by Linda Green

Boy Underground by Catherine Ryan-Hyde

Dream Girl in Laura Lippman

The Stalker by Sarah Alderson

Invite Me In by Emma Curtis

And 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

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

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

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

It was Pete’s 65th birthday yesterday so we decided to have a day out. We had originally planned to go down to Awakino and Mokau, stopping at the Awakino pub for lunch. We have stopped there a few times recently and the food is great. But when we checked the road report there were a lot of roadworks and long delays. Pete has been carting concrete out to Raglan quite a bit recently so we decided to go there for the day. I haven’t been there for two years and it’s grown like crazy in that time. We drove around all the lovely little bays, then went for lunch at the Wharf Kitchen and Bar. The fish and chips were lovely, the Heineken cold and we had views out over the water.

It was a lovely day out culminating in calling in on Dustin and Luke on the way home.

We also bumped into Harley who used to chef for us. He has just started working back in the area so tomorrow we are going to lunch at his restaurant at Waitomo, as it’s a long weekend here. We have two in a row!

Currently I am readin House of Correction by Nikki French.

Over half way through. Compelling. Character driven. Totally hooked.

I am listening to The Silence by Susan Allott, an Australian mystery. Almost half way through and enjoying it, but have no idea what happened to Mandy. The husband? (Where is he, anyway?) The neighbour? The neighbours wife? Or is she simply somewhere else, living as someone else?

This week I am planning on reading Hadley and Grace by Susan Redfearn

Needing to escape her abusive marriage, Hadley flees with her two kids, knowing it might be her only chance. A woman who can’t even kill a spider, Hadley soon finds herself pushed to the limits as she fights to protect her family.

Grace, new mother of baby Miles, desperately wants to put her rough past behind her for good, but she finds it impossible when her path crosses with Hadley’s, and her quest for a new start quickly spirals out of control and turns into a terrifying flight for survival.

Stronger together than apart, the two find their fates inextricably entwined, and as the danger closes in, each must decide how much she is willing to risk for the other.

And The Lady in Residence by Alison Pittman.

Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.

In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?

I am also planning a Read/Listen of The Shadow Man by Helen Fields.

Elspeth, Meggy and Xavier are locked in a flat. They don’t know where they are, and they don’t know why they’re there. They only know that the shadow man has taken them, and he won’t let them go.
 
Desperate to escape, the three of them must find a way out of their living hell, even if it means uncovering a very dark truth.
 
Because the shadow man isn’t a nightmare. He’s all too real.
 
And he’s watching.

And oh, Susan, you are going to laugh at this. You know how I have been saying that I have been requesting books and a lot of them I have either heard nothing about, or they have gone to ‘wishlist’? Well I have had an absolute avalanche of approvals this week….seventeen!!!! So here they are:

The Reach by B. Michael Radburn (Taylor Bridges #3), Australian fiction

A Home Like Ours by Fiona Lowe

Lost Souls by Chris Merritt

In Her Tracks (Tracy Crosswhite #8) by Robert Dugoni

The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean

The Receptionist by Kate Myles

The Best of Friends by Alex Day

The Ocean in Winter by Elizabeth de Veer

The Girls from Alexandria by Carol Cooper

The Broken Ones (Detective Gina Harte #8) by Carla Kovach

One Perfect Grave (Nikki Hunt #2) by Stacy Green

The The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club by Faith Hogan

The Perfect Lie by Jo Spain

Dog Rose Dirt by Jen Williams

The Night Gate by Peter May

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

And the audiobook of The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron

Stay safe, keep calm and read on! I will leave you with photos of Whale Bay and Manu Bay in Raglan, New Zealand.

Flesh House by Stuart MacBride

EXCERPT: ‘I’ve been waiting for you for fifteen minutes!’ Dr Isobel MacAlister, Aberdeen’s chief pathologist, wearing an expression that would freeze the balls off a brass gorilla at twenty paces. ‘You might not have anything better to do, but I can assure you that I have. Now are you going to listen to my preliminary findings, or shall I just go home and leave you to whatever it is you feel is more important?’

Logan groaned. That was all they needed, Isobel winding Insch up even further. As if the grumpy fat sod wasn’t bad enough already. The inspector turned on her, his face flashing angry scarlet in the IB spotlights. ‘Thank you so much for waiting for me, Doctor. I’m sorry if my organising a murder enquiry has inconvenienced you. I’ll try not to let something so trivial get in the way again.’

They stared at each other in silence for a moment. Then Isobel pulled on a cold, unfriendly smile. ‘Remains are human: male. Dismemberment looks as if it occurred some time after death with a long, sharp blade and a hacksaw, but I won’t be able to confirm that until after I’ve performed the post mortem.’ She checked her watch. ‘Which will take place at eleven am precisely.’

Insch bristled. ‘Oh no it won’t! I need those remains analysed now -‘

‘They’re frozen, Inspector. They – need – to – defrost.’ Emphasising each word as if she was talking to a naughty child, rather than a huge, bad tempered detective inspector. ‘If you want, I suppose I could stick them in the canteen microwave for half an hour. But that might not be very professional. What do you think?’

Insch just ground his teeth at her. Face rapidly shifting from angry-red to furious-purple.

ABOUT ‘FLESH HOUSE’ (Logan McRae #4): Panic grips The Granite City as DS Logan McRae heads up a manhunt for ‘The Flesher’ – one of the UK’s most notorious serial killers. The case was closed. Until the killer walked free When an offshore container turns up at Aberdeen Harbour full of human meat, it kicks off the largest manhunt in the Granite City’s history. Twenty years ago ‘The Flesher’ was butchering people all over the UK – turning victims into oven-ready joints – until Grampian’s finest put him away. But eleven years later he was out on appeal. Now he’s missing and people are dying again.When members of the original investigation start to disappear, Detective Sergeant Logan McRae realizes the case might not be as clear cut as everyone thinks Twenty years of secrets and lies are being dragged into the light. And the only thing that’s certain is Aberdeen will never be the same again

MY THOUGHTS: I took every possible opportunity to listen to Flesh House, but I have to admit to not eating much meat while I was doing so! If you don’t have a strong stomach and a love of gore, I strongly suggest that you bypass this. But me? I loved every minute of it.

I don’t know why, but everyone seems to pick on Logan; he’s everyone’s whipping boy. He is treated abominably by all his superiors and his ex-girlfriend. And yet he has good ideas, sees possibilities that no one else recognizes.

Flesh House is grim, but has flashes of (dark) humor in unexpected places. It is needed. Be prepared for the eating of human flesh, torture, imprisonment and graphic descriptions of the killing of people.

I had the identity of the killer worked out a little ahead of the police, which pleased (and surprised) me no end. The ending was completely unexpected, and I laughed, which was probably highly inappropriate, but I did.

Definitely the pinnacle of this series thus far. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

THE AUTHOR: Stuart MacBride is a Scottish writer, most famous for his crime thrillers set in the “Granite City” of Aberdeen and featuring Detective Sergeant Logan McRae.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of Flesh House written by Stuart MacBride, brilliantly narrated by Steve Worsley and published by Harper Collins Audio, via Overdrive. 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, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading…

Currently I am sitting on the deck enjoying the view and the birdsong. There is a gentle breeze, it’s not overly hot, and I feel very relaxed (lazy!) Peter mowed the lawns and tidied the vegetable garden while I was at work this morning, there is a cake baking in the oven, and my neighbour has dropped over some bok choy which I will use in a stir fry for dinner tonight. My Christmas shopping is all sorted, just the wrapping to do now. Oh yes, and find the Christmas lights, which are who knows where….I haven’t actually seen them in the eighteen months since we moved.

Currently I am reading Consolation by Garry Disher, #3 in the excellent Australian crime series based around country cop Paul Hirschausen.

I am also almost half way through A Dark so Deadly by Stuart MacBride. I love his dark humour.

And I am listening to The Ghost Fields #7 in Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway series.

I only have one read for review due this week, The Birthday Weekend, previously titled Our Little Secret, by Lesley Sanderson. I will read this after I finish Consolation.

Dear Louise. It’s time we all put the past behind us. We’re meeting for my birthday. I want you there. Love, Amy. X

When Louise receives an invitation to her old friend Amy’s birthday weekend in a cottage next to the woods near their old university campus, a chill runs down her spine.

Fifteen years ago, Hannah walked into those same woods and never came back. Her death destroyed her friends. They’ve not met as a group since. Until now.

As the party gets underway and old grudges are uncovered, a game of truth or dare is proposed. It’s clear one person has questions about their friend’s death – and now they want answers. And nothing will stop them.

When everyone has buried secrets, digging for the truth is going to get dangerous.

Time permitting, I will read a few more back titles and get a few more of those overdue ARCs off my Netgalley shelf.

After having a few weeks of only one or two new ARCs, I have seven this week. What can I say? They are my Christmas present to myself! Plus Carla of https://carlalovestoread.wordpress.com and Susan of https://susanlovesbooks.wordpress.com have a lot to answer for. I have my Netgalley search for titles page open ready and waiting as I read their posts!

My new ARCs are: Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse

The Last Reunion by Kayte Nunn

A Week to Remember by Esther Campion

The Secret Within by Lucy Dawson

The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths, #13 in the Ruth Galloway series

The Art of Death by David Fennell

And, finally, A Caller’s Game by J.D. Barker

That’s my lot for today. I am off to take a look at this cake then take a look in the garage in case the lights are down there. We went away over Christmas and New Year last year, so never put them up…

Have a happy Sunday.

Cheers

Sandy