Watching What I’m Reading

I am sitting here on a cool New Zealand autumn afternoon watching the storm clouds mass and churn in the sky. Even though we are under lockdown and everyone was told to stay home for the long weekend, our emergency services alert siren has been very active. I feel very sorry for and appreciative of our volunteer Fire Brigade members, Ambulance crews and Police who are continually being called upon to put their own lives in danger because people can’t do as they are told and stay home. Thank you to all of these brave people, and also all those in the medical community who continue to go to work to care for the ill. Bless you all.

I am currently reading The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell which is due for publication April 14.

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And I am almost finished listening to Susan Mallery’s Meant to be Yours (Happily Inc. #5) This is delightfully different, humorous, and I am not finding the fact that I have read none of the earlier books in the series a handicap. And isn’t that cover just beautiful!

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This week I am planning on reading Find Her Alive (Detective Josie Quinn #5) by Lisa Regan

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Detective Josie Quinn hasn’t heard from her sister since Trinity stormed out of the house in the heat of an argument three weeks ago. So, when human remains are found at the remote hunting cabin where Trinity was last seen, Josie can only assume the worst.

Gathering her team, Josie feels a surge of relief when the dental records match a different body – that of a missing single mother from a neighboring town. But now Josie’s is not the only broken family desperate for answers.

Dusting the crime scene for prints, a name smudged into the side of a nearby car is the first in a trail of clues Trinity left for Josie. In need of a big story to save her journalism career, it seems Josie’s sister was attempting to make contact with a dangerous serial killer known for creating sculptures with his victim’s bones. And Trinity won’t stop until she’s found him, even if it means becoming his next masterpiece…

Josie is certain there’s a critical clue in the ivory hair comb delivered to Trinity just days before she went missing. But as more bones surface, each set more likely to be Trinity’s than the last, time is running out to find her alive. Can Josie’s team trust her instincts in a case that is so deeply personal? Can she find her sister without putting other innocent lives in danger?

The Perfect Couple by Jackie Kabler

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A year and a half ago, Gemma met the love of her life, Danny. Since then, their relationship has been like something out of a dream. But one Friday evening, Gemma returns home to find Danny is nowhere to be seen.

After two days with no word from her husband, Gemma turns to the police. She is horrified with what she discovers – a serial killer is on the loose in Bristol. When she sees the photos of the victims she is even more stunned…the victims all look just like Danny.

But, the detectives aren’t convinced by Gemma’s story. Why has no one apart from Gemma seen or heard from Danny in weeks? Why is there barely a trace of him in their flat? Is she telling them the truth, or are there more secrets and lies in this marriage than meets the eye?

And Never Forget by Martin Michaud

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When an eccentric homeless man jumps to his death in Old Montreal, the police discover two wallets in his possession: those of a retired psychiatrist who was recently murdered in a bizarre ritual and a powerful corporate lawyer who has vanished. As police detective Victor Lessard and his partner, Jacinthe Taillon, work to solve the separate mysteries, a dark history begins to emerge.

While the pressure builds and the bodies accumulate, dark and disturbing secrets come to light about a pivotal moment in Quebec’s history. But will Lessard and Taillon crack the case in time to prevent the killer from striking again?

I have received five new ARCs from NetGalley this week:

Little Whispers by K.L. Slater

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The Lost Orphan by Stacey Halls

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All Our Summers by Holly Chamberlin

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The Coast-to-Coast Murders by James Patterson with J.D. Barker

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The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

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I was a little more restrained than last week, but I still have seven requests on my pending shelf ☺

Stay safe. Stay home and read. And be kind, my friends.

😷❤😍📚

The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd

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EXCERPT: She can’t be in here. She can’t. And yet when I angle my head, there she is.

(Her) face looks like a piece of steak left too long on a barb6,cracked and burnt and black. Her hair is gone, along with her ears and most of her nose. Clear fluid seeps from the fissures in her flesh.

Only her eyes have been spared. They stare with dreadful intensity, two baleful emeralds that have soaked up all the inferno’s heat.

‘Look at me, Elijah,’ she whispers.

I scrunch up my eyes, turn my face to the floor. ‘Look at me.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. It’s the only home he’s ever known.

Elissa has only just arrived. And she’ll do everything she can to escape.

When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave.

Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood.

As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I read the first 70% of The Memory Wood in one sitting, unable to put it down. This is one heck of a debut novel! Twisty. Twisted. Incredibly creepy and compelling. Addictive. This is not your run of the mill abduction story.

The characters are scary. Very scary. Malevolent and scary. Mentally unstable and scary. Even the setting is scary – Memory Wood, where the trees are decorated in memory of people who have passed, not peacefully, and for whom you will never find graves or death certificates.

I have never read anything quite so nightmarish from a debut author, so well plotted and executed. Sam Lloyd has not put one word wrong. This author has a bright future ahead.

😱😱😱😱😱

#TheMemoryWood #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Sam Lloyd grew up in Hampshire, making up stories and building secret hideaways in his local woods. These days he lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and a dog that likes to howl. The Memory Wood is his debut thriller.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers for providing a digital ARC of The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd 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/3103317673?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Only Lies Remain by Val Collins

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EXCERPT: ‘…I’ll have to tell the boys tonight. ‘

‘Tell them what?’

‘Their father. He’s dead. ‘

‘Oh no! Oh, Maura, I’m so sorry. He’d come back to Ireland?’

Maura shook her head.

‘Jason will be devastated. I know he always says he hates him, but deep down I think he hoped his dad would get in touch someday. If only so he could scream abuse at him for abandoning you.’

‘But that’s the thing, Aiofe. Danny didn’t abandon us.’

‘He may have sent you money, Maura, but he still disappeared without a word.’

‘Not willingly. He was murdered.’

‘What! When?’

‘Fifteen years ago. Remember a few weeks back, a body was found in the grounds of that old house in the city centre? They just identified him as Danny.’

‘But – I don’t understand, Maura. How could Danny be dead for fifteen years? I thought he was sending you money every month.’

‘So did I.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Everyone thought Danny Walsh deserted his family when his sons were young. But when Danny’s body turns up fifteen years later and his wife, Maura, is implicated in his murder, accusations and old rumours surface.

Aoife rushes in to clear her mother-in-law’s name. But why is it that Maura’s story surrounding Danny’s disappearance doesn’t quite add up?

Aoife’s investigation uncovers old secrets, long-held jealousies, and lies upon lies. With every new revelation, Aoife realises she doesn’t know her family at all. Now her new boss is acting strangely, her best friend is more and more distant and her husband is no help at all.

With her support network crumbling and her family threatened, Aoife must race to keep one step ahead of danger before more innocent lives are lost. But how will she uncover the truth when only lies remain?

MY THOUGHTS: Only Lies Remain is a quick but intriguing read. The story is told over one consecutive timeline from the point of view of Aoife, Maura’s daughter-in-law.

But just because the story is told in a straightforward manner, doesn’t mean that the tale itself isn’t complex. Every time I thought I had it sorted, that I knew who had murdered Danny, who was threatening Aoife, and why, the author would throw a spanner in the works.

There is an interesting mix of characters…Maura, disowned by her own family for getting pregnant out of wedlock, and despised by her mother-in-law for bringing shame on the family; Aoife, separated from Maura’s son and trying to reconstruct her life but absolutely certain that Maura is innocent; Detective Maloney (or Moaney as Aoife’s small daughter Amy calls him) who seems intent on proving that Maura murdered her husband; Cian, wealthy and unpredictable; Orla, Aoife’s glamorous friend; and Father Jack,an old family friend of Maura’s who now runs a halfway house. Maura’s own mother-in-law is an absolute nightmare and she too is certain that Danny’s fate is Maura’s fault.

This is a well constructed story that certainly held my attention and kept me turning pages.

😊😊😊.5

#OnlyLiesRemain #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Val Collins is the author of the award-winning psychological thriller GIRL TARGETED and ONLY LIES REMAIN, both of which feature heroine Aoife Walsh.

She has lived in Ireland her entire life, and graduated from University College Dublin. She enjoys chocolate, going for long walks in the countryside, seeing as much of the world as possible, meeting friends, writing, and reading. In fact, she devours books at the rate of one per week, and her favourite authors range from Philippa Gregory and Sophie Kinsella to Lee Child and Linwood Barclay.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to VCB Publishing via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Only Lies Remain by Val Collins. 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/3059946581?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Family Next Door by Fiona Cummins

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EXCERPT: ….no one noticed a small girl – the youngest of the group – back away from the puppet theatre with its dead crow’s head and limp feathers, stumbling over her best shoes, finding her way to a storeroom that should have been locked.

No one saw her scramble between the old boxes and piles of dust sheets, tears wetting her face, or stopped her squeezing through racks of fraying costumes, spiderwebs catching in her hair, until she found herself crouching behind a deep, wooden chest, curiosity driving her to open it.

No one noticed her at all.

Until the screaming began.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: For Sale: Lovely family home, ready for your updates. Friendly neighborhood setting close to park; secluded.

If not for the bodies discovered in the woods behind their new home, Garrick and Olivia Lockwood couldn’t have afforded to buy number 25 The Avenue. It’s the fresh start they and their two children badly need. Soon, these terrible crimes will be solved, they tell themselves, and once Garrick has remodeled, he’s confident they’ll sell the house for a profit.

But the darkest secrets can reside on quiet, ordinary streets like this – behind the doors of
well-kept houses and neighbors’ friendly faces. Secrets that can destroy a family, or savagely end a life, and will surface just when they’re least expected . . .

MY THOUGHTS: Creepy. Menacing. Dark and disturbing….

I took today off work in part so that I could finish this book. I think I did the same for her other novels, Rattle, and The Collector. Also creepy, menacing, dark and disturbing.

There are several different timelines in this story, giving us insight into the background of the killer, but we don’t know who s/he is. The clues to the killer’s identity are skilful but ambiguous. There are several people who fit the bill. I must have discarded three or four suspects before I selected my final one, and still I got it wrong.

I found The Family Next Door hard to settle into to begin with. The chapters are very short with many different narrators, and jumped about a bit too much for my liking. But by the time I was half way through, I had become accustomed to the writing style and I couldn’t put it down. I found myself thinking, once or twice, that Ms Cummins could give Stephen King a run for his money characterwise.

Heart-pounding stuff.

This novel was previously published under the title ‘The Neighbour’.

❤😱❤😱❤

Some snippets I would like to share with you:

‘….our secrets are never as well hidden as we think they are. A freeze framed expression. A forgotten newspaper photograph. A bloody secret buried beneath layers and layers of paint.’

‘Smoke. Mirrors. Secrets. Lies. We believe what we want to, don’t we? Our version of the truth. But there are many layers, many truths. We sift and curate and cherry-pick the parts that best suit the face we present to the world. Nobody is a true version of themselves. Everyone pretends.’

‘…so much of the ugliness of her job was found not in city alleyways or late night street stabbings, but behind the mown lawns and washed cars and laundry on the line, the mundane and everyday. Inside lives quietly lived.’

‘Grief was a complex emotion. It was possible to laugh, to go to work, to eat, at the same time as waves crashed against you, threatening to dash you against the cliffs and overwhelm you.’

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

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Kensington Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Family Next Door by Fiona Cummins. 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/3173371111

Watching What I’m Reading…..

Apologies for the lateness of my Sunday post….I am currently overwhelmed with commitments in every aspect of my life. I know it will pass and I just have to keep breathing, the most important thing! I am 5 books short of finishing my October reads, and I haven’t even looked at my November list yet….

I have started reading

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which I am really intrigued by.

I am listening to

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which I requested for review pre-release, and was declined for.

This week I am planning on reading

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1941, Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. An unforgettable story of love, hope and betrayal, and a testament to the courage of humanity in history’s darkest days.

University professor Josef Held has never recovered from the loss of his wife. He has no intention of letting anyone new into his quiet, safe world, where the ticking clock in his mathematics classroom drowns out the beat of Nazi soldiers’ boots.

But when his Jewish pupil Michael comes to him, saying Jews will no longer be allowed to study, Josef can ignore the situation no longer. In an impulsive act of courage, he offers Michael a place to hide in his attic.

In the quiet gloom of the secret room, Josef discovers Michael is everything he himself is not: spontaneous, poetic, and unafraid to love, though his passionate relationship with a non-Jewish Dutch girl is strictly forbidden. Michael insists: not even the Nazis will keep him from his fearless, beautiful, chestnut-haired Elke.

Josef sees the determination in his young friend’s eyes. Remembering his own heartbreak, he feels desperate to give Michael and Elke a chance. But in the dark days of war, with danger and betrayal at every turn, no-one can be trusted.

And then tragedy strikes, facing Josef with an impossible choice. If Michael is to survive and get back to the woman he loves, it will be down to Josef – to find the hero inside himself, and do whatever it takes to keep Michael alive.

Even if it means putting his own life on the line.

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As a child, Evie Lindsay was unnerved by her premonitions. As an adult, they have become a simple fact of life—sometimes disruptive but also inescapable, much like her quirky, loveable family. Evie’s mother, Poppy, and her aunts, Camellia and Iris, are well known on San Orcanita island for their free-spirited ways and elaborately decorated hats. Their floral shop and Evie’s bookstore draw streams of visitors all summer long. This season promises to be extra busy: Evie’s sister, Jules, is getting married on the island.

As Jules plans her unconventional wedding, she arranges to do a DNA test with her mother, sister, and aunts, to see how much accepted lore about their heritage holds true. The results blow apart everything Evie has grown up believing about herself and her family. Spurred on by the revelations, Evie uncovers the real story of her past. But beyond her feelings of shock and betrayal, there are unexpected opportunities—to come to terms with a gift that has sometimes felt like a curse, to understand the secrets that surrounded her childhood, and to embrace the surprising new life that is waiting for her . .

I have received 4 new ARCs this week. …

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I hope you are all happy and well, my friends. Happy reading

❤😍📚

The Lies We Tell by Debra Webb

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EXCERPT: With gloved hands, Rowan gently examined the final mask of skin. The edges were clean and fairly smooth, like the others. Whoever had removed the faces had first made a meticulous incision around the entire boundary of the hairline, in front of the ears and then down and beneath the chin, tracing the mandible. Finally, the skin had been removed with painstaking slowness to ensure there were no sudden tears, or thin or uneven spots. The work had been executed with surgical precision. There was, of course, no way to determine if the removal was completed postmortem, or if the victims had still been breathing.

As if that was not grotesque enough, more skin had been removed, presumably from the bodies of the victims, and tanned like leather for use as a binding. Each face was ensconced inside its own book. Each book was unique in texture and varied ever so slightly in colour, maybe due to age or maybe related to ethnicity.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Doctor Rowan Dupont knows a serial killer is coming for her. Julian Addington has been waiting. Watching. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes. But what Julian doesn’t know is that Rowan is ready for him. And more than anything she wants answers. How well did the depraved killer actually know her mother? And how many lies have been spun in the years since she took her own life?

Working alongside her childhood friend Police Chief Billy Brannigan, Rowan is determined to get to the bottom of her mother’s puzzling suicide once and for all—even if it means exposing an unsettling past. It certainly seems like her family’s Victorian funeral home has borne witness to more than one dark secret, but when a recent double homicide leads to an even grislier discovery, separating the truth from the lies might be the last thing Rowan does.

MY THOUGHTS: I blew hot and cold on this book the whole way through.

Did it deliver what I expected? No. It came close in parts, but was inconsistent.

There were parts that were beautifully written, like the passage I have quoted above. But overall, I was disappointed. There was no depth to the characters. The dialogue is often stilted. The murder-mystery wasn’t, a mystery I mean. It was glaringly obvious who was behind those deaths.

The whole thing felt exaggerated. I could not settle into it. It didn’t flow. One minute I was thinking, ‘Yes! She’s got it!’ And the next I would be groaning, ‘Whaaaat? You have to be kidding. What is she thinking?’

And that is without my even starting on the procedural errors….

I have not read the first in this series, of which The Lies We Tell is #2. I had planned to, but after this experience I will be removing The Undertaker’s Daughter from my tbr list. Not a series that I will be following on with.

😕😕.5 reluctant stars

THE AUTHOR: DEBRA WEBB is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 140 novels, including reader favorites the Shades of Death, the Faces of Evil and the Colby Agency series. She is the recipient of the prestigious Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Romantic Suspense as well as numerous Reviewers Choice Awards. In 2012 Debra was honored as the first recipient of the esteemed L. A. Banks Warrior Woman Award for her courage, strength, and grace in the face of adversity. Recently Debra was awarded the distinguished Centennial Award for having achieved publication of her 100th novel.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to MIRA via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Lies We Tell by Debra Webb 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 or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2959839242?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Watching What I’m Reading…

I am almost finished

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Nothing hurts like the truth.

Doctor Rowan Dupont knows a serial killer is coming for her. Julian Addington has been waiting. Watching. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes. But what Julian doesn’t know is that Rowan is ready for him. And more than anything she wants answers. How well did the depraved killer actually know her mother? And how many lies have been spun in the years since she took her own life?

Working alongside her childhood friend Police Chief Billy Brannigan, Rowan is determined to get to the bottom of her mother’s puzzling suicide once and for all—even if it means exposing an unsettling past. It certainly seems like her family’s Victorian funeral home has borne witness to more than one dark secret, but when a recent double homicide leads to an even grislier discovery, separating the truth from the lies might be the last thing Rowan does.

I have mixed feelings about this book which have nothing to do with not having read The Undertaker’s Daughter. Of course I may well be blown away by the ending. Watch for my review.

I have just started listening to
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When Jess and Clare Martin move from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to their former college town in the Hudson River valley, they are hoping for rejuvenation—of their marriage, their savings, and Jess’s writing career.

They take a caretaker’s job at Riven House, a crumbling estate and the home of their old college writing professor. While Clare once had dreams of being a writer, those plans fell by the wayside when Jess made a big, splashy literary debut in their twenties. It’s been years, now, since his first novel. The advance has long been spent. Clare’s hope is that the pastoral beauty and nostalgia of the Hudson Valley will offer some inspiration.

But their new life isn’t all quaint town libraries and fragrant apple orchards. There is a haunting pall that hangs over Riven House like a funeral veil. Something is just not right. Soon, Clare begins to hear babies crying at night, and sees strange figures in fog at the edge of their property. Diving into the history of the area, she realizes that Riven House has a dark and anguished past. And whatever this thing is—this menacing force that destroys the inhabitants of the estate—it seems to be after Clare next…

This week I am planning on reading

Detective Carter knows all about torture – but he’s never known a case as dark as this one.

The Six…

An abandoned building goes up in flames. Six women are chained inside and left to die – the truth is left to burn with them. Only one piece of evidence remains, but will it be enough to find their killer?

The Detective…

Retired detective Warren Carter has been suffocated by grief for his wife and is looking for a new start. But when he gets a call that cuts to the heart of the force, investigating a corrupt police officer, he has to accept. This time, though, he’s going to have to face his demons and work out who to trust when the truth is guarded by his own colleagues.

The Bad Cop…

It was supposed to be the perfect crime: they knew the system well enough to beat it and get away with murder. But they didn’t know Detective Carter, and how far a man will go when he has nothing left to lose…

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As the wife of retired ship’s doctor Dr Henry Parker, Evelyn is living out her twilight years aboard the Golden Sunset. Every night she dresses for dinner and regales her fellow passengers with stories of a glamorous life travelling the world. The crew treat her with deference. And forbearance.

But when Henry goes missing, Evelyn sets off to search every part of the ocean liner to find him; misadventures are had – all new to Evelyn. If only she could remember the events of the night before as clearly as she can recall the first time she met Henry on a passage from England to Australia in 1953 and fell in love – abandoning her dreams to become a midwife to be a wife instead – and the long-ago painful events that left Evelyn all at sea.

Why is it so hard to remember some things and so hard to forget others? And where is Henry?

And I have been a little naughty with my requesting this week…I am trying to limit myself to 2 requests a week, which is usually all I can manage to read. This week I have 5 new ARCs

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What have you been reading this week? And what have you got coming up to read? Whatever it is, I hope that it’s a wonderful read and a wonderful week.

Cheers
Sandy

The Sixth Wicked Child by J.D. Barker

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EXCERPT: Tray didn’t see her at first, the girl kneeling at the water’s edge, facing away. Long, blonde hair trailing down her back. She looked like one of the statues, unmoving, facing the pond like that. Her skin was so pale, nearly white, almost as colourless as her white dress. She wore no shoes on her bare feet, no coat, only the white dress made of a material so thin it was nearly translucent. Her hands were clasped together near her breasts as if lost in prayer, her head tilted to one side.

Tray didn’t speak, but drew closer. Close enough to realise the thin layer of snow that covered everything else covered this girl too. And when she circled around to her side, she realised it wasn’t a girl at all but a woman. The stark whiteness of her, every inch of her, was broken by the thin line of red stretching from under her hair down the side of her face. There was another line from the side of her left eye, a stream of red tears, and yet a third from the corner of her mouth – this one painting her lips the brightest rose.

Something was written on her forehead.

Wait, not written.

At her knees, sitting in the snow, was a silver serving tray. The kind you might find at a fancy dinner party, a high priced restaurant, the sort of place Tray already knew, even at fourteen, she’d never see outside of television or the movies.

On that tray were three small white boxes. Each sealed tight with black string.

Behind the boxes, propped up against the woman’s chest, was a cardboard sign not unlike the ones Tray had held to raise money for food. Only she had never used these three particular words before. The sign simply read:

FATHER, FORGIVE ME.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In the riveting conclusion of the 4MK trilogy, Barker takes the thriller to an entirely new level. Don’t miss a single word of the series James Patterson called “ingenious.”

Hear No Evil

For Detective Sam Porter, the words “Father, forgive me” conjure memories long forgotten; a past intentionally buried. For Anson Bishop, these three words connect a childhood to the present as he unleashes a truth concealed for decades.

See No Evil

Found written on cardboard near each body, these words link multiple victims to a single killer—discovered within minutes of each other in both Chicago and South Carolina—clearly connected yet separated by impossible miles.

Speak No Evil

Chicago Metro and the FBI find themselves caught in chaos—a hospital on lockdown, a rogue officer, and corruption at the highest levels. When Anson Bishop, the prime suspect in the notorious 4MK serial murders turns himself in, he reveals a story completely unexpected, one that not only upends the current investigation, but one that will change the lives of all involved.

Do No Evil

MY THOUGHTS: My head is still spinning more than twenty four hours after finishing this book! Barker led me down the garden path, chewed me up and spat me out! And not just once….

Warning: if you haven’t read the first two books in this series, The Fourth Monkey and Fifth to Die, don’t start with this, the final part of the trilogy. You need to read all of them, in order. And if it is some time since you read the first two, I recommend a refresher…which is what I should have done, and didn’t.

I struggled at times to remember who was who and whom had done what from the earlier books. And although I loved this book, it would have been a far easier read had I done that recap.

This is not a simple story. It is riveting, compelling and convoluted. I was sure of no one. There is much conflicting evidence and stories. The twists and turns are masterful. I vaguely recall a story from my childhood about a snake that ate itself by swallowing its own tail. There are parallels.

This is a series that deserves a binge read. I plan on taking it on my next holiday and doing it justice. And I am quite sure that once I have finished, I will be rerating The Sixth Wicked Child to the full five (or more) stars it richly deserves. The fault is all mine.

🤡👹😱🤯.5

#TheSixthWickedChild #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: J.D. Barker is the international best-selling author of numerous novels, including FORSAKEN and THE FOURTH MONKEY. His latest novel, DRACUL, co-authored with Dacre Stoker, released October 2018. His next novel, THE SIXTH WICKED CHILD, releases in August. He is currently collaborating with James Patterson. His novels have been translated into two dozen languages and optioned for both film and television. Barker resides in coastal New Hampshire with his wife, Dayna, and their daughter, Ember.

A note from J.D.
As a child I was always told the dark could not hurt me, that the shadows creeping in the corners of my room were nothing more than just that, shadows. The sounds nothing more than the settling of our old home, creaking as it found comfort in the earth only to move again when it became restless, if ever so slightly. I would never sleep without closing the closet door, oh no; the door had to be shut tight. The darkness lurking inside needed to be held at bay, the whispers silenced. Rest would only come after I checked under the bed at least twice and quickly wrapped myself in the safety of the sheets (which no monster could penetrate), pulling them tight over my head.

I would never go down to the basement.

Never.

I had seen enough movies to know better, I had read enough stories to know what happens to little boys who wandered off into dark, dismal places alone. And there were stories, so many stories.

Reading was my sanctuary, a place where I could disappear for hours at a time, lost in the pages of a good book. It didn’t take long before I felt the urge to create my own.

I first began to write as a child, spinning tales of ghosts and gremlins, mystical places and people. For most of us, that’s where it begins—as children we have such wonderful imaginations, some of us have simply found it hard to grow up. I’ve spent countless hours trying to explain to friends and family why I enjoy it, why I would rather lock myself in a quiet little room and put pen to paper for hours at a time than throw around a baseball or simply watch television. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want to do just that, sometimes I wish for it, but even then the need to write is always there in the back of my mind, the characters are impatiently tapping their feet, waiting their turn, wanting to be heard. I wake in the middle of the night and reach for the pad beside my bed, sometimes scrawling page after page of their words, their lives. Then they’re quiet, if only for a little while. To stop would mean madness, or even worse—the calm, numbing sanity I see in others as they slip through the day without purpose. They don’t know what it’s like, they don’t understand. Something as simple as a pencil can open the door to a new world, can create life or experience death. Writing can take you to places you’ve never been, introduce you to people you’ve never met, take you back to when you first saw those shadows in your room, when you first heard the sounds mumbling ever so softly from your closet, and it can show you what uttered them. It can scare the hell out of you, and that’s when you know it’s good.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hampton Creek Press (IBPA) via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Sixth Wicked Child by J.D. Barker for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2933488051

Watching What I’m Reading…

The last of my shelves went up, and the last of my books were unpacked this week. I had a few anxious moments when I thought I had lost a couple of my favourite books, but they were there. It was quite exciting getting them all up on the shelves, revisiting old favourites, rediscovering books I’d forgotten I had. And they only just all fit! My husband grinned and said, ‘Well, that’s it. There’s no room for any more books.’ Silly man. There’s always room for more books!!!🤣😂🤣😂

I managed to fit in an extra read this week-
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I will be publishing my review tomorrow.

I am about to start

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This week I also plan on reading

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With raw, poetic ferocity, Kimberly King Parsons exposes desire’s darkest hollows—those hidden places where most of us are afraid to look. In this debut collection of enormously perceptive and brutally unsentimental short stories, Parsons illuminates the ache of first love, the banality of self-loathing, the scourge of addiction, the myth of marriage, and the magic and inevitable disillusionment of childhood.

Taking us from hot Texas highways to cold family kitchens, from the freedom of pay-by-the-hour motels to the claustrophobia of private school dorms, these stories erupt off the page with a primal howl—sharp-voiced, bitter, and wise. Black Light contains the type of storytelling that resonates somewhere deep, in the well of memory that repudiates nostalgia.

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Round and round she goes, blonde pigtails flying, her high-pitched giggle catching on the wind. But as the ride slows to a stop, her seat is suddenly empty. Little Lucy is gone…

When seven-year-old Lucy Ross is snatched from the carousel in Denton city park, Detective Josie Quinn joins the frantic search. She’s the one who finds Lucy’s sparkly butterfly backpack abandoned by the ticket booth, a note with a devastating message stuffed inside: answer your phone, or your sweet little darling will die…

The next day, Lucy’s parents are filled with hope when they pick up a call which they think is from their babysitter – but instead it’s a chilling male voice on the line. Josie races to the babysitter’s small apartment only to find her lifeless body in a tangle of sheets on her bed.

Josie is faced with the most high-stakes case of her career as each new phone call from someone connected to the family ends with the shocking discovery of another body. This twisted killer wants revenge, and he won’t stop until the Ross family are in pieces…

Something is telling Josie that Lucy’s parents aren’t giving her the whole truth, but digging deeper into their lives will force her to confront a life-changing secret of her own. Does Josie have what it takes to crack this case? She has no choice if she’s going to bring Lucy home alive…

I received five new ARCs from Netgalley this week

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Let me know what new books you have on your radar, and what you are excited about reading.

Happy reading, my friends. 💕😍📚

Watching What I’m Reading…

It has been a wild and stormy weekend here in New Zealand. If you follow Ms. Liz Exploring Colour https://exploringcolour.wordpress.com/2019/08/04/winter-now-in-tapanui/ she has some lovely photos of her weekend. Where I live we had no snow, but we sure can feel it in the air!

Currently I am reading
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and loving it! I need to find more books by this author. She does malice very well indeed! Never Have I Ever is due for publication 8th August.

I am also half way through listening to
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I love MacBride’s writing. The audiobook is excellent.

This week I plan to read
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The perfect life. The perfect love. The perfect lie. From the bestselling author of The Girl Before comes a gripping new psychological thriller. . . .

Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative start-ups. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss.

She is a miracle of science.

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives–and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago?

Beware the man who calls you . .

And
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I turn to where I left my baby in his pushchair and pull up short. With a racing heart, I look around wildly, fear gripping my stomach. I only looked away for a moment. The pushchair and my baby are gone.

Kelly is taking her twin daughters to their first day of school, ushering them into the classroom, her heartbreaking to think they might not need her anymore when she turns around and sees that her newborn baby is gone.

As a desperate search ensues, baby Noah is quickly found – parked in front of a different classroom. But when Kelly reaches forward to comfort him, she finds something tucked beside his blanket. A locket that belonged to her sister Freya. A locket Kelly hasn’t seen since the day Freya died.

And then Kelly’s perfectly-ordered life begins to unravel…

We Were Sisters is a heart-pounding suspense thriller that will grip you until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train won’t be able to stop reading this incredible book.

I haven’t been very disciplined this week…I have seven ARC approvals from Netgalley

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And one from author Jay Kerk,

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I think I need to line up a few more wet weekends!🤣😂

What I really need to do is learn to control my requesting finger.

Happy reading my friends. 💕😍📚