The Betrayal (Olivia Sinclair #1) by Terry Lynn Thomas

EXCERPT: Sunday October 5th

When the alarm blared the Sunday financial recap, the woman woke with a start. She didn’t care about the Dow Jones Industrial Average, nor did she care about market volatility. Fumbling, she unplugged the old-fashioned clock radio and tossed it under the bed. Her thoughts, as they often did, went to her lover. She rolled over and pressed her face into his pillow, taking in the scent of him, that strange concoction of vanilla and citrus that made her senses reel.

Rolling over on her back, she took a deep breath and cradled her belly, thinking of the baby that grew inside her. The positive pregnancy test lay on the table next to her, its vertical pink line a source of unimaginable joy. She snuggled under the duvet as the automatic coffee maker kicked into gear, filling her apartment with the aroma of the dark roast coffee her lover preferred.

She saw the card on the doormat just as she poured her first cup of coffee.

I’ve rented a beach house for us tonight. I’ll send a key and the address by messenger. Meet you there around ten?

Leaning back against the counter, the woman closed her eyes, anticipating their rendezvous. Dear God, she craved him.

She did not know that she had less than fifteen hours to live.

ABOUT ‘THE BETRAYAL’: Attorney Olivia Sinclair is shocked when she receives an anonymous video showing her husband Richard sleeping with someone else. After years of handling other people’s divorces, she thought she could recognise a marriage in trouble.

She angrily throws Richard out of the home they share. But days later she’s arrested—for the murder of his mistress.

Olivia knows she’s innocent but, with all the evidence pointing at her and an obvious motive, she must find the real killer to clear her name.

She may be used to dealing with messy divorces, but this one will be her most difficult case yet. Olivia’s husband has already betrayed her—but would he set her up for murder?

MY THOUGHTS: Delicious! Tightly plotted. Fast-paced. Gripping. I didn’t want to put this down. And even though I suspected who the murderer was quite early on, and for once I was right, I enjoyed the journey. Immensely.

The Betrayal has all the ingredients of a great domestic drama – the cheating husband, the big reveal at the worst possible moment, a dead body, the finger – and a great deal of evidence – pointing to the wronged wife, revenge, and duplicity. And the author whips all these into a delicious, captivating and entertaining read.

Of course, Olivia – a very strong woman – doesn’t just have a cheating husband and a murder charge to deal with. She is also having issues with her daughter, who seems determined to cut her mother out of her life.

The characters are well portrayed, realistic and believable, the tension palpable.

I believe that this is the first in a series featuring Olivia. I will definitely be lining up to read the next.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.4

#TheBetrayal #NetGalley

I: @ terrylynnthomasbooks @terrylynnthomas @hqstories

T: @TLThomasBooks @HQStories

#contemporaryfiction #familydrama #murdermystery #psychologicaldrama

THE AUTHOR: The Betrayal and The Witness are Terry’s first foray into the world of domestic suspense, and introduce attorney Olivia Sinclair. When she’s not writing, Terry likes to spend time outdoors gardening and walking in the woods with her husband and her dogs.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to HQ, HQ Digital via Netgalley, for providing a digital ARC of The Betrayal by Terry Lynn Thomas for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

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

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Oh my goodness, have seen what is happening in Tonga? My thoughts and prayers are with you all, and all those in low lying areas that may be impacted by tsunamis caused by the volcanic eruptions. The far north of the North Island has suffered some damage in marinas but thankfully no loss of life.

Currently I am reading The Night of the Party by Anna-Lou Weatherley. If I hadn’t had to go to work today I would have finished this. All I can say is that if you don’t have this on your radar, add it!

I am also reading Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty, purely for pleasure, and loving it!

I am currently listening to Fallen (Kate Burkholder #13) by Linda Castillo.

This week I plan on reading The Girl She Was by Alafair Burke

HOPE CAN BE A DANGEROUS THING…

She calls herself Hope Miller, but she has no idea who she really is.

Fourteen years ago, she was found thrown from an overturned vehicle, with no clue to her identity. Hope started a new life, but never recovered her memory.

Now she’s missing. With nowhere else to turn, Hope’s best friend, Lindsay Kelly, calls NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher.

In pursuit of answers, three women search for the truth beneath long-buried secrets. And when their searches converge, what they find will upend everything they’ve ever known.

And Where There’s A Will by Sulari Gentill. I absolutely loved the last book I read by this author and am really looking forward to reading this.

Hell hath no fury like a family disinherited…

American millionaire Daniel Cartwright has been shot dead: three times in the chest, and once in the head. His body is found in Harvard Yard, dressed in evening attire. No one knows who he planned to meet there, or why the staunch Oxford man would be caught dead at Harvard–literally.

Australian Rowland Sinclair, his mate from Oxford and longtime friend, is named executor of the will, to his great surprise–and that of Danny’s family. Events turn downright ugly when the will all but disinherits Danny’s siblings in favor of one Otis Norcross, whom no one knows or is able to locate. Amidst assault, kidnapping, and threats of slander, Rowly struggles to understand Danny’s motives, find the missing heir, and identify his friend’s killer before the clock–and his luck–run out.

A deft blend of history and mystery, WHERE THERE’S A WILL offers an alternately charming and chilling snapshot of Boston and New York in the 1930s, with cameo appearances by luminaries of the day including Marion Davies, Randolph Hearst, Errol Flynn, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and an arrogantly ardent Joe Kennedy, who proves no match for Rowly’s sculptress friend Edna.

I have read and enjoyed few books lately about families and inheritances, and loved this author’s previous book so I am looking forward to this.

I have another three books scheduled for this week, but as I am starting to train my replacement at work it’s unlikely that I will get to them on time. So apologies to authors and publishers.

Six new ARCs were approved this week; so much for keeping my TBR mountain under control!

This week I have been approved for: Local Gone Missing by Fiona Barton. I have absolutely loved everything I have read by this author so am looking forward to reading this.

The Baby Shower by S.E. Lynes, an author I follow avidly.

Dead End Street by Trevor Wood

A Village Secret by Julie Houston

The Killing Kind by Jane Casey

And the audiobook The Captain’s Wife by Norma Curtis and narrated by Josh Wichard.

I am honestly going to try and avoid Netgalley for the coming week. 🤣😂🤣😂 Well, you just know how successful that’s going to be!

Anyway, I’m off to bed. It’s been a long day at work and Pete has a 4am start tomorrow. I seldom go back to sleep after he goes to work so I need to cram as much sleep in before as I can.

Stay safe and keep reading. We’ve had our first community case of Omicron announced today so I guess we will soon be following in everyone else’s footsteps. We’ve had our boosters, and I interact with the public as little as possible, so I hope that will be enough to protect us.

Murder in Easy (Inspector Battle #4) by Agatha Christie

EXCERPT: Luke’s eyebrows rose. ‘Murder?’

The old lady nodded vigorously.

‘Yes, murder. You’re surprised, I can see. I was myself at first . . . I really couldn’t believe it. I thought I must be imagining things.’

‘Are you quite sure you weren’t?’ Luke asked gently.

‘Oh, no.’ She shook her head positively. ‘I might have been the first time, but not the second, or the third or the fourth. After that one knows.’

Luke said: ‘Do you mean there have been – er – several murders?’

ABOUT ‘MURDER IS EASY’: In a quiet English village, a killer is about to strike. Again and again.

Officer Luke Fitzwilliam is on a train to London when he meets a strange woman. She claims there is a serial killer in the quiet village of Wychwood. He has already taken the lives of three people and is about claim his fourth victim.

Fitzwilliam dismisses this as the ramblings of an old woman. But within hours she is found dead. Crushed by a passing car.

And then the fourth victim is found.

Each death looks like an accident. But in Wychwood nothing is as it appears….

MY THOUGHTS: I enjoyed this romp in a series by Agatha Christie that I hadn’t come across previously. Although quite why this is included in the Inspector Battle series I am unsure, as Battle makes only a brief appearance at the end.

The mystery is an excellent one; one that had me quite sure that I had the murderer in my sight until I found that I didn’t. There is a little romantic interest and an interesting cast of characters from which to select the murderer. Luke doesn’t seem to be the brightest lightbulb in the pack, but then his mind was not entirely focused on the murders.

I listened to the audiobook of Murder is Easy, written by Agatha Christie and narrated by Hugh Fraser, published by Harper Collins Audio.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.1

Smoke and Mirrors (The Brighton Mysteries #2) by Elly Griffiths

This was a catch up on my backlist read as Smoke and Mirrors was the only book in the Brighton Mysteries series that I hadn’t read.

EXCERPT: Stan entered stage left. Of course he did; he was the villain. Villains always enter from the left, the good fairy from the right. It’s the first law of pantomime. But, in this case, Stan Parks (the Wicked Baron) came running onto the stage in answer to a scream from Alice Dean (Robin Hood). He came quickly because Alice was not normally given to screaming. Even when Stan had tried to kiss her behind the flat depicting Sherwood Forest she hadn’t screamed; instead she had simply delivered an efficient uppercut that had left him winded for hours. So he responded to the sound, in his haste falling over two giant toadstools and a stuffed fox.

The stage was in semi-darkness, some of the scenery still covered in dustsheets. At first Stan could only make out shapes, bulky and somehow ominous, and then he saw Alice, kneeling centre stage, wearing a dressing gown over her Principal Boy tights. She was still screaming, a sound that seemed to get louder and louder until it reached right up to the gods and the empty boxes. Opposite her something swung to and fro, casting a monstrous shadow on the painted forest.

Stan stopped, suddenly afraid to go any further. Alice stopped screaming and Stan heard her say something that sounded like ‘please’ and ‘no’. He stepped forward. The swinging object was a bower, a kind of basket chair, where the Babes in the Wood were meant to shelter before being covered with leaves by mechanical robins (a striking theatrical effect). The bower should have been empty because the Babes didn’t rehearse in the afternoon. But, as Stan got closer, he saw that it was full of something heavy, something that tilted it over to one side. Stan touched the basket, suddenly afraid of it’s awful, sagging weight. But he saw Betsy Bunning, the fifteen-year-old girl who was playing the female Babe. She lay half in, half out of the swinging chair. Her throat had been cut and the blood had soaked through her white dress and was dripping heavily onto the boards.

It was odd. Later, Stan would go through two world wars, see sights guaranteed to turn any man’s blood to ice, but nothing ever disturbed him quite as much as the child in the wicker bower, the blood on the stage and the screams of the Principal Boy.

ABOUT ‘SMOKE AND MIRRORS’: Brighton, winter 1951.

Pantomime season is in full swing on the pier with Max Mephisto starring in Aladdin, but Max’s headlines have been stolen by the disappearance of two local children. When they are found dead in the snow, surrounded by sweets, it’s not long before the press nickname them ‘Hansel and Gretel’.

DI Edgar Stephens has plenty of leads to investigate. The girl, Annie, used to write gruesome plays based on the Grimms’ fairy tales. Does the clue lie in Annie’s unfinished – and rather disturbing – last script? Or might it lie with the eccentric theatricals who have assembled for the pantomime?

For Stan (aka the Great Diablo), who’s also appearing in Aladdin, the case raises more personal memories. Back before the Great War, he witnessed the murder of a young girl while he was starring in another show, an event which has eerie parallels to the current case.

Once again Edgar enlists Max’s help in penetrating the shadowy theatrical world that seems to hold the key. But with both distracted by their own personal problems, neither can afford to miss a trick. For Annie and her friend, time is running out…

MY THOUGHTS: This is the only book in the Brighton Mysteries series that I hadn’t read, so I was excited to stumble upon it on my Kindle when I was searching for something else, and started it immediately. I don’t know how I missed it originally, but apologies to both author and publisher for the tardiness of my review.

I have loved this entire series and Smoke and Mirrors, #2 in the series, is no exception. Set in Brighton, 1951 in the pantomime season in the lead up to Christmas, there is a definite similarity between the current murder and one which occurred of a pantomime cast member in Hastings in 1912. Some of the same pantomime cast members are even on hand.

Smoke and Mirrors is a deliciously twisty mystery with a tremendous range of red herrings and some sharp detective work from DI Edgar Stephens and Sergeant Emma Holmes. As always Elly Griffiths has created a charming but sinister atmosphere in which she sets her story. Two children have literally vanished into thin air, one of whom writes macabre and violent tales, and several characters associated with the children who are perhaps more than they seem combine to produce a clever, engaging and gripping story of magic and muder that had me reading through the night. My suspicions swung wildly from one character to another but never actually alit on the actual murderer.

The children, both the missing and the present, are the stars of this tale. The precocious and imaginative Annie, her friend and acolyte Mark, her younger sister Betty, apparently even more intelligent and imaginative than her older sister, and Richard who loves and admires his sisters provide much entertainment and speculation.

A ripping good murder mystery.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#SmokeandMirrors #NetGalley

: @ellygriffiths17 @quercusbooks

T: @ellygriffiths @QuercusBooks

#fivestarread #crime #historicalfiction #murdermystery #policeprocedural #detectivefiction

THE AUTHOR: Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway novels take for their inspiration Elly’s husband, who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist, and her aunt who lives on the Norfolk coast and who filled her niece’s head with the myths and legends of that area. Elly has two children and lives near Brighton.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffiths for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

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

Watching what I’m reading . . .

The first week of 2022 is done and dusted and now most of us are, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, facing going back to work. We’ve had a lovely break, mixing getting a few of those niggly little jobs around the house and yard done with catching up with friends whom we don’t get to see very often. We’ve eaten out a lot, which has been a real treat, been to the beach, and had lot of fun. The weather has been absolutely magnificent. Now, it’s back to reality and work tomorrow and there is, apparently, rain on the horizon for which my garden will be grateful. I have been watering the fruit trees and vegetable garden, but everything else is having to fend for itself.

While I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions this year, I have decided to try and take control of my reading life. Instead of reading 3 books at a time, I am just going to read one and listen to one at any one time. I have been doing this for the past week and, so far, it’s working well. I am enjoying my reading more and feeling less pressured. I also intend reading more titles for pleasure and made a good start over the Christmas break while also reducing the number of titles on my backlist. I hope I can keep this up. I tried last year with variable results, although I did get my Netgalley ratio up to 68% from 64%.

Currently I am reading To Love and Be Loved by Amanda Prowse which is due for publication 11 January. One third through and I have already shredded innumerable tissues.

I am listening to The Lost Days of Agatha Christie by Carole Owens and, although I am halfway through, I’m still not sure what to make of it.

This week I am planning on reading A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Laguna Beach, California, 1968. The Age of Aquarius is in full swing. Timothy Leary is a rock star. LSD is God. Folks from all over are flocking to Laguna, seeking peace, love, and enlightenment.

Matt Antony is just trying get by.

Matt is sixteen, broke, and never sure where his next meal is coming from. Mom’s a stoner, his deadbeat dad is a no-show, his brother’s fighting in Nam . . . and his big sister Jazz has just gone missing. The cops figure she’s just another runaway hippie chick, enjoying a summer of love, but Matt doesn’t believe it. Not after another missing girl turns up dead on the beach.

All Matt really wants to do is get his driver’s license and ask out the girl he’s been crushing on since fourth grade, yet it’s up to him to find his sister. But in a town where the cops don’t trust the hippies and the hippies don’t trust the cops, uncovering what’s really happened to Jazz is going to force him to grow up fast.

If it’s not already too late.

And, The Night of the Party by Anna-Lou Weatherley

Two Couples. Three Secrets. One Murder.

In a beautiful house surrounded by woodland, the Drayton family and their dearest friends are enjoying dinner together. The wine is flowing, the meal has been lovingly prepared, and it’s going to be an evening none of them will ever forget…

A doting mother
with a manipulative daughter.

A loving husband
lying to his family.

A close friend
keeping a shocking secret.

A beautiful girl
who will be dead by the end of the night.

I have three new ARCs this week: Secrets to the Grave by Steve Frechs

One For Sorrow by Helen Fields

and One of Us is Dead by Jeneva Rose which I requested after reading Michael David’s review on https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com/

In the past week my reading travels have taken me to the Yorke Peninsula and Adelaide in South Australia; Louisiana in the USA; Hastings in the UK; Sèvèrac Le Chateau, France; Langdale, North Yorkshire; and Marin County, San Francisco. Have we crossed paths this week?

To all my friends in the Fraser Coast area of Queensland, Australia please stay safe. Although Tropical Cyclone Seth has been downgraded to a tropical storm, it still has sting in its tail with heavy rain and severe flooding.

Everyone, no matter where you are, take care. Stay safe and read on.

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Well here we are, the first Sunday of 2022. I am still very much in holiday mode and not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, although it is only for the one day and then I have the remainder of the week off. I’m not sure that I can drag myself out of bed in time!

Currently I am reading The Woman Who Came Back to Life by Beth Miller. What characters!

And The Family Inheritance by Tricia Stringer, a library book. This is my first book by this Australian author and I am loving it.

I am also listening to an audiobook from the library, Murder is Easy (Superintendent Battle #4) by Agatha Christie. I haven’t previously read any of this series, but am enjoying this immensely. I have a firm suspect in mind for the murderer, but am I right?

This week I am planning to read The House Fire by Rosie Walker

Play with fire and you’ll get burned . . .

Who can you trust in this brand new edge-of-your-seat thriller.

A tired old seaside town hiding a series of unsolved arson attacks.

A derelict mansion in the woods with a long-buried secret.

A bundle of old love letters that mask a dark story.

When Jamie’s documentary investigation gets too close to uncovering the truth behind a series of deadly arson attacks that tormented Abbeywick in the 1980s, her family might be the ones who pay the price.

But for her younger sister Cleo, the secrets Jamie uncovers have the potential to get exactly what Cleo wants: to remove her mum’s toxic new husband from their lives, forever.

All it takes is one spark to send everything up in smoke . . .

And The Betrayal by Terry Lynn Thomas

Attorney Olivia Sinclair is shocked when she receives an anonymous video showing her husband Richard sleeping with someone else. After years of handling other people’s divorces, she thought she could recognise a marriage in trouble.

She angrily throws Richard out of the home they share. But days later she’s arrested—for the murder of his mistress.

Olivia knows she’s innocent but, with all the evidence pointing at her and an obvious motive, she must find the real killer to clear her name.

She may be used to dealing with messy divorces, but this one will be her most difficult case yet. Olivia’s husband has already betrayed her—but would he set her up for murder?

I received three new ARCs in the past week: The Bluebonnet Battle by Carolyn Brown

Shadow in the Glass by M.E. Hilliard

And, better late than never, The Bells of Christmas II: Eight stories of Christmas hope

What are you reading this New Year?

Happy reading my friends. It’s too hot to be out in the garden so I am going to stretch out on the daybed out on my deck where there is a little breeze and read some more. Enjoy your New Year reads my friends.

The Road Leads Back (Stonehill #1) by Marci Bolden

EXCERPT: She stared at him as realization started to weave its way through her oncoming buzz. He hadn’t responded to her letters because he hadn’t received her letters. And if he hadn’t received the letters, he hadn’t sent her money. And if he hadn’t sent her money, he hadn’t known that she needed it. Sighing, she let some of her decades old anger slip. Her head spun, either from the alcohol or the blurry dots she was trying to mentally connect. Leaning into the bar, she exhaled slowly. ‘They never told you, did they?’

‘Who? Told me what? What are you talking about?’

Kara couldn’t speak. Her words wouldn’t form.

Someone wrapped an arm around Kara’s shoulder, startling her and making her gasp quietly. She turned and blinked several times at the man who had just slid next to her.

‘Sorry to interrupt,’ he said, ‘but I need to get home.’ Leaning in, he kissed her head. ‘Congratulations on the opening, Mom. It was great.’

‘Ummm . . .’ She swallowed, desperate to find her voice. ‘Thank you, sweetheart.’ She flicked her gaze at the man sitting next to her. The longer Harry looked at her son, the wider Harry’s eyes became.

Phil cast a disapproving glance at Harry, the way he always did when assessing a man who might distract her from her responsibilities, and then focused on her again. ‘Don’t forget that Jess is expecting you to make pancakes in the morning. You promised.’

‘I haven’t forgotten.’ Kara returned her attention to Harry. His jaw was slack and his cheeks had grown pale.

Phil nodded at Harry, as if he were satisfied that he’d made his point that his mother didn’t need to stay out all night, and walked away. Harry watched him leave while Kara waved down the bartender and pointed at her glass. The tattooed kid hesitated, likely debating the ethics of giving her another shot. She pointed again, cocking a brow for emphasis, and he finally filled her glass.

‘Kara … ‘ Harry’s voice was breathless, like he’d been kicked in the gut. ‘Was … was that my … son?’

No. His mother definitely hadn’t given him the letters Kara had written. She lifted her shot, toasting him. ‘Congratulations, Harry. It’s a boy.’

ABOUT ‘THE ROAD LEADS HOME’: Kara Martinson and Harry Canton weren’t exactly high school sweethearts, but they did share one night neither will ever forget. Twenty-seven years later, Harry surprises Kara at an art gallery opening and discovers he left her with more than just memories when he went away to college. Desperate to connect with the family he never knew existed, Harry convinces his son to move to Stonehill—and pleads with Kara to come, too.

Kara hasn’t stepped foot in their hometown since the day she was sent away to a home for unwed mothers. Now Harry’s back in her life and as they put together the pieces of his parents’ betrayal, old heartaches start to feel anew. She wants to be near her family, but returning to Iowa means facing some things…and some people…she isn’t quite ready to.

Can Harry convince her to forgive those who betrayed her so they can embrace the future they were robbed of so long ago? Or will the pain of the past be too much for Kara to overcome?

MY THOUGHTS: The Road Leads Back by Marci Bolden is the first ever romance book I have given 5 stars. I picked it up, started reading and by the end of the first chapter I was absolutely smitten. This is not just a romance – it is so much more – family dynamics, second chances, love, and living with disability.

I have read and loved Marci Bolden’s books previously, but The Road Leads Back has blown everything else she has ever written way out of the water. The story is one we have all heard before, but Bolden’s writing takes it to a new level. Her characters are very real as are their reactions to situations and their emotions. I felt Kara’s and Harry’s pain. I admired Kara’s resourcefulness. I fell in love with Jess, who has Down’s syndrome. I understood Phil’s resentment at his childhood, but wanted to tell him to wake up to what a wonderful mother he has. And I wanted to strangle both Kara’s and Harry’s parents.

Speaking of parents, every parent tempted to meddle in their child’s life needs to read this. No, we don’t always know what is best for them. What we want for our children is not necessarily what they want or need.

I loved this unique, believable and unpredictable book to the point where I ignored all my other reads to focus on this. Marci Bolden, you hit the ball out of the park. And now I can’t wait to read the next in this series!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#TheRoadLeadsBack #NetGalley

I: #marciboldenauthor #pinksandpress

T: @BoldenMarci #PinkSandPress

#contemporaryfiction #familydrama #romance #sliceoflife #womensfiction

THE AUTHOR: As a teen, Marci Bolden skipped over young adult books and jumped right into reading women’s fiction and romance novels.

Marci lives in the Midwest with her husband, two teenaged kiddos, and numerous rescue pets. If she had an ounce of will power, Marci would embrace healthy living but until cupcakes and wine are no longer available at the local grocery store, she’ll put that ambition on hold and appease her guilt by reading self-help books and promising to join a gym “soon.”

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Pink Sand Press via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Road Leads Home by Marci Bolden for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

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

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Only a week until Christmas. I hope everyone is better organised than I am! It’s our work Christmas party today, so this will be a brief post sandwiched between the committee meeting, which has just finished, and the party which begins in an hour.

I am currently reading The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin, a title off my backlist.

Winter Honeymoon by Jacob M. Appel, a collection of short stories from my backlist and the cover of which for some reason won’t download for me . . . 🤷‍♀️

and How the Dead Speak by Val McDermid,yet another backtitle.

And I am listening to Twenty Years Later by Charlie Donlea

This week I am planning on reading The Road Leads Back by Marci Bolden

Kara Martinson and Harry Canton weren’t exactly high school sweethearts, but they did share one night neither will ever forget. Twenty-seven years later, Harry surprises Kara at an art gallery opening and discovers he left her with more than just memories when he went away to college. Desperate to connect with the family he never knew existed, Harry convinces his son to move to Stonehill—and pleads with Kara to come, too.

Kara hasn’t stepped foot in their hometown since the day she was sent away to a home for unwed mothers. Now Harry’s back in her life and as they put together the pieces of his parents’ betrayal, old heartaches start to feel anew. She wants to be near her family, but returning to Iowa means facing some things…and some people…she isn’t quite ready to.

Can Harry convince her to forgive those who betrayed her so they can embrace the future they were robbed of so long ago? Or will the pain of the past be too much for Kara to overcome? 

And Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Charlie Jordan is being driven across the country by a serial killer. Maybe.

Behind the wheel is Josh Baxter, a stranger Charlie met by the college ride share board, who also has a good reason for leaving university in the middle of term. On the road they share their stories, carefully avoiding the subject dominating the news – the Campus Killer, who’s tied up and stabbed three students in the span of a year, has just struck again.

Travelling the lengthy journey between university and their final destination, Charlie begins to notice discrepancies in Josh’s story.

As she begins to plan her escape from the man she is becoming certain is the killer, she starts to suspect that Josh knows exactly what she’s thinking.

Meaning that she could very well end up as his next victim.

This week I have received a total of 4 new ARCs, 3 digital and 1 audio. They are: The Wedding Murders by Sarah Linley

The Patient by Jane Schemilt

And Local Gone Missing by Fiona Barton

And the audiobook is The Lucky Ones by Kiersten Modglin

This week I have travelled to London, England; Glasgow, Scotland; Summers Lake in the Adirondacks; New York City; and Bradseden, a fictional village on the outskirts of Bradfield in South Yorkshire.

Have a wonderful Christmas and be kind.

The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths

While this isn’t the most appealing cover, the content makes up for it.

EXCERPT: Meg’s forehead bumped against the glass. She thought of the funeral that morning, of Leonard Holt saying, ‘Lots of showbusiness folks buried in this graveyard.’ She thought of Barbara Dodson dying alone in Hastings and of Aleister Crowley who had cursed the town. She thought of the Gillespies and the picture over their TV, the smiling blonde woman and her angelic baby. She thought of Whitby and the ruined abbey and the cloaked figure staring up at her. There was something about this case, she thought, that went beyond the usual domestic tragedy, wives killing husbands, husbands killing wives. This was about retribution, she was sure of it. She thought of the DI’s strange quotation. Ellum she hateth mankind, and waiteth. The words of a song came into her head, a song that had been in the charts that summer. She couldn’t remember much of it, just the chorus about waiting until the midnight hour. The lyrics were meant to be somewhat risque- some radio stations had refused to play the track – but now the phrase came back to Meg with another meaning. Bert could escape his crimes for years but there would come an hour, the midnight hour, when he would have to pay.

ABOUT ‘THE MIDNIGHT HOUR’: Brighton, 1965

When theatrical impresario Bert Billington is found dead in his retirement home, no one suspects foul play. But when the postmortem reveals that he was poisoned, suspicion falls on his wife, eccentric ex-Music Hall star Verity Malone.

Frustrated by the police response to Bert’s death and determined to prove her innocence, Verity calls in private detective duo Emma Holmes and Sam Collins. This is their first real case, but as luck would have it they have a friend on the inside: Max Mephisto is filming a remake of Dracula, starring Seth Bellington, Bert’s son. But when they question Max, they feel he isn’t telling them the whole story.

Emma and Sam must vie with the police to untangle the case and bring the killer to justice. They’re sure the answers must lie in Bert’s dark past and in the glamorous, occasionally deadly, days of Music Hall. But the closer they get to the truth, the more danger they find themselves in…

MY THOUGHTS: #6 in the Brighton Mysteries, and I still can’t get enough! Once I began The Midnight Hour, I ignored everything else and immersed myself totally in Brighton, 1965 and an intriguing murder mystery.

There shouldn’t be anything suspicious about a 90 year old man dying in his chair after his Sunday lunch, but in this case there is, and accusations and allegations are soon flying about. It would seem that our Bert, beloved pantomime star, has not had a blameless past. There are plenty of skeletons emerging from closets . . . and leaving the closet doors open for more skeletons to follow. It seems that no one can escape unscathed from their pasts. Not even Max.

We have moved on in time just a year from where the previous book, Now You See Them, concluded. Max is now established as a movie star, is father to two small children, and has inherited his father’s title of Lord Massingham and the family estate, which still doesn’t sit easily on his shoulders. Emma, once the pioneering DS Holmes, is married – compulsory retirement from the police force – to Edgar, her old boss and police Superintendent, and they have three small children. But missing her work, Emma has started a PI firm with friend and freelance reporter, Sam Collins, and it is this duo that the murdered man’s wife, Verity, a one time lover of Max’s, calls on to investigate when she is accused of orchestrating her husband’s death. Assisting in the police investigation is WDC Meg Connolly, because Verity won’t talk to the men. Meg is determined to make the most of her opportunity, and the line between the police and private Investigators investigations becomes blurred as the women collaborate.

The Midnight Hour is a riveting and compelling murder mystery involving more than one death, in which we see the new guard begin to take over. The world is changing, although policewomen are still not allowed to drive panda cars, and are largely employed to make tea and do the filing.

To me, it really doesn’t seem like the 1960’s were that long ago; to others they will be ancient history. I had a lovely walk down memory lane, enjoying references to both the music and the fashions. At one point a receptionist is wearing ‘an orange minidress held together by large gold hoops,’ which was extremely fashionable at the time and which I would have loved to have owned.

This is a series that needs to be read in order from the beginning to fully appreciate character development and the complicated maze of relationships that exist. But believe me, it’s worth every moment.

There is one particular paragraph that struck a chord with me and that I would like to share: When she’d looked at those old photographs of herself today it had been like looking at a deceased friend. Who was this radiant creature? Well, she didn’t exist now.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.7

#TheMidnightHour #NetGalley

I: @ellygriffiths17 @marinerbooks

T: @ellygriffiths @MarinerBooks

#fivestarread #cozymystery #domesticdrama #historicalfiction #murdermystery

THE AUTHOR: Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway novels take for their inspiration Elly’s husband, who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist, and her aunt who lives on the Norfolk coast and who filled her niece’s head with the myths and legends of that area. Elly has two children and lives near Brighton.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Mariner Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths 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

Prose and Cons by Wendy Corsi Staub

EXCERPT: She turns off the overhead light so she can see outside. Pressing her forehead against the glass, she finds the porch vacant, as it should be. The stained-glass angels are twirling slowly, lacking sufficient wind to make them chime. Beyond the porch lamp’s glow, there’s nothing but falling rain and darkness.

Bella turns away.

‘See that Chance? You don’t have to worry, because everything’s okay out there. In here, too.’

The cat’s green eyes glitter at her across the dim hall.

‘Yeah, I know. I don’t believe me either.’ With a sigh, Bella slowly returns to the kitchen to clean up the pomegranate confetti. The seeds are starting to thaw, pooling and glistening like droplets of blood.

ABOUT ‘PROSE AND CONS’: It’s been nine months since widowed mom Bella Jordan and her young son Max moved to Lily Dale, the quirky, close-knit New York community populated by people who can speak to the dead . . . if one believes in that kind of thing. Now she counts Valley View, the guesthouse she runs, as home and her psychic medium neighbours as friends. Even haughty, British Pandora, who used to own Valley View before her difficult divorce.
So when Pandora sweeps in, requesting an urgent tete-a-tete, Bella expects it to be another complaint about book club. It isn’t. Pandora airily reveals her elderly Auntie Eudora is taking a last-minute cruise from London to New York with her gentleman friend Nigel – and minutes later Bella is bemused to find she’s agreed to host them at Valley View free of charge.
Bella has enough on her plate: her son Max, their two kitties, a budding relationship with local vet Drew . . . not to mention this month’s book club pick to read. But when she begins to have suspicions about one of her new guests, she’s determined to uncover the truth for Pandora’s sake – even if it kills her first.

MY THOUGHTS: This was fun, and the first in this four book series that I have read, but it won’t be the last.

Prose and Cons – I loved the title and it is relevant – moves along at a meandering pace, yet the read just flew by. The characters are engaging, although not entirely believable. But then, they don’t have to be. Max and his friend Jiffy stole my heart. Typical young boys who are always hungry and love a good practical joke.

The women, with the exception of Pandora who is a pain in the derriere, are a delight. They revel in their characters and aren’t about to change for anyone – Except for Bella, who is still trying to find her feet in this odd little town, and is trying to please everyone to her own detriment. She really needs to grow a pair! But having said that, I also loved her character and she is a great foil for Pandora.

I guessed early on what the mystery was, but it was fun following the characters in their discoveries.

⭐⭐⭐.5

#ProseandCons #NetGalley

I: @wendycorsistaub @severnhouseimprint

T: @WendyCorsiStaub @severnhouse

#contemporaryfiction #cozymystery #crime #paranormal #romance

THE AUTHOR: New York Times bestseller Wendy Corsi Staub is the award-winning author of more than ninety novels, best known for the single title psychological suspense novels she writes under her own name. She also writes women’s fiction under the pseudonym Wendy Markham.

Raised in Dunkirk, NY, Wendy graduated from SUNY Fredonia and launched a publishing career in New York City. She was Associate Editor at Silhouette Books before selling her first novel in 1992. Married with two sons, she lives in the NYC suburbs. An active supporter of the American Cancer Society, she was a featured speaker at Northern Westchester’s 2015 Relay for Life and 2012 National Spokesperson for the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation. She has fostered for various animal rescue organizations.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Cannongate Books, Severn House via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Prose and Cons by Wendy Corsi Staub 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