The Lost Girls of Ireland by Susanne O’Leary

EXCERPT: ‘Nellie Butler . . . Your great-aunt, was she?’

‘That’s right. On my father’s side. I only met her once.’

‘Interesting woman,’ Sorcha said. ‘Talk about rough times. She had them in spades. During the war, I mean. But she was a bit of a heroine, too, I believe.’

‘Really?’ Lydia looked at Sorcha, wanting to know more. ‘In what way?’

‘I don’t really know. I can just tell you what I’ve heard. There was an old man in the village who knew everything about everybody, but he passed away last winter. Mad Brennan he was called. Not mad at all. Very sharp, actually. He told me once that your Aunt Nellie was a spy, but I think he was joking.’

Lydia laughed. ‘A spy?’

‘I know,’ Sorcha said. ‘That’s impossible. What kind of spying could she have done around here? He was pulling my leg as usual. He loved having people on.’

ABOUT ‘THE LOST GIRLS OF IRELAND’: 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?

MY THOUGHTS: This is a fairly predictable romance that missed the opportunity to capitalize on a family mystery and move the whole book up a level. Why speculate about Great Aunt Nellie if you’re not going to follow it through? She was by far the most interesting character, the one with the most potential, and there was definitely the opportunity to run her story concurrently with Lydia’s.

I really failed to connect with any of the characters and the plot was very thin, lacking in substance. I also didn’t get the relevance of the title.

If you are looking for a (very) light romance, The Lost Girls of Ireland will fit the bill admirably. Personally, I prefer a little more depth.

⭐⭐.5

#TheLostGirlsofIreland #NetGalley

I: @susanne.olearyauthor @bookouture

T: @susl @bookouture

#contemporaryfiction #familydrama #irishfiction #romance #womensfiction

THE AUTHOR: Susanne O’Leary is the bestselling author of 22 novels, mainly in the romantic fiction genre. She has also written three crime novels and two in the historical fiction genre. She has been the wife of a diplomat (still is), a fitness teacher and a translator. She now writes full-time from either of two locations, a ramshackle house in County Tipperary, Ireland or a little cottage overlooking the Atlantic in Dingle, County Kerry. When she is not scaling the mountains of said counties (including MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, featured in Full Irish), or keeping fit in the local gym, she keeps writing, producing a book every six months.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Lost Girls of Ireland by Susanne O’Leary 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 Whole Truth by Cara Hunter

EXCERPT: I wonder what she would have said if she knew the truth.

Gavin Parrie isn’t stupid, she’s right about that. And he’d have a hell of a lot to lose, she’s right about that too. But he does have a reason. A reason that might – perhaps – be worth the risk.

Revenge.

Because he wasn’t just venting, that day, in court.

He was guilty. He knows that and I know that. But there’s something else we both know.

Gavin Parrie was convicted on a lie.

ABOUT ‘THE WHOLE TRUTH’: An attractive student. An older professor.

Think you know the story? Think again.

She has everything at stake; he has everything to lose. But one of them is lying, all the same.

When an Oxford student accuses one of the university’s professors of sexual assault, DI Adam Fawley’s team think they’ve heard it all before. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

Because this time, the predator is a woman and the shining star of the department, and the student a six-foot male rugby player.

Soon DI Fawley and his team are up against the clock to figure out the truth. What they don’t realise is that someone is watching.

And they have a plan to put Fawley out of action for good.

MY THOUGHTS: The Whole Truth by Cara Hunter has two storylines involving DI Adam Fawley. There’s a distinctly different and muddied case of sexual assault, and an old case of Adam’s, which actively involves his very pregnant wife Alex, looks like it is coming back to haunt them.

This is a heart-in-the-mouth addition to an excellent series. I have become quite fond of Adam and his team, most of whom are loyal to their boss. But there’s always one, isn’t there, who wants to take him down.

There are plenty of twists and turns in both storylines and at times I felt like I was in a tumble dryer and didn’t know which way was up. Cara Hunter has done a wonderful job of making this work. At no point was I in any way confused, just incredibly excited and invested in the outcome.

Hunter has seamlessly blended two intriguing storylines with a progression in the characters personal lives. Adam and Alex’s is fraught with tension on several fronts, and we learn a bit more about Asante.

Another thing I really appreciated was the refresher on the series characters at the beginning of the book. Other authors, please take note.

The one fly in the ointment for me was the reproduction of Alex’s notes. It was totally unreadable on the Kindle. 🤷‍♀️

The narration on the audiobook was excellent. It was provided by Lee Ingleby, Emma Cunnliffe and Roy McMillan.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

#TheWholeTruth #NetGalley #carahunterauthor #penguinukbooks #penguinrandomhouse

@CaraHunterBooks @PenguinUKBooks @PenguinRandom

#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #murdermystery #series

THE AUTHOR: Cara Hunter is a writer who lives in Oxford, in a street not unlike those featured in her series of crime books.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Penguin Random House UK audio and Penguin General UK via Netgalley for providing both a digital and audio ARC 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 my webpage

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

In Her Tracks by Robert Dugoni

EXCERPT: ‘Let’s play hide and seek, Daddy.’

‘We don’t have time for that, Elle. We have to get through.’

‘Please, Daddy.’

‘I’m sorry, honey. Maybe we can play at home.’

Elle cried. Then she sat down in the dirt.

‘Elle, get up, honey. You’re getting your costume dirty.’

‘No.’

‘Honey, you have to stand up.’

‘I want to play. Mommy lets me play.’

The counsellor Chin had seen for his court-ordered anger-management classes had warned that kids going through a contentious divorce could become defiant and play one parent off against the other.

‘Elle. You need to stand up.’

‘No. Graham plays with me.’

Chin felt his heart ripping apart. ‘Okay. One quick game. All right?’

Elle got to her feet. ‘Yay!’

‘But when I say come out, you have to come out. Okay?’

‘You count, Daddy. You have to hide your eyes.’

‘Okay, but if I say come out, you come out. Right?’

‘Turn around when you count.’

Chin turned and counted. It wouldn’t be hard to find Elle’s colourful butterfly wings among the green corn stalks. ‘One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi.’

At six he cheated and turned. He didn’t see Elle’s wings behind the corn stalks. ‘Here I come.’ He stepped forward. ‘I’m coming.’ He searched the aisle, looking under the drooping leaves. He turned the corner to another row. Then a third and a fourth. He checked his watch, felt himself starting to panic.

He shouted, ‘Okay, Elle. I give up. Come out.’ He turned in a circle, looking, hearing the wind rustle the stalks. ‘Don’t let the lights go out,’ he muttered under his breath. He called again. ‘Elle? You have to come out. The game is over.’

His heart raced.

He jogged, turning left and right, down the rows, shouting her name. ‘Elle. Come out. Elle? Elle!’

He turned a corner, disorientated.

Another corner.

Elle’s colourful butterfly wings lay in the dirt.

‘Elle!’

Then the lights went out.

ABOUT ‘IN HER TRACKS’: Returning from an extended leave in her hometown of Cedar Grove, Detective Tracy Crosswhite finds herself reassigned to the Seattle PD’s cold case unit. As the protective mother of an infant daughter, Tracy is immediately drawn to her first file: the abduction of a five-year-old girl whose parents, embattled in a poisonous divorce, were once prime suspects.

While reconstructing the days leading up to the girl’s disappearance, Tracy is brought into an active investigation with former partner Kinsington Rowe. A young woman has vanished on an isolated jogging trail in North Seattle. Divided between two critical cases, Tracy has little to go on except the treacherous deceptions behind a broken marriage—and now, the secrets hiding behind the closed doors of a deceptively quiet middle-class neighborhood.

To find two missing persons, Tracy will have to follow more than clues, which are both long cold and unsettlingly fresh. Given her own traumatic past, Tracy must also follow her instincts—to whatever dark and dangerous places they may lead.

MY THOUGHTS: Another solid addition to Dugoni’s Tracy Crosswhite series. Tracy is returning to work following her maternity leave and finds that she has been shafted by her longtime arch-nemesis, Nolasco. But as they say, every cloud has a silver lining and Nolasco may just wind up having to eat humble pie.

Tracy’s character continues to develop and motherhood seems to have made her more conscious of the effect her personal traumas have had on her, and the need to learn to cope with them, if not overcome them has her regularly seeing a therapist. She has to learn to balance her caseload with her family life, not always an easy task, especially for someone as dedicated and empathetic as Tracy.

There are some unexpected twists and turns, and one that wasn’t so surprising to me, that I had guessed earlier on. Even though we know what has happened to Stephanie Cole, the young woman who has been abducted, Dugoni has laid a clever trail of red herrings so that the case is not quite as clear cut as it initially seems. This case somewhat overshadows the cold case involving the disappearance of five year old Elle Chin, and I also felt that the resolution to this was dragged out too long. Despite this, Dugoni kept my interest throughout and I enjoyed this addition to the series.

As a bonus, I think that this book could well be read as a stand-alone, so if you are daunted by the thought of starting this series at book #8, don’t be.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.4

#InHerTracks #NetGalley

@robertdugoni

#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #mystery #policeprocedural

THE AUTHOR: A writer turned lawyer turned writer.
Robert Dugoni was born in Idaho and raised in Northern California the middle child of a family of ten siblings. Dugoni jokes that he didn’t get much of a chance to talk, so he wrote. By the seventh grade he knew he wanted to be a writer.

Dugoni wrote his way to Stanford University, receiving writing awards along the way, and majored in communications/journalism and creative writing while working as a reporter for the Stanford Daily. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and worked briefly as a reporter in the Metro Office and the San Gabriel Valley Office of the Los Angeles Times.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Thomas & Mercer via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of In Her Tracks by Robert Dugoni 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

Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder #2) by Linda Castillo

EXCERPT: A massive barn and silo stood in silhouette against the pre-dawn sky. The postcard-perfect farm was the last place Skid expected any trouble. He’d lived in Painters Mill going on four years now. Aside from a few minor infractions – like that time two teenage boys got caught racing their buggies down Main Street – the Amish were damn near perfect citizens. But Skid had been a cop long enough to know there was always an exception to the rule.

He parked behind a buggy, his headlights reflecting off the slow-moving-vehicle sign mounted at the rear. To his right, the house stood in shadows; it didn’t look like anyone was up yet. Turning, he made eye contact with Zimmerman. ‘How did you get in?’

‘The back door is unlocked,’the Amish man said.

Grabbing his Maglite, Skid left the cruiser. He slid his. 38 from its sheath as he started down the sidewalk. Stepping onto the stoop, he banged on the door with his flashlight. ‘This is the Police,’ he called out. ‘Open up.’

That was when he noticed the dark smear on the jamb. He shifted the flashlight beam and squinted. It looked like blood. A handprint. Skin shone the light down on the concrete porch. More blood. Black droplets glittering in the moonlight.

ABOUT ‘PRAY FOR SILENCE’: The Plank family moved from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to join the small Amish community of Painters Mill less than a year ago and seemed the model of the Plain Life—until on a cold October night, the entire family of seven was found slaughtered on their farm. Police Chief Kate Burkholder and her small force have few clues, no motive, and no suspect. Formerly Amish herself, Kate is no stranger to the secrets the Amish keep from the English—and each other—but this crime is horribly out of the ordinary.

State agent John Tomasetti arrives on the scene to assist. He and Kate worked together on a previous case during which they began a volatile relationship. They soon realize the disturbing details of this case will test their emotional limits and force them to face demons from their own troubled pasts—and for Kate, a personal connection that is particularly hard to bear.

When she discovers a diary that belonged to one of the teenaged daughters, Kate is shocked to learn the girl kept some very dark secrets and may have been living a lurid double life. Who is the charismatic stranger who stole the young Amish girl’s heart? Could the brother—a man with a violent past, rejected and shunned by his family and the Amish community, have come to seek out revenge? As Kate’s outrage grows so does her resolve to find the killer and bring him to justice—even if it means putting herself in the line of fire.

MY THOUGHTS: Pray for Silence may be the most shocking, but it is not the strongest, nor the best book in the series. I loved Sworn to Silence, the first book in this series, and I have read many of the later books, and loved them. But with Pray for Silence, it almost felt like the Castillo was trying too hard, trying to shock rather than entertain. Not what I have come to expect from this author. I finished this read feeling somewhat unsettled, and ‘grubby’.

I didn’t particularly like what was happening in the relationship between Kate and Tomasetti either, with both in self-destruction and point-scoring modes. Kate rushes into things blindly, putting herself in danger to prove a point to Tomasetti. We learn very little more about the constant characters, there’s almost zero character development.

The bones of the story are good. Now, this is going to sound strange coming from me – the Queen of ‘dark and gritty’, but this is one story that could have benefited from a slightly gentler touch.

I am pleased that I didn’t read this immediately after ‘Sworn to Silence’. I might not have continued reading what is an otherwise excellent series. Instead I am going to put this down to the second book’ phenomenon and advise other readers not to be put off by it. There is better to come.

I did a read & listen of Pray for Silence. Narrator Kathleen McInerney was, as always, wonderful.

⭐⭐.8

#PrayForSilence #KateBurkholderSeries

@lindacastilloauthor
@LindaCastillo11
@MacmillanAudio

#amishfiction #contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #murdermystery

THE AUTHOR: Linda Castillo is a New York Times bestselling author. In addition to writing, Castillo’s other passion is horses, particularly her appaloosa George. She lives in Texas with her husband and is currently at work on her next novel.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo, published by Macmillan. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

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

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Is it my imagination, or are Sundays, and therefore Mondays, coming around more quickly than they did earlier in the year? Or is it just because I am still working 7 days….? Not quite true as I had yesterday off for Luke’s 4th birthday. It was a lovely day, the children were all very well behaved and had lots of fun. The birthday cake was a lovely rich moist chocolate cake in the shape of two volcanoes with lava flows and roaming dinosaurs.

The smaller volcano was Dustin’s gluten free cake. We had a dehumidifier under the larger volcano but the kids were so excited and wanting to help Luke blow out his candles that we didn’t have a chance to plug it in and let it blow steam. I wish I had taken a photo when we did the very brief test run as it was quite spectacular! Luke got lots of dinosaur themed gifts and had a great time with his friends.

I am just about to start Robert Dugoni’s In Her Tracks, Tracy Crosswhite #8.

Returning from an extended leave in her hometown of Cedar Grove, Detective Tracy Crosswhite finds herself reassigned to the Seattle PD’s cold case unit. As the protective mother of an infant daughter, Tracy is immediately drawn to her first file: the abduction of a five-year-old girl whose parents, embattled in a poisonous divorce, were once prime suspects.

While reconstructing the days leading up to the girl’s disappearance, Tracy is brought into an active investigation with former partner Kinsington Rowe. A young woman has vanished on an isolated jogging trail in North Seattle. Divided between two critical cases, Tracy has little to go on except the treacherous deceptions behind a broken marriage—and now, the secrets hiding behind the closed doors of a deceptively quiet middle-class neighborhood.

To find two missing persons, Tracy will have to follow more than clues, which are both long cold and unsettlingly fresh. Given her own traumatic past, Tracy must also follow her instincts—to whatever dark and dangerous places they may lead. 

I also intend to read When I was Ten by Fiona Cummins.

She had lived a lie for thirteen years, and the perfect life as she had known it was about to change forever.

Everyone remembered Sara and Shannon Carter, the little blonde haired sisters. Their Dad was the local GP and they lived in the beautiful house on the hill. Their best friend, Brinley Booth, lived next door. They would do anything for each other but everything shifted on that fateful day when Dr Richard Carter and his wife Pamela were stabbed fourteen times with a pair of scissors in what has become the most talked about double murder of the modern age.

The girls were aged ten and twelve at the time. One, nicknamed the Angel of Death, spent eight years in a children’s secure unit accused of the brutal killings. The other lived in foster care out of the limelight and prying questions. Now, on the anniversary of the trial, a documentary team has tracked down one of the sisters, persuading her to speak about the events of that night for the first time.

Her explosive interview sparks national headlines and Brinley Booth, now a journalist, is tasked with covering the news story which brings to light fresh evidence and triggers a chain of events which will have devastating consequences.

I have just started listening to The Coffin Maker’s Garden, #3 in Stuart MacBride’s Ash Henderson series.

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.

I am also reading The Women Who Ran Away by Sheila O’Flanagan. Don’t you just love this cover!

Deira is setting out on the holiday she’d planned with her long-term partner Gavin… only she’s on her own. Gavin will not be amused when he finds out she’s ‘borrowed’ his car, but since their brutal break-up Deira’s not been acting rationally. Maybe a drive through beautiful France will help her see things differently…Grace is also travelling alone, each stage of her journey outlined in advance by her late husband. Ken was head of the household when he was alive, and it seems he’s still in charge. His last decision was a surprise – could there be more surprises to come? There’s only one way to find out, galling though it is to dance again to Ken’s tune…Thrown together by chance, Deira and Grace are soon motoring down the French highways, sharing intriguing stories of their pasts, as they each consider the future.

I will be lucky to finish all these this week, but I will give it my best shot.

I was excited to receive a publisher’s widget for Stolen by Tess Stimson this week. One in Three by the same author was one of the best books that I read last year.

I also received four ARCs from Netgalley – All Her Fault by Andrea Mara

The Car Share by Zoe Brisby

The Marriage by K.L. Slater

Finding Tessa by Jaime Lynn Hendricks

Is that better, Susan? I did it for you, my friend! 🤣😂

Have a wonderful week of reading and please do pop in and tell me what you currently turning the pages of. ❤📚

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Dusk on Good Friday.

It’s Easter Sunday today, and despite the Easter Bunny forgetting me, it’s been a beautiful day, a beautiful weekend after a week of thunder, lightning and heavy rain.

Currently I am reading Hummingbird Lane by Carolyn Brown. This is the second book that I have read by this author and she is definitely on my favourites list. Her characters are superb.

I am listening to A Gathering of Secrets by Linda Castillo, #10 in the Kate Burkholder series.

This week I am planning on reading The Best of Friends by Alex Day.

Susannah is rebuilding her life…
Susannah has had a tough year. After a sticky divorce and losing the life she had grown accustomed to, moving to a small town in the south of England with her two sons is exactly the fresh start she needs.

Charlotte seems to have it all…
Charlotte is delighted when Susannah moves in. Charlotte may appear to have the perfect husband, the perfect family, the perfect house, but deep down she’s lonely, and she needs someone to confide in.

But one of them is not who they pretend to be…
The two women instantly become best friends. But underneath the surface, secrets, lies and betrayals are all hiding. And when the truth comes out, not everyone will live to tell the tale…

That is probably all I will get read this week as I am training my new staff member plus have a number of functions on including a lunch for our over 60s group, an engagement party and the speedshear. We have travelled up to our son in Hamilton each day this week to help get his new workshop ready to move into. He had been planning the move for this weekend but delays in the electrical cabling for the hoists has put him behind. I have spent the weekend sanding down and painting the offices, customer area, lunch room, bathrooms and library. One final coat tomorrow and at least that area will be ready. I could hardly move when I got out of bed this morning. I have found muscles that I’d forgotten I had!

I received 4 new Netgalley ARCs this week, all of them from Carla and Susan’s lists from last week.

A Road Trip to Remember by Judith Kleim. Isn’t that cover delicious! I could do with some time at the beach right now.

A Bucket List to Die For by Lorraine Fouchet

The Lost Girls of Ireland by Susanne O’Leary

And Little Boy Lost by Ruhi Choudhary.

I am going to leave you with this morning’s sunrise. If you look closely you will see the Easter Cross lit up between the trees on the skyline.

Happy Easter, and happy reading my friends.

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Storm clouds are gathering. The weather that has flooded New South Wales this week is due to hit New Zealand tonight. The sunrise this morning was spectacular, but I’m afraid that I just lay in bed and enjoyed it this morning. I did think about leaping out of bed and grabbing the camera, but my body wasn’t listening 🤷‍♀️

Currently I am reading Small Town Secrets by Alys Murray, which is absolutely delightful! This is a book that I requested because the cover appealed, but it is definitely a winner. It’s a light romance with a few life lessons. I love the characters, who are well developed, quirky, and believable.

I am listening to Partners in Crime by Stuart MacBride, (Logan McRae 6.5-7.5) I love this author’s sense of humour.

I am also reading The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. This is another book peopled by characters I love. This is the April group read for the ‘All About Books’ Goodreads.com group. This would make an excellent movie.

This week I am planning on reading Syrian Brides by Anna Halabi. The author provided me with an ARC.

This delightful collection of short stories offers insight into the lives of Syrian women, both the married and the brides-to-be. It reveals the warmth and humor as well as the oppression in the Syrian society. The stories make the reader laugh while addressing serious issues such as domestic violence.
Um Hussam can’t find a suitable bride for her son, testing each candidate’s sight, hearing and reading skills, occasionally cobbing a feel. Jamila’s husband Hassan can’t forget his deceased wife, until she makes sure he never mentions her again. Rami can’t help but wonder whether his new bride is a natural beauty or a talented surgeon’s masterpiece. Khadija’s maid stabs her in the back while Rana’s husband Muafak can’t find the right excuse to avoid a fight. 

And Of Magpies and Men by Ode Ray. This is also an author ARC.

Can any good come of longings that a person can never satisfy? If so, good for whom?

Two corpses wash ashore in a picturesque Italian village, the violence that put them there is bound to a long-held secret and two strangers living worlds apart with seemingly nothing in common.

Benedict Grant a wealthy Londoner, leading a lonely life.

Marie Boulanger a nurse and single mum, struggling to make ends meet in Marseille.

However, a mother’s illicit revelation will set in motion a chain of events that will reshape their identities, stir poignant family affairs and delve into the by-products of lawless decisions.

I am possibly being a little ambitious this week as it is the end of our financial year so there’s a lot of extra work to be done.

I received three new Netgalley ARCs this week:

The Last Night in London by Karen White

My Little Girl by Shalini Boland

and The Whispers by Heidi Perks

What are you planning on reading this week? I have three reviews I need to write, but as I am having trouble stringing my thoughts together coherently, I will wait until the morning to make a start, and hope that get a good night’s sleep tonight.

Has anyone else had any trouble downloading the audiobook Mrs Wiggins? I have made several unsuccessful attempts to download it to my ipod. It jams at around 10% and goes no further. I haven’t had this problem with any of the other audiobooks I have downloaded from Netgalley.

Have a wonderful week everyone!❤📚

Watching what I’m reading . . .

Another weekend draws to a close here in New Zealand. I really don’t know where this one went. There’s a distinct nip in the air when the sun goes behind the clouds, and the first of the leaves are beginning to colour.

I got the plans for my new kitchen on Friday, and I love it. I am going to take a couple of hours out of work on Wednesday and go pick my bench top, cupboards, etc. So excited!

I am about to start reading Dear Neighbour by Anna Willett.

I am listening to The Whole Truth by Cara Hunter

This week I am also planning on reading Whoever Fights Monsters by Angelo Marcos.

You’d kill to protect your family. The question is… how many times?

Three men are about to begin the worst bombing campaign in history, targeting schools in order to kill as many innocent children as they can.

One night, the mysterious Aurora appears and tells family man Nathaniel Bennett three things.

Firstly, that his daughter will be one of the victims.

Secondly, that he is the only one who can stop these atrocities from happening.

Thirdly, to stop them he’ll have to kill all three of the men. If even one is left alive, the bombings will still happen and hundreds of children – including his daughter – will die.

We follow Nathaniel as he wrestles with his mission – and himself. Is he a soldier following orders and saving children, or is he the monster, stalking and killing three men who – so far – have done nothing wrong?

And, to the rest of the world – and the police – does it even make a difference?

This week I received a Publisher’s widget for Sleepless by Romy Hausmann

A Netgalley ARC for The Restarting Point by Marci Bolden

and one audiobook ARC, Mrs Wiggins by Mary Monroe

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!❤📚

Watching what I’m reading . . .

After a week of cool,wet and stormy weather, the weekend has been magnificent. Clear blue skies, and hot. Just how I like it. 🏖

I have been working every day since my 2-i-c left, and will work right through until my new one starts after Easter. I have had Luke this weekend too, so other than Luke’s books, I haven’t read anything.

Currently I am reading The Incredible Winston Browne by Sean Dietrich.

and listening to The Good Neighbour by R.J. Parker

This week I am planning on reading The Night Gate by Peter May

In a sleepy French village, the body of a man shot through the head is disinterred by the roots of a fallen tree.
A week later a famous art critic is viciously murdered in a nearby house.
The deaths occurred more than seventy years apart.
Asked by a colleague to inspect the site of the former, forensics expert Enzo Macleod quickly finds himself embroiled in the investigation of the latter.  Two extraordinary narratives are set in train – one historical, unfolding in the treacherous wartime years of Occupied France; the other contemporary, set in the autumn of 2020 as France re-enters Covid lockdown.

And Enzo’s investigations reveal an unexpected link between the murders – the Mona Lisa.

Tasked by the exiled General Charles de Gaulle to keep the world’s most famous painting out of Nazi hands after the fall of France in 1940, 28-year-old Georgette Pignal finds herself swept along by the tide of history. Following in the wake of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa as it is moved from château to château by the Louvre, she finds herself just one step ahead of two German art experts sent to steal it for rival patrons – Hitler and Göring.

What none of them know is that the Louvre itself has taken exceptional measures to keep the painting safe, unwittingly setting in train a fatal sequence of events extending over seven decades.

Events that have led to both killings.

And Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy

Newlyweds Sam Statler and Annie Potter are head over heels, and excited to say good-bye to New York and start a life together in Sam’s sleepy hometown in upstate New York. Or, it turns out, a life where Annie spends most of her time alone while Sam, her therapist husband, works long hours in his downstairs office, tending to the egos of his (mostly female) clientele.

Little does Sam know that through a vent in his ceiling, every word of his sessions can be heard from the room upstairs. The pharmacist’s wife, contemplating a divorce. The well-known painter whose boyfriend doesn’t satisfy her in bed. Who could resist listening? Everything is fine until the French girl in the green mini Cooper shows up, and Sam decides to go to work and not come home, throwing a wrench into Sam and Annie’s happily ever after.

This week I received 4 Kindle ARCs and 1 audiobook from Netgalley.

The Lights of Sugarberry Cove by Heather Webber

A Million Things by Emily Spurr

The Dead Husband by Carter Wilson

Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson

and the audiobook is The Whole Truth by Cara Hunter

I am super excited about both The Dead Husband by Carter Wilson and Mother May I by Joshilyn Jackson.

And now I had better get back to Luke…he has devised another game for us to play, one that requires me to make a tent 🤣😂