Watching what I’m reading

Another slow week of reading. I admit to feeling absolutely exhausted, and then have been hit by a rather nasty stomach bug that is currently doing the rounds. So instead of visiting my grandson today, I have spent most of the day in bed.

I am a little over half way through

The Wife Before Me

And I am quite enjoying this read.

This week I am planning on reading

Sold on a Monday

From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes another unforgettable novel inspired by a stunning piece of history.

2 CHILDREN FOR SALE

The sign is a last resort. It sits on a farmhouse porch in 1931, but could be found anywhere in an era of breadlines, bank runs, and broken dreams. It could have been written by any mother facing impossible choices.

For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when it leads to his big break, the consequences are more devastating than he ever imagined.

At the paper, Lillian Palmer is haunted by her role in all that happened. She is far too familiar with the heartbreak of children deemed unwanted. As the bonds of motherhood are tested, she and Ellis must decide how much they are willing to risk to mend a fractured family.

Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and the unexpected paths that bring us home.

Better Than This

Sometimes the most enviable life is really a private hell.

On the surface, Sarah Jenkins appears to have it all: a handsome, wealthy and successful husband, a precocious five-year-old daughter, and a beautiful home in an affluent Seattle neighborhood. Her quirky best friend and fellow high school teacher, Maggie, marvels at her luck—and envies her happiness.

But Sarah is far from happy. She feels empty and on edge, harangued by a critical inner voice—and as the truth about her marriage and details of her past emerge, her “perfect” life begins to crumble. But just when it seems all is lost, a long forgotten, unopened letter changes everything, and with the support of friends, Sarah begins to rebuild her life. Can she quiet the critical voice in her head and learn to value herself instead?

I received 6 ARCs from NetGalley this week

Secrets of the Last Castle

What Happened to Us?: A feelgood story of love, loss and new beginnings...

No Way Out (DI Adam Fawley, #3)

Ruth Robinson's Year of Miracles: An uplifting summer read

Women Behaving Badly

In Harm's Way

This time next week, I will be ensconced with my grandsons being a full time Nana for ten days. I can’t wait! They are both bookworms, with sixteen month old Luke having very definite ideas on what he likes to read, and eleven year old Kayden likes finding books for me that I would not otherwise read. He hasn’t made a bad selection for me yet.

Although we are now officially in Spring, our weather is still  distinctly wintery. It’s cold with heavy rain 😩 The only time I have been warm today is when I have been snuggled up in bed . Speaking of which, I am heading back there now.

Happy reading my friends.

The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood

The Hangman’s Hold by Michael    Wood

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Your life is in his hands.

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

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

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

And he is closer than you think.

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

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

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

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

😍😍😍😍.5

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

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

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

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2465651584

Never Touch a Monster by Rosie Greening

Never Touch a Monster by Rosie Greening

EXCERPT : You must never touch a monster
Who invites you ’round for tea
He wants to put you in a pot
And eat you, probably!

ABOUT THIS BOOK: This monster-themed, touch-and-feel book is perfect for young children! Children will love reading the funny rhyme that tells them the dangers of touching a monster and then ignoring the advice!

MY THOUGHTS: I just love this very tactile rhyming book about the dangers of touching monsters, as does my fifteen month old grandson. I thought he might have grown out of this book by now, but he still adores it. So much so, that I have just added Never Touch A Dinosaur by the same author to his library. We read the rhymes, all the while touching, scratching, stroking the textured silicone pads embedded in the monsters bodies. A great little book! And there is a whole series of them. Delightful!

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2512076398

Her Final Hour by Carla Kovach

Her Final Hour by Carla Kovach

Before you even start to read my review, I think it only fair to warn you that I am swimming against the tide of popular opinion, and the thing I liked best about Her Final Hour is the cover.

EXCERPT: …his knees buckled as he saw his wife tied to one of their carver chairs under the light of the cooker hood. A piece of blue cord was looped under her chin and the raw marks around her neck told him exactly what had happened.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Melissa Sanderson is the perfect wife and mother. She dotes on her daughter, and lives in her dream home in a quiet cul-de-sac in the suburbs.

But looks can be deceiving.

Something is amiss in that house – all the neighbours think so. Some say Melissa is having an affair. Others say she’s been drinking too much.

Then one night, sirens wake up the whole neighbourhood.

Melissa Sanderson is dead.

MY THOUGHTS: I enjoyed the first book in this series, The Next Girl. I forgave the author her use of the stereotypical caricature of most major female detectives currently being written – heavy drinking, hard-nosed, has been in an abusive relationship, estranged from family, as her character developed through the first book. But there is absolutely zero further character development in Her Final Hour.

I also commented that ‘some of the investigative techniques left something to be desired, but it does develop into a good crime thriller’. I stand by the first part of that comment as it is also true of Her Final Hour. Unfortunately Her Final Hour does not develop into a good crime thriller.

This book is clumsily written, as though it was dashed off in a hurry. The dialogue is mostly stilted. As I said earlier, there is zero character development. It was repetitive, and the characters constant dwelling on and rehashing of their traumatic pasts became extremely wearing.

There were times when I considered abandoning this read. The only thing that kept me reading was that I had enjoyed The Next Girl. I skimmed pages in an effort to get to the end, and heaved a sigh of relief when I closed the covers.

This was not ‘AN ABSORBING THRILLER WITH AN ENDING YOU WON’T SEE COMING’. It didn’t even come close. I won’t be recommending this book to others, and I probably won’t bother reading any further books in this series. 😕😕.5

I understand that reading is an entirely subjective experience and that, while this book wasn’t one I enjoyed, you may well love it. So if the excerpt piques your interest and you like the sound of the plot synopsis, please get a copy Her Final Hour by Carla Kovach and read it. I sincerely wish that I had enjoyed this more than I did.

THE AUTHOR: Carla Kovach was born in Birmingham, UK and now resides in Redditch, Worcestershire. Author of supernatural drama ‘Flame,’ psychological thriller ‘To Let,’ crime thriller ‘Whispers Beneath the Pines, and romantic comedy ‘Meet Me at Marmaris Castle.’ Carla also writes stage and screen plays, some of which have been produced in the Worcestershire area.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Her Final Hour by Carla Kovach for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2465649922

Watching What I Read. . .

I am running late with this post, for which I apologize, after a busy weekend with work and visitors, during which I got almost zero reading in. The sky is just beginning to lighten on a cool and overcast Monday morning, and I don’t feel rested and refreshed and ready for the new week at all.

I am currently reading, and isn’t that a beautiful cover, …

Her Final Hour (Detective Gina Harte #2)

This week I am planning on reading

The Hangman’s Hold (DCI Matilda Darke Series, Book 4)

Your life is in his hands.

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

There’s a killer in your house.
The Hangman waits in the darkness of your living room. As soon as you get home, he will kill you – hang you by the neck – and make you pay for all the crimes you have tried desperately to forget.

He knows your darkest secrets.
The police are running out of time. DCI Matilda Darke is facing her worst nightmare: a serial killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice, whose campaign of violence is spreading fear throughout the city.

And he is closer than you think.
As the body count rises, Matilda is personally targeted and even her most trusted colleagues fall under suspicion. But can she keep those closest to her from harm? Or is it already too late?

The Wife Before Me

One evening as the sun is setting, Amelia Madison’s car slides into the sea off Mason’s Pier. Her body is never found.

Two years later, Elena Langdon meets Nicholas Madison. She is grieving the loss of her mother, he is grieving for his wife. Together they can help each other.

Now Elena is living with Nicholas. But Elena doesn’t really know him. She doesn’t know what he is capable of.

And she doesn’t know what really happened to Amelia.

Until the day she discovers the torn page of a letter and the words she reads chill her to the bone.

Elena must find the person who wrote these letters if she is to save herself.

This week I received four ARCs from NetGalley

The Secrets We Keep: A gripping emotional page turner

The Wife Before Me

Nothing But Trouble: An absolutely gripping crime thriller (Detective Jessica Daniel thriller series Season 2 Book 4)

Perfect Girls (Detective Rachel Prince #3)

I am loving some of these eye-catching covers!

I am also deliberately keeping my reading load light this week as I have another heavy week at work. But I am counting down. Only this week and next week to go and then I am off to stay with my grandchildren for ten days. I am looking forward to spending this chunk of time with them, though I shall probably need a holiday when I get back. Then a couple of weeks after that, we are moving house. A busy time ahead 😎

Happy reading my friends.

 

Kill with Kindness by Ed James

Kill with Kindness by Ed James

EXCERPT: Fenchurch thought it through, trying to piece it together.

Half past eight down in deepest, darkest Wapping. Take about half an hour to walk over to the Minories.

Next sighted at eleven.

Plenty of time for Steve to kill Gayle.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A sadistic killer. An infamous victim. A crime that gets darker and darker…

The body of a young woman is found in a London hotel room, the victim of a suspected poisoning. Called in to investigate, DI Simon Fenchurch soon discovers the case is far more sinister than he could have imagined.

He should have recognised the woman at once—a teacher at a local school, her scandalous affair with a pupil has been splashed across the tabloids. As Fenchurch interrogates those closest to her, a web of suspicious connections begins to emerge.

Meanwhile Fenchurch’s own life is still in turmoil: his family fragmented, his baby son in intensive care, and his mentor replaced by an unsympathetic new boss. The streets of London are in chaos too, with a spate of acid attacks on seemingly random victims.

Struggling to hold on to hope on both fronts, Fenchurch faces the toughest few days of his career. Can he keep his family safe and catch whoever is behind the murder before more lives are lost?

MY THOUGHTS: I have read and enjoyed the previous books in this series, but Kill With Kindness just didn’t hook me and reel me in as the others did. A few times, I thought I was there, but ultimately I just didn’t really become immersed in this story line.

Perhaps there was just too much going on – the murder, the drugs, the family – all vying for the spotlight, and that’s without all the peripheral sub-plots and characters. It all just got a bit too complicated in places.

But I like Fenchurch. He’s a grumpy bugger, but loyal once you’ve won his respect, not quick to forgive if you haven’t. He’s still finding his way with his family, adapting to the changes, and it’s not over yet. Plus there are changes in his workplace, upsetting the balance. He’s a man who calls it like he sees it, and I like that. He is often stubborn, and tends to hold on to grudges long after he should have let them go. He speaks his mind, often to his own detriment. But I like him.

So, will I be reading the next in this series? Definitely. 😊😊😊.5

I wouldn’t recommend reading Kill With Kindness as a stand-alone, there is simply too much back story referred to in parts for it to make complete sense. But I do recommend this series.

THE AUTHOR: Ed James writes crime fiction novels, predominantly the SCOTT CULLEN series of police procedurals set in Edinburgh and the surrounding Lothians – the first four are available now, starting with GHOST IN THE MACHINE which has been downloaded over 280,000 times and is currently free. BOTTLENECK (Cullen 5) is out on 17-Mar-14. He is currently developing two new series – DI SIMON FENCHURCH and DS VICKY DODDS, set in London and Dundee respectively. He also writes the SUPERNATURE series, featuring vampires and other folkloric creatures, of which the first book SHOT THROUGH THE HEART is out now and free.

Ed lives in the East Lothian countryside, 25 miles east of Edinburgh, with his girlfriend, six rescue moggies, two retired greyhounds, a flock of ex-battery chickens and rescue ducks across two breeds and two genders (though the boys don’t lay eggs). While working in IT for a living, Ed wrote mainly on public transport but now writes full time.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Amazon Publishing UK, Thomas and Mercer via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Kill With Kindness by Ed James for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2473744748