When the Time Comes by Adele O’Neill

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EXCERPT: ‘I think…’ The ball at the back of my throat nearly chokes me as I try to speak – whether it’s because Jenny is gone, or because Abbie and Josh are now motherless, or because I am going to be blamed for her death, I don’t know. I inhale and lengthen my back with a subtle stretch and rub my eyes. They’re red and raw from a combination of no sleep and lots of crying. She leans forward in response. I pause and inhale again, nerves making the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t. There is no other option but to say what I am about to say. At my momentary hesitation, she widens her eyes in expectation across the table. ‘I think Jenny was murdered and I think someone is framing me for her death.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Liam Buckley was a married man with two teenage children when he moved out of the family home to start a new life with his lover. His wife Jennifer never forgave him, but now she needs him to come back: she’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and the kids can’t cope alone.

One day after Liam moves home, Jennifer is found dead. Liam thinks it’s suicide. But the police, led by DS Louise Kennedy, are convinced it’s murder.

Liam hires a retired detective to help prove his innocence, but it’s no easy task. The children are distraught, and Jennifer’s best friend, Sarah, is waging a campaign against Liam, determined to expose him for a liar and a cheat.

As secrets surface from the complex web of Buckley family life, DS Kennedy must decide. Did Jennifer Buckley end her own life, or did Liam take it from her? The answer, when it comes, will shock them all…

MY THOUGHTS: I have had to think about When the Time Comes for a couple of days before writing my review. There are complex issues in this book – the right to decide how and when a person with a terminal illness is able to die, infidelity, blending families, teenage hormones….and the list goes on.

I enjoyed the read in varying degrees as the book progressed. It is not always an easy read. But it is, I think, a very realistic portrayal of a complicated situation.

It made me wonder how I would feel if I were in Alex’s shoes; my lover, my partner returning to his family to care for his children, with no plans in place for the future.

I wondered, if I was Jenny, would I be able to ask my ex to move back in to take care of the children? Although not little at almost eighteen and fifteen years old, they are still vulnerable.

I wondered, if I were Liam, would I be able to put my new life on hold while I move back into the old one?

Everyone in this story is somehow displaced, with futures up in the air, lives hanging in the balance. The uncertainty of everything is major influence in the storyline. Did Liam kill Jenny? There certainly seem to be strong motives for having done so. But would he take the risk of leaving his children without a parent? And if it wasn’t Liam that killed her, then who did?

All the time I was reading, I had questions which were, thankfully, answered by the end.

A thought provoking read and one that had me in tears more than once.

I didn’t realise until now that this is book 3 of the Kelly and Kennedy series. These characters actually paid quite a minor role in this book. But I am intrigued enough to want to read the others in this series.

🤔🤨😥😍

#WhenTheTimeComes #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Having lived and worked in the UK and Dublin since college, Adele now lives in her home town in Co. Wicklow with her husband and two teenage daughters. She writes overlooking the Irish Sea and is an active member of the Wexford Literary Festival committee.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Aria Books, via Netgalley, for providing a digital ARC of When the Time Comes by Adele O’Neill for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3069024616

The Light in the Hallway by Amanda Prowse

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EXCERPT: ‘Mum! Dad! I did it! I did it!’ the boy called from the hallway. ‘I got three…’

And then a bang as something hit the floor.

And then silence.

Nick had heard the words loud and clear, so naturally, so comfortably called that it took a second or two for the universe to catch up. He looked towards the door, expecting his son to walk in. After a couple of seconds, he stood and went to investigate the silence. He put his head around the door and knew that he would never forget the sight that greeted him.

Oliver was sitting on the welcome mat, coiled into a ball like a small child with his chin on his chest and his knees raised. His arms were clamped around his shins and his whole body shook.

Nick sank down to join him on the floor and that was where they sat on the bristly Welcome mat that felt anything but. Oliver raised his head and the sight of his distress caused Nick’s own tears to pool.

‘She’s not here, Dad! She’s not here, is she?’

‘No, son. She’s not here,’ he managed through his own distress, hating to extinguish the faint look of hope in his son’s eyes.

‘Oh nooooooo! No!’ Oliver’s wail was loud, deep and drawn from deep within, he banged the floor with his hand. ‘I wanted to say goodbye to her! I wanted to … to tell her things and I wanted to say goodbye!’ He sobbed noisily. ‘I didn’t want her to leave me, Dad! I want her here. I want her here with us! And now she’s gone and I didn’t have the chance to tell her…’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When Nick’s wife Kerry falls ill and dies, he realises for the first time how fragile his happiness has always been, and how much he’s been taking his good life and wonderful family for granted. Now, he suddenly finds himself navigating parenthood alone, unsure how to deal with his own grief, let alone that of his teenage son, Olly.

In the depths of his heartbreak, Nick must find a way to navigate life that pleases his son, his in-laws, his family and his friends—while honouring what Kerry meant to them all. But when it comes to his own emotions, Nick doesn’t know where to begin. Kerry was his childhood sweetheart—but was she really the only one who could ever make him happy?

And in the aftermath of tragedy, can Nick and his son find themselves again?

MY THOUGHTS: I liked this book, sad though it was. I really liked it, but didn’t love it as I have previous books by this same author, but I will get to the whys of that in a moment.

I liked that Kerry and Nick’s marriage wasn’t perfect. I liked that both were very normal people who had struggled, fallen, and got back up again to get on with things. I like the way the author deals with the emotions of the characters; she always manages to wring a few tears out of me, and The Light in the Hallway was no exception.

The situations that Prowse describes are so very real – they happen all over the world, every day. They happen to people like me, and you, and to our friends. Prowse reminds us, and this is a direct quote from her book, that ‘life is a gift and we have to live it as best we can……we owe it to everyone who no longer has a life.’ I loved that sentiment. We all know it, but we sometimes lose sight of it. We judge others for not living up to our expectations of how they should live their lives, how they should feel and act, when we are not in their shoes and have no right to judge them.

And I did love the reference to the title in the book. That was lovely.

So, on to what I didn’t like – the ending. It was too ‘tidy’, too saccharine for my taste, with everything neatly tied up with a bow like a brightly wrapped gift under a Christmas tree. It was all very nice, but just didn’t feel very realistic. I can say no more without giving away vital information, so that is the end of that.

😍😢😍😢

#TheLightInTheHallway #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Amanda Prowse was a management consultant for ten years before realising that she was born to write. Amanda lives in the West Country with her husband and their two teenage sons.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Amazon Publishing UK for providing a digital ARC of The Light In The hallway by Amanda Prowse for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2950746347?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Return of Mr. Campion by Margery Allingham

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Somehow, I have lost my notes containing the excerpts from this collection of short stories thatthat I wanted to share with you. Hopefully they will turn up in some unexpected place, some time in the future, and I will be able to add them.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In this fantastic collection of thirteen short stories, Margery Allingham explores both the Mystery and the other genres it has allowed her to write.

From a Christmastime story and a portrait of her leading man, Albert Campion, to classic capers and the traditional British mystery, Allingham displays her wit, her humour, and her prowess not just as a Mystery writer but as a storyteller.

Published thirty years after it’s first publication, The Return of Mr Campion proves that both The Mystery and Allingham are still everywhere.

The Return of Mr Campion was first published in 1989 and contains the following short stories:
The case is altered — Mr friend Mr. Campion — The dog day — The wind glass — The beauty king — The black tent — Sweet and low –Once in a lifetime — The kernel of truth — Happy Christmas — The wisdom of Esdras — The curious affair in Nut Row — What to do with an ageing detective

MY THOUGHTS: This was a mixed bag of short stories, many of which didn’t actually feature Mr Campion. But there is plenty to keep the reader interested, with tales of crime, blackmail, romance and even a ghost story.

Of great interest to me is the lack of political correctness that was very evident at the time this collection was written. Very strict social mores are also in evidence. People talk of living in simpler times, but it seems to me that the difficulties were just different.

3.5

THE AUTHOR: Margery Louise Allingham was born in Ealing, London in 1904 to a family of writers. Her father, Herbert John Allingham, was editor of The Christian Globe and The New London Journal, while her mother wrote stories for women’s magazines. Margery’s aunt, Maud Hughes, also ran a magazine. Margery earned her first fee at the age of eight, for a story printed in her aunt’s magazine.

Soon after Margery’s birth, the family left London for Essex. She returned to London in 1920 to attend the Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster), and met her future husband, Philip Youngman Carter. They married in 1928. He was her collaborator and designed the cover jackets for many of her books.

Margery’s breakthrough came 1929 with the publication of her second novel, The Crime at Black Dudley . The novel introduced Albert Campion, although only as a minor character. After pressure from her American publishers, Margery brought Campion back for Mystery Mile and continued to use Campion as a character throughout her career.

After a battle with breast cancer, Margery died in 1966. Her husband finished her last novel, A Cargo of Eagles at her request, and published it in 1968.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Agora Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Return of Mr Campion by Margery Allingham for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2753056259?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker by Joanna Nell

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EXCERPT: Evelyn knew that she and Henry, like the ship that was their home, were approaching the end of their lives. Yet the older she got, the less she worried about getting old. It was as inevitable as the weather, and just as unpredictable. Like the weather, it could be forecast but not controlled. Best to be prepared, Evelyn maintained, but go ahead with the picnic regardless. When it came to ageing, the best you could do was to carry an umbrella, and a life jacket.

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

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

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

MY THOUGHTS: Oh how I enjoyed my insomnia last night. I adore Evelyn. I am sure that I know her. And Nola. And Frank. I see some of myself in Evelyn, as will most people facing their twilight years.

I love the way she has of linking words to find the right one. How I used to (silently) laugh at my mother when she would run through all our names before plucking out the correct one/s.

Joanna Nell has a wonderful understanding of the vagaries of ageing and has treated her subject with both empathy and humour. She has written a wonderfully touching story of a woman who has become lost in the familiar, and her attempts to navigate her way through her changing lifescape. I only hope that I can face the future with Evelyn’s courage and fortitude.

The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker is a book that had me smiling, crying and laughing out loud. Repeatedly. I read this in one sitting. Absolutely delightful. And inspiring.

#TheLastVoyageOfMrsHenryParker #NetGalley

😊🤣😥😍🤗

THE AUTHOR: Joanna Nell is a UK born writer and doctor. Her short fiction has won multiple awards and has been published in various journals and literary anthologies. In 2016 she was awarded a residency at The Bundanon Trust. Her bestselling debut novel The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village was published by Hachette Australia and Hodder & Stoughton (UK) in 2018.
A former ship’s doctor, Joanna now works as a GP with a passion for women’s health and care of the elderly. She writes character-driven stories for women in their prime, creating young-at-heart characters who are not afraid to break the rules and defy society’s expectations of ageing.
Joanna lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, and as the mother of teenagers enjoys long walks with her dog and talking to herself.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hachette Australia via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker by Joanna Nell for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2990933859

Watching What I’m Reading…

I am almost finished

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Nothing hurts like the truth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This week I am planning on reading

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

The Six…

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

The Detective…

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

The Bad Cop…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers
Sandy

Pretty Guilty Women by Gina LaManna

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EXCERPT: Ginger’s shoulders stiffened with resistance at the horribleness of her voice. This wasn’t like her. Ginger was fun and patient and exuberant. She wasn’t a nag, and more importantly, she loved Frank. She loved his silly hobbies and stupid projects. His very zest for life was one of the reasons she’d fallen head over heels for him in the first place.

But then life had happened, and kids, and finances, and insurance, and lost pink shoes. And somewhere in the mess of suburbia and second jobs and the monotony of daily life, love just seemed so hard sometimes.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Four Women. Four Confessions. One Murder.

Something has gone terribly wrong at the Banks wedding. A man is dead. Four different women rush to offer confessions, each insisting that they committed the crime — alone.

Ginger is holding her family together by a thread, and this wedding weekend is not the fabulous getaway she anticipated.

Kate has enough money to buy her way out of anything. Well, almost anything.

Emily can’t shake her reputation or her memories, and she’s planning to drown this whole vacation in a bottle.

Lulu’s got ex-husbands to spare, and another on the way — as soon as she figures out what the devil the current husband is up to behind her back.

Why would they confess to the same murder? Only they know — and they’re not telling. This page-turning novel explores the depths of friendship and the truths we love to ignore.

MY THOUGHTS: This was a fun read with a slightly darker side to it. The women’s relationships are complicated, but common; resentment, envy, and holding onto old grudges has taken the place of their once close friendship. But when the chips are down, will they let these petty feelings get in the way of having each others backs?

I enjoyed the way this book was written, in a light-hearted vein while covering some pretty serious subjects including physical abuse and infertility. Pretty Guilty women made me think, and smile. I also liked the fact that we don’t actually who was killed until almost the end of the book. Did Lulu kill Pierce in a fit of jealousy? Did Ginger kill Frank in sheer frustration? Did Kate kill Max for dumping her rather publicly? Did Emily kill Henry while she was drunk? All these quetions were rattling around my brain as I read.

We get segments of the women’s stories, interspersed with police interviews – this is definitely NOT a police procedural; these guys couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag….

My favorite quote – ‘If Lulu didn’t believe in romance, she wouldn’t have gotten married five times.’

Love the cover.

😊😊😊.75 and I’m still smiling

THE AUTHOR: Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Gina LaManna has also called Italy and Los Angeles home. After studying numbers and equations in college, she realized multiple choice tests were “just not for her” and began writing books instead. She loves cappuccino foam and whipped cream and would subsist solely on sprinkles if possible. She currently lives in St. Paul with her wonderful husband and family.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Sourcebooks, Landmark for providing a digital ARC of Pretty Guilty Women by Gina La Manna 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 my webpage Sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others also appear on Twitter, Amazon and my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2801207772

The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets by Molly Fader

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EXCERPT: Delia Collins was not proud of her glee. It was unbecoming, she got that. And truthfully, she couldn’t even say where it came from. What awful spring of motherhood created this kind of joy in catching her teenage daughter sneaking back into the house past curfew?

If she was a different kind of mother she’d be worried. Or angry. Even guilty.

And she was angry, worried and guilty (this had to be partly her fault—hers and Dan’s—they were too lenient, too forgiving, let her sleep too long in their bed when she was a baby—something). But somewhere between her gut and her head the anger, worry and guilt morphed into this…giddiness. Delia and Dan had told her they were trusting her. That this was—for real this time—her last chance. Brin had promised she wouldn’t be late.

And Brin had blown it.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: It’s been seventeen years since the tragic summer the McAvoy sisters fell apart. Lindy, the wild one, left home, carved out a new life in the city and never looked back. Delia, the sister who stayed, became a mother herself, raising her daughters and running the family shop in their small Pennsylvania hometown on the shores of Lake Erie.

But now, with their mother’s ailing health and a rebellious teenager to rein in, Delia has no choice but to welcome Lindy home. As the two sisters try to put their family back in order, they finally have the chance to reclaim what’s been lost over the years: for Delia, professional dreams and a happy marriage, and for Lindy, a sense of home and an old flame–and best of all, each other.

But when one turbulent night leads to a shocking revelation, the women must face the past they’ve avoided for a decade. And there’s nothing like an old secret to bring the McAvoy women back together and stronger than ever.

MY THOUGHTS: I love a good family drama, and this one is something most of us can relate to in one way or another. Guilt, an angry insecure teenager, a couple who loved one another but who are drifting apart, an estranged sister, and a mother succumbing to dementia all combine to provide a multi-faceted story that kept me listening avidly.

This story is written with warmth and understanding.

***.5

THE AUTHOR: Molly Fader is the author of The McAvoy Sister’s Book Of Secrets. As Molly O’Keefe she is the USA Today Bestselling author of over 50 contemporary romances. She lives in Toronto Ontario with her husband, two kids and rescue dog.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets written by Molly Fader, narrated by Nancy Peterson, and published by Harlequin Audion, via Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are my own personal opinions.

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and Goodreads.com https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2944061660?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Watching What I’m Reading…

I had one dnf this week, my first for some time…I hate dnf’ing but I honestly got to the stage where I could not read one more word.

Currently I am reading

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

Hear No Evil

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

See No Evil

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

Speak No Evil

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

Do No Evil

With unrelenting tension and pulse-pounding suspense, the past unravels at breakneck speed as the truth behind the Four Monkey Killer’s motive is finally revealed in this masterfully crafted finale.

And listening to

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which is a book I was declined for from Netgalley some time ago. I am enjoying the sibling rivalry and the multi-generational mother daughter relationships, warts and all.

What drove their family apart just might bring them back together…

It’s been seventeen years since the tragic summer the McAvoy sisters fell apart. Lindy, the wild one, left home, carved out a new life in the city and never looked back. Delia, the sister who stayed, became a mother herself, raising her daughters and running the family shop in their small Pennsylvania hometown on the shores of Lake Erie.

But now, with their mother’s ailing health and a rebellious teenager to rein in, Delia has no choice but to welcome Lindy home. As the two sisters try to put their family back in order, they finally have the chance to reclaim what’s been lost over the years: for Delia, professional dreams and a happy marriage, and for Lindy, a sense of home and an old flame–and best of all, each other.

But when one turbulent night leads to a shocking revelation, the women must face the past they’ve avoided for a decade. And there’s nothing like an old secret to bring the McAvoy women back together and stronger than ever.

This coming week I am planning on reading

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Four women join forces, with conviction, courage … and style

France, April 1940. Orphan Polly Hartford has been sent across oceans to her Aunt Marjorie, known only from letters. When Marjorie dies in suspicious circumstances, Polly is left with her aunt’s loaded pistol in a beautiful Hermès handbag . . . and to the care of Marjorie’s three closest friends: an elegant Comtesse, a gutter-born film star and a big-hearted American heiress.

Polly is taken to live at the Hôtel Ritz, where guests and staff believe wealth and prestige protect them from war. But when the Nazis invade, the illusion is shattered. As Paris deteriorates, Polly and her guardians face the horrors of the Occupation with daring, humour, style – even romance – and despite their dangerous secrets, they discover just what they are capable of.

As the Liberation approaches, those who survive at the Ritz must face a day of reckoning, but one truth stands tall: at the heart of the Ritz is the soul of resistance.

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Four Women. Four Confessions. One Murder.

Something has gone terribly wrong at the Banks wedding. A man is dead. Four different women rush to offer confessions, each insisting that they committed the crime — alone.

Ginger is holding her family together by a thread, and this wedding weekend is not the fabulous getaway she anticipated.

Kate has enough money to buy her way out of anything. Well, almost anything.

Emily can’t shake her reputation or her memories, and she’s planning to drown this whole vacation in a bottle.

Lulu’s got ex-husbands to spare, and another on the way — as soon as she figures out what the devil the current husband is up to behind her back.

Why would they confess to the same murder? Only they know — and they’re not telling. This page-turning novel explores the depths of friendship and the truths we love to ignore.

Only three new ARCs approved from Netgalley this week (not for lack of trying!). They are

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I have been to work this morning, and in the garden this afternoon but have now been driven inside by the weather. I was planning on getting some reading done now that I am curled up in front of the fire with my husband and cat, who are both asleep, but it’s not to be. My cousin and her husband are on their way…

Have a wonderful time, whatever you may be doing, and I hope you get some reading in this week. 🤗😍❤😍📚

Invisible Girl by Jill Childs

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EXCERPT: I misjudged her. She’s not as stupid as she looks. I wonder how much she knows about me. They’ve got my name. There can’t be many Madeleine Crosbys in England. Maybe just one. I close my eyes and my body starts to shake, not with DTs this time, but with fear. What if they’ve got records? what if they know what really drew me to London? What if they’ve found out what I did?

ABOUT THIS BOOK: I know you. I know you in a way you can’t even imagine. I have been searching for you in the years since you wrote that letter – the letter that told me you were looking for me too. But now that I’ve found you, I don’t know if I can say the terrible truth of what I am. It would ruin your perfect life. It would hurt your beautiful daughter.

So, I hesitate – bide my time, for now. This morning, you’re running late and your little girl, tugged by the hand, scurries to keep up with you. She’s clean but a little scrawny. Maybe that’s because you struggle with the bills; maybe she’s just made that way.

I know what it is to have lost a child. I pray you never learn how that feels. But I can’t wait forever… and when I finally tell you my secret, will it break you like it did me all those years ago?

MY THOUGHTS: It is impossible not to like Maddie….but this book challenges a lot of things. Homeless people are becoming more common. Even in our small town, we now have people sleeping in the doorways of shops and under bridges at night. They roam our small main street during the day looking for handouts, begging for money. Like most I have tended to avoid them. But now I will be looking at them in a different light. What brought them to this point? What is their story?

This is Maddie’s story. It is not a pretty story. It is the story of a life that spirals out of control, a woman who loses sight of herself, but a woman with a mission.

Jill Childs is excellent at taking issues in our communities and weaving a story around them. Her writing is gentle, but thought provoking. She doesn’t set out to shock, or provoke, but to make us think. And she succeeds.

💙💜❤.5

THE AUTHOR: Jill has always loved stories – real and imaginary. She’s spent 30 years travelling the world as a journalist, living overseas and reporting wherever the news took her. She’s now made her home in London with her husband and twin girls who love stories as much as she does.

Although she’s covered everything from earthquakes and floods, riots and wars, she’s found some of the most extraordinary stories right here at home – in the secrets and lies she imagines behind closed doors on ordinary streets, just like yours.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Invisible Girl by Jill Childs for review. All opinions expressed in this review are my personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my profile page on Goodreads.com or the about page on my webpage sandysbookaday/wordpess.com This review and others also appear on Twitter, Amazon and my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2836462460?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Black Light by Kimberly King Parsons

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EXCERPT: I’m usually nervous in cars. Whether I’m driving or riding, I can’t seem to forget that I’m in a little shell,hurtling along. I want a death that comes from the inside, something I won’t have to watch as it’s happening – a clot turned loose in my brain, a glossy organ seizing up and shuddering in secret. Car wrecks are shattered windshields and jutting bones, the listless highway patrol scooping bits of you and not-you off the asphalt, zipping the whole mess into a bag. But when Bo is driving – even though she’s always looking at herself in the rearview or swerving around road trash in case it’s a bag of kittens – my anxiety, usually a thrum as steady and constant as my heartbeat, is something I can smother, tamp down, and forget about for a while.

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

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

MY THOUGHTS: There are a lot of everyday materials that fluoresce or glow when placed under a black light. A black light gives off highly energetic ultraviolet light. Just as these energetic stories fluoresce and glow as they are being read. And just as a black light shows up things not normally visible to the human eye, these are the things that are focused upon in this collection of short stories.

Don’t expect anything cute or heartwarming. The author focuses on the seamier side of life, the bits that happen, but nobody talks about, the bits that are swept under the carpet and glossed over. It is our fears and disappointments that she focuses on, not our dreams, aspirations and achievements.

Some of the stories border on the bizarre, all are slightly strange, but very, very real. This was an interesting read, one that deserves not to be hurried. These stories bear a closer inspection and I will be giving them a second read.

My two favourites in this collection are Fiddlebacks, and Starlite.

#BlackLight #NetGalley

😉🤔😏🙄

THE AUTHOR: Kimberly King Parsons is the author of the short story collection Black Light, forthcoming from Vintage August 13, 2019, and the novel The Boiling River, forthcoming from Knopf in 2020ish. Her fiction has been published or is forthcoming in The Paris Review, Best Small Fictions 2017, New South, Black Warrior Review, No Tokens, Joyland, Ninth Letter, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Her book reviews and interviews have appeared in Bookforum, Fanzine, Time Out New York, The Millions, and elsewhere. She lives with her partner and sons in Portland, OR, where she is completing a novel about Texas, motherhood, and LSD.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Vintage, via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Black Light by Kimberly King Parsons 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 profile page on Goodreads.com or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2753053548?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1