Watching what I’m reading . . .

Happy weekend everyone!

My son and grandson have been in the South Island this week. They couldn’t have picked a much worse week in summer. The weather has been diabolical. Cold, wet and windy, with snow on two days. But they have had a wonderful time despite the weather and have sent us photos of their adventures each evening. They were going whale watching in Kaikoura this morning and flying home from Christchurch this afternoon. It is still quite windy, but not gusting like it was this morning, so hopefully the trip home won’t be too bumpy.

Couldn’t tell what time it was!

Currently I am reading Exit by Belinda Bauer. She is an author I always enjoy.

And I am listening to Dry Bones (Enzo #1) by Peter May.

This week I am planning on reading The Rosary Garden by Nicola White

It was Ali who found the body of a murdered newborn baby, hidden in the garden of her convent school. In an Ireland riven by battles of religion and reproduction, the case becomes a media sensation, even as the church tries to suppress it. But this is not the first dead baby Ali has found.

For Detectives Vincent Swan and Gina Considine, the pressure to discover the identity of the dead child is little help against a community with secrets to protect. Gina knows all too well how many of Ireland’s girls are forced to make difficult decisions in terrible circumstances, silenced by shame. Is Ali one of those girls? Because what evidence there is, points to Ali herself…

And Life Sentences by Billy O’Callaghan

At just sixteen, Nancy leaves the small island of Cape Clear for the mainland, the only member of her family to survive the effects of the Great Famine. Finding work in a grand house on the edge of Cork City, she is irrepressibly drawn to the charismatic gardener Michael Egan, sparking a love affair and a devastating chain of events that continues to unfold over three generations. Spanning more than a century, Life Sentences is the unforgettable journey of a family hungry for redemption, and determined against all odds to be free.

I have received two ARCs from Netgalley this week: Win by Harlan Coben

And Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I l❤ve that cover!

So that is all from me today. I hear Belinda Bauer calling my name!

Have a wonderful week. Take care and be kind. ❤📚

Ask No Questions by Claire Allen

Published 21 January 2021

EXCERPT: I was ten years old when I found out that monsters are real and they walk among us. I can pinpoint the exact day that everything changed, when the world I’d found to be fun and innocent and good turned into something dark and frightening.

Looking back, I pity my mother having to find the words to tell my brothers and me what had happened. I pitied all the mothers and fathers who were forced to have that same conversation with their children at the dinner table that evening.

There’d be no playing out in the street any more. There’d be no nipping in and out of neighbours’ houses, or knocking on doors looking for a glass of water when we were parched from playing Tig or Red Rover, or riding our bicycles all over the estate in and out of the dark alleyways.

We were never to go out on our own. Nor walk back from school on our own. Even though it would still be light then. We were absolutely not allowed to take the shortcut through the overgrown fields at the back of the school, either.

And we were never, ever, ever to go into anyone’s house on our own. No matter how well we knew them. No matter how many times we’d been there before.

Because Kelly Doherty had been found and she was dead.

ABOUT ‘ASK NO QUESTIONS’: Twenty-five years ago, on Halloween night, eight-year-old Kelly Doherty went missing while out trick or treating with friends.

Her body was found three days later, floating face down, on the banks of the Creggan Reservoir by two of her young classmates.

It was a crime that rocked Derry to the core. Journalist Ingrid Devlin is investigating – but someone doesn’t want her to know the truth. As she digs further, Ingrid starts to realise that the Doherty family are not as they seem. But will she expose what really happened that night before it’s too late?

MY THOUGHTS: This is the second excellent book that I have read by this author, the first being Her Name Was Rose.

Ask No Questions is very aptly titled. I have never known anyone who was murdered, but I would imagine that if I had, it would never leave me. I would always, like Ingrid, be wondering if there was something I could have done to prevent it. And like Ingrid, if I had the chance to make sure that person was not forgotten, I would take it. However, I doubt that I would be as single-minded or as hard-nosed about it as Ingrid, especially once the threats started. But Ingrid is a person who doesn’t mind rocking the boat to see what the waves will dislodge.

Claire Allen had me hooked from the beginning. She has skillfully built up an air of mystery and menace, and doubt as to the guilt of Jamesy Harte, who was convicted of Kelly Doherty’s murder. Told over the periods of 1994 and 2019 by Ingrid, the journalist writing the twenty-five year anniversary piece on Kelly’s murder, and Declan, one of the Heaney twins who discovered Kelly’s body, the storyline is dark and gritty, the twists plausible and unpredictable, the characters engaging and realistic, if not always likeable.

I often found myself holding my breath – in anticipation, in dread – as I suspected almost everyone of killing Kelly.

Ask No Questions is an engaging and emotional read that occasionally unnerved me. And while I may have had a solid suspicion as to the identity of the killer, I had no idea of the how and why. That was a climactic revelation that had me shedding a few tears, and not for the first time during this read.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.3

#AskNoQuestions #NetGalley

‘We all get lonely. Even those of us in big houses with partners and children.’

THE AUTHOR: Claire Allan is a Northern Irish author who lives in Derry~Londonderry with her husband, two children, two cats and a very spoiled puppy.

She worked as a staff reporter for the Derry Journal for 17 years, covering a wide array of stories from court sessions, to the Saville Inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday, health and education and human interest features.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Avon Books UK via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Ask No Questions by Claire Allen 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

Watching what I’m reading . . .

A glorious morning has turned into a wet and stormy afternoon here in New Zealand. Pete has been away for the weekend fishing up the Coromandel. He had a wonderful time with his mates and they even brought home a few fish! I had to work this weekend otherwise I would have been with them. I haven’t been up the Coromandel for almost 40 years.

8I am currently reading Pianos and Flowers by Alexander McCall. It is a collection of short stories written about some historical photos. I am really enjoying this.

I am currently listening to Murder in Paradise: Thirteen Mysteries from the Travels of Hercule Poirot. I have read/listened to some of these previously, but some of the stories are new to me.

This week I am planning on reading The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, the Goodreads.com Crime, Mysteries and Thrillers January group read. I am a little late starting as I committed to two group reads this month. But I have been wanting to read this ever since it came out, so I simply couldn’t pass on this.

Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother and their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems. 

I have ten books due to be read for review this week 🤦‍♀️ and obviously I am not going to get them all read. Bad planning, I know, and a mistake I am trying not to repeat. So I am planning on reading Weekend Pass by Paul Cavanagh

Who can forgive a mother who poisons her eight-year-old son? Even if it was an accident.

Tasha thought she had everything under control – her family life, her career as a nurse – until her son got into her stash of painkillers. Now, during her first weekend home from drug treatment, she must come to grips with the damage she’s done and somehow pick up the pieces. Told from the points of view of four different family members, Weekend Pass is a story about the lies we tell ourselves and the people we love. And it’s about struggling to rise above the mistakes that threaten to define us.

And Ask No Questions by Claire Allen

Not all secrets are meant to come out…

Twenty-five years ago, on Halloween night, eight-year-old Kelly Doherty went missing while out trick or treating with friends.
Her body was found three days later, floating face down, on the banks of the Creggan Reservoir by two of her young classmates.
It was a crime that rocked Derry to the core. Journalist Ingrid Devlin is investigating – but someone doesn’t want her to know the truth. As she digs further, Ingrid starts to realise that the Doherty family are not as they seem. But will she expose what really happened that night before it’s too late?

I have a busy week ahead at work so I probably won’t be able to sneak any extra reads in this week, but if I can, I will.

And of course I have already read and reviewed the amazing gangland crime thriller Family by Owen Mullen, which is being released 21 January.

Check out my review which I posted 11 January. This is one book that you won’t want to miss out on!.

I have only two new ARCs from Netgalley this week, so I am back on track. The first is The Words We Whisper by Mary Ellen Taylor

And Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble. This is my first book by this author so I am very excited!

Happy reading everyone, and enjoy whatever is left of your weekend!

Cheers

Sandy ❤📚

Watching what I’m reading . . .

What a tumultuous week it has been around the world! I am so grateful to be living in New Zealand. ❤ I hope that wherever you are, you are safe and healthy.

Currently I am reading Trafficked (The Missing Children Case Files #3) by M. A. Hunter. This was published earlier this week.

I have also started reading The Lost Man by Jane Harper. I have only read the prologue and already I am enthralled! I love this author.

I am almost finished listening to Bibliomysteries: Stories of Crime in the world of books and bookstores, a Netgalley audiobook ARC. There are some excellent stories in this collection. My favourite so far would have to be The Book of Virtues by Ken Bruen.

This week I am planning on reading The Ocean House: Stories by Mary-Beth Hughes.

Faith, a mother of two young children, Cece and Connor, is in need of summer childcare. As a member of a staid old beach club in her town and a self-made business consultant, she is appalled when her brother-in-law sends her an unruly, ill-mannered teenager named Lee-Ann who appears more like a wayward child than competent help. What begins as a promising start to a redemptive relationship between the two ends in a tragedy that lands Faith in a treatment facility, leveled by trauma.

Years later, Faith and her mother, Irene, visit Cece in college. A fresh-faced student with a shaved head and new boyfriend, Cece has become a force of her own. Meanwhile, her grandmother, Irene, is in the early stages of dementia. She slips in and out of clarity, telling lucid tales of her own troubled youth. Faith dismisses her mother’s stories as bids for attention. The three generations of women hover between wishful innocence and a more knowing resilience against the cruelty that hidden secrets of the past propel into the present.

Including stories from an array of characters orbiting Faith’s family, The Ocean House weaves an exquisite world of complicated family tales on the Jersey Shore.

And, The Boatman’s Wife by Noelle Harrison.

There was some dark secret in this western edge of Ireland that her husband never wanted her to find out. She might never be able to lay his body to rest, but she could gain some kind of closure by finding out who the man she married was.

When Lily married her soulmate Connor, buffeted by the sea spray and wild winds of her coastal homeland in Maine, she never imagined she’d be planning his memorial just three years later. Connor has been lost at sea in the bleak stormy Atlantic, leaving Lily heartbroken.

But as she prepares to say goodbye to Connor for the last time, she is shocked to discover a message to him that he never told her about:

Does your wife know who you really are, Connor Fitzgerald? Don’t ever think you can come home. Because if you do, I swear I’ll kill you.

Unable to bear living in the home she and Connor shared, Lily decides to find out her husband’s secret. She flies to Connor’s home town of Mullaghmore on the west coast of Ireland, a harbour town hugged by golden beaches and emerald-green fields. But when doors are slammed in her face, she begins to realise that she knows nothing about her husband’s past.

Connor’s grandmother, a hermit living on the cliffs of the wild Atlantic, must know the truth about her grandson. But when Lily tries to find her, threatening notes are pushed through her door warning her not to stay. Will Lily leave the darkness of the past where it belongs? Or will she risk everything to find out the truth about the man she married…

I have four new ARCs from Netgalley this week: The Gorge by Matt Brolly

The Secret Within by Lucy Dawson

Forgotten Victim by Helen H. Durrant

And, The Incredible Winston Browne by Sean Dietrich

I have requested a couple of audiobooks, but my approvals don’t seem to be in any hurry to come through. 🤷‍♀️

I am not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, but needs must. There were so many things I was planning on doing during the two weeks I had off work, and so many things that are still on my list, uncompleted or, worse still, not even started. I always overestimate what I can do in the time I have available. My Netgalley back list is evidence of this failing!

Look after yourselves my friends and stay safe.

Pop in tomorrow check out my review of a book that I didn’t really expect to love, but ended up being a five star read for me!

Cheers

Sandy ❤📚

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

EXCERPT: Jill swung the beam slowly across the site. The white light stripped out most colours, washing everything with monochrome shades. The path they’d walked along looked thin and uneven, and the fire pit at her feet was black at the centre. A silent circle of trees grew all around, their trunks luminous under the beam. Beyond, the bushland was black. A shadow caught Jill’s eye as she swept the light along and she stopped. She moved the beam back, more slowly this time.

A slender figure stood motionless at the very edge of the clearing and Jill jumped, nearly stumbling again and sending the light bouncing in a crazy pattern. She caught herself, steadying her hand. The light shook very gently as she focused on the beam.

Jill breathed out. It was only Lauren. Her tall, thin frame was almost absorbed by the vertical lines of the trees and the dark space beneath them.

‘Lauren, my God,you gave me a fright,’ Jill called. Her pulse still felt a little fast. ‘What are you doing?’

Lauren stood frozen, back to the group, staring into the darkness.

‘Lau-‘

She put up her hand. ‘Shh.’

They all heard it at once. A crack. Jill held her breath, her ears ringing in the void. Nothing. Then another crack. This time the broken rhythm of debris snapping underfoot was unmistakable.

Jill took a fast step backwards. Lauren turned, her face grey in the stark light.

‘There’s someone out there.’

ABOUT ‘FORCE OF NATURE’: Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along a muddy track.
Only four come out on the other side.

The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and encourage teamwork and resilience. At least, that’s what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker, Alice Russell. Because Alice knew secrets, about the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

The four returning women tell Falk a tale of fear, violence and fractured trust during their days in the remote Australian bushland. And as Falk delves into the disappearance of Alice, he begins to suspect some dangers ran far deeper than anyone knew.

MY THOUGHTS: I love Force of Nature. I really liked The Dry, but I found Force of Nature far more suspenseful. And I love suspense.

We first met Aaron Falk, AFP investigator, in The Dry when he returned to his home town of Kiewarra for a funeral. Force of Nature is set in the fictional Giralang Ranges. Instead of arid land where it hasn’t rained for two years, there is rain, bushland with ravines and gullies, waterfalls, and snakes, every bit as harsh and unforgiving as the desert.

We follow the women’s hike through this unfriendly terrain, learning about their relationships, rivalries, secrets and fears as they go. Interspersed with this is the police investigation and search for the missing Alice Russell, a woman who no one seems to particularly like, and who has a secret connection to Falk and Carmen.

Harper does a wonderful job of seamlessly moving from one point of view to another, the story flowing freely. The tension builds gradually, suspicion falling on each character in turn. I honestly had no idea who was responsible for Alice’s disappearance. Did she strike out on her own as she kept threatening to do, or are there more sinister forces at play?

Force of Nature is an excellent read, totally deserving of the full five stars.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

THE AUTHOR: Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK, and now lives in Melbourne.

DISCLOSURE: I borrowed my copy of Force of Nature, by Jane Harper and published by Pan Macmillan Australia, from Waitomo District Library. 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, Instagram, and Goodreads.com

The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher

Due for publication 6 January 2021

EXCERPT: She tried to understand what she was reading. It was a blog. She could see several blog titles in the box that said DRAFTS, all of them yet to be published.

‘You’ve been busy,’ she heard herself say out loud. Snooping was wrong, but what was the harm in taking a little peak – it wasn’t like she was some stranger off the street. Once upon a time, she’d been a bonafide psychologist, for God’s sake. She felt a wave of excitement that didn’t have anything to do with being a psychologist. It was a familiar feeling; she’d spent thirty years digging and plowing through people’s brains – learning their secrets and hearing the ugliest desires of their hearts. She may be retired, but her lust for knowledge had never gone away.

The first draft Juno clicked on was titled: Pretty Sure I’m Adopted.

Sam had said this to her in the park, too, and she’d responded lightly. In a clinical setting, Juno would brush this off, too; adolescents went through a period where they felt disconnected from everything, even the people who loved them most. Juno compared it to a young lion learning to roar, picking fights, feeling insecure but acting volatile.

But this particular blog entry had never made it past one sentence. Sam, new to adult words, had described his feelings in one staggering fritz of emotion: ‘Wolves know when they are being raised by bears.’

She stared at the words. Rolled them around in her head, where they gelled together with his cryptic phrases in the park, the words in Winnie’s journal. ‘Day after day, it eats me.’

ABOUT ‘THE WRONG FAMILY’: Have you ever been wrong about someone?

Juno was wrong about Winnie Crouch.

Before moving in with the Crouch family, Juno thought Winnie and her husband, Nigel, had the perfect marriage, the perfect son—the perfect life. Only now that she’s living in their beautiful house, she sees the cracks in the crumbling facade are too deep to ignore.

Still, she isn’t one to judge. After her grim diagnosis, the retired therapist simply wants a place to live out the rest of her days in peace. But that peace is shattered the day Juno overhears a chilling conversation between Winnie and Nigel…

She shouldn’t get involved.

She really shouldn’t.

But this could be her chance to make a few things right.

Because if you thought Juno didn’t have a secret of her own, then you were wrong about her, too.

MY THOUGHTS: The Wrong Family is the first book I have read by Tarryn Fisher, and now I can’t wait to read her others!

Fisher slowly builds the tension towards a catastrophic climax that is so entirely plausible, it is frightening. The Crouch adults have a twisted relationship – codependent – a secret keeping them irretrievably bound together. Juno, who lives in the Crouchs’ home – not that they are aware of this – believes that she knows what that secret is, and sets out to put the wrong to right.

The characters, while not likeable, other than Sam, are compelling. Winnie finds everything too much. There is always too much spice in her food, too much mustard on her sandwich, and her husband wears too much cologne. Sometimes she actively looks for things to be upset about, as if a lack of problems in her life is a problem in itself. Nigel, on the other hand, prefers to pretend that nothing is wrong. He is quite bland in comparison with Winnie. He hates colour, and can be outwardly quite submissive, while inside he is actually quite a strong personality. Juno, whom only Sam knows about – but even he doesn’t know that she lives in their house – likes to be involved in people’s lives and has been that way since she was a child. She delights in eavesdropping and interfering. And Dakota, Winnie’s brother, a mentally unstable substance abuser who moves in with the Crouch family when his wife kicks him out. He does, on occasion, catch fleeting glimpses of Juno, but believes her to be a ghost. Winnie and Juno are alike in the fact that both exceedingly self-centred and unable to see beyond their own needs.

The Wrong Family is a novel about some extremely dysfunctional people who, when their lives collide, set off a cataclysmic chain of events.

Strongly recommended.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.2

#TheWrongFamily #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: I would like to write a novel that every, single person loves, but not even J.K. Rowling could do that.

Instead, I try to write stories that pull on people’s emotions. I believe that sadness is the most powerful emotion, and swirled with regret the two become a dominating force. I love villains. Three of my favorites are Mother Gothel, Gaston and the Evil Queen who all suffered from a pretty wicked case of vanity (like me). I like to make these personality types the center of my stories.

I love rain, Coke, Starbucks and sarcasm. I hate bad adjectives and the word “smolder”. If you read my book-I love you. If you hate my book-I still love you, but please don’t be mean to me; I’m half badass, half cry baby.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harlequin Australia, MIRA, for providing a digital ARC of The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher 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

Watching what I’m reading…2021!

Here we are, 3 days into 2021 already, and nothing much seems to have changed except my back yard looks much tidier than it has for ages. I have olives forming on my olive tree for the first time, and my avocado tree which bore 9 avocado last year is absolutely laden! I need to get a watering system up to that corner of the garden as the hose doesn’t reach and, apparently, if they don’t get enough water they will just drop their fruit.

Is anyone else having difficulty referring to 2020 as last year? I am still referring to 2019 as last year!

I was reading in the early hours of New Year’s Day, a paperback as my Kindle was on the charger, and decided that I really did need some sleep when I started tapping the right hand side of the page and wondering why it wasn’t going to the next page! 🤷‍♀️🤦‍♀️😂🤣❤📚

Currently I am reading The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher on my Kindle and all I can say is wow! It’s making the back of my neck tingle in anticipation. The Wrong Family is due for publication 6 January. Order your copy now!

I am halfway through reading the paperback of Force of Nature (Aaron Falk #2) by Australian author Jane Harper. So far I am enjoying it even more than The Dry.

I am currently listening to Blue Genes by Val McDermid, #5 in the Kate Brannigan series. I haven’t previously read or listened to any of this series, but that isn’t impacting my enjoyment at all.

This week I plan on reading Family by Owen Mullen

Family – might be the death of you…
The Glass family business is crime, and they’re good at what they do. Vengeance took Luke Glass behind bars – but now he’s free and he’s never going back. Luke wants out of the gangster life – all he has to do is convince his family to let him go.

His brother holds the reins of the South London underworld in his brutal hands – nobody tells Danny Glass no and expects to live – not even DCI Oliver Stanford, bent copper and one of the Met’s rising stars. The way Danny sees it, his younger brother and sister Nina owe him everything. The price he demands is loyalty, and a war with their arch enemy gives him the leverage he needs to tie Luke to the family once more.

Luke can’t see a way out, until Danny commits a crime so terrible it can’t be forgiven. Love turns to hate when secrets are unearthed which pit brother against brother. Left with no choice but to choose a side, Nina holds the fate of the family in her hands.

And Your Neighbour’s Wife by Tony Parsons

Tara Carver seems to have the perfect life. A loving mother and wife, and a business woman who runs her own company, she’s the sort of person you’d want to live next door to, who might even become your best friend.

But what sort of person is she really?

Because in one night of madness, on a work trip far from home, she puts all this at risk. And suddenly her dream life becomes a living nightmare when the married man she spent one night with tells her he wants a serious relationship with her. And that he won’t leave her or her precious family alone until she agrees.

There seems to be only one way out.
And it involves murder …

Only one Netgalley ARC this week, and that’s an audiobook, Bibliomysteries, A must-listen collection of thirteen bibliomysteries by bestselling and award-winning authors Bibliomysteries Volume 1 includes: – “An Acceptable Sacrifice” by Jeffery Deaver – “The Final Testament” by Peter Blauner – “What’s in a Name?” by Thomas H. Cook – “Book Club” by Loren D. Estleman – and many others

Thank you Carla! I will be starting this as soon as I finish Blue Genes, probably tomorrow.

Enjoy whatever is left of your holiday period and keep calm, we survived 2020.

The Ghost Fields (Ruth Galloway #7) by Elly Griffiths

EXCERPT: ‘…Is this it?’

Her question is superfluous. Three quarters of a wing and half a cockpit lie exposed at the bottom of the shallow pit.

‘American,’ says Nelson. ‘I can tell by the markings.’

Ruth shoots him a look. She thinks that Nelson would have been just the sort of boy to collect models of second world war fighter planes.

‘There was an American airbase near here,’ says one of the other men. ‘At Lockwell Heath.’ Ruth recognizes him as Edward Spens, a local property developer whom she encountered on an earlier case. Spens is tall and good looking; his air of authority is only slightly dented by the fact that he is wearing tennis clothes. The third man, dressed in jeans and a filthy football top, stands slightly aside as if to imply that none of this is his fault. Ruth guesses that he must be the digger driver.

She looks at the exposed soil. It has a faintly blue tinge. She kneels down and scoops some earth in her hand, giving it a surreptitious sniff.

‘What are you doing?’ asks Phil. Clearly he’s terrified that she’s going to embarrass him.

‘Fuel,’ she says. ‘Can’t you smell it? And look at the blue marks on the soil. That’s corroded aluminium. Did you have any idea that this plane was here?’

It is Edward Spens who answers. ‘Some children found some engine parts in the field long ago, I believe. But no one had any idea that this was buried here, almost intact.’

Ruth looks at the cockpit. Although dented and corroded it looks remarkably undamaged, lying almost horizontally at the foot of the crater. She’s no geometry expert but wouldn’t you expect the prow of a crashed plane to be at a steeper angle?

‘Where’s the body?’ she asked.

ABOUT ‘THE GHOST FIELDS’: Norfolk is suffering from record summer heat when a construction crew unearths a macabre discovery—a downed World War II plane with the pilot still inside. Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway quickly realizes that the skeleton couldn’t possibly be the pilot, and DNA tests identify the man as Fred Blackstock, a local aristocrat who had been reported dead at sea. When the remaining members of the Blackstock family learn about the discovery, they seem strangely frightened by the news.

Events are further complicated by a TV company that wants to make a film about Norfolk’s deserted air force bases, the so-called Ghost Fields, which have been partially converted into a pig farm run by one of the younger Blackstocks. As production begins, Ruth notices a mysterious man lurking on the outskirts of Fred Blackstock’s memorial service. Then human bones are found on the family’s pig farm. Can the team outrace a looming flood to find a killer?

MY THOUGHTS: I love this series and have become very invested in Ruth’s life, with and without Nelson, father of her five year old daughter, Katie. One of the things I love most about Ruth is how realistically Elly Griffiths has chosen to portray her. While she is confident and assured in her professional life, she is anything but in her personal life. She fantasises about being married to Nelson but, in reality, she knows that she would kill him within days. To begin with, Nelson obssesses over Katie and how he thinks she should be brought up, leaving Ruth with the feeling that he thinks she’s an inadequate mother. She is much older than the other mothers of Katie’s contemporaries, and doesn’t relate to their lifestyles. She’s not a slim, trim, Lululemon mummy. She thinks wicked thoughts about people, things she would like to say, but doesn’t dare. I can totally relate to her.

There is a very complicated family by the name of Blackstock featured in The Ghost Fields. Landed gentry living in a crumbling pile with very little money but a lot of local clout. They come with a good deal of infidelity, illegitimate children, greed, avarice and a certain amount of insanity. There is a family tree at the beginning of the book to help.

Of course the body in the plane is not going to be straightforward. It would seem that the body has been moved there recently from elsewhere. But why? And from where?

This is an excellent mystery set against the ongoing relationship between Ruth and Nelson, and their friendship with Druid Cathbad, and his wife Judy, a policewoman who works closely with Nelson, and who is heavily pregnant with her second child. The American, Frank, makes another appearance. And there are goings on in the background of Nelson’s life of which he is totally unaware.

The Ghost Fields is another excellent addition to the series of which there are currently twelve books with the thirteenth due out in February 2021.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.4

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

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The Ghost Fields written by Elly Griffiths, narrated by Clare Corbett and published by Quercus via Overdrive. 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, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading…

Only a few days to go, and Christmas will be all over again. We aren’t seeing Dustin and Luke until Boxing Day, so we have invited a few other empty nesters for Christmas. It will be a fairly laid back affair; lots of nibbles, salads and bbq.

I don’t seem to have read much this week, a combination of work and my ongoing health issues. I have to learn not to overdo it when I am having a good day because I inevitably crash and burn the following day.

I am currently reading The Orchid Girls by Lesley Sanderson, which is a backlist title from Netgalley. I have had it since 2018,so it’s good to get it read. One less bank-title to feel guilty about. I am much preferring it to The Birthday Weekend which I finished this week.

I am almost finished A Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride, another back-title from Netgalley.

And I have just finished listening to The Ghost Fields (Ruth Galloway #7) by Elly Griffiths.

I have yet to download something new to listen to. I also need to write my review, which I will post tomorrow.

I have nothing from Netgalley that needs reading for review this week, but another member of my local library book club has passed on a new release she thought I would like, Wearing Paper Dresses by Anne Brinsden. Betty really enjoyed it. Another new Australian author for me.

You can talk about living in the Mallee. And you can talk about a Mallee tree. And you can talk about the Mallee itself: a land and a place full of red sand and short stubby trees. Silent skies. The undulating scorch of summer plains. Quiet, on the surface of things.

But Elise wasn’t from the Mallee, and she knew nothing of its ways.

Discover the world of a small homestead perched on the sunburnt farmland of northern Victoria. Meet Elise, whose urbane 1950s glamour is rudely transplanted to the pragmatic red soil of the Mallee when her husband returns to work the family farm. But you cannot uproot a plant and expect it to thrive. And so it is with Elise. Her meringues don’t impress the shearers, the locals scoff at her Paris fashions, her husband works all day in the back paddock, and the drought kills everything but the geraniums she despises.

As their mother withdraws more and more into herself, her spirited, tearaway daughters, Marjorie and Ruby, wild as weeds, are left to raise themselves as best they can. Until tragedy strikes, and Marjorie flees to the city determined to leave her family behind. And there she stays, leading a very different life, until the boy she loves draws her back to the land she can’t forget…

And I have a copy of The Dry by Jane Harper, so I would also like to read that this week.

In the grip of the worst drought in a century, the farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily when three members of a local family are found brutally slain.
Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk reluctantly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his childhood friend, loath to face the townsfolk who turned their backs on him twenty years earlier.
But as questions mount, Falk is forced to probe deeper into the deaths of the Hadler family. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret. A secret Falk thought was long buried. A secret Luke’s death now threatens to bring to the surface in this small Australian town, as old wounds bleed into new ones.

I only have two new ARCs from Netgalley this week (Susan stop rolling your eyes!)

Eudora Honeysett is Just Fine Thank You by Annie Lyons is my first audiobook download, which has been beset by problems. Like my ipod is too old to support the Netgalley Shelf app! So I guess I will be buying a new ipod tomorrow.

I have also received The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman

My posting may well be a bit erratic again this week, so I will wish you all a happy, healthy and safe festive season now, just in case.

Btw, my tree looks NOTHING like this!

Watching what I’m reading…

Currently I am sitting on the deck enjoying the view and the birdsong. There is a gentle breeze, it’s not overly hot, and I feel very relaxed (lazy!) Peter mowed the lawns and tidied the vegetable garden while I was at work this morning, there is a cake baking in the oven, and my neighbour has dropped over some bok choy which I will use in a stir fry for dinner tonight. My Christmas shopping is all sorted, just the wrapping to do now. Oh yes, and find the Christmas lights, which are who knows where….I haven’t actually seen them in the eighteen months since we moved.

Currently I am reading Consolation by Garry Disher, #3 in the excellent Australian crime series based around country cop Paul Hirschausen.

I am also almost half way through A Dark so Deadly by Stuart MacBride. I love his dark humour.

And I am listening to The Ghost Fields #7 in Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway series.

I only have one read for review due this week, The Birthday Weekend, previously titled Our Little Secret, by Lesley Sanderson. I will read this after I finish Consolation.

Dear Louise. It’s time we all put the past behind us. We’re meeting for my birthday. I want you there. Love, Amy. X

When Louise receives an invitation to her old friend Amy’s birthday weekend in a cottage next to the woods near their old university campus, a chill runs down her spine.

Fifteen years ago, Hannah walked into those same woods and never came back. Her death destroyed her friends. They’ve not met as a group since. Until now.

As the party gets underway and old grudges are uncovered, a game of truth or dare is proposed. It’s clear one person has questions about their friend’s death – and now they want answers. And nothing will stop them.

When everyone has buried secrets, digging for the truth is going to get dangerous.

Time permitting, I will read a few more back titles and get a few more of those overdue ARCs off my Netgalley shelf.

After having a few weeks of only one or two new ARCs, I have seven this week. What can I say? They are my Christmas present to myself! Plus Carla of https://carlalovestoread.wordpress.com and Susan of https://susanlovesbooks.wordpress.com have a lot to answer for. I have my Netgalley search for titles page open ready and waiting as I read their posts!

My new ARCs are: Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse

The Last Reunion by Kayte Nunn

A Week to Remember by Esther Campion

The Secret Within by Lucy Dawson

The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths, #13 in the Ruth Galloway series

The Art of Death by David Fennell

And, finally, A Caller’s Game by J.D. Barker

That’s my lot for today. I am off to take a look at this cake then take a look in the garage in case the lights are down there. We went away over Christmas and New Year last year, so never put them up…

Have a happy Sunday.

Cheers

Sandy