Watching What I’m Reading

Well here we are, the first Sunday of 2019, and I am sure you will be pleased to hear that my reading is going better than my eating! I have to admit that I have very little self control with either and so I have lost almost no weight for my son’s wedding in 4 weeks. . Oh well, it is what it is.

I am currently reading

The Lost Traveller (County Cork, #7)

a lovely cosy murder mystery set in County Cork and due to be published next week. I am half way through, and while I am enjoying it, I wouldn’t be telling Agatha Christie to move over as suggested on the cover.

Pub owner Maura Donovan is settling into a charmed life in Ireland—until a mutilated body on her property ends her lucky streak. 

Boston expat Maura Donovan came to Ireland to honor her grandmother’s last wish, but she never expected to stay in provincial County Cork—much less to inherit a house and a pub, Sullivan’s, in the small village of Leap. After a year-long struggle to stay in the black, Sullivan’s is finally thriving, and Maura has even brought back traditional Irish music to the pub. With a crop of new friends and a budding relationship with handsome Mick Nolan, Maura’s life seems rosier than ever—but even in Ireland, you can’t always trust your luck.

It begins with Maura’s discovery of a body in the ravine behind the pub. And then, the Irish gardaí reveal that the victim’s face has been battered beyond recognition. Who is the faceless victim? Who wanted him dead? And why was his body dumped in the backyard of Sullivan’s Pub? Even after the dead man is finally given a name, nobody admits to knowing him. In the tight-knit world of Leap, no one is talking—and now it’s up to Maura to uncover the dark secrets that lurk beneath the seemingly quiet town.

Although this is the seventh book in the series, I am having no trouble in picking up the back story.

I am currently listening to

One of Us Is Lying

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Intriguing. . . I have my suspicions. I hope I am wrong.

This week I am planning on reading

The Man With No Face

I read my first book by this author last year, and wondered how I had missed reading him before.

There are two men on their way to Brussels from the UK: Neil Bannerman, an iconoclastic journalist for Scotland’s Daily Standard whose irate editor wants him out of the way, and Kale–a professional assassin.
Expecting to find only a difficult, dreary political investigation in Belgium, Bannerman has barely settled in when tragedy strikes. His host, a fellow journalist, along with a British Cabinet minister, are discovered dead in the minister’s elegant Brussels townhouse. It appears that they have shot each other. But the dead journalist’s young autistic daughter, Tania, was hidden in a closet during the killings, and when she draws a chilling picture of a third party–a man with no face–Bannerman suddenly finds himself a reluctant participant in a desperate murder investigation.

As the facts slowly begin to emerge under Bannerman’s scrutiny, he comes to suspect that the shootings may have a deep and foul link with the rotten politics that brought him to Brussels in the first place. And as Kale threatens to strike again, Bannerman begins to feel a change within himself. His jaded professionalism is transforming into a growing concern for the lonely and frightened Tania, and a strong attraction to a courageous woman named Sally–drawing him out of himself and into the very heart of a profound, cold-blooded, and infinitely dangerous conspiracy.

Watching You

Ewan Galbreith is out of prison.

Libby Owen is scared.

Fifteen years earlier she saw Ewan murder her aunt and uncle with their own shotgun, and now he’s coming for her.

This book marks a change of direction in Lynda’s writing, which I have always enjoyed, and I am looking forward to this read.

I haven’t requested any books over the holiday period, and none of my pending requests have been approved. I know I say this every year, but I am going to make a concerted effort not to schedule more than 2 reads in any one week so that I can make some progress with reading my backlog of titles. Also, hopefully, this will leave me some room for discretionary reads, books not available on Netgalley that I want to read.

Happy reading my friends. 💕📚

 

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The Rumour by Lesley Kara

The Rumour by Lesley Kara

EXCERPT: It’s happening again. Don’t ask me how I know, I just do. I see it in the roll of the waves, the way they’re bearing in at a slant. Fast. Restless. I feel it in the nip of the air on my skin, smell it in the rotting leaves and damp earth, hear it in the silence of the watching crows. You’re coming for me again and there’s nothing I can do to stop you.

This is how it happens. One night I go to bed and everything’s fine. Everything’s under control. The story has ceased to be a story. It’s real. Solid. Unbreakable. Then I wake up and it’s changed. Cracks have appeared overnight and I realize that I’ve been fooling myself all this time, that I’ve only ever been the most fragile of constructions.

I ‘m the hunted. I’ll always be the hunted.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back . . .
Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.

Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realizes what it is she’s unleashed?

MY THOUGHTS: We have all been guilty of gossip, of spreading unsubstantiated rumours, with little thought of the lives we might be disrupting. ‘One casual remark. One whispered confidence. That’s all it takes to set the wheels in motion and change the course of a life.’ We may not intend to hurt anyone, we may just be desperate to fit in, as Joanna is. After all, they are only words, and if the person is guilty, then aren’t they getting their just desserts?

I have often been loud and vocal in my opposition to name suppression and the creation of new identities for criminals being released into an unsuspecting community. The Rumour gave me pause to reconsider my views but, ultimately, I have stood by them. I do love a book that makes me stop and think while still being a good entertaining read.

This is an incredibly well written debut novel that sucked me in and kept me captivated until it spat me out at the last page. I suspected everyone of being the child killer, everyone that is except the person who it actually was. . . And even then, it wasn’t over. Lesley Kara wasn’t finished with me. She had one final surprise that left me with my jaw dropped and wanting more.

Definitely an author I will be following closely.

💖💕💖💕💖

THE AUTHOR: Lesley Kara is the author of THE RUMOUR, published in December 2018.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, Bantam Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Rumour 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/2597740754

Watching What I Read. . .

It is the last Sunday of the year . . . I hope you have all had a wonderful year’s reading and are looking forward to an even better one in 2019.

2019… good grief, it only seems like 5 minutes since the new Millennium was staring us in the face and we were all worrying about computer systems crashing and major disasters.

I am currently reading

Watching You

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

And, oh my! This is good. .. a slow burner, but sooooo good!

I am also reading

Rattle (The Bone Collector, #1)

A serial killer to chill your bones

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London’s Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it’s also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

I am reading this after the second book in the series, The Collector, which I loved. I am only 4 chapters into this, and absolutely enthralled.

This week I am planning on reading

The Rumour

When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back . . .

Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.

Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realizes what it is she’s unleashed?

SHADOWS OF REGRET: If your life was ruined, would you seek redemption or take revenge?

for which I am participating in a blog tour later in the month.

From the #1 bestselling author of Fifty Years of Fear, SHADOWS OF REGRET is the unforgettable story of a woman’s struggle to rejoin society.
Katie committed a terrible crime. Sixteen years was the price she had to pay.

Once released from prison, she finds the world has changed.

Isolated and alone, she struggles to make sense of her new life. Starting again isn’t easy, especially after what she’s done.

Despite not feeling free or safe, Katie overcomes her fears and confronts the future. But history won’t remain forgotten.

Gradually, memories of the past are revealed. When Katie finally exposes the awful truth and sees there are others who share the blame, she must choose her path.

Will she seek redemption, or will she take revenge?

I have received no ARC approvals this week. No surprise there as I guess everyone is on holidays, except me. There is a song I love sung by Willy Nelson and Waylon Jennings called ‘Mothers,  Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys’. I would like to amend that to “Mothers Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Work in Hospitality’!

Cheers

Sandy

 

Friday Favorite – Where I Lost Her by T Greenwood

Looking for something to read over the weekend ?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?

Take a look at my Friday Favorite. It may be new. It may be old. It may be written by a famous author, or by someone you have never heard of. But wherever in the spectrum it falls, it will be a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

Where I Lost Her

EXCERPT: I stand in the shadowed doorway, staring at the heavy wooden door. I feel the sweat trickling down my neck. The air is hot and fragrant, the smells unfamiliar. Strong. I think the sweetness comes from the Jacaranda, those trees that stand sentry along this street, an explosion of violet petals. The pavement is littered with their castoffs, like purple confetti after a parade. The impossible beauty of all that color, the cloying sweetness, brings tears to my eyes. But there is another scent, lingering beneath. Tainting it. It smells like something burned. Like something spoiled.

The phonecall came this morning, to the hotel, where we have been staying. Waiting. I have learned such tremendous patience in the last five years, though I worry sometimes that the line between patience and foolishness is a thin one. I have been made a fool of before. Believed promises. Paid dearly for my optimism and blind faith. And yet, trust is like an affliction. Hope overriding all sensibility. This has become my religion: my faith, like all other faiths, driven by the most simple and primitive, selfish want. Accompanied by a wilful and necessary blindness.

Our lawyer said to come right away.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Where I Lost Her follows one woman’s journey through heartbreak and loss to courage and resolve, as she searches for the truth about a missing child.

Eight years ago, Tess and Jake were considered a power couple of the New York publishing world–happy, in love, planning a family. Failed fertility treatments and a heartbreaking attempt at adoption have fractured their marriage and left Tess edgy and adrift. A visit to friends in rural Vermont throws Tess’s world into further chaos when she sees a young, half-dressed child in the middle of the road, who then runs into the woods like a frightened deer.

The entire town begins searching for the little girl. But there are no sightings, no other witnesses, no reports of missing children. As local police and Jake point out, Tess’s imagination has played her false before. And yet Tess is compelled to keep looking, not only to save the little girl she can’t forget but to salvage her broken heart as well.

MY THOUGHTS: 5 very sparkly stars for Where I Lost her by T Greenwood.

Tess and Jake are spending the weekend with their friends in rural Vermont. Although Tess has had too much to drink, she drives to the liquor store to buy another bottle of wine. On her way back to the camp, she sees a small girl dressed in a tutu and ladybug boots on the road. The child takes fright and disappears into the woods. Tess reports the incident and a search is reluctantly started. But no-one has reported a child missing, and there is no trace of her.

And Tess has a past……

This book was compelling and breath-taking reading. I did not want to put it down. I could not put it down. I was consumed by it.

Greenwoods writing is lyrical, beautiful and at the same time thrilling and suspenseful. I will be looking for more from this wonderful author.

💖💕💖💕💖

THE AUTHOR: T. Greenwood is the author of twelve novels. She has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and, most recently, the Maryland State Arts Council. She has won three San Diego Book Awards. Five of her novels have been BookSense76/IndieBound picks. BODIES OF WATER was finalist for a Lambda Foundation award. Her twelfth novel, RUST & STARDUST, will be published in August 2018.

She teaches creative writing for San Diego Writer’s Ink and online for The Writer’s Center. She and her husband, Patrick, live in San Diego, CA with their two daughters. She is also a photographer.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing a digital ARC of Where I Lost Her by T Greenwood 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/1764741371

The Collector by Fiona Cummins

Merry Christmas to all! It is Boxing Day here in New Zealand, overcast, mild, a little drizzly. We had a superb Christmas Day with family, and the weather was much nicer than was forecast. At 20 months, our little grandson thoroughly enjoyed himself and provided much entertainment. He loved his new books, and went off to bed, somewhat later than usual, singing.

I debated posting about The Collector today, as I have started this series on the second book, but it is so good I simply cannot resist telling you about it.

The Collector by Fiona Cummins

EXCERPT: Detective Sergeant Etta Fitzroy. Her name rolls across his tongue. He conjures up her face, the opposing colors of her eyes. An eye for an eye. His fingers twitch.

Seven bones surround the orbital cavity. He wonders if they will splinter and break when he presses her eye from its socket.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The Collector by Fiona Cummins is the gripping sequel to Rattle.

Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town. His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting…

Clara, the girl he left behind, is clinging to the hope that someone will come and save her.

Life has fallen apart for Clara’s mother as she starts to lose hope.

The Bone Collector has a new apprentice to take over his family’s legacy. But he can’t forget the boy who got away and the detective who had destroyed his dreams.

Detective Etta Fitzroy’s life collapsed when the Collector escaped. With Clara still missing, and a new wave of uncannily similar murders beginning, will she be able to find him again?

The Collector is back and this time he has nothing to lose . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I was left breathless. I basically read The Collector in one sitting, interrupted only by the hours I was at work, and even then I read in my breaks.

I went cold into The Collector. I had not read Rattle. I had it on order, hoping to read it before I started The Collector. But I was almost finished before Rattle arrived. Not to worry. There was enough background information to give the reader some idea of what had happened, but not so much as to spoil it for those of us reading the first book after the second. Rattle is sitting on my bedside table ready to go.

The Collector is extremely well written. It is dark and deliciously creepy. I recommend you read it with all the lights on, and doors and windows locked. The author generates, then maintains, a high level of suspense. There is not one extraneous word in the book. The chapters are short and to the point. The characters are well crafted, their back stories cleverly woven into the fabric of the plot.

I am looking forward to more from this author. In the meantime, I have thrown my reading schedule out the window and am off to be Rattled!

😨😨😨😨😨 Definitely in my top ten books of 2018.

THE AUTHOR: Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course. She lives in Essex with her family. Rattle is her first novel.

DISCLOSURE: A huge and heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Kensington Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Collector by Fiona Cummins 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/2603749078

 

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt

EXCERPT: I set my wine glass down on the granite counter. I suddenly remembered back to when we were remodeling the kitchen, and I had spent hours, days even, worrying about the countertops. Granite? Quartz? Butcher block? And what color – grey, white, the cool black swirly one Will had rejected immediately, but I thought would make a stylish choice? I had thought that if we had the perfect kitchen, it would create the backdrop for our perfect family life – eating meals together at the island, teaching Charlie how to make meatballs, rolling out pastry dough for summer peach pies. Looking back, it all seemed so naive. Who the hell cared what your countertops looked like when there were children out in the world right this minute being hurt? When my child had been hurt?

ABOUT THIS BOOK: On their first date back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke bonded over drinks, dinner and whether they could get away with murder. Now married, they’ll put the latter to the test when an unchecked danger in their community places their son in jeopardy. Working as a criminal defense attorney, Nat refuses to rely on the broken legal system to keep her family safe. She knows that if you want justice…you have to get it yourself.

Shocked to discover Nat’s taken matters into her own hands, Will has no choice but to dirty his, also. His family is in way too deep to back down now. He’s just not sure he recognizes the woman he married. Nat’s always been fiercely protective, but never this ruthless or calculating. With the police poking holes in their airtight plan, what will be the first to fall apart: their scandalous secret—or their marriage?

MY THOUGHTS: I am still reeling from reading this! I went into this read blind. Having just now read the blurb, I am glad that I did because I got the full impact of the writing without the giveaways spoiling the plot for me.

I read Margot Hunt’s previous book, Best Friends Forever, and loved it, so reading For Better and Worse was a no-brainer. It is very different, but every bit as good. Hunt has a knack for being able to perfectly portray relationships – those between friends, husband and wife, lovers, workmates, acquaintances – of making them very real to the reader. And then there is the great moral dilemma, actions and consequences, the fear of being caught. I read with my heart in my throat.

This is not a murder-mystery. We know whodunit. The big question is, are they going to get away with it? Because despite her background, Nat makes some very basic mistakes. I was yelling at her in my mind, ‘What do you think you’re doing? You should know better!’

And that ending!!!!!

I devoured this book, hoovered it up. I sincerely hope that the author is already hard at work writing her next book. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

💖💖💖💖💖

THE AUTHOR: Margot Hunt is the pseudonym of a bestselling writer of twelve previous novels. Her work has been praised by Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews. BEST FRIENDS FOREVER is her first psychological thriller. Her new book, FOR BETTER AND WORSE, will be released in December 2018.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harlequin Mira via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt 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/2449054657

Watching What I’m Reading

The last Sunday before Christmas, and only one more to go before the end of the year. . .

I have just finished reading

For Better and Worse

5 shimmering stars from me. Watch for my review.

I am currently reading

Willem's Field: A Novel

which I picked up at a library sale some time ago. It just seemed to call to me during the week and so I plucked it from its box. It is more delightfully meandering than slow, and has some very interesting characters.

I am listening to

Watching You

which is promising to be every bit as good as the other novels I have read by this author.

My next read is

The Collector (The Bone Collector, #2)

The Collector by Fiona Cummins is the gripping sequel to Rattle.

Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town. His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting…

Clara, the girl he left behind, is clinging to the hope that someone will come and save her.

Life has fallen apart for Clara’s mother as she starts to lose hope.

The Bone Collector has a new apprentice to take over his family’s legacy. But he can’t forget the boy who got away and the detective who had destroyed his dreams.

Detective Etta Fitzroy’s life collapsed when the Collector escaped. With Clara still missing, and a new wave of uncannily similar murders beginning, will she be able to find him again?

The Collector is back and this time he has nothing to lose . . .

And I also plan on reading

The Girl in the Corner

From bestselling author Amanda Prowse comes the poignant tale of a woman who has always been there for her family. But will they be there for her?

Rae-Valentine and Howard were childhood sweethearts. They’ve shared twenty-five peaceful years since they were brought together by Dolly, Howard’s larger-than-life sister. But now, on the night of their wedding anniversary, Howard reveals a shocking betrayal that leaves Rae reeling.

Heartbroken, she takes Dolly on her would-be anniversary trip to Antigua and the two women drink and dance and talk like they haven’t in years. But in the break from real life, Rae realises her choices have always been made for her, and suddenly she’s questioning not only her fragile marriage but also her one-sided friendships. Is she really the pushover everyone else sees?

When Howard comes looking for reconciliation, Rae has a choice to make: keep the peace, as she always has, or put herself first for once and find out who she really is.

I have 4 new ARCs  approved from NetGalley this week.

The Silent Patient

The Suspect

The Dry Grass of August

Dirty Little Secrets

Have you any of these on your TBR list? Or have you already read them?

Happy reading my friends. 🎅📚💕