The Other You by J.S. Monroe

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EXCERPT: ‘We’ve all got a double out there somewhere, watching, waiting. Shadowless.’ He looks around the cove, up at the clifftop behind them. The man with the binoculars has gone. ‘And I’ve already met mine, a long time ago.’

‘When?’ she asks. He doesn’t answer.

‘They say it’s bad enough to see your double once, but it’s meant to be much worse if you meet them a second time.’ He pauses. ‘The day I see him again will be my last. He’ll take over my life, me, you, the house, my company, all that I’ve achieved, everything that’s precious to me.’

He pauses, eyes welling as the Cornish sun disappears behind a solitary cloud, casting the beach into sudden shade. ‘He’ll steal my soul.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: You are waiting for your husband to join you on holiday. But when he arrives, you know it’s not him…

This clever, twisty psychological thriller explores identity and pretence, paranoia and the disturbing notion that we are all, at some level, impostors.

MY THOUGHTS: Clever. Twisty. Chilling. I won’t be sleeping any more tonight.

This is the second book I have read by this author, and he continues to stun me with his unusual plots and his ability to totally creep me out. I love to be creeped out. I can’t remember the last time I had a sleepless night because of it.

This book is edgy and tense, The. Whole. Way. Through. If you are looking for a relaxing read, this isn’t it. This is heart-pounding paranoia. This will have you looking twice at anyone acting a little out of character. This will have you doubting and questioning everything you know about everyone. This will give you sleepless nights…

A ‘couldn’t bear to put it down’ read.

😱😱😱😱😱

#TheOtherYou #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: J.S.Monroe is the pseudonym of the British author Jon Stock. Jon is the author of five spy novels and a new standalone psychological thriller, Find Me, to be published in 2017 under the name of JS Monroe. He lives in Wiltshire with his wife and three children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Head of Zeus via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Other You by J.S. Monroe 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/3137489876?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Watching What I’m Reading…

Summer has returned to New Zealand after a week of very strong winds and cooler temperatures. The wind has browned off all the grass and everything is very dry . Even the lawn in our backyard has big cracks running through it. The farmers will be hoping for rain , and my garden could certainly use it, but please can we have it at night…😂🤣😂🤣

I am currently reading

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And listening to

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This week, despite the fact that I can only read my Kindle when it is connected to the power as it won’t hold a charge, I am planning on reading

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You are waiting for your husband to join you on holiday. But when he arrives, you know it’s not him…

This clever, twisty psychological thriller explores identity and pretence, paranoia and the disturbing notion that we are all, at some level, impostors.

They say she’s a murderess. She claims she’s innocent. But Lucy has been known to tell lies…

1855, New Hampshire. Lucy Blunt is set to hang for a double murder. Murderess or victim? Only Lucy knows the truth.

In the shadow of the gallows, Lucy reflects on the events that led to her bitter downfall—from the moment she arrived at the rambling Burton mansion looking for work and a better life to the grisly murders themselves.

In a mysterious household of locked doors and forbidden affections, Lucy slips comfortably into the shadows, where she believes the indiscretions of her past will remain hidden. But when Lucy’s rising status becomes a threat to the mistress’s current companion, the delicate balance of power and loyalty begins to shift, setting into motion a brewing storm of betrayal, suspicion, and rage.

Now, with her execution looming closer, Lucy’s allies fight to have her sentence overturned as the tale she’s spinning nears its conclusion. But how much of her story can we trust? After all, Lucy’s been known to bend the truth…

I have received 4 new ARCs this week

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That’s my lot for the week.
Wishing you a happy and safe week.

Cheers and happy reading
Sandy
❤😍📚

I Hear the Sirens in the Street by Adrian McKinty

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EXCERPT: ‘It was just out there where your Land Rover was parked. They must have been hiding behind the stone wall. Two of them, they said. Gave him both barrels of a shotgun and sped off on a motorbike. Point blank range. Dr McCreery said that he wouldn’t have known a thing about it.’

‘I’m sure that’s the case,’ I said and tried to let go, but still she held on.

‘He only joined for the money. This place doesn’t pay anything. We’ve forty sheep on twelve acres of bog.’

‘Yes, the–‘

She pulled me closer.

‘Aye, they say he didn’t know anything but he was still breathing when I got to him, trying to breathe anyway. His mouth was full of blood, he was drowning in it. Drowning on dry land in his own blood.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Sean Duffy knows there’s no such thing as a perfect crime. But a torso in a suitcase is pretty close.

Still, one tiny clue is all it takes, and there it is. A tattoo. So Duffy, fully fit and back at work after the severe trauma of his last case, is ready to follow the trail of blood-however faint-that always, always connects a body to its killer.

A legendarily stubborn man, Duffy becomes obsessed with this mystery as a distraction from the ruins of his love life, and to push down the seed of self-doubt that he seems to have traded for his youthful arrogance.

So from country lanes to city streets, Duffy works every angle. And wherever he goes, he smells a rat…

MY THOUGHTS: 1982 Northern Ireland. The Troubles. The Falklands war. The hope that the manufacturing plant for the De Lorean brings. This is the backdrop for the second book in the Sean Duffy series, I Hear The Sirens in the Streets’.

McKinty does a wonderful job of portraying the atmosphere…’the curling pigtails of smoke from hijacked cars, Army helicopters hovering above the city like mosquitoes over a water hole, heavily armed soldiers and policemen walking in single file on both sides of a residential street…’, the smell, the sound, the taste of a country at war with itself, the grinding poverty, the hopelessness and despair of both the people and the situation.

But overriding all this is the body in the suitcase and the brick walls he keeps hitting during his investigation.

I initially read the third book in this series, In the Morning I’ll be Gone, and fell in love with Sean Duffy, for all his faults, and so have gone back and am reading the series from the beginning. Loving it. McKinty has me reading late into the night, nails digging into palms, gasping, and laughing. Yes, laughing. Mr. McKinty has quite the sense of humour. Add to this his descriptive prowess and his brilliant ability to create characters far more human than I thought possible, and you have a winning combination.

I guess it helps that McKinty grew up in Carrickfergus, the setting for this series, but the whole time I am reading, I am also hearing the story in a lilting Irish brogue. Such is the strength of his writing.

If you haven’t yet read any of this author’s books, I urge you to give him a try. Highly recommended.

❤😯😳🤯.5

A few of my favourite lines from I Hear the Sirens in the Street by Adrian McKinty:

‘….that tea’s too wet. I’ll get some biscuits.’

‘Even when you were completely wrong about something, the journey into your wrongness was always fucking interesting.’

‘…the coffee itself tasted like it had been percolated through a tube previously used for stealing petrol from parked cars.’

THE AUTHOR: Adrian McKinty is an Irish novelist. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and grew up in Victoria Council Estate, Carrickfergus, County Antrim. He read law at the University of Warwick and politics and philosophy at the University of Oxford. He moved to the United States in the early 1990s, living first in Harlem, New York and from 2001 on, in Denver, Colorado, where he taught high school English and began writing fiction. He lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and two children.

DISCLOSURE: I borrowed my copy of I Hear the Sirens in the Street by Adrian McKinty, published by Serpent’s Tail, 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 and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2994284920

Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison

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EXCERPT: The girl’s body dangles from the tall, iron gates guarding the school’s entrance. A closer examination shows the ends of a red silk tie peeking out like a cardinal on a winter branch, forcing her neck into a brutal angle. She wears her graduation robe and multicolored stole as if knowing she’ll never see the achievement. The last tendrils of dawn’s fog laze about her legs, which are five feet from the ground. It rained overnight and the thin robe clings to her body, dew sparkling on the edges.

There is no breeze, no birds singing or squirrels industriously gathering for the long winter ahead, no cars passing along the street, only the cool, misty morning air and the gentle metallic creaking of the gates under the weight of the dead girl. She is suspended in midair, her back to the street, her face hidden behind a curtain of dirty wet hair, dark from the rains.

Because of the damage to her face, it will take them some time to officially identify her. In the beginning, it isn’t even clear that she attends the school, despite wearing the Goode School robes. But she does. The fingerprints will prove it.

Of course there are a few people who know exactly who is dangling from the school gates. Know who,and know why. But they will never tell.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

MY THOUGHTS: ‘Lies will flow from my lips, but there may perhaps be some truth mixed up with them; it is for you to decide whether any part of it is worth keeping.’ – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

And lies certainly do flow from everyone’s lips in J.T. Ellison’s latest thriller, Good Girls Lie. The opening chapters had my pulse pounding and I voraciously flicked over the pages until my Kindle went flat. The pace does settle for a time before the climactic ending.

Ellison has written an atmospheric and creepy novel with cutting edge characters. These teenage girls are rich and privileged, cliquey and bitchy. They can be cruel and manipulative. They are adept at hiding their true feelings, preferring to be seen as ‘cool’, to be admired and emulated.
The culture of their school almost encourages their behaviour… until it all backfires and popular students start dying. Is it a coincidence, or perhaps just plain bad luck, that there is a new girl at the school. One whose entire family is dead…

Highly recommended.

😯😯😯😯.5

#GoodGirlsLie #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: J.T. Ellison began her career as a presidential appointee in the White House, where a nuclear physicist taught her how to obsess over travel itineraries and make a seriously good pot of Earl Grey, spawning both her love of loose leaf and a desire for control of her own destiny. Jaded by the political climate in D.C., she made her way back to her first love, creative writing. More than 20 novels later, she is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with thrillers published in 27 countries and 15 languages. She is also the EMMY-award winning cohost of A WORD ON WORDS, a literary interview TV show. She lives in Nashville with her husband and two small gray minions, known as cats in some cultures. She thinks they’re furry aliens.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harlequin MIRA for providing a digital ARC of Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison 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 is also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2895238825

Watching What I’m Reading…

Happy New Year y’all. I hope you have had a happy and safe holiday season. I don’t know what it was like wherever you may be, but we had brilliant weather up in the Bay of Islands. I had forgotten how beautiful it is up there and we’re planning on heading back up there soon.

I have just started reading

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And OMG! What an opening chapter…I can feel an all nighter coming on.

I need to download a new audiobook fo my walk to work tomorrow, but at this point have no idea what it will be.

This week I am planning on reading

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You’ve met Mrs Bright. She’s that nice woman who lives three doors down and always smiles at you in the mornings. She’s planning her thirtieth wedding anniversary with her husband. She wants to travel, read endless books and take beautiful pictures. She’s been waiting for this forever.

For the past twenty-nine years, Kay Bright’s days have had a familiar rhythm: she works in her husband’s stationery shop, cooks for her family, tries to remember to practice yoga, and every other month she writes to her best friend, Ursula, and Ursula replies. Kay could set her calendar by their letters: her heart lifts when the blue airmail envelope, addressed in Ursula’s slanting handwriting, falls gently onto the mat.

Ursula is the only one who knows Kay’s deepest secret, something that happened decades ago that could tear Kay’s life apart today. Ursula has always been the person Kay relies on. Knowing she will hear from Ursula is like being sure the sun will rise tomorrow.

And now Ursula has stopped writing. Three missing letters doesn’t sound like a lot, but Kay gets out her shoebox of notes from her best friend, in case there’s something she overlooked. Ursula seems fine, but the further back she goes, the more Kay begins to question every choice she has made in her life. Which might be why, at ten o’clock one morning, Kay walks out of her yellow front door with a just a rucksack, leaving her wedding ring on the table…

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When Cameron Swift is shot and killed outside his family home, DC Beth Chamberlain is appointed Family Liaison Officer. Her role is to support the family – and investigate them.

Monika, Cameron’s partner and mother of two sons, had to be prised off his lifeless body after she discovered him. She has no idea why anyone would target Cameron.

Beth can understand Monika’s confusion. To everyone in their affluent community, Monika and her family seemed just like any other. But then Beth gets a call.

Sara is on holiday with her daughters when she sees the news. She calls the police in the UK, outraged that no one has contacted her to let her know or offer support. After all, she and Cameron had been together for the last seven years.

Until Cameron died, Monika and Sara had no idea each other existed.

As the case unfolds, Beth discovers that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has secrets. Especially the dead…

I have received five new ARCs since I last posted, just prior to Christmas.

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Happy reading my friends.
Cheers
Sandy
❤😍📚

The Cold, Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty

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EXCERPT: I shone my flashlight and then I saw her.

She was fully clothed, hanging under the limb of an oak tree. She had set up the noose, put her head in it, stepped off a tree stump and then regretted it.

Almost every person who hanged themselves did it wrong.

The noose is supposed to break your neck, not choke you to death.

Lucy had tried desperately to claw through the rope, had even managed to get a finger between the rope and her throat. It hadn’t done any good.

She was blue. Her left eye was bulging out of its socket, her right eyeball had popped onto her cheek.

Apart from that and the lifeless way the breeze played with her brown hair she did not look dead. The birds hadn’t found her yet.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Two dead.

One left in a car at the side of a road. He was meant to be found quickly. His killer is making a statement.

The other is discovered hanged, deep in a forest. She is surely a suicide.

Detective Sergeant Duffy is the man tasked with trying to get to the bottom of it all. It’s no easy job – especially when it turns out that one of the victims was involved in the IRA, but last seen discussing business with someone from the UVF. Add to that the fact that as a Catholic policemen, it doesn’t matter which side he’s on, because nobody trusts him – and Sergeant Duffy really is in a no-win situation.

MY THOUGHTS: I discovered Sean Duffy late in this series, but loved him so much that I have gone back to read this series from the beginning.

McKinty’s writing is, though often brutal, like liquid honey. It flows easily, even as Duffy makes huge leaps of deduction, often unfounded and misguided. But he is no bumbling fool, merely a man who feels too much, who longs to make a difference, who wants to help stop the madness of the Irish troubles.

Set in the reign of Margaret Thatcher, with the marriage of Prince Charles to Diana Spencer looming, resources are stretched thin. Riots are an every day occurrence, political prisoners are on hunger strikes, and innocent civilians are being killed in the random bombings.

And yet amongst all this carnage and hatred, McKinty manages to convey that there are still good people, people not interested in either side winning, people invested in finding an equitable peace. He even manages to insert a little Irish folk lore – ‘My grandmother told me that the forest was an opening to someplace else. Where things lurked, things we could only half see. Older beings. Shees. Shades of creatures that once walked the natural world, redundant now, awaiting tasks, awaiting their work in dreams.’

McKinty is one of the most talented writers I have ever read for setting atmosphere. As I read, I can hear every inflection, every nuance in the voices, I can smell the odour of death, of putrefaction, I can taste the food, even the whisky – ‘It was the good stuff and it tasted of salt, sea, rain, wind and the Old Testament.’ He brings his work alive.

😍😲😍😲.5

My favourite quote from The Cold, Cold Ground: ‘William Burroughs said that a paranoid is somebody who knows what is actually going on.’

THE AUTHOR: Adrian McKinty is an Irish novelist. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and grew up in Victoria Council Estate, Carrickfergus, County Antrim. He read law at the University of Warwick and politics and philosophy at the University of Oxford. He moved to the United States in the early 1990s, living first in Harlem, New York and from 2001 on, in Denver, Colorado, where he taught high school English and began writing fiction. He lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and two children.

DISCLOSURE: I borrowed my copy of The Cold, Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty, published by Serpent’s Tail, 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2994284793

Shatter the Night by Emily Littlejohn

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EXCERPT: ‘Time’s up, old friend. I will take your eyes and then your tongue, leaving you unable to see or speak. Only then will your lies end. I’m one nightmare you’ll never wake up from.’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: It’s Halloween night in Cedar Valley. During the town’s annual festival, Detective Gemma Monroe takes a break from trick or treating with her family to visit an old family friend, retired Judge Caleb Montgomery, at his law office. To Gemma’s surprise, Caleb seems worried—haunted, even—and confides in her that he’s been receiving anonymous threats. Shortly after, as Gemma strolls back to her car, an explosion at Caleb’s office shatters the night.

Reeling from the shock, Gemma and her team begin eliminating suspects and motives, but more keep appearing in their place, and soon another man is killed. Her investigation takes her from a chilling encounter with a convicted murderer at the Belle Vista Penitentiary, to the gilded rooms of the renovated Shotgun Playhouse, where Shakespeare’s cursed play Macbeth is set to open in a few weeks.

Yet most disturbing of all is when Gemma realizes that similar murders have happened before. There is a copycat killer at play, and if Gemma can’t stop him, he’ll carry out his final, deadly act.

MY THOUGHTS: This is the second book of four in this series that I have read. This is an exciting read with just the right balance between Gemma’s professional and private lives.

As the countdown to her wedding begins, there is an explosion that rocks the town in more ways than one. Set at Halloween, it involves injustices and revenge.

Just like Gemma, I kept coming up with suspects, but I was wrong every time. I enjoyed this fairly fast paced read and it was almost a five star read for me except for two things…one would be a spoiler so I’m not going there, and the second is that I found the ending, although exciting, a little jumbled and untidy.

This is a series that I intend to continue to follow. I like the characters and the setting of Cedar Valley. I do recommend that, should you want to read this book, you start at the beginning of the series. While Shatter the Night could work as a stand alone, references are made to incidents in the previous books, and there are things in the characters histories that you will not understand. This series would make an ideal holiday binge read.

Highly recommended.

😍😲😍😮

Two quotes from this book that I just loved:

‘Halloween. What a joke. The ghouls are here now, they’re always here. As if they’d only come out on one night to play.’

‘Marriages are like leftovers in the fridge; you stop paying attention and pretty soon you’ve got mold on what was once a nice meal.’

#ShatterTheNight #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Emily Littlejohn writes the Detective Gemma Monroe mysteries, called “a series to watch” by Booklist.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to St Martin’s Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Shatter the Night by Emily Littlejohn 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 my https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3051772178