Watching what I’m reading . . .

I have just started reading Beyond the Olive Grove by Kate Hewitt, a consistently good writer whom I enjoy.

I am also reading Slough House by Mick Herron, my first book by this author. I wasn’t too sure to start with, but this is #7 in the Slough House series, and I haven’t read any of the previous books, something I intend to remedy. Now that I have settled into the read, Herron’s writing style is reminiscent of two of my favourite authors, Adrian McKinty and Ken Bruen.

And I am listening to Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece

This week I am planning on reading Sisterhood by V.B. Grey

and The Unwelcome Guest by Amanda Robson

I received 9 new ARCs, plus the audio of The Unwelcome Guest by Amanda Robson, so I will be able to do a read/listen for this. The other ARCs I received are: The Summer We Buried by Jody Gehrman

Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King

My Daughter’s Mistake by Kate Hewitt

The Perfect Daughter by Kerry Wilkinson

The Woman on the Beach by Julia Roberts

the Couple Upstairs by Shalini Boland

Beyond the Olive Grove by Kate Hewitt, which I am currently reading

and The Selling Point by Marci Bolden

This is #2 in a series, Chsmmont Point, of which I still have the first to read, so I going to try squeeze this in this week. It’s titled The Restarting Point

This week I have spent a lot of time in the Adirondack mountains, both in the present time and during WWII. I have also been in Cincinnati, New York City, and Minnesota in the USA; London, England; and Greece, both in the present time and again during WWII.

Where have you been this week? And did we cross paths at all?

Have a great week everyone. Stay safe and read. ❤📚

The Noise by James Patterson and J.D. Barker

EXCERPT: The sound grew louder.

Tennant had no idea she was screaming, too, until she ran out of breath and choked on the air – dirt, dust, flour – all filling her lungs at once. She coughed it back out, forced herself to stand, clawed at the cellar door.

Why had Poppa locked them in?

They’d die down here.

And Momma and Poppa out there?

On the ground at her feet, Sophie’s hands and arms wrapped around her head, her knees pulled close against her chest. Blood dripped from the corners of her eyes, from her button nose, seeped out from between her fingers over her ears. Thick, congealed blood, dark red, nearly black. One of her hands shot out and wrapped around Tennant’s ankles and squeezed so tight the pain brought her back down to the floor.

The sound grew louder.

Tennant wanted to hold her sister, but her arms and legs no longer obeyed her. Her heart drummed against her ribs, threatened to burst. She couldn’t get air, each gasp no better than breathing water. Her eyes rolled back into her head, her vision first went white, then dark, as the walls closed in. The cellar no better than a grave.

ABOUT ‘THE NOISE’: Young sisters, Sophie and Tennant Riggin, are the only two people to withstand a massive explosion that destroys their community, located in the shadow of Oregon’s Mt. Hood.

A team of elite government investigators are sent to research the fallout and the girls – why did only they survive? – but with conflicting objectives. For Dr Martha Chan, a psychologist who analyses large-scale medical emergencies: study them. For Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Fraser, a career military leader with an inherent mistrust of civilians: contain them.

But as the disturbance replicates across the Pacific Northwest, it threatens to topple the chain of command. Dr Chan and Lieutenant Colonel Fraser are caught between the perpetrators of the threat – and those who have the power to resist.

MY THOUGHTS: What the hell did I just read? I didn’t read the publicity blurb prior to requesting this, and I never read the publicity blurb before starting reading. The fact that J.D. Barker is co-author was good enough for me. And I hit the jackpot! I am so pleased I never read the blurb; I would never have requested this and I would have missed out on a spectacular read.

The story is told from the points of view of Tennant, the girl whose sister Sophie is affected by The Noise; Martha a psychologist who deals with large scale medical emergencies, and who is called on to study both this emergency and the sisters; Fraser, a career military officer who dislikes and distrusts civilians, and whose job it is to contain both the sisters and those brought in to examine them and the site; and briefly, the President of the United States, who faces a decision that no other president in history has ever faced.

If you are going to pick The Noise up, and I strongly recommend you do, set a day aside with no distractions or interruptions to read it. It’s not a long read, but it is action packed. This is no runaway train. There is no slow start, no build up. This is a bullet train – it starts fast and just gets faster, more suspenseful, more thrilling, and scarier.

Personally, I find the scariest things are those that are possible. The Noise falls into this category. It scared the living bejesus out of me. And I loved it.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#TheNoise #NetGalley #RandomHouse

I: @jamespattersonbooks @jdbarker_author
@randomhouse

T: @JP_Books @ jdbarker @randomhouse

THE AUTHORS: James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author and most trusted storyteller. He has created more enduring fictional characters than any other novelist writing today.

J.D. Barker is a New York Times and international bestselling American author of suspense thrillers, often incorporating elements of horror, crime, mystery, science fiction, and the supernatural.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House UK, Cornerstone, Century via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Noise by James Patterson and J.D. Barker 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 will also be published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Stolen by Tess Stimson

EXCERPT: ‘You know why you’re so frantic to get her back?’ Harriet cries, shaking me off. ‘It’s not because you love her so much, Alex! It’s because you didn’t love her enough! You feel guilty because you never really wanted her! That’s what all this is about!’

I reel as if I’ve been sucker-punched.

It’s because you didn’t love her enough.

Seven words that damn me to hell.

ABOUT ‘STOLEN’: You thought she was safe. You were wrong…

Alex knows her daughter would never wander off in a strange place. So when her three-year-old vanishes from an idyllic beach wedding, Alex immediately believes the worast.

The hunt for Lottie quickly becomes a world-wide search, but it’s not long before suspicion falls on her mother. Why wasn’t she watching Lottie?

Alex knows she’s not perfect, but she loves her child. And with all eyes on her, Alex fears they’ll never uncover the truth unless she takes matters into her own hands.

Who took Lottie Martini? And will she ever come home?

MY THOUGHTS: For future reference: next time I have a Tess Stimson book to read, I will call in sick to work, or take a mental health day. I picked up Stolen and I didn’t want to put it down. I fretted while I was at work, I fumed, I sulked. I did not want to be there. I wanted to be at home with Alex, having my mind tied into knots by all the twists and turns Stimson threw into the plot.

I admit to feeling quite smug. Early on I had an inkling as to who had taken Lottie. I continued to feel smug, secure in the certainty that I was right, until the very end, when I wasn’t.

There is something about a missing child story that strikes fear into the heart of every parent. Put the story in Tess Stimson’s hands, and it immediately becomes a terrifying rollercoaster of a read. Stimson has crafted a story of desperation, fear, and suspicion that had my mind spinning and my heart pounding. It’s complex, twisty, and tense.

The characters are brilliantly depicted. The missing child, Lottie, isn’t at all likeable. She is wilful, stubborn, gluttonous, clever and manipulative. Her mother, Alexa, never wanted a child. She is career oriented, and had left the bulk of the childcare to husband Luca, until his death in the Genoa Bridge collapse. Journalist Quinn, who gets a strange tingling in her spine when she is assigned to cover Lottie’s abduction.

The resolution was highly unexpected, and entertaining. Movie potential.

There are a lot of books out there about missing and abducted children, but nothing that comes close to Stolen.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

#Stolen #NetGalley #tessstimsonauthor

I: @tessstimson @avonbooksuk

T: @tessjstimson @AvonBooksUK

#contemporaryfiction #crime #familydrama #mystery #suspense #thriller

THE AUTHOR: I was born in Surrey, in the south of England, and read English at Oxford University.

​Upon graduating I joined ITN as a news producer.
I reported and produced regional and world stories, travelling to hotspots and war-zones all over the
globe, before leaving bullets behind to become
a full-time writer.

​Since then, I’ve written more than a dozen novels, numerous short stories, and two non-fiction books, which have been published internationally and translated into more than twenty languages.

​In recent years, I’ve moved away from writing women’s fiction and towards darker psychological thrillers,
which seem to suit my personality better – make
of that what you will.

​As well as writing fiction I continue to work as
a journalist, and also teach reporting for media and creative writing at a university in the North-Eastern US.

​I live in Vermont with my husband, and am visited intermittently by my three grown-up children whenever they need their laundry done.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Avon Books UK via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Stolen by Tess Stimson 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, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching what I’m reading . . .

We’re expecting cold weather this week. We don’t often get snow where we live, but it’s on the cards this week!

Currently I am halfway through reading The Noise by James Patterson and J.D. Barker. It’s both chilling and thrilling, and I read the first half in one sitting.

I am also currently reading Mrs March by Virginia Feito, which is fascinating. And now I understand the significance of the cockroach on the cover.

I am listening to All the Little Hopes by Leah Weiss. It took me a little to get into, not helped by the fact that Luke must have fiddled with the settings and I was listening to it at 1.5 x normal speed for a while, and so had completely negated the North Carolina accent.

This week I am planning on reading The Show Girl by Nicola Harrison

It’s

1927 when Olive McCormick moves from Minneapolis to New York City determined to become a star in the Ziegfeld Follies. Extremely talented as a singer and dancer, it takes every bit of perseverance to finally make it on stage. And once she does, all the glamour and excitement is everything she imagined and more–even worth all the sacrifices she has had to make along the way.

Then she meets Archie Carmichael. Handsome, wealthy–the only man she’s ever met who seems to accept her modern ways–her independent nature and passion for success. But once she accepts his proposal of marriage he starts to change his tune, and Olive must decide if she is willing to reveal a devastating secret and sacrifice the life she loves for the man she loves.

And Slough House by Mick Herron

Slough House – the crumbling office building to which failed spies, the ‘slow horses’, are banished – has been wiped from secret service records.

Reeling from recent losses in their ranks, the slow horses are worried they’ve been pushed further into the cold, and fatal accidents keep happening.

With a new populist movement taking a grip on London’s streets, the aftermath of a blunder by the Russian secret service that left a British citizen dead, and the old order ensuring that everything’s for sale to the highest bidder, the world’s an uncomfortable place for those deemed surplus to requirements. The wise move would be to find a safe place and wait for the troubles to pass.

But the slow horses aren’t famed for making wise decisions.

Only three new ARCs this week, which is a bit of a relief 😇

Buried Memories by Simon R. Green

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

and the audiobook Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece

On my book travels this week I have been to Hendon, London; North Carolina; Balham, London; St Pete’s Beach in Florida; Devon, England; Sicily; Mt Hood, Oregon; and New York City. Where in the world have you been? Have we crossed paths anywhere?

Have a safe and happy week everyone! ❤📚

False Witness by Karin Slaughter

EXCERPT: She looked down at the label on the file.

TENANT, ANDREW TREVOR

The clenched fist kept moving up her throat, every horrific detail she had suppressed over the last twenty three years threatening to choke her.

Callie’s terrifying phone call. Leigh’s frantic drive to reach her. The horrific scene in the kitchen. The familiar smell of the dank house, the cigars and scotch and blood – so much blood.

Leigh had to know for sure. She needed to hear it said out loud. Her teenage voice came out of her mouth when she asked, ‘Trevor?’

The way Andrew’s lips curved up to the left was so chillingly familiar. Leigh felt a tingle of goosebumps prickle her skin. She had been his babysitter, and then, when she was old enough to find real work, she had passed the job on to her baby sister.

‘I go by Andrew now,’ he told her. ‘Tenant is mom’s maiden name. We both thought it would be good to change things up after what happened with dad.’

‘After what happened with dad.’

Buddy Waleski had disappeared. He’d abandoned his wife and son. No note. No apologies. That’s what Leigh and Callie made it look like. That’s what they had told the police. Buddy had done a lot of bad things. He was in debt to a lot of bad people. It made sense. At the time, all of it had made sense.

Andrew seemed to feed off her dawning recognition. His smile softened, the upward curve of his lips slowly smoothing out.

He said, ‘It’s been a long time, Harleigh.’

‘Harleigh.’

Only one person in her life still called her by that name.

Andrew said, ‘I thought you’d forgotten all about me.’

Leigh shook her head. She would never forget him. Trevor Waleski had been a sweet kid. A little awkward. A lot clingy. The last time Leigh had seen him, he had been drugged into oblivion. She had watched her sister gently kiss the top of his head.

Then the two of them had gone back into the kitchen to finish murdering his father.

ABOUT ‘FALSE WITNESS’: AN ORDINARY LIFE

Leigh Coulton has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life. She has a good job as a defence attorney, a daughter doing well in school, and even her divorce is relatively civilised – her life is just as unremarkable as she’d always hoped it would be.

HIDES A DEVASTATING PAST

But Leigh’s ordinary life masks a childhood which was far from average… a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and finally torn apart by a devastating act of violence.

BUT NOW THE PAST IS CATCHING UP

Then a case lands on her desk – defending a wealthy man accused of rape. It’s the highest profile case she’s ever been given – a case which could transform her career, if she wins. But when she meets the accused, she realises that it’s no coincidence that he’s chosen her as his attorney. She knows him. And he knows her. More to the point, he knows what happened twenty years ago, and why Leigh has spent two decades running.

AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT

If she can’t get him acquitted, she’ll lose much more than the case. The only person who can help her is her younger, estranged sister Callie, the last person Leigh would ever want to ask for help. But suddenly she has no choice…

MY THOUGHTS: A definite thriller that kept me guessing!

Where do I start with this review? Slaughter never fails to surprise me. False Witness is a complicated (I mean that in a positive way) story of abuse on many levels. Paedophilia, alcohol, drug, and parental abuse are all a part of False Witness, as is the Covid-19 pandemic.

I am not going to talk about the plot, because I don’t want to give anything away. I will say, however, that I didn’t much like False Witness to start with, thanks to Ms Slaughter’s realistic and graphic portrayals of drug addicts their habits, of Buddy Waleski and his proclivities. It made me feel dirty, like I wanted to go stand under a hot shower until the water ran out. I didn’t like Callie, although by the time I had finished, I had a sneaking admiration for her. And although she could not resist the siren song of heroin, she was incredibly strong in other ways. As was Harleigh who, although facing a major moral dilemma, put both her daughter’s and her sister’s welfare first.

There are many surprising twists to this story, and the characterisation is wonderful. I particularly liked the elderly vet, teetering on the brink of dementia, that Callie worked for. And despite everything else that occurs in False Witness, the violence and the cruelty, no animals are harmed. Another thing I absolutely loved was Callie’s conversations with and about her cat. Purr genius! (The pun is deliberate.)

False Witness is an intense, dark and gritty read that won’t be for everyone. There were times I doubted that it was for me. And it is overly long, with a fair bit of repetition which, really, wasn’t necessary. It was like the author was taking up a sledgehammer to ram home certain points.

While I can’t say I enjoyed this read, I am glad that I read False Witness. Slaughter is making statements about our society that need to be heard. Not only heard, but taken on board. And not just in America.

Kathleen Early made an excellent job of the narration. She made me forget that I was listening to an audiobook. I felt like I was right in amongst the drama.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.2

#FalseWitness #NetGalley

I: @karinslaughterauthor @blackstonepublishing

T: @SlaughterKarin @BlackstonePubl1

#audiobook #contemporaryfiction #crime #familydrama #suspense #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her 21 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NYT bestselling stand-alone novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, and PIECES OF HER. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, she lives in Atlanta. Her stand-alone novel PIECES OF HER is in development with Netflix, starring Toni Collette, and the Grant County and Will Trent series are in development for television.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Blackstone Publishing – Audiobooks via Netgalley for providing an audio ARC of False Witness by Karin Slaughter 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 . . .

I tried to take Luke to the library to borrow some books a couple of weeks ago, but he told me he wanted to keep the books forever, so we didn’t go. I had a book to return yesterday, so I took him with me and he brought 4 books home, and suddenly it’s a really good idea to borrow books then take them back and swap them for new ones. These were his selections:

Currently I am reading and loving Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham. I can see myself reading late into the night tonight despite having an early start tomorrow so that I can get done what I need to before going for my Covid vaccination.

I am also reading A Vineyard Crossing by Jean Stone, a new author for me. I have to admit it was the cover that first attracted me. I just wanted to plonk myself down on the sand and soak up the view. The Adirondack chair? Am I the only person earth who finds these uncomfortable? It probably has something to do with my short legs…. But however I came select this, I am enjoying this warm, gentle read.

I am not currently listening to an audiobook, but I have All the Little Hopes by Leah Weiss ready to go.

Deep in the tobacco land of North Carolina, nothing’s the same since the boys shipped off to war and worry took their place. Thirteen-year-old Lucy Brown is curious and clever, but she can’t make sense of it all. Then Allie Bert Tucker comes to town, an outcast with a complicated past, and Lucy believes that together they can solve crimes. Just like her hero, Nancy Drew.

That chance comes when a man goes missing, a woman stops speaking, and an eccentric gives the girls a mystery that takes them beyond the ordinary. Their quiet town, seasoned with honeybees and sweet tea, becomes home to a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp—and more men go missing. The pair set out to answer the big question: do we ever really know who the enemy is?

This week I am planning on reading Stolen by Tess Stimson

You thought she was safe. You were wrong…

Alex knows her daughter would never wander off in a strange place. So when her three-year-old vanishes from an idyllic beach wedding, Alex immediately believes the worast.

The hunt for Lottie quickly becomes a world-wide search, but it’s not long before suspicion falls on her mother. Why wasn’t she watching Lottie?

Alex knows she’s not perfect, but she loves her child. And with all eyes on her, Alex fears they’ll never uncover the truth unless she takes matters into her own hands.

Who took Lottie Martini? And will she ever come home?

And The Noise by James Patterson and J.D. Barker

If you hear it, it’s too late. Can two sisters save us all?

In the shadow of Mount Hood, sixteen-year-old Tennant is checking rabbit traps with her eight-year-old sister Sophie when the girls are suddenly overcome by a strange vibration rising out of the forest, building in intensity until it sounds like a deafening crescendo of screams. From out of nowhere, their father sweeps them up and drops them through a trapdoor into a storm cellar. But the sound only gets worse .

I received 8 new ARCs this week 🤦‍♀️

Lil’s Bus Trip by Judy Leigh – I was excited by this as I have been requesting this author for some time, and this is my first approval.

The Sunshine Club by Carolyn Brown

Darkness Falls by David Mark

The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths

Plus Cause of Death by Jeffery Deaver. This is an excellent novella which I read last night. Watch for my review later this week.

The Noise by James Patterson and J.D. Barker which I am reading this week

A Vineyard Crossing by Jean Stone, which I am currently reading

And the audiobook All the Little Hopes by Leah Weiss, which I will start tomorrow.

I have travelled mainly in USA this week, Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Porto Rico; Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts; Martinsville County, also Massachusetts; with side trips to Porthteal,Cornwall; and Hendon, a suburb of London. Where have you travelled this week?

Have you read any of the books I have coming up, or are they on your TBR? Or have I tempted you to add them to your TBR?

Have a wonderful week. Stay safe and keep on reading!❤📚

The Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd

EXCERPT: ‘Message four, received today, 12.17 p.m.’

Crackles on the line. Clicks and whistles.

‘…Lucy…’

It’s him. It’s Daniel.

And yet something in his voice – dark, alien – isn’t Daniel at all. In an instant, Lucy knows she’s utterly unprepared for how bad this might get.

Around her, the playground darkens. The sound of children’s voices fades. Time slows, then stops completely. Parents and offspring become graveyard statues welded to a tarmac sea. Colour seeps from their skin, their clothes. Lucy feels no wind in her hair, no speckling of rain on her cheeks. Her heart doesn’t beat. The blood in her veins doesn’t flow.

The phone is clamped so tightly to her ear that the hiss and burr of static fill her head. She concentrates hard, as if by deciphering those electronic shrieks she can divine Daniel’s location, his intent. She hears wind, or what sounds like it. A chaotic symphony of whistles and chirrups, as if the broadcast is reaching her from deep space.

Lucy feels sure the connection is about to drop entirely. And then, with a buzzing that makes her wince, the clarity on the line is restored and she hears something else, something she didn’t expect, another voice, fainter than the first, one that she recognizes as clearly as her own: ‘Daddy, no-‘

ABOUT ‘THE RISING TIDE’: HOW DID IT COME TO THIS?

The news doesn’t strike cleanly, like a guillotine’s blade. Nothing so merciful. This news is a slovenly traveller, dragging its feet, gradually revealing its horrors. And it announces itself first with violence – the urgent hammering of fists on the front door.

Life can change in a heartbeat.

Lucy has everything she could wish for: a beautiful home high on the clifftops above the Devon coast, a devoted husband and two beloved children.

Then one morning, time stops. Their family yacht is recovered, abandoned far out at sea. Lucy’s husband is nowhere to be found and as the seconds tick by, she begins to wonder – what if he was the one who took the boat? And if so, where is he now?

As a once-in-a-generation storm frustrates the rescue operation, Lucy pieces together what happened onboard. And then she makes a fresh discovery. One that plunges her into a nightmare more shocking than any she could ever have imagined . . .

MY THOUGHTS: In a market awash with pale imitations, The Rising Tide is a true psychological thriller. I was thrilled from the first page to the last; never quite on an even keel, always a little off balance, never entirely sure who to believe. That was one enjoyable, wild ride, and I want to do it all over again!

All the words that are bandied about, hold true for this, Sam Lloyd’s second novel. Intense. Thrilling. Suspenseful. Breathtaking. Twisty. Heart pounding. Jaw dropping. Chilling. Compelling. And even all banded together, they don’t do The Rising Tide justice. It is all those things and more. Sam Lloyd scares me. He had me on the edge of my seat, nails digging into my palms, crying out, ‘No, no, no, no!’ as I read. Twenty four hours after finishing The Rising Tide, I still get breathless thinking about it.

Who are these people, Sam Lloyd’s characters? Is Daniel a monster? Or a loving father and stepfather? Is Lucy cold, calculating, cheating and manipulative? Or is she a loving mother who has had her world ripped apart?

My favourite characters are the delightful Bibi Trixibelle Carter, a very sharp eighty something year old, and the doomed Detective Inspector Abraham Rose and, of course, Lucy’s daughter Billie.

The Rising Tide is at the very top of my favourite books list for 2021, and I seriously doubt that anything is going to displace it. Five stars are simply not enough. The Rising Tide deserves a whole galaxy.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#TheRisingTide #NetGalley

I: #samlloyd #randomhouseUK

T: @samlloydwrites @BantamPress

#contemporaryfiction #crime #familydrama #fivestarread #psychologicalthriller #suspense #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Sam Lloyd grew up in Hampshire, where he learned his love of storytelling. These days he lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and a dog that likes to howl.

DISCLOSURE: A huge thank you to Random House, Transworld Publishing, Bantam Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd. 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 Goodreads.com

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Photo by Meruyert Gonullu on Pexels.com

I’m late!

It’s been a hectic few days. A stomach bug has been raging through town. My neighbour and friend Helen is down with it. My husband came home from work today with it. I have staff off work with it which resulted in my working 11 1/2 hours yesterday. Fingers crossed that I can avoid it.

So, although it’s Monday, here’s my Sunday post.

Currently I am reading The Heartwood Hotel by Kerry McGinnis

Set in north Queensland outback, I am enjoying this read. Thanks Elise from the Waitomo District Library book group for recommending this. I will be reading more from this author.

I am also reading The Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd. It’s excellent!

And A Mother’s Lie by Leah Mercer which I have only just started. This was previously titled Safe From Harm.

I am listening to Safe Witness by Karin Slaughter

This week I am planning on reading The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous

1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she’s truly part of the family…until they ask her to help them with a harmless game–and nothing is ever the same.

2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It’s strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she’ll be staying at, she figures she’s got nothing to lose.

In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she’d imagined–even with damage from a fire decades before–but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there’s something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone…including her.

And The Marriage Mender by Linda Green

The only relationship she can’t save is her own . . .
Alison is a marriage counsellor. Her job is to help couples who fear they have reached the end of the line. But the trouble with spending your time sorting out other people’s problems is that you tend to take your eye off your own. Even when her husband’s ex Lydia arrives on the doorstep demanding to see her son, Alison thinks she can handle it. But what Alison doesn’t realise is that Lydia is the one person who has the ability to destroy their perfect family. And sometimes the cracks can run so deep that even a marriage mender can’t repair them . . . 

I received only three new ARCs this week, two Kindle format and 1 audiobook, False Witness by Karin Slaughter, which I started this morning.

Summer Island Sisters by Ciara Knight

And The Little Island Secret by Emma Davies

This week I have been to The Isle of Shura in Scotland, briefly to Riva in Italy, and Stockholm, Sweden. Where have your reading travels taken you this week?

Happy reading!

Silver Tears by Camilla Läckberg

EXCERPT: The studio lights were blinding. Faye had lost track of time. She had no idea how long the interview had been going on for, or how long was left. The audience was seated in rows of banked seating – a hungry, amorphous mass, on the alert for every word, every shift in her facial expression.

Usually she thrived in these situations. There was a little diva inside her who liked sitting in front of an audience, feeling the nerves of recording for TV. But today she felt strained and anxious.

Thinking about the shares being bought had kept her awake most of the night, tossing and turning. She had gone over the conversation in advance – conversations with women she would need to persuade to keep their shares without revealing in any way what was happening. No easy task – it would take both tact and finesse.

A slightly too long silence wrenched her away from her thoughts. She had been asked a question and was expected to answer.

‘The plan is to expand to the USA,’ she heard herself say. ‘I ‘m here in Stockholm for a month or so to meet potential investors and put together the final details. And I want to personally oversee the issue of new stock.’

It was horribly warm. A trickle of sweat ran down the small of her back.

Fredrik Skavlan, the Norwegian talk show host, sat up straight.

‘But this hunger . . . What is it that drives you? You’re already a billionaire. A feminist icon.’

Faye strung out the silence. The other guests were an American Hollywood actor, a female professor of linguistics who had just published a non-fiction bestseller, and a woman who had climbed Mount Everest with prosthetic legs. The Hollywood star had been flirting ceaselessly with Faye ever since she arrived at the studio.

‘Before my best friend Chris died, I promised her I would live life for both of us. I want to see how far I can get, what I can build. My biggest fear is dying without achieving my full potential.’

‘And Julienne, your daughter who was murdered by your ex-husband. What does her memory mean to you?’

Fredrik Skavlan leaned forward and the tension in the studio increased.

She didn’t answer right away, letting the temperature rise even further. Reach boiling point. The answer was learned by heart, but it was important it sounded natural.

‘She’s with me in everything I do. When the longing and pain get too much I bury myself in my work. I’m running Revenge, trying to make it grow, so that I don’t lie down and die myself. So that I don’t end up as just another woman silenced in the shadows of a man’s actions. So that he – the man I once loved, but who killed our daughter – doesn’t succeed in killing me too.’

ABOUT ‘SILVER TEARS’: Faye Adelheim has had to fight hard her whole life. But now, she is rich, her business has become a global brand, and she is hidden safely away in Italy with her daughter, where her violent ex-husband, Jack, can no longer harm them.

But Faye’s world is turned upside down when she discovers Jack is no longer behind bars, and she is forced to return to Sweden.

Just as Faye is in the fight of her life to keep her family safe, the dark truth about her childhood, which she has kept buried for years, is dramatically uncovered. And Faye is about to discover that even the best kept secrets have the power to destroy everything…

MY THOUGHTS: I loved Camilla Läckberg’s Patrik Hedström series. This series is completely different.

I should have felt sympathetic towards Faye. I didn’t. I found her cold and calculating, yet also strangely vulnerable. But I didn’t like her. At times I rooted for her. But I didn’t like her.

Another thing I didn’t like was the very graphic and superfluous sex scenes that pepper the book. They add little to nothing to the story and I felt that the majority of them were entirely unnecessary.

Was I bored by the story? No, definitely not. But neither did I love it. I didn’t skim anything other than some sex scenes, and I never considered not finishing it, but I didn’t love it. I liked it, but not a whole lot. It has all the ingredients that should make me love it: secrets, love, betrayal and revenge.

If I had been given this book with no indication of who had written it, I never would have picked Camilla Läckberg. I read the first book in this series after I was declined it on Netgalley, and while I didn’t love it either, I liked The Golden Cage more than Silver Tears. The ending of Silver Tears makes it apparent that there is another book to come. It is one that I won’t be putting my hand up for.

⭐⭐.6

#SilverTears #NetGalley

I: @lackberg @harpercollinsaustralia

T: @camillalackberg

#contemporaryfiction #crime #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Before she became one of Sweden’s most popular crime writers, Camilla Läckberg (b. 1974) worked as a marketing director and product manager for several years.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins Australia for providing a digital ARC of Silver Tears by Camilla Läckberg 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 Goodreads.com

The Stalker by Sarah Alderson

EXCERPT: She was just standing at the window looking out. I like watching her when she doesn’t know she’s being watched.

I watched her on the beach today as she walked along, pausing now and then to pick up stones, her blonde hair whipping about her slender neck as though it was trying to strangle her. I must admit, the thought made me tingle with something halfway between pleasure and pain.

I thought I caught her looking right at me,and I smile as I recall the fear that flashed across her face for an instant. I breathe in deep. I can still smell that fear, lingering in the air.

ABOUT ‘THE STALKER’: Newly-weds Liam and Laura are spending their honeymoon in paradise: just the two of them on a remote island off the coast of Scotland.
But they soon discover that all is not as it seems, and the island has a tragic past. And they can’t shake the feeling of being watched…

When one morning, they wake to find a message scratched into the window, their worst fears are confirmed. They aren’t alone on the island.

And this stranger wants them dead.

MY THOUGHTS: I am torn by this book, and keep wavering over my rating. There were things I liked about The Stalker, and things I didn’t.

I liked the beginning. While it all seems pretty ordinary with nothing much going on, there’s a slightly creepy undertone. I really enjoyed the first 40% of this book, but then it hit a bit of a flat spot for me and I began skimming. Not a good sign…. But that ending? It is crazy good and revived my reading ardour. Then after I had finished, I began to feel a little cheated. I am going to try to explain why without giving any spoilers away.

The story is told mostly from Laura’s perspective, with occasional input from an unknown person. Now my problem is that the ending, as wonderfully just as it is, makes complete nonsense of a lot of what Laura experiences as we watch her in the earlier parts of the book. And no, it’s not a case of an unreliable narrator. We are seeing the events through her eyes, and experiencing her reactions. If we had been seeing this through Liam’s eyes, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. So there you have it.

⭐⭐⭐.4

#TheStalker #NetGalley

I: @sarahaldersonauthor @avonbooksuk

T: @sarahalderson @AvonBooksUK

#contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #mystery #psychologicalthriller #suspense #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Having spent most of her life in London, Sarah quit her job in the non profit sector in 2009 and took off on a round the world trip with her husband and princess-obsessed daughter on a mission to find a new place to call home. After several months in India, Singapore, Australia and the US, they settled in Bali where they lived for five years.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Avon Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Stalker by Sarah Alderson 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