Friday Favorite – Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

I am currently reading Broken Bones by Angela Marsons, #7 in the DI. Stone series, and newly published just this week. It is not often that an author can maintain their focus and momentum through a series of seven books, but Marsons has done just that.

So while I am up in the middle of the New Zealand night devouring Marsons latest offering, I thought I would introduce you to the first in the series, Silent Scream.

WARNING: Unless you are planning on a sleepless night, don’t start this when you are going to bed, otherwise you will find yourself doing as I am, sitting up all night reading because you are going to read just one more chapter before you turn out the light. ..

Silent Scream by Angela Marsons
Silent Scream (D.I. Kim Stone, #1) 
by Angela Marsons (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT:
PROLOGUE
Rowley Regis, Black Country, 2004
Five figures formed a pentagram around a freshly dug mound.
Only they knew it was a grave.
Digging the frozen earth beneath the layers of ice and snow had been like trying to carve stone but they’d taken turns.
All of them.
An adult-sized hole would have taken longer.
The shovel had passed from grip to grip. Some were hesitant, tentative. Others more assured. No one resisted and no one spoke.
The innocence of the life taken was known to them all but the pact had been made.
Their secrets would be buried.
Five heads bowed towards the dirt, visualising the body beneath soil that already glistened with fresh ice. As the first flakes dusted the top of the grave, a shudder threaded through the group. The five figures dispersed, their footprints treading the trail of a star into the fresh, crisp snow.
It was done.

THE BLURB: Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …
Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.

As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?

Fans of Rachel Abbott, Val McDermid and Mark Billingham will be gripped by this exceptional new voice in British crime fiction.

Watch out for more from D.I. Kim Stone
A Detective hiding dark secrets, Kim Stone will stop at nothing to protect the innocent. Silent Scream is the first book in the series – watch out for EVIL GAMES coming soon.

MY THOUGHTS: The cover states that this is an edge of the seat serial killer thriller – and yes, it does deliver what it promises!
A headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.
Then human remains are discovered buried in the grounds of a former children’s home, threatening to bring to light a legacy of disturbing secrets.
How far will the killer go to protect these secrets?
The characters, some of whom are quite horrifying, are all well portrayed and well rounded.
This book had me gasping in shock, then shedding tears at moments of extreme compassion and tenderness.
Strongly recommended. But beware – this book is almost impossible to put down.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Silent Scream by Angela Marsons for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/1180418128

The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths

The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths
The Vanishing Box (Stephens & Mephisto Mystery, #4) 
by Elly Griffiths (Goodreads Author)  ☆☆☆☆

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens was looking at a dead body. He had seen death before, of course, in the war as well as in his police work but there was something about this corpse that made it especially disturbing. It wasn’t just the stench that sent his Sargeant, Bob Willis, retching to the window. It wasn’t just that the deceased was young, blonde and – even in the late stages of rigor mortis – beautiful. It was the way the body had been found. Lily Burtenshaw was kneeling on a towel beside her bed, a strip from a white sheet tied around her eyes and one hand stretched out towards a box in front of her. In order to keep the body in this unnatural position, the stretching hand had been tied onto a towel rail and the body roped to the back of a chair. Lily’s blindfolded head dropped forward and her golden hair fell across one shoulder. She was wearing a white nightdress and her skin was also deadly white, except for the dark bruising around her neck.

THE BLURB: What do a murdered Brighton flowerseller, the death of Cleopatra and a nude tableau show have in common? One thing’s for sure – it could be the most dangerous case yet for Stephens and Mephisto

Christmas 1953. Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are headlining Brighton Hippodrome, an achievement only slightly marred by the less-than-savoury support act: a tableau show of naked ‘living statues’. This might appear to have nothing in common with DI Edgar Stephens’ current case of the death of a quiet flowerseller, but if there’s one thing the old comrades have learned it’s that, in Brighton, the line between art and life – and death – is all too easily blurred…

MY THOUGHTS: I really liked The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths. I have not previously read any of this series, only her Ruth Galloway series, which I also really liked. The fact that I had not read any of the other Stephens and Mephisto books did not in any way detract from my enjoyment of this one.

This series has been compared to the Bryant and May series, which I have also read a number of, but so far I greatly prefer Griffiths writing.

This is both a comfortable and engaging read, reminiscent of Agatha Christie. The setting is atmospheric, the characters engaging. There is enough romantic intrigue to make it interesting, but not enough to overwhelm the main storyline. A perfect balance.

I look forward to more of this series.

Thank you to Quercus via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/2175934477?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot #1) 
by Agatha Christie

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: We strained and heaved together. The framework of the door was solid, and for a long time it resisted our efforts, but at last we felt it give beneath our weight, and finally, with a resounding crash, it was burst open.
We stumbled in together, Lawrence still holding his candle. Mrs. Inglethorp was lying on the bed, her whole form agitated by violent convulsions, in one of which she must have overturned the table beside her. As we entered, however, her limbs relaxed, and she fell back upon the pillows.
John strode across the room, and lit the gas. Turning to Annie, one of the housemaids, he sent her downstairs to the dining-room for brandy. Then he went across to his mother whilst I unbolted the door that gave on the corridor.
I turned to Lawrence, to suggest that I had better leave them now that there was no further need of my services, but the words were frozen on my lips. Never have I seen such a ghastly look on any man’s face. He was white as chalk, the candle he held in his shaking hand was sputtering onto the carpet, and his eyes, petrified with terror, or some such kindred emotion, stared fixedly over my head at a point on the further wall. It was as though he had seen something that turned him to stone. I instinctively followed the direction of his eyes, but I could see nothing unusual. The still feebly flickering ashes in the grate, and the row of prim ornaments on the mantelpiece, were surely harmless enough.

THE BLURB: Poirot, a Belgian refugee of the Great War, is settling in England near the home of Emily Inglethorp, who helped him to his new life. His friend Hastings arrives as a guest at her home. When the woman is killed, Poirot uses his detective skills to solve the mystery.

MY THOUGHTS: Agatha Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was the result of a dare from her sister Madge who challenged her to write a story. Thank you Madge! But for this sisterly dare, we may never have been able to read the delightful detective stories Miss Christie is so famous for.

And although The Mysterious Affair at Styles was her first novel, I think it remains of the best.

All through listening, I was changing my mind as to the identity of the murderer. And, in the end, I was still wrong!

I listened to the audio version of The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie, narrated by Hugh Fraser, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/1207605234

Bloodline by Mark Billingham

Bloodline by Mark Billingham
Bloodline (Tom Thorne, #8) 
by Mark Billingham

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: The woman was face down, arms by her sides. Her shirt had been lifted, or had ridden up, showing purplish patches on her skin just above her waist where the liver mortis had started and revealing that her bra had not been removed.

“Something, I suppose,” said a female CSI as she walked past.

Thorne raised his eyes from the body and looked towards the single window. There were plates and mugs on the draining board next to the sink. A light was flashing on the front of the washing machine to let somebody know that the cycle had finished.

There was still a trace of normality.

THE BLURB: DI Tom Thorne is back…

It seems like a straightforward domestic murder until a bloodstained sliver of X-ray is found clutched in the dead woman’s fist – and it quickly becomes clear that this case is anything but ordinary.

Thorne discovers that the victim’s mother had herself been murdered fifteen years before by infamous serial killer Raymond Garvey. The hunt to catch Garvey was one of the biggest in the history of the Met, and ended with seven women dead.

When more bodies and more fragments of X-ray are discovered, Thorne has a macabre jigsaw to piece together until the horrifying picture finally emerges. A killer is targeting the children of Raymond Garvey’s victims.

Thorne must move quickly to protect those still on the murderer’s list, but nothing and nobody are what they seem. Not when Thorne is dealing with one of the most twisted killers he has ever hunted…

A chilling, relentlessly paced thriller, Bloodline is the most gripping Tom Thorne novel yet.

MY THOUGHTS: I absolutely agree with the final sentence in the blurb. Bloodline is chilling. The pace is relentless. And this is the most gripping of the Tom Thorne series yet.

The killer is twisted, and very clever. He has laid his plans and prepared his ground meticulously. He leaves a trail for the police to follow, and he sits back and waits…

Meanwhile, Thorne is dealing with a personal crisis, or perhaps not dealing with it might be more accurate.

Billingham’s characters are ordinary people. They have likes and dislikes, bills to pay, meals to plan, children to get to school. I think this is one of the reasons I enjoy Billingham’s books so much. These people could be your neighbors, your friends, could even be you.

I like the matter of fact way Billingham writes, and his little injections of black humor.

An exciting and thrilling read. Although these are best read in order of the series to gain the most out of the character development, Bloodline will work as a stand alone book. 4.5☆

Bloodline was narrated by Paul Thornley and I listened to the audio version via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/942705195

In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende

In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
In the Midst of Winter 
by Isabel Allende (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Richard Bowmaster was Lucia’s boss at New York University where she had a one year contract as a visiting professor. Once the semester was over, her life was a blank slate: she would need another job and somewhere else to live while she decided on her long term future. Sooner or later she would return to end her days in Chile, but that was still quite a way off. And since her daughter, Daniela, had moved to Miami to study marine biology, and was possibly in love and planning to stay, there was nothing to draw Lucia back to her home country. She intended to enjoy her remaining years of good health before she was defeated by decreptitude. She wanted to live abroad, where the daily challenges kept her mind occupied and her heart in relative calm, because in Chile she was crushed by the weight of the familiar, its routines and limitations. Back there she felt she was condemned to be a lonely old woman besieged by pointless memories; in another country, there could be surprises and opportunities.

THE BLURB: In the Midst of Winter begins with a minor traffic accident—which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected and moving love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmaster—a 60-year-old human rights scholar—hits the car of Evelyn Ortega—a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala—in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor’s house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz—a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile—for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a mesmerizing story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia.

MY THOUGHTS: What happened to Allende’s beautiful lyrical writing? It is MIA in In the Midst of Winter. I think I only stopped twice to roll a passage of the text around my mind and my mouth. The writing felt flat, unlike the previous books by this author which I really enjoyed.

I found this story quite depressing, both in its characters and the plot, both of which frequently left me feeling annoyed.

The story is mainly told about the three central characters, Lucia, Evelyn and Richard and over several different timelines, past and present. This doesn’t flow seamlessly and I found myself getting irritated by the constant tooing and froing. It was like a film that has been badly spliced. Disjointed.

I was disappointed. But perhaps she was just having a bad year. I may just reread The Japanese Lover to banish this from my mind. Definitely not what I have come to love and expect from this usually brilliant author.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/2172368567

The Secret, Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams

The Secret, Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams
The Secret, Book and Scone Society 
by Ellery Adams (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by
EXCERPT: I read all the time. And I listen to people. I really listen…Stories don’t change much across continents and centuries. Hearts are broken. Pride is wounded. Souls wander too far from home and become lost. The wrong roads are taken. The incorrect choice is made. Stories echo with loneliness. Grief. Longing. Redemption. Forgiveness. Hope. And love.

THE BLURB: From New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams comes the first in an intriguing new series set within a quirky small-town club where the key to happiness, friendship—or solving a murder—can all be found within the pages of the right book . . .

Miracle Springs, North Carolina, is a place of healing. Strangers flock here hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone from the Gingerbread House bakery, they exchange their stories with owner Nora Pennington in return for a carefully chosen book. That’s Nora’s special talent—prescribing the perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain and lighten their heaviest burden.

When a visiting businessman reaches out to Nora for guidance, she knows exactly which novels will help. But before he can keep their appointment at Miracle Books, he’s found dead on the train tracks.

Stunned, Nora forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, a group of damaged souls yearning to gain trust and earn redemption by helping others. To join the society, members must divulge their darkest secret—the terrible truth that brought each of them to Miracle Springs in the first place.

Determined to uncover the truth behind the businessman’s demise, the women meet in Nora’s cramped and cozy bookstore to share stories and trade support. And as they untangle a web of corruption, they also discover their own courage, purpose, and a sisterhood that will carry them through every challenge—proving it’s never too late to turn the page and start over . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I finished The Secret, Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams last night and I am still undecided. I liked the book. I didn’t love it, but I wanted to. It was just a little bit too ‘twee’, too saccharine. And yet I love the work of Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen, to which this has been compared.

I loved the concept of the book, that the right selection of books can soothe our souls, that we can take from books things that will improve our lives, that we can learn great lessons from what we read. I believe that no man is an island, that our friends are our greatest assets. I believe all this. So why didn’t The Secret, Book and Scone Society work for me? After pondering for almost 24 hours, I am none the wiser.

Perhaps Nora could recommend some books to sort me out.

3.5☆ I believe that this is the first installment of a planned series. I could be tempted to read the next book.

Thank you to Kensington Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Secret, Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/2167216850

Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo

Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo
Reviewed by
Nov 02, 2017  
EXCERPT: I haven’t seen or heard from Joseph King in twenty years, but I heard the stories. Not only from the Amish, but from law enforcement as well. Evidently, King was a troubled man with a marriage on the rocks, a litter of kids he didn’t want, and a loose interpretation of his marital vows.

I vividly recall the day I learned his wife had been found dead—and Joseph was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. I couldn’t believe the kid I’d known—the one with the toothy grin and big laugh—could do something so horrific. But no one knows better than me how profoundly life can change people—and that too often those changes are not for the best.

I’d wanted to talk to him, ask him myself if he’d done it. But I knew it was only that tiny part of my heart that remembered what it was like to be thirteen years old and in the throes of my first crush. The part of me that was loyal to a fault and still believed people were fundamentally good. I never went to see him.

I did, however, follow the investigation and trial. Joseph King, his wife, and their five children lived on a small farm near Middlefield, Ohio, which is about two hours northeast of Painters Mill. The night of the murder, King claimed to have gone fishing on Lake Erie. Since his destination was too far to travel via buggy, he’d paid a local Yoder toter to drive him to a cabin. During the night, someone walked into his unlocked home, picked up his shotgun, and shot his wife in her bed while their five children slept across the hall. Come morning, the children discovered their mother’s body. Two days later, Joseph was arrested and charged with murder.

THE BLURB: In this electrifying new thriller in the New York Times bestselling series, a convicted murderer is on the run and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder must catch him before he strikes again.

Eight years ago Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. He was a “fallen” Amish man and, according to local law enforcement, a known drug user with a violent temper. Now King has escaped, and he’s headed for Painters Mill.

News of a murderer on the loose travels like wildfire and putting Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team of officers on edge. A nightmare scenario becomes reality when King shows up with a gun and kidnaps his five children from their Amish uncle’s house. He’s armed and desperate with nothing left to lose.

Fearing for the safety of the children, Kate leaps into action, but her frantic search for a killer leads her into an ambush. When King releases her unharmed, asking her to prove his innocence, she begins to wonder whether the police are hiding something, and she embarks on her own investigation to discover the truth.

MY THOUGHTS: I hadn’t read a Linda Castillo book in a while, so I was excited to find Down a Dark Road in the audio section of my library service. Her books, and I admit to only having read some of her Kate Burkholder series and out of order at that, are fast paced, gripping and realistic.

There is a great blend of police procedure with Kate’s personal life. I particularly like the way she still has respect for the Amish way of life, although she has left it behind, and the conflict she feels about the lack of relationship with her brother and sister and their families, who have remained in the Amish community.

In Down A Dark Road, Kate follows her heart rather than her head, putting her position as Chief of Police in jeopardy. We get to take a look at her childhood through flashbacks, and we learn a lot more about what makes Kate the woman she is.

An extremely satisfying reading/listening experience.

I listened to the audio version of Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo, narrated by Kathleen McInerney, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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/1997736515

Friday Favorite – The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak certainly captured both my imagination and my heart. It would have to be my top rated read for 2017. It is an unusual book, and won’t be for everyone. But I ❤💙💚💛💜💓💕💖💗💞 love it, even though it 💔 in places.

It was a book that I didn’t want to let go of. I held it, and stroked it, even slept with it. I still can’t peruse my bookshelves without tenderly running my fingers down its spine…

If you haven’t already read this, I urge you to do so. If you have read it, I would like to hear your thoughts.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

EXCERPT: Yes, an illustrious career.

I should hasten to admit, however, that there was a considerable hiatus between the first stolen book and the second. Another noteworthy point is that the first was stolen from snow and the second from fire. Not to omit that others were also given to her. All told, she owned fourteen books, but she saw her story as being made up predominantly of ten of them. Of those ten, six were stolen, one showed up at the kitchen table, two were made for her by a hidden Jew, and one was delivered by a soft, yellow-dressed afternoon.

When she came to write her story, she would wonder exactly when the books and the words started to mean not just something, but everything. Was it when she first set eyes on the room with shelves and shelves of them? Or when Max Vandenburg arrived on Himmel Street carrying handfuls of suffering and Hitler’s Mein Kampf ? Was it reading in the shelters? The last parade to Dachau? Was it The Word Shaker? Perhaps there would never be a precise answer as to when and where it occurred. In any case, that’s getting ahead of myself. Before we make it to any of that, we first need to tour Liesel Meminger’s beginnings on Himmel Street and the art of saumensching:

Upon her arrival, you could still see the bite marks of snow on her hands and the frosty blood on her fingers. Everything about her was undernourished. Wirelike shins. Coat hanger arms. She did not produce it easily, but when it came, she had a starving smile.

Her hair was a close enough brand of German blond, but she had dangerous eyes. Dark brown. You didn’t really want brown eyes in Germany around that time. Perhaps she received them from her father, but she had no way of knowing, as she couldn’t remember him. There was really only one thing she knew about her father. It was a label she did not understand.

A STRANGE WORD

Kommunist

She’d heard it several times in the past few years.

“Communist.”

There were boardinghouses crammed with people, rooms filled with questions. And that word. That strange word was always there somewhere, standing in the corner, watching from the dark. It wore suits, uniforms. No matter where they went, there it was, each time her father was mentioned. She could smell it and taste it. She just couldn’t spell or understand it. When she asked her mother what it meant, she was told that it wasn’t important, that she shouldn’t worry about such things. At one boardinghouse, there was a healthier woman who tried to teach the children to write, using charcoal on the wall. Liesel was tempted to ask her the meaning, but it never eventuated. One day, that woman was taken away for questioning. She didn’t come back.

THE BLURB: A story about, among other things: A girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Ruby Award.

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

MY THOUGHTS: The Book Thief is brutal and beautiful. It is sad and inspiring. It is unforgettable and haunting. It is a book that should be read by everyone.

The Book Thief is narrated by Death himself. There are some things you probably need to know about Death. He does not carry a sickle or a scythe. He only wears a hooded black robe when it is cold. He doesn’t have those skull- like facial features so often ascribed to him. Do you want to know what he truly looks like? Take a look in the mirror. And, believe it or not, he has a heart.

We meet Leisel for the first time in January 1939. She is nine years old. Death also meets her for the first time when he stops to collect the soul of her six year old brother. He will meet her again. And Leisel is about to steal her first book.

The book is written in parts, each titled and with a brief description, eg Part Three, Mein Kampf, featuring: the way home – a broken woman – a struggler – a juggler – the attributes of summer – an Aryan shopkeeper – a snorer – two tricksters – and revenge in the shape of mixed lollies.

Scattered throughout the chapters are little notes from Death – ‘A Nice Thought – one was a book thief. The other stole the sky.’

The author’s language is almost poetic – ‘ As she crossed the river, a rumour of sunshine stood behind the clouds. ‘, ‘the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Leisel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out, like the rain. ‘ – in places, and in others it is clipped and brutal.

This is not an easy book to read at first, but increasingly as I read I could feel the author’s words embracing me, challenging me. It is a worthy read and has earned itsplace as my favorite book of the year to date.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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

Thursday Thoughts I have been working long hours again this week and am a bit behind on my reading. ….. so I thought we’d take a look at what I am currently reading, what is coming up next, and what approvals I have had from NetGalley this week.

I am 75% through

The Secret, Book and Scone Society

The Secret, Book and Scone Society (Miracle Springs, North Carolina #1) by Ellery Adams

 I am also reading a memoir
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake byAnna Quindlen

And listening to

I  have completed several books this week, and the reviewsfor these will be appearing over the next few days.

Coming up to read this week, I have

In the Midst of Winter

In the Midst of Winter byIsabel Allende

In the Midst of Winter begins with a minor traffic accident—which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected and moving love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmaster—a 60-year-old human rights scholar—hits the car of Evelyn Ortega—a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala—in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor’s house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz—a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile—for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a mesmerizing story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia.
The Vanishing Box (Stephens & Mephisto Mystery, #4)

The Vanishing Box (Stephens & Mephisto Mystery #4) byElly Griffiths

The fourth Stephens and Mephisto mystery from the author of the bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway series – a must-read for fans of Bryant and May. ‘Mixes cosiness and sharpness in a way that recalls the best of Agatha Christie’ Sunday Express (on Smoke and Mirrors)

What do a murdered Brighton flowerseller, the death of Cleopatra and a nude tableau show have in common? One thing’s for sure – it could be the most dangerous case yet for Stephens and Mephisto

Christmas 1953. Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are headlining Brighton Hippodrome, an achievement only slightly marred by the less-than-savoury support act: a tableau show of naked ‘living statues’. This might appear to have nothing in common with DI Edgar Stephens’ current case of the death of a quiet flowerseller, but if there’s one thing the old comrades have learned it’s that, in Brighton, the line between art and life – and death – is all too easily blurred…

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.
The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As three more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light. 

And only two books from NetGalley this week. …..

Losing Leah Holloway (Claire Fletcher & Detective Parks Mystery #2) by Lisa Regan

And

The Secret, Book and Scone Society (Miracle Springs, North Carolina #1) by Ellery Adams

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Everything, Everything 
by Nicola Yoon (Goodreads Author)David Yoon (Illustrations)

Reviewed by

 

EXCERPT: I’VE READ MANY more books than you. It doesn’t matter how many you’ve read. I’ve read more. Believe me. I’ve had the time.

In my white room, against my white walls, on my glistening white bookshelves, book spines provide the only color. The books are all brand-new hardcovers—no germy secondhand softcovers for me. They come to me from Outside, decontaminated and vacuum-sealed in plastic wrap. I would like to see the machine that does this. I imagine each book traveling on a white conveyor belt toward rectangular white stations where robotic white arms dust, scrape, spray, and otherwise sterilize it until it’s finally deemed clean enough to come to me. When a new book arrives, my first task is to remove the wrapping, a process that involves scissors and more than one broken nail. My second task is to write my name on the inside front cover.

In my white room, against my white walls, on my glistening white bookshelves, book spines provide the only color.

PROPERTY OF: Madeline Whittier

I don’t know why I do this. There’s no one else here except my mother, who never reads, and my nurse, Carla, who has no time to read because she spends all her time watching me breathe. I rarely have visitors, and so there’s no one to lend my books to. There’s no one who needs reminding that the forgotten book on his or her shelf belongs to me.

REWARD IF FOUND (Check all that apply):

This is the section that takes me the longest time, and I vary it with each book. Sometimes the rewards are fanciful:

Picnic with me (Madeline) in a pollen-filled field of poppies, lilies, and endless man-in-the-moon marigolds under a clear blue summer sky.
Drink tea with me (Madeline) in a lighthouse in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of a hurricane.
Snorkel with me (Madeline) off Molokini to spot the Hawaiian state fish— the humuhumunukunukuapuaa.

THE BLURB: My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

MY THOUGHTS: I have read a surprising number of young adult books recently, some of them better than others. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon definitely falls into the better category. I found the premise for the plot interesting, probably because I have hermit tendencies. But if you were a teenager, and you had no option?

I was expecting a sullen, resentful teenager. I am sure I would have been. Instead what I got was a remarkably well adjusted, if a little wistful, young woman who lived for her books, her education, her mother, and her nurse, Carla. And then Olly came into her life. ..

I listened to Everything, Everything in one sitting. It is a book about making the best of what you have, but also of never giving up hope, of first love, loyalty and realising your dreams. It is heartwarming and heartbreaking. And it has this ‘WHAT!?!’ moment that caused my jaw to drop, and made me rewind a little to make sure I had heard correctly.

The audio version of Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was narrated by Bahni Turpin and Robbie Daymond. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2168091542