Watching What I’m Reading

Good morning everyone! It looks like I am going to be reading for a good part of the day today. The weather forecast for a hot sunny day was wrong and, while it’s not raining, it is cool and cloudy with a stiff little breeze  –  not pleasant out on the hillside where I had planned on gardening. A day on the sofa with a pot of tea and my book is far more appealing.

Currently I am reading

Between the Lies

What would you do if you woke up and didn’t know who you were?

Chloe Daniels regains consciousness in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She doesn’t recognise the strangers who call themselves family. She can’t even remember her own name.

What if your past remained a mystery?

As she slowly recovers, her parents and sister begin to share details of her life.
The successful career. The seaside home. The near-fatal car crash.
But Chloe senses they’re keeping dark secrets – and her determination to uncover the truth will have devastating consequences.

What if the people you should be able trust are lying to you?

And listening to

The Outcast Dead (Ruth Galloway, #6)

Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway uncovers the bones of a Victorian murderess while a baby snatcher threatens modern-day Norfolk in this exciting new entry in a beloved series.
Every year a ceremony is held in Norwich for the bodies in the paupers’ graves: the Service for the Outcast Dead. Ruth has a particular interest in this year’s proceedings. Her recent dig at Norwich Castle turned up the body of the notorious Mother Hook, who was hanged in 1867 for the murder of five children. Now Ruth is the reluctant star of the TV series Women Who Kill, working alongside the program’s alluring history expert, Professor Frank Barker.

DCI Harry Nelson is immersed in the case of three children found dead in their home. He is sure that the mother is responsible. Then another child is abducted and a kidnapper dubbed the Childminder claims responsibility. Are there two murderers afoot, or is the Childminder behind all the deaths? The team must race to find out-and the stakes couldn’t be any higher when another child goes missing.

This week I am planning on reading

The Last Thing She Told Me

Even the deepest buried secrets can find their way to the surface…

Moments before she dies, Nicola’s grandmother Betty whispers to her that there are babies at the bottom of the garden.

Nicola’s mother claims she was talking nonsense. However, when Nicola’s daughter finds a bone while playing in Betty’s garden, it’s clear that something sinister has taken place.

But will unearthing painful family secrets end up tearing Nicola’s family apart?

And hopefully I will start

Death Of A Doll

Hope House, a New York boarding home for women, has led a rather sleepy existence in terms of emergencies. One wastepaper basket fire surely doesn’t count as a five-alarm fire. That is until new tenant Ruth Miller’s limp and lifeless body is found in the courtyard after plummeting to her death.

In a clandestine and hot-chocolate infused meeting, the heads of the house decide Ruth’s death couldn’t possibly have been foul play: no, she must have fallen or jumped. Shy and mousy, it seems Ruth had no friends to question… or ask uncomfortable questions.

But this was no accident: upon Ruth’s arrival, the atmosphere of this happy house shifted, her paranoia was catching, and her last days were filled with dread. If the heads thought a scandal could be averted, they were wrong. It turns out Ruth did have a friend… and she’s out for justice.

This claustrophobic and tense mystery is heralded as Hilda Lawrence’s best. Equal parts cosy and suspenseful, it’s sure to captivate lovers of all genres of classic crime.

Death of a Doll was first published in 1947 and is the third in the Mark East Series:

Mark East
1. Blood Upon the Snow (1944)
2. A Time to Die (1945)
3. Death of A Doll (1947)

I know that I am not going to get much reading done during the week as we have a fundraiser Saturday for Te Reina Worsley, a young mum of 5 who needs life saving surgery not available in New Zealand. You can read her story here https://givealittle.co.nz/search?q=Te+Reina+Worsley+

I have had 3 approvals from NetGalley this week

Buried Deep (Jessie Cole, #4)

Their Little Secret (Tom Thorne, #16)

Things Unsaid

I hope you have read some wonderful books this week, and you have many more worthwhile reads ahead of you. Happy reading my friends. 💕📚

Advertisements

Breaking the Silence by Diane Chamberlain

Breaking The Silence by Diane Chamberlain

EXCERPT: She knew the instant she entered her father’s room that he was not at peace. He was clearly worse than when she’d seen him that afternoon. His breathing was raspier, his skin greyer, and he was agitated. As he reached for her, his long arms trembling in the air, he wore a look of desperation on his once handsome face.

She took his hand and sat on the edge of the bed.

“I’m here, Dad.” She guessed he had not wanted to die without her at his side and wished she’d ignored those red lights to get to the hospital sooner.

He held both her hands in his weak grasp, but even with her there the desperate look did not leave his eyes. He tried to speak, the words coming out between his gasps for air. “Should…have…told…”he said.

She leaned close to hear him. From that angle she could see the stars of Aries through the hospital window. “Don’t try to speak, Dad.” She smoothed a tuft of white hair away from his temple.

“A woman,” he said. “You need…” Her father’s face, gaunt and grey, tightened with frustration as he struggled to get the words out.

“I need to what Dad?” she asked gently.

“Look…” His lips trembled from the strain of speaking. “Look after her,” he said.

Laura drew away to study his face. Could he be delusional? “Okay,” she said. “I will. Please don’t try to talk any more.”

He let go of her hand to reach toward the night table, his arm jerking with the motion. Laura saw the scrap of paper he was aiming for and picked it up herself. Her father had written a name on the paper in a nearly illegible scrawl that threatened to break her heart.

“Sarah Tolley,” Laura read. “Who is that?”

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Laura Brandon’s promise to her dying father was simple: to visit an elderly woman she’d never heard of before. A woman who remembers nothing—except the distant past. Visiting Sarah Tolley seemed a small enough sacrifice to make.

But Laura’s promise results in another death. Her husband’s. And after their five-year-old daughter, Emma, witnesses her father’s suicide, Emma refuses to talk about it…to talk at all.

Frantic and guilt ridden, Laura contacts the only person who may be able to help. A man she’s met only once—six years before. A man who doesn’t know he’s Emma’s real father.

Guided only by a child’s silence and an old woman’s fading memories, the two unravel a tale of love and despair, of bravery and unspeakable evil. A tale that’s shrouded in silence…and that unbelievably links them all.

MY THOUGHTS: I have very mixed feelings about this book. I am immediately drawn to anything relating to mental disease, or that is set in a psychiatric facility, which this is, partly. Not that I was aware of this when I chose to read Breaking the Silence.

On one hand we have a moving tale of a daughter carrying out her father’s dying wish that she look after and visit an elderly lady with dementia. On the other hand we have a story set in St Margaret’s psychiatric hospital; a story of medical experimentation, bullying and government cover ups.

The story is told from two timelines, in the present with Laura, and in Sarah’s past. This works well. As always with Diane Chamberlain’s writing, I ran the full gamut of emotions. I was so angry at Ray for committing suicide when he was home alone with his small daughter. I cried at Emma’s pain and confusion, and Sarah’s. But for some reason, I found it really hard to connect with Laura – at times she was like a bull in a china shop! And Dylan, Emma’s biological father? Well, he was just too good to be true.

I had issues with the ‘bad guys’ in the story. I have no trouble in believing that the experimentation happened, or that the doctors are sometimes madder than the patients. That I know for a fact. But I don’t believe that they would have been as lenient on Sarah’s family as they were, and that slightly spoiled the read for me. I guess I expected something a little harder hitting from this author.

😑😑😑

THE AUTHOR: Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 26 novels published in more than twenty languages. Her most recent novel is The Dream Daughter. Some of her most popular books include Necessary Lies, The Silent Sister, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, and The Keeper of the Light Trilogy. Diane likes to write complex stories about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and friends. Although the thematic focus of her books often revolves around family, love, compassion and forgiveness, her stories usually feature a combination of drama, mystery, secrets and intrigue. Diane’s background in psychology has given her a keen interest in understanding the way people tick, as well as the background necessary to create her realistic characters.

Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and spent her summers at the Jersey Shore. She also lived for many years in San Diego and northern Virginia before making North Carolina her home.

Diane received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, Diane worked in hospitals in San Diego and Washington, D.C. before opening a private psychotherapy practice in Alexandria Virginia specializing in adolescents. All the while Diane was writing on the side. Her first book, Private Relations was published in 1989 and it earned the RITA award for Best Single Title Contemporary Novel.

Diane lives with her partner, photographer John Pagliuca, and her sheltie, Cole. She has three stepdaughters, two sons-in-law, and four grandchildren. She’s currently at work on her next novel.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook version of Breaking the Silence by Diane Chamberlain, narrated by Justine Eyre, published by Tantor Audio via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/988354659

Watching What I’m Reading

It is a somewhat cool and wet Sunday here in my little part of New Zealand, something my garden will be extremely grateful for.

I am currently reading

Finding Grace

And

A Fence Around The Cuckoo

And listening to

The Masterpiece

Which, I have to admit, I am not enjoying as much as I have her other books.

I managed to sneak in an extra book this week, due to spending two days in bed felled by a virus. I did nothing but sleep and read. I posted my review yesterday for

The Silent Patient

This week I am planning on reading

Dead Memories (D.I. Kim Stone, #10)

She ruined their lives. Now they’re going to destroy hers.

‘Someone is recreating every traumatic point in your life. They are doing this to make you suffer, to make you hurt and the only possible end game can be death. Your death.’

On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago.

When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the deaths of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known.

Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour.

Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

The Housewife

“There’s no place like home” – that’s what I tell myself as I pull another flawless meal from the oven. This perfect house on a quiet street was supposed to be my sanctuary, a place to recover. But everything changed the moment I saw that woman in the charity shop. She triggered something dark, buried deep within my memory…

Now I’ve started forgetting small things, like locking the front door.

And bigger things, like remembering to pick my little girl up from nursery.

I feel terrified every time I pass through a particular spot in our living room.

And sometimes, when I’m alone, I’m sure I can hear a baby crying…

I think the woman in the shop knows what happened to me. But if I can’t trust myself to believe she’s real, who will?

I have received two approvals from NetGalley this week

The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom

My Daughter's Secret

I hope you have had a wonderful week of reading, and that you have another ahead of you.

Happy reading, friends 💕📚

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks

I Invited Her In

EXCERPT: Suddenly I have a better idea. Or, is it a worse one?

I could invite Abi to come and see me here in Wolvney. That way she’d meet the kids and Ben. I’ve never had the urge for her to meet my family before, quite the opposite, but now she’s made this move, and under these circumstances, it seems the right thing to do.

She probably won’t accept anyway. I can’t imagine her coming all this way out of London. Not that it’s far, but there are certain types that think anywhere out of zone three is abroad. Is she that type? I won’t know unless I invite her.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies.

Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children.

Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband…

MY THOUGHTS: I wanted to love this book. It started out fun and gossipy. . . Old friends catching up after years apart, with a slightly darker undertone so that you just know that not everything is quite what it seems. And it isn’t. But neither did it go where I expected it to. All good. I have no issues with the plot which is devious and twisted.

The issue I have is with the verbosity of the author. This is a very long book, maybe not in actual page count, but it took an extremely long time to tell this story, and a whole six days to read it. And things were over explained. The characters motivations were gone into in such detail that, at times, I lost the thread of what was actually happening. It didn’t happen just once either, it happened repeatedly to the point where I was tempted, at times, to skip a few pages.

This should have been a suspenseful read but it well and truly missed the mark.

And I know that I said that this seemed like a long book but, at the same time, the ending felt rushed and somewhat unsatisfying. . .

This was a ☺☺.5-star read. I was going to award ☺☺☺ purely because the plot wasn’t totally predictable, but on reflection my original rating will stand.

THE AUTHOR: Adele Parks was born in Teesside, NE England. She studied English Language and Literature, at Leicester University. She published her first novel, Playing Away, in 2000; that year the Evening Standard identified Adele as one of London’s ‘Twenty Faces to Watch.’ Indeed Playing Away was the debut bestseller of 2000.
Prolific, Adele has published nine novels in nine years, including Game Over, Tell Me Something and Love Lies, all nine of her novels have been bestsellers. She’s sold over a million copies of her work in the UK but also sells throughout the world. Two of her novels (Husbands and Still Thinking of You) are currently being developed as movie scripts. Young Wives’ Tales was short listed for the Romantic Novelist Association Award 2008. She has written numerous articles and short stories for many magazines and newspapers and often appears on radio and TV talking about her work.
Since 2006 Adele has been an official spokeswoman for World Book Day and wrote a Quick Read, Happy Families as part of the celebrations of World Book Day, 2008.
Adele has spent her adult life in Italy, Botswana and London, up until two years ago when she moved to Guildford, where she now lives with her husband and son.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harlequin Mira (US & Canada) via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of I Invited Her In by Adele Parks for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2701019541

Watching What I’m Reading

It is early Monday morning here in New Zealand and I am watching the sun come up as I write this post, a day late. Thank you everyone for your best wishes for my son and his wedding day. It was absolutely perfect in every way. I didn’t get to take many photos as I was in charge of the toddler and those I did take were rushed and not great, so will share some of the professional ones with you when we get them.

Currently I am reading … I have literally only just started. . .

I Invited Her In

The Child (Kate Waters, #2)

This week I also plan to read

The Stone Circle (Ruth Galloway, #11)

Dr Ruth Galloway returns to north Norfolk in her latest chilling adventure.

DCI Nelson has been receiving threatening letters. They are anonymous, yet somehow familiar. They read like the letters that first drew him into the case of The Crossing Places, and to Ruth. But the author of those letters is dead. Or are they?

The past is reaching out for Ruth and Nelson, and its grip is deadly.

Loaded onto my i-pod, ready to start listening to this morning, is

The Masterpiece

Fiona Davis takes readers into the glamorous lost art school within Grand Central Terminal, where two very different women, fifty years apart, strive to make their mark on a world set against them.

For the nearly nine million people who live in New York City, Grand Central Terminal is a crown jewel, a masterpiece of design. But for Clara Darden and Virginia Clay, it represents something quite different.

For Clara, the terminal is the stepping stone to her future, which she is certain will shine as the brightly as the constellations on the main concourse ceiling. It is 1928, and twenty-five-year-old Clara is teaching at the lauded Grand Central School of Art. A talented illustrator, she has dreams of creating cover art for Vogue, but not even the prestige of the school can override the public’s disdain for a “woman artist.” Brash, fiery, confident, and single-minded–even while juggling the affections of two men, a wealthy would-be poet and a brilliant experimental painter–Clara is determined to achieve every creative success. But she and her bohemian friends have no idea that they’ll soon be blindsided by the looming Great Depression, an insatiable monster with the power to destroy the entire art scene. And even poverty and hunger will do little to prepare Clara for the greater tragedy yet to come.

Nearly fifty years later, in 1974, the terminal has declined almost as sharply as Virginia Clay’s life. Full of grime and danger, from the smoke-blackened ceiling to the pickpockets and drug dealers who roam the floor, Grand Central is at the center of a fierce lawsuit: Is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved, or a cancer to be demolished? For Virginia, it is simply her last resort. Recently divorced, she has just accepted a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her college-age daughter, Ruby. But when Virginia stumbles upon an abandoned art school within the terminal and discovers a striking watercolor hidden under the dust, her eyes are opened to the elegance beneath the decay. She embarks on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece–an impassioned chase that draws Virginia not only into the battle to save Grand Central but deep into the mystery of Clara Darden, the famed 1920s illustrator who disappeared from history in 1931.

I had three approvals from NetGalley this week

The Woman I Was Before

The Housewife

Hope on the Inside

Have a happy week everyone!

💕📚💖

 

Watching What I’m Reading

I absolutely messed up last week’s reading schedule by missing out one of my scheduled reads – 2 pages of my reading diary were stuck together – but I discovered my error and read and posted my 5 star review for

Out of the Silence: a compelling revenge thriller

So, I have only just started

She Saw What He Did

I am also currently reading

Three Things About Elsie

and listening to

Breaking The Silence

This week I am planning on reading

You Belong To Me

Can two wrongs ever make a right?
The police never found fifteen-year-old Ellie Hutton. She vanished ten years ago after walking home from school along a disused railway track. But Danny Sheppard knows exactly what happened to her. She is dead and buried in a field near Lassiter’s Brook.
Now Cassie Rafferty has gone missing. Same age. Similar circumstances. And Danny also knows what has happened to her.
Can Danny fight his demons and tell the truth this time?
Or will history repeat itself and leave another innocent girl dead?

And hopefully will be able to start

I Invited Her In

‘I invited her in… and she took everything.’

When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies.

Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children.

Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband…

This dark, unsettling tale of the reunion of long-lost friends is thoroughly gripping exploration of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge from Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks.

Only two new approvals this week

Two Silver Crosses

The Eighth Sister

I think that I am probably a bit optimistic about how much reading I am going to have time for this week, as we are in the final week of wedding preparations. Once I have finished work today I will be heading for my son’s for a few days gardening, then setting up for the wedding. I haven’t checked the weather forecast for Saturday as it is likely to change daily, and it is something I have no control over. Yes, there is an alternative to the garden should it rain – the barn.

Have a wonderful week’s reading everyone. I have scheduled some posts so I won’t be entirely absent. I would hate for you to forget me! 💕📚

The Girl in the Corner by Amanda Prowse

The Girl in the Corner by Amanda Prowse

EXCERPT: This evening she looked at the lit windows of the tall houses, standing like sentinels in a proud curve, and wondered, as she often did, about the lives that went on behind them, picturing the people she nodded to or greeted during the course of the day.

‘Morning Mrs Williams! … Yes, it is a bit chilly; stay warm. ‘

‘Hello Mr Jeffries. How are you today? … Oh, I’m so glad to hear it. If you need anything, you know where we are. ‘

‘Well, hello Fifi – aren’t you full of energy today!’ Rae loved to pet the cute little Shih-tzu and would smile at Fifi’sowner, the quiet young woman who never responded with anything other than a brief nod and a stony silence, her eye contact non-existant.

Yes, she wondered about the lives of these people, her neighbours with whom she lived cheek by jowl, bumping into them in their pyjamas as they put the bins out, listening to them row, cry, sing. . . She knew so many intimate details of their lives, but not their first names or their favorite colors or even why Fifi’s mum was so painfully shy. It was a strange and wonderful situation and one that she felt was peculiarly British; she considered the possibility that if the residents of Lawns Crescent had slightly less stiff upper lips and more open arms, she might have answers to all the above.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The Girl In the Corner is the poignant tale of a woman who has always been there for her family. But will they be there for her?

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

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

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

MY THOUGHTS: I usually love Amanda Prowse’s writing, the way she makes the reader run the gamut of their emotions, but The Girl in the Corner felt a little flat to me. Even though I think that most of us have, at some time, suffered a lack of self esteem, I still found Rae hard to relate to. It took me 90% of the book before I felt anything for her and I am still not sure why. . .

It is a perfectly good story. A story many of us are familiar with, either through our own experiences, or of those of friends. It is a story of love and betrayal, of friendship being tested by circumstances, of grief in many forms, of choices made and not made.

The characters didn’t seem as well formed as in books I have previously read by this author. And I detested their names! I did shed a tear in one place, but overall this was not a memorable read.

😐😐😐

THE AUTHOR: Amanda Prowse was a management consultant for ten years before realising that she was born to write. Amanda lives in the West Country with her husband and their two teenage sons.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Amazon Publishing UK, Lake Union Publishing  via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Girl in the Corner by Amanda Prowse for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2597736338