The Fallout by Rebecca Thornton

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EXCERPT: Everyone looks the same here. Block-printed athleisure-wear leggings with Olivia Cunningham’s brand new Motherhood Mania clothing-line tops. Brightly coloured slogan tees – ‘Mother’s Little Helper’ – complete with lozenge shaped pills underneath. She jolts when she realizes she can’t see Casper, his blond bowl haircut flying up and down as he leaps from level to level, before she remembers he’s safely ensconced in his Champions Forever tennis lesson.

‘See her now?’ says Liza. ‘It’s a good ‘un.’

‘Nope.’ Sarah wonders why Liza is staring at her so intently, waiting for her reaction. A Z-list celebrity, she wonders. Unbearable if it is. But, all she can really think is: why is everyone still smiling? Three days into the autumn half-term and she’s done in. Yet here they are, all the other women (and where are all the bloody men today?) bouncing around. Long, lean legs, feet in pristine trainers, chatting so animatedly. Why aren’t they exhausted? She knows she’s probably just jealous – but what’s wrong with them? She’d never stopped to think that maybe they’re all normal and it’s actually her with the problem. She rubs a mark off her own leggings. Weetabix, she guesses, from Casper’s breakfast.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The accident.
The lie.
The fallout will be huge . . .

When Liza’s little boy has an accident at the local health club, it’s all anyone can talk about.

Was nobody watching him?
Where was his mother?
Who’s to blame?

The rumours, the finger-pointing, the whispers – they’re everywhere. And Liza’s best friend, Sarah, desperately needs it to stop.

Because Sarah was there when it happened. It was all her fault. And if she’s caught out on the lie, everything will fall apart . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I tried to like this book but, honestly, it is all about self entitled, selfish, women who see their children as fashion accessories. These women are horrible, shallow, grasping creatures who judge each other by what they buy. Grasping and competitive. Ghastly.

I hate Brussel Sprouts, but faced with the choice of digesting this book or Brussel Sprouts, I would have to choose the sprouts!

The only nice thing I can say about this book is that I liked the cover. This was a dnf for me.

😵

THE AUTHOR: Rebecca Thornton is an alumna of the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course. She lives in London with her husband and two sons.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to The Fallout by Rebecca Thornton, narrated by Charlie Sanderson and Guy Mott, published by Harper Collins Publishers. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3210955233

Watching What I’m Reading…

We can definitely feel autumn in the air in the evenings…it is quite crisp, and again in the mornings. But the days are still deliciously hot, and we are still waiting on rain. Our garden is parched and the cracks in the lawn are still widening. I love this weather but do feel bad about the garden. I have lost quite a few plants, but am using the water from the washing machine to water our vegetable garden and keep that alive, although there have been a couple of instances when I have forgotten to grab the bucket in time and the laundry room has flooded out onto the hall carpet. I will be so glad when the laundry is moved downstairs and into the garage…then it won’t matter.

I have just begun Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

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I am only one chapter in and already loving this!

I am still listening to The Fallout by Rebecca Thornton. I am not finding it particularly captivating so far…

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This week I also plan on reading

Night Train to Murder by Simon R. Green

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When Ishmael Jones and his partner Penny are asked to escort a VIP on the late-night train to Bath, it would appear to be a routine case. The Organisation has acquired intelligence that an attempt is to be made on Sir Dennis Gregson’s life as he travels to Bath to take up his new position as Head of the British Psychic Weapons Division. Ishmael’s mission is to ensure that Sir Dennis arrives safely.

How could anyone orchestrate a murder in a crowded railway carriage without being noticed and with no obvious means of escape? When a body is discovered in a locked toilet cubicle, Ishmael Jones has just 56 minutes to solve a seemingly impossible crime before the train reaches its destination.

And One Moment by Linda Green

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Finn and Kaz are about to meet for the first time.

Ten-year-old Finn, a quirky, sensitive boy who talks a lot and only eats at cafes with a 5-star hygiene rating, is having a tough time at school and home.

Outspoken Kaz, 59, who has an acerbic sense of humour and a heart of gold, is working at the café when Finn and his mum come in.

They don’t know it yet, but the second time they meet will be a moment which changes both of their lives forever . . .

I have five ARCs from Netgalley this week

Can You See Her by S.E. Lynes

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The Sunday Potluck Club by Melissa Storm

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An Artificial Light by Petra Durst-Benning

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Tell Me How It Ends by V.B. Grey

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And We Are Not in the World by Conor O’Callaghan

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BUT….I have also been on a little buying spree. Well, I had to do the rounds of the bookstores in search of books for my grandson’s upcoming third birthday. I managed to find him one book

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He loves anything Paw Patrol so this will definitely be a hit. But I do need to find him a few more books…which may just be a dangerous escapade. For while I got him one book yesterday, I managed to pick up eight for myself (Yes! I am hanging my head in shame…😔)

Dead Time by Matt Brolly

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Two by Peter May, Entry Island, and The Critic

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The Whisper Man by Alex North

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The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup

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The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley

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One Minute Later by Susan Lewis

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It’s Always the Husband by Michelle Campbell

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So now I am going to sit in the naughty corner and read, and read, and read…😂🤣😂🤣

I only have one day off this week, so I may have overestimated what I am going to be able to read. We’ll see.

If you have any suggestions for books my grandson would like, please tell me. His absolute favourite at the moment is Fox in Socks by Dr Seuss

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I must have read it to him three times before he went to bed when I was up there earlier this week. And if I make a mistake with the tongue twisters, he says ‘No, Nana, that’s not right. Read it again!’

Happy reading my friends.

Cheers
Sandy
❤😍📚

The Orphan House by Ann Bennett

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EXCERPT: She’s drifting off again, her mind wandering as it always does, back to that time she tried for years to bury. Tonight, against her will, it takes her to a place she has trained herself never to visit. But there is no stopping it now. The memories rush to the surface like bubbles in a bottle of champagne when the cork is popped.

It is spring. The hedgerows are coming into bloom, dusted with powdery white hawthorn flowers. Drifts of yellow primroses sprinkle the bank. She’s not alone. Her arm is tucked inside his. She can feel the smooth cotton of his shirt against her skin. His body is strong and warm next to her, a comforting shield between her and the river. She knows she should feel guilty, she should feel bad about this, but she doesn’t. She can imagine the shock and recriminations that would follow if Mother or Evie were to find out; their wide eyes, their wagging fingers.

She shakes her head, trying to banish the memory. She can feel the tears welling again, aware that they’re tears of self pity and of mourning for what might have been.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: As she looks at the baby wriggling in her father’s arms, a bolt of recognition goes through her and she takes a step back. And it’s in that moment that she begins to protect her father’s secrets.

1934, Weirfield-on-Thames. Connie Burroughs loves living in the orphanage that her father runs. Exploring its nooks and crannies with her sister, hearing the pounding of a hundred pairs of feet on the wooden stairs, having a father who is doing so much good. But everything changes the day she sees him carrying a newborn baby that he says he found near the broken front gate. A baby she recognises…

Present day. Arriving at her father’s beloved cottage beside the river, Sarah Jennings is hoping for peace and quiet, to escape her difficult divorce. But when she finds her father unwell and hunched over boxes of files on the orphanage where he was abandoned as a child, she decides to investigate it herself.

The only person left alive who lived at Cedar Hall is Connie Burroughs, but Connie sits quietly in her nursing home for a reason. The sewing box under Connie’s bed hides secrets that will change Sarah’s life forever, uncovering a connection between them that has darker consequences than she could ever imagine.

MY THOUGHTS: I enjoyed The Orphan House by Ann Bennett, which is a mix of historical and contemporary fiction, moving between the 1930’s and today, Colonial India and England.

It pays to remember, as you read, that the social mores of the 1930s were vastly different to those of today. The father in the household wielded absolute power – his word was law. Having a child out of wedlock was the kiss of death for any young girl hoping to make a ‘decent’ marriage – she was damaged goods – as was having a parent in jail. Thank goodness for India, a place where those not quite socially acceptable, and those who failed to live up to family expectations, could be shipped off to.

And that is where we find Anna, one of the three women who narrate this story. Connie, when we first meet her, is the elderly resident of a retirement home, and her story is told in flashbacks. Sarah is the contemporary woman who buys Connie’s home and discovers the secrets contained within. How does Anna in India connect to Connie and Sarah? That is the mystery…..

While there is nothing startling in the revelations, this is a lovely read, and one that I enjoyed. The characters are well portrayed, as are the historical and emotional aspects.

😊😊😊.5

#TheOrphanHouse #NetGalley

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ann Bennett was born in a small village in Northamptonshire, UK and now lives in Surrey. Her first book, A Daughter’s Quest, originally published as Bamboo Heart, was inspired by her father’s experience as a prisoner of war on the Thai-Burma Railway. The Planter’s Wife (originally published as Bamboo Island) a Daughter’s Promise and The Homecoming, (formerly Bamboo Road) are also about the war in South East Asia. The idea for The Orphan House came from researching her great-grandfather, Brice Bennett, who was headmaster of a county school for pauper children in Wargrave, Berkshire. The Orphan House and a further WW2 historical novel will be published by Bookouture in 2020. Ann is married with three grown up sons and works as a lawyer.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Orphan House by Ann Bennett for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3202485641

Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer

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EXCERPT: I’m losing it. That’s what this is. It’s a panic attack, or maybe a good old fashioned nervous breakdown, and maybe I’m hallucinating those notes. I do feel a little disconnected from the world, and hallucinations are as good an explanation as any. I’m going to have to leave Noah with Hunter and go into a hospital before something unthinkable happens. Crazy. It’s an awful word, one I’d never ever let myself use to describe another person, but I feel crazy right now, and I’m so ashamed that I start to cry.

The letter needs my attention, and the baby needs my attention, and the canvases must match notes from her, and all of this obviously means something, and the attic is a mess, and Dad’s really going to die. It’s all just too much.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: With her father recently moved to a care facility for his worsening dementia, Beth Walsh volunteers to clear out the family home and is surprised to discover the door to her childhood playroom padlocked. She’s even more shocked at what’s behind it—a hoarder’s mess of her father’s paintings, mounds of discarded papers and miscellaneous junk in the otherwise fastidiously tidy house.

As she picks through the clutter, she finds a loose journal entry in what appears to be her late mother’s handwriting. Beth and her siblings grew up believing their mother died in a car accident when they were little more than toddlers, but this note suggests something much darker. Beth soon pieces together a disturbing portrait of a woman suffering from postpartum depression and a husband who bears little resemblance to the loving father Beth and her siblings know. With a newborn of her own and struggling with motherhood, Beth finds there may be more tying her and her mother together than she ever suspected.

MY THOUGHTS: I really did not enjoy the first half of Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer. I skimmed passages and debated not finishing it. But I read on and just past the half way point my interest was piqued and I read the second half with a great deal of interest.

This is the first book by this author that I have read and I am still sitting on the fence as to whether I will read more from her. A little time and distance may give me a clearer perspective on that.

Things I didn’t like included being ‘lectured to’ rather than feeling like a part of the story. This is particularly true in the first half. I didn’t feel involved at all, or much sympathy for Beth, or anyone else for that matter. And I should have felt sympathy for Beth. It was obvious she was suffering from more than just ‘baby blues’. But even so, I found the first half of the book rather overwrought. Personally, I like a little subtlety rather than having a point repeatedly rammed home.

The story is told through the eyes of three women; Grace in the 1950s, her sister Maryanne, and Grace’s daughter Beth in the 1990s. The mystery is that surrounding Grace’s disappearance, the uncovering of the truth surrounding it and Maryanne’s role in the family unit. But we find out nothing about this mystery until the second half of the book. For me, it was introduced just in time and was the only thing that kept me reading.

Great cover!

😐😐😐

#TruthsINeverToldYou #NetGalley

‘We have ceremonies like funerals – not for the departed but for the living, to remind one another that even in grief, we don’t have to be alone.’

‘Love doesn’t just need compromise to survive – love, to its very essence, is compromise. It’s genuinely wanting what’s best for the other person, even when it trumps your own preferences.’

THE AUTHOR: Kelly Rimmer is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of ten novels, including The Secret Daughter and The Things We Cannot Say. She’s sold more than one million books, and her novels have been translated into more than 20 languages. Kelly lives in the Central West of New South Wales with her family and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hachette Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3192481579

The River Home by Hannah Richell

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EXCERPT: ‘Lucy, I know you’re all for straight talking, but I don’t think now is the time -‘

‘If not now, then when?’ She turns to Eve in frustration. ‘Now is the time, don’t you see? Now is all we have. We’ve spent far too much time tiptoeing around each other, I think Margot needs to know -‘

‘She knows, Lucy.’ Eve gestures to where Margot stands. ‘Look, she knows.’

Lucy turns back to Margot and sees her standing crumpled in on herself. She is bent over with her face in her hands, her shoulders shaking.

‘Margot?’

She doesn’t answer.

‘Margot? Are you -‘

But before she can say anything else, Margot has spun on her heel and fled the marquee.

Eve throws Lucy a worried look. ‘Well done, Luce.’

Lucy sighs and throws her hands up. ‘Somebody had to say it.’ She stares after Margot, at the light falling through the opening of the tent, wishing she could shine a light on the secrets her sister seems hell-bent on keeping. ‘What do you think she meant?’ she asks, turning back to Eve. ‘The real truth? What was she talking about? What didn’t we see?’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Margot Sorrell didn’t want to go home. She had spent all her adult life trying not to look behind. But a text from her sister Lucy brought her back to Somerset. ‘I need you.’

As Margot, Lucy and their eldest sister, Eve, reunite in the house they grew up in beside the river, the secrets they keep from each other, and from themselves, refuse to stay hidden. A wedding brings them together but long-simmering resentments threaten to tear the family apart. No one could imagine the way this gathering would change them all forever. And through the sorrow they are forced to confront, there is a chance that healing will also come. But only if the truth is told.

MY THOUGHTS: Families….we take them for granted, but when the chips are really down, it is usually the family who are there. But what happens if one day they aren’t……? Is there any way back?

Families are complex entities. We love them. We hate them. We treat them badly. We expect to be loved by them. No matter what. Complex. There is always someone who feels the odd one out. In this case, it’s Margot, the youngest. She doesn’t feel ‘seen’, and I can quite see why. But when her family calls, she comes.

Hannah Richell is masterful in the creation of her characters; every nuance of them is so real that I live her books as I read them. The River Home is no exception. The plot is exquisitely intricate and swaps from the past, starting in 2005, to the present. Hurt feelings and misunderstandings are layered one atop the other, the writing powerfully emotional. You will need tissues. When I closed the cover on this book, tears were running silently down my face, happy/sad tears, tears of sorrow, tears of joy, and the feeling that I had read yet another wonderful offering from this author overwhelmed me.

I love this author. Another book I will be adding to my personal collection in hard copy.

❤😢❤😢.5

#TheRiverHome #NetGalley

‘Grief is confounding, wild and unpredictable.’

‘The past can have a funny way of haunting us if we don’t face it head on.’

‘We can hold ourselves so tightly. We build our protective walls and set ourselves apart. But what I see more and more is how much we all need each other.’

THE AUTHOR: Hannah Richell was born in Kent, England and spent her childhood years in Buckinghamshire and Canada. After graduating from the University of Nottingham in 1998 she worked in book publishing and film. Hannah began to write while pregnant with her first child. The result was Secrets of the Tides, picked for the 2012 Richard & Judy Book Club, the Waterstones Book Club and shortlisted for the Australian Independent Bookseller Best Debut Fiction Award, ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year (2013) and ABIA Newcomer of the Year (2013). The novel has been translated into sixteen languages. Her follow-up novel was The Shadow Year and her third, The Peacock Summer, was published in 2018.

Hannah has written for a number of media outlets including Harper’s Bazaar, The Independent, Fairfax Media and Australian Women’s Weekly. She is a dual citizen of the UK and Australia, though currently lives in the South West of England with her family.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hachette Australia for providing a digital ARC of The River House by Hannah Richell for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3211289756

Sisters By Choice by Susan Mallery

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EXCERPT: Eight years after her divorce, Sophie Lane still wasn’t very good at dating. She supposed she only had herself to blame – if she really ‘put herself out there,’ as her cousin Kristine was always saying, she could find someone.

From Sophie’s point of view, there were multiple problems with that statement. First, Kristine had married her high school sweetheart after graduation and had been happily married for the past sixteen years. She wasn’t exactly someone who should be giving dating advice. Second, Sophie didn’t have a lot of time to ‘put herself out there.’ She was busy – she owned a company and she loved her company and all the hard work that went into keeping it successful. To be honest, her business was way more interesting than any man, which might be a big part of the dating problem. That and, well, the actual dating.

Getting dressed up, meeting for dinner, listening to a man talk about himself for three hours, wasn’t exactly how she wanted to spend a lone evening when she wasn’t dealing with some crisis at the office. Plus, she never quite understood all the rules.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: After her cat toy empire goes up in flames, Sophie Lane returns to Blackberry Island, determined to rebuild. Until small-town life reveals a big problem: she can’t grow unless she learns to let go. If Sophie relaxes her grip even a little, she might lose everything. Or she might finally be free to reach for the happiness and love that have eluded her for so long.

Kristine has become defined by her relationship to others. She’s a wife, a mom. As much as she adores her husband and sons, she wants something for herself—a sweet little bakery just off the waterfront. She knew changing the rules wouldn’t be easy, but she never imagined she might have to choose between her marriage and her dreams.

Like the mainland on the horizon, Heather’s goals seem beyond her grasp. Every time she manages to save for college, her mother has another crisis. Can she break free, or will she be trapped in this tiny life forever?

MY THOUGHTS: Susan Mallery always manages to make me tear up. When I read her books, I tend to get very emotional. And although I haven’t read any of the previous books in this particular series, Mallery still got me with Sisters By Choice.

She writes moving stories with a warm sense of wit that has me smiling even as I am weeping. Her characters are not only strong and sassy, but overwhelmingly realistic – even the unbearable Amber. I am sure we all know someone just like her. I always feel like I have ‘moved in’ with her characters, they become like friends and family, and I am sad to close the cover on them.

I like Mallery’s diversity – yes, there is romance, but there are always other issues, intricate family relationships complete with their inevitable dramas. And although the outcome may be predictable, the journey is an enjoyable one.

****

#SistersByChoice #NetGalley

A couple of quotes from Sisters By Choice by Susan Mallery:

‘Sex is great, but sometimes you need a sandwich as well.’

‘Parents can make things better and worse, and often do both at the same time.’

THE AUTHOR: #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming and humorous novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. She’s best known for putting nuanced characters into emotionally complex, real-life situations with twists that surprise readers to laughter. Because Susan is passionate about animal welfare, pets play a big role in her books. Beloved by millions of readers worldwide, her books have been translated into 28 languages.

Critics have dubbed Mallery “the new queen of romantic fiction.” (Walmart) Booklist says, “Romance novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling,” and RT Book Reviews puts her “in a class by herself!” It’s no wonder that her books have spent more than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list.

Although Susan majored in Accounting, she never worked as an accountant because she was published straight out of college with two books the same month. Sixteen prolific years and seventy-four books later, she hit the New York Times bestsellers list for the first time with Accidentally Yours in 2008. She made many appearances in the Top 10 before (finally) hitting #1 in 2015 with Thrill Me, the twentieth book in her most popular series, the Fool’s Gold romances, and the fourth of five books released that year.

Susan lives in Washington state with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Her heart for animals has led Susan to become an active supporter of the Seattle Humane Society.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harlequin-MIRA (USA & Canada) for providing me with a digital ARC of Sisters By Choice by Susan Mallery for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on Sandysbooksday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3076585431?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Misconceptions by Jane Gordon

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EXCERPT: It’s difficult to explain exactly how the whole idea came about. We didn’t cook it up along with one of the quick pasta suppers that the three of us would share one night a week. It wasn’t one of those notions that occurred to Joanna or Carol or me – after two bottles of red wine – that promised, at the time, to be the answer to all out problems but which, in the cold light of the next day, would be revealed to be ridiculous and unworkable. Like the time that Joanna came up with a plan to heighten our spirituality by trekking to Nepal. Or the evening when Carole talked about her dream of creating a women’s cable channel with links through to the worldwide web. It wasn’t some fanciful fantasy given life by alcohol and the passion of our friendship.

No, this big idea happened one Sunday afternoon in late spring when we were all more or less sober.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: What’s the very best gift your friend could give you?

Carole, Chrissie and Joanna are more than just friends–they’ve united to become the family none of them ever had.

Now in their mid-thirties, only Carole, happily pregnant with her second child, has found her perfect partner. Chrissie has given up on meeting Mr Right and Joanna is resolutely single after a series of disastrous relationships.

But both of them yearn for a baby. How can they fulfil their ambition without the man of their dreams?

It is Carole who comes up with the ingenious plan. Her husband, Goran, is gentle and generous, good-looking and clever. Who better to be the father of all their children?

And so one by one, three babies are born. But Goran, it turns out, isn’t content to stand in the shadows. He wants something dangerously more…

MY THOUGHTS: I think I inherited this in a box of paperbacks I bought at a garage sale somewhere. Now I can completely understand why it was there…..although I have, in the past, scored some really good reads doing this. Unfortunately this is not one of them. I picked it up because I am trying to clear some room on my over-stacked shelves to make room for books that I really do want to read, and re-read.

Misconceptions starts out well enough, but quickly goes downhill to subterranean levels from there. I can’t even accuse the writer of being vacuous. Ponderous is probably a better description. If this was meant to be light and funny, it missed the mark.

Abandoned at page 48. Had you offered me a million dollars, I could not have read another page. Well, for that sort of money, maybe one more….after all, I could always build on to my house and buy more books with that amount of money 😉

😒

THE AUTHOR: She is a brilliant journalist (Stella magazine & Daily Mail), novelist, fabulous friend to the CountryWives, mother to Bryony, Naomi and Rufus and grandmother to Edie.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Misconceptions by Jane Gordon, published by Harper Collins, but only until I can get it to the charity shop! All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3167194254?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Other Woman by Laura Wilson

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EXCERPT: Sullivan hates this part of the job: the split second before you say the words while they guess from your face why you’re there, and how you’d give anything not to have to say it, and they’d give anything not to have to hear it; then the bewildered denial, the growing comprehension, the wait for the anguished spasm of the face, the tears…

When Sullivan’s delivered death messages before, its been in slab-grey housing estates where mothers with scraped back hair and bad complexions swear at their toddlers, where junk food wrappings litter the pavements and half the locals are on drugs. Here, the very air seems prosperous, ordered and calm. But, Sullivan reminds himself, bad things can happen anywhere.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Shortly after Christmas, a message arrives at Sophie’s house, scrawled across her own round robin newsletter: He’s Going To Leave You. Let’s See How Smug You Are Then, You Stupid Bitch. Perhaps she should ignore it, but she ignored the last one. And the one before that. Now it’s time to take action.

But when a simple plan to identify and confront the other woman goes drastically and violently wrong, Sophie must go to extreme lengths to keep her life and her family together-while never letting on her devastating secret.

MY THOUGHTS: This is NOT a psychological thriller. Definitely not. No way….

But it is enjoyable. It is a comedy of errors, all highly improbable, but amusing in parts, sad in others. It all comes down to trust….trust and communication.

Wilson’s characters are brilliantly portrayed…the women whose husbands work in the city all week, coming home only on weekends and who really have no idea what their husbands get up to; the husbands who all have secrets of one sort or another; the entitled children. And if you’re thinking…oh no, another one of those…let me assure you that you are wrong. Oh so very wrong. Because this book is both unconventional, and unpredictable.

Slightly chic-lity, this was an entertaining listen, and Karen Cass – the narrator – was just perfect for this read.

I will be reading more from this author.

****

THE AUTHOR: Laura Wilson is an English crime-writer based in London, where she was born and raised. She has degrees in English Literature form Somerville College, Oxford, and University College London, and has worked as a teacher and editor of non-fiction.

Many of her novels have either a historical setting or a distinct historical connection, and often have split or dual narratives. Her first novel, A Little Death was shortlisted for a CWA Dagger award, and her fifth, The Lover was short listed for both the CWA Gold Dagger and the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The Other Woman by Laura Wilson, narrated by Karen Cass and published by Quercus, via Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3140572622

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

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EXCERPT: Molly stared at the house through her Ray-Bans. ‘So weird,’ she said. ‘Just to think, you lived there, all of you, you were all just, like, normal kids, going to school and stuff, having friends and then, one by one you all left her and she died, you know, completely alone in, like, the Worst House in Britain, or whatever.’ She shook her head solemnly. ‘Weird,’ she said again. ‘I mean, can you imagine that happening to us? Like, seriously? All four of us just leaving you there and all falling out with each other and Dad going off with some crazy woman and you just going completely mental and not letting anyone in and building, like, tunnels, out of, like, newspapers. Think of our house. Our lovely house, with all its lovely things in it and yeah, okay, it’s a bit too tidy for my liking but, you know, it’s a really nice house, and we all live there and we’re so happy and everything. And when I’m an adult I want to see my brothers all the time, you know, I want to go to their houses and stuff and have my kids play with their kids. I mean, you haven’t seen your brother and sister for, like, five years. Your actual brother and sister. Who you used to live with. And see every day. I mean, I just don’t get it. How can things go, like-‘ she turned to stare at Meg with wide blue eyes so wrong?’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Meet the Bird Family

All four children have an idyllic childhood: a picture-book cottage in a country village, a warm, cosy kitchen filled with love and laughter, sun-drenched afternoons in a rambling garden.

But one Easter weekend a tragedy strikes the Bird family that is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear them apart.

The years pass and the children become adults and begin to develop their own quite separate lives. Soon it’s almost as though they’ve never been a family at all.

Almost.
But not quite.

Because something has happened that will call them home, back to the house they grew up in – and to what really happened that Easter weekend all those years ago.

MY THOUGHTS: I read The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell overnight. I could not put it down. I wanted it to never end. When it did, I felt bereft.

Jewell’s impeccable combination of characters and plot does that to me. I become totally immersed in her writing. Her characters are very ‘real’, they love and hate with passion, they are sensible, but do irrational things, they squabble and row, hold grudges and storm off in huffs, then turn around and support one another through tough times. They could be me, or you, our neighbours, our friends.

I, unusually for me, have not picked up another book since I finished this in the early hours of this morning. I need to gently disentangle myself from this family with whom I have laughed and cried, whose pain and joys I have shared. I don’t want to say goodbye to them. I want to see where Rory’s life goes, how Beth will cope.

But this book is definitely on my favourites list, to be revisited when I want a comfort read.

😍😍😍😍😍

Quote from The House We Grew Up In: The human memory is such a cruel, frustrating thing, the way it just discards things without asking permission, precious things.

THE AUTHOR: Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.

She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.

She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.

DISCLOSURE: I borrowed my copy of The House I Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell and published by Random House from the Waitomo District Library. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review is also published on https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1389580060

Watching What I’m Reading ….

It is a funny afternoon, hot and windy with a storm brewing. We have had storms mid to late afternoon for the last three days . It’s almost like living in the tropics 😂🤣

I am currently reading

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and should finish it tonight. I am listening to

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after abandoning listening to Lost Roses.

This week I am planning on reading

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Her husband says it’s suicide. The police say it’s murder.
Liam Buckley was a married man with two teenage children when he moved out of the family home to start a new life with his lover. His wife Jennifer never forgave him, but now she needs him to come back: she’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and the kids can’t cope alone.

One day after Liam moves home, Jennifer is found dead. Liam thinks it’s suicide. But the police, led by DS Louise Kennedy, are convinced it’s murder.

Liam hires a retired detective to help prove his innocence, but it’s no easy task. The children are distraught, and Jennifer’s best friend, Sarah, is waging a campaign against Liam, determined to expose him for a liar and a cheat.

As secrets surface from the complex web of Buckley family life, DS Kennedy must decide. Did Jennifer Buckley end her own life, or did Liam take it from her? The answer, when it comes, will shock them all…

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As a child, Vicky Hall never had the sort of family she wanted. The least important person in her new step-family, ignored by her mother in favour of her two younger half-siblings, Vicky was always an afterthought. Sitting alone at her graduation ceremony at the age of twenty-one, she vows to create her own family and her own life, one which is full of the love and attention she has always craved.

When Vicky meets William and falls pregnant in Greece that summer, it isn’t planned. But the two of them believe they can make it work, showering their child with the love which they believe should be enough.

But when her son Theo is two, Vicky leaves him in the care of her mother-in-law, walks out of her front door and drives to a hotel where she takes a room for the night. She doesn’t return.

I have received four new ARCs from Netgalley this week, plus a widget directly from the publisher for a book I had already been approved for from Netgalley…

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and the widget I received was

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I am slowly catching up to where I should be on my reading schedule, I think I am currently only five books behind. Though I haven’t yet looked at my December list 😂🤣 that’s a job for tomorrow.

My big excitement for the week was the arrival of my new oven. It is stored downstairs ready for next February when my new kitchen is due to be fitted.

I hope you all have your Christmas wish lists sorted…only three and a bit weeks to go now. it will be here and gone before we know it . In the meantime, happy reading my friends, and don’t stress.
Cheers
Sandy