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

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews
The Weekenders 
by Mary Kay Andrews

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Wendell Griggs was big on promises. Always had been. On their first date, he’d promised Riley Nolan she’d never want to date anybody else. When he’d presented her with her engagement ring—a three-carat diamond bigger than any of her girlfriends had—he’d promised it was the start of a life that would be big and rich and exciting. No doubt about it, her husband was a dreamer. And a schemer.

But lately, Wendell’s promises meant nothing. Just talk. Hollow words meant to placate or stall. Nothing more. What was it her grandfather used to say?

“All hat, no cattle.”

Like today. Wendell had promised—sworn—he’d meet them at the ferry dock at Southpoint in time to make the last boat over to Belle Isle.

It was Memorial Day weekend, a tradition they’d established even before they’d gotten married, kicking off the season on the island where Riley’s family had summered for the past hundred years.

And yet, here she stood. She brushed a stray lock of dark brown hair from her eyes and squinted down at the screen of her smartphone. Still nothing.

Her fingertips raced over the keys.

WHERE R U?

All caps. It was the texting equivalent of screaming. And that’s how she felt, like screaming.

THE BLURB: Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Others come only for the weekends-and the mix between the regulars and “the weekenders” can sometimes make the sparks fly. Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one Friday afternoon, Riley is confronted by a process server who thrusts papers into her hand. And her husband is nowhere to be found.

So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it turns out that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens…in a murderous way. Cocktail parties aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.

MY THOUGHTS: 3 stars for The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews, a pleasant, but pretty predictable love story with a little murder and fraud thrown in to muddy the waters. It is good light reading, which I seem to need right now, perfect for the beach, where unfortunately I am not.

It was not a read that I became deeply involved in, other than occasionally wanting to slap the pre-teen daughter Maggie or give Riley a good shake. If you need something not too demanding for any reason, this is the perfect read. Would I read/listen to more by this author? Probably.

I listened to The Weekenders, narrated by Kathleen McInerney, in audiobook 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2163828634

The Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

Seven Days of Us 
by Francesca Hornak (Goodreads Author)

EXCERPT: Here it was, the voice he had been half dreading, half expecting. He thought back to that sultry night in Beirut 1980, the one he had tried to convince himself had never happened. And then he thought of the strange little letter that Leila Deeba had written him eighteen months ago, which had been forwarded from The World’s offices. He still had it, hidden from Emma. ‘My late birth mother was …’ So the glorious, firm-bodied woman he had fucked between hotel sheets was dead. He stood up and stared out of the rain-flecked window. ‘Frosty the Snowman’ came floating up from the basement kitchen. How had he reached an age when a woman he had slept with could be dead – and it wasn’t even remarkable? It was a bleak train of thought, and he forced himself back to the present. What, if anything, ought he to reply to this man? And, more to the point, what on earth was he going to tell Emma?

THE BLURB: A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays…

It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter—who is usually off saving the world—will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family.

For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity—and even decent Wi-Fi—and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems.

As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.

In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive…

MY THOUGHTS: Written in short chapters, alternating between the members of the Birch family and their unexpected guest, who finds himself in a situation he could never have imagined, this is an emotional and sometimes amusing story of a family forced to spend seven days sequestered together cut off from the outside world.

Previously the author of two non-fiction books and numerous newspaper and magazine articles, this is Hornak’s first foray into the world of the fictional novel. And it is an impressive foray. She displays a great descriptive turn of phrase, describing age spotted mirrors as being like over-ripe bananas. She also has a good understanding of family dynamics and a talent for conveying them, realistically, into words. You will grow to both love and detest her characters, you will want to hug them and slap some sense into them.

This is not a book that is going to set the world on fire. It is a book that is a quietly satisfying read and should be read with a supply of tissues within easy reach.

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak is due to be published 31st October 2017.

Thank you to Hachette Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak 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/2160249104

Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft

Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft
Silent Lies 
by Kathryn Croft (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘Who…who are you?’

‘Exactly who I said I was. I just didn’t mention that I know who you are, or that I’m here to tell you your husband didn’t kill himself.’

THE BLURB: ‘Your husband didn’t kill himself.’
Five years rebuilding your life. Five words will destroy it again.

Mia Hamilton lived the perfect life with her husband, university teacher Zach, and their two-year-old daughter, Freya. But everything changed when Zach committed suicide on the same night one of his students, Josie Carpenter, vanished.

Five years later, and Josie is still missing but Mia has finally found some happiness with new boyfriend Will.

Until one day when stranger Alison walks into her life and tells Mia that her husband didn’t kill himself.

Desperate to find out what really happened to Zach, Mia is forced to put her trust in Alison. But she soon discovers that Alison has her own agenda behind exposing the details of Zach’s death. Can Mia really believe anything Alison says?

Mia must decide how far she is willing to go to uncover the truth – even if she risks losing everything she loves.

MY THOUGHTS: ‘How do you know who to trust?’ This is the question that is the crux of Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft. And after reading this, I don’t know that I am ever again going to believe anything I am told that I haven’t seen with my own eyes.

Silent Lies is told from the viewpoints of Mia and Josie over two different timelines that gradually merge. There are more twists and turns than is likely to be found in a plateful of spaghetti. All the way through, I was wondering why……..why Mia was taking such risks, why she couldn’t just settle down with Will and be happy, why she couldn’t look to the future instead of the past, why she was listening to Alison who was manipulative and scheming?

All my questions were answered in an absolutely unexpected ending.

If you are looking for a gripping psychological thriller, I can recommend Silent Lies.

Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital copy of Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2141504402?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1 and on Twitter @SandraFayJones2

Friday Favorite- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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.

How did I ever get to the age I am without ever having read Neil Gaiman? I did not discover his books until 2014 when The Ocean at the End of the Lane was selected for one of my Goodreads.com group reads. I can’t remember now which group it was  (probably Reading For Pleasure if I had to guess) or who nominated it, but to whomever it was I offer a whole- hearted ‘Thank you.’

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
The Ocean at the End of the Lane 
by Neil Gaiman (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: It was only a duckpond, out at the back of the farm. It wasn’t very big.

Lettie Hempstock said it was an ocean, but I knew that was silly. She said they’d come here across the ocean from the old country.

Her mother said that Lettie didn’t remember properly, and it was a long time ago, and anyway, the old country had sunk.

Old Mrs Hempstock, Lettie’s grandmother, said they were both wrong, and that the place that had sunk wasn’t the really old country. She said she could remember the really old country.

She said the really old country had blown up.

THE BLURB: Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

MY THOUGHTS: This book won a multitude of awards. All of them deserved.

I don’t understand how I had never read Neil Gaiman before. This was my first ‘outing’ with this author, but it was not my last. I have bought some of his books for my grandson, and this is the next one I will be purchasing for him.

I just love this book. It is so,so lovely but scary too.

I love the quotes from Lewis Carroll scattered throughout.

Sensitive horror/fantasy? You better believe it!

Even the way he has written the acknowledgements at the end is interesting. A true master of his craft.

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/1020144026

Thursday Thoughts

I have been working long hours 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.

On the currently reading front, I am 2/3 of the way through

Silent Lies

Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft

an insidiously creepy book which was published by Bookouture this week. It’s one of those books that, as you are reading, you are thinking ‘I can’t believe she’s doing this!’, or ‘What on earth is she thinking?’.

My review will appear Saturday.

I have also started

Sleeping Beauties
 

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

This was published at the end of last month by Hodder and Stoughton. In excess of 700 pages, it is not ideal for reading in bed! I am just over 100 pages into this and loving it. Being one of Mr King’s ‘constant readers’ I had to buy the actual book instead of an e-book to add to my collection.

 

My next read is

Seven Days of Us
 Seven Days of Us byFrancesca Hornak
To be published 31 October by Berkley.
It is the tale of a dysfunctional family forced to spend a week together in isolation.
This week I have been approved by NetGalley to read and review the following books
The Hanged Man (The Bone Field #2)

The Hanged Man (The Bone Field #2) by Simon Kernick

A Kiss Before Killing: Nothing can keep the doctor away...

A Kiss Before Killing: Nothing can keep the doctor away…by Keith McCarthy

The Devil's Claw
 

The Devil’s Claw by Lara Dearman

And……

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni

Happy reading everyone, and I’ll see you all tomorrow with my Friday Favorite

P is for Peril by Sue Grafton

P is for Peril by Sue Grafton
P is for Peril (Kinsey Millhone, #16) 
by Sue Grafton

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: By the time I rang the bell, my breathing had slowed and I’d done a quick mental review of the subject I was here to discuss. Fiona Purcell’s ex-husband, Dr. Dowan Purcell, had been missing for nine weeks. She’d had a messenger deliver a manila envelope filled with newspaper clippings that recapped events surrounding his disappearance. I’d sat in my office, tilted back in my swivel chair, my Sauconys propped on the edge of my desk while I studied the articles she’d sent. She’d arranged them chronologically but had otherwise presented them without editorial comment. I’d been following the story in the local papers, but I’d never anticipated my involvement in the case. I found it helpful to have the sequence laid out again in this truncated form.

I noticed that over the course of nine weeks, the character of the coverage had shifted from the first seventy-two hours of puzzlement, through days of feverish speculation, and into the holding pattern that represented the current state of the investigation. Nothing new had come to light–not that there was ever much to report. In the absence of fresh revelations, the public’s fascination had begun to dwindle and the media’s attention to the matter had become as chilly and abbreviated as the brief November days. It is a truth of human nature that we can ponder life’s mysteries for only so long before we lose interest and move on to something else. Dr. Purcell had been gone since Friday, September 12, and the lengthy column inches initially devoted to his disappearance were now reduced to an occasional mention nearly ritual in its tone. The details were recounted, but the curiosity had shifted to more compelling events.

Dr. Purcell, sixty-nine years old, had practiced family medicine in Santa Teresa since 1944, specializing in geriatrics for the last fifteen years. He’d retired in 1981. Six months later, he’d been licensed as the administrator of a nursing care facility called Pacific Meadows, which was owned by two businessmen. On the Friday night in question, he’d worked late, remaining in his office to review paperwork related to the operation of the nursing home. According to witnesses, it was close to nine o’clock when he stopped at the front desk and said good-night to the nurses on duty. At that hour, the occupants had settled down for the night. The corridors were empty and the residents’ doors were closed against the already dimmed hall lights. Dr. Purcell had paused to chat with an elderly woman sitting in the lobby in her wheelchair. After a cursory conversation, less than a minute by her report, the doctor passed through the front door and into the night. He retrieved his car from his reserved space at the north side of the complex, pulled out of the lot, and drove off into the Inky Void from which he’d never emerged. The Santa Teresa Police and the Santa Teresa County Sheriff’s Departments had devoted endless hours to the case, and I couldn’t think what avenues remained that hadn’t already been explored by local law enforcement.

THE BLURB: It is now nine weeks since Dr Dowan Purcell vanished without trace. The sixty-nine-year-old doctor had said goodnight to his colleagues at the Pacific Meadows nursing home, had climbed into his car and driven away – never to be seen again.

His embittered first wife Fiona is convinced he is still alive. His second wife, Crystal – a former stripper forty years his junior – is just as sure he is dead. Enter private investigator Kinsey Malone, hired by Fiona to find out just what has happened to the man they loved.

Enter also Tommy Hevener, an attractive flame-haired twenty-something who has set his romantic sights on Kinsey. And Tommy is a man with a very interesting past . . .

MY THOUGHTS: The Kinsey Millhone series is my literary equivalent to junk food. It’s a fast easy read that is always fun, never complicated, and leaves me feeling happy. And I just keep coming back for more.

I listened to P is for Peril by Sue Grafton on audiobook via OverDrive. It was beautifully narrated by Judy Kaye. 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/2155479044

Little Secrets by Anna Snoekstra

Little Secrets by Anna Snoekstra
Little Secrets 
by Anna Snoekstra (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by

 

EXCERPT: It was a pleasant, quiet morning until the woman started screaming. The street had been silent except for the sound of birds chirping in the sky and the distant rumbles of a lawn mower. Mrs Lucie Hoffman had opened her front door to collect the morning edition of the Star. Instead, she found a porcelain doll sitting on top of the paper on her doorstep, staring up at her. It had thick dark hair and glassy green eyes. That was when the screaming started.

THE BLURB: What happens when ambition trumps the truth?

A town reeling in the wake of tragedy

An arsonist is on the loose in Colmstock, Australia, most recently burning down the town’s courthouse and killing a young boy who was trapped inside..

An aspiring journalist desperate for a story

The clock is ticking for Rose Blakey. With nothing but rejections from newspapers piling up, her job pulling beers for cops at the local tavern isn’t nearly enough to cover rent. Rose needs a story-a big one.

Little dolls full of secrets

In the weeks after the courthouse fire, precise porcelain replicas of Colmstock’s daughters begin turning up on doorsteps, terrifying parents and testing the limits of the town’s already fractured police force.

Rose may have finally found her story. But as her articles gain traction and the boundaries of her investigation blur, Colmstock is seized by a seething paranoia. Soon, no one is safe from suspicion. And when Rose’s attention turns to the mysterious stranger living in the rooms behind the tavern, neighbor turns on neighbor and the darkest side of self-preservation is revealed.

MY THOUGHTS: I really wanted to like Little Secrets by Anna Snoekstra. I tried, very hard. But in the end the best rating I could give this book is 2.5 stars.

Around this time last year, I read Snoekstra’s debut novel, Only Daughter, which I also rated 2.5 stars, downgraded to 2☆. I remarked that while ‘The idea for the plot was brilliant, unfortunately I think the execution of it left something to be desired. Parts of the book are well written, others not so well written. There were times I was tempted to put this book down and walk away from it, but my desire to find out what had happened to Bec over-rode that, and in the end I am glad I did finish it. There are a couple of really great twists but also some glaring holes in the plot and I think the author could have done a bit more research – her knowledge of police procedure leaves a lot to be desired. 

And really, what I said then applies equally to Little Secrets. Except that I never really considered abandoning it, although I struggled with it in places, and the quality of the writing is more consistent. Hence the rounding upwards to 3☆

However, there are glaringly large holes in the plot that I wasn’t able to ignore. And Ms Snoekstra obviously hasn’t brushed up her knowledge of police procedure. Even in small desolate and dying towns, there are checks and balances. And Colmstock doesn’t actually seem that small. It has two pubs, a rarity these days when most towns struggle to support one, especially towns where employment is scarce and methamphetamine rife, and a reasonably large police presence.

In the end, I am left feeling vaguely confused and dissatisfied with Little Secrets. The author has left the door wide open for a sequel. If it does occur, I won’t be reading it.

Thank you to Harlequin Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Little Secrets by Anna Snoekstra 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

The Treatment by C. L. Taylor

The Treatment by C.L. Taylor
The Treatment 
by C.L. Taylor (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: I slip into the single stall toilet at the back of the cafe. I hold it together long enough to close the door and lock it and then I rest my arms on the wall and burst into tears. I’m still crying when I sit down on the closed toilet lid and reach into my pocket. Tears roll down my cheeks as I pull out the note that Dr Cobey thrust into my hands. They plop onto the paper as I carefully unfold it. I read the words Mason has scribbled in blue biro. I read them once, twice, three times and the tears dry in my eyes.

I’m not sad and confused any more. I’m terrified.

THE BLURB: “You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.”
All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She’s not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she’s almost relieved.

Everything changes when she’s followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.

Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.

MY THOUGHTS: There were a lot of things I liked about The Treatment, C. L. Taylor’s debut Young Adult novel, and a few things I disliked, which resulted in a 3.5 star rating.

This was, for most part, a fast paced read. The plot flowed well, mostly. I had trouble with the ease with which Drew was bundled off to the reform school. I know her step-father is involved in the process, but there is a reason he should, to my mind, be keeping Drew and Mason well away from there, not facilitating their admission. This is only one instance for which I had to suspend rationality and go with the storyline.

The ending, I felt, was over simplified. And rushed. Our young adults are a great deal more savy than I was at that age, and I was an advanced reader. I was tempted to get my ten year old grandson to read this to see what he thought because I am certain he would have picked up on most of the same things I did.

Having said that, I found most of the book to be riveting, an exciting adventure, one I didn’t want to put down in favor of sleep last night.

I think this book is probably suited to the younger end of the young adult spectrum.

The Treatment by C. L. Taylor is due to be published October 23, 2017.

Thank you to Harlequin Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Treatment 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 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2142848716