My Daughter’s Mistake by Kate Hewitt

EXCERPT: Glancing at Amy Rose lying so still, I reach over and take her hand; it feels so tiny and lifeless, her skin dry and papery. Gently I press her fingers between mine, as if I can imbue her with my strength, my vitality. I can almost imagine her eyes opening as she smiles sleepily at me.

Hey, Mama. What are you doing here?

Hey, baby girl. You had such a big sleep.

Did I dream?

You had the best dreams, sweetheart. The very best dreams.

A choked sound escapes me, something far too close to a sob. I can picture it so perfectly; I can’t believe it’s not real, that it’s not going to happen in just a few seconds. Every morning as she sits tangle-haired before her bowl of Cheerios, Amy Rose asks me if she dreamed the night before.

It’s become a thing between us; I tell her all about the dreams she had. I make up stories about ice-cream castles and fairies with sparkly wings, and she listens, rapt, and she always wants more.

I want to tell her about her dreams now. You flew up to heaven on your sparkly wings and then you came back, baby girl, and you had such stories to tell! Up there in the sky, you saw everything there ever was – the Great Wall of China, the lions in Africa, and that big red rock in Australia you think is so cool. You saw it all, and then came back to tell me about it.

Please come back, Amy Rose, 
I plead silently. Please come back and tell me all about it.

ABOUT ‘MY DAUGHTER’S MISTAKE’: I look at my daughter. My darling girl. I remember her tiny hand in mine, her first smile. I recall her tears when she’d tumble over, healed instantly with a band-aid and a little kiss. I have to keep her safe. Even if it means someone else gets hurt…

In the pretty, privileged college town of Milford, New Hampshire, everyone is friendly, everything is safe. And on this cold autumn day, as red and yellow leaves begin to fall from the trees, and everyone wraps up for the first time, it would be easy to believe nothing bad could ever happen here.

Until a screech of tires is heard, a thud, a child’s scream. The crash that sees Jenna’s six-year-old daughter Amy Rose being hit by a car driven by seventeen-year-old Maddie.

Maddie’s mother, Ellen—a college professor with a warm, approachable reputation—insists it must have been an accident. Her daughter is always safe on the road—and she’s vulnerable herself.

But as Amy Rose lies unconscious in hospital, the town begins to take sides. With Ellen, who just wants to defend her daughter. Or with Jenna, a single mother with a past, whose child hovers between life and death…

The truth is that both mothers have secrets they’re trying to keep. And, with Amy Rose’s life hanging in the balance, one of them will stop at nothing to protect the person she loves—her daughter.

MY THOUGHTS: Am I a masochist? Whenever I pick up a Kate Hewitt book, I know that I am about to have my heart shredded into tiny little pieces; but I keep on doing it.

Hewitt will wring every possible emotion from you as you read this heart-wrenching story. Each and every copy of it should come with its own extra large, extra absorbent, box of tissues.

Two mothers, both in desperate situations, are battling head to head over an accident that has critically damaged both their daughters. My Daughter’s Mistake is told from the points of view of the two mothers, Jenna – mother of the beautiful six year old Amy Rose; and Ellen – mother of the vulnerable Maddy.

My Daughter’s Mistake is the story of two families torn apart by one tragedy. Like any tragedy, this doesn’t stop with just those in the accident. Hewitt explores how the effects ripple outwards, affecting every member of the families and beyond.

As always in her books, Hewitt presents us with a situation that could befall any of us. Her characters are very real and I could not help but experience all the emotions of the characters – I seesawed in my sympathy between Jenna and Ellen – but I also felt their love, their loss, their fear and their anger. A master of family dynamics, Hewitt also involves the fathers, the siblings, and grandparents, friends and work colleagues in a story that will leave you emotionally drained but satisfied.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.4

#MyDaughtersMistake #NetGalley

I: @katehewitt1 @bookouture

T: @KateHewitt1 @Bookouture

#contemporaryfiction #familydrama #mystery #sliceoflife

THE AUTHOR: Kate is the USA Today-bsetselling author of many books of both historical and contemporary fiction. Under the name Katharine Swartz, she is the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell.

She likes to read women’s fiction, mystery and thrillers, as well as historical novels. She particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in a market town in Wales with her husband, five children, and two Golden Retrievers.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of My Daughter’s Mistake by Kate Hewitt for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

At the End of the Day by Liz Byrski

EXCERPT: May 2019 – On the day she is due to fly home to Australia, Miriam Squires is sitting at a table in the hotel restaurant, sipping her second cup of coffee and staring at the English Channel, which is so still it looks more like a lake than the sea. It’s the end of her annual visit to the UK, always a month or six weeks with her sister Alice in Oxford, followed by a few days of nostalgia here in Brighton, where they had grown up. The town, with its stony beach and two piers, one thriving, the other now a wreck, always lures her back. But now – at seventy-five, with painful mobility problems – the prospect of long queues, struggles with baggage and long hours in the air is daunting. Today, she thinks, is probably the last time she will see the place where she was born. It’s not just the misery of the journey itself, but her increasing disenchantment with England. Beautiful villages have become ugly towns bordered by industrial estates; unique country pubs have been swallowed up by hospitality chains, and those shops who can’t withstand the shift to online shopping are disappearing, leaving high streets sadly diminished.

‘Even Marks and Spencer’s is fading away,’ Alice had told her. ‘Imagine no M and S knickers or bras! And then there’s Brexit. England’s a basket case – it’ll be a disaster if we leave the EU. You’re so lucky with that Jacinda Adern.’

‘She’s the Prime Minister of New Zealand,’ Mim had said, ‘but I do think you’d love Australia. You should come and stay with me, Al.’ She has issued the invitation many times over the years.

‘I’ll think about it,’ Alice had said. ‘I really will.’ That’s what she always said.

ABOUT ‘AT THE END OF THE DAY’: When Mim Squires and Mathias Vander are stranded together on a disrupted flight home to Perth, they are surprised to find that they have much in common. Mim owns a bookshop, Mathias is a writer, and both are at turning points in their lives. Mim’s childhood polio is taking a toll on her life. Mathias is contemplating a cross-continent move to be nearer his daughter.

But life back in Perth is not smooth sailing, with their respective family members going through their own upheavals. As Mim and Mathias both struggle to adjust to the challenges of being in their late seventies, secrets from the past that neither wishes to face rise to the surface, challenging their long-held beliefs in their independence and singularity.

At the end of the day, can they muster the wisdom and the courage they need to change?

MY THOUGHTS: Immersing myself in a Liz Byrski book is my happy place. At the End of the Day is a beautifully written story of family, love, friendship and making peace with the past.

Liz’s characters are loveable – people I could be friends with, realistic people with quirks and faults, having to make decisions that many of us will face in our lives. She writes with a gentle humour and an obvious affection for her characters.

2019 is a time of turmoil for both families. Mim is acknowledging her health problems which are again beginning to impact on her life. She wonders if she will ever see her sister Alice again, and how she is going to cope with running her bookstore, Life Sentence, in the future. An accident causes friction between her and Jodie, whom she treats like the daughter she never had, and she feels like she is losing control of her life.

Mathias is at a crossroads in his life. Lifelong friend Luc, is dying, he seems to have lost his motivation to write, and an incident from his past that has haunted him all his life is causing debilitating panic attacks. On top of all that, his daughter Carla has broken up with her partner, who Mathias never much liked anyway, and is wondering if she will ever find anyone to share her life with.

We follow these two families as friendships are forged, fears are faced, and secrets revealed. Not all questions are answered, but that’s okay, because that’s just the way life works. Covid-19 gets a fleeting mention as this story concludes in early 2020.

At the End of the Day tugged at my heartstrings. It shows that how we remember the past isn’t always how it happened. It demonstrates that there is always hope for the future, and that independence isn’t always the prize it is made out to be.

This read was made even more poignant when, reading the author’s acknowledgments, I discovered that Liz Byrski had suffered a stroke during the writing of At The End of The Day, and finished it post-stroke, a feat to be admired. I wish you a full recovery Liz, and many happy and healthy years to come.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

#AttheEndoftheDay #NetGalley

I: @lizbyrski @macmillanaus

T: @LizByrski @MacmillanAus

#aging #contemporaryfiction #sliceoflife

THE AUTHOR: Liz was born in London and spent most of her childhood in Sussex. As an only child she spent a lot of time alone, much of it buried in books. She began her working life as a secretary and later moved into journalism working as a reporter on a local newspaper until she took up freelance writing when her children were born. Before moving to Western Australia she also worked as an appeals organiser for Oxfam.

After moving to Perth with her family in 1981 she once again established a freelance career writing for Australian publications including The Australian, Homes and Living, Cosmopolitan and Weekend News.

Liz lives between Perth and Fremantle and in addition to enjoying the company of family and friends, she spends most of her time reading, writing and walking. She has two adult sons and twin grandsons.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of At the End of the Day by Liz Byrski for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Thank you all for your good wishes for our weekend away. It was long drive in unpleasant conditions, and a detour to avoid a road closure due to an accident, but it was worth it to catch up with my brother. We share a passion for wine and I brought a few bottles home from his collection, plus the leftovers from the very delicious white chocolate cheesecake Rachel made for dessert. I am going to have to spend some time on my cross trainer this week as a result.

Currently I am reading 1979 by Val McDermid. I only started this before work this morning, but I am hooked.

I am listening to Our House by Louise Candlish which I am enjoying.

This week I am planning on reading Bad Apples by Will Dean – my second book title featuring apples in as many weeks.

It only takes one…

A murder

A resident of small-town Visberg is found decapitated

A festival

A cultish hilltop community ‘celebrates’ Pan Night after the apple harvest

A race against time

As Visberg closes ranks to keep its deadly secrets, there could not be a worse time for Tuva Moodyson to arrive as deputy editor of the local newspaper. Powerful forces are at play and no one dares speak out. But Tuva senses the story of her career, unaware that perhaps she is the story…

And The Stoning by Peter Papathanasiou, Australian fiction by a new author to me.

A small town in outback Australia wakes to a crime of medieval savagery.

A local schoolteacher is found taped to a tree and stoned to death. Suspicion instantly falls on the refugees at the new detention centre on Cobb’s northern outskirts. Tensions are high, between whites and the local indigenous community, between immigrants and the townies.

Still mourning the recent death of his father, Detective Sergeant George Manolis returns to his childhood hometown to investigate. Within minutes of his arrival, it’s clear that Cobb is not the same place he left. Once it thrived, but now it’s a poor and derelict dusthole, with the local police chief it deserves. And as Manolis negotiates his new colleagues’ antagonism, and the simmering anger of a community destroyed by alcohol and drugs, the ghosts of his past begin to flicker to life.

Six new ARCs this week – where did they come from?🤷‍♀️ And, oh dear, 33 requests still pending.

Two titles from Marci Bolden, both read now – A Life Without Regrets (Thank you Susan of susanlovesbooks.wordpress.com )

And Hidden Hearts

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

The Echo Man by Sam Holland

A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

And The Perfect Neighbour by Susanna Beard

I still have two reviews to write, so I had better crack on.

Stay safe. Covid Delta has escaped Auckland and there are cases just an hour up the road. Where my son and grandson live is now off limits to us . . . They are both fine, and Dustin is fully vaccinated so hopefully they will be fine.

Happy reading!❤📚

Friday Funny . . . A Lesson in Language

Nine Words Women Use

(1) Fine : This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up. This means your facts may be right but you are still wrong.   
(2) Five Minutes : If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house. 
(3) Nothing : This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine. 
(4) Go Ahead : This is a dare, not permission. Don’t Do It! 
(5) Loud Sigh : This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.) 
(6) That’s Okay : This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That’s okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake. 
(7) Thanks : A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you’re welcome. (I want to add in a clause here – This is true, unless she says ‘Thanks a lot’ – that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say ‘you’re welcome’.. That will bring on a ‘whatever’). 
(8) Whatever : Is a woman’s way of saying. Go to Hell… 
(9) Don’t worry about it, I got it :Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking ‘What’s wrong?’ (For the woman’s response refer to # 3). 
 
   

* Send this to the men you know, to warn them about arguments they can avoid if they remember the terminology.

* Send this to all the women you know to give them a good laugh, cause they know it’s true

Thanks Grumps!😉

Stranded by Sarah Goodwin

EXCERPT: Prologue: Frozen to the bone, I stumble from the boat and look around me at the village. It’s not Creel, but some place exactly like it; houses tumbling like rocks down towards the hungry sea. Fishing boats and cracked concrete. I stand there, swaying slightly with the motion of the boat I’ve left behind. There’s no sound or movement from the houses.

Somehow, despite coming so far, through so much, the idea of going up to one of those doors and knocking, being confronted by a stranger, has me frozen. What is waiting in those houses? Is there even anyone there?

‘Are you all right, poppet?’

I turn so fast I nearly fall over. On the doorstep of a tiny cottage is an old woman in a wool skirt and fluffy slippers. Her eyes are wide and she has a wire cage of milk bottles in one hand, her back still half stooped to put it on the doorstep.

As I turn, her eyes fall to the strap of the rifle and she drops the bottles. They smash, throwing glass all over the concrete step. Fear is etched on her face as I remove the rifle and lay it on the ground.

I rise, and glance down at my ripped and muddy clothing, hanging off my skeletal body. With effort, I part my sticky, salt encrusted lips.

‘I need the police.’

ABOUT ‘STRANDED’: Eight strangers.
One island.
A secret you’d kill to keep.

When eight people arrive on the beautiful but remote Buidseach Island, they are ready for the challenge of a lifetime: to live alone for one year.

Eighteen months later, a woman is found in an isolated fishing village. She’s desperate to explain what happened to her: how the group fractured and friends became enemies; how they did what they must to survive until the boat came to collect them; how things turned deadly when the boat didn’t come…

But first Maddy must come to terms with the devastating secret that left them stranded, and her own role in the events that saw eight arrive and only three leave.

MY THOUGHTS: In all honesty, I believe you would need to be a fan of TV ‘reality’ shows like Survivor to appreciate this book. In hindsight, I am probably the wrong demographic. I was thinking that this would be more of a murder mystery, and it is not.

Maddy is the narrator. She is grief stricken following the death of her parents. She lost her job as a botanist after clashing with her boss, and is temping office work. She is lost and lonely and believes she needs this challenge to find herself. So she isn’t very happy when life on the Island starts to mirror the life she left behind. Tensions between the contestants escalate until . . .

Initially I found the personality clashes between the contestants interesting, and while I knew that bad stuff had to happen, I was expecting a more even division into ‘sides’ than occurred.

While I never quite lost interest, Stranded seemed inordinately long. It felt like we lived through every day of those eighteen months, task by repetitive task. And in the end? It became tedious. And frankly, unbelievable.

⭐⭐.7

#Stranded #NetGalley

I: @sarah_goodwin_author @harpercollinsuk @avonbooksuk

T: @SGoodAuthor @HarperCollinsUK @AvonBooksUK

#contemporaryfiction #crime #mystery

THE AUTHOR: Sarah Goodwin is a novelist who grew up in rural Hertfordshire and now lives in Bristol. She was raised on C. S. Lewis, Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie by her parents and spent her summers in castles and on battlefields making up stories about women struggling for survival against war, poverty and dragons.

At Bath Spa University Sarah studied for a BA in Creative Writing and self-published seven novels across various genres, including YA magical realism, contemporary women’s fiction, romance and horror.

While undertaking her Master’s degree, Sarah participated in writing and performing in sketches for Bristol-based What Have You Comedy and now appears regularly on Bristol Youth Radio Rocks as part of a weekly mental health hour for young people.

Sarah graduated in 2014 with an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins UK audio for providing an audio ARC of Stranded by Sarah Goodwin, and narrated by Esme Sears, for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

The Parents by Claire Seeber

EXCERPT: ALEX: Mist had begun to gather all along the edge of the woods – the Whispering Woods – as day slipped into night. When I’d arrived, I’d parked the Land Rover beside other cars, but now it stood alone near the looming trees, which looked like they were floating behind the carpark as tendrils of mist crept through them like smoky fingers.

There was something nameless but intensely intimidating in the air; something about the height and thickness of the trees, the twisted trunks just visible as I hurried to the car; something ancient and mythical and utterly uninviting. The surface of the dark pool by the gates was also seething with mist now, and the strange bottles stacked along the wall no longer glinted, the weak autumn sun having given up for the day.

ABOUT ‘THE PARENTS’: Moving to this village was supposed to be a fresh start for me and my thirteen-year-old son Harry. After the tragic death of my husband, it was a chance to leave everything bad behind and make better memories at Primrose Cottage, the postcard-perfect house with honeysuckle around the door.

However, things haven’t exactly been easy since we arrived, and after what we’ve been though, I’m scared of letting anyone new into our lives.

But when one of the local dads asks Harry to join the weekend sports club, I find myself saying yes. The smile on my son’s face gives me hope that I might have made the right decision in uprooting our lives.

All the other parents seem so kind in welcoming me into the fold. At least, they are to begin with… Until someone begins anonymously exposing secrets about everyone in the group.

As betrayals surface and the claws come out, I see how imperfect these people really are; and how far they’ll go to hide the truth. Then when one of the parents ends up dead at the end of a party, I realise that it’s not just lies and scandal they’re covering up.

Too late, I realise that I should have stayed away…

MY THOUGHTS: I should have stayed away too.

At 47%, when I found myself thinking that I would rather go get a tooth pulled, I closed the covers for the final time.

This author can write; there’s no disputing that, and had she continued in the vein of the extract above, I would still be avidly flipping pages. Instead we get cardboard cutout characters with absolutely no depth, who fancy themselves as WAGS, and a bunch of wannabe footballers pushing their failed aspirations down the throats of the under 14 team.

Mystery? Who’s behind the ‘revealing’ video clips that are tearing apart the lives of the footballers enclave? Don’t care. Mysterious death? Hasn’t happened yet, and I am not interested enough to wait around for it.

And I never want to hear the term ‘babs’ again – unless it’s an abbreviation of Barbara. What is it, anyway? ‘Babe’ I can understand, but ‘babs’?

Sorry, but The Parents gets a resounding thumbs down from me.

The Parents by Claire Seeber may well be a book that you enjoy, so please check out a selection of the more positive reviews if you are considering reading it.

⭐.5

#TheParents #NetGalley

I: @claireseeberauthor @bookouture

T: @claireseeber @Bookouture

#contemporaryfiction #domesticdrama #mystery

THE AUTHOR: After a stab at being a (bad) actress, best-selling author Claire directed factual TV for years, before writing the first of eight psychological thrillers, including the chart-topping Never Tell and The Stepmother. In 2012, she was nominated for a CWA Dagger for He Does Not Always See Her. She also writes for stage and screen, features for newspapers such as The Guardian & The Independent and is a qualified Gestalt therapist, when she’s not writing or herding feral kids (hers) or animals.

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

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

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner

EXCERPT: This is how most cases start. With a bubble of desperate hope and tentative trust. Where things go from here, how Guerline and Emmanuel might view me months from now . . .

Emmanuel walks me back downstairs. He doesn’t speak a word, relying on the rigid set of his shoulders to radiate disapproval.

‘You love Angelique,’ I state softly when we reach the lobby. She’s a good older sister. She looks out for you.’

He glares at me, but I see a bright sheen in his eyes. The pain he’s trying hard not to show.

‘You really done this before?’ he asks roughly.

‘Many times.’

‘How many people have you actually found?’

‘Fourteen.’

He purses his lips, clearly taken aback by that number.

‘Goodnight Emmanuel. And if you think of anything I should know.’ I stick out my hand. This time he takes it.

Then I exit the triple, out into the crisp fall night, where the sun has set. Bright lights wink in the distance. But on this block no streetlights are working. Not the best idea for a lone woman to be walking around after dark, but I hardly have a choice.

I square my shoulders and head briskly back toward Stoney’s, grateful it hadn’t occurred to Emmanuel to ask the next logical question.

Not just how many people I’d found, but how many people I’d found alive.

None.

At least, not yet.

ABOUT: ‘BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED’: Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will–searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.

A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own–and she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing could be her.

MY THOUGHTS: Can someone please explain to me how and why I have never previously read anything by this author of twenty books? Because I am sure I don’t know. What I do know is – that is about to change!

Before She Disappeared is the first of two books featuring Frankie Elkin, an alcoholic with enough baggage to make a porter shudder. She keeps her demons at bay by focusing her energies on investigating disappearances that are cold cases.
To fund her search, she tends bar, something she is very good at. She regularly attends AA meetings, and has nightmares that gave me the willies just reading about them, never mind having them invade my sleep night after night. And just in case that isn’t enough, she is sharing her accommodation with Piper, an attack cat, and just one more to add to the list resenting Frankie’s intrusion.

Frankie doesn’t endear herself to the police, who resent her involvement and accuse her of many things including trying to rip off the families of the missing. But what Frankie has on her side is a kind and caring heart and the ability to ask the right questions.

Before She Disappeared is a fast paced and gripping story that kept me immersed throughout as the search for one missing girl turns into a search for two missing girls; the second never reported missing by her family or her school. As Frankie slowly builds up a picture of Angelique’s life, little snippets of Frankie’s back story are revealed.

This is a story that has something for everyone. There are two incredibly bright and talented young girls, living in poverty in a crime ridden Boston neighbourhood, determined to rise above their backgrounds and make something of themselves. So there is hope. There are thrills as Frankie is warned off her endeavours to find Angelique and Livia. There are chills and dread as it becomes apparent just how vulnerable these young girls are. There is sadness, and joy. Mystery, crime and suspense. The characters are realistic and beautifully crafted, their stories ones that happen every day. Gardner has taken these stories and written a moving and thrilling book that highlights the plight of the ‘forgotten’ missing – those who come from a background of poverty, from high crime areas where the police have more important issues to deal with than looking for some teenage girl who has probably run of with some boy.

This is no ordinary missing person story!

Gardner’s author notes at the end of the book are worth reading as she explains what inspired her to write Before She Disappeared.

I may be late discovering this author, but I now have a lot of backtitles to catch up on. And Frankie Elkin #2 to look forward to.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

#BeforeSheDisappeared #NetGalley

I: @lisagardnerbks @randomhouse

T: @LisaGardnerBks @RandomHouse

#contemporaryfiction #crime #mystery #suspense #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Lisa Gardner, a #1 New York Times bestselling thriller novelist, began her career in food service, but after catching her hair on fire numerous times, she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, she has transformed her interest in police procedure and criminal minds into a streak of internationally acclaimed novels, published across 30 countries.

Lisa lives in New Hampshire where she spends her time with an assortment of canine companions. When not writing, she loves to hike, garden, snowshoe and play cribbage.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House UK, Cornerstone, Century via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

EXCERPT: His funeral was sparsely attended. Wallace wasn’t pleased. He couldn’t even be quite sure how he’d gotten here. One moment, he’d been staring down at his body, and then he’d blinked, and somehow, found himself in front of a church, the doors open, bells ringing. It certainly hadn’t helped when he saw the prominent sign sitting out front. A CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE OF WALLACE PRICE it read. He didn’t like that sign, if he was being honest with himself. No, he didn’t like it one bit. Perhaps someone inside could tell him what the hell was going on.

ABOUT ‘UNDER THE WHISPERING DOOR’: When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

MY THOUGHTS: Under the Whispering Door is an utterly amazing, beautiful and inspiring story. I finished with a great sense of peace and awe.

Wallace was not a nice person. This is evident at his funeral. He lacked empathy, had no friends. There is a woman at his funeral he doesn’t recognize, not difficult since there are only six people there. She is different from the others – she can see him. Here starts Wallace’s journey.

I am so glad I got to go on that journey with him. It was a wondrous experience. This is a magical and emotionally powerful read. I cried for Wallace, for Cameron, for Nancy. I laughed at Mei’s ascerbic tongue, at Nelson’s antics.

Under the Whispering Door is a book that will stay with me a long time, and one that I am going to purchase a hard copy of.

If you haven’t read this yet, please do. It’s a beautiful experience.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

#UndertheWhisperingDoor #NetGalley

#fivestarread #fantasy #humour #paranormal #romance

I: @tjklunebooks @macmillanusa

T: @ tjklune @MacmillanUSA

THE AUTHOR: TJ KLUNE is a Lambda Literary Award-winning author (Into This River I Drown) and an ex-claims examiner for an insurance company. His novels include The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Extraordinaries. Being queer himself, TJ believes it’s important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you, thank you, thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge for providing a digital ARC of Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com

Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Happy Sunday afternoon everyone!

I have just started reading The Parents by Claire Seeber, a new author to me.

I am 2/3 through listening to Stranded by Sarah Goodwin. The jury is still out. I do see the resemblance to Lord of the Flies, which I never particularly liked, but there is still a third of the book to go, and it sounds like there’s still plenty to happen.

This week I am planning on reading My Daughter’s Mistake by Kate Hewitt, an author I know I can depend on for an emotionally wrenching read.

I look at my daughter. My darling girl. I remember her tiny hand in mine, her first smile. I recall her tears when she’d tumble over, healed instantly with a band-aid and a little kiss. I have to keep her safe. Even if it means someone else gets hurt…

In the pretty, privileged college town of Milford, New Hampshire, everyone is friendly, everything is safe. And on this cold autumn day, as red and yellow leaves begin to fall from the trees, and everyone wraps up for the first time, it would be easy to believe nothing bad could ever happen here.

Until a screech of tires is heard, a thud, a child’s scream. The crash that sees Jenna’s six-year-old daughter Amy Rose being hit by a car driven by seventeen-year-old Maddie.

Maddie’s mother, Ellen—a college professor with a warm, approachable reputation—insists it must have been an accident. Her daughter is always safe on the road—and she’s vulnerable herself.

But as Amy Rose lies unconscious in hospital, the town begins to take sides. With Ellen, who just wants to defend her daughter. Or with Jenna, a single mother with a past, whose child hovers between life and death…

The truth is that both mothers have secrets they’re trying to keep. And, with Amy Rose’s life hanging in the balance, one of them will stop at nothing to protect the person she loves—her daughter.

And Birds of a Feather by Tricia Stringer, another new author to me.

Eve has been a partner in a Wallaby Bay fishing fleet as long as she can remember. Now they want her to sell – but what would her life be without work? She lives alone, her role on the town committee has been spiked by malicious gossip and she is incapacitated after surgery. For the first time in her life she feels weak, vulnerable – old.

When her troubled god-daughter Julia arrives at Wallaby Bay, she seems to offer Eve a reprieve from her own concerns. But there is no such thing as plain sailing. Eve has another house guest, the abrasive Lucy, who is helping her recuperate and does not look kindly on Julia’s desire for Eve’s attention.

But Lucy, too, has demons to battle and as each woman struggles to overcome their loss of place in the world, they start to realise that there may be more that holds them together, than keeps them apart.

But will these birds of feather truly be able to reinvent what family means? Or will the secrets and hurts of the past shatter their precarious hold on their new lives … and each other? 

During the past week I have been: Stranded on Buidseach Island off the Scottish Coast; in the poverty stricken suburb of Mattapan, Boston; to the tea shop in Charon’s Crossing, wherever that may be; and I am currently in the football obsessed village of Tenderton, Kent. Have we crossed paths this week? Where have you been?

I have eight new ARCs this week: At the End of the Day by Liz Byrski, an English born Australian author I love.

Brutal Crimes by Michael Hambling

The Room in the Attic by Louise Douglas

A Life Without Water by Marci Bolden which I was declined for back in 2019 when it was first released. I found it as ‘read now’ when I was browsing the Netgalley shelves.

The Stoning by Peter Papathanasiou, another Australian author also new to me.

A Lighthouse Christmas by Jenny Hale, an author I have been wanting to read for some time.

Every Little Lie by Lesley Sanderson, an author I enjoy.

And finally, The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan

and I still have 29 requests pending. 🤦‍♀️🤷‍♀️❤📚