Throwback Thursday – “How Will I Know You?” by Jessica Treadway #ThrowbackThursday #HowWillIKnowYou @GrandCentralPub

The Throwback Thursday meme was created by Renee over at It’s Book Talk. She made this meme to share some of her old favorites. Although all bookbloggers have an endless TBR pile, we seldom take the time to reflect back and post about some of the great reads from a few years ago. Sharing book recommendations is one of my most favorite things to do!

I originally reviewed “How Will I Know You?” in June 2019.


“When people get themselves into a hole,
other people like to watch them try to get out.”

Susanne Enright – age 42, is an accomplished sculptor turned college art instructor. Susanne’s husband, Gil has squandered their nest-egg in an ill-advised investment. Now his business is floundering. As a way of paying him back for his betrayal of her, she has an affair with one of her graduate students.

Martin Willett – a twenty-four year old, black, mixed-race art student and accomplished artist. He was one of very few people of colour living in this predominantly white upstate New York town. Greatly attracted to his instructor, Susanne Enright, he is more than receptive to her advances. They have an affair.

When Susanne’s daughter is murdered, Martin is pointed out by a witness and is framed by the power-hungry, racist, police-chief.

Harper Grove – is Joy Enright’s best friend, or she was… Friends since they were in pre-school, Joy now seems distant and has a new clique of friends. Unsavory friends. Harper is the youngest child of a dysfunctional family. She has a penchant for baking.

When Joy is murdered, Harper is interviewed by the police and finds herself lying in her witness statement for reasons that make sense only to her.

Tom Carbone – is married to Alison, who just happens to be the daughter of the interim police-chief.  He runs a convenience store once owned by his late father. Also, he works as an ‘on-call’  rescue diver.  After Alison has several miscarriages, Tom knows that his marriage is crumbling…. The fact that Alison is a closet alcoholic and a real ‘Daddy’s girl’ doesn’t bode well for Tom’s future.

The Victim, Joy Enright – the teenage daughter of Susanne and Gil. Bright and extremely artistically talented, Joy dreams of one day attending a prestigious (and expensive) art school. When her father loses his savings, she realizes that those dreams will come to naught. Also, she learns that her mother, with whom she was once very close, is having an affair with a black graduate student.

Who killed Joy Enright?

A few years ago I read this author’s “Lacy Eye” which I thoroughly enjoyed. For this reason I was confident I would like this book – and I wasn’t disappointed.

I really like Jessica Treadway’s writing style. She writes at a steady pace with fully fleshed-out characters that makes the reader invested in their plight and interested in how events will pan out. She seems to have an innate understanding of human nature, encompassing strengths and weaknesses, talents and character flaws, vices and self doubts, decisions and consequences.

With themes of parenting, substance abuse, justice, racism, blackmail, guilt, and loss, this novel will be favored by many readers. It eloquently asks the age old question “Can you really ever know another person?” Also, it explores the many secrets inherent in most small towns – as they serve as a microcosm of society as a whole. It explores the idea that one event can be interpreted many different ways according to the viewers perspective.

If you haven’t yet tried this author, then I would highly recommend you do so. An entertaining and thought-provoking character-study with a poignant conclusion.


I received a complimentary digital copy of “How Will I Know You” from Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley in consideration of my providing a candid review.

Jessica-Treadway-Author-Photo_credit-J.D.-Levine-Photography-683x1024

Jessica Treadway is a native of Albany, New York. Her story collection Please Come Back to Me received the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.  She is also the author of And Give You Peace, which was named as one of Booklist ‘s Top 10 Debut Novels of the Year, and the collection Absent Without Leave and Other Stories. Her stories have appeared in the AtlanticHudson ReviewPloughshares, and Five Points, among other literary journals.

A professor at Emerson College in Boston, she lives with her husband in Lexington, Massachusetts.

 

 

 

 

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“Note To Boy” by Sue Clark – Book Review @SueClarkAuthor #NoteToBoy #BookReview @unbounders

Eloise Slaughter – an aging, crotchety, overweight and infirm former fashionista with a penchant for Sapphie (Sapphire gin). Lonely, betrayed, and abandoned my her former friends, Eloise lives in squalor. She fancies herself an author and wants her story told – so she hires a young man to take down her notes and aid her in her daily life.

Bradley McCreedy – is an underweight youth with a dire home life who lives with his drunken mother and bullying brother. Bradley has a large strawberry birthmark on his face which he is very self-conscious of, and which has made him the butt of many jeers.

Desperate to escape the council estate and earn a little money, he applies for the job offered by Eloise. He is quite OCD and abhors dirt, so what he finds at her home disgusts him. She doesn’t make his life easy… While Bradley longs to clean up the filth and mould, Eloise wants him to help her write her memoirs.

Swinging 60s Carnaby Street fashion (art by Trevor Mitchell)

What a unique and entertaining little novel!

The volatile, yet affectionate relationship between the two main characters will be one that will stick in my memory for some time. Though Eloise was pitiable in many respects I did not find her all that likeable, whilst Bradley was a fabulous character. I cheered Bradley on throughout the story.

Humourous and poignant in equal measure, this is a captivating little novel which charmed me with its delightful characters.

I was ever so slightly disappointed with the ending, but could see why the author chose to end it that way.

Recommended to those readers who want an entertaining, quirky, character-rich, read.This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from the author.

Publication date: July 23, 2020
Publisher: Unbound Digital
ISBN: 9781789650938 –  ASIN: B088BQ62P3 – 280 pages

Note: the Kindle and Kobo digital formats of this novel are on salenow for only .99¢

Though she’s never been rich and famous, author Sue Clark, has seen celebrity from the side-lines.

She’s grilled John Humphreys, quipped with Ronnie Corbett and danced with a James Bond. She’s penned funny lines for the likes of Lenny Henry, June Whitfield, Roy Hudd and David Jason. She’s been a radio and TV scriptwriter on such shows such as Alas Smith and Jones, Weekending, The News Huddlines and The Jason Explanation. Alongside all that, she had a more conventional career as a PR, journalist, copywriter, guidebook author, secretary and, for one brief summer, a reader of books for a film producer. “Note To Boy” is her first novel.

Follow Sue Clark on Twitter: @SueClarkAuthor

 

Posted in Book Reviews, debut novels, Literary fiction | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Teaser Tuesday – January 25, 2022 #NewBook #TeaserTuesday #TheKeeperOfStories @SallyPageBooks @HarperCollinsUK @0neMoreChapter_

My Tuesday post where I’ll ‘tease‘ you with the cover, blurb, and first paragraph of one of the advanced reader’s copies from my own TBR.

This book is a title I downloaded from NetGalley.

Today, Tuesday January 25, 2022 I want to introduce one of the ARCs on my TBR.

This novel will be published on February 28, 2022Publisher: One More Chapter / HarperCollins UK

ISBN: 9780008453503 ASIN: ‎ B09MSGBYT6 –  384 pages



1)  This is a debut novel and I’m always pleased to try a new author.

2)  The notion that everyone has a story to tell and the ‘cleaner’/employer relationship.

3) Wondering just what Janice’s backstory might be.

4) The elderly character, Mrs. B who sounds like a woman with a distinct and slightly eccentric personality.

“Monday has a very particular order: laughter to begin with; sadness towards the end of the day. Like mismatched bookends, these are the things that prop up her Monday. She has arranged it this way on purpose as the prospect of laughter helps get her out of bed and strengthens her for what comes later.

Is this a title that you would consider adding to your TBR pile?

Why, or why not?

Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Anticipated titles, NetGalley, Teaser Tuesday, Women's fiction | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

“The Gorge” by Matt Brolly – Book Review

“The hills held so many secrets and there was a reason they kept calling him back.”

DI Louise Blackwell – 40 years old, unmarried, and lonely. Still reeling from a severe career setback at her previous posting and the traumatic events that occurred in “The Descent“, she is only just hanging in there… She has few friends, is driven in her quest for justice.  Louise’s brother Paul was recently murdered leaving his six year old daughter Emily an orphan. Louise adores Emily and visits her whenever she can because her parents are struggling in their new role of full-time carers of a traumatized child.

Just back from a five month leave after her brother’s murder, DI Louise Blackwell is tasked with the investigation of some murdered wild sheep who live on the hills above Cheddar Gorge. This investigation turns more serious when a man is then attacked, followed by the abduction of a young girl. Surely these cases are connected?  Meanwhile, Louise is secretly working on her brother’s murder case, which was never solved.Meanwhile, there is a mentally unstable man who seeks refuge in the caves in Cheddar Gorge… He is also physically unwell, and his labored breathing scare away some businessmen who tour the caves on a drunken lark.“Louise thought of the secrets people carried around with them at all times, and the extent to which those secrets could impinge on their behaviour.”

Louise Blackwell makes for an engaging protagonist, and the beautiful and atmospheric setting is an added bonus. In this her third outing, Louise is once again torn between her work and her familial responsibilities. She is sleep deprived, mistrustful, very lonely, and under pressure.

Once again, her nemesis on the force, DCI Tim Finch, makes Louise’s life interesting – and not in a good way.

This plot featured a social outcast, a conflicted businessman with a penchant for drink, some unscrupulous property developers, an environmental commune, and some distressed and distraught parents.

The setting – Cheddar Gorge, a scenic location much loved by tourists, was almost a character unto itself. Jacob’s Ladder, the cliff walks, the caves…

In case you haven’t yet guessed, I enjoyed “The Gorge” and its predecessors, and I’m eager to read the next novel in the Louise Blackwell series which is called “The Mark“. Highly recommended to all who enjoy police procedural crime fiction.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley.

Publication date: February 25, 2021

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (an imprint of Amazon Publishing UK)

ISBN: 9781542005357    ASIN: B08F54PW7L    332 pages

Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt Brolly completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. He reads widely across all genres. He is the bestselling author of the DCI Lambert crime novels Dead Water, Dead Eyed, Dead Lucky, Dead Embers and Dead Time; the acclaimed near-future crime novel Zero; and the US-based thriller The Controller. Matt also writes children’s books as M. J. Brolly.  Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children.

You can find more out about Matt at his website MattBrolly.co.uk or by following him on Twitter: @MattBrollyUK

Posted in Book Reviews, Mystery fiction, NetGalley | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Cover Love part 108 – Doorknobs #CoverLove #fictionophile #BookCovers

They say you can never have a second chance to make a good first impression. A book’s cover does just that – gives a first impression. A good cover can make a reader pick up a book. A bad cover can leave the book at the very bottom of a dusty pile.

The covers of novels entice the reader to enter a different world. Covers are, after all, the way the publisher ‘hooks‘ the reader into choosing one book over countless others.

For my 108th Cover Love post, I want to share 33 fiction books that I’ve found with doorknobs and 11 more books with doorhandles on their covers. These are predominately thrillers, but a few other genres are present as well.

Okay, those were the doorknobs, Now for the door handles:

Have you read any of these titles?

Don’t forget to check out any of the other previous 107 installments of Cover Love, many of which have been updated since they were first published.

Posted in Cover Love series, Dustjackets | Tagged | 14 Comments

International publishing – Book availability woes (again)

In May of 2020, I did a similar post but this issue continues to plague me.

As a book blogger, I spend a LOT of time reading other people’s blogs and reviews, and perusing the internet for fodder for my own blog.

Admit it. This is a virtual world where boundaries can be crossed without fear of catching Covid-19, so it is the only safe way to ‘travel’ right now.

The majority of blogs that I follow (and the ones I seem to enjoy the most) are those blogs that are based in the United Kingdom. This does not surprise me at all. The United Kingdom is my favourite setting for the books I choose to read. It is also where most of the publishing action is when it comes to my favourite genres of mystery/crime/thriller novels. On a personal note, my Mum was born in Lincolnshire, so the pull is strong. I’m an ardent anglophile.

One would think, that as I do ALL of my reading on my Kindle, that I could read just about any book out there. These are electronic files. Files that are easy to share and even easier to transport through space – instantly. But alas… this is NOT the case.When it comes to Kindle book availability, there is a GREAT DIVIDE between what is available to me in Nova Scotia, Canada versus what is available in the United Kingdom.

Although I’ve been able to procure some of my favourite UK reads via NetGalley and Edelweiss, there are still many that I would love to read and just can’t buy!

I thought I’d share with you some of the titles that are not available to purchase on Amazon.ca in any formatThese are SIX books that I want to buy that are not available in ANY format!


The Marsh House” by Zoë Somerville

December, 1962
Desperate to salvage something from a disastrous year, Malorie rents a remote house on the Norfolk coast for Christmas. But once there, the strained silence between her and her daughter, Franny, feels louder than ever. Digging for decorations in the attic, she comes across the notebooks of the teenaged Rosemary, who lived in the house years before. Though she knows she needs to focus on the present, Malorie finds herself inexorably drawn into the past…

July, 1930
Rosemary lives in the Marsh House with her austere father, surrounded by unspoken truths and rumours. So when the glamorous Lafferty family move to the village, she succumbs easily to their charm. Dazzled by the beautiful Hilda and her dashing brother, Franklin, Rosemary fails to see the danger that lurks beneath their bright façades…

As Malorie reads on, the boundaries between past and present begin to blur, in this haunting novel about family, obligation and deeply buried secrets.


Safe At Homeby Lauren North

I read this author’s “One Step Behind” via NetGalley and I’m eager to read more of her work.

Anna James is an anxious mother. So when she has to leave eleven-year-old Harrie home alone one evening, she can’t stop thinking about everything that could go wrong for her daughter. But it’ll only be for twenty minutes and nothing bad ever happens in the sleepy village of Barton St Martin.

Then Anna gets stuck on the road and twenty minutes becomes several hours. When she finally makes it home, Anna knows something isn’t right; that something happened while she was gone. The back door is open. There’s a bruise on Harrie’s neck, and she won’t explain how she got it.

The next morning, the village is sparking with gossip. A local businessman has disappeared. Anna is convinced the two events are connected, and that Harrie is in danger. But how can she keep her daughter safe, if she doesn’t know what she needs protecting from?


The Image Of Her” by Sonia Velton

(I read this author’s “Blackberry & Wild Rose” and want to read more of her work)

STELLA and CONNIE are strangers, brought together by two traumatic events – cruel twists of fate that happen thousands of miles apart.

Stella lives with her mother, a smothering narcissist. When she succumbs to dementia, the pressures on Stella’s world intensify, culminating in tragedy. As Stella recovers from a near fatal accident, she feels compelled to share her trauma but she finds talking difficult. In her head she confides in Connie because there’s no human being in the world that she feels closer to.

Connie is an expat living in Dubai with her partner, Mark, and their two children. On the face of it she wants for nothing and yet … something about life in this glittering city does not sit well with her. Used to working full time in a career she loves back in England, she struggles to find meaning in the expat life of play-dates and pedicures.

Two women set on a collision course. When they finally link up, it will not be in a way that you, or I, or anyone would ever have expected.


The Dark Room” by Sam Blake

Hare’s Landing, West Cork. A house full of mystery…

Rachel Lambert leaves London afraid for her personal safety and determined to uncover the truth behind the sudden death of a homeless man with links to a country house hotel called Hare’s Landing.

New York-based crime reporter Caroline Kelly’s career is threatened by a lawsuit and she needs some thinking space away from her job. But almost as soon as she arrives, Hare’s Landing begins to reveal its own stories – a 30-year-old missing person’s case and the mysterious death of the hotel’s former owner.

As Rachel and Caroline join forces, it becomes clear that their investigations are intertwined – and that there is nothing more dangerous than the truth…


The Other You” by J.S. Monroe

(recommended to me four times)

Kate used to be good at recognising people. So good, she worked for the police, identifying criminals in crowds of thousands. But six months ago, a devastating car accident led to a brain injury. Now the woman who never forgot a face can barely recognise herself in the mirror.
At least she has Rob. Young, rich, handsome and successful, Rob runs a tech company on the idyllic Cornish coast. Kate met him just after her accident, and he nursed her back to health. When she’s with him, in his luxury modernist house, the nightmares of the accident fade, and she feels safe and loved.
Until, one day, she looks at Rob anew. And knows, with absolute certainty, that the man before her has been replaced by an impostor.
Is Rob who he says he is? Or is it all in Kate’s damaged mind?


A Window Breaks” by C.M. Ewan

(another blogger recommendation)

If your family was targeted in the middle of the night, what would you do?
You are asleep. A noise wakes you.
You stir, unsure why, and turn to your wife.
Then you hear it.
Glass. Crunching underfoot.
Your worst fears are about to be realized.
Someone is inside your home.
Your choices are limited.
You can run. Or stay and fight.
What would you do?


Here are NINE more titles that are available in paper format, but NOT available in Kindle format As I ONLY read the Kindle format, this makes them unattainable for me. Yes, there is a button you can click AND, though I’ve clicked this button many, many, times for many, many, titles, I have never seen any results.


The Trawlerman” by William Shaw

(the newest novel in a series that I follow avidly)

A DOUBLE MURDER
The naked corpses of Aylmer and Mary Younis are discovered in their home. The only clues are a note written in blood and an eerie report of two spectral figures departing the crime scene. Officer Jill Ferriter is charged with investigating the murders while her colleague Alex Cupidi is on leave, recovering from post-traumatic stress.

AN ELABORATE SCAM
The dead couple had made investments in a green reforestry scheme in Guatemala, resulting in the loss of all their savings. What is more disturbing is that Cupidi and Ferriter’s disgraced former colleague and friend Bill South is also on the list of investors and the Younis’s were not the only losers.

AN UNLIKELY KILLER
Despite being in counselling and receiving official warnings to stay away from police work Cupidi finds herself dragged into the case and begins to trawl among the secrets and lies that are held in the fishing community of Folkestone. Desperate to exonerate South she finds herself murderously compromised when personal relationships cloud her judgement.


The Deception Of Harriet Fleet” by Helen Scarlett

1871. An age of discovery and progress. But for the Wainwright family, residents of the gloomy Teesbank Hall in County Durham the secrets of the past continue to overshadow their lives.

Harriet would not have taken the job of governess in such a remote place unless she wanted to hide from something or someone. Her charge is Eleanor, the daughter of the house, a fiercely bright eighteen-year-old, tortured by demons and feared by relations and staff alike. But it soon becomes apparent that Harriet is not there to teach Eleanor, but rather to monitor her erratic and dangerous behaviour – to spy on her.

Worn down by Eleanor’s unpredictable hostility, Harriet soon finds herself embroiled in Eleanor’s obsession – the Wainwright’s dark, tragic history. As family secrets are unearthed, Harriet’s own begin to haunt her and she becomes convinced that ghosts from the past are determined to reveal her shameful story.

For Harriet, like Eleanor, is plagued by deception and untruths.


The Girl at the Window” by Rowan Coleman

(another title that comes highly recommended)

Ponden Hall is a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors, a magical place full of stories. It’s also where Trudy Heaton grew up. And where she ran away from…
Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, she is returning home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead.
While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present…


Three Hours” by Rosamund Lupton

(a novel that has been highly recommended to me by at least seven different bloggers)

Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.
It is a morning’s lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.
It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.
It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.
In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. Told from the point of view of the people at the heart of it, from the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.


The Secrets of Primrose Square” by Claudia Carroll

(another title which comes highly recommended)

There are so many stories hidden behind closed doors . . .
It’s late at night and the rain is pouring down on the Dublin city streets. A mother is grieving for her dead child. She stands silently outside the home of the teenage boy she believes responsible. She watches . . .
In a kitchen on the same square, a girl waits anxiously for her mum to come home. She knows exactly where she is, but she knows she cannot reach her.
A few doors down, and a widow sits alone in her room. She has just delivered a bombshell to her family during dinner and her life is about to change forever.
And an aspiring theatre director has just moved in to a flat across the street. Her landlord is absent, but there are already things about him that don’t quite add up . . .
Welcome to Primrose Square.


The Carer” by Deborah Moggach

James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands. But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy’s virtues, their shopping trips, and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss. Is this really their father, the distant figure who never once turned up for a sports day, now happily chortling over cuckoo clocks and television soaps?

Then something happens that throws everything into new relief, and Phoebe and Robert discover that life most definitely does not stop for the elderly. It just moves onto a very different plane – changing all the stories they thought they knew so well.


The House Beneath the Cliffs” by Sharon Gosling

A remote yet beautiful village. A tiny kitchen lunch club. The perfect place to start again.

Anna moves to Crovie, a tiny fishing village on the Moray Firth, for a fresh start. But when she arrives, she realises her new home is really no more than a shed, and the village itself sits beneath a cliff right on the edge of the sea, in constant danger of storms and landslides. Has she made a terrible mistake?

Yet as she begins to learn about the Scottish coast and its people, something she thought she’d lost reawakens in her. She rediscovers her love of cooking, and turns her kitchen into a pop-up lunch club. But not all the locals are delighted about her arrival, and some are keen to see her plans fail.

Will Anna really be able to put down roots in this remote and wild village? Or will her fragile new beginning start to crumble with the cliffs . . . ?

Beautiful, moving and utterly absorbing, The House Beneath the Cliffs is a novel of friendship and food, storms and secrets, and the beauty of second chances.


I Know Who Did It” by Steve Mosby

Charlie Matheson died two years ago in a car accident. So how is a woman who bearing a startling resemblance to her claiming to be back from the dead? Detective Mark Nelson is called in investigate and hear her terrifying account of what she’s endured in the ‘afterlife’.

Detective David Groves is a man with an unshakeable belief in the law, determined to bring his son’s killers to justice. But Groves’ search will mean facing someone with an altogether more ruthless approach to right and wrong.

Former Detective John Mercer is slowly recovering from the case that nearly destroyed his life, but a connection to Charlie Matheson brings the realisation that he still has demons left to face.

And at the centre of it all, are two brothers with a macabre secret. They’ve been waiting. They’ve been planning. They’ve been killing. And for Mark Nelson, David Groves and John Mercer, they’re about to unleash hell on earth.


Ash Mountain” by Helen Fitzgerald

Fran hates Ash Mountain, and she thought she’d escaped. But her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway.

She returns to her hometown to nurse her dying father, her distant teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable heat of an Australian summer.

As old friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…

Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that you will never forget…


Have YOU ever encountered a situation where you want to buy a book that is UNAVAILABLE for you to purchase?  Was it a book that IS available in other countries, but not yours?  I’d be interested in hearing about your experience in the comments.

Posted in Anticipated titles, ebooks and ereaders, Fictionophile report, ramblings & miscellanea | Tagged , , | 34 Comments

“The Quality of Silence” by Rosamund Lupton – Book Review

Yasmin is in Alaska to find Matthew, her husband, who is a wildlife photographer. Ruby, her ten-year old daughter accompanies her due to the fact that Ruby is completely deaf and Yasmin didn’t have anyone to care for her back in England. When they arrive in this hostile environment, they learn that there has been a catastrophic fire in the village where Matt has been staying. There are no survivors. Yasmin, refusing to believe that Matt is gone, persuades a trucker to take them north.

The trucker is from Afghanistan, and is a sweet and gentle man named Mr. Adeeb Azizi. Unfortunately though, Adeeb becomes gravely ill so Yasmin takes his huge truck and continues north with only Ruby for company. As they travel, the enormous oil pipeline runs alongside them.

 

Then a storm comes…

Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

The cold permeates my reading as the descriptions are so vivid. Alaska in winter, when daylight is only a memory, and the cold and dark are extreme.

Told mainly from the point of view of ten-year old Ruby, the narrative relates her thoughts and fears. Mostly, the fear that they will not be able to find her beloved father. Because Ruby is deaf, she interprets her surroundings, and the things and people in it, in a different way than a hearing person would. This adds an added dimension to the story. Interspersed throughout are Yasmin’s memories of her own youth, her mother’s death, and her memories of when she met her husband, Matt. Yasmin’s chats with Ruby during this momentous voyage results in her getting to really know her daughter.

Meanwhile, the mother and daughter brave great physical dangers, both from the brutal weather conditions, and, from someone who does not want them to travel north in the event that they discover something unethical and reprehensible.

The title was perfect for the novel. The quality of silence being something unique to both deaf people, and in the remote, brutally cold Alaskan tundra.

The read was by turns tense, harrowing, and poignant. Despite the novel being at times implausible (with a city-born astrophysicist driving a forty-ton, eighteen wheeler on a desolate Alaskan ice road) this was a well executed cautionary tale of what happens when greed surpasses moral integrity and ethics.

This is the first time I’ve read Rosamund Lupton’s work, and “The Quality of Silence” serves as a good endorsement for me to read more. It is a suspense-filled novel with themes of environmental ethics, misguided patriotism, familial loss, and loving tenacity.

3.5 stars rounded up for Amazon and NetGalley – rounded down for Goodreads (where the star values are slightly different)

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Crown Publishing via NetGalley.

Publication date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Crown Publishing
ISBN:9781101903674 –  ASIN: B00XST7IEG – 322 pages


Rosamund Lupton graduated from Cambridge University in 1986. After reviewing books for the Literary Review and being invited to join the Royal Court Theatre, she won a television play competition and subsequently worked as a screen writer. Her debut novel Sister, was a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, has been translated into over thirty languages and has international sales of over 1.5 million copies. It was the fastest-selling debut of 2010 by a British author, and was winner of the Richard and Judy Best Debut Novel of 2011 Award and the Strand Magazine Critics First Novel Award. Film rights of Sister are currently under option.

Lupton’s critically acclaimed second novel Afterwards also went straight into the Sunday Times bestseller lists and was the No. 2 Sunday Times fiction bestseller of 2011. The Quality of Silence her third novel was a Sunday Times best seller and a Richard & Judy bookclub pick.

Her new novel Three Hours is a Sunday Times top ten best seller and a best book of 2020 in the Sunday Times, the Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Stylist, Red & Good Housekeeping. It’s a Times and Sunday Times thriller of the month.

Rosamund Lupton lives in South East England.

Follow Rosamund Lupton on Twitter: @Rosamundlupton

Posted in Book Reviews, NetGalley, Suspense | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Throwback Thursday – “Little Black Lies” by Sharon Bolton #ThrowbackThursday #LittleBlackLies

The Throwback Thursday meme was created by Renee over at It’s Book Talk. She made this meme to share some of her old favorites. Although all bookbloggers have an endless TBR pile, we seldom take the time to reflect back and post about some of the great reads from a few years ago. Sharing book recommendations is one of my most favorite things to do!

I originally reviewed “Little Black Lies” in June 2015.


The setting of “Little Black Lies” was one which I’ve never encountered before in popular fiction. The Falkland Islands were portrayed vividly with both geographical and historical accuracy. It reminded me a bit of the Scottish Hebrides with its abundant wildlife, windswept rolling hills and sea.

Aerial photo of Stanley

Aerial photo of Stanley

Amongst this breathtaking scenery we meet some of the inhabitants of Port Stanley, the main town of the Falklands. Stanley has a population of just over two thousand people. Not much at all for the capital of a country the size of Wales.

The narrative of “Little Black Lies” is told over the course of one week via the perspective of three different people. A plot device that is very effective in this instance.

Three years ago the women in “Little Black Lies” were vastly different people. Catrin Quinn was married to Ben and had two healthy boys with another baby on the way. Rachel Grimwood, her best friend, was also the mother of two young boys with a third on the way. The women had been friends since childhood and were closer than sisters, sharing every thought and aspiration.

FaulklandsThe narrative begins with Catrin Quinn – a very damaged woman who has endured what is for most people is the very worst thing imaginable. She has lost two young sons in a careless accident and as a result of this trauma she has miscarried a third son… Catrin is coping as well as she can. Her marriage to Ben has dissolved and she now lives alone with her Staffordshire Terrier, Queenie. QueenieHer days are filled with her work as a cetaceans specialist at the Falkland Conservation Headquarters. However, never a day passes that she does not think of her boys and her thoughts have become suicidal… She thinks the only reason she does not ‘end it all’ is the vast rage she feels for who she blames for their death, her former best-friend, Rachel. She keeps a diary detailing her rage and plans for vengeance.

This week is no ordinary week in the Falklands. A young boy has gone missing. This is the third boy to go missing in as many years. This has made the entire island population tense with fear and suspicion. Unlike England or the U.S., where a missing child brings about fear of pedophiles, in the Falklands people fear drowning, animal attacks or something less sinister. But with three missing children the hard-working islanders are desperate for answers and they begin imagining something more fearful. They try to assure themselves that nothing evil could happen here…

beached pilot whalesIn addition, the week holds a natural disaster. Almost two hundred pilot whales have beached themselves on the shores and it is Catrin Quinn’s mandate to cope with this distressing natural disaster.

The book’s second narrative traverses this disastrous week with Catrin’s former lover Callum Murray. From Scotland, Callum originally came to the Falklands as a soldier in the Falkland’s War. It is as a result of this war that he now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Callum is a tall, handsome man who chose to make his home in the beautiful country he so bravely defended. The country where he accidentally met the married Catrin – with whom he fell immediately in love.

The third narrative follows Rachel Grimwood’s week. Rachel feels like a pariah. Her guilt weighs so heavily upon her that she has difficulty coping with everyday life. She cannot look people in the eye. She shows little affection for her youngest son, though she loves her two elder sons dearly. She is often home alone with the boys as her husband Sander travels with his work. As a result of a her actions three years ago two little boys have lost their lives. Little boys that she once cared for deeply. She has lost her best friend. She is seriously depressed.

An intricately plotted story of how one moment of thoughtlessness can lead to tragedy that impacts upon countless people, “Little Black Lies” is filled with a pervading sense of loss. There are many surprises in store for the reader. With solid, empathetic characters and jaw-dropping plot revelations, it is a novel that will be appreciated by anyone who admires crime fiction with a psychological bent. It contains all of the elements of a great thriller: betrayal, secrecy, passion, despair, fear – and Sharon Bolton uses these elements in a seamless way that grabs you and won’t let go until the very, very end. Wow!

Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Publishing for providing me an eARC in exchange for this review.  ISBN: 9781250080677 – 368 pages

Sharon (formerly SJ) Bolton grew up in a cotton-mill town in Lancashire and had an eclectic early career which is now rather embarrassed about. She gave it all up to become a mother and a writer.

sjb_polaroids_8bitHer first novel, Sacrifice, was voted Best New Read by Amazon.uk, whilst her second, Awakening, won the 2010 Mary Higgins Clark award. In 2014, Lost, (UK title, Like This, For Ever) was named RT Magazine’s Best Contemporary Thriller in the US, and in France, Now You See Me won the Plume de Bronze. That same year, Sharon was awarded the CWA Dagger in the Library, for her entire body of work.

Follow Sharon Bolton on Twitter @AuthorSJBolton

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“Drift, Stumble, Fall” by M. Jonathan Lee – Book Review

Richard –Richard is an accountant. Married to Lisa, he is the father of eight year old Hannah and toddler Oscar. He loves his children very much, but… Richard feels claustrophobic – absolutely stifled and trapped by his life. He longs for a quiet life with no children around. He looks out his window at Bill’s house across the street and covets Bill’s life.  Richard goes so far as to plan his ‘escape‘, fantasizing about a new life away from England. He dreams of a solitary life in the American midwest. The monotony and suffocation of his family life constantly suffocate him. Torn, he waffles between wanting to escape, and longing to stay for his children.


Bill –

Bill spends a good part of his day gazing out his front window at the house across the street. A house filled with noise, life, and love – or so he thinks. He secretly wishes for Richard’s life.

At eighty-seven years old, Bill’s life is a quiet and sedentary one. He lives with his beloved wife Rosie, and is the father of two daughters. Victoria, the eldest daughter, disappeared over thirty years ago – never to be heard from again. Both Bill and his wife keep vigil for her return. They never go out at the same time so that there’s always someone home in case Victoria were to return home…  Samantha, their youngest, passed away several years ago leaving a grieving husband behind. Samantha’s widower, Kevin, has been a godsend to Bill and his wife. Kevin is attentive to their needs and acts like the son they never had.

The suburban street where Richard and Bill live is under several feet of snow after a recent storm. They are snowed in, and it is just a week before Christmas…

If ever there was a good example of “the grass is always greener on the other side of the street“, it is eloquently depicted in “Drift, Stumble, Fall“.  It is human nature to pine for what we don’t have.

Bill and Rosie’s story was one of such deep sadness, while Richard and Lisa seemed not to appreciate each other, to be just ‘going through the motions’.

I have to say, that this is a book about not much at all, but it is written with such empathy and understanding of human nature that being inside Richard’s head proved to be riveting reading.

The whole time I was wondering whether Richard would stay or go. Also, wondering just what would MAKE him stay? what would MAKE him go?

At the end of this powerful little novel I wondered… just how many people around us, who appear to be adjusted and content, are really living lives of quiet desperation?

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from BooksGoSocial via NetGalley.Publication date: April 12, 2018
Publisher: Hideaway Fall – BooksGoSocial

ISBN:9780995492349 ASIN: ‎ B079KHL5B1    324 pages

Jonathan Lee is a nationally shortlisted author who was born Yorkshire where he still lives today with his second wife, five children, two cats and a dog.

His debut novel, The Radio was shortlisted for The Novel Prize 2012. He has spoken in schools, colleges, prisons and universities about creative writing and storytelling and appeared at various literary festivals including Sheffield’s Off the Shelf and Doncaster’s Turn the Page festival.

His second novel, The Page was released in February 2015.

His much anticipated third novel, A Tiny Feeling of Fear was released in September 2015 and tells the story of a character struggling with mental illness. All profits from this novel are donated to charity to raise awareness of mental health issues.

In 2016, he signed for boutique publishers, Hideaway Fall and his fourth novel Broken Branches was released in July 2017, winning book of the month in Candis magazine for September.

He is a tireless campaigner for mental health awareness and writes his own column regularly for the Huffington Post. He has recently written for the Big Issue and spoken at length about his own personal struggle on the BBC and Radio Talk Europe. Drift Stumble Fall was released in Spring 2018, while his sixth novel 337 was published in 2020.

Visit M. Jonathan Lee’s website and/or follow him on Twitter @MJonathanLee

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Teaser Tuesday – January 18, 2022 #NewBook #TeaserTuesday @CenturyBooksUK #TheLongWeekend @GillyMacmillan

My Tuesday post where I’ll ‘tease‘ you with the cover, blurb, and first paragraph of one of the advanced reader’s copies from my own TBR.

This book is a title I downloaded from NetGalley.

Today, Tuesday January 18, 2022 I want to introduce one of the ARCs on my TBR.

This novel will be published on February 3, 2022

Publisher: Century Books / RandomHouse UK

ISBN: 9781529135367 – ISBN: 9781529158007 ASIN: ‎ B0983LK135 –  400 pages

It will be published in North America by William Morrow on March 29, 2022 and has this cover:



1)  The author!  Gilly Macmillan has written several thrillers which I have enjoyed.

2)  The setting! A remote dwelling on a moor in Northumbria.

3) Wanting to know what these three modern women will do with no internet, no phone service and no way to contact the outside world – how it will affect their friendship.

4) Wondering WHY? What have they done to incur such drastic measures? Such wrath?

“John shouldn’t be driving, they discussed it with the doctor yesterday, but Maggie sees the look in his eyes and puts the key into his outstretched hand. His fingers snap closed around it.

Is this a title that you would consider adding to your TBR pile?

Why, or why not?

Have you read anything else by this author?

Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Anticipated titles, NetGalley, Teaser Tuesday | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

January 17, 2022 – Blue Monday? Books are the cure for that.

Yup! Today, January 17th, 2022 is Blue Monday. A term (in the northern hemisphere) that describes a Monday in January, typically the third Monday of the month, that is characterized as the most depressing day of the year.

To battle the blues, I decided to embrace them. I scanned my Goodreads TBR to see how many of them have blue covers. I found 34! 

If anything looks interesting to you, just click on the cover and it will take you to the Goodreads description.



















How could I be BLUE with all of these great titles yet to read?

 

Posted in Dustjackets | Tagged , | 18 Comments

Sunday Sampler – what I’ve been up to Jan. 10-16, 2022

We are in our fourth wave of Covid-19 here in Nova Scotia, with many new cases of Omnicron daily. For that reason, most all of what I’ve been doing lately has been very close to home.

I recently purchased a new Ninja Foodi and I’m on a steep learning curve to master the beast. So far I’ve air fried, sauteed, and pressure cooked. It also dehydrates, broils, steams, bakes, and roasts.

If any of you out there owns a Foodi, I’d be grateful if you could share your tips and recipes.


This week my husband and I finished watching the most recent season of “Yellowstone“. I love that show!
We began watching a great thriller called “Vigil” starring Suranne Jones. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen her in.
We also started watching the 3rd season of “After Life” starring Ricki Gervais. I love these quirky characters.


My son had a birthday this week, so of course we celebrated that!


And, of course, I was

I finished “One Step Too Far” by Lisa Gardner. I LOVE the character of Frankie Elkin and I’m sad I’ll probably have to wait another whole year before I can read the next book in this fabulous series.

I also finished “The Last House on the Street” by Diane Chamberlain, which I enjoyed thoroughly.

I’m now finishing up M. Jonathan Lee’s “Drift, Stumble, Fall“, a title from my NetGalley backlist. I’m liking this one way more than I thought I would. My review will be posted within the next few days. After that, I plan to read Rosamund Lupton’s “The Quality of Silence“, another title from my NetGalley backlist.

I’m determined to read and review more backlist titles this year!


I have begun playing the new online game WORDLE and I’m totally hooked! I’ve played five times so far. The first four times I played I got it in three tries. Today it took me five tries… Here are the instructions for the game, just in case you want to click on the link above:    What are the rules of Wordle?

  1. You have to guess the Wordle in six goes or less.
  2. You begin by entering any five letter word.
  3. Every word you enter must be in the word list.
  4. A correct letter in the right place turns green.
  5. A correct letter in the wrong place turns yellow.
  6. An incorrect letter turns gray.
  7. Letters can be used more than once.

Now I’m waiting for tomorrow’s turn:


We had a snowstorm yesterday…. so there’s that….


What have YOU been up to this week? Let me know in the comments. ♥

Posted in Fictionophile report, personal | Tagged | 17 Comments

#BookRecommendations with titles that start with the letter ‘M’ #GreatReads

Last year I started going through the entire alphabet, one letter per month. For January 2022, the thirteenth month of my endeavor, I’m listing all of my favourite novels that begin with the letter ‘M‘. I am choosing these titles from the books I’ve read since I began this blog. There are 15 books recommended here.

If the title begins with an initial article such as The, A, An etc., I will be using the second word.  For instance, “A Man called Ove” will be included in my M post. “The Silent Patient” will be listed in my S post.

Hopefully you’ll find something that interests you from these posts. As always, I’ve linked the book cover to Goodreads, and the title link will take you to MY review of the book.


Magpie Lane” by Lucy Atkins


A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman


A Measured Thread” by Mary Behan


Malagash” by Joey Comeau


Mercy House” by Alena Dillon


The Missing Ones” by Patricia Gibney


Mile Marker 139” by Cynthia Hilston


The Music Shop” by Rachel Joyce


Miss Benson’s Beetle” by Rachel Joyce


Margreete’s Harbor” by Eleanor Morse


Miller’s Valley” by Anna Quindlen


Murder, Forgotten” by Deb Richardson-Moore


Missing, Presumed” by Susie Steiner


My Name is Lucy Barton” by Elizabeth Strout


My Kind of People” by Lisa Duffy

If you have already read any of these titles, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

When someone asks me to recommend a book…

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Favorite books | Tagged | 15 Comments

“One Step Too Far” by Lisa Gardner – Book Review

“If you hoard other people’s tragedies, does that make your own easier to bear?”Frankie Elkin is, in her own words, a scrawny, middle-aged white woman. She is a drifter, an excellent bartender, and an alcoholic. For the past decade, Frankie has been sober and devoting her life to finding missing persons. Usually people who are minorities, whose cases have gone cold. She has found many of these people, though not all of them alive.

“Why do I do what I do? Because at the end of the day, the people left behind matter as much as the ones who are missing. We mourn the ones we’ve lost, but we agonize over the pieces of ourselves they took with them.”

Now Frankie finds herself in a Wyoming National Forest, the Popo Agie Wilderness Area to be exact. Her people skills won’t help her here. This is a whole new ballgame.

Popo Agie Wildnerness

Frankie gets herself involved in a search for a young man who went missing five years previously. The young man’s mother is dying of cancer and she wants her son’s body found so that they can be buried together.

Frankie accompanies a team comprised of the young man’s father, a local wilderness guide, three of the man’s friends, a bigfoot hunter, a search and rescue dog handler and her search/cadaver dog, Daisy.

Frankie is courageous, lonely, wise-cracking, impulsive, driven by her demons, and most of all…. broken. She shuns personal possessions and travels light. At all times she lives by her instincts, and is an outsider wherever she goes… She is adept at judging the character of the people she meets and appreciates kindness.

“In this day and age, we all talk too much and hear too little.”

Frankie Elkin is unique, damaged, and so very memorable. I loved her and was sad when I turned the last page on her story when I read “Before She Disappeared“. I feel the same way now… Frankie is so endearing in her own stubborn, slightly reserved way. She is fast becoming my all-time favorite fictional character.

She is out of her usual urban element and it tests her in ways both physical and emotional. Driven by some unknown compulsion to bring back the body of a young man to his mother, she risks life and limb in her efforts.

I adored the writing in this book. The dreadful and disturbing circumstances which were lightened with levity and sarcasm. Many themes run through this page-turning narrative, the most predominant ones being guilt, remorse, loss, and human connection.

This is a character-driven thriller and an epic adventure of wilderness survival wrapped up into one.

Gosh… do I have to wait until next January to read more Frankie Elkin? Write faster Lisa Gardner!

Highly recommended! ALL THE STARS!This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Cornerstone/Random House UK via NetGalley.Publication date: January 20, 2022
Publisher: Century/Cornerstone/Random House UK
Publisher in North America: Dutton

ISBN:9781529135565  ISBN: 9781529157895

ASIN: B094V9CQWQ    410 pages

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. She’s also had four books become TV movies (At the Midnight Hour; The Perfect Husband; The Survivors Club; Hide) and has made personal appearances on TruTV and CNN.

Lisa’s books have received awards from across the globe. Her novel, The Neighbor, won Best Hardcover Novel from the International Thriller Writers, while also receiving the Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle in France. She was also recognized with the Daphne du Maurier Award in 2000 for The Other Daughter. Finally, Lisa received the Silver Bullet Award from the International Thriller Writers in 2017 for her work on behalf of at-risk children and the Humane Society.

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.

Follow Lisa Gardner on Twitter @LisaGardnerBks ; or visit her website: https://www.lisagardner.com/

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Favorite books, NetGalley, Page turners | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Throwback Thursday – “The Song of Hartgrove Hall” by Natasha Solomons

The Throwback Thursday meme was created by Renee over at It’s Book Talk. She made this meme to share some of her old favorites. Although all bookbloggers have an endless TBR pile, we seldom take the time to reflect back and post about some of the great reads from a few years ago. Sharing book recommendations is one of my most favorite things to do!

I originally reviewed “The Song of Hartgrove Hall” in the summer of 2020, but it was published in December 2015.


“Home wasn’t a place. Home was music.”

Hartgrove Hall is a house with nine bedrooms, five reception rooms, a suite of attics and half a dozen ramshackle barns.

Reading “The Song of Hartgrove Hall” I knew that I was being introduced to my latest favourite author. Having finished the novel, I will now add everything she has written to my TBR.

A literary historical novel, “The Song of Hartgrove Hall” is written in dual timelines with a single protagonist, Harry Fox-Talbot, a musical composer and conductor and, most importantly, a song collector.

We first meet Harry (or Little Fox) as he is known, in 1946 when he is a very young man. He was too young to have served in the war like his two older brothers. Their ancestral manor house/farm, Hartgrove Hall, was requisitioned by the British Army during the war and they are just reacquainting themselves with its grandeur and its decrepitude. The house is in dire need of a large influx of cash which they do not have.

Edie Rose, a jewish wartime singer comes to stay at Hartgrove Hall and she makes a profound impact on all of the brothers and the very house itself. Partly in tribute to the great house, and partly in honour of Edie, Little Fox composes a symphony called “The Song of Hartgrove Hall”. A song that will help keep the house in the family for the following fifty years.

In the present day timeline we meet up with Fox when he is in his eighties. His beloved wife has recently died and he is grief stricken. He is a self-confessed ‘old fogey’ who lives alone in the vast Hartgrove Hall. When he discovers the musical genius of his five year old grandson, Robin, it proves as a turning-point in his life.

Harry was a character that I’ll remember for quite some time. He was a very ‘real’ man with his own obsessions, guilt, and immense talent. His great love for one woman, his ancestral home, and his music are the driving forces of his life.

A novel that is an homage to music also includes themes of forgiveness, betrayal, family, aging, bereavement, and affinity for place. It is my belief that anyone who enjoys the novels of Kate Morton or Rosamund Pilcher will adore this one. Highly recommended!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Plume Books (an imprint of Penguin Random House) via NetGalley.

Publication date: December 29, 2015 Publisher: Plume Books

ISBN: 9780147517593 eBook: 9780698407022 494 pages

Note: This novel was also published under the title: “The Song Collector

Natasha Solomons is a screenwriter and novelist. She lives in Dorset with her husband, the award-winning children’s author David Solomons, and their two children. She is the New York Times best-selling author of four novels and her work has been translated into seventeen languages.
If she’s not writing in the studio, she can usually be found playing hide-and-seek in the garden.

Follow Natasha Solomons on Twitter and/or visit her website.

Posted in Book Reviews, Historical fiction, Throwback Thursday | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments