Wednesday’s Word = FAMILY

Most readers will acknowledge that some words reappear time and time again in titles. Often these words are associated with a particular genre. Case in point: “The girl on the train” and “Gone girl” spawned countless thriller titles with the word ‘girl’ in the title.

I know there are hundreds of books with the word ‘FAMILY’ in the title, but I’m featuring a selection of 43 titles that appeal to me personally, as a way of sharing my book love.

As you view this post, I expect you are at home with your own family until this dreadful pandemic has run its course.

Just click on the cover to read the book’s synopsis from Goodreads.
You might just find your next favorite book!

Are you tempted by any of these covers?

So many fabulous ones here. Which cover MOST APPEALS to YOU?
Have you read one of these titles and absolutely LOVED it?

If you’ve added even ONE of these titles to YOUR TBR,
Please let me know in the comments.

 

Posted in Dustjackets, Wednesday Word | Tagged | 8 Comments

“The Creak on the Stairs” by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir – Book Review

The Creak on the Stairs is the first in the electrifying FORBIDDEN ICELAND series

The Icelandic Police team of criminal investigators include:

Hörður Höskuldsson – leader of the Akranes Criminal Investigation Division. With many local connections, he is in charge of the entire Western Region of Iceland.  Hörður often cycles to work and is not famous for his punctuality.

Elma – Recently returned to her home town of Akranes after a traumatic break-up with her partner of nine years. She worked in Reykjavik in the CID and now joins the Akranes team. Despondent over her failed relationship, she is lonely and introverted, but is a brilliant investigator.

Sævar – A detective on the CID and Elma’s work partner. Sævar and Elma have both just ended long relationships.

Begga – verbose, single, and mother to an orange tabby cat, Begga adds some much needed levity to the serious nature of their profession. Begga befriends Elma, who would never have the nerve to make the first move in any friendship.

Elma’s new job begins with a murder. A body of a woman was found near the old lighthouse half submerged in the water. The body is that of a woman pilot, in her thirties, with two young sons. The investigation into her death will have many ties to the past.


Then skipping back to the past and the years 1989-1992 we follow the life of  Elísabet, a tiny girl living in Akranes. Elísabet‘s father was a fisherman who perished when his boat capsized in a storm. Bereft of her beloved father, this is only the first of a long line of losses for Elísabet. A beautiful child, friendless, she was also mistreated and criminally neglected.

The Old and New Lighthouses of Akranes

“In a small town like this, people are very protective of their reputations.”

First let’s discuss the title. ‘A creak on the stairs‘ could be either comforting or menacing. Comforting if you hear someone you love come home safely. Menacing if you don’t expect anyone and you’re all alone…  Of course, with this being the first book in a new Icelandic crime series, one would assume that we’ll go with ‘menacing’.

I’m always keen to discover new crime series and this one did not disappoint on any level. With a vividly described setting, this novel had a strong sense of place. Set in the author’s home town, and her affection shows.

If I had one quibble with the book it was the difficult Icelandic names. To my untrained English ear, I couldn’t even sound them out, which at times made it hard to keep some of the characters straight in my mind. This is entirely my own fault, and in no way reflects negatively upon the book. Names like Guðrún Snæbjörnsdóttir don’t exactly roll off the tongue…

The protagonist, Elma, was a sympathetic character, though she had her own flaws and baggage, as do we all. She seemed ‘down to earth’ and ‘what you see is what you get’. However even Elma has secrets…  I look forward to following her career in subsequent novels.

The murder investigation was a slow burn. Multi-layered, it exposed secrets, shame, and egocentricity. A small town mystery with myriad ties to past sins.  With themes of grief, loss, child abuse, and more, this story was well written and compelling with some secrets exposed near the end. The ending was both satisfying and poignant in equal measure.

Icelandic noir at its very finest!

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 Orenda Books via Anne Cater.Publication date: May 28, 2020  Publisher: Orenda Books

ISBN: 9781913193041   ASIN: B085H684B6     400 pages

Born in Akranes, Iceland in 1988, Eva moved to Trondheim, Norway to study my MSc in Globalisation when she was 25. After moving back home having completed her MSc, she knew it was time to start working on her novel.

Eva has wanted to write books since she was 15 years old, having won a short story contest in Iceland.
Eva worked as a stewardess to make ends meet while she wrote her first novel. The book went on to win the Blackbird Award and became an Icelandic bestseller.

Eva now lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavík, staying at home with her youngest until she begins Kindergarten.

Follow Eva Björg Ægisdóttir on Twitter.


About the Translator

Victoria Cribb studied and worked in Iceland for many years. She has translated more than 25 novels from the Icelandic and, in 2017, she received the Orðstír honourary translation award for services to Icelandic literature.

Posted in 1st in series, Blog Tour, Book Reviews, novels in translation, Orenda Books | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

International publishing – Book availability woes

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 SEVEN books that I want to buy that are not available in ANY format!


Grave’s End” by William Shaw

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

Protest. Rebel. Die
An unidentified body is found in a freezer.
No one seems to know or care who it is or who placed it there.
DS Alexandra Cupidi couldn’t have realised that this bizarre discovery will be connected to the crisis in housing, the politics of environmentalism and specifically the protection given to badgers by the law. But there are dangerous links between these strange, reclusive, fiercely territorial creatures and the activism of Cupidi’s teenage daughter Zoe and her friend Bill South, her colleague Constable Jill Ferriter’s dating habits and long forgotten historic crimes of sexual abuse – and murder.


The Good Turn” by Dervla McTiernan

(the third novel in one of my favourite series)

Police corruption, an investigation that ends in tragedy and the mystery of a little girl’s silence – three unconnected things that will prove to be linked by one small town.
While Detective Cormac Reilly faces enemies at work and trouble in his personal life, Garda Peter Fisher is relocated out of Galway with the threat of prosecution hanging over his head. But even that is not as terrible as having to work for his overbearing father, the local copper for the pretty seaside town of Roundstone.
For some, like Anna and her young daughter Tilly, Roundstone is a refuge from trauma. But even this village on the edge of the sea isn’t far enough to escape from the shadows of evil men.


Three Hours” by Rosamund Lupton

(a novel that has been highly recommended to me by at least six 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 Strangers” by Charity Norman

(another title that comes highly recommended by other bloggers)

“A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for five strangers whose paths cross in a London café – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage. But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?


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…


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 THREE 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 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 Lost Lights of St. Kilda” by Elisabeth Gifford

(recommended highly by four of my favourite bloggers)

When Fred Lawson takes a summer job on St Kilda in 1927, little does he realise that he has joined the last community to ever live on that desolate, isolated island. Only three years later, St Kilda will be evacuated, the islanders near-dead from starvation. But for Fred, that summer is the bedrock of his whole life…
Chrissie Gillies is just nineteen when the researchers come to St Kilda. Hired as their cook, she can’t believe they would ever notice her, sophisticated and educated as they are. But she soon develops a cautious friendship with Fred, a friendship that cannot be allowed to develop into anything more…
Years later, to help deal with his hellish existence in a German prisoner of war camp, Fred tells the tale of the island and the woman he loved, but left behind. And Fred starts to wonder, where is Chrissie now? And does she ever think of him too?


Night Waking” by Sarah Moss

(read a glowing review of this on another blog)

Historian Anna Bennett has a book to write. She also has an insomniac toddler, a precocious, death-obsessed seven-year-old, and a frequently absent ecologist husband who has brought them all to Colsay, a desolate island in the Hebrides, so he can count the puffins. Ferociously sleep-deprived, torn between mothering and her desire for the pleasures of work and solitude, Anna becomes haunted by the discovery of a baby’s skeleton in the garden of their house. Her narrative is punctuated by letters home, written 200 years before, by May, a young, middle-class midwife desperately trying to introduce modern medicine to the suspicious, insular islanders. The lives of these two characters intersect unexpectedly in this deeply moving but also at times blackly funny story about maternal ambivalence, the way we try to control children, and about women’s vexed and passionate relationship with work. Moss’s second novel displays an exciting expansion of her range – showing her to be both an excellent comic writer and a novelist of great emotional depth.


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 , | 35 Comments

“Perfect Little Children” by Sophie Hannah – Book Review

Beth and Dominic Leeson were once friends with Flora and Lewis Braid. Such good friends that they even took their holidays together. Twelve years ago something happened which severed their friendship ties completely.

Then, in Cambridgeshire, Beth catches a glimpse of her former friend, looking twelve years older, yet with children of the same names as her children – ONLY THEY HAVEN’T AGED!  They should be teenagers now, but instead they are still three and five years old.  And where is the baby?  There was a third child back then named Georgina – where is she?

Dominic thinks Beth is imagining things. Beth is sure of what she’s seen, though she concedes that her work as a busy massage therapist and being mother to two teenage children of her own have left her stressed and over-tired…

She frantically searches on social media to find the Braid family. When she does, she finds that they are living in Florida. And that Thomas and Emily Braid are teenagers… as they should be…. Is she losing her mind altogether?

Rarely has a book’s blurb grabbed me so strongly as with this novel. As soon as I read it, I just KNEW I HAD TO READ THIS BOOK!  I’ve read other books by this author, all sound thrillers, but something about this one sounded like it might have paranormal elements…. Surely not!

My intense curiosity spurred me on to read at a feverish pace. What could possibly be going on here? Because I was so invested, I could easily understand why Beth was so invested in solving the mystery for herself.  Yes, there was a certain amount of repetition, but isn’t there always when important decisions are being made? You have to go over and over things in your head in order to make a decision that you can live with.

And no, it was not science fiction, nor was it paranormal, but it was rather ‘over the top’. I was absolutely riveted for the first 80% of the novel, then it just seemed to get rather implausible after that. Mind you, I did read right to the end, and enjoyed it. A little implausibility never hurt anyone – but it did bring my 5 star review down to a 4 star.

This is a story about emotional manipulation, deception, and psychological abuse – wrapped up nicely in a thriller. In three words, twisty, clever, and original.

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 William Morrow (an imprint of Harper Collins) via Edelweiss.

ISBN: 9780062978202   ASIN: B07RSRL6WW     336 pagesDifferent title in the UK “Haven’t They Grown

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 32 languages and 51 territories.  In 2014, with the blessing of Agatha Christie’s family and estate, Sophie published a new Hercule Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders, which was a bestseller in more than fifteen countries.  In September 2016, her second Poirot novel, Closed Casket, will be published.

In 2013, Sophie’s novel The Carrier won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards.  Two of her crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012.

Sophie has recently helped to create a Master’s Degree in Crime and Thriller Writing at the University of Cambridge, for which she is the main teacher and Course Director. She is also the founder of the DREAM AUTHOR coaching program for writers. She lives with her husband, children and dog in Cambridge, where she is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College.

Follow Sophie Hannah on Twitter and/or Instagram.

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Edelweiss, Page turners, Psychological thrillers | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

“The Wife’s Secret” by Caroline England – Book Review

Previously published as Beneath the Skin

Four wives. Four husbands. This is their story.

Antonia and David

Antonia has a secret. She has reinvented herself. Her name was not always Antonia. She is thirty years old, beautiful, is of mixed race, lives in a grand white house in Cheshire, self-harms, and is married to a solicitor. Antonia has no wish for children. Her mother is suffering from dementia and is in a care home. Her mother calls her by a different name…Chinue.

David is a solicitor, 39 years old, and is insecure in his marriage to the beautiful Antonia. David lost his parents at a relatively young age and has never really gotten over it. Now he is in jeopardy at work as he shuffles debts, robbing Peter to pay Paul. He has recently had an expensive renovation completed at his house – anything to please his stunningly beautiful wife. Lately, David, who feels weak and a failure, has been drinking too much.

Sophie and Samie Richards

Sophie is a long-time friend of ‘Antonia’. About to undergo IVF for the umpteenth time, Sophie is nervous about the procedure, though is going through with it to please her husband.  She knows it will not be successful – that is her secret. Sophie drinks to excess, much to the disapproval of her mother. Sophie is also outspoken at times to the point of rudeness.

Samie (Samuel) is handsome, black, vain, spoilt and charming. He works as a successful surveyor. Overweight as a child, he retains his insecurity and uses infidelity as an affirmation. As a result he is unfaithful to Sophie, whom he really does love.

Helen and Charlie Proctor

Helen is the mother to a fifteen year old son, Rupert. An educator, she has recently been offered a year-long term position in America. Her husband strongly disapproves.

Charlie, a solicitor, is David’s best friend and coworker. He is unwell, yet he doesn’t share this information with Helen.

Olivia and Mike Turner

Olivia is the mother of two girls and has recently undergone a late-term miscarriage. Mike is distraught. Olivia not so much. Recently their marriage has cooled.

Mike is sorry for the distance he feels between himself and his wife and daughters. Yet he cannot help thinking that Olivia is somehow to blame for the loss of their unborn son. For years now, Mike has suffered from the ‘black dog’ of depression. Then Mike finds himself strongly attracted to one of his friend’s wives…

“We’re all human; there’s always something we’re not proud of,
or a side of us we want to hide.”

David, Mike and Sami have all lived in South Manchester at some point and have been friends before they met their wives. The three meet regularly at a local bar. Charlie is David’s best friend since his school days.

Antonia and Sophie were friends before they met their husbands. It is their relationship that is the most complicated and is the basis for the novel.

They all know each other, some better than others, but yet do they REALLY know each other?

There were many characters in this novel and we came to know them all well. Some I liked, some I didn’t, yet they all had secrets and I wondered which secrets would be divulged, and to what cost?

Due to the tangled relationships of the four couples, their story was unpredictable, with the reader wondering in which direction the author was taking us. Along the way several interesting themes were touched upon. Parenthood, the adult child/parent relationship, self-harm, friendship, loneliness, guilt, and alcoholism to name but a few.

It was interesting to discover how much information they shared with each other, and what secrets they held back – despite their close relationships.

Also, I loved how the author explored the emotional fragility of the characters. How, even though they were successful adults, they still all carried around with them the insecurities of their own childhoods. It made we wonder… do we all do that?

This was NOT a thriller as advertised, but has been labeled as a ‘domestic noir’ by other readers. I fully agree with this terminology. Not ‘thrilling’ as such, but a deep character study of eight very different, flawed, married adults who are members of a complicated and interlaced friendship with one another. This book is abounding with dysfunctional relationships.

“Some things, she knows, are best hidden beneath the skin.”

To be honest, after reading this novel, I much prefer the original title, “Beneath the Skin” and wonder why it was changed…

A surprising read on many levels. I liked this one far more than I expected to and would eagerly read more by this talented author.

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 Avon Books UK via NetGalley.Published by Avon Books UK on October 5, 2017

ISBN: 9780008215064  ASIN: B01MRXQUVU      371 pages

Previously published as Beneath the Skin

Caroline England is a former divorce lawyer based in Manchester.

Beneath the Skin, her debut novel, was published by Avon HarperCollins in October 2017. Her second book, My Husband’s Lies, was released in May 2018 and became a top ten kindle bestseller. Her new book Betray Her is out as an eBook, audiobook and in trade paperback.

Follow Caroline England on Twitter and/or Instagram.

Posted in Book Reviews, NetGalley, Psychological thrillers | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fictionophile’s April #BookHaul

Confession time.  For the second month in a row, I went a little crazy and amassed a whopping 15 new review commitments. I am going to blame my greed insanity on self isolation, because well…. I can’t blame myself, can I? These fifteen titles all look amazing and I can’t wait to read them. Looks like I’ll have extra reading time, so that will help.

Anyway, here is my latest book haul via the bubble:As usual, just click on the book cover to go to the Goodreads site for the title.

NetGalley

Here are the FOURTEEN titles I downloaded from NetGalley in April


A bank robber on the run locks himself in with an over-enthusiastic estate agent, two bitter IKEA-addicts, a pregnant woman, a suicidal multi-millionaire and a rabbit. In the end the robber gives up and lets everyone go, but when the police storm the apartment it is . . . empty.
In a series of dysfunctional testimonies after the event, the witnesses all tell their version of what really happened and it’s clear we have a classic locked-room mystery on our hands: How did the robber manage to escape? Why is everyone so angry? And: What is WRONG with people these days?

Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: September 8, 2020

I LOVE FREDRIK BACKMAN! I’ve read everything he has written so far.


Owen Pick’s life is falling apart.
In his thirties, a virgin, and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a geography teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct, which he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel—involuntary celibate—forums, where he meets the charismatic, mysterious, and sinister Bryn.
Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.
Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre Maddox disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.

Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: October 13, 2020

Lisa Jewell is an ‘automatic read’ for me. I don’t even have to read the blurb.


Surging out of the sea, the Bass Rock has always borne witness to the lives that pass under its shadow on the Scottish mainland. And across the centuries, the fates of three women are inextricably linked to this place and to one another.
Sarah, accused of being a witch, is fleeing for her life.
Ruth, in the aftermath of the Second World War, is navigating a new marriage and the strange waters of the local community.
Six decades later, Viv, still mourning the death of her father, is cataloguing Ruth’s belongings in the now-empty house.
As each woman’s story unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that their choices are circumscribed, in ways big and small, by the men who seek to control them. But in sisterhood there is also the possibility of survival and a new way of life. Intricately crafted and compulsively readable, The Bass Rock burns bright with love and fury–a devastating indictment of violence against women and an empowering portrait of their resilience through the ages.

Publisher: Pantheon Books/Knopf Doubleday
Publication date: September 1, 2020

I’ve heard good things about this author, but I’ve not yet read any of her work. I’ve had another of her books, “All the Birds, Singing” on my TBR for quite a while but haven’t yet gotten around to reading it.


She’s going too far to go it alone.
It is 1950. London is still reeling from World War II, and Margery Benson, a schoolmarm and spinster, is trying to get through life, surviving on scraps. One day, she reaches her breaking point, abandoning her job and small existence to set out on an expedition to the other side of the world in search of her childhood obsession: an insect that may or may not exist–the golden beetle of New Caledonia. When she advertises for an assistant to accompany her, the woman she ends up with is the last person she had in mind. Fun-loving Enid Pretty in her tight-fitting pink suit and pompom sandals seems to attract trouble wherever she goes. But together these two British ladies find themselves drawn into a cross-ocean adventure that exceeds all expectations and delivers something neither of them expected to find: the transformative power of friendship.

Publisher: Dial Press/Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: November 24, 2020

I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed several books by this talented author. I’m confident this will be another good one.


After the tragic loss of his wife, Helen, Luke Hansard is desperate to keep her memory alive. In an effort to stay close to her, he reaches out to an online friend Helen often mentioned: a reclusive photographer with a curious interest in beautiful but broken objects. But first he must find her—and she doesn’t want to be found.
Orla Kendrick lives alone in the ruins of a remote Suffolk castle, hiding from the haunting past that has left her physically and emotionally scarred. In her fortress, she can keep a safe distance from prying eyes, surrounded by her broken treasures and insulated from the world outside.
When Luke tracks Orla down, he is determined to help her in the way Helen wanted to: by encouraging her out of her isolation and back into the world. But Orla has never seen her refuge as a prison and, when painful secrets and dangerous threats begin to resurface, Luke’s good deed is turned on its head.
As they work through their grief for Helen in very different ways, will these two broken souls be able to heal?

Publisher: Amazon Publishing UK
Publication date: June 9, 2020

The beautiful cover first attracted me to this one, then I read the blurb and was hooked. (It helped that I am automatically approved for books published by this publisher.)


Millions of stolen, untraceable bank notes lie untouched in an old Victorian cottage, the hidden legacy of the Dolly Rawlins and her widows.
But the millions are not forgotten. Released from prison, Esther Freeman is determined to retrieve the money. And so too is Mike Withey, Shirley Miller’s brother and Audrey’s son.
When a fire breaks out at the derelict cottage, with a badly charred body inside along with what looks like thousands of burnt bank notes, it attracts the attention of the police and one young detective in particular, Jack Warr.
Jack’s investigation into the fire, and the burnt body inside, coincide with an investigation into his own past. Adopted at birth, Jack discovers his birth father may have been none other than Harry Rawlins, a renowned criminal.
As he finds out the truth about his own identity, Jack finds himself becoming increasingly aggressive, stopping at nothing to find the truth – including breaking the law himself.

Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre USA
Publication date: April 7, 2020

I’ve read several books by this author (many years ago now) and enjoyed them. Thought it was high time I read her again and this first book in a new crime series afforded me an excellent opportunity.


On Ichabod Island, a jagged strip of land thirteen miles off the coast of Massachusetts, ten-year-old Sky becomes an orphan for the second time after a tragic accident claims the lives of her adoptive parents.
Grieving the death of his best friends, Leo’s life is turned upside down when he finds himself the guardian of young Sky. Back on the island and struggling to balance his new responsibilities and his marriage to his husband, Leo is supported by a powerful community of neighbors, many of them harboring secrets of their own.
Maggie, who helps with Sky’s childcare, has hit a breaking point with her police chief husband, who becomes embroiled in a local scandal. Her best friend Agnes, the island busybody, invites Sky’s estranged grandmother to stay for the summer, straining already precarious relationships. Their neighbor Joe struggles with whether to tell all was not well in Sky’s house in the months leading up to the accident. And among them all is a mysterious woman, drawn to Ichabod to fulfill a dying wish.
Perfect for fans of Celeste Ng and Ann Leary, My Kind of People is a riveting, impassioned novel about the resilience of community and what connects us all in the face of tragedy.

Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: June 1, 2020

I read this author’s debut novel “The Salt House” and thought her writing was beautiful. This cover and blurb hint that I am in for a treat!


Julianna Burke, bestselling mystery novelist, has a secret that those closest to her are hiding from the world. Julianna is losing her memory, and with it her powerful gift for storytelling that propelled her to fame.
A further devastating blow comes when Connor, Julianna’s beloved husband, is murdered. Even this is not something Julianna’s mind can hold on to, and every day her assistant has to break the heart-wrenching news all over again.
Julianna is desperate to know what happened to her husband. As she battles her failing mind to investigate, a detail of the murder surfaces that makes Julianna question everything she’s ever known. Somehow she must fight to find the truth, even though her grip on reality is fading…

Publisher: Lion Hudson
Publication date: September 18, 2020

First attracted by the cover, after I read the blurb I knew I just had to read this one. A new to me author, so it holds great potential.


Richard feels trapped in his hectic life of commitment and responsibility. From the daily mayhem of having young children, an exhausted wife and pushy in-laws who frequently outstay their welcome, Richard’s existence fills him with panic and resentment. The only place he can escape the dark cloud descending upon him is the bathroom, where he hides for hours on end, door locked, wondering how on earth he can escape.
Often staring out of his window, Richard enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, his neighbour living in the bungalow across the road. From the outside, Bills world appears filled with comfort and peace. Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss of both lives are lies, secrets, imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater than either could have imagined. Beneath the surface, a family tragedy has left Bill frozen in time and unable to move on. As he waits for a daughter who may never return, Bill watches Richards bustling family life and yearns for the joy it brings. As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other people’s lives are not always what they seem.

Publisher: BooksGoSocial
Publication date: April 12, 2018

I am auto-approved by this publisher, so decided to give this author a try as I’ve heard a lot about his work.


American journalist Rose Kynaston has just relocated to the childhood home of her husband, Dylan, in the English village of his youth. There’s a lot for Rose to get used to in Hurtwood. Like the family’s crumbling mansion, inhabited by Dylan’s reclusive mother, and the treacherous hill it sits upon, a place of both sinister folklore and present dangers.
Then there are unwelcoming villagers, who only whisper the name Kynaston—like some dreadful secret, a curse. Everyone knows what happened at Hurtwood House twenty years ago. Everyone except Rose. And now that Dylan is back, so are rumors about his past.
When an archaeological dig unearths human remains on the hill, local police sergeant Ellie Trevelyan vows to solve a cold case that has cast a chill over Hurtwood for decades.
As Ellie works to separate rumor from facts, Rose must fight to clear the name of the man she loves. But how can Rose keep her family safe if she is the last to know the truth?

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication date: August 11, 2020

Though I’ve never read this author before, the cover and blurb made me want to give this one a try.


Donna Pryor lives in the lap of luxury. She spends her days in a beautifully appointed condo. Her every whim is catered to by a dedicated staff, and she does not want for anything.
Except for news of her adult daughter.
Or an ex-husband who takes her calls.
Donna knows something is wrong, but she can’t quite put her finger on it. As her life of privilege starts to feel more and more like a prison, the facade she has depended on begins to crumble. Somewhere in the ruins is the truth, and the closer Donna Pryor gets to it, the more likely it is to destroy her.

 

Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: July 21, 2020

Another ‘new to me’ author. The blurb is what hooked me with this one.


A new town, a new life, and a new home—with an absolutely chilling lakefront view.
Two months a widow, Mallory Dent has made the impulsive decision to pack up and move on. In remote McNamara, nestled in the northern mountains, she can escape her grief, guilt, and pain. But the day Mallory arrives, death follows her, lapping just outside her door. A woman’s body is found floating in Loss Lake—and it’s not the first death on these shores. Locals talk about a monster in the depths with an almost disturbing reverence.
Sergeant Joel Benson understands Mallory’s unease. Years ago, his own brother was killed in the home Mallory now owns. But that was just a tragic accident. Wasn’t it? The more Mallory investigates, the more fearful she becomes. Maybe there are monsters in McNamara. Maybe some have followed her there.
As a winter storm bears down, the refuge Mallory sought has become a trap. It’s time to face her past, the secrets behind the town’s friendly faces, and a reckoning that will shatter the eerie, icy calm of Loss Lake.

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication date: November 10, 2020

Another ‘new to me’ author. The cover, then the blurb attracted me to this one.


Detective Sarah Burke and new cop Zivko ‘Bogey’ Boganicevic are sent to an incident at Fairweather Farms senior living center in Tucson. The center’s van has suddenly been chased at reckless speed by a carload of bandits firing high-powered rifles, and crashed into its own garage. Arriving at the scene, Sarah makes a grisly discovery: the driver, Enrique Lopez, was shot in the head during the chase. Why was a kindly man, dedicated to looking after the elderly, targeted and killed so dramatically by a team of hoodlums?
As Sarah works through her list of questions, she soon finds herself drawn into the high-stakes world of drugs, deception and mistaken identity where nothing is as it first appears, and she is forced to risk her career – and her life – in her search for answers.

Publisher: Severn House
Publication date: August 4, 2020

I’m auto-approved by this publisher – and, the blurb sounded good. I’ve not read this author before.


Deadly Anniversaries celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Mystery Writers of America with a collection of stories from some of the top names in crime fiction.

Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Publication date: April 21, 2020

I was invited to read/review this one. I find it hard to resist a good anthology…


Here is the lone title I downloaded from Edelweiss in April

Eighty-five-year-old Veronica McCreedy is estranged from her family and wants to find a worthwhile cause to leave her fortune to. When she sees a documentary about penguins being studied in Antarctica, she tells the scientists she’s coming to visit—and won’t take no for an answer. Shortly after arriving, she convinces the reluctant team to rescue an orphaned baby penguin. He becomes part of life at the base, and Veronica’s closed heart starts to open.
Her grandson, Patrick, comes to Antarctica to make one last attempt to get to know his grandmother. Together, Veronica, Patrick, and even the scientists learn what family, love, and connection are all about.

Publisher: Berkley/Penguin Publishing Group
Publication Date: June 16, 2020

I enjoy reading books with older protagonists and this one sounded like fun.


Have you read any of these stellar titles yet?  Do you plan to?

Let me know in the comments. ♥

Posted in Anticipated titles, Fictionophile report | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Wednesday’s Word = HOME

Most readers will acknowledge that some words reappear time and time again in titles. Often these words are associated with a particular genre. Case in point: “The girl on the train” and “Gone girl” spawned countless thriller titles with the word ‘girl’ in the title.

I know there are hundreds of books with the word ‘home’ in the title, but I’m featuring a selection of 43 titles that appeal to me personally, as a way of sharing my book love.

As you view this post, most of us are “at home“. Home is where we should be until this dreadful pandemic has run its course.

Just click on the cover to read the book’s synopsis from Goodreads.
You might just find your next favorite book!

Are you tempted by any of these covers?

So many fabulous ones here. Which cover MOST APPEALS to YOU?
Have you read one of these titles and absolutely LOVED it?

If you’ve added even ONE of these titles to YOUR TBR,
Please let me know in the comments.

 

Posted in Dustjackets, Wednesday Word | Tagged | 11 Comments

A little light housekeeping – Book Blogger style

Since we’re all stuck at home due this global pandemic, what better time than to do a little light housekeeping – book blogger style.I love being a wee part of this fantastic book-blogging community. To that end, I try to support my fellow bloggers as much as I can, time permitting.  I have a vast blogroll of 143 book bloggers whose blogs I visit as often as time permits.

For whatever reason, some of these bloggers have not updated their blogs in a while. A few of them for several months.  To that end, I decided it would be doing my followers a disservice to leave their blogs on the roll – so I have visited each and every one of the 143 blogs and if they have not posted for more than three months, I have deleted them from my blogroll.  It would be great if bloggers posted a hiatus post, or in some way notified their followers that they plan to stop blogging, but hey – maybe they had their reasons.

Sadly, three of the book blogs I deleted from my blog roll were three of my most favourite bloggers. Unfortunately, they had not updated their blogs since June, July and December of 2019.

Also, to my surprise, three of the blogs I follow had name changes.

As of today, there are now 134 book bloggers in my blogroll.  If you have a book blog that is not included, let me know and I will add you to the list (if you post frequently).

Do YOU plan to do any Blog Housekeeping in 2020?

Some housekeeping I’ll be doing in addition to cleaning up my blogroll:

  • Updating my Review Policy
  • Reviewing my ‘About‘ page and updating if necessary.
  • Making sure I’ve got all my reviews listed on my Book Reviews page
  • Adding some new entries on my Word Love page

I hope everyone is staying physically and mentally well during these strange and challenging days.

 

Posted in Book bloggers, Fictionophile report, ramblings & miscellanea | Tagged , | 37 Comments

“Little Lies” by Heather Gudenkauf – Book Review

Social worker Ellen Moore is a busy, busy woman. Married, with two young children and an infant, her time and her sleep is precious. When she gets a call in the early hours, she knows that the day won’t end well. He friend on the police force, Detective Joe Gaddey wants her to talk to a four year old boy who was found in a park near the body of his dead mother.

Just like a similar murder thirteen years ago, the mother was killed by blunt force trauma to the head. Her young son, distraught beside her.

Between them, Ellen and Joe discern the boy’s name and begin to investigate the murder.In the mood for a short read as I transition from one novel to the next, I thought I’d pick up one that I had purchased some time ago. The prequel to the author’s “Little Mercies“, this novella introduces social worker Ellen Moore.

A quick read, it was nonetheless compelling with a lot of ground covered in only 45 pages. It certainly held my interest, and I would eagerly read the following novel to learn more about the characters.

If I have one quibble, it is that Ellen’s life seems just too perfect. Although tired, she doesn’t seem otherwise stressed about her work/life balance. Her husband, without griping, delivers the children to school and the baby to the babysitters, washes, diapers, and feeds the children, never knowing exactly when Ellen will arrive home – if at all. This just didn’t seem realistic to me. Perhaps the family will fall short of perfection in the next book?

The story was interesting, and the killer a real surprise. Recommended!


I purchased this novella in Kindle format.

Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of eight novels. Her most recent novel “This Is How I Lied” is available now.heather gudenkaufHeather was born in Wagner, South Dakota and now lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running. She is currently working on her next novel.

Follow Heather Gudenkauf on Twitter.  Visit her website.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novellas | Tagged , | 2 Comments

“The Other Mrs.” by Mary Kubica – Book Review

Sadie Foust has had a sense of foreboding ever since she first saw the house they had inherited from her husband’s sister. Along with the house came an extra responsibility in the form of her niece, Imogen. Sixteen years old, surly, disrespectful, goth, and overly fond of expletives. Not exactly the example Sadie wants to have for her own two boys, Otto aged fourteen, and Tate, aged seven.  But what can she do? The poor girl is grieving after the very recent suicide of her mother in this very house.When Sadie, a doctor, learns of the murder of one of her neighbors, she is even more uneasy. The house is situated on a tiny island off the coast of Maine. Winter is drawing in, days are short, and the thought of murder being committed so close, in such an insular community, ratchets up her stress levels.

This is not exactly the ‘fresh start‘ that she and her husband had hoped for. They left behind some troubling memories in Chicago. Her husband Will’s extramarital affair, her son Otto’s expulsion from school, not to mention her own employment disgrace…

Sadie feels trapped on this tiny island and she misses her former city life in Chicago. One of the local, older nurses at the surgery where she works treats Sadie with disdain and disrespect. One wonders why Sadie puts up with her behavior…  Then things go from bad to worse when disturbing events seem to cast the Foust family under suspicion.

Sadie is not the only woman in Will’s life.  He also has a mistress. Her name is Camille. Camille was once Sadie’s roommate in college. She seems mentally unbalanced and stalks Will. Think “Fatal Attraction” type of behavior…

And then there is Mouse. Mouse is a little girl. She and her Daddy live together alone until one day Daddy bring home a woman. He wants Mouse to call the woman Mom.  Mouse will never call this woman Mom.  In her head she calls her “Fake Mom”.

I have to say I love an island setting. It is just something about the whole insular vibe. Knowing that the number of suspects is limited, and that the person responsible for the murder could be any one of the people you see on a daily basis.  Add to that the fact that winter is approaching, the days are short, the temperature getting colder every day. To say the novel is ‘atmospheric’ seems inadequate.

A page turner, “The Other Mrs.” keeps the reader on edge throughout. Not only were you wondering who could have killed Sadie’s neighbor, but you were also wondering about Mouse and speculating what a little girl could possibly have to do with the story-line. Then there was also Camille. She seemed deranged, but was that only back when she and Will had an affair, or is she still around???

And Sadie, she seems unreliable. Other people, including her own children, see her doing things and see her in places when they couldn’t possibly see her. She was at work. Wasn’t she? The stress of the move coupled with the stress of the murder seems to be causing her to have sleepless nights and disjointed days.

The characters in this novel were not at all likeable, but they were endlessly fascinating. The pace was fast, with the tension ramping up the whole way through. About 2/3 of the way through, I had strong suspicions as to what was going on, but that didn’t stop me feverishly turning pages to see if I was right. And I was right, but I was also very wrong!

This book has a twist that I definitely didn’t see coming.

A novel with themes of murder, manipulation, and mental illness.

This is my first Mary Kubica novel and after reading this one I have to wonder why I have waited so long to try her writing.  I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys domestic, psychological thrillers. And if you like reading an unreliable narrator, then this book is definitely for you.

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 Park Row Books (an imprint of Harlequin Trade Publishing) via NetGalley.Published by Park Row Books on February 18, 2020

ISBN: 9780778369110  ASIN: B07PRMP8GY      368 pages

Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many novels. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. Mary lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children.

Follow Mary Kubica on Twitter.

Posted in Book Reviews, NetGalley, Page turners, Psychological thrillers | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Throwback Thursday: “I Found You” by Lisa Jewell – Book Review

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favorites. This week I’m showcasing a novel that I read in 2017. “I Found You” was, for me, a memorable FIVE STAR read.  I have recently acquired a digital ARC of Lisa Jewell’s latest novel, “Invisible Girl” which I am highly anticipating!


“Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel.”

The present day narrative features Alice Lake, a single mum. She has had a rather colorful past and her three children reflect it. She calls them her Benetton family. An artist, Alice lives with her children and three dogs in a small cottage near the seashore in Ridinghouse Bay, Yorkshire. She makes a living making art out of old maps. Her one friend, Derry Dynes sees through Alice’s rather brusque manner and looks out for her in a supportive (though bossy) way.

One evening while walking her dogs on the beach, Alice comes across a man sitting on the shingle in the rain. He has been there for hours and is drenched through. Against her better instincts she invites him to her cottage to dry out. This act of compassionate kindness will forever change her life.

The man has no memory. He finds it difficult to assimilate information and make decisions. Alice Googles his condition and discovers that he is in a ‘fugue state‘ which is usually caused by emotional trauma. Because they have to call him something, her tiny daughter names him Frank. As the days pass, Alice becomes more and more drawn to this man but is wary of becoming involved. She fears that doing so would further complicate her already arduous and lonely life. She is a very sexual person, but her sexual desires have landed her in trouble many times in her life and she does not want to duplicate her previous mistakes. Alice fears that when ‘Frank’ regains his memories she will lose this man whom she has come to love dearly…


Lily Monrose is a newlywed. A Ukrainian, she has just moved to suburban London after a whirlwind courtship. Her husband, Carl Monrose, is devoted to her and she to him. The time Carl is at work is very lonely for Lily as she knows no one in England and finds British ways strange from what she is familiar with.

When, just ten days into their new life together, Carl does not return home after work, Lily becomes distraught. She reports him missing to the police. When she gives the police his passport to aid in their investigation, they find that Carl Monrose does not exist! The passport is fake. With little money, Lily enlists strangers to help her find the love of her life.

“She looks about the flat, as she’s done a hundred times since Carl didn’t come home on Tuesday night. At first all she’d seen was Carl’s absence. Now she sees his deceit.”


Then we meet the Ross Family in the summer of 1993.

Pam, Tony and their two teenage children Gray and Kirsty are on holiday in the small seaside town of Ridinghouse Bay, Yorkshire.

The family encounters a young man named Mark Tate. Mark is attracted to their daughter Kirsty, and is quite intense. Gray is very suspicious of him and wonders why nineteen year old Mark would be interested in his naive and innocent fifteen year old sister. Mark invites the entire family to his aunt’s house, a huge manor on the headland. He insinuate’s himself into Kirsty’s life and invites her to a party at his Aunt’s house. Gray goes to the party – partly to keep an eye on his sister, and partly because he is attracted to one of the girls that he knows will be there. The scenes at the party reminded me of the old Three Dog Night song: “Momma told me not to come“. Mark’s involvement with the Ross family is catastrophic to them all.

The three narratives alternate between chapters. Just after half way through this novel I thought I had ‘Frank’s’ identity worked out. I was wrong. The stories of Alice, Frank, Lily and Gray are skillfully bound together with clever plotting in an atmospheric setting.

The entire novel makes for some very compelling reading. So much so that I found myself being rather grumpy when my reading was interrupted. “I found you” was a very cleverly plotted, character-rich, suspenseful, literary thriller. Highly recommended!

I received a digital ARC of this novel from Atria Books/Simon & Schuster via NetGalley.

“I found you” is available at the following retail booksellers:

Lisa Jewell was born in London in 1968.

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

Lisa Jewell is the internationally bestselling author of seventeen novels, including the New York Times bestsellers The Family Upstairs and Then She Was Gone, as well as Watching You and I Found You. Her novels have sold more than 4.5 million copies across the English-speaking world, and her work has also been translated into twenty-five languages. Connect with her on Twitter @LisaJewellUK, on Instagram @LisaJewellUK, and on Facebook @LisaJewellOfficial.

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

Posted in Book Reviews, Throwback Thursday | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

“Letters From the Past” by Erica James – Book Review

With many points of view taken into account, this is a story of family. As in all families, there are those we love, those we like, and those we cannot abide. All are portrayed here. Central to the novel is a grand old Sufflolk manor house called “Island House”.When poison-pen letters are distributing throughout this idyllic English village, they sew the seeds of doubt and suspicion upon their recipients – many of whom are members, or are in some way related to the Deveraux family. Family secrets are slowly revealed…

But will the Deveraux’s be able to endure their secrets scrutinized in the light of day? Many generations of the Deveraux family are drawn together after a tragic automobile accident. Will justice prevail?

I must confess that at first I was cast adrift by this novel due to the vast amount of characters. My attention span has been less than optimum since this pandemic has taken the world by storm. As I gradually became more familiar with the characters – and how they related to one another – I was again cast adrift, but in a different way, I was immersed in the family, the story, and the idyllic setting.

Told for the most part in 1962, the story has several flashbacks to the war years. Romily Deveraux-Temple, a mystery novelist, was also a member of the Air Transport Auxiliary during the war. Her story was fascinating and she is the matriarchal figure that ties the many threads of the story together.

Evelyn Deveraux, a mathematician, was also heavily involved in the war effort. She was a code breaker at Bletchley Park. A fact that she has kept secret.

 

Past mistakes and past loves resurface adding interest and suspense to what is already an absorbing family saga.

Before reading this, my first Erica James novel, I hadn’t realized that “Letters from the Past” is in fact a sequel to an earlier novel, “Coming Home to Island House” which is set during the war years, some two decades earlier. This in no way marred my enjoyment of this novel, but if I had read the other book first I might not have had so much trouble initially with the myriad characters. Rest assured this book reads fine as a stand-alone.

With elements of historical fiction, romance, and even mystery, this novel will be greatly appreciated by all who enjoy compelling women’s fiction. 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 Anne Cater and Random Things Tours via Orion Books.Published by Orion Books on April 16, 2020

ISBN: 9781409173854  ASIN: B07W1KBDV9      400 pages

Check out some of the other stops on the tour for “Letters From the Past”.

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Erica James on Twitter and/or Instagram
Visit Erica James’ website.

Posted in Book Reviews, Family sagas, NetGalley, Random Things Tours (Anne Cater), Women's fiction | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Cover Love: part 88 – Playgrounds

In my 88th installment of ‘Cover Love‘, I thought I’d do a post about playgrounds on book covers. Eerily enough, the playgrounds on these covers are – for the most part – deserted. Sadly similar to the real life playgrounds everywhere during this global pandemic.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.

These titles encompass a wide variety of genres with the majority in the suspense/thriller genre.  Enjoy!

Are you tempted by any of these covers?

Have you read one of these titles and absolutely LOVED it?

Please let me know in the comments.

And don’t forget to check out any of the other previous 87 installments of Cover Love, many of which have been updated since they were first published.

Posted in Cover Love series, Dustjackets | Tagged | 12 Comments

“The Big Finish” by Brooke Fossey – Book Review

Duffy Sinclair – 88 years old, a childless lifelong bachelor, intellectually sound, but has a few health issues. An ex-alcoholic, Duffy hasn’t had a drink in years. He has abused his body his entire life, which has precluded him from having any worthwhile relationships.  Duffy’s roommate at the nursing home is the best friend he has ever had.

Carl Upton – a ‘good’ man and a widower who despite being Duffy’s best friend in the world, is keeping secrets from him.

Josie – Carl’s granddaughter from an extra marital affair. Josie, in her twenties, arrives at the home in a rather dramatic fashion which stirs up the residents in more ways than one.

Alice – refined and lady-like, Alice is a widow who lives in the home. Duffy is quite smitten with her, but she has great ties of loyalty to her late husband.

Nora – an empathetic, overworked, and very caring nurse who works at the home. A single mother with two girls, Nora is the only breadwinner for her family.

Anderson – tattooed chief cook and bottle washer at the home, Anderson is also a friend to Duffy who has his back on any occasion where it is required.My favorite quotes from the novel:

“You had to look loss in the eye, and if you were going to survive it, you had to believe that there were two different parts of every person: the stuff that ended up in the ground and the stuff that didn’t.”

“I’m offering my help because sometimes we need mending and sometimes we need somebody else to help us thread the needle.”

First off, I wonder…. did the person who designed the cover even read the book?  In my opinion, the cover had absolutely nothing to do with the plot. From the cover, one might imagine that the young girl and the old man escaped the confines of the home and went on an adventure…. NOT!

That aside, I DID really enjoy this novel. The title was apt – It had a big (though poignant) finish.  Set within the span of one single week in an assisted living facility, this was a story that brought realistic, damaged people to life with excellent writing and compassion.

The friendships portrayed within the pages of “The Big Finish” were heart-warming to read about. The engaging characters and insular setting were authentically rendered.

As one might expect with an 88-year-old protagonist, this novel dealt with themes of aging, loss, friendship, and finding out what REALLY matters in a life well lived. Some of us have the good fortune to realize this profundity early in life, while others find out at the very end of theirs. A debut novel that explores some very deep subjects.

This book was an excellent reminder to us all that infirm and elderly people who live behind the walls of care homes were once vital, active, and engaged members of society. A reminder that cannot be given enough times in my opinion. Told with empathy, dark humor, and tenderness, I’m confident that this story will be enjoyed by many. 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 Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.

 

Brooke Fossey was once an aerospace engineer with a secret clearance before she traded it all in for motherhood and writing. She’s a past president and an honorary lifetime member of DFW Writers Workshop. Her work can be found in numerous publications, including Ruminate Magazine and SmokeLong Quarterly. When she’s not writing, you can find her in Dallas, Texas with her husband, four kids, and their dog Rufus. She still occasionally does math.

Follow Brooke Fossey on Twitter and/or Instagram.

Posted in Book Reviews, Literary fiction, NetGalley | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

#FFRC2020 Reading Challenge progress as of April 18, 2020

This year I put myself out on a limb and created a reading challenge.

Four other bloggers have decided to join me in #FFRC2020

Here are the eight criteria for the challenge:

And here is MY progress so far – only ONE title checked off…

(clearly I’ll have to do better…)

Here are the titles that these other great bloggers have read towards completion of the challenge:

Sheila (from The Quiet Geordie blog) has completed 3/8 of the criteria:

“A Cotswold Killing” by Rebecca Tope (name of a place)
“N or M?” by Agatha Christie (title is a question)
Police at the funeral” by Margery Allingham (title contains an occupation)


Carla (from Carla Loves to Read) has completed 4/8 of the criteria:

“The Amish teacher‘s dilemma” by Patricia Davids (title contains an occupation)
“The Bookish life of Nina Hill” by Abbi Waxman (title contains first and last names of a person)
Mercy House” by Alena Dillon (title is the name of a building)
“The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” by Kim Michele Richardson (name of a place)


Debbie (from ExUrbanis) has completed 3/8 of the criteria:

“The Dutch House” by Ann Patchett (title is the name of a building)
Daisy Jones & the Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid (title contains first and last names of a person)
“Watching the Detectives” by Julie Mulhern (title contains an occupation)


Jules (from One More Word) has completed 1/8 of the criteria:

“The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep” by H.G. Parry (title contains first and last names of a person)


Thanks to all the bloggers who have joined me in this challenge and I wish you all luck in completing them before December 31st, 2020

Posted in #FFRC2020, Fictionophile report, reading challenges | Tagged | 13 Comments