Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard | @cathryanhoward @AtlanticBooks @theotherkirsty | #20BooksOfSummer #recommended

Author : Catherine Ryan Howard
Title : Rewind
Pages : 327
Publisher : Atlantic Books / Corvus
Publication date : August 22, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

PLAY
Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges onscreen, kills her and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?

PAUSE
Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t – not until she’s found what she’s looking for…

REWIND
This is an explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Say “hello” to Catherine Ryan Howard’s best book yet! Yes, I said it!

Instagram influencer Natalie seems to have it all. Fab house, handsome husband, easy and cushy “job”. But behind the pretty filtered pictures, things are not what they seem. Natalie is on a mission, which leads her to the tiny isolated village of Shanamore. Will she find what she is looking for?

A creepy manager with Norman Bates vibes watches a murder caught on camera. Who is the victim? Who is the killer? Why is there a camera in the room to begin with and how did the killer know it was there? Creepy to the nth degree!

The way the plot is set out in this book is just sheer genius. Even though the rewind/foreward/play/pause chapters tied my brain into knots at the beginning, I can honestly say I’ve never been this ecstatic about being confused before and I loved every minute of trying to figure out how the whole thing fit together. It is just such an original take on a past and present storyline and what is basically a whodunnit murder mystery.

Despite the fact I had quite a few things figured out early on, that didn’t matter at all because Rewind remains compelling and totally creepy throughout. I am never staying at a hotel, B&B, whatever again! Brilliantly paced with intriguing characters and a mystery to solve, this is one of those books I found impossible to put down.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Catherine Ryan Howard’s previous books but with this one, she knocked it right out of the park. Gripping and tense, I absolutely devoured Rewind and if you’re a crime fiction fan who’s looking for that little something different, ta-da! Here it is! I so can’t wait to see what’s next from Catherine Ryan Howard.

My thanks to Kirsty Doole at Atlantic for my review copy!

Rewind is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Book 19 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson | #20BooksOfSummer

Author : Cara Robertson
Title : The Trial of Lizzie Borden
Pages : 375
Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Publication date : March 12, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August of 1892, the arrest of the couple’s daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Reporters flocked to the scene. Well-known columnists took up conspicuous seats in the courtroom. The defendant was relentlessly scrutinized for signs of guilt or innocence. Everyone—rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople—had an opinion about Lizzie Borden’s guilt or innocence.

The popular fascination with the Borden murders and its central, enigmatic character has endured for more than a hundred years, but the legend often outstrips the story. Based on transcripts of the Borden legal proceedings, contemporary newspaper articles, previously withheld lawyer’s journals, unpublished local reports, and recently unearthed letters from Lizzie herself, The Trial of Lizzie Borden is a definitive account of the Borden murder case and offers a window into America in the Gilded Age, showcasing its most deeply held convictions and its most troubling social anxieties. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

Lizzie Borden. A name that went down in history but for all the wrong reasons. I didn’t know anything about her, apart from why her name is so well known and I feel that served me really well when reading this account of her trial as I had no idea of the outcome.

August, 1892. Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby, are found brutally murdered at their home. With only two people at the house around the time of the murders, suspicion quickly falls onto Andrew’s youngest daughter, Lizzie. With a well to-do family and two gruesome murders in a small town, it’s easy to see why this case was such a big deal in its day and also why it still appeals to people around the world today.

It’s obvious from the start that author Cara Robertson has done her research. Using transcripts and reporter’s notes throughout, I almost felt like I was right there, especially during the trial itself. It was like being a member of the jury, getting all the information and being allowed the opportunity to decide for myself which side of the fence I would land on. There are photos of the victims for instance, plans of the layout of the house and the street it was located in and I scrutinised them all like an amateur detective, ruling theories out left, right and centre and coming to my own conclusion.

Admittedly, it wasn’t all exciting. There is a part in the middle, dealing with the trial mostly from the prosecutor’s side, that dragged a little too much for me. However, I assumed the actual jury members probably felt the same way so that seemed rather apt to me. On top of that, there was a huge amount of rolling the eyes and facepalming, particularly about the way women and their actions were described. That “hysterical” label for instance, but also how all women apparently turn into some kind of demon when on their “monthlies”.

I’ve not had the best results with non-fiction in the past but The Trial of Lizzie Borden really held my attention, apart from that dip in the middle. Based on the information at hand, the jury members reached the right conclusion but the question remains. Was Lizzie guilty or not? I’ve made up my mind.

The Trial of Lizzie Borden is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo

Book 18 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten | @nholten40 @BOTBSPublicity @KillerReads

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Dead Inside by Noelle Holten today! My thanks to Sarah Hardy for the invitation to join and to Killer Reads for the review copy!

Author : Noelle Holten
Title : Dead Inside
Series : DC Maggie Jamieson #1
Pages : 300
Publisher : Killer Reads
Publication date : August 22, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When three domestic abuse offenders are found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered. And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the finger of suspicion points at Lucy and the police are running out of time. Can Maggie and her team solve the murders before another person dies? And is Lucy really a cold-blooded killer?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Behold Dead Inside, the debut crime novel from fellow blogger Noelle Holten, who as a former probation officer has put her years of experience to incredible use to come up with a dark and disturbing story of domestic abuse.

Dead Inside is the first instalment in the DC Maggie Jamieson series. She has temporarily been transferred to another unit and is forced to hit the ground running when an unsuspecting member of the public finds a dead body in the park. The victim was a convicted domestic abuser and he won’t be the last.

But this story is less about Maggie and more about Lucy Sherwood, a probation officer who deals with, well quite frankly, some serious scum of the earth. This is where Noelle Holten’s experience really shines through and all the things Lucy has to deal with on a daily basis come across as extremely realistic and believable. Outside of work, Lucy has a secret and it may just land her in deep trouble.

I must admit it took me a while to get to grips with a rather big cast of characters but once that happened, it was plain sailing all the way and this turned into quite the quickie read for me, helped along immensely by some short and snappy chapters. As you may have guessed from what I’ve said already, this isn’t always a comfortable story to read. Noelle Holten doesn’t hold back on the abuse some of these characters suffer and some of the events really chilled me to the bone.

As for the murder investigation, there was one part I figured out, although that may have just been a lucky guess. Nevertheless I felt immensely smug. However, there was something else that I didn’t quite see coming, prompting me to utter the words “nice one!” while at the same time feeling incredibly sad.

Dead Inside is a powerful debut. Extremely dark and gritty, with characters that will get under your skin, it tackles an immensely difficult topic but I dare say Noelle Holten did it sensitively and the inevitable violence required to make the story work is never gratuitous.

The ending perfectly sets the scene for the follow-up in this series and I have no doubt many a reader will be back for more from DC Maggie Jamieson. Well played, Noelle, well played!

Dead Inside is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and was a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast.

Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the booklove via her blog. 

Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Weekly Wrap-Up (August 25)

Summer is back with a vengeance and I’m loving it! Meanwhile in Italy, they’re on their second week of continuous thunderstorms and it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon. Fingers crossed Mother Nature gets her act together and my holiday won’t be a complete wash-out. Eek.

Other than that, it’s been a bit of a frustrating week. I’ve had people on my case trying to force me to do this, and that, and go there and wherever, not comprehending that it’s just not possible with a doggie that isn’t 100% and most definitely not in 33C degrees heat. I kind of accept (but not really) this behaviour from people who’ve never had a pet but not from the other half, who should bloody know better. Anyway, he’s off for the day and doggie and I have the house all to ourselves. I’d say we’re partying like there’s no tomorrow but she prefers to nap and as much as I’d like to think I’m the boss, I’m really not 😂

Reading-wise, it’s been a good week. Helped enormously by fun buddy reads with Janel. Some more successful than others as apparently fantasy and moi don’t seem to mix very well. Oops. Today’s buddy read is non-fiction. I’ve not had much luck with those in the past either but so far so good. Somewhere in England, a certain someone is walking around with a smug smile on her face 😉

So, what have I read this week?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Two review copies, four just because. Obviously these days I read faster when I decide not to review a book. I almost forgot how much fun that is but now that I have been reminded, I am determined to remain as commitment free as I can possibly be.

For those who enjoy the guessing game, there is one 5 star read in that lot.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I haven’t read a Philippa Gregory book in years but I liked the blurb of this one. Also, the cover is really pretty. So there’s that.

| ARC’s RECEIVED VIA NETGALLEY |

I haven’t read on Kindle in ages but I’ve been waiting for this final instalment in the 4MK Thriller trilogy and the hardback is insanely expensive. So as it was a “read now”, I just couldn’t resist.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Joined the blog tour for Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Tuesday : Reviewed Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Nothing to see here

Friday : Planned post moved to Saturday

Saturday : Shared my thoughts on The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Thank you for sharing my posts on social media! Always immensely appreciated! ❤️

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

Tuesday : Review | The Retreat by Sherri Smith

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Review | Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard

Friday : Review | My 20th book of summer, title to be determined 😂

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

My last relatively busy week, if I can help it. I really look forward to taking things a lot slower, to read when I want, to review when I want or not to when I don’t want, to *gasp* maybe do something other than reading.

So, one more book to go for the 20 Books of Summer challenge. Still. I obviously could have reviewed one of the books I read this week but I didn’t feel like it. What’s a girl to do?

I’ve also spent more time this week staring at the bookshelves in an attempt to decide what to take with me on holiday. The pile has risen to …… 3. 🙄
I don’t know why this is so hard. The other half says it’s because I have too many options. I say it’s because I don’t have enough of them 🤣

Please feel free to recommend something to me! I obviously need help here! 😂

And that’s a wrap! Wishing you all a glorious week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware | @RuthWareWriter @HarvillSecker | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Ruth Ware
Title : The Turn of the Key
Pages : 340
Publisher : Harvill Secker
Publication date : August 8, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Ruth Ware’s previous book, The Death of Mrs Westaway, was one of my top books last year. So to say I had high expectations for her next offering would be somewhat of an understatement. I couldn’t wait to pick up The Turn of the Key and as soon as I started reading, I just knew this one was going to be another extra special treat.

Rowan Caine answered an ad for a nanny position in the Scottish Highlands. But it’s obvious from the start that things did not go well. A child is dead and Rowan is in prison awaiting trial for murder. What on earth happened and how did Rowan get here?

Oh, what a twisted tale this is. I feel like I didn’t breathe for 340 pages, it’s that tense. The modern gadgetry alone already freaked me out, never mind all the shenanigans that could possibly be caused by ghosts because hey, isolated house in a remote location where a death or two has occurred , it’s bound to be haunted, right? Hugely atmospheric? Check! I mean, there’s even a poison garden! Yikes! And what of Rowan? Reliable narrator or not? I couldn’t quite decide for most of the story and yet, at every turn, I found myself firmly on her side.

Creepy and chilling throughout, I couldn’t at all figure out what had happened and the conclusion left me reeling. Or at least my interpretation of it, which obviously means you should read this novel right now so we can discuss it! Wow. I mean, really, just WOW. I absolutely devoured this novel and as tends to happen with books I loved as much as this one, the words to describe my experience with it just will not come. Also because I’m way too worried I’ll give anything away.

Brilliantly written, immensely engrossing, extremely addictive …. WOW! 😉 This is most definitely Ruth Ware at her best and I honestly can’t believe I’m saying this, because did I mention how utterly brilliant The Death of Mrs Westaway was? The Turn of the Key, you guys, is even better and it shoots right up my list of favourite books of the year! I’ll be recommending this one left, right and centre until I’m blue in the face and I am already eagerly awaiting Ruth Ware’s next book.

The Turn of The Key is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Book 17 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

This Week in Books (August 21)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

PLAY
Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges onscreen, kills her and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?

PAUSE
Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t – not until she’s found what she’s looking for…

REWIND
This is an explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking…

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

The truth is easy to miss, even when it’s right in front of us. As a forensic reconstructionist, Rory Moore sheds light on cold-case homicides by piecing together crime scene details others fail to see. Cleaning out her late father’s law office a week after his burial, she receives a call that plunges her into a decades-old case come to life once more.

In the summer of 1979, five Chicago women went missing. The predator, nicknamed The Thief, left no bodies and no clues behind–until police received a package from a mysterious woman named Angela Mitchell, whose unorthodox investigation skills appear to have led to his identity. But before police could question her, Angela disappeared. Forty years later, The Thief is about to be paroled for Angela’s murder–the only crime the DA could pin on him. As a former client of her father’s, Rory becomes reluctantly involved with the killer–though he continues to insist he didn’t murder Angela. Now he wants Rory to do what her father once promised: prove that Angela is, in fact, still alive.

As Rory begins reconstructing Angela’s last days, another killer emerges from the shadows, replicating those long-ago murders. With every startling discovery she makes, Rory becomes more deeply entangled in the enigma of Angela Mitchell–and in The Thief’s tormented mind. Drawing connections between past and present is the only way to stop the nightmare, but even Rory can’t be prepared for the full, terrifying truth that is emerging 

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined.

No tour commitments to fulfil and one book away from finishing my 20 Books of Summer challenge with time to spare! Guess who’s reading for fun? This girl!

What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid | #20BooksOfSummer

Author : Taylor Jenkins-Reid
Title : Daisy Jones and The Six
Pages : 368
Publisher : Hutchinson
Publication date : March 5, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now.

They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently. The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot onstage at the Whisky, their lives were irrevocably changed.

Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Why yes, this is my second Taylor Jenkins Reid book of the Summer. I didn’t plan it like that but you know, peer pressure. What can you do?

Daisy Jones and The Six follows the rise and fall of one of the most popular bands of the 70’s. At one point, they were absolutely everywhere with their albums selling like hot cakes and sold out arenas from coast to coast. And then suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, it all came to an end and nobody knew why. Now, band members and people who were around them at the time have sat down to tell their stories.

This novel is written like a rock documentary and to be honest, I struggled somewhat with this format at the start. If this had been on television, I would have been glued to the screen but to read it in this way was a bit weird at first. I felt it didn’t quite give me the opportunity to connect to these characters. However, the more I read and adjusted to the way it was written, the more I became hooked and completely immersed in the story of these seven rockstars.

There are quite a lot of cliches in this book, from the sex, the drugs and the rock ‘n’ roll to the egos that won’t fit through a door. But throughout it all, there is also a really interesting journey of personal growth, of figuring out what’s ultimately more important in life and of knowing when to step away. Throughout it all, I was often reminded of Lyndsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac. This volatile relationship that created such amazing music and ultimately imploded.

Despite my initial misgivings, I’m so glad I kept on reading because I ended up loving this book. It’s brilliantly written, full of flawed and damaged characters and I just had to know what caused this band to split up at the height of their fame. Taylor Jenkins-Reid really managed to capture the era of the seventies and Daisy Jones especially is a character that is truly unforgettable.

With this second book by Taylor Jenkins-Reid under my belt, she has now found herself a spot on my list of go-to authors. Daisy Jones and The Six is refreshing, original, brilliantly written historical fiction from the top shelf.

Daisy Jones and The Six is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Book 16 from my 20 Books of Summer list

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane | @MichaelJBooks @sriya__v | #extract #excerpt

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane. My thanks to Sriya at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join. I have an extract to share with you all today but first, here is what this novel is all about.

Author : Mary Beth Keane
Title : Ask Again, Yes
Pages : 388
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : August 8, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the bond between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, two rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne—sets the stage for the explosive events to come.

Ask Again, Yes is a deeply affecting exploration of the lifelong friendship and love that blossoms between Francis and Lena’s daughter, Kate, and Brian and Anne’s son, Peter. Luminous, heartbreaking, and redemptive, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story, while tested by echoes from the past, is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.

| EXTRACT |

one

GILLAM WAS NICE ENOUGH but lonely, Lena Teobaldo thought when she first saw it. It was the kind of place that if she were there on vacation she’d love for the first two days, and then by the third day she’d start looking forward to leaving. It didn’t seem quite real: the apple trees and maples, the shingled houses with front porches, the cornfields, the dairy, the kids playing stickball in the street as if they didn’t notice their houses were sitting on a half acre of grass. Later, she’d figure out that the kids played the games their parents had played growing up in the city. Stickball. Hopscotch. Kick the can. When a father taught a son how to throw a ball, he marched that boy to the middle of the road as if they were on a block tight with tenements, because that’s where he’d learned from his father. She’d agreed to the trip because it was something to do and if she’d stayed in Bay Ridge that Saturday, her mother would have made her bring food to Mrs. Venard, who’d never been right since her boy went missing in Vietnam.

Her cousin Karolina’s dress was hanging on the hook behind Lena’s bedroom door, altered and ready for Lena to wear in just six days’ time. She’d gotten her shoes, her veil. There was nothing more to do other than wait, so when Francis asked if she wanted to take a little trip to check out a town he’d heard about through a guy at work, she’d said sure, it was a beautiful fall day, it would be nice to get out to the country for a few hours, she’d pack a picnic lunch. They unpacked that lunch on a bench outside the public library, and in the time it took to unwrap their sandwiches, eat them, sip all the tea from the thermos, only one person entered the library. A northbound train pulled into the station and three people got off. Across the town square was a deli, and next to it a five-and-dime with a stroller parked outside. Francis had driven them in Lena’s father’s Datsun—her brother Karol’s copy of Led Zeppelin IV stuck in the tape deck. Lena didn’t have a driver’s license, didn’t have the first idea how to drive. She’d assumed she’d never have to learn.

“So? What do you think?” Francis asked later as they eased back onto the Palisades Parkway. Lena opened the window and lit a cigarette.

“Pretty,” she said. “Quiet.” She slipped off her shoes and put her feet up on the dashboard. She’d put in for two weeks of vacation time—a week before her wedding plus a week after—and that day, a Saturday, was her first day of the longest stretch of days she’d had off in three years.

“You saw the train? There’s also a bus that goes to Midtown,” he said. She thought it a random piece of information until it hit her like a kick in the shin that he wanted to live there. He hadn’t said that. He’d said only that he wanted to take a spin in the car, check out a place he’d heard of. She thought he only wanted a break from all the wedding talk. Relatives from Italy and Poland were already arriving, and her parents’ apartment was packed with food and people every hour of the day. No one from Ireland was coming but some relation of Francis’s who’d emigrated to Chicago had sent a piece of Irish china. Francis said he didn’t mind. It was the bride’s day anyway. But now she saw he had a plan in mind. It seemed so far-fetched she decided not to mention it again unless he brought it up first.

A few weeks later, the wedding over and done with, their guests long departed, Lena back at work with a new name and a new band on her finger, Francis said it was time for them to move out of her parents’ apartment. He said that everyone had to tiptoe through the narrow livingroom if Lena’s sister, Natusia, was in there with her books. Karol was almost always in a bad mood, probably because the newlyweds had taken over his bedroom. There was nowhere to be alone. Every moment Francis spent there, he said, he felt like he should be offering to help with something, do something. Their wedding gifts were stacked in corners and Lena’s mother was always admonishing everyone to be careful, think of the crystal. Lena thought it was nice, a half dozen people sitting down to dinner together, sometimes more, depending on who stopped by. For the first time she wondered if she’d known him well enough to marry him.

“But where?” she said.

They looked on Staten Island. They looked within Bay Ridge. They climbed walk-ups in Yorkville, Morningside Heights, the Village. They walked through houses filled with other people’s things, their photos displayed on ledges, their polyester flower arrangements. On all those visits, Lena could see the road to Gillam approaching like an exit on the freeway. They’d socked away the cash gifts they’d gotten at the wedding plus most of their salaries and had enough for a down payment.

One Saturday morning in January 1974, after he’d worked a midnight tour plus a few hours of overtime, Francis got to Bay Ridge and told Lena to get her coat, he’d found their house.

“I’m not going,” she said, looking up from her coffee with her face set like stone. Angelo Teobaldo was doing a crossword across from her. Gosia Teobaldo had just cracked two eggs onto a skillet. Standing six foot two in his patrolman’s uniform, Francis’s face burned.

“He’s your husband,” Angelo said to his daughter. A reprimand. Like she’d left her toys scattered on the carpet and forgotten to put them away.

“You keep quiet,” Gosia said, motioning for him to zip his lip. “We’re having breakfast at Hinsch’s,” she announced, extinguishing the flame under the skillet.

“Let’s just go see, Lena. We don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.”

“Oh, sure,” Lena said.

An hour and twenty minutes later, Lena pressed her forehead against the glass of the passenger window and looked at the house that would be theirs. There was a brightly lettered For Sale sign outside. The hydrangea that would flower in June was just a clump of frostbitten sticks. The current owners were home, their Ford was in the driveway—so Francis kept the engine running.

“What’s that? Are they rocks?” Toward the back of the property were five huge rocks, lined up by Mother Nature hundreds of millennia ago in ascending order, the tallest maybe five feet high.

“Boulders,” Francis said. “They’re all over this area. The realtor told me the builders left some as natural dividers between the houses. They remind me of Ireland.”

Lena looked at him as if to say, So that’s why you brought me here. He’d met a realtor. His mind was made up. The houses on that street— Jefferson—and the surrounding streets—Washington, Adams, Madison, Monroe—were closer together than the houses farther from town, and Francis said that was because these houses were older, built back in the 1920s when there was a tannery in town and everyone walked to work. He thought Lena would like that. There was a porch out front.

“Who will I talk to?” she asked.

“To our neighbors,” he said. “To the people you meet. You make friends faster than anyone. Besides, you’ll still be in the city every day. You’ll have the girls you work with. The bus stops right at the end of the block. You don’t even have to learn to drive if you don’t want to.” He’d be her driver, he joked.

He couldn’t explain to her that he needed the trees and the quiet as a correction for what he saw on the job, how crossing a bridge and having that physical barrier between him and his beat felt like leaving one life and entering another. In his imagination he had it all organized: Officer Gleeson could exist there, and Francis Gleeson could exist here. In academy, some of the instructors were old-timers who claimed they’d never in their thirty-year careers so much as drawn their weapons, but after only six months Francis had drawn several times. His sergeant had just recently shot a thirty-year-old man in the chest during a standoff beside the Bruckner Expressway, and the man died on the scene. But it was a good kill, they all said, because the man was a known junkie and had been armed. Sergeant hadn’t seemed the slightest bit concerned. Francis had nodded along with the rest of them and gone out for drinks when their tour was over. But the next day, when someone had to meet with the man’s mother and the mother of his children to explain to them what had happened since they wouldn’t leave the waiting room for anything, it seemed to Francis that he was the only one who felt rattled. The man had had a mother. He’d been a father. He hadn’t always been a junkie. Standing by the coffeepot and wishing the women would go the hell home, it was as if he could see the whole rest of the man’s life—not just the moment he’d foolishly swung around while holding his little .22.

And though he told Lena none of this, only that work was fine, things were busy, she sensed the thing he wasn’t saying and looked at the house again. She imagined a bright row of flowers at the foot of the porch. They could have a guest bedroom. It was true that the bus from Gillam to Midtown Manhattan would take less time than the subway from Bay Ridge.

If you would like to read more about Francis and Lena and the events that will impact their family for years to come, then why not grab yourself a copy of Ask Again, Yes as it’s available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Mary Beth Keane’s first novel, The Walking People (2009) was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and her second novel, Fever (2013) was named a best book of 2013 by NPR Books, Library Journal, and The San Francisco Chronicle. In 2011 she was named to the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35.” She was a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow in Fiction and her new novel, Ask Again, Yes, is forthcoming in June of 2019.

Weekly Wrap-Up (August 18)

Summer has gone and done a runner. It’s been a miserable, windy and wet week and I do not approve in the slightest. I’ve been torturing myself by constantly checking the weather in Italy, where it’s lovely and warm, and keeping my fingers crossed that will still be the case when I arrive there in a few weeks.

Since I ran out of Hawaii Five-O episodes to watch [note to self : binge-watch slower next time], there seemed little else to do but read. And by read, I mean stare at hundreds of books on my bookshelves and declare I had nothing to read. 🤣

Meanwhile, the pile of books I will be taking with me on holiday has grown to … one. Yes, you read that right. One. Considering my hormonal reading mojo this year, you never know. It could be enough. Still, it’s good to be prepared for every eventuality, right? So I’m thinking I need a few more. I might be forced to do a panicky “grab-whatever-is-closest” on the day we leave. 😂

Anyway! No tv shows to watch and miserable weather. What’s a girl to do? Read, I guess. So here’s what I read this week.

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

That’s not too bad again. I’m about 100 pages away from finishing another one but I got distracted.

For those who’d like to guess this week : one of those shot right up my list of “books of the year”. No, Kelly, you’re not allowed to play along 😜

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Well. I don’t know what happened here but apparently I bought none. What’s up with that?! Feel free to stage an intervention if this continues! 😂

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Nothing

Tuesday : Shared my review for Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Reviewed Come Back For Me by Heidi Perks

Friday : Again with the nothing

Saturday : Took this day off as well

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

You know something? I could totally get used to this!

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Extract | Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Tuesday : Review | Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins-Reid

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Most likely nothing

Friday : Review | The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Slightly busier because I need to squeeze in the 20 Books of Summer challenge reviews before the end of the month. 😂

Speaking of that challenge, I’m currently reading my 18th book. I may yet nail this after all! I also reached the 150 mark of books read this year, which considering the up-and-down reading mojo makes me feel quite accomplished. And the year isn’t over yet!

That’s it for this week. I’m spending the afternoon with the mother-in-law. Again. She seems to be here a lot lately. I hope she’s not planning on moving in 🤔

Wishing you all a fantastic week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

Come Back For Me by Heidi Perks | #20BooksOfSummer

Author : Heidi Perks
Title : Come Back For Me
Pages : 416
Publisher : Century
Publication date : July 11, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

A tiny island community is stunned by the discovery of a long-buried body.

For Stella Harvey, the news is doubly shocking, as the body is found in the garden of her childhood home. The home her family fled without explanation twenty-five years ago.

Now, questioning her past and desperate to unearth the truth, Stella returns to the Dorset island. But she quickly finds that the community she left isn’t as welcoming as she remembers – and that people in it will go to any length to protect their secrets.

But one thing rings true…
You can’t bury the truth forever. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

Heidi Perk’s previous book, Now You See Her, absolutely rocked my socks off so I couldn’t wait to see if her new offering would live up to that one for me.

The story starts off with a bang when eleven year old Stella is forced to leave her childhood home on Evergreen Island in the middle of a storm. Why are her parents so desperate to leave the island in these circumstances? Twenty-five years later, a body is found near Stella’s childhood home. Stella has always wanted to return to the island and this seems like the perfect opportunity. She knows these people after all. But the small community isn’t exactly welcoming and it soon becomes apparent there are a lot of secrets the island residents are keen to protect.

And just like that I was caught up in a murder mystery and the dynamics of a rather dysfunctional family all in one go. Quite clearly, Heidi Perks took a master class in plotting, knowing exactly what to do to keep a reader hooked. With seemingly every chapter ending on a cliffhanger, I couldn’t stop myself from absolutely devouring this book. Every theory I could possibly come up with was blown to pieces and there was no way I was ever going to predict any of the secrets hidden away on this island.

Come Back For Me is immensely atmospheric, compelling and utterly gripping. It’s the kind of book you just can’t put down, that has you flipping the pages faster and faster, desperate to find out what on earth is going on and how all the pieces of the past and the present fit together.

This is the second book I’ve read by Heidi Perks and it went down a treat. Her previous one still remains my favourite by her but she is now firmly on my radar and I absolutely can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. If you enjoy a well-plotted and unpredictable psychological thriller, then this one is most definitely for you!

Come Back For Me is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Book 15 from my 20 Books of Summer list