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.

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas | @Dougieclaire @MichaelJBooks @sriya__v | #blogtour

Delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas today! My thanks to Sriya at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for the fab review copy!

Author : Claire Douglas
Title : Then She Vanishes
Pages : 430
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : August 8, 2019 (paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Everything changed the night Flora Powell disappeared. 

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared? 

| MY THOUGHTS |

That feeling you get when one of your favourite authors has a new book out …. priceless!

Claire Douglas has been on my go-to list for quite a while now. I don’t even need to know what her books are about. I’ll see her name and the book will be in my hands, just like that. So obviously I couldn’t wait to get stuck into Then She Vanishes.

This one starts off with a bang. Literally. A small seaside town is rocked by a double murder. As a reporter, Jess follows the news but in this case even more so, because this is her hometown and the person accused of the murders could possibly be her childhood friend, Heather. Jess hasn’t been in contact with Heather for years. Not since the night she told a lie. Not since the night Heather’s sister, Flora, disappeared.

The story is told via Jess and Heather’s mum, Margot. Jess, who as a reporter but also a former friend who spent a lot of time at Heather’s home, needs to somehow find a way to find a balance between her loyalty towards this family and keeping her boss happy with exclusive interviews. And poor Margot, who already lost a daughter, now needs to face up to the fact she may lose her other daughter as well. Did Heather commit the crimes she’s accused of? If so, what could possibly have driven her to do something like that?

From the very first chapter, Then She Vanishes had me utterly hooked. There was no way I was going to put this book down until I knew what had happened. The road to get to the truth is full of twists, turns and “wait, what?!” moments that left my mouth hanging open in the most un-lady like way. And that doesn’t even take into account the chilling ending! I couldn’t at all figure out how things were connected and wasn’t prepared for how dark things would become.

I’ve read all of Claire Douglas’ books and I have no problem whatsoever in saying that this is her best one yet. It’s immensely gripping and compelling, full of intriguing and believable characters, some unlikeable and hugely unreliable, and an absolute page-turner. I mean, what more could you possibly want? Incredibly well plotted, I found Then She Vanishes massively exciting, suspenseful and thoroughly enjoyable and I can’t wait to see what Claire Douglas comes up with next.

Then She Vanishes is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Claire Douglas always wanted to write novels and, after many years of trying to get published, her dream came true when she won the Marie Claire Debut Novel Award in 2013 with THE SISTERS.

Her subsequent novels LOCAL GIRL MISSING, LAST SEEN ALIVE and DO NOT DISTURB all reached the Sunday Times top ten bestsellers list and are published in over fifteen countries. LOCAL GIRL MISSING was the bestselling crime debut of 2018 in Germany. Her fifth thriller, THEN SHE VANISHES is due for release in Ebook end of June 2019 and in paperback August 2019.

Weekly Wrap-Up (August 4)

Aloha! After an unscheduled break last week, I am back with my weekly wrap-up and let me tell you, it’s going to blow your socks off! Or possibly not.

Insert obligatory freak-out about it being August already here. AUGUST! WTF?!

Thank you for the messages last week and apologies if I worried you all. The heatwave kicked my bum like a big kicking thing. I mean, 42C. Come on! But it was mostly my dog who struggled. This resulted in having to sleep downstairs on the sofa, where it was slightly cooler. And by sleep, I mean, SHE slept all night and I did not. I managed a grand total of about 4 hours over 3 nights so suffice to say I was absolutely shattered. By the weekend, I had a massive migraine and barely knew my own name 🤣. Writing up the wrap-up wasn’t exactly high on my list of priorities. Besides, I’d only read two books that week so there really wasn’t much to talk about anyway. 😳

All back to normal this week, thank goodness. Except for the reading as I’ve been hugely distracted by my dvd collection and hot boys hanging out in Hawaii. I’m not even sorry.

So, what did I read this week then?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

A mere three books. And only because I had to, not because I felt like it. This is bad. So very bad.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Looks like even my book buying mojo has done a runner.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Joined the blog tour for The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

Tuesday : Reviewed Conviction by Denise Mina

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for The Daughter in Law by Nina Manning

Friday : Joined the blog tour for The Holiday by T.M. Logan

Saturday : Nada

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

I’m just relieved I managed to read those tour books on time 😂

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | Clear My Name by Paula Daly

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Review | The Chain by Adrian McKinty

Friday : Review | Now You See Me by Chris McGeorge

Saturday : Don’t have anything planned

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Why yes, I do still need to read the book for Tuesday. Why do you ask? *facepalm*

The good news is though, for me anyway, that the blog tours will start to slow down. I only have 3 more left after this week. I know, you’re shocked. The bad news is I still have 7 books to read for my 20 Books of Summer Challenge. Let’s just say I’m not feeling very confident I’ll nail that one this year 😂

The countdown to my annual holiday is official on! One month to go and I will be enjoying the peace and quiet of gorgeous Tuscany. Hubby has already started making lists, he’s so organised. I, on the other hand, am just trying to decide which books to take with me. Then again, at the rate I’m going, maybe I should just take Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers. It’s 800 pages, might take me two weeks to finish it. 🤔

And that’s a wrap! Told you it would knock your socks off 😉.

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

This Week in Books (July 31)

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 |

Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost.

Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks – but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman’s purse hidden in his room.

Jessie says they mustn’t tell. She says there’s nothing to worry about. But when she takes a job looking after the woman’s baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn’t always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they’re keeping may start costing lives…

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Seven days. Three families. One killer.

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday – a group of families enjoying a week together in the sun. Four women who have been best friends for as long as they can remember making the most of a luxurious villa in the south of France.

But Kate has a secret: her husband is having an affair. And a week away might just be the perfect opportunity to get the proof she needs – to catch him in the act once and for all. Because she suspects the other woman is one of her two best friends.

One of them is working against her, willing to sacrifice years of friendship to destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined . . . 

Because someone in the villa may be prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden. 

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Everything changed the night Flora Powell disappeared. 

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared? 

By currently reading, I mean I haven’t even started it yet. Because erm … other priorities 😏

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

The Island by Ragnar Jónasson | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Ragnar Jónasson
Title : The Island
Series : Hidden Iceland #2
Pages : 342
Publisher : Michael Joseph / Penguin UK
Publication date : April 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the isolated island of Elliðaey to investigate and soon finds haunting similarities with a previous case – a young woman found murdered ten years ago in the equally desolate Westfjords. 

Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts? 

As Hulda navigates a sinister game constructed of smoke and mirrors she is convinced that no one is telling the truth, including those closest to her. 

But who will crack first? And what secrets is the island hiding?

| MY THOUGHTS |

After having really enjoyed The Darkness a while back, I couldn’t wait to see what Ragnar Jónasson had in store with The Island.

Four friends come together to spend a weekend on an isolated island for a reunion, marking the tenth anniversary of the death of one of their other friends. It soon becomes apparent their friendship isn’t as solid as it used to be. There’s a lot of tension, awkward silences, the conversation doesn’t flow like it did all those years ago and dark secrets are struggling to stay hidden. Then, one of the remaining four friends is found dead. DI Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the island to investigate this death. Could there possibly be a connection to what happened all those years ago?

Reading The Darkness had me immensely intrigued as to where Ragnar Jónasson would take this series. After all, book one was the end and we’re going back in time. From the start, I thought that was a really interesting premise. However, now that I’ve read the second book, I’m not sure I quite understand the point of going in reverse. I found it quite hard to care about Hulda because I already know what happens to her. It’s a bit like watching a film when the biggest spoiler or twist has already been revealed to you and you’re left to wonder why you’re wasting your time on something you already know the conclusion of. I can’t help but feel I’m missing something that would enlighten me about this premise and make me appreciate it more.

Saving grace in this instance, though, is Ragnar Jónasson’s writing. Always absorbing and beautifully descriptive, it paints the most magical picture of Iceland. The Island is dark, sometimes somewhat chilling, with a sense of foreboding and the investigation kept me guessing until the end. I couldn’t at all figure out whodunnit or why and needing to know the answers to those questions is what kept me reading.

Overall though, I am mostly left with sense of disappointment. I expected more, I suppose, and in that respect The Island didn’t really deliver. It’s a good book on its own but as the middle book in a trilogy, I feel it needed something more to really keep me gripped. That said, I will be reading the final instalment when it’s published as I am still intrigued enough to see what Ragnar Jónasson’s end game is.

The Island is available to buy!

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

Book 8 from my 20 Books of Summer list

Weekly Wrap-Up (June 30)

Bye bye, June! You were really cold and then you were really hot so I forgive you for not realising Summer had already started because you sure as heck made up for it!

Obviously, because of this heat, I didn’t do anything much productive. Perfect excuse really, to just lounge around and complain to the other half because he is of course at work in air-conditioning all day. So not fair. Although I did, like a true crazy person, tackle my ironing in 32C heat. As you do. I’m hoping I lost enough calories doing that to balance out all the ice cream I’ve had this past week.

Last night, I abandoned my current book to watch two glorious hours of The Killers headlining Glastonbury. Few things make me drop a book but they will do it every single time. I was lucky enough to see them a few years ago and hope I get another chance at that some time in the future. Love them. ❤️

Anyway, books! That’s why we’re here, right? So, how did I do this week? Let’s see!

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

BOOM!!!! *smug face*

One somewhat disappointing, one absolutely fantastic, the others somewhere in between. Feel free to guess 😉

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

It’s a good thing I read 7 books last week because I may have ordered some*. But since they haven’t arrived yet, you’ll have to wait until next week to see what they are.

*(Only 8)

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

One for review (which actually arrived last week but I forgot to mention it) and one for a blog tour I’m ridiculously excited about! With thanks to Quercus and Michael Joseph.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Reviewed The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Tuesday : Shared my review of After The End by Clare Mackintosh

Wednesday : This Week in Books (which I didn’t stick to again 🙄)

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Don’t Ever Tell by Lucy Dawson

Friday : Shared my review of The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Look at that! One blog tour! ONE! Quite obviously a mistake. 😉

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | Black Summer by M.W. Craven

Tuesday : Review | The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

Thursday : Review | The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Friday : Blog tour | Review | The Reunion by Guillaume Musso

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Read all of them. I feel rather accomplished. Let’s not mention the reviews, shall we? 😳 I’m hoping to do those this afternoon but I’m pretty sure my brain has melted.

Please also note there are only two blog tours. Could it possibly be I finally have that whole thing figured out? Tune in next time 🤣

And that, as they say, is a wrap! Wishing you all a wonderful week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

This Week in Books (June 26)

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 |

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the isolated island of Elliðaey to investigate and soon finds haunting similarities with a previous case – a young woman found murdered ten years ago in the equally desolate Westfjords. 

Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts? 

As Hulda navigates a sinister game constructed of smoke and mirrors she is convinced that no one is telling the truth, including those closest to her. 

But who will crack first? And what secrets is the island hiding?

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

‘We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were trying to recall to begin with.’

So begins Tikka Molloy’s recounting of the summer of 1992 – the summer the Van Apfel sisters, Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – disappear.

Eleven and one-sixth years old, Tikka is the precocious narrator of this fabulously endearing coming-of-age story, set in an eerie Australian river valley suburb with an unexplained stench. The Van Apfel girls vanish from the valley during the school’s ‘Showstopper’ concert, held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river. While the search for the sisters unites the small community on Sydney’s urban fringe, the mystery of their disappearance remains unsolved forever.

My next read may still change. I’m in a mood. 😂

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

Weekly Wrap-Up (June 23)

Boy, am I glad to see the back of this week. So much stress and anxiety, tis not good for the soul.

On Tuesday, the ball-and-chain and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Condolences welcome 😉. Now, you’d think that after 20 years, he would know that a) I don’t like surprises and b) I don’t like being the centre of attention. So naturally, he organised something behind my back that “involved other people”. I didn’t know where we were going, what I was supposed to wear, when I was supposed to be ready, nothing. And I hated every single minute of that day. Turns out we just went to a fancy restaurant with his stepbrother and stepbrother’s wife. And it was fantastic, had a really good time, sat outside until midnight, ate great food, drank fabulous wine and a cheeky limoncello or two.

But I could have done without the added stress as doggie wasn’t well again and I hated having to leave her behind with my mother-in-law, the babysitter. Yoshi was incredibly unsteady on her paws, almost toppled over a few times. She wouldn’t eat, she slept a lot. All in all, just not the kind of behaviour I’m used to from her. She’s also started walking into furniture as her sight is going. Anyway, stressful! For those wondering, she seems to be a bit better now but I’m obviously watching her like a hawk.

Obviously, all of this took a massive toll on my reading. I knew those 7 books last week would be a fluke but I wasn’t prepared for this week’s downward spiral. 😂

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Yep. Three. That’s it. Apart from a book where I got to 200 pages and then abandoned it. Two absolute corkers up there though! I’m sure you’ll be able to guess which ones 😉

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Of course I was going to get a hardback of The Whisper Man for my shelves! While browsing, I stumbled upon Allen Eskens and I really need to get caught up on his books so there is one. Charlie Donlea is someone I keep hearing lots about. I’ve only read two of his books so far, although I do have the others.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Black Summer was a book I chose in a giveaway I won. The other two are for blog tours, kindly forwarded on by Zoé 😘

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for The Serpent’s Mark by S.W. Perry

Thursday : Reviewed Beneath the Surface by Jo Spain

Friday : Joined the blog tour for The Whisper Man by Alex North

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

I’m impressed with myself for getting this all out there on the right days and on time, considering the week I’ve had.

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Tuesday : Review | After the End by Claire Mackintosh

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Don’t Ever Tell by Lucy Dawson

Friday : Review | The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Look at that! Just the one blog tour! Do you need a minute? Feel a tad faint? 😂

My next blog tour isn’t until July 3rd. But I’ve only read 5 books from my 20 Books of Summer list so far, so I really need to get a move on. This upcoming week promises to be HOT AS HELL with temperatures of 38°C coming our way. The perfect excuse for doing absolutely nothing but read. Hopefully by the weekend, I’ll have another 7 books under my belt because this silly 3 just will not do!

Right, I have one review to write. I know, you’re jealous. Then I might browse around, possibly buy some more books as I still have a tiny bit of room left on my shelves and it looks stupid 😉.

Hope everyone has a fabulous week! If you’re caught up in a heatwave as I am, stay cool and drink lots of water. If not, erm, sorry 😂. Until next time! Happy reading! xx

The Whisper Man by Alex North | @writer_north @MichaelJBooks | #blogtour #bookreview #TheWhisperMan #recommended

Thrilled to bits to host a stop on the blog tour for The Whisper Man by Alex North today! My thanks to Jenny Platt at Michael Joseph for the opportunity to join and for the fab review copy!

Author : Alex North
Title : The Whisper Man
Pages : 400
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

| MY THOUGHTS |

If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken. 
If you play outside alone, soon you won’t be going home. 
If your windows left unlatched, you’ll hear him tapping at the glass. 
If you’re lonely, sad, and blue the Whisper Man will come for you.

Oh. My. Word.

Say hello to what will possibly end up being my Book of the Year! Yes, I realise it’s only June, which is why I say “possibly”. But I tell you right now, it’s going to take something extraordinary to topple The Whisper Man off that number spot. As soon as I saw this book mentioned on social media, I knew I had to read it. There was just something about the cover and the book description that immediately said “this is the book for you, Eva”. Yes, it knew my name. 😉 My expectations were sky high but within the first few pages, I already knew those expectations would be met. However, I was not entirely prepared for those expectations to be exceeded and then some!

Tom Kennedy is looking for a fresh start for himself and his young son after the sudden death of his wife, Rebecca. New beginnings in a new house in a village called Featherbank. Little does Tom know that Featherbank hides a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer kidnapped and murdered five children. That serial killer, known as the whisper man, is behind bars. But Tom and Jake barely have time to settle in, when another child goes missing and Jake begins to act quite strangely.

Goodness me, I don’t even know where to start. Gripping and compelling? Absolutely! Creepy and chilling? Yes! Addictive and clever? Totally! It is all that and so much more because there is a level of depth to The Whisper Man that you don’t always find in crime fiction thrillers and that’s what makes it stand out already. This story isn’t just about missing children and a serial killer. There are multi-layered and complex characters that struggle with a variety of issues, who pulled me in right from the beginning and didn’t let go. Cleverly plotted and brilliantly written, I was hooked from the very first page, flipping the pages faster and faster, utterly absorbed by the suspense and mystery. And sometimes also somewhat disgusted by human behaviour.

The Whisper Man is the kind of book any crime thriller fan dreams of. It made my skin crawl, it’s sometimes heartbreaking, it’s dark and twisty and just mind-blowingly fabulous! I’m not all surprised to learn that movie rights have already been sold.

Buy this book! Read this book! It could quite possibly indeed be the crime thriller of the year. It undoubtedly deserves to be. I can’t recommend it enough and you will most definitely be seeing this book again in my list of books of the year. Well played, Alex North! I’d like some more now, please!

The Whisper Man is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Alex North was born in Leeds, where he now lives with his wife and son. He studied Philosophy at Leeds University, and prior to becoming a writer he worked there in their sociology department.

Weekly Wrap-Up (June 16)

Halfway through June and still no sign of Summer. This past week, we had so many thunderstorms I lost count. I have no idea what’s going on but I do not approve.

What’s a girl to do when the weather is crap? Well, in hindsight, I suppose I could have done some ironing. Oops. Instead, I read. There was a bit of a wobble mid-week, when two books made their way onto the DNF pile. One I gave a go twice in the last few months. Seems safe to say it’s not for me. It was one of my 20 Books of Summer too, which means it’ll need replacing.

Anywho! What did I read this week? And did I manage to read more than 3 books this time around? Let’s find out!

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Well, would you look at that!!!! I’m too impressed with myself to say any more than that 😉. Probably all downhill from here again though. 🤣

Spoiler : one of those is currently my book of the year. It’ll take something special to knock if off that number one spot. Yes, you’re allowed to guess. No, there won’t be a reward. 😜

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Karin Slaughter!!!!!!! I couldn’t possibly be more excited! It arrived early too (yesterday instead of Monday/Tuesday) so obviously I’m already reading it. It’s SO GOOD! I’m incredibly annoyed that I have to go and be social today or I would have stayed up all night reading it, instead of going to bed and get some sleep in order to look halfway decent today. (Didn’t work, should have just kept reading 😂)

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Titan Books be spoiling me. A Shroud of Leaves is the second book in a series, which I wasn’t aware of. So naturally, I’m going to have to get the first one first because I just can’t help myself. 🙄

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Shared my review of All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride

Tuesday : Posted an extract for my stop on the blog tour for What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for A Modern Family by Helga Flatland and shared my Week in Books

Thursday : Joined the blog tour for Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

Friday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Without A Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Busy, busy. Good thing that reading slump is a tad less hormonal than a few weeks ago 😂

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

Tuesday : Blog tour | Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | The Serpent’s Mark by S.W. Perry

Thursday : Review | The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor

Friday : Blog tour | Review | The Whisper Man by Alex North

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Want to know something? I have read all of those! I know, right? Go me! I do still have two reviews to write but hey, can’t have everything. Besides, that’s not my fault but Karin Slaughter’s 😉

Personally, I think this entire wrap-up is most impressive. If you’d like to shower me with prizes, I won’t say no. 😂

That’s it for this week. I am now going to spend an insane amount of time staring at my wardrobe, trying to figure out what to wear for this lunch I am forced to attend. There will be wine! I’ll be raising a glass to my granddad, who would have turned 100 years old today, if he had still been with us.

Enough babbling. Wishing you all a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx