Friday 31 August 2018

#BookReview Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves @AnnCleeves @StMartinsPress @MinotaurBooks @FreshFiction

Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When the Flemings--designer Helena and architect Daniel--move into a remote community in the north of Shetland, they think it's a fresh start for themselves and their children.

But their arrival triggers resentment, and Helena begins to receive small drawings of a gallows and a hanged man. Gossip spreads like wildfire.

A story of dysfunctional families and fractured relationships, Inspector Jimmy Perez's eighth case will intrigue series fans and Shetland Island newcomers alike.


Helena, her husband Daniel, and their two children didn't have the easiest start in their new house on Shetland. After they moved in the previous owner hanged himself in the barn, and the local community is not so welcoming. Helena has started to receive small drawings of a gallows with a hanged man. Then, their son makes a horrifying discovery out in the barn


August #Wishlist 1930s

This month's wishlist is a theme that I have used before. But, then again, I love books set in the 30s!


A sweeping debut novel set in 1930s Shanghai for fans of Lisa See, Empress, and Memoirs of a Geisha

In 1930s Shanghai, following the path of duty takes precedence over personal desires for every young Chinese woman. For Feng, that means becoming the bride of a wealthy businessman in a marriage arranged by her parents. In the enclosed world of the Sang household—a place of public ceremony and private cruelty—she learns that fulfilling her duty means bearing a male heir.

Ruthless and embittered by a life that has been forced on her, Feng plots a terrible revenge. But as the years pass, she must come to a reckoning with the sacrifices and the terrible choices she has made to assure her place in family and society, before the entire country is engulfed in the fast-flowing tide of revolution.

One snowy New Year's Day, in the midst of the Great Depression, Dr. James Delaney--haunted by the slaughters of the Great War, and abandoned by his wife and daughter--returns home to find his three-year-old grandson on his doorstep, left by his mother in Delaney's care.

Coping with this unexpected arrival, Delaney hires Rose, a tough, decent Sicilian woman with a secret in her past. Slowly, as Rose and the boy begin to care for the good doctor, the numbness in Delaney begins to melt. Recreating 1930s New York with the vibrancy and rich detail that are his trademarks, Pete Hamill weaves a story of honor, family, and one man's simple courage that no reader will soon forget.

The New York Times bestselling author of The Other Lady Vanishes sweeps readers back to California in the 1930s in this all-new novel.

An ex-trapeze artist walks the tightrope between desire and danger as she is caught up in the mysterious circumstances surrounding the onstage death of an inventor. The race is on to find his missing invention before others, who are willing to kill for it, find it first. Once again, the resort town of Burning Cove is the center of deception and intrigue in this thrilling new novel from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Quick.

When Irish-born fighter Danny McCabe commits a terrible crime, he flees to America and throws in his lot with Nicky and Lucia Mariani, siblings from Corsica in search of their fortunes.

After Nicky's infatuation with the New York underworld sees them fall into trouble, the trio head west to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood where Lucia dreams of becoming a star.

Bound by blood and shared secrets, they carve out a life in 1930s tinseltown. While Danny and Lucia embark upon an affair as profound as it is dangerous, Nicky is pulled ever deeper into the dark heart of Los Angeles.

Nicky's reckless ambition sees him make a name for himself amongst a bad crowd, while Danny desperately tries to bury the secrets of his past and carve out a good life for himself on America's west coast. Lucia, passionate and loyal, is left in an impossible position, caught in the crossfire between her brother and the man she loves.

From the author of A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS comes an epic new novel that will span the Golden Age of Hollywood, from the 1930s to the 1960s, and will include appearances from Raymond Chandler, William Faulkner, Mickey Cohen and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Deeply atmospheric and peopled with rich, complex characters, City of Shadows is an enthralling novel of historical suspense, set in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s—a decadent, turbulent time in which a proud nation scarred by defeat, deprivation, and debauchery will become the fertile breeding ground for the rise of National Socialism. 

Berlin, 1922—a city of fading beauty plagued by unemployment and rampant inflation, is home to a host of refugees, including Esther Solomonova. Esther survives by working as a secretary to fellow émigré “Prince” Nick, a scheming cabaret owner who enlists a highly suspicious Esther to “help” Anna Anderson—who may or may not be the lost Princess Anastasia—to claim the Romanov fortune.Yet as people around Esther begin to die, the more she realizes that her own life is at risk, for the murderer may be connected to the terrifying and increasingly powerful Nazi party.

Check Out my friend's wonderful Wishlists: 

Holly at @ Kids and Tired
Stephanie @ Layered Pages
Heather @ The Maiden's Court
Erin @ Historical Fiction Reader

#BlogTour I am Mrs. Jesse James by Pat Wahler @hfvbt @PatWahlerAuthor @BlankSlatePress

Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Blank Slate Press
Paperback & eBook; 316 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

A penny for a promise will change her life forever.

For Jesse James, the war will never be over. For Zee Mimms, the war is only the beginning.

The long, bloody Civil War is finally at an end when Zee Mimms, the dutiful daughter of a Missouri preacher, is tasked with nursing her cousin, JesseJames, back to health after he suffers a near-fatal wound. During Jesse’s long convalescence, the couple falls in love, but Jesse’s resentment against the Federals runs deep. He has scores to settle. For him, the war will never be over.

Zee is torn between deferring to her parents’ wishes and marrying for security or marrying for love and accepting the hard realities of life with an outlaw―living under an assumed name and forever on the run. For her, the choice she makes means the war is only beginning.


“A vivid, moving tale of the woman behind the man of myth and legend…a refreshing take on the woman who both inspired and outlived her partner’s blaze of glory. This is a book not to be missed!” -Nicole Evelina, award winning author of Daughter of Destiny

“I am Mrs. Jesse James presents a woman who, far from being naive or complacent, shows us that pride and love can peacefully coexist against the most violent of backdrops.” -Julia Bricklin, historian and author of America’s Best Female Sharpshooter: The Rise and Fall of Lillian Frances Smith

“A beautifully spun, emotional tale of love and devotion in the most challenging of circumstances.” -Sarah Angleton, author of Launching Sheep & Other Stories from the Intersection of History and Nonsense

About the Author

Pat Wahler is an award-winning writer who aims to pen stories a reader will savor. She lives in Missouri with her family, including a Peek-a-poo pup named Winston; and Bogey, a tabby with an attitude. A fan of good books, history, humor, animals, and the arts (her dream job would combine all of these); Pat draws inspiration from family, friends, and the critters who supervise her time at the keyboard.

A frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, Sasee Magazine, and Not Your Mother’s Book anthologies; her work has also appeared in Reader’s Digest, Storyteller Magazine, and other publications.

Pat is thrilled to announce the release of her debut novel, I AM MRS. JESSE JAMES, in August, 2018. This story of love, loss, and redemption is based on true events and told from the point of view of Zee James, wife of the infamous outlaw. She is also the co-author of a children’s picture book, MIDNIGHT, THE ONE-EYED CAT, releasing in September, 2018. Get ready for Pat’s Christmas-themed collection of short stories, essays, and poetry titled LET YOUR HEART BE LIGHT: A CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS, releasing October, 2018.

For more information, please visit Pat Wahler’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Bookbub.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, August 28

Interview at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, August 29

Thursday, August 30

Friday, August 31

Monday, September 3

Tuesday, September 4

Interview at Maiden of the Pages

Wednesday, September 5

Thursday, September 6

Saturday, September 8

Monday, September 10

Interview at Creating Herstory

Tuesday, September 11

Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, September 12

Feature at The Lit Bitch


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of I Am Mrs. Jesse James! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.

– Only one entry per household.

– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.

– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

I Am Mrs. Jesse James

Direct Link:

Thursday 30 August 2018

#CoverCrush The Huntress by Kate Quinn

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Historical Fiction Reader came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!

In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted…

Bold and fearless, Nina Markova always dreamed of flying. When the Nazis attack the Soviet Union, she risks everything to join the legendary Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on the invading Germans. When she is stranded behind enemy lines, Nina becomes the prey of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, and only Nina’s bravery and cunning will keep her alive.

Transformed by the horrors he witnessed from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials, British war correspondent Ian Graham has become a Nazi hunter. Yet one target eludes him: a vicious predator known as the Huntress. To find her, the fierce, disciplined investigator joins forces with the only witness to escape the Huntress alive: the brazen, cocksure Nina. But a shared secret could derail their mission unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.

Growing up in post-war Boston, seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride is determined to become a photographer. When her long-widowed father unexpectedly comes homes with a new fiancée, Jordan is thrilled. But there is something disconcerting about the soft-spoken German widow. Certain that danger is lurking, Jordan begins to delve into her new stepmother’s past—only to discover that there are mysteries buried deep in her family . . . secrets that may threaten all Jordan holds dear.

In this immersive, heart-wrenching story, Kate Quinn illuminates the consequences of war on individual lives, and the price we pay to seek justice and truth.

I think that only seeing the silhouette of a woman on the cover really captures the essence of a book about being hunted. About secrets in the past. The cover really has a mysterious feeling to it and I can't wait to read the book!  

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Stephanie @ Layered Pages

Wednesday 29 August 2018

#BookReview The Katharina Code by Jørn Lier Horst @LierHorst @MichaelJBooks

The Katharina Code by Jørn Lier Horst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Twenty-four years ago Katharina Haugen went missing.

All she left behind was her husband Martin and a mysterious string of numbers scribbled on a piece of paper.

Every year on October 9th Chief Inspector William Wisting takes out the files to the case he was never able to solve. Stares at the code he was never able to crack. And visits the husband he was never able to help.

But now Martin Haugen is missing too.

As Wisting prepares to investigate another missing person's case he's visited by a detective from Oslo. Adrian Stiller is convinced Martin's involved in another disappearance of a young woman and asks Wisting to close the net around Martin.

But is Wisting playing cat and mouse with a dangerous killer or a grief-stricken husband who cannot lay the past to rest?


I have read several books in the William Wisting series and I love it! If this is the first time you have ever heard of this series, then I encourage you to go out and find any books you can read. This series by Jørn Lier Horst is excellent and you can without any problem read any of the books as stand alone.

THE KATHARINA CODE starts off with William Wisting going through the Katharina investigation. He does it every year on the same day. The day Katarina disappeared. However, this year will prove to be a bit different. Katharina's husband Martin Haugan goes missing. Could there be a connection between Martin's disappearance and Katharina's?

I loved the beginning of the book. As a big cold case fan was this book thrilling to read. Especially when you start to get a feeling that all the pieces are starting to come together. Another thing that I love about this series that you also get William Wisting's Lina's POV. She's a journalist, and she too gets involved into working this case, although from a journalist POV and without knowing that her father is also working the case.

THE KATHARINA CODE is a fabulous book and I recommend it and the whole series warmly!

I want to thank Michael Joseph Books for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

Tuesday 28 August 2018

#BlogTour Overkill by Vanda Symon @vandasymon @OrendaBooks #RandomThingsTours

Overkill by Vanda Symon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not as it seems. Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide, and has to face the realization that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast aside her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands. She must find the murderer, and clear her name.

First, I want to say that no, you shouldn't pick books because of covers. Second, I just LOVE this cover. So, ignore what I said first. Especially if you like a good crime novel because this is a book that has both a great story AND great cover! 

OVERKILL is the first book in Sam Shephard series. Sam is a young cop that is called to a house in which a young woman has disappeared from. A suicide note has been found and soon after the body of the woman is found. An easy case, or not. Sam is not so sure and shortly after she discovers that it's, not suicide, it's murder. And, to top it all she's herself a suspect because of the dead women is the wife of her old boyfriend. Now she has to both find the murderer and clear her name. 

Sam Shepard is easy to like. A bit too outspoken now perhaps, which isn't good when her career and life in freedom is at risk. But, she's a good cop and she's hellbent on finding the killer. The question is why would anyone want to kill a nice young mother. Sam has to dig deep to get some answers and the truth is truly surprising. There are also some really hilarious moments in the book, like for instance when Sam is trying to change a tire. I love it when in all seriousness there is a moment like that. Moments that make you smile.    

OVERKILL is a great book and I hope to get the chance of reading the rest of the books in the series. 


Sunday 26 August 2018

#BookReview The Lost Love Letters of Henri Fournier by Rosalind Brackenbury @AmazonPub

The Lost Love Letters of Henri Fournier by Rosalind Brackenbury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What do you do when you’ve lost the love of your life?

Seb Fowler has arrived in Paris to research his literary idol, Henri Fournier. It begins with an interview granted by a woman whose affair with the celebrated writer trails back to World War I. The enchanting Pauline is fragile, but her memories are alive—those of an illicit passion, of the chances she took and never regretted, and of the twists of fate that defined her unforgettable love story.

Through Pauline’s love letters, her secrets, and a lost Fournier manuscript, Seb will come to learn so much more—about Pauline, Henri, and himself. For Seb, every moment of Pauline’s past proves to be more inspiring than he could have imagined. She’s given him the courage to grab hold of whatever life offers, to cherish each risk, and to pursue love in his life.

Intimately epic, The Lost Love Letters of Henri Fournier spans generations to explore every beautiful mystery of falling in love, being in love, and losing a love—and, most important, daring to love again and discovering just how resilient the human heart can be.


I decided to listen to the audio version of this book. Sometimes I do both, read at home and listen at work. However, sometimes a narrator is so good that I just feel the need to listen when I'm at home as well. And so it was with this book. Cassandra Campbell shifted between the characters effortlessly and her French accent is marvelous. It was a great joy to listen to this book.

I had no idea that the story in THE LOST LOVE LETTERS OF HENRI FOURNIER is based on real people. I didn't learn that until I read a review of the book and later on the afterwords by the author. This is a fictional tale of real people. My favorite kind of historical fiction. Interesting enough did I prefer the story set in the 1970s and the present, rather than the one set during the 1910s. Not that I disliked reading about Pauline love affair with Henri. I was just more engrossed in Pauline's recollections and Seb's story, both in the 70s and present. I really liked old Pauline, she was so full of wisdom and sass. And I could picture in my head her apartment in Paris filled with old things gathered through the years.

THE LOST LOVE LETTERS OF HENRI FOURNIER is a great historical fiction. I'm not a big fan of romance novels, but I do love reading a historical fiction with some romance now and then. And, if you also like books about real people, epic love stories, and tragic events then you will love this book!

Thursday 23 August 2018

#CoverCrush A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Historical Fiction Reader came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!

Veronica Speedwell returns in another adventure filled with secrets and betrayal from Deanna Raybourn, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey Mysteries.

Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker’s brother calls in a favor. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée—much to Stoker’s chagrin. But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed. Every invited guest has a connection to Romilly’s wife, Rosamund, who disappeared on her wedding day three years ago, and a dramatic dinner proves she is very much on her husband’s mind.

As spectral figures, ghostly music, and mysterious threats begin to plague the partygoers, Veronica enlists Stoker’s help to discover the host’s true motivations. And as they investigate, it becomes clear that there are numerous mysteries surrounding the Romilly estate, and every person present has a motive to kill Rosamund…


Yes, this is a series I love so I'm eagerly awaiting this book. But, the cover is gorgeous as well, heck the covers for all the books in this series are great. Which makes me a bit sad since I don't own any of the books in hardcover. I've only read the books as eARCs. The sad truth about ebooks, admiring the covers are just not the same thing as with hardcover/paperbacks. Anyway, just look at the cover, there is Veronica about to catch some butterflies, although I bet she will be more likely trying to solve a crime of some kind...with Stoker...

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Stephanie @ Layered Pages

Sunday 19 August 2018

#BookReview Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus @NeleNeuhaus @MinotaurBooks @StMartinsPress

Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On a rainy November day police detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are summoned to a mysterious traffic accident: A woman has fallen from a pedestrian bridge onto a car driving underneath. According to a witness, the woman may have been pushed. The investigation leads Pia and Oliver to a small village, and the home of the victim, Rita Cramer.

On a September evening eleven years earlier, two seventeen-year-old girls vanished from the village without a trace. In a trial based only on circumstantial evidence, twenty-year-old Tobias Sartorius, Rita Cramer's son, was sentenced to ten years in prison. Bodenstein and Kirchhoff discover that Tobias, after serving his sentence, has now returned to his home town. Did the attack on his mother have something to do with his return?

In the village, Pia and Oliver encounter a wall of silence. When another young girl disappears, the events of the past seem to be repeating themselves in a disastrous manner. The investigation turns into a race against time, because for the villagers it is soon clear who the perpetrator is—and this time they are determined to take matters into their own hands.

An atmospheric, character-driven and suspenseful mystery set in a small town that could be anywhere, dealing with issues of gossip, power, and keeping up appearances.


WOW! What an absolutely stunning thriller! I had planned to read the latest book published here in Sweden (I AM YOUR JUDGE), but before that did I want to read the ones published in Swedish first. I was a bit confused at first before I realized that this actually is books four in the series. Which explained why it felt like you have missed a lot in the characters personal life (and cases they discussed in the book). Personally, would I have loved to read the books from the beginning, but I'm still thrilled to have discovered this series.

SNOW WHITE MUST DIE is a captivating crime novel. I liked the main characters Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein right from the start and I especially loved getting to know more about their personal lives. I felt that giving Pia and Oliver such rich personal lives really gave them depth, not to mention how interesting it was to read about Pia and her partner (he was a suspect in a case when they first met) and Oliver and his what he thinks "happy" marriage.

As for the case, there were many characters to keep track off. That is the hard part of the book, but I never really felt that it bothered me much. I was so engrossed in the case. Wanting to know more about what happened to the two young women that disappeared years ago. Could this case have something to do with the woman that fell from the bridge? Cold cases are my favorite kind of crime novels and I love reading about small towns with many secrets. There were moments when it felt like everyone was hiding something...

SNOW WHITE MUST DIE is a splendid book and it was easy to give it five stars! This is a series that I recommend with all my heart!

#BookReview Hem ljugna hem (You Were Made for This) by Michelle Sacks (SWE/ENG) @Southsidstories

You Were Made for This by Michelle Sacks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


New York-borna Sam och Merry flyttar med sin lilla son Conor till en idyllisk stuga i skogarna utanför Sigtuna, som Sam har ärvt. Där planerar de att starta ett nytt hälsosamt liv. Sam kan lämna sin akademiska karriär bakom sig och ägna sig åt filmskapande. Merry tillbringar dagarna som den perfekta hemmafrun tillsammans med sonen: hon syltar, saftar, bakar och lagar ekologisk barnmat.

Men någonting i idyllen skorrar falskt. Merrys bästa väninna Frank är den första som lägger märke till det när hon kommer på besök. För varje dag blir sprickorna i fasaden mer och mer tydliga. Vad gör Sam egentligen när han är inne i stan och letar efter samarbetspartner? Och hur kommer det sig att Conor hellre tyr sig till Frank än till sin mamma?

Sakta men säkert upplöses illusionen framför läsarens ögon i denna mörka, psykologiska spänningsroman. Den bild av huvudpersonerna, deras drivkrafter, hopp och ömsesidiga svek som tecknas av debutanten Michelle Sacks är mästerligt detaljerad och trovärdig.


HEM LJUGNA HEM är en thriller som verkligen kryper in under skinnet på en. Redan från början känner man att något är fel, kolossalt fel. Och att det kommer att bli värre blir mer uppenbart ju mer handlingen fortskrider.

Sam och Merry lever lyckligt tillsammans med sin lilla son Conor i en liten stuga i skogarna utanför Sigtuna. Allting är frid och fröjd, livet är perfekt. Merry är den perfekta hustrun och mamman och hon stormtrivs i sitt nya liv i Sverige. Tillsammans med Sam som står för brödfödan ser de fram emot att se sin son växa upp i det idylliska Sverige.

Men är allting verkligen så bra och varför oroar sig Merry för att hennes bästa väninna Frank ska komma på besök? Är livet i Sverige verkligen så bra som de vill ge sken att det är?

Boken berättas utifrån tre perspektiv, Sam, Merry och Frank. Och bilden de återger är inte så idyllisk, tvärtom faktiskt. Sista delen av boken är faktiskt skrämmande obehaglig och visar verkligen att bilden man har av en människa kan vara skrämmande falsk.

HEM LJUGNA HEM är en skrämmande thriller om masker vi människor bär, att man inte vet allting om varandra. Samt hur barndomens trauman kan påverka en senare i livet. Vem vet vad för slags människa man har gift sig med, eller känner man verkligen sin bästa vän?

Tack till Southside Stories för recensionexemplaret!


‘A chilling, gut-wrenching thriller.’ Helen Fields A bold, sharp, gripping debut about a couple whose perfect life in the Swedish countryside is not what it seems…

A gripping page-turner for fans of The Couple Next Door, Michelle Sacks’s You Were Made For This provocatively explores the darker side of marriage, motherhood and friendship.

Doting wife, devoted husband, cherished child. Merry, Sam and Conor are the perfect family in the perfect place. Merry adores baking, gardening, and caring for her infant son, while Sam pursues a new career in film. In their idyllic house in the Swedish woods, they can hardly believe how lucky they are. What perfect new lives they've built for themselves, away from New York and the events that overshadowed their happiness there.

And then Merry's closest friend Frank comes to stay. All their lives, the two women have been more like sisters than best friends. And that’s why Frank sees things that others might miss. Treacherous things that unfold behind closed doors.
But soon it's clear that everyone inside the house has something to hide. And as the truth begins to show through the cracks, Merry, Frank, and Sam grow all the more desperate to keep their picture-perfect lives intact.


YOU WERE MADE FOR THIS is a thriller that really gets under your skin. You feel that something is wrong right from the start, really really wrong. And as the story progresses do you just know that it will get worse.

Sam and Merry live happily together with their little son Conor in a small cabin in the forests around Sigtuna. Everything is perfect, life couldn't be better. Merry is the perfect wife and mother and she loves life in Sweden. Together with Sam, the breadwinner in the family is Merry now looking forward to seeing their son grow up in idyllic Sweden.

Is everything really that good and why is Merry worrying about her best friend Frank visiting? Is life in Sweden really that good as they are trying to make it out to be?

The book is told from three POV, Sam, Merry, and Frank. And the picture they are showing is not that idyllic, vice versa instead. The last part of the book is actually quite chilling and really shows that the image we have of a person can be horrifying wrong.

YOU WERE MADE FOR THIS is a frightening thriller about the masks we humans are wearing that you can never know everything about each other. It also shows that childhood traumas can have consequences later in life. Who knows what kind of person you have married or do you really know your best friend?

I want to thank Southside Stories for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

Saturday 18 August 2018

#BookReview Falco by Mons Kallentoft (SWE/ENG) @Kallentoft

Falco by Mons Kallentoft
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Femte delen i Herkulesserien är en personlig hämnd mot Zack, och ett terrordåd mot hela Stockholm.

En tonårsflicka utför ett kallblodigt terrordåd i Stockholms tunnelbana. Flera personer dör innan kriminalinspektör Zack Herry skjuter ihjäl henne. Sverige befinner sig i chock. Är flickan en ensam galning eller har hon agerat på högre order?

Polisen Roger Dahl anmäls försvunnen, och hittas kort därpå brutalt mördad. Dahls senaste uppdrag var som hanterare åt Copper, som har infiltrerat en ökänd knarkliga. Nu kräver Copper Zack som ny hanterare. Problemet är bara att ingen vet något om Coppers sanna identitet.

Samtidigt som Zack kämpar med tilliten i den nya kärleksrelationen han håller på att inleda, dras han allt djupare in i utredningen. När bitarna slutligen faller på plats står tusentals människors liv på spel.

FALCO är Mons Kallentofts och Anna Karolinas första gemensamma bok. Genom att spetsa det högaktuella kriminaldramat med personliga konsekvenser blir det en berättelse som berör, lika mycket som den skrämmer.


FALCO är den första boken jag har har läst i serien om Zack Herry. Det är också den första boken där Mons Kallentofts och Anna Karolina samarbetar. Tidigare samarbetspartner för Kallentofts var Markus Lutteman. Fördelen jag har är att jag inte kan jämföra denna bok med de tidigare, dock kan jag säga att att FALCO är väldigt, väldigt bra. Så bra att jag är både ivrig att läsa de tidigare fyra böckerna samt längtar efter nästa bok.

Eftersom jag inte har några tidigare kunskaper om Zack och hans kollegor så var allting nytt för mig, men jag kände aldrig att det var något problem. Tvärtom, jag fann ett stort nöje i att lära känna Zack. Jag har en förkärlek för poliser med olika slags problem, vare sig det är psykiska eller fysiska. I detta fall så har vi en man med ett drogproblem. En sak som verkligen tilltalar mig är kopplingen till Herkules myten. Den delen av berättelsen fängslar mig då jag har älskat den grekiska mytologin sedan jag var mycket ung och att använda sig av Herkules myten i en nutida kriminalserie tilltalar mig. 

Terrorattacker är ett ämne som är väldigt nutida, något som berör oss alla. I denna bok så hamnar Zack mitt i en terrorattack i en tunnelbana och vetskapen av att han har skjutit ihjäl en ung flicka plågar honom i boken samtidigt som han försöker ta reda på Coppers identitet och stoppa knarkligan. Det händer så mycket i boken men jag tänker inte avslöja mer än att slutet är väldigt rafflande.

FALCO är en alldeles strålande kriminalare, med en spännande och berörande handling!  

Tack till Bookmarks förlag för recensionsexemplaret!


The fifth part in the Herkules series is a personal revenge against Zack and a terrorist attack against Stockholm.

A teenage girl performs a cold-blooded terrorist attack in Stockholm's subway. Several people die before criminal investigator Zack Herry kills her. Sweden is in shock. Is the girl a lone madman or has she acted on higher orders?

Policeman Roger Dahl is reported missing and found shortly after brutally murdered. Dahl's latest mission was to handle Copper, who infiltrated an infamous drug gang. Now, Copper wants Zack as a new handler. The problem is that nobody knows anything about Copper's true identity.

Zack is both struggling with a new relationship and the investigation. When the pieces finally fall into place, thousands of people's lives are at stake.

FALCO is Mons Kallentofts and Anna Karolinas first joint book. By adding personal consequences to this high-level criminal drama does it become a tale that touches you as well as it scares.


FALCO is the first book I have read in the Zack Herry series, it's also the first collaboration between Mons Kallentofts and Anna Karolina. Kallentofts wrote the Hercules series with Markus Lutteman and has now shifted writing partner. On the plus side since this is the first ever book I have read in this series so I have nothing to compare it to. However, I can say that I liked FALCO so much that I really really want to read the previous books. AIn addition to the one that will come after this one.

Since I have no previous knowledge of Zack and his colleagues was everything new for me. This was never a problem. Vice versa actually, I really liked getting to know Zack since I have a fondness for cops with different kinds of problems, whether it be mental or physical. In this case, Zack has a slight drug problem. Another thing that really made me take this book to my heart was the connection to the Hercules myth. I've had a fondness for Greek mythology since I was very young and adding aspects of the Hercules myth to a modern setting appeals to me.

Terror attacks is a subject that is very modern, something that touches us all. Zack has to deal with the guilt of having to kill a young girl who kills several people in a subway station. He also has to try to figure out who Copper is and trying to stop the drug gang. I won't spoil the story in the book, I just want to say that the ending is very thrilling.

FALCO is a fabulous crime novel, with a thrilling and touching story!

Thanks to Bookmarks förlag for the review copy!

Friday 17 August 2018

#BookReview The Disappearing by Lori Roy @LORIROYauthor @DuttonBooks @FreshFiction

The Disappearing by Lori Roy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Lane Fielding fled her isolated Florida hometown after high school for the anonymity of New York City, she swore she'd never return. But twenty years later, newly divorced and with two daughters in tow, she finds herself tending bar at the local dive and living with her parents on the historic Fielding Plantation. Here, the past haunts her and the sinister crimes of her father--the former director of an infamous boys' school--make her as unwelcome in town as she was the day she left.

Ostracized by the people she was taught to trust, Lane's unsteady truce with the town is rattled when her older daughter suddenly vanishes. Ten days earlier, a college student went missing, and the two disappearances at first ignite fears that a serial killer who once preyed upon the town has returned. But when Lane's younger daughter admits to having made a new and unseemly friend, a desperate Lane attacks her hometown's façade to discover whether her daughter's disappearance is payback for her father's crimes--or for her own.

With reporters descending upon the town, police combing through the swamp, and events taking increasingly disturbing turns, Lane fears she faces too many enemies and too little time to bring her daughter safely home. Powerful and heart-pounding, The Disappearing questions the endurance of family bonds, the dangers of dark rumors and small town gossip, and how sometimes home is the scariest place of all.


Lane Fielding swore that she would never return to her hometown. Twenty years later, after a bitter divorce has she no other choice but to return home with her two daughters. Now she works in the local bar and living with her daughter and her parents on the historic Fielding Plantation. She's haunted by the past, the alleged sinister crimes by her father who once was the director of an infamous boy's school. There is a partial event from childhood that Lane has long tried to forget, but the past will soon catch up with her. And, it all starts with the disappearance of Susannah, a young girl...


Thursday 16 August 2018

#CoverCrush Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Historical Fiction Reader came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!

A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous break up. “Beautifully layered and complex…I devoured Daisy Jones & The Six in a day, falling head over heels for it. Daisy and the band captured my heart.”—Reese Witherspoon

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the real reason why they split at the absolute height of their popularity…until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.


I like how the woman's face dominates the cover and I do get a 70s feeling looking at the cover. The cover intrigued me, made me want to know more about the book. Somehow I get an old paperback cover feeling looking at the cover, like the ones you can find browsing bargain books that is quite old and well-read. 

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Stephanie @ Layered Pages

Tuesday 14 August 2018

#BookReview Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose @AtriaBooks @FreshFiction

Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

New York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.

But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.

As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.


1924, New York. Jenny Ball is one of a dozen burgeoning artist invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany's distinguished artist colony. She has always dreamed about becoming a painter and now together with a close friend the dream is starting to become real. Jenny wants to travel to Paris and study art there, and this stay at the art colony is a start. Little does she know that her past will rear its ugly head. That the past she has tried to leave behind will turn staying at Laurelton Hall to not a dream come true, rather a nightmare.


#BookReview Abandoned by Allison Brennan @Allison_Brennan @MinotaurBooks @StMartinsPress @FreshFiction

Abandoned by Allison Brennan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Investigative reporter Max Revere has cracked many cases, but the one investigation she's never attempted is the mystery from her own past. Her mother abandoned her when she was nine, sending her periodic postcards, but never returning to reclaim her daughter. Seven years after the postcards stop coming, Martha Revere is declared legally dead, with no sign of what may have happened to her. Until now.

With a single clue―that her mother’s car disappeared sixteen years ago in a small town on the Chesapeake Bay―Max drops everything to finally seek the truth. As Max investigates, and her mother's story unfolds, she realizes that Martha teamed up with a con man. They traveled the world living off Martha’s trust and money they conned from others.

Though no one claims to know anything about Martha or her disappearance, Max suspects more than one person is lying. When she learns the FBI has an active investigation into the con man, Max knows she’s on the right path. But as Max digs into the dark secrets of this idyllic community, the only thing she might find is the same violent end as her mother.

New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan weaves the intimate, unputdownable story of an investigator confronting the most important--and most dangerous--mystery of her career.


Investigative reporter Max Revere takes on a very personal case. Her own mother's abandoned her when she was nine. Only sending postcards over the next seven years before they stop coming. The only clue Max has is her mother's abandoned car in a small town on the Chesapeake Bay. There she starts to dig for the truth, but not everyone is glad that she is in town digging for clues.


Saturday 11 August 2018

#BookReview Cirkusflickan (The Orphan's Tale) by Pam Jenoff (SWE/ENG) @PamJenoff ‏

Cirkusflickan by Pam Jenoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Året är 1944 och andra världskriget rasar i Tyskland. Den sextonåriga Noa försörjer sig som städerska på en tågstation efter att ha blivit utslängd hemifrån. Då hon en kväll följer ett märkligt ljud upptäcker hon till sin fasa en godsvagn fylld med övergivna judiska barn. Innan hon hinner tänka fattar hon tag i ett spädbarn och flyr hals över huvud ut i vinternatten. Noa och barnet, som får namnet Theo, räddas och tas om hand av ett kringresande cirkussällskap, och för att smälta in tränas hon till trapetsartist.

Hennes lärare är den några år äldre Astrid, en kvinna med ett hemlighetsfullt förflutet som starkt ogillar Noas uppdykande. Men kriget kommer närmare och deras skyddade tillvaro på cirkusen hotas alltmer. Theos liv är i fara och snart inser Noa och Astrid att deras enda chans att överleva är att släppa taget om sina hemligheter och våga lita på varandra.


CIRKUSFLICKAN är en berättelse om att förlita sig på andra, att våga lägga sitt liv i andra händer. Det är en berättelse om Noa som blir utslängd hemifrån efter att hennes far har upptäckt att hon är gravid med en tysk soldats barn. Noa hankar sig fram så gott det går, men en ödesdag upptäcker hon en tågvagn fylld med judiska barn. Utan att tänka efter tar hon ett barn och detta beslut gör att hon måste lämna sitt jobb för att rädda barnet. Hon räddas av ett kringresande cirkussällskap och där får ett ultimatum. Blir trapetsartist eller lämna cirkusen. Hennes lärare Astrid tror inte att Noa kommer klara det, men Noa ger inte upp så lätt.

Cirkustemat kändes väldigt nytt för en andravärldskriget bok. Men livet på cirkusen speglar politiken i Tyskland under 40-talet. Judehatet sträcker sig ända in i cirkusvärlden, där man inte alltid kan lita på andra människor samt när som helst kan nazister dyka upp för att söka igenom cirkusen efter judar.

Bokens styrka vilar på vänskapen som växer fram mellan Noa och Astrids. Deras vänskap är fängslande att läsa om. Det är dock ingen lätt vänskap, i början kan man knappt tro att de kommer att kunna ens vara hövliga mot varandra. Speciellt inte Astrid som fattar agg mot Noa redan från början. För mig var boken en stark läsning vars enda svaghet var en romans mellan Noa och en yngling i en Fransk stad. Jag fann den sidohandlingen föga intressant att läsa om att jag önskar att författaren hade hållit sig till att skriva om relationerna på cirkusen istället.

CIRKUSFLICKAN är den andra boken jag har läst av Pam Jenoff, den första var The Kommandant's Girl som precis som denna bok är mycket bra!
Tack HarperCollins Nordic för recensionsexemplaret!


A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan's Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep. When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.


THE ORPHAN'S TALE  is a story about relying on others, about daring to put one's life in other hands. It's a story about Noa who is thrown out of her home after her father has discovered that she is pregnant with a German soldier's child. Noa tries to survive the best she can, but on a fateful day, she discovers a train car filled with Jewish children. Without thinking she takes a child and she realizes that she has to leave her job to protect the child. She is rescued by a traveling circus company and there is an ultimatum. Either train to become an aerialist or leave the circus. Her teacher Astrid does not think Noa will be able to do it, but Noa does not give up so easily.

The circus theme felt very new to a WW2 book. But, life in the circus reflects the politics in Germany in the 40s. The hatred towards the Jews reaches right into the circus world, where you cannot always trust other people. At any time, Nazis can suddenly turn up to search the circus for Jews.

The book's strength rests on the friendship that emerges between Noa and Astrids. Their friendship is captivating to read about. However, there is no easy friendship. At first, you can hardly believe that they will be able to even be courteous to each other. Especially not Astrid who takes a dislike towards Noa right from the start. To me, the book was a strong book, the only weakness for me was the romance between Noa and a boy in a French city. I found it to be of little interest to read about that. I wish the author had kept to writing about the relationships on the circus instead.

THE ORPHAN'S TALE is the second book I've read by Pam Jenoff, the first one was The Commandant's Girl, which just like this book is very good!

Thanks HarperCollins Nordic for the review copy!

Thursday 9 August 2018

#CoverCrush The Letter Writer by Dan Fesperman

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Historical Fiction Reader came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!

In a New York City still reeling from Pearl Harbor, a letter writer uses his cache of secrets to aid a struggling cop in a murder investigation—but his own secrets, if brought to light, may put them both at risk.

February 9, 1942. Disgraced Southern cop Woodrow Cain arrives in New York City for a new position with the NYPD and is greeted with smoke billowing out from the SS Normandie, engulfed in flames on the Hudson. On Cain’s first day on the job, a murdered body turns up in the same river. Unfamiliar with the milieu of mob bosses and crooked officials in the big city, Cain’s investigation stalls, until a strange man who calls himself Danziger enters his life. Danziger looks like a miscreant, but speaks five languages, has the manners of a man of means, and appears to be the one person who can help Cain identify the body. A letter writer for illiterate European immigrants on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Danzinger has a seemingly boundless knowledge of the city’s denizens and networks—and also seems to possess information that extends beyond the reach of his clients, hinting at an unfathomable past. As the body count grows, Cain and Danziger inch closer toward an underground ring of possibly traitorous corruption…but in these murky depths, not even Danzinger can know what kind of danger will await them.


I love how the title and the cover image match each other is such a great way. From the author's name that looks like it's been typed on a typewriter to the letter on top of the cover. And, New York also has a central place. Is such a compelling cover!

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Stephanie @ Layered Pages

Wednesday 8 August 2018

#Spotlight The Last Thing She Told Me by Linda Green @LindaGreenisms @QuercusBooks @MillsReid11

Even the deepest buried secrets can find their way to the surface...

Moments before she dies, Nicola's grandmother Betty whispers to her that there are babies at the bottom of the garden.

Nicola's mother claims she was talking nonsense. However, when Nicola's daughter finds a bone while playing in Betty's garden, it's clear that something sinister has taken place.

But will unearthing painful family secrets end up tearing Nicola's family apart?

The new emotionally-charged suspense novel from Linda Green, the bestselling author of While My Eyes Were Closed and After I've Gone


For all the women and girls who have been made to feel shame 

It was the shame, you see. The shame I brought on my family. Sometimes it is easier not to 
believe than to accept something so awful could have happened. That is why people bury things 
far beneath the surface. Deep down, out of sight and out of mind. Though not out of my mind. I 
carry the shame with me always. The shame and the guilt. They do not go away. If anything, they 
weigh heavier on me now than they did back then. Dragging me down, clawing at my insides. 
And when people say that what’s buried in the past should stay there, they mean they don’t want 
to have to deal with it. They’re scared of the power of secrets to destroy lives. But keeping 
secrets can destroy you from the inside. Believe me, I know. And even the best-kept secrets have 
a habit of forcing their way to the surface.  
The house appeared to know that its owner was about to die, shrouded, as it was, in early
morning mist, the downstairs curtains closed in respect, the gate squeaking mournfully as I 
opened it. 
   If there was such a thing as a nice house in which to end your days, this certainly wasn’t it. It 
was cold, dark and draughty, perched high on the edge of the village, as if it didn’t really want to 
be part of it but was too polite to say so. Behind it, the fields ‒ criss-crossed by dry-stone walls ‒ 
stretched out into the distance. Beyond them, the unrelenting bleakness of the moors. 
   I shivered as I hurried up the path and let myself in. 
   ‘Grandma, it’s me.’ The first thing I thought when I didn’t hear a response was that maybe I 
was too late. She’d been weak, drifting in and out of sleep when I’d left the previous night. 
Perhaps she hadn’t made it through till morning. 
   But when I entered the front room – in which she’d lived, eaten and slept for the past year – 
she turned her face to give me the faintest of smiles.  
   ‘Morning,’ I said. ‘Did you manage to get some sleep?’ 
   She nodded.  
   ‘It’s not too late to change your mind, you know. We could get you to hospital, or the hospice 
said we could call them at any time.’ 
   She shook her head. She’d remained adamant she would leave the house only in a coffin. She’d 
also refused medication to relieve the pain. It was as if she thought she somehow had a duty to 
   ‘Well, at least let me stay over tonight. I hate the thought of you being on your own.’ 
   ‘I won’t be here tonight.’ Her words were faint and difficult to understand. She’d taken her 
teeth out several weeks previously and refused to put them back in since. 
   ‘Come on. You’ve been saying that for weeks.’ 
   ‘I’m tired. It’s time to go now.’ 
   There was something about the look in her eye as she said it that told me she meant it. I sat 
down on the end of her bed and took her hand. Her skin was paper-thin, revealing the bones and 
blue veins beneath it. She’d once said she liked me coming to visit because I was the only one 
who let her talk about death without getting upset or pretending it wasn’t going to happen. 
   ‘Is there anything I can get to make you more comfortable?’ 
   She shook her head again. We sat there for a while saying nothing, listening to the ticking of 
the clock and her shallow breaths. I tried to imagine what it must be like knowing you are about 
to die. I would want my family around me, I knew that. 
   ‘Do you want me to give Mum a call?’ I asked. She managed to raise her eyebrows at me. It 
was as near as I’d get to a telling off at this point. She had always been very accepting of their 
distant relationship. It was me who struggled with it. 
   ‘I could ask James to bring the girls over.’ 
   She shook her head again and whispered, ‘I don’t want to upset them. They’re good girls. 
Anyway, I’ve got them with me.’ 
   She gestured towards the mantelpiece. Every school photo they’d ever had ‒ Ruby on her own 
at first, all toothy grin and straggly hair, then, a few years later, with Maisie’s elfin face of 
delicate features and porcelain skin, next to hers  ‒ until last year, when Ruby had started 
secondary school and they’d had separate photos. Ruby’s grin was now replaced with a self
conscious upturn of closed lips. It was as if someone had adjusted  her brightness control. The 
contrast with Maisie’s confidence and burgeoning beauty was obvious to see and unspoken by 
all. Except Grandma, who had said it was a shame you couldn’t show the size of someone’s heart 
in a photo. And had remarked how much Ruby looked like me in her uniform. 
   My own school photos were still up there on the cabinet. And Justin’s, poking out from behind 
them. I suspected I had arranged them like that myself years ago, without her ever realising it. 
Rows of little frames covered with dust. In a way, she was surrounded by her family, a cardboard 
cut-out version. 
   ‘Justin sends his love,’ I said. That was a lie. I’d texted yesterday to tell him she didn’t have 
much longer, and his response had been to ask me to give him as much notice as possible
about the funeral so he could book a flight to come over.  
   I wondered if it bothered Grandma and she was good at hiding it, or if she’d simply never had 
high expectations of her loved ones. Maybe coming of age in the war had something to do with 
it. Perhaps it taught you not to take anything for granted. 
   I passed her the glass of water and she managed to take a tiny sip through the straw. I put it 
back on the bedside table, glancing at the wedding photo of her and Grandad, as I did so. ‘Does it 
help to think he’ll be there  for you?’ I asked. 
   ‘He’ll have given up waiting and gone off down pub,’ she replied.  
I smiled. Grandad had never been big on patience. He’d never been big on shows of 
emotion, either. The wedding photo was the only time I’d ever seen them holding hands. I 
wondered if Grandma had minded, but concluded that now wasn’t the time to ask. She was quiet 
again, her breaths shallower still. I squeezed her hand. ‘I’ll be here with you until the end,’ I said. 
‘I’m not going anywhere.’ 
   She looked up at me. ‘I’m leaving you the house.’ 
   I frowned at her. ‘But what about Mum?’ 
   ‘She doesn’t want it.’ 
   ‘Has she told you that?’ 
   ‘She doesn’t have to.’ 
   I felt somewhat unworthy of such a huge bequest. ‘Well, Justin, then.’ 
   ‘He doesn’t need it.’ 
   It was true, though it felt wrong to acknowledge it. 
   ‘Thank you,’ I said, barely able to speak. ‘It’ll make such a difference.’ 
   ‘I know,’ she said. ‘The girls can have their own rooms. And you always wanted a garden.’ 
   It suddenly occurred to me that she thought we were going to live here. That this would be our 
home. I didn’t want that. It was such a bleak house. The obvious thing was to sell it, so we could 
afford somewhere bigger than our little two-bedroom terrace in town. Maybe even with a garden. 
But I didn’t want to tell her that. I didn’t want to say anything to worry or upset her at this late 
stage. I smiled and nodded, patting her hand. 
   ‘Leave it to Ruby when you go,’ she added. ‘It belongs in the family.’ 
   I opened my mouth to say something but nothing came out. I couldn’t start arguing with her. It 
wasn’t right to pick a fight with someone on their deathbed. If those were her final wishes, I 
owed it to her to listen graciously and go along with everything she said. 
   She shut her eyes. I wondered if this was it. I’d never been with a person when they’d died. I 
didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t even sure what to do or who to call afterwards. I 
swallowed, glad at least that I was with her. That she hadn’t died on her own. Ninety was a good 
age. That was what people would say. And she’d lived a good life, been free from any major 
health problems until the last couple of years. But it still seemed empty somehow, her slipping 
away in this house with only me for company. 
   I looked down. Her eyes remained shut, but I could see her chest rising and falling ever so 
slightly. She was still with me, but surely not for much longer. I slid my hand away, tiptoed out 
of the room and shut the door behind me, then took out my mobile. I didn’t think she could hear 
me, but it still seemed wrong to speak within earshot. I went through to the kitchen. It was a 
strange collection of assorted relics from past decades. An old-fashioned kettle on the hob, which 
she’d refused to get rid of. A seventies breakfast-bar stool, which was now positively retro. None 
of it matched, none of it fitted but, as with the rest of the house, it was all unmistakably 
   I called Mum. She took her time to answer. When she did, it seemed from her tone that she was 
expecting the worst. She didn’t say anything more than hello, waiting instead for me to break the 
   ‘I don’t think she’s got long.’ 
   ‘Right. Is she in pain?’ 
   ‘She’s doing a good job of covering it up if she is. She said it was time to go.’
   There was a pause at the other end. I thought for a moment that Mum might change her mind 
and say she was on her way. She didn’t though. 
   ‘OK. Well, let me know any news.’ 
   ‘That’s it?’ 
   ‘Come on, Nicola, don’t make this any harder than it already is.’ 
   ‘She’s about to die without her only child being there.’ 
    ‘We’ve gone through all this. It’s not that simple.’ 
   ‘Well, whatever it is between you two that needs saying, now’s your last chance to say it.’ 
   ‘I’m not about to upset her on her deathbed.’ 
   ‘Maybe she’s waiting for you to say something. Maybe that’s why she’s hung on so long. And 
you’ll regret it if you don’t. It’ll be like that bloody Mike and the Mechanics song.’ 
   ‘I don’t think so. It’s best this way. I know you don’t believe me, but it is.’ 
   ‘Best for who?’ 
   ‘Look, I’m thinking of you, all right? And I’m grateful you’re there with her but I can’t come 
over.’ Her voice broke and she hung up. I put my phone back in my pocket and blew out slowly. 
At least Justin had the excuse of being in Ireland. Mum was only a few miles up the road in 
Halifax. All I could think was how I’d feel if Ruby and Maisie weren’t with me at the end. If 
they couldn’t be bothered to bury the hatchet with me and come to me on my deathbed. 
   I went back into the front room. For a second, I thought she’d gone while I’d been on the 
phone, but her chest was still rising and falling. I sat down next to her and put my head in my 
hands. I had been sitting there for quite some time, maybe twenty minutes or so, before I heard 
her voice. 
   ‘There are babies.’ 
   I looked up.  I hadn’t expected to hear another word out of her. I took her hand again. Her 
eyelids flickered open. 
   ‘Babies? Where?’ I asked. 
   ‘At bottom of garden.’ 
   I frowned at her. She’d been coherent all the way through. Maybe this was a sign that she was 
at the end now. Then something clicked, and I realised what she was talking about. 
   ‘No, Grandma. Fairies,’ I said. ‘You’ve got fairy statues at the bottom of the garden. The ones 
I used to dance around when I was little.’ 
   There wasn’t a pause on her part. 
   ‘Not fairies, babies,’ she said firmly. ‘Look after my babies for me.’ 
   ‘What do you mean?’ I asked. ‘What babies?’ It was too late. Her eyes shut again and a second 
later she was gone. It was as if those words had taken the last breath out of her. I felt for her 
pulse, just to make sure, but there was nothing. I screwed up my eyes and let my head drop, 
feeling the tears coming but wanting to stave them off and gather myself. Aware that I was the 
responsible adult in the house now, no longer the little girl dancing around the fairy statues in the 
garden while Grandma cooked tea for me. I gulped as the tears arrived in a rush.  A life snuffed 
out. The memories, experiences and stories gone with her. Our family reduced to three 
generations, not four. And all I could think of as I sat there and sobbed was the last thing she told 
me. I had no idea what she meant. Maybe she hadn’t been with it. Perhaps she’d even been 
dreaming. She might not have been talking to me at all. But she had sounded so certain of what 
she had said. what she had asked me to do.  
   I realised I should call someone. Her GP to start with. Presumably they’d be able to tell me 
what I needed to do. I stood up, my legs a little shaky. I’d always thought that when someone 
died they’d look different in some way. But Grandma seemed pretty much the same. Though 
maybe there was something about her face. Maybe something had lifted. Because she finally did 
seem at peace. 

A few hours later I stood on the front step of Mum’s house, waiting for her to come to the door. 
The freshly signed death certificate was in my bag, the image of Grandma’s body being taken 
away still fresh in my mind. I wanted to go home to James and the girls, but I also knew that, 
despite everything, it was right to tell Mum in person. Maybe I was hoping to see an emotional 
reaction, one I might have missed on the phone. But when she opened the door and saw me 
there, she just nodded, her face expressionless. I stepped inside and shut the door behind me. 
   ‘I’m sorry,’ I said. 
   ‘Did she go peacefully?’ Mum asked. 
   ‘Yeah. She was talking, on and off, and then she was gone.’ 
   ‘Where is she now?’ 
   ‘The undertaker’s. Dr Atkinson came over, signed the death certificate and got it all sorted.’ 
   ‘She’s a nice doctor, I’ve always said that.’ 
   I shook my head. 
   ‘What?’ asked Mum. 
   ‘Are you not even in the slightest bit upset?’ 
   ‘We all knew it were coming.’ 
   ‘Yeah. I’ve still bawled my eyes out, though.’ 
   Mum shrugged. ‘It’ll probably hit me later. When I’m on my own.’ 
   ‘Or maybe you’re not that bothered.’ 
   ‘Nicola, please don’t start.’ 
   ‘It’s not me who’s starting, though, is it? It’s you not behaving like a normal daughter.’ 
   ‘Come on. That’s not fair. Everyone has their own way of dealing with these things.’ 
   ‘These things? You mean the death of your mother?’ 
   Mum looked away. ‘It’s more complicated than you realise.’ 
   ‘So you keep saying. What would be more helpful is if you actually explained what went on 
between you.’ 
   Mum started to walk away down the hall. 
   ‘I take it that’s a no.’ 
   ‘You should get back to your girls,’ she said, stopping and turning to face me. ‘Give them a 
hug from me.’ 
   Mum’s eyes were glistening. Sometimes the wall she’d built came perilously close to falling 
down. If I pushed at a brick, it might topple. 
   ‘She said something just before she died. Something I didn’t understand.’ 
   ‘She said there were babies at the bottom of the garden. She asked me to look after her babies.’ 
   For the first time I saw Mum’s face crack. Her eyes widened, and her bottom lip trembled. ‘I 
wouldn’t take any notice of her. She were probably losing her mind by then.’ 
   ‘She wasn’t, though. I asked her if she meant her fairy statues, but she was adamant they were 
   ‘She were probably thinking about angels. She used to believe in angels, you know. She told 
me once her angels would be waiting for her at the end.