Anne Bonny #BookReview Should You Ask Me by @MarianneKav #NewRelease #Historical #Literary #ww2 @HodderPublicity @HodderBooks ‘I especially love the inclusion of an 86yr old protagonist who is captivating.’

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Should You Ask Me by Marianne Kavanagh
Review copy
Synopsis:

‘I’ve come about the bodies. I know who they are.’

Mary is eighty-six years old, and she’s tired of being quiet.

She has a story to tell, and she’s only going to tell it once, so she won’t be rushed.

Especially as it’s not just a story, it’s a confession.

Because Mary has a dark secret, buried decades before. And while William, the nice young constable, might think she just wants someone to talk to, everything she says forces him to confront his own difficult past.

A unique and poignant novel about passion, regret and heartbreak, set during one of the most tumultuous periods of modern British history.

My Review:

This is such a quirky novel! I was really surprised as it was not what I was expecting at all. The cover gives the impression of a mystery/thriller, which it is. What you don’t fully grasp is that this is set amongst the backdrop of ww2. I felt as though I was going on a journey with Miss Mary Holmes, a journey through her past. I was absolutely hooked! I think this would make a great TV drama. I especially love the inclusion of an 86yr old protagonist who is captivating.

The novel opens on a normal Monday morning in Dorset. The only thing slightly unusual is that Mary makes her way to the police station to make a confession. When I say ‘slightly unusual’ that is because Mary is known to spin a yarn or two. . .

‘You could say that I killed them’ – Miss Holmes

Recently in the little town of Acton there has been the discovery of two people’s remains. When Mary Homes makes her confession to the on-duty young constable William, it is clear she has a story to tell. She starts with her brief admission that she is responsible for both deaths. The whys/how’s are going to take much longer to get to the bottom of. This is a secret Mary has held for 60yrs.

‘I’m eighty-six years old. I’m tired of being quiet’ – Miss Holmes

The chapters also alternate between Mary’s past and that of William the police officer she is confessing too. It would seem both of them have a past and both of them have secrets.

‘The guilt eats away at you. A lifetime of telling lies’ – Miss Holmes

Over a series of days, Mary’s story is eventually unravelled by the ever-patient and attentive William It is a long drawn out story, but it is intriguing nevertheless. This novel is slow-burning as clearly stated. But it is one of those cosy reads, you’d enjoy by a log fire. I did find the story to be very realistic. My background is in adult mental health and I have worked in dementia care. I can assure you, the elderly often harbour, some secrets you’d never suspect by simply looking at them. 4*

MK
Marianne Kavanagh
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract The Gravity Of Love by @NoelleHarrison #NewRelease #Saga #Romance @bwpublishing #Arizona #Soho #Ballycastle

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The Gravity Of Love by Noelle Harrison
Synopsis:

In love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence …

Scottsville, Arizona, 1989

In small-town America, Joy Sheldon loves the plants that bloom in the desert but longs too for the sea’s elemental wildness. It’s a dream never realised – and now, facing the brutal truth that her husband is a cheat, Joy learns of unimaginable secrets in her early life. Riven by betrayal and loss, a chance encounter with the enigmatic Lewis, Joy embarks on a journey to seek her true identity – and to discover why the sea pulls so strongly at her heart.

Soho, London, 1967

Lewis Bell, abandoned by his mother and responsible for his wayward sister, is now living the dream. An ambitious young graphic designer, he’s aiming for the big time – if only he can keep his creative spark. His talented girlfriend Marnie adds pressures of her own and, as Lewis’s troubles intensify, sixties London fast shows its darker side.

Ballycastle, Ireland, Easter, 1989

Unexpectedly drawn together, Joy and Lewis fly across the Atlantic to the Irish coast. She’s in search of a lost mother; he’s looking for a lost love. They need to make peace with the past, with themselves and others. But the truths they encounter and connections they create will transform everyone’s lives forever.

Bold, intimate and joyful, this glorious novel deftly interweaves decades, continents and lives to tell a story of the irresistible gravity of love.

Extract:

The words on the back of the postcard were written in block letters, a neat black print.

EVENTUALLY THE TRUTH WILL COME OUT

Lewis read the words again, and again, until they brought him back to the morning upon which they had been said. He could almost hear her voice. He imagined her soft Irish lilt, and it took him back in time, transported him to another world altogether, when he was a different man.
He placed the card gently on the counter in front of him then looked out of the window at the star-strewn night hanging above the dark silhouette of the McDowell Mountains. He was right on the edge of the desert and its vast sky, like those words, gave him hope.
He leaned on the sink, gazing out into the Wild West. He still felt a sense of awe at being an Englishman, an outsider, in cowboy country.
He was about to pull the blinds down when he saw a shimmering red light in the desert sky. It intrigued him for the sun had long set. The red light turned into swathes of fuchsia, and bright green, moving in waves above the mountains. He’d never seen anything like it.

 

*

It was the darkest hour before dawn. Joy was sitting on her old Navajo blanket spread upon a rocky mound on the Papago Butte. Eddie had refused to drive out to the desert. He’d told her he was too tired and warned her not to go on her own.
‘Anyone could be lurking out there,’ he’d said.
She hadn’t told him that she went out to the desert on her own all the time, although maybe not at night.
When they’d gone to bed, she’d tried to give up on the idea. But she’d been unable to sleep. Her daddy had told her about the wonder of the Northern Lights – that she must see them. And here they were on her doorstep. She never went anywhere. It was now or never.
She’d waited until Eddie’s breathing shifted to a deep sleep and slipped out of bed. Made herself a thermos of hot coffee and crept out the house before she had a chance to change her mind.
Now, in the desert, she was not alone. There were several couples nearby, arms around each other, as they waited. A few whispers, but nothing more. There was a hush of anticipation as she looked up at the sky again. Was she imagining it, or was the dome of the night sky crackling with a kind of electricity? Shivering, she pulled the blanket tight around her shoulders and cradled her hands around her cup of coffee. She was going to sit here all night if she had to, for Joy had faith in her daddy’s words.

*

It was only when Lewis had pulled in at the side of the road and begun to climb up Papago Butte that he realised he should have woken Samantha and brought her with him. He had taken off on the spur of the moment, but surely this vision was something he should share with his wife. Would it not have been the perfect symbol for their twenty-first wedding anniversary?
But the truth was he was glad to be on his own. Samantha would know exactly what was causing this light display in the desert sky. She would take all the magic out of it with her scientific explanations, and for the moment he didn’t want to know.
He drank in all the colours in the sky. Deep shudders of purple, ecstatic pink and luminous green shot through him. It felt like a message. Things could change. The unexpected could happen. The postcard could be just the beginning.
If only he was brave enough.
Lewis kept climbing up Papago Butte, his way illuminated by the fantastical lights, his heart pounding. He felt exposed, thrilled to be doing something out of the ordinary.

*

 

Joy looked up and what she saw took her breath away. It was beyond anything she could have imagined. Clouds of vivid reds and purples, shot through with a mystic green, shifting high in the sky, shimmering over the distant desert.
She was aware of those around her standing up. The clicking of cameras as they tried to capture this rare Arizona moment.
Joy took a step away from the flash of cameras, bumping into someone as she did so.
‘Excuse me,’ she said, losing her balance slightly as she stumbled.
A hand reached out, caught her by the elbow and steadied her. ‘Careful – you don’t want to fall.’
It was a man’s voice. An English accent.
Something about it reassured her. He was tall, but she couldn’t make out his face in the dark.
‘This is amazing,’ he said.
‘I know,’ she whispered.
They watched in silence. She realised they were the only two not taking photographs. She wanted to tell the other people to put their cameras down. By creating that barrier between themselves and the experience of the lights, she felt they were missing it.
She glanced at the man standing beside her. He was still, as if held in a spell.

Noelle Harrison 1 (c) Chloe Martina Salvi - cropped low res
Noelle Harrison
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview TH1RT3EN by @SSCav #NewRelease #CrimeFiction @orionbooks @orion_crime #ThatBookThatHook #EddieFlynn ‘This novel does not disappoint, not one single page!’

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TH1RT3EN by Steve Cavanagh
Review copy
Synopsis:

‘To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life.
He’s done it before.
But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century.
And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there’s someone on his tail.
Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered

My Review:

The synopsis of this novel instantaneously grabs the readers interest! It grips you straight from the prologue, and refuses to let go.
This novel does not disappoint, not one single page!

The synopsis details, a celebrity murder trial of the century mixed with the mystery of the killer being on the jury! But the novel is in fact, much more detailed, a plot full of twists and turns that slowly unravels throughout. I was so engrossed in the plot, I didn’t want to miss one single word of the story.

The prologue is outstanding! Easily one of the best I have EVER read! The writing style of the prologue was so breathing taking, it reminded me, of the ending of the cult move, The Usual Suspects. But instead of who is Keyser Soze? It is who is Joshua Kane?
Joshua Kane, where do you begin with such an incredible character as Joshua Kane? He is ruthless, psychopathic and methodical in his killing. The murders are planned right down to each meticulous action before, during and after the murder!
Joshua Kane in an enigma, a dark and disturbing killer, yet bizarrely you admire his commitment to his ‘work’.

The novel opens with Eddie Flynn, at Manhattan criminal court with a routine hearing. Ex-hooker Jean Marie, is his client and she is looking at hard time for her second drug offence within the same year. Eddie breezes through the case with ease and for those new to the series, this is a great indication of what makes Eddie Flynn such a great lawyer and character.

After the case Eddie is accosted by slick lawyer Rudy Carp. He wishes to requisition Eddie for a case due to start in just three days. A high-profile case, with an even more high-profile client, movie star Robert (Bobby) Soloman. Eddie is reluctant at first for various reasons, which are detailed with some amazing thoughts and quotes from Eddie.

“It’s not about the money. I don’t roll for the guilty” Eddie

But Rudy continues to profess Bobby’s innocence and asks Eddie to at least consider the case evidence.

“If Robert didn’t kill those people, who did?”

A combination of Eddie’s inquisitive mind and a random twist of fate. Have Eddie agreeing to view the notes, although offering no obligation to assist and second chair the case. Whilst Eddie arranges to view the hard drive of evidence at Rudy’s office. He comes face to face with suspected killer Bobby Soloman.

“Someone murders your family, lover or friend and you are the one standing trial while the murderer goes free. There’s nothing else like it on earth. And it’s the same look, all over the world. An innocent man falsely accused, looks the same in Nigeria, Ireland, Iceland, you name it. If you’ve seen that look before, you never forget it. It’s rare to see that look”

“Bobby Soloman wore that look. And I knew I had to help him”

Bobby’s past is explored, and we learn that he came from very humble beginnings. He stands accused of murdering his wife Ariella and chief of security Carl Tozer. Both victims found naked and dead on the marital bed! Bobby pleads his innocence and it is believable. As the reader, you urge Eddie to take the case!
But Eddie suspects that Bobby is holding back, a secret possibly? He refuses to help, until he has completed reading all the evidence available.

“Bobby Soloman was a scared kid with the prospect of a life in jail hanging over his head” Eddie

“But you can’t act your way out of a double murder” Rudy

Eddie eventually opens the case notes and evidence. It is not for the faint hearted, this is a brutal murder, unleashed by a fierce and savage individual. Ariella was stabbed multiple times and Carl was viciously beaten with a baseball bat. What grabs Eddie’s intrigue is the dollar note stuffed inside Carl’s mouth, after death. What does the note mean? Is this a clue to the killer’s reasoning, motivations? Eddie just can’t get this case out of his mind, despite how hard he tries to.

“A violent death tells its own story. It’s written on the victims. In their wounds. On the skin. Sometimes in their eyes. I’d never seen anything like this” Eddie

With one of the murder weapons still missing and so many unanswered questions. Eddie calls in some help, in the form of ex-FBI investigator Harper, to assist. The details of the scene are analysed, and it makes for intense and eye-opening reading.
What motivates such a vicious slaying?

As the novel unfolds, there are chapters from Eddies perspective and alternate chapters from Joshua Kane’s scheming. One thing is for certain Kane’s plans have been months in the making. The psychology of a killer like Kane is intense. The writing makes the killer come alive on the page, a rare talent and exceptionally creepy in this case.

The novel also, has the individual juror memo’s throughout, so we begin to learn about each member on a personal scale. Eddie’s broken marriage is explored, and we learn of his motivations to find an easier job role, one with less risks to him and his family. Eddie is so much deeper than the usual lawyer protagonist. But it is when Harper finds a history of similar cases, closed cases, that the story explodes!!!!!!

This novel is sheer brilliance in its writing style and structure. The characterisation is massively on point and you root for all the characters. Alarmingly even Kane at points!
A superb legal thriller, with an unforgettable, edgy and haunting serial killer!
In my humble opinion, John Grisham and Michael Connelly, should be aware, Steve Cavanagh has arrived!
5* genius
*Review previously published on 25th January 2018*

SC
Steve Cavanagh
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Anne Bonny #YA #BookReview I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter #NewRelease YA @simonschusterUK ‘Dark themes, haunting characters and beautiful writing’

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I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter
My own copy from TBR pile
Synopsis:

“Caleb led me into the party. He’d invited me because he could. He’d kissed me because he could. Just like his dad, Caleb lived in a world of could and we drifted from room to room on the privilege of it.”

Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, she begins her freshman year with new clothes, new hair, and a plan: she doesn’t need to be popular, she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

It’s a lonely existence, but at least no one’s tripping her in the halls. In fact, no one notices her at all. Until Caleb Breward, tells her she’s beautiful and makes her believe it.

Ellie loves Caleb, but sometimes she doesn’t like him that much – his awkward smile, the possessive way he touches her, the tone he uses, how he ignores her one minute and can’t get enough the next. And on one black night, she discovers the monster her boyfriend really is. Ellie wasn’t the first victim, but now, trapped, she has to watch it happen again and again. She tries to hold onto her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

But no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

My Review:

This is very much a Lovely Bones for the YA generation. There is some extremely beautiful writing, despite the dark subject matter. The protagonist Ellie Frias is unusual in that Ellie is a murdered teen, watching over the aftermath of her brutal rape and murder. She is from a small town named Hollow Oaks in New York, which she describes rather poetically.

‘I suppose this is a fitting place for a girl like me. I disappeared before I actually did. And now, I’m trapped here. Forgotten.’
‘This whole town is full of ghosts’ – Ellie

We Later learn that Hollow Oaks is a town facing economical destabilisation. With most of the factories closed. Families have lost everything including their homes. The downturn enables one wealthy family to buy up all the real estate and effectively own the town. Hollow Oaks sounds like a miserable place to live and an even worse place to die.

‘I hate the way these unseen things damage us in secret’ – Ellie

The novel opens with Ellie in ghost form witnessing an assault on a new victim. This is taking place at the same run-down house where Ellie’s assault took place. The current victim is pleading to be let go. Ellie remarks on how there has been seven victims, since she was brought to the abandoned house.

‘He looks for the young ones, the pretty ones.
The weak ones’ – Ellie

We learn Ellie’s background, raised by a single father, she is a social outcast as school. Having recently transferred schools, she wasn’t struggling to fit in, she simply didn’t exist. The novel also reflects quite deeply on the power of words and in particular the word ‘pretty’. As Beyonce says ‘Pretty Hurts’. The term pretty and to be defined as or as not pretty can have a huge impact on a young girls psychology. Their self-esteem can be exceptionally fragile in an Instagram society, where we are judged by out snaps alone. Ellie words this so much better than I ever could. But as the mother to a teenage daughter, it gave me much food for thought.

Eventually someone shows an interest in Ellie, a young boy by the name of Caleb. Only what Ellie doesn’t know, is the meeting of Caleb will be the very undoing of her. But still he persists to ask her out on Friday night. . .
“Why not? What’s the worst that can happen? I’m a nice guy – Caleb

“You can’t imagine the things I think about doing with you” – Caleb

Reading on, as Ellie reflects upon meeting Caleb and the clever way in which he groomed her and broken her down slowly by building her up with words, brought tears to my eyes.

‘It takes a lot of things to make a girl, but breaking her? it only takes a few pretty words and a crooked smile’ – Ellie

Ellie is forced to witness victim after victim, be brought to the abandoned property. To witness their assaults. Until one victim named Gretchen decides to fight back! It is Gretchen’s refusal to be a victim and determination to find Ellie that unravels the entire plot.

The chapters are reflective and cover previously to the attack, after the attack itself on Ellie and subsequent attacks on other young girls. Ellie is able to watch over not only her killer but the police dealing with her case and her grieving father. The novel has some powerful writing as mentioned and quoted above. It really is written from the soul.

There are various topics that would make for great debate among book groups and young people. The arrogance and sexual entitlement of some young males and their disregard for the women they abuse and manipulate.
But also when we think of grooming itself, we don’t necessarily think of teenage boys. I know I didn’t, yet when I thought back that is exactly what Caleb did. I guess this novel serves as a stark reminder that teenage boys can groom their victims too.

‘Nobody every wants to be inconvenienced by all the things that happen to girls’

The theme of victimhood amongst teenage girls is also explored, as more and more young women eventually come forward. It concerns me that now we seem to see cases where a rapist needs multiple victims for the victims to be believed.

Dark themes, haunting characters and beautiful writing 4*

T.E. Carter
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Outsider by Stephen King #NewRelease #CrimeFiction @HodderPublicity ‘The outsider is phenomenal! 5* genius’

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The Outsider by Stephen King
My own copy from my TBR pile
Synopsis:

 When an eleven-year-old boy is found murdered in a town park, reliable eyewitnesses undeniably point to the town’s popular Little League coach, Terry Maitland, as the culprit. DNA evidence and fingerprints confirm the crime was committed by this well-loved family man.

Horrified by the brutal killing, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose own son was once coached by Maitland, orders the suspect to be arrested in a public spectacle. But Maitland has an alibi. And further research confirms he was indeed out of town that day.

As Anderson and the District Attorney trace the clues, the investigation expands from Ohio to Texas. And as horrifying answers begin to emerge, so King’s propulsive story of almost unbearable suspense kicks into high gear.

Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy but there is one rock-hard fact, as unassailable as gravity: a man cannot be in two places at the same time. Can he?

My Review:

The Outsider is insanely gripping! With a brilliant start, middle and ending. I am a fan of Stephen King, or as I call it ‘being scared to death by Stephen King’ lol. I started reading IT last summer and found I could only read it with my back firmly against the wall. So eventually I gave up as it was a really uncomfortable position to read in. But every time I tried to read IT with a space behind me, I kept jumping out of my skin!

The novel opens at the scene of the arrest of Terry Maitland (Coach T). It is an arrest that will come to haunt Detective Ralph Anderson, throughout the entire novel.
Throughout the novel there are a series of statements taken from residents of Flint City in the aftermath of the murder of Frankie Peterson. They all individually and clearly point the fingers of suspicion towards Coach T. Then fingerprint results come back and seal the deal. Coach T is getting arrested for murder, but not just any arrest. He will be arrested purposefully in front of the locals at the towns little league game.
A public shaming for all to see.

“Terence Maitland I am arresting you for the murder of Frank Peterson” – Troy Rampage

The murder of Frankie Peterson at just 11yrs old. Is not for the faint hearted, the scenes are described in graphic detail and the scene is one you won’t forget. As much as I was shocked and horrified at the murder itself, I didn’t feel this was an ‘over use of violence’ or too explicit. These crimes happen every day, in safe neighbourhoods etc. I think the author has drawn from the real horrors of the world, the daily news stories of cases just like this.

But the novel itself doesn’t focus too much around the actual physical act of murder. It focuses on the whodunit, in an unusual and impressive way. For Coach T claims he is innocent. He appears genuinely horrified at the cops claims and when shown direct testimony and evidence. he is baffled!
At the scene of his arrest are his wife Marcy and daughters Gracie and Sarah. He asks his wife to contact their lawyer Howie Gold. So that together they may get this misunderstanding figured out.

‘Thinking was beginning to replace reacting’

As the cops continue to interview Coach T. He begins to tell them of his alibi and how it simply couldn’t have been him in town on the afternoon of the murder. As he was in Cap City, watching Harlan Coben give an author talk. He claims he travelled with three fellow English teachers and spent the entire weekend with them. So why do the cops have so many witness statements stating the opposite? Are people mistaken?

The cops desperately await further DNA evidence believing this will be the final nail in the coffin. Meanwhile, Howie Gold contacts a private investigator to look into the alibi himself. What he and the cops discover is shocking and simply impossible. . .

‘A man could not be in two places at the same time’

Whilst the cops hold Coach T and continue their investigation into his alleged crime. The victims family is struggling to cope. Fred and Arlene Peterson are the unfortunate parents of Frank, they are left understandably devastated in the aftermath of his murder. Frankie’s brother Ollie is also left to hold his parents together. They are a family devastated and my heart ached for them. Arlene Peterson eventually snaps!

As footage of the Harlan Coben conference is discovered. DNA results are also back on the semen found at the crime scene.
Coach T is going to Flint county court for arraignment!

His wife Marcy remains in denial, as the locals in the town turn on the coach. Marcy begins to fear for her own future and that of her two young daughters. But she remains steadfast in her belief in her husbands innocence.

‘He never did anything but good for this town and they all hate him’ – Marcy

Coach T arrives at his arraignment and then the novel takes a HUGE twist!
One I never saw coming!

Detective Ralph Anderson is a cop who takes his work home with him. He often discusses his cases with his wife Jeanette. She becomes a shining star in this novel, despite the fact that she is actually a background character. I found her opinions and thoughts on the case fascinating and couldn’t help but wonder how many cases she must have assisted with over the years, to have such a wise mind.

‘There is something very wrong with this and the more you find, the wronger it gets. It scares me’ – Jeanette

I started out writing in-depth notes, but in the end, I gave up, sat back and just became absorbed in the novel.
So, to put it simply, The outsider is phenomenal! 5* genius

SK
Stephen King
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