Anne Bonny #BookReview One Click by @office_mum Andrea Mara 5* Genius #Psychological #Thriller #SocialMedia #NewRelease @PoolbegBooks ‘I found the characters really got into my head, much like the trolling got into Lauren’s’

One Click by Andrea Mara
Review Copy

When Lauren takes a photo of a stranger on a beach and shares it online, she has no idea what will come of that single click.

Her daughters are surprised that she posted a photo without consent, but it’s only when she starts to get anonymous messages about the woman on the beach that she deletes the photo. It’s too little too late, and the messages escalate, prompting Lauren to confess to the woman. The woman has her own dark story, one that might explain the messages, but Lauren isn’t convinced. Then her ex-husband begins to harass her, telling her she shares too much online and brought this on herself.

She’s also dealing with other problems. A difficult client at work starts to show up in places he shouldn’t be. Her younger daughter is behaving out of character and Lauren can’t work out what’s wrong. And the cracks are literally beginning to show in her old South Dublin house, mirroring the cracks in her carefully curated life.

Meanwhile, the messages from the internet troll become more personal and more vindictive. Her friends feel she should stand up to her stalker, but Lauren isn’t so sure. And then she makes one small mistake that brings everything tumbling down.

My Review:

‘If I’d known what would happen to all of us, I would never have taken the picture’
‘One small motion. Just one click’ – Lauren

The novel opens in Venice, Italy with Lauren on holiday with teen daughters Rebecca and Ava. Lauren is over-coming the recent separation from her husband and end of her marriage. She notices a young woman, who appears so ‘care-free’. The young woman is in her 20s and Lauren instantly feels slightly envious of the young woman’s future. She takes a quick and innocent snap for her Instagram, titled #HowISpentMyTwenties. Which she shares to her social media accounts. Gathering Lauren immediate attention, likes, shares and comments.

However, it is only when Lauren begins receiving abusive messages that she realises her error. The messages from @vin_HO_rus are at first blocked, but her troll is persistent in his/her continual attacks on Lauren. The person wants information regarding the mysterious woman in the picture. Information Lauren can’t/won’t share.

Later on, Lauren meets with the stranger in the photo, Cleo Holloway. She also lives in Ireland, although she is American by birth. Lauren confesses all to Cleo and apologises profusely. Cleo is nonchalant about the whole situation. Telling Lauren to simply ignore the troll. The continue their brief chat and do exchange numbers. But both agree to not let the troll spoil the remainder of their holiday.

‘I’m half hoping it’s over and I’ll never see Cleo again’ – Lauren

Lauren returns to Ireland and the troll messages continue. The troll becomes more and more personal in his/her approach and Lauren begins to fear for her safety and that of her two teen daughters. This leads Lauren to make a call to Cleo. . . .

Upon speaking to Cleo, we the reader learn her backstory! It is mind-blowing. We learn why she is in Ireland. Why she lives a sheltered existence and why the troll may be targeting her personally. When I read this part of the novel it was one, of them huge twist moments. Where you think to yourself ‘Oh no you didn’t!’. The author has cleverly weaved in a backstory and narrative that I never saw coming and one that firmly glued me to the pages!

Aside from the usual social media drama, Lauren is also still dealing from the fall-out with her ex-husband Dave and her teens who are moody and obviously blame their mother. I felt quite sorry for Lauren. But she is a strong and feisty woman. She is a counselling psychologist by profession and used to dealing with some suspect behaviour in her clients. Especially a recent client named Jonathan, who borders on the obsessive with Lauren and enjoys the power it grants over her. Despite all of this, Lauren attempts to but a brave face on and deal with her present circumstances.

‘The Tweets mean nothing unless I give them power – I just need to keep ignoring’ – Lauren
The whole psychological/thriller situation is ramped up, page after page. Lauren, Cleo and Jonathan all make for fantastic reading. I was absolutely hooked! I read this novel in one sitting. I found the characters really got into my head, much like the trolling got into Lauren’s.

‘He doesn’t need to break into my house, I let him in through my phone’ – Lauren

My initial thoughts may have been ‘not another social media thriller’. But this is so much more than that. It is cleverly plotted, to perfection and I was absolutely gripped by the storyline.
At the bottom of my notes it reads, Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant!
5* genius

Andrea Mara

*I am also super excited as I have Andrea’s debut novel sat on my kindle tbr pile, waiting to be devoured. Here it is*
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The other Side Of The Wall by Andrea Mara

When Sylvia looks out her bedroom window at night and sees a child face down in the pond next door, she races into her neighbour’s garden. But the pond is empty, and no-one is answering the door.

Wondering if night feeds and sleep deprivation are getting to her, she hurriedly retreats. Besides, the fact that a local child has gone missing must be preying on her mind. Then, a week later, she hears the sound of a man crying through her bedroom wall.

The man living next door, Sam, has recently moved in. His wife and children are away for the summer and he joins them at weekends. Sylvia finds him friendly and helpful, yet she becomes increasingly uneasy about him.

Then Sylvia’s little daughter wakes one night, screaming that there’s a man in her room. This is followed by a series of bizarre disturbances in the house.

Sylvia’s husband insists it’s all in her mind, but she is certain it’s not – there’s something very wrong on the other side of the wall.

Anne Bonny #BookReview Shipyard Girls At War by @arevellwalton 5* #Saga #MustRead #Series #ww2Fiction #WomenOfWW2 @arrowpublishing ‘Highly recommended to fans of Saga’s’

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Shipyard Girls At War by Nancy Revell – Shipyard Girls #2
Own copy from TBR

1941: it takes strength to work on the docks, but the war demands all hands on deck and the women are doing their best to fill the gap.

Rosie is flourishing in her role as head-welder while still keeping her double life a secret. But a dashing detective is forcing Rosie to choose between love and her duty.

Gloria is hiding her own little secret – one that if found out, could not only threaten her job, but her life.

And the shipyards are proving tougher than Polly ever imagined, while she waits for her man to return home safely.

Join the shipyard girls as they journey through the hardships of life, love and war.

My Review:

I am currently making my way through books 1-4 in the Shipyard Girls series. I was absolutely blown away with the first novel and you warm to the characters instantly. In true saga style, they feel like friends and you mourn their pain and celebrate their highs. I was excited to see what book two, The Shipyard Girls At War would have in store for the women.
*If you haven’t read the first in the series, this review may contain spoilers*

The novel opens with a heart-breaking prologue. If you’ve been following the series so far, it is one that will cut deep. Bel’s devastation and emotional pain flows from the pages. As a former soldier’s wife, myself, I dreaded ever receiving the news Bel receives. Her childhood sweetheart has perished, in Operation compass alongside 624 other soldiers. The grief she feels, is so powerful, it brought tears to my eyes.

‘This Polly realised was what grief looked like in its purest form’

At the shipyard things are back to the usual with Dorothy and Gloria’s playful bickering. There’s a new girl named Martha, who is quite quiet. Or quiet in comparison to the girls we have come to know and love. But Gloria is still trying desperately to conceal her secret, a secret only the other girls are aware of.

Hannah the shipyard worker from Czechoslovakia is quickly picking up her English skills and slowly adapting to life at the shipyard. But stand-in boss Helen is making her life a living hell with her bullying tactics and demeanour. Helen is nobody’s favourite person and instead of trying to make friends and amends, she pursues a vendetta against Hannah.

Polly is devastated at the news about her brother Teddy’s death. She is apprehensive about the home-coming of his twin Joe. How will Teddy’s death impact Joe? Will this cause Bel to fall apart? The future seems uncertain at Polly’s home. A home so much more used to laughter and smiles, than sorrow and grief.

The novel then does something, undone in the previous novel. It jumps the timeline backwards to 1920. Where we meet a childhood Bel and her god-awful mother Pearl. Bel is often left abandoned inside their cramped house, with little or no food. Whilst her mother pleases herself usually at the pubs. Bel is only saved from a childhood of despair when she befriends Polly. This offers Bel a glimpse into a life she’s never known, one of love and care. But will also be where she first meets Teddy.

In the present day, Rosie is excited and looking forward to a visit from her sister Charlotte. Everything Rosie does in her life, is to provide a better life for Charlotte and sometimes this includes activities, that are risqué. Which is why it is shocking to read she has caught the eye of Detective Sgt Miller aka Peter. Peter now works solely at the docks, which causes Lily (Rosie’s other boss) some concern. Will Rosie find love with Peter? What if Peter uncovers her ‘other’ life first?

‘Love’s so bloomin’ unpredictable. It takes you places you just don’t expect to go’ – Lily

Bel is drowning in grief leaving her unable to adequately care for her young daughter. She relies heavily upon Polly and her mother Agnes. The grief that Bel feels is a shared grief, as Agnes lost her husband in the first world war, when Polly was just a baby.

In the flashback scenes we learn that Joe has always harboured a secret love for Bel. But in the present day, she treats him with contempt, borderline loathing. It is unclear if this is grief or Bel’s need for self-preservation.
But It makes for fascinating reading, as you read on.

The harsh reality of the war is always within the background. When an air raid strikes leaving an infant alive, next to its mother’s corpse. You are regularly reminded what harsh times these women are living in and how everyday, really was life or death.

‘Polly realised just how much they all needed each other in these very strange times’

In a moment of panic Gloria confesses her secret to the wrong person. What will this mean for her future?

Rosie and Peter begin to see more of each other, but where will it lead?

Polly receives regular updates from her love, Tommy away at war.
Will Tommy make it home from war?
Or will Polly be grieving also?

Joe joins the home guard and begins to build a life for himself now he is demobbed. But will it be a life alone? Or with another?

Rosie helps a friend from the past in her hour of need.

The saga has a feel-good ending, leaving you longing for the next in the series. Which I am lucky enough to have on my shelves. I can not wait to get stuck in!
Highly recommended to fans of Saga’s this is a series not to be missed! 5*

Nancy Revell
Nancy Revell

Next up in the series. . . . .
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Secrets Of The Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell
Review scheduled 9th May

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost #Protagonist – Tale Of A Tooth by @Alliewhowrites #LiteraryFiction #NewRelease @Legend_Press

Tale Of A Tooth by Allie Rogers

Four-year-old Danny lives with his mother, Natalie, in a small Sussex town. Life is a struggle and when they are threatened with a benefits sanction, salvation appears in the form of a Job Centre employee called Karen. But Karen’s impact is to reach far beyond this one generous gesture, as she and Natalie embark on an intense relationship.

Told in the voice of an intelligent, passionate and unusual child, Tale of a Tooth is an immersive and compelling look at the impact of domestic abuse on a vulnerable family unit.

Guest Post:

The protagonist of Tale of a Tooth is four year old Danny White. Danny lives in a studio flat with his mother, who he calls Meemaw.

From the beginning of the book, we realise that Danny is an unusual child. He sees Meemaw’s emotions as colours, he is a fluent reader, he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of dinosaurs, the ability to spend long stretches of time content in his own company and he is often overwhelmed by too much light and noise.

Danny’s intelligence, his perceptiveness, his particular ways of navigating the social world, along with the intensity of his bond with Meemaw, made him a gift of a character to narrate this story. As the author, I felt there was no need to do anything other than let Danny speak. He doesn’t miss what matters, even if sometimes he doesn’t understand the significance of what he’s observing.

At one point in the book, Meemaw talks to Danny about the future, when she thinks people might start ‘slapping on the labels.’ So, what labels is she talking about? Is Danny gifted? Does he have synesthesia? Does he have sensory processing disorder? Is he on the autistic spectrum?

This story happens in the part of Danny’s life when he lives alone with his mother and is not in touch with any services that might have given him any sort of diagnosis. If readers want to consider his possible future, if they feel any particular labels fit, then I’m sure they will apply them. But, as the author, all I knew for certain was that Danny had arrived in my head with this story to tell. I let him tell it as himself and challenged my readers to enter his way of experiencing the world without giving it any adult definitions.

One of the things I hope Danny manages to convey to the reader is the safety and warmth of his life with Meemaw, in spite of the many challenges they face as the story unfolds. Though they are living on the edge financially, Danny’s world is kept stable and manageable by Meemaw’s deep, almost instinctive, understanding of him.

Of course, that’s not to say that Meemaw doesn’t misunderstand at times, or lose patience, or occasionally get driven to desperation by his particular wants or needs. And that’s certainly not to say that she doesn’t crave adult company or the attention of someone who sees her as more than just Meemaw. But she and Danny share a powerful bond and I hope readers see that a great deal of Danny’s courage and resilience comes from having a mother who respects his essential self.

As a parent, aunt, and friend, I’ve been privileged to know a lot of four year olds. To be honest, I think they have all been far more sophisticated and complex little people than the adult world usually assumes them to be. If I say Danny is ‘unusual’ then I think it’s worth bearing in mind that there is no template child in the world against whom he is to be measured. All children, all people, are, of course, unique.

Tale of a Tooth is a dark story in many ways. There were scenes that were painful to write, as I realised the horror of what Danny was going to face. I became fiercely fond of him, his kindness, his focus and, more than anything, his honesty. But it was his honesty that meant there was no way he was going to flinch from telling the truth of what happened when his Meemaw met Karen. I hope readers will hear him.

Allie Rogers
Allie Rogers
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