Anne Bonny #BookReview Resin by @AuthorAneRiel #NewRelease #Literary #Thriller @TransworldBooks Protected Treasured Trapped . . .

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Resin by Ane Riel
Review Copy
Synopsis:

The multi-award-winning international bestseller.
Suspenseful and heart-breaking, Resin is the story of what can happen when you love someone too much – when your desire to keep them safe becomes the thing that could irrevocably harm them.
*
Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think.
Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing.
But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents.
This way, Liv would be safe.

My Review:

WOW! Where to start with this one!!!!!!
The whole novel can be summarised with one word: disturbing!
Which I do not mean in a derogatory manner. The novel focuses around one of possibly the most disturbing families I have ever read! Straight from the opening sentence, you know you’re in for a treat with this one. . . .

‘The white room was completely dark when my dad killed my granny’ – Liv

Meet Liv, your strange, awkward child protagonist. She tells us about the home-made Christmas presents and family hoarding. Even her granny being smothered, set alight and buried is all too nonchalant for Liv. . .
‘After all, none of us is meant to suffer’

The family live on ‘The Head’ a small isolated island, which is linked to the larger island Korsted. But the family are the only occupants at The Head. They steal what they need from others and this is a routine father/daughter night time activity.

‘In time I learned we weren’t like other people’ – Liv

Throughout the novel there are a series of letters from Liv’s mother written to Liv. To be completely honest, they only add to the whole strange/weirdo vibe of the whole family. . .
‘I don’t know whether to call our life a family story or horror story’ – Mum
Even further alarming with words like. . . ‘He may kill me’

This is a family in desperate need of some social services involvement. Immediately!

Liv’s father is Jen Horder and through the novel we learn his backstory and family history. Prepare yourselves!
We also learn how he met and fell in love with Liv’s mother. His mother Else wasn’t too keen on the union between the pair and considering she dies in the opening scenes, I don’t think she was far from wrong!

When Granny Else plans to take Liv away to the mainland for schooling. A premeditated plan is hatched.
One that will see Liv disappear!

‘Live knew that not being seen was a mater of life and death’

This novel is dark, disturbing and yet I could NOT look away from the pages. The scene for which the title gets its name, is beyond my understanding. The last 20/30 pages make for intense reading! I am absolutely HOOKED!

Brilliantly disturbing 4.5*

AR
Ane Riel
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Fishnet by Kirstin Innes #ContemporaryFiction @bwpublishing

Fishnet
Fishnet by Kirstin Innes
Synopsis:

Rona Leonard walks out of her sister Fiona’s flat and disappears.

Six years on, worn down by work, child care and the aching absence in her life, Fiona’s existence is blown apart by the revelation that, before she disappeared, Rona had been working as a prostitute.

Bittersweet, sensual and rich, Fishnet is a story of love and grief, interwoven with an empathetic, controversial take on the sex industry and its workers. An outstanding novel, it challenges assumptions about power, vulnerability and choice.

Extract:

I’d vomited so hard that I’d made myself cry great fat smudges of mascara, dripping down onto the cheap burnished metal trough that deputised for sinks here. The toilets were designed for female friendship in 1999; two pans to a cubicle, no lids. I suppose that made it harder to do drugs on. I heard three songs morph into different sets of beats while I was in there, carefully washing my face, scouring off every streak, squinting at myself in the crappy tin mirror, and starting again. None of my group came in to check I was okay, although I did get a motherly hug off a Slosher, gin on her breath and a smothering floral scent as she pulled my face in to her big soft bosom, rocked me, told me aw, darlin, it’ll be all right. You’ll be all right. We’ve all been there, eh?
I don’t think we have.
Three henz and Heather were still on the floor when I resurfaced, repeating the invisible pole dance endlessly for a room that had moved on, to a song where a robot’s voice had an orgasm: ooh-ooh-ooh-OOHYEAH. The others were clustered around the bar, around those boys in boxy shirts who seemed to have bred four more boxy friends. Samira was there, holding herself apart, stately, and of course attracting far more attention than the rest of the pack together.
The man who’d caught my sleeve materialised out of the darkness in front of me again.
‘So, you not remember your old friends, eh doll? You too good for us now, eh?’
I made for the bar. He followed.
‘Aye, well we remember you, though, darlin. We all remember you round here.’
He laughed. It wasn’t an unpleasant laugh, but it ended in the long slow hack of a life-and-death smoker.
‘There’s precious few as talented as you around these days.’
I turned round. He wasn’t so old, really, quite possibly still in his forties, although the drink had taken its toll, etched its years into his face.
‘Oh aye. No forgetting you, hen.’ I looked straight at him.
‘I’m so sorry,’ I said, over the music. ‘I really think you must have confused me with someone else.’

KI
Kirstin Innes
Website
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Way Of All Flesh by @ambroseparry #HistoricalFiction @canongatebooks Edinburgh 1847. City of medicine, money and murder. . .

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The Way Of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Edinburgh, 1847. City of Medicine, Money, Murder.

In Edinburgh’s Old Town young women are being found dead, all having suffered similarly gruesome ends. Across the city in the New Town, medical student Will Raven is about to start his apprenticeship with the brilliant and renowned Dr Simpson.

Simpson’s patients range from the richest to the poorest of this divided city. His house is like no other, full of visiting luminaries and daring experiments in the new medical frontier of anaesthesia. It is here that Raven meets housemaid Sarah Fisher, who recognises trouble when she sees it and takes an immediate dislike to him. She has all of Raven’s intelligence but none of his privileges, in particular his medical education.

With each having their own motive to look deeper into these deaths, Raven and Sarah find themselves propelled headlong into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh’s underworld, where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to make it out alive.

My Review:

As a huge fan of historical fiction, the synopsis instantly captured my interest. Edinburgh 1847, medicine, money and murder = SOLD! Within the immediate opening scenes you are aware that the writing is without a doubt intelligent and skilled. The novel is packed full of interesting and insightful information regarding the history of medicine. This is a huge part of this novel and it is not a typical Victorian era, murdered prostitute thriller, it is very much more than that!

‘That was Edinburgh for you: public decorum and private sin, city of a thousand secret selves’

In the opening scenes protagonist Will Raven discovers the murdered corpse of prostitute Evie Lawson. He is horrified at the scene but flees fearing he will be blamed. Raven is a client of Evie’s and it is this that leads him to become obsessed with finding her killer!

‘It was not a night for solitude, or for sobriety’

Raven’s background is explored, and we learn that contrary to his public persona, he is not a man of financial means. In fact, he is wanted by Edinburgh’s most feared loan sharks. With the brutal warning find the money or lose an eye.
All hope resides on his new apprenticeship with Dr Simpson.

Raven arrives at Dr Simpson’s and introduced to an array of characters. Jarvis the butler, David and Walter the elder children of the Simpson family and Miss Mina Grindlay, Dr Simpson’s demanding and selfish sister-in-law. But it is not any of these that catch his eye or irritate him. But it is Sarah the housemaid. Sarah is quite the force to be reckoned with, as Raven will come to discover himself.

Dr Simpson is a professor of midwifery and assists all patients rich and poor. At first Raven is completely taken aback by this approach but eventually with experience, comes to appreciate what Dr Simpson is hoping to achieve. Raven is shocked to when he is informed that Sarah assists with morning clinics and even more surprised by the depth of her knowledge. Needless to say the pair do not get off to a great start.

When Sarah learns that the Sheldrake family’s housemaid Rose has absconded and gone missing she is concerned. Mr Sheldrake was known to have quite the temper and Rose was known to be no angel herself. But something eats away at Sarah about the case and she becomes determined to gather some more information.

Evie’s body is finally discovered and quickly assumed to be a suicide via alcohol. Which Raven knows to be untrue given the gruesome scene and the signs upon the corpse. But in this era, women are second class citizens, let alone women of the night.

There are various scenes with patients which all assist Raven in his education and apprenticeship. As the readers they are often truly insightful case studies of what it was like to be a woman in the Victorian era. When you had little say/rights over your own reproductive system, in the medical sense.
Raven continues to have disagreements with Sarah and it is clear to see Raven believes a servant especially a female servant should know her place! At times I found Raven quite hypocritical given that he is staff himself. But Sarah can hold her own and makes it quite clear what she thinks of Raven in return!

“It is my duty to assess those waiting and to recommend the order of urgency by which they ought to be admitted” – Sarah

Sarah longs for a career in medicine, she is intelligent, driven and more than capable. However, the era has a long way to go. She attempts to apply for a position at the local druggist’s. When she is simply scolded for even thinking such an idea would work. . .

‘Our assistant must inspire confidence in our customers. For that, only a man will do’ – Mr Duncan

Raven, Sarah and Dr Simpson all have very credible and interesting backstory’s. They read like real people from history.
Raven and Sarah continue to investigate the two recent deaths and through a bizarre twist of events end up working together. This I absolutely loved, the characters slowly grow on you, but none more so, than when they eventually team up.

But who is the killer targeting women? Is it an illegal abortionist gone wrong? When Raven accompanies Dr Simpson to the local hospital, he witnesses first hand the dangers of women with no access to adequate medical healthcare.
‘Desperate people are often driven to do desperate things’ – Ziegler

As you read on, you begin to question the killer’s motives. Is this a form of medical experimentation? Are the women being punished? When Rose’s body Is found to be with child, it adds further weight to these theories. Raven begins to sympathise with the desperation the women must have felt. . .
‘Desperation is often the mother of misplaced faith’ – Raven

The novel has a clear feel for more literary/historical fiction than crime fiction. Despite the murders that take place. As the focus remains on the medicine within the era. You really get a sense of how dire the situation was for women in 1847.
The novel has such a literary feel and I had so many quotes I wanted to use. I shall leave you with my favourite. . .
‘The only difference between a medicine and a poison is the dosage’

Unique, incredibly well-researched and insightful historical fiction 4.5*

Anne Bonny #BookReview Jar Of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier #Psychological #CrimeFiction #Thriller @CorvusBooks

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Jar Of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Five years ago, Geo’s first love was revealed as a terrifying serial killer.
But he escaped custody and went on the run.
Now, bodies have started turning up, killed in exactly the same way as before.
The message is clear: he’s making his way to her, one murder at a time…

My Review:

I can see this novel being massively popular, as it is a fantastic psychological thriller, written in such an unusual way. It explores the inner torment of repressing the most painful of secrets. The novel opens with our protagonist Geo staring as witness for the prosecution in a case where she herself took a plea deal. Geo’s guilt is never called into question as such, it is more about how much did Geo know?
Why did she keep such heart-breaking and painful secrets?

The novel is told in 5 parts, or stages. As each is labelled as one of the stages of grief. Denial, Anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance each play their part in Geo’s story. It is a story that builds layer upon layer of mystery and intrigue.
Until a phenomenal ending, that will leave readers open mouthed!

Calvin James Geo’s childhood boyfriend is the killer on trial. The Sweetbay Strangler the media calls him. He is found guilty of the murder of Angela Wong, Geo’s childhood best friend. A secret Geo knew and kept for 14yrs.
When Angela went missing, Geo kept her silence but why? Why did Geo enable Calvin? Who then went on to rape and murder three more victims until his apprehension.

Angela’s parents are in the courtroom, as they hear Geo’s evidence. The pain and anger they must feel towards Geo leaps from the page. As Geo avoids all eye contact with them. When Geo completes her testimony, she is taken straight away to serve her 5yr sentence at Hazelwood correctional institute.

Geo may have held onto secrets, but once she is convicted she loses everything she gained in those 14yrs. Gone is the wealthy fiancé and dreams of the all-American dream. Gone is the prestigious career and bright future. Gone is Geo to ‘Hellwood’.
When she arrives, it becomes clear to Geo she is going to have to find a way to survive prison. That prison eats weak and vulnerable people.

‘There are three types of currency in prison: drugs, sex and information’ – Geo

Her prison experiences did remind me of the TV show Orange Is The New Black. As Geo tries to navigate a world she is unprepared for. I almost visualised her as the main character Piper. Whilst Geo survives prison, there are flashback scenes to her arrest and interrogation. We learn how and why geo lost it all and what information she did disclose to the police. We also learn that she is holding something back.

The week before Geo is released from prison, two bodies are discovered in the exact location of Angela’s remains. Although we know it can not be Geo responsible, Calvin remains at large as a fugitive. Is Calvin back? why return to the same town?
Who are the victims and are they connected?

The two victims are a grown woman and two-year-old child. Calvin was never known to harm any young children, which leave the police baffled.
That is until they dig further into the victim’s past!

The detective handling the case is Kaiser Brody. Who attended school with both Angela and Geo. The trio were often seen hanging around together. Kaiser has kept a close discreet eye on Geo during her prison term and continues to do much the same once she is released. But can Kaiser get to the truth? Will Geo confessing her secrets, finally put the past behind her?

This novel brings Geo’s past and present together and builds to a dramatic, action-packed ending! 4*

JH
Jennifer Hillier
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Before Her Eyes by @JackJordanBooks 5* #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Psychological #Thriller @CorvusBooks She can’t see the killer But the killer can see her. . .

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Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan
Review Copy
Synopsis:

She can’t see the killer
But the killer can see her…

Naomi Hannah has been blind since birth. Struggling with living in a small, claustrophobic town, Naomi contemplates ending her life. But then she stumbles across the body of a young woman who has been brutally murdered. She senses someone else there at the scene – watching her. Naomi may not be able to see the killer’s face, but she is still the only person who can identify him.

As the police begin hunting the person responsible and more victims are discovered, Naomi is forced to answer the question on which her fate hangs: why did the killer let her live?

In a town this small, the murderer must be close, perhaps even before her very eyes…

My Review:

I was immediately drawn to this novel, due to the inclusion of a character with a disability. Naomi Hannah has been blind since birth, she lives an independent life and I actually found her quite admirable and inspiring.
That is until the author began to terrorise her. . .

‘Even in death she was beautiful’

The novel opens with a Psycho feel to the prologue. Psycho as in the movie, not psychotic. It SCREAMS terror and angst and you instantly know this is going to be a rip roaring read!

Naomi is out walking on the cliffs and we hear her internal thoughts as she wills herself to jump from the cliffs. Naomi is struggling with suicidal ideation and I really felt for her emotional pain. She decides tomorrow is the day and walks away! It is a heart-breaking moment and I really hoped she would not succeed with her plans.

As Naomi walks away, she is witness to the brutal murder of journalist Cassie Jennings. Cassie was walking back from her niece’s funeral when she is attacked and has her throat cut. Naomi remains unharmed in the assault and at this point we are unsure why the murderer left a living witness. Did Naomi survive because she was blind?
How can she help the police identify the killer?

The police officers called to the scene DS Marcus Campbell and DI Lisa Elliott are struggling they have no DNA, no evidence and no leads. Lisa is quick to dismiss Naomi as not credible. We learn Naomi spoke two words to the killer. . . ‘Kill me’

The plot thickens when we learn that 20yrs ago, Naomi’s sister Grace’s best friend went missing. Are the current murders linked to the disappearance of Hayley Miller?

When another body is discovered, and a link established between the two victims, the pace really picks up. How did the two victims know each other?
Is this what got them killed?

The town begins to turn on Naomi and question if she really is the victim she portrays herself to be. Then the media ramp up the blame game.
Even I began to wonder is Naomi a victim or a manipulator?

‘I’ve been left in the dark this whole time, and all I can do is hope to survive’

The novel has a fantastic creepy ending and all I can see in my notes are the huge words THOSE LAST 3 WORDS!!!!!!!!!!!
This is the perfect summer beach read, if you’re brave enough. 5*

JJ
Jack Jordan
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