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Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with A.F. Brady @AFBradyNYC #Author of, Once A Liar #NewRelease #Legal #Thriller #Suspense @HQstories

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Once A Liar by A.F. Brady

Synopsis ~

The next gripping thriller from AF Brady…

Peter Caine, a cutthroat Manhattan defense attorney, worked ruthlessly to become the best at his job. On the surface, he is charming and handsome, but inside he is cold and heartless. He fights without remorse to acquit murderers, pedophiles and rapists.

When Charlie Doyle, the daughter of the Manhattan DA—and Peter’s former lover—is murdered, Peter’s world is quickly sent into a tailspin. He becomes the prime suspect as the DA, a professional enemy of Peter’s, embarks on a witch hunt to avenge his daughter’s death, stopping at nothing to ensure Peter is found guilty of the murder.

In the challenge of his career and his life, Peter races against the clock to prove his innocence. As the evidence mounts against him, he’s forced to begin unraveling his own dark web of lies and confront the sins of his past. But the truth of who killed Charlie Doyle is more twisted and sinister than anyone could have imagined…

Q&A ~

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A.) I am a psychotherapist, I’ve been working in the mental health field for nearly twenty years, and Once a Liar is my second novel. I draw heavily from my experiences working with individuals with mental illnesses when I write my books, which I think lends a unique authenticity to my work.

My novels are set in Manhattan, where I grew up, a place teeming with interesting and diverse people from whom I draw inspiration.

Once a Liar is the story of Peter Caine, a cut-throat Manhattan defence attorney who has recently gained custody of his teenaged son upon the death of his ex-wife. Peter sees little value in other human beings, which has served him well in his career defending the indefensible. When he finds the tables have turned and he is accused of the brutal murder of his on-again off-again mistress Charlie Doyle, Peter desperately tries to prove his innocence, and along his journey, he finds that the damage his heartlessness has done may be too great to overcome.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea, to writing and finally to publication?

A.) I wanted to write a book from the perspective of a sociopath because I found more often than not, literary and media representation of sociopathic stories are told through the lens of those who have been hurt or victimised by the sociopath. I wanted to dig inside his mind and get unsettled in there.

Peter was born of a combination of people I have known in my career, mixed together with a healthy dose of imagination. While I was writing him, I found myself becoming sympathetic to his situation. He’s a cold and unempathetic man, but he has a past, a history that led to his current condition, and he has a future that he seems willing to take steps to improve. Peter took the reins at some point in the writing process and showed me sides of himself that I didn’t know were coming. It was quite a journey.

I was nervous and excited for publication because I knew what a risk I was taking by creating a protagonist that’s hard to sympathize with, but I’m so glad I did. I love stepping outside the box, and my readers have really enjoyed getting inside the mind of a sociopath. It’s unique in that way, but also fast paced and the plot is twisty and complex. It was a pleasure to write, despite getting a little scared of the person I was creating from time to time.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A.) I love reading books of all genres, and going back to old favourites. I love Jay McInerney, Hemingway (especially Islands in the Stream when it starts to get warm out), anything David Sedaris writes, James Frey, especially A Million Little Pieces, Chuck Palahniuk… I would recommend that everyone read Karoo by Steve Tesich. It’s one of my all-time favourites. I just love the story and the difficult protagonist. I love a journey that’s paved with self-discovery and change.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A.) As a kid, I loved Winnie the Pooh, and I still do. I loved Swallows and Amazons (Arthur Ransome), Nancy Drew, the Famous Five (Enid Blyton), all these kinds of adventure stories. My grandparents had troves of old books at their house in Greece, so every summer my brother and I would devour everything they had left over from their own childhoods. And my favourite book growing up was My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell.

Q) What are you currently reading?

A.) I am currently in the middle of several books: American Overdose (Chris McGreal) Picking Cotton (Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton), Bright Lights, Big City (Jay McInerney) I reread this one almost yearly, The Plague (Camus) I reread this one almost yearly as well, and I’m just about to start Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens). I’m also reading some manuscripts so I can blurb for other suspense/thriller writers.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A.) My favourite moment came earlier this spring when a woman reached out to me via email to tell me that she has a very close friend who was diagnosed with a terminal illness and was beginning a bucket list. One of the items on her bucket list was meeting me. I was absolutely floored that my writing had meant so much to someone. We arranged a date and the three of us sat at a diner in Manhattan and chatted for hours about her life, my books, and the impact I made on her life.

Connecting with readers and telling stories that people feel deep down and relate to on some level has always been my favourite part of being a writer, but this one really meant a lot to me.

We are still in touch and are planning on meeting up at the diner again!

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

My family has been incredibly supportive, especially my husband. He takes on many additional roles in order to allow me to take the time I need to write. He helps me work out sticky plot issues, and he never gets tired of sitting around over dinner discussing things I’m going to do to my characters. My dog is also omnipresent while I’m writing, and it’s gotten to the point that I can’t complete a sentence unless he’s lying with me.

AFB
A.F. Brady
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The River by Peter Heller 4* #NewRelease #LiteraryFiction #Mystery @wnbooks #Survival #Canada

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The River by Peter Heller
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

Two friends
Wynn and Jack have been best friends since their first day of college, brought together by their shared love of books and the great outdoors.

The adventure of a lifetime
When they decide to take time off university and canoe down the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate the ultimate wilderness experience.
No phones.
No fellow travellers.
No way of going back.

A hellish ride
But as a raging wildfire starts to make its way towards them, their expedition becomes a desperate race for survival. And when a man suddenly appears, claiming his wife has vanished, the fight against nature’s destructive power becomes entangled with a much deadlier game of cat and mouse.

My Review ~

‘The only tracks in the mud of the portages were wolf and moose, otter, bear’

The prologue warns us of a local forest fire. The opening within this title is at times difficult, with the intensity of the story and the descriptive writing. But once Wynn and Jack’s Backstory is revealed it does become a much easier read. Their childhood and family relationships are explored and we come to understand what drives them to want to be alone in the wilderness.

‘There should be two paddles, a man and a woman’
On their trek down river they come across a man (Pierre) alone. He talks of a missing wife named Maia, but she is nowhere to be seen. Wynn and Jack are torn as what to do, they are not only battling natures elements but the elements of great danger with a forest fire quickly spreading. They decide to venture back to the couples camp and assess the situation from there. On the journey back, 10 days of provisions are lost and things don’t look any brighter when they arrive at the couple’s camp, to find Maia, a victim of a violent attack.

Who did this to Maia? Was this a bear attack? A domestic violence incident?
Who can Wynn and Jack trust? 

‘It’s a death sentence’ 

The remote location really adds to the sense of despair and isolation from assistance. There are various scenarios for Pierre and Maia’s plight, scenarios both Wynn and Jack attempt to understand. The hunger, exposure or the elements and exhaustion seeps from the pages. I really felt as though I was on the river, in a kayak, with the characters.
I raced through the pages in less than 3hrs, a perfect Saturday afternoon read! 4*

PH
Peter Heller
GoodReads

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Anne Bonny #BookReview Those Who Are Loved by @VicHislop Victoria Hislop 4* #NewRelease #Historical #ww2Fiction #ww2 #Athens #Greece #GreekHistory @headlinepg

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Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

The gripping new novel by Sunday Times Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop is set against the backdrop of the German occupation of Greece, the subsequent civil war and a military dictatorship, all of which left deep scars.

Athens 1941. After decades of political uncertainty, Greece is polarised between Right- and Left-wing views when the Germans invade.
Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family divided by these political differences. The Nazi occupation deepens the fault-lines between those she loves just as it reduces Greece to destitution. She watches friends die in the ensuing famine and is moved to commit acts of resistance.

In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army, where she experiences the extremes of love and hatred and the paradoxes presented by a war in which Greek fights Greek.

Eventually imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee.
And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live.

As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly the personal and political can become entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.

This powerful new novel from Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Greece’s past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live an extraordinary life.

My Review ~

Those Who Are Loved is an incredibly deep and emotive novel. It is quite lengthy at 496 pages and you do become immersed in the story of Themis Stavridus. We follow her from a young girl full of hope and optimism, to a young woman forced to make and stand by difficult choices. Eventually we return to Themis as an elderly lady reflecting to on her life and the repercussions of the war on their lives as a family.
Whilst I do see this as a ‘holiday read’ I would urge readers to prepare themselves for deep research, ww2 history and the fight between the far-left & far-right in 1940s Greece.

The novel opens in Athens 2016 as the family of four generations, gather for the birthday of Themis Stavridis. As Themis reflects on the current political climate in Greece. Of Homelessness/poverty, the rise of fascism and the anti-immigrant rhetoric. She is consumed with her own past, that she has never previously spoken of…
‘Her life story was not an heirloom, but it was all she had’

‘Once they were seated, Themis began to talk’

We are then rapidly transported to 1930’s Athens and the home of Themis’s childhood. Here we are introduced to her mother Eleftheria and her three siblings Thanasis, Panos and Margarita. Their father Pavlos is a merchant shipping worker and spends large periods away from the family home. They live in a simple and yet modest home on Antigoris Street. But for Themis and her siblings, this will also prove to be a time of great change as they end up being raised by their grandmother Kyria Koralis.
Kyria does her best to raise the children, but she is fighting a tough battle due to the economic depression hitting Greece. The children however, grow up surrounded by maternal love from her.

The novel jumps ahead 10yrs to Oct 1940. Greece is now vulnerable to the German and Italian army’s and potential invasion. The political and wartime climate is explained within the novel. It is done through the characters experiences, and therefore I did not feel like I was sat in a history lesson. Despite taking on a through amount of historical information. When it comes to far-left and far-right sympathies, the siblings are very divided. With Thanasis and Margarita able to accept the far-rights values. Whilst brother Panos sympathises with the far-left of the Soviets.
Themis is unsure to which side she feels a political alliance. That is until she meets school friend and refugee Fotini. Who has been raised in a different way of life, with a different set of politics.

‘Hitler doesn’t respect this country anymore than Mussolini does’

9th April 1941 – Greece becomes an occupied territory of the German Reich. The Nazi top brass blame the British Whilst Thanasis and Margarita are willing to accept this. It is not them who will truly pay the price for Nazi ideology. For Fotini’s mother loses her job, the family begin to starve and before long Fotini is wasting away.

‘Germany was a friend of Greece, not a foe’

Themis’s coming of age in occupied Greece, see her deal with a wide-range of emotional problems. Panos joins the resistance and before long it is Greek vs Greek, occupier vs communist. There are protests and violence. A  resulting massacre at the village of Kalavryta, showing the full horror of the Nazi regime.

The novel continues to tell the story of Themis’s family through the Nazi occupation, to the arrival of the British and eventually to the new government, bringing new hope.
It was easy to put yourself in the teenage siblings situations and walk in their shoes. Destruction of their home town, uncertainty and political divisions between the citizens.
When Themis vows to join the communists. her membership opens her eyes to the full extent of life in the far-left.

‘This is the harmony I want to restore to our country’

we continue on our journey with Themis, through her imprisonment at the most brutal island prison. We also see 1954, 1967, 1976, 1985 and ultimately back to the present day of 2016. With the long drawn out story told, Themis’s family is now fully aware of her past. When I finished the title, I suddenly felt bereft without the attachment to the novel and Themis’s story. I felt as though I had been with the family through their ups and downs. Their hardships and rare moments they had known  peace. It is funny sometimes how you can finish a near 500 page book and still want more.

This my first title read by the author and will definitely not be my last! 4*

VH
Victoria Hislop
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Anne Bonny Top 5 #ww2Fiction #Historical picks from the TBR pile @VirginiaBaily @swlittlefield @CescaWrites @jingwrites Katie Quinn @ThatSadieJones @FleetReads @WmMorrowBooks @CorvusBooks @OneworldNews @vintagebooks

***Here are some books from my ww2 fiction TBR pile, that I am DYING to read. In no particular order***

the fourth shore
The Fourth Shore by Virginia Baily
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible – PB March 2020
Synopsis ~

The Fourth Shore: the sliver of fertile land along the Tripoli coast, the ‘lost’ territory Mussolini promised to reclaim for Italy. Which is how, in 1929, seventeen-year-old Liliana Cattaneo arrives there from Rome on a ship filled with eager colonists to join her brother and his new wife.

Liliana is sure she was on the brink of a great adventure, but what awaits her is not the Mediterranean idyll of cocktail parties, smart dances, dashing officers and romantic intrigues she had imagined. Instead she finds a world of persecution, violence, repression, corruption and deceptions both great and small.

A child of fascist Italy, blown about by the winds of fascism and Catholicism, Liliana becomes enmeshed in a dark liaison which has terrible consequences both for her and those she loves most.

The Fourth Shore is the engrossing and intensely poignant story of Liliana’s journey from Rome to Tripoli to a north London suburb where, as plain Lily Jones, she begins to uncover a secret she has buried so deeply that even she is far from certain what it is.

The daisy children
The Daisy Children by Sofia Grant
Available in PB/Ebook/Audible
Synopsis ~

Inspired by true events, in Sofia Grant’s powerfully moving new novel a young woman peels back the layers of her family’s history, discovering a tragedy in the past that explains so much of the present. This unforgettable story is one of hope, healing, and the discovery of truth.

Sometimes the untold stories of the past are the ones we need to hear…
When Katie Garrett gets the unexpected news that she’s received an inheritance from the grandmother she hardly knew, it couldn’t have come at a better time. She flees Boston—and her increasingly estranged husband—and travels to rural Texas.
There, she’s greeted by her distant cousin Scarlett. Friendly, flamboyant, eternally optimistic, Scarlett couldn’t be more different from sensible Katie. And as they begin the task of sorting through their grandmother’s possessions, they discover letters and photographs that uncover the hidden truths about their shared history, and the long-forgotten tragedy of the New London school explosion of 1937 that binds them.

the silent hours
The Silent Hours by Cesca Major
Available in PB/Ebook/Audible
Synopsis ~

An epic, sweeping tale set in wartime France, The Silent Hours follows three people whose lives are bound together, before war tears them apart:

Adeline, a mute who takes refuge in a convent, haunted by memories of her past;

Sebastian, a young Jewish banker whose love for the beautiful Isabelle will change the course of his life dramatically;

Tristin, a nine-year-old boy, whose family moves from Paris to settle in a village that is seemingly untouched by war.

Beautifully wrought, utterly compelling and with a shocking true story at its core, The Silent Hours is an unforgettable portrayal of love and loss.

how we disappeared
How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible – PB April 2020
Synopsis ~

The heart-rending story of survival and endurance in Japanese-occupied Singapore

Singapore, 1942.
As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked, leaving only three survivors, one of them a tiny child.

In a neighbouring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is bundled into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel. After sixty years of silence, what she saw and experienced there still haunts her.

And in the year 2000, twelve-year-old Kevin is sitting beside his ailing grandmother when he overhears a mumbled confession. He sets out to discover the truth, wherever it might lead, setting in motion a chain of events he could never have foreseen.

Weaving together two timelines and two very big secrets, this evocative, profoundly moving and utterly dazzling debut opens a window on a little-known period of history, and heralds the arrival of a thrilling new literary star.

the alice network
The Alice Network by Katie Quinn
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible/PB
Synopsis ~

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.
Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth…no matter where it leads.

**EXTRA PICK**
Not ww2 fiction, but set post-ww2 in Cyprus. I also CANNOT resist this epic cover!
small wars
Small Wars by Sadie Jones
Available in PB/Ebook
Synopsis ~

Hal Treherne is a soldier on the brink of a brilliant career. Impatient to see action, his other commitment in life is to his beloved wife, Clara, and when Hal is transferred to Cyprus she and their twin daughters join him. But the island is in the heat of the emergency; the British are defending the colony against Cypriots – schoolboys and armed guerillas alike – battling for union with Greece.

Clara shares Hal’s sense of duty and honour; she knows she must settle down, make the best of things, smile. But action changes Hal, and the atrocities he is drawn into take him not only further from Clara but himself, too; a betrayal that is only the first step down a dark path.

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Absolution by @YrsaSig Yrsa Sigurdardottir 5* #Psychological #Thriller #ChildrensHouse #Series #FreyaAndHuldar @HodderBooks @HodderFiction

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The Absolution by Yrsa Sigurdardottir – Children’s House #3
Translated by Victoria Cribb
My Own Copy ~ Hardback

Synopsis ~

The new novel from the internationally bestselling, prizewinning, queen of Icelandic crime.

All he wants is for them to say sorry.

The police find out about the crime the way everyone does: on Snapchat. The video shows the terrified victim begging for forgiveness.
When her body is found, it is marked with a number 2…

Detective Huldar joins the investigation, bringing child psychologist Freyja on board to help question the murdered teenager’s friends. Soon, they uncover that Stella was far from the angel people claim – but even so, who could have hated her enough to kill?

Then another teenager goes missing, and more clips are sent. Freyja and Huldar can agree on two things at least: the truth is far from simple. And the killer is not done yet.

A brilliantly suspenseful story about the dark side of social media, The Absolution will make you wonder what you should have said sorry for…

My Review ~

‘Say You’re sorry’

The Absolution is a thoroughly modern novel, dealing with the themes of online bullying, stalking and revenge! It is action-packed and a neat edition to the Children’s House series. I am a huge fan of this series and have read The Legacy #1 and The Reckoning #2. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the latest.

The novel opens with a vicious attack on a young teenage girl. It is a scene that plays out perfectly as if it was in a teen horror movie. The victim alone, late at night in an empty cinema theatre. Huldar arrives and finds plenty of blood, but a missing body. The CCTV footage later reveals just what took place…

‘What can she have done to the man to deserve that?’

Freyja is brought in to help interview the teenage friends and potential enemies of the victim (Stella). She is moved (and so was I) when she interviews Adalheidur, a female student and victim of Stella’s relentless bullying. The social media bullying narrative is fully explained and the cruel harsh reality of the abuse is laid bare.
There is a narrative from another bullying victim David’s perspective. Hearing the vile threats/abuse and knowing he is at the edges of suicidal ideation, is absolutely heart-breaking! As a parent, my heart was ripped out for these kids. Scary to admit that the perpetrator’s are often just kids themselves also.

There are chapters from the killers point of view, where the killer attempts to justify their actions of murder as revenge. After reading of the harsh venom thrown towards the victim’s, you do begin to understand the killer’s psychology. After all, wouldn’t most of us snap under this kind of daily rigorous abuse?

The novel has dark theme’s as listed above, but in this modern era it is a story we see played out multiple times in the local and national media. Kids bullying kids, to the point of vicious and graphic assaults.
A dark and scary theme, very well done! 5*

YS
Yrsa Sigurdardottir
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My Review of The Legacy – Children’s House #1
My Review of The Reckoning – Children’s House #2
My Review of Someone To Watch Over Me
My Review of The Undesired
My Review of Why Did You Lie?