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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Giveaway What She Saw Last Night by MJ Cross @MasonCrossBooks @OrionBooks #CrimeFiction #Suspense #Mystery

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What She Saw Last Night by MJ Cross ~ Standalone Novel
Currently Reading ~ Absolutely loving it!
Synopsis ~

No one will believe … WHAT SHE SAW LAST NIGHT.

Jenny Bowen is going home. Boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, all she wants to do is forget about her upcoming divorce and relax on the ten-hour journey through the night.

In her search for her cabin, Jenny helps a panicked woman with a young girl she assumes to be her daughter. Then she finds her compartment and falls straight to sleep.

Waking in the night, Jenny discovers the woman dead in her cabin … but there’s no sign of the little girl. The train company have no record of a child being booked on the train, and CCTV shows the dead woman boarding alone.

The police don’t believe Jenny, and soon she tries to put the incident out of her head and tells herself that everyone else is right: she must have imagined the little girl.

But deep down, she knows that isn’t the truth.

*Giveaway* ~ To enter simply comment on this blog post of RT the pinned Tweet @annebonnybook

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Mason Cross
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My Review ~ Presumed Dead

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*Apologises for delayed blog post to Tracy & Mason*

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Anne Bonny #Spotlight Mary Wood & #GuestPost Maggie Mason @Authormary #TheWrongedDaughter & #SandgroniansTrilogy #Blackpool

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The Wronged Daughter by Mary Wood
Review To Follow
Synopsis ~

Perfect for winter nights, The Wronged Daughter by Mary Wood is an emotional and moving novel that reunites old friends and heals old wounds.

Mags has never forgotten the friendship she forged with Flora and Ella, two fellow nurses she served with at the beginning of World War I. Haunted by what she experienced during that time, she fears a reunion with her friends would bring back the horror she’s tried so desperately to suppress.

Now, with her wedding on the horizon, this should be a joyful time for Mags. But the sudden loss of her mother and the constant doubt she harbours surrounding her fiancé, Harold, are marring her happiness.

Mags throws herself into running the family mill, but she’s dealt another aching blow by a betrayal that leaves her reeling. Finding the strength the war had taken from her, she fights back, not realizing the consequences and devastating outcome awaiting her.

Can she pick up the pieces of her life and begin anew?

Extract ~

Chapter One

Mags held on to the back of the chair and stared across at the doctor. What he was saying didn’t seem possible. Not my dear mother? No. Mother has always been strong. ‘I’m sorry, but there’s only tender loving care that can be given, to ease her passing. I can arrange for a nurse to come and stay. She will administer oxygen, when needed, and the medication that I shall prescribe. But I’m afraid Belinda’s weak heart is rapidly failing her.’

Weak heart? When did Mother ever have a weak heart? As Mags watched her father shake the doctor’s hand, the thought rushed through her that he had changed, too. His back was no longer ramrod-straight, and his hair, which had been greying at the temples, was now almost white. Why hadn’t she ever noticed how heavily he leaned on his stick? Suddenly the part of her world that had always felt safe was crumbling. Life here in her beloved Blackburn was lived at a slow pace, even if for the most part she was kept busy running the mill. Always she was surrounded by familiar things, and by people she’d grown up with. Now a big part of that – her family life – was being threatened.

‘Margaret, the doctor is leaving. Where are your manners?’ ‘No, Herbert, don’t admonish her. Margaret has had a shock. You should have told her about her mother’s condition. I counselled both you and Belinda, many times over the years, to do so. I’m sorry, Margaret. I should have insisted that you were told and were therefore prepared for the fact that what is happening now has always been inevitable. Your mother has had a heart condition for a long time. It has been like an unexploded bomb. Anything could have triggered it to fail – and at any time. I’m sorry, truly sorry, but she only has days left to live.’

Mags shook her head. This wasn’t happening. How could she have missed the signs? Yes, Mother was frequently breathless, and her skin and lips often had a blue tinge, but she had said it was an asthmatic condition and was under control. ‘Sit down, Margaret. Let yourself absorb this terrible news. Are you feeling unwell yourself? You seem to have lost a lot of weight, when you could ill afford to lose any.’ Backing into the chair behind her, Mags tried to control the shaking of her limbs. ‘You’ve never spoken of the horrors you must have witnessed in Belgium. I thought you had recovered from them, but something has knocked you back. At the winter ball, with your nice young man by your side – Harold, that’s his name, isn’t it?’ Mags nodded. ‘You seemed your old self. But since returning from your stay at his home, I have seen a change in you each time I have visited your mother.’

Something had indeed knocked Mags back. Something that gave her nightmares. Memories flooded her mind: the war, meeting and forming a strong friendship with the lovely Flora and Ella as they set out, three young girls full of courage and yet needing each other’s support. Then learning how Flora was rejected by her family, and Ella abandoned by hers. And seeing Flora’s happiness as her brother Harold had begun to show her a little affection, and how this had led to Mags meeting Harold herself, and being swept off her feet by him. But then . . . the awful events that led to the image that haunted Mags – seeing Harold and Flora’s mother sprawled on the floor, her head smashed on the fender . . .

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Blackpool’s Angel by Maggie Mason
Review To Follow
Synopsis ~

Blackpool, 1893

Tilly has come a long way from the run-down tenements in which she grew up. She has a small but comfortable home, a loving, handsome husband, two beautiful little’uns – Babs and Beth – and she earns herself a little money weaving wicker baskets. Life is good.

Until the day Tilly returns home to find a policeman standing on her doorstep. Her Arthur won’t be coming home tonight – nor any night – having fallen to his death whilst working on Blackpool tower. Suddenly Tilly is her daughters’ sole protector, and she’s never felt more alone.

With the threat of destitution nipping at their heels, Tilly struggles to make ends meet and keep a roof over her girls’ heads. In a town run by men Tilly has to ask herself what she’s willing to do to keep her family together and safe – and will it be enough?

My Blackpool ~ A Guest Post by Mary Wood/Maggie Mason ~

My Blackpool

I don’t think that many people won’t know that Blackpool is situated in the North West of Great Britain and nestles on the coastline of The Irish Sea. Or not know that it is billed as a fun loving resort to visit with Kiss-Me-Quick hats, Blackpool Rock, The famous Blackpool Tower, and the beautiful Blackpool Illuminations – switched on by a celebrity on 1st September and shining brightly until 5th November every year.

But, there is more to Blackpool. There is a rich history of starting out as a health resort in the mid to late 1800’s, visited by the rich who sought to ‘take the waters’ and then gradually becoming the must-go-to holiday resort for the masses in the days of each county having their own allocated holiday fortnight. So droves would be in the town from places ranging from Manchester to Scotland – each having their own particular week.

And what if I tell you the little known fact that Blackpool was run by gangsters who rivalled the Kray twins during the 30’s to 50’s and beyond. One gang even seeing off the Krays when they sought to take over. Yes, it is true, from black marketeers, to ruling by force, extortion and running drugs, Blackpool has seen it all and can rival Peaky Blinders any day.

The war years for Blackpool were good years. While the country was on its knees, Blackpool thrived. Hundreds of service men and women trained on its shores and it boasted two airfields, one at Squires Gate and one on the site that is now Blackpool Zoo. Besides housing Hawker Sidley Aviation Factory making Lancaster Bombers. This alone, without all the presence of the troops should have made it a target for Hitlers bombers, but no. Blackpool experienced only two bombs dropping on its town – one directed at North Station, causing the deaths of twelve people and one which was thought to be in error, or an off-load before returning to Germany. The second didn’t cause any fatalities. And so, with all the service men and with people still flocking there to get a respite from all they were going through at home, there was quite a boom time for hotel and guesthouses, pubs, theatres and amusements. Why such a good war? Well, the story goes that Hitler had Blackpool in mind to be the playground for his officers, and didn’t want it spoiling. . . Imagine? What would Blackpool have looked like today if Germany – with a Nazi regime ruling, had won? (If the moderate government they have now, well, maybe things would be better? who knows?)

And so, you can see the wealth of material I have to set my stories amongst – besides the glitz and glamour and the tack, there is a golden heart that beats among the Blackpool people – known as Sandgronians (have to have been born here to earn the tittle and can be spelt in three different ways – Sandgownians and Sundgrown-uns, most prefer the latter, but I chose to use the given version for the tittle of my trilogy) Or Blackpudlians (for this title you just need to reside here for a number of years)

When I first moved here in the early eighties, I found the people friendly and outgoing, always ready to help – a real community spirit. Now of course, though this still prevails in the older estates of the town, like all large towns, we have a rich diversity of people and a transient population. Some come to settle, some see the pavements paved with gold, and then are disillusioned and find it a lonely place for them as when the initial fun subsides and reality sets in, it is just like any other town – welcoming, yes, glitzy, yes, but to make your life here and succeed in its main industry – the leisure industry, you have to work hard and long, long hours. There is no gold to sweep up off the pavements.

But for all that, don’t give Blackpool a miss. Put a visit here on your bucket list – it is cheap, cheerful and fun – all three in abundance, with something for everyone. Make it a let-your-hair down visit. Find the kid inside you. Ride the rides at the Pleasure Beach. Walk the Golden Mile, and shoot targets for a prize, knock coconuts off for a cuddly toy, buy the silly hat, and the costume that makes you look as though you have a bare bottom, play bingo, feed the slot machines, eat the candy – oh, and the delicious fish and chips. Visit the shows, the bars, the nightclubs, and spend a half day in our amazing Blackpool Tower, and if you can come during the illuminations, you will truly delight in The Greatest Show on Earth. Above all, be happy – Blackpool is about happiness.

For my Blackpool books I have drawn from the rock-making industry – BLACKPOOL LASS and from the fact that we had many evacuees here during the war – BLACKPOOL’S DAUGHTER. And now, in my new trilogy, THE SANDGRONIAN TRILOGY – the first book being BLACKPOOL’S ANGEL, from the building of the tower, and the gypsy population who started the pleasure beach, and those from its people, who went to war, as we had many heroes, And yes, from the heart-beat of the people who made Blackpool in its beginnings. Hard-working people, who lived hard lives.

My next trilogy will be based in our tradition of a hundred years of biscuit manufacturing. It will have the overall title of THE BISCUIT FACTORY GIRLS and each book will follow the lives of three friends who you will meet. This is planned for late 2020 – early and late 2021.

Maggie, is as busy as ever, and I hope you enjoy her Blackpool Books.

What’s next for Mary Wood/Maggie Mason ~

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Blackpool Sisters By Maggie Mason
Review To Follow
Synopsis ~

1902

Babs and Beth are identical in looks, but very different by nature. Kidnapped by gypsies a decade ago as young girls, Beth has accepted their plight, but Babs has always yearned for their real mother, Tilly, and their beloved hometown of Blackpool.

Convinced the best thing for them is to be reunited with Tilly, Babs tries to persuade Beth to escape. But Beth is too afraid, and Babs knows if she wants to find their mother, she’ll have to do it alone.

1914

Babs’ life has been blighted by misfortune since the night she walked away from her sister, but at last she found peace and purpose as a nurse. She’s never given up hope of finding her family, but now the war is sending her to France, away from them. Or so she believes.

As the Great War rips families apart, is it possible that Babs and Beth will be reunited with each other, and their mother, at last?
*coming 5th December 2019 in Hardback and Ebook*

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Mary Wood/Maggie Mason
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Dead To Her by Sarah Pinborough 5* GENIUS #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller @SarahPinborough @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam

 

dthDead To Her by Sarah Pinborough ~ (US cover)
Review Copy ~ Negalley ~ Ebook
Synopsis ~

From the No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes

There’s nothing like a woman scorned

Something old…

Marcie’s affair with Jason Maddox catapulted her into the world of the elite. Old money, old ties, old secrets. Marcie may have married into this world –
but she’ll never be part of it.

Something new…

Then Jason’s boss brings back a new wife from his trip to London. Young, attractive, reckless – nobody can take their eyes off Keisha. Including Marcie’s husband.

Something you can never, ever undo…

Some people would kill for the life Marcie has – what will she do to keep it?

My Review ~

Whoop Whoop Queen Pinborough has a new book out!!!! WHOOP WHOOP!
Nothing cheers up this little bookworm, quite like seeing Sarah Pinborough has a new book out! Sarah is a talented writer who has NEVER let me down, with her books which cover various genre’s. Before I read Dead To Her, my favourite novel of hers would probably have been a close tie between Behind Her Eyes (obviously) and 13 Minutes. With 13 Minutes probably stealing the thunder!
HOWEVER, that was all set to change with the raunchy, steamy and addictive new release that is Dead To Her. This is Sarah Pinborough as we have never see her before….

The novel begins with a bunch of wealthy wives known amongst themselves as ‘the second wives club’. The woman aren’t necessarily likeable (but I think that is kind ofthe point). But if you’re anything like me and love a good super bitch or femme fatale then you will LOVE this title.

‘What else was there to do but bitch. judge and gossip about one another between charity events’

Marcie Maddox is a main protagonist and the second wife of Jason. They live in Savannah, Georgia and for all intents and purposes, live a life of high class, wealth and luxury. But nothing is as it seems….

‘A wife to be kept in the attic not out on display’

Introducing new ‘second’ wife to the group Keisha Radford. Keisha is the second wife of William Radford IV, who coincidentally is Jason’s boss. Which means despite how she feels internally Marcie must play nice. She must rub shoulders with the elite, shower affection and admiration upon Keisha.

‘She’s not one of us’

Keisha herself is an unusual addiction to the club. Keisha is black, British and feisty, Keisha doesn’t suffer fools (other than William) and she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. There is no overt racism, but there are subtle and passive aggressive acts thrown towards Keisha within the club. But Keisha must learn to hold her own against the gaggle of white privilege. Not only must she hold her own, but she has every intention of coming out on top. Metaphorically and figuratively speaking…

‘Keisha had a lot to learn about their set’

Amongst the club are wives Iris and Virginia. The addition of Keisha to the club sends Marcie wild with jealousy.
But has the other women also keeping a very close eye on her too.
‘It seemed Keisha was upsetting the apple cart’

It’s impossible to compare this novel to others in the genre. But it has shades of Penny Vincenzi, with layers of sex and psychological warfare. There may even be an added extra of what we have come to know and love the authors writing for. But that would be revealing far too much.

There will be feelings of inadequacy, worries that fake friends… fake friendship, secrets and jealousy galore.
‘She’d never seen him look at another woman that way. Never’

It also asks the age old question…
‘Why didn’t men fade like women?’
It also explores the dynamics of dating/remarriage in older adulthood. The emotional baggage of the women and potential fragile ego’s of the men.
‘She wondered if terrible people were drawn to terrible people’

Toxic marriages, pasts that haunt the characters and constant scheming comes to a head with an ultimate showdown. But will Keisha remain unscathed or will everyone get what they deserve. In the words of the author….
‘Thrill seekers seek thrills’

The novel deserves HUGE praise for its inclusivity and diversity. Too often psychologically thrillers or domestic noir novels ONLY portray white heterosexual females with perfect lives. The genre is saturated in perfect women, with perfect husbands, perfect children and one day something drastic shakes their lives. THIS IS NOT THAT CLICHE! 

The Queen of the genre is back! Buy it, read it and LOVE it!
5* GENIUS

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Sarah Pinborough
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Pre-order link to Amazon (non-affiliate) ~ 6th August 2020 release date
Pre-order link to Amazon.com (non -affiliate) ~ 11th February 2020 release date

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Anne Bonny #BookReview Good Girl Bad Girl by Michael Robotham 5* #Thriller #CrimeFiction #Psychological @michaelrobotham

 

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Review Copy ~ Netgally Ebook
Synopsis ~

The girl with no past.

Six years ago, Evie Cormac was discovered, filthy and half-starved, hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a shocking crime. Now approaching adulthood, Evie is damaged, self-destructive and has never revealed her true identity.

The boy who survived.

Forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven, a man haunted by his own past, is investigating the death of champion figure-skater Jodie Sheehan. When Cyrus is called upon to assess Evie, she threatens to disrupt the case and destroy his ordered life. Because Evie has a unique and dangerous gift – she knows when someone is lying. And nobody is telling the truth.

My Review ~

The novel opens in Longford secure children’s home in Nottingham. We are introduced to Guthrie the resident social worker as he leads a group session with residents Alana, Evie, Holly, Nathan, Cordelia, Rebekah and Serena. When a disagreement develops between Serena and Evia, Serena attacks!
‘Someone tried to strangle me’ ~ Evie
Evie has a bruised neck and states that she hopes to escape the facility.

The novel then jumps to Evie’s point of view and we learn there is much more depth to Evie than just a regular violent resident. Evie is consumed by self loathing and we learn of previous abuse. But who abused Evie and why has she remained silent about her abuser?
I have spent 10yrs of my career working mainly in secure setting with residents with mental health conditions and I can honestly say Evie’s character and background is incredibly accurate.

‘Nobody can hate like I can’

The novel then move to DS Alan Edgar and his investigation into the murder of a teenage girl Jodie Sheehan. Jodie has suffered a blow to the head, has DNA evidence on her body and is a case of intense public interest due to her professional figure skating. Eventually we learn about Jodie’s family background, strange brother,  career/coach and on/off lover. It would seem Jodie’s life isn’t the perfect life the family would have people believe it is? So who would kill the local popular figure skater and why?

Via a series of files, ward notes, offences, assessments and escapes we finally learn the complexity of Evie’s character. As stated above the characterisation is intense and brilliant. Forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven in an attempt to understand Evie further speaks to the special constable (Sacha Hopewell) who found Evie.

The investigation into Jodie’s murder reaches a new turn when £5/6K is found in her school locker. Where and how does a teenage girl acquire such cash and what did the need it for? Chief Superintendent Timothy Heller-Smith and PC Harry Plover suspect Craig Farley a previous hospital worker in the vicinity if the crime scene. But are they merely clutching at straws in an attempt to solve the case.

Evie’s anger and rage begins to unravel and in a bizarre and unethical attempt to help Evie, Cyrus agrees to foster her. But Cyrus has his own past, his own dark secrets he is trying desperately to contain. Will fostering Evie, unravel Cyrus’s coping mechanisms. Is he fully prepared for Evie…
‘She’ll find your weakness’

‘Victims of childhood abuse don’t associate kindness with trust’

DNA profile comes back and it is a match to Craig Farley…
‘People keep saying that Jodie was a normal teenager, who loved dancing and music and ice-skating, but there’s more to her than that’ ~ Cyrus

Overall this is a phenomenal novel! I sincerely hope this is a cracking new series to follow, devour and LOVE! 5*

MR
Michael Robotham
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Anne Bonny #bookReview Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke #AmericanNoir #CrimeFiction #Thriller #Literary #NewRelease @SerpentsTail @atticalocke

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Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke
Review Copy ~ Ebook ~ Netgalley
Synopsis ~

Nine-year-old Levi King knew he should have left for home sooner; instead he found himself all alone, adrift on the vastness of Caddo Lake. A sudden noise –
and all goes dark.

Ranger Darren Matthews is trying to emerge from another kind of darkness; his career and reputation lie in the hands of his mother, who’s never exactly had his best interests at heart. Now she holds the key to his freedom, and she’s not above a little blackmail to press her advantage.

An unlikely possibility of rescue arrives in the form of a case down Highway 59, in a small lakeside town. With Texas already suffering a new wave of racial violence in the wake of the election of Donald Trump, a black man is a suspect in the possible murder of a missing white boy: the son of an Aryan Brotherhood captain.

In deep country where the rule of law only goes so far, Darren has to battle centuries-old prejudices as he races to save not only Levi King, but himself.

My Review ~

I am a HUGE fan of Attica Locke (check out my review of Bluebird Bluebird and Q&A). I think she brings something so unique to the genre. Her novel are diverse, they are intelligent and she is certainly NOT afraid to tackle any form of prejudice (I salute you). I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second novel in the Highway 59 series. So here are my thoughts on Heaven, My Home…

The novel opens in Texas 2016 in Marion County. We are introduced to Levi King’s family. Mother Marnie, sister Dana, her boyf Rory Pitkin and his mother’s lover Gil. I took an instant dislike to this white trash family, but taking a moment to step back, it is not the children’s fault who raises them and therefore, I was intrigued to see how the story/family would develop. The novel will revolve around the disappearance of 9yur old Levi King. But who would take him and why?

The novel is ruthless is its tackling of the tensions caused by the 2016 election of he whom shall not be named. I applaud Attica Locke for saying what we are all thinking.
‘After Obama, it was forgiveness betrayed’

The King family dynamics hit further complexity as Levi’s father Bill ‘big kill’ King is an active member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT). He is currently 6yrs into a 20yr sentence for drug offences. In an unlikely twist of events, it is Bill that reaches out for help from Darren…

‘I’m begging you, sir. Find my boy’

The location and setting of the novel is fully explored. This really helps UK readers or NON-America readers such as myself. You get a feel for the town everyone and everywhere forgot….
‘It was a town that time had passed by’

There is also brutally honest descriptions of the family of the missing child…
‘Everything In Hopetown looked as mean and underfed as Marnie King’

The characterisation of the novel is outstanding and the author’s creation of ranger Darren Matthews is one she should be exceptionally proud of. He is just so perfect to carry a series. Almost like a diverse ranger version of Harry Bosch!
WE NEED MORE BOOKS IN THIS SERIES!
The family and namely Bill’s mother through in their two cents of theories into how the boy went missing. Almost no one apart from his incarcerated father seems to care where he is or if he is even alive. Darren does not give up that easily. Not even on a family who despise him…

‘Darren wasn’t sure Gil Thompson knew who Hitler was, let alone could explain the significant of the seminal text of Mein Kampf that was in his trailer’ 

This is a deeply layered exploration of racial hatred, the need for collaboration as citzens of the same county and politics when divides us all. 4.5*
I cannot wait to read what Attica Locke writes next!

AL
Attica Locke
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My review of Bluebird Bluebird and Q&A with the author