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

SP
Sarah Pinborough
Twitter
website
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 Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer 5* Genius #LiteraryFiction @headlinepg @KelRimmerWrites

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Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer
Review Copy
Synopsis ~

Your sister or her baby. Who do you choose?

A moving page-turner with a heart-pounding dilemma. Fans of Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes will love Kelly Rimmer.

As children, Lexie and Annie were incredibly close. Bonded by the death of their beloved father, they weathered the storms of life together. When Lexie leaves home to follow her dream, Annie is forced to turn to her leather-bound journal as the only place she can confide her deepest secrets and fears…

As adults, sisters Lexie and Annie could not be more different. Lexie is a successful doctor and happily engaged. Annie is an addict – a thief, a liar and unable to remain clean. When Annie’s new-born baby is in danger of being placed in foster care, Annie picks up the phone to beg her sister for help. Will Lexie agree to take in her young niece? And how will Annie survive, losing the only thing in her life worth living for?

My Review ~

Before I let You Go, is another novel that is emotional and hard hitting, that I have read recently. It covers the theme of sisterhood and also the darker theme of drug addiction. It is so much more literary than you would guess from the cover of the novel.

The title opens with older sister Lexie receiving a call at 2am. She instantly knows WHO the call will be from. The distant drug addicted sister she hasn’t spoken to in 2yrs. But nothing can prepare her for what is about to be revealed. . .
‘You have to help me – I think I’m dying’ – Annie

With those few words, Annie comes railroading back into Lexie’s neat and perfect little life.
Lexie is a GP, she has worked very hard to drag herself up from her lonely start to adult life. With a dead father and no real mother figure Lexie has done her best to raise Annie until she could no longer manage life at their home, in the ‘community’.

Annie is a down on her luck drug addict and by that; I mean this girl has had one hell of a rough life. She was 12yrs old when Lexie left the community to pursue her own education and career in medicine. With Annie not able to escape until a few years later.
The sisters haven’t spoken since Annie’s theft nearly got Lexie fired from her medical practice.

The sister’s relationship is better explored in the novel. But it is incredibly deep; and I found myself moved to tears numerous times. I am the oldest of eight siblings, I am the oldest girl and when my mum died in 2005. I felt an overwhelming urge to mother my siblings especially my sister’s; much to their delight, I am sure.

Lexie arrives at the trailer park in the dead of night with her fellow doctor partner Sam in tow. She is horrified at the sight of her sister who more resembles a pregnant corpse than a live human being.
‘I’m not seeing my sister – I’m seeing a wasteland after war’

That being said the novel does go on to humanise the impact of drug addiction and especially on the expectant mother and new-born baby. The medical/legal details are fully explained to the reader. As we read on in shock and also largely in hope.
I have never rooted for a character as much as I rooted for these sisters and the unborn baby.

Personally, I am lucky enough to have never had to watch someone I love, go through the sheer hell of drug addiction. Something I felt very lucky for, as I read on. It also became quite clear, how it is based more upon luck and life experiences; than personal choice and disregard for one’s own health.
I think this novel should be made available in all schools/colleges and university settings. It is also perfect for book groups.

An incredible novel and I am HUGELY impressed with this author. 5* Genius
‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
Do you know how loved you are?
In the morning.
In the night.
I’ll love you with all my might.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star. . .’

KR
Kelly Rimmer
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview A Sinner’s Prayer by @EllingtonWright M.P Wright 5*Genius #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Series #JTEllington @bwpublishing #Bristol #ASinnersPrayer

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A Sinner’s Prayer by M.P. Wright
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

Saying farewell to the dark side doesn’t mean the dark side wants rid of you. And I was about to be reminded of that fact.

1970, St Pauls, Bristol. A new decade, and JT Ellington is determined it will be a quiet one. He’s stepped away from the private-eye game to scratch a living, respectable at last, as a school caretaker.

Still his nights are full of torment – guilt and ghosts that no prayers will banish but it’s not until the past comes calling in the unwelcome form of Superintendent Fletcher that JT’s resolve is truly tested.

Fletcher has a job for JT – and the hard-nosed cop can’t be refused. A young man, Nikhil Suresh, has disappeared hours before his wedding; rumours abound and his family is distraught. JT is to investigate.

With what feels like blood money in his pocket, JT is plunged deep into a demi-monde of vice, violence and forbidden passion. An extraordinary, malevolent enemy is intent on destroying him. Now – seeking survival and redemption – JT must play as dirty and dangerous as those who want him dead.

My Review ~

‘Sooner or later, everyone round you dies JT. They are in hell, everyone you ever loved, all either burnt up or here rotting with me’

The title opens with JT confronted by the ghostly apparition of Carnell Harris. We become quickly aware of the past characters that have featured in the series. Their links to other returning characters and the toll their pain and losses takes on JT’s psyche. JT Ellington is a haunted man, haunted by his past, haunted by the present and haunted by the future!

‘Carnell Harris was dead because of me’

 The title opens on Friday 13th August 1971 in Bristol. JT is now 48yrs old and we learn that 1970’s Britain is no more kinder to JT than the previous swinging 1960’s. JT faces an avalanche of daily racism, discrimination and prejudice. A fictionalised version of the windrush experience. JT is currently a caretaker at a local primary school, having abandoned the life of a PI for a secure lifestyle for his 6yr old niece Chloe.
But as usual… Trouble lurks closely behind every corner of Jt’s life…

JT is accosted by Detective Inspector Fletcher again, (now Superintendent) He encourages or more likely coerces JT into dealing with the case of a missing shopkeepers son Nikhil Suresh. However, to unravel the mystery of Nikhil’s disappearing act, JT must navigate the world of arranged marriage.

‘I decided to take the Superintendent’s thirty pieces of silver’

We are reintroduced to a wide-range or reoccurring characters such as Aunt Pearl, Uncle Gabe and my favourite Loretta Harris.
But JT’s main focus remains the case of the missing bridegroom. The case becomes even more entangled when we learn of the men living in secret due to their sexuality. Can JT uncover the most precious secrets of those close to Nikhil? Or will Nikhil’s death remain unsolved?

‘The man you search for is with the Jinn’

The LGBT theme in 1970’s England, enables the reader to explore the underground gay scene, drag queens and others society has rejected. The era is one of oppression and it is shocking to think this is not that long ago. Needlessly, the author deals with such matters with tact, delicacy and lets the emotion lead the narrative.

‘The dead man had been associating with monsters, and he’d clearly gone on to pay a very high price for it’

When a local white child’s body is discovered at a local golf course. JT begins to question a link. But why would anyone strangle and beat an 11yr old boy? Is there a definitive link to Nikhil’s disappearance?
One thing is for certain, if the murder of a local white boy is reported in connection with Nikhil, it could unleash all manner of racial tensions, violence and possible riots on the streets. JT must act fast!

When the case is potentially linked to organised crime and gangsters of The Firm. JT calls in the big guns and by big guns, he means Vic!
‘Vic was proof that a black man could live by his own rules in Britain’

Vic is without a shadow of a doubt, one of my favourite male characters in the series (aside from JT). I would love to see the series developed into a TV series and think Idris Elba would make an exceptional Vic we would all fall in love with!

‘White folk were as happy here to let a black man or woman take the fall for them as they were back on Bim, whether they had committed the damn crime or not’

The novel deals with not only tough issues, but complex issues. The racial tensions of the decade are fully explored, as are the potential various motivations. Fear, ignorance and lack of self awareness all play a part in the up rise of white British racism. The plague it holds over its victims is fully explored….
‘I was perhaps descending down into hell and the devil himself would be waiting for me’ 

There are passages of beautiful prose from M.P. Wright and he has excelled himself once again with A Sinner’s Prayer.
‘I imagined prehistoric wolves making the same gesture before they howled at men, women and children sat shivering in their caves’…
‘A trio of deadly executioners, who lived in the knowledge that certain death always followed in their wake’

Dark crime fiction to mix with your dark rum on the sunny summer evenings!
*Raises glass to JT Ellington*
A series finale and a character that will live on in the hearts of his readers.
5* Genius

MPW
M.P. Wright
Twitter
My Q&A with M.P. Wright
My Review of, The Restless Coffins

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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Mobster’s Lament by Ray Celestin 5* Genius #NewRelease #HistoricalFiction @MantleBooks ‘Jazz musicians, dirty politicians, private eyes, the mob, hitmen and scam artists come together to make one hell of a story!’

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The Mobster’s Lament by Ray Celestin ~ #3 in the City Blues Quartet
My Own Copy ~ Hardback Book

Synopsis ~

* In Ray Celestin’s gripping third book, The Mobster’s Lament, it’s a mobster’s last chance to escape the clutches of New York’s mafia crime families: but as a blizzard descends on NYC, a ruthless serial killer is tracking his every move. *

Fall, 1947. Private Investigator Ida Davis has been called to New York by her old partner, Michael Talbot, to investigate a brutal killing spree in a Harlem flophouse that has left four people dead. But as they delve deeper into the case, Ida and Michael realize the murders are part of a larger conspiracy that stretches further than they ever could have imagined.

Meanwhile, Ida’s childhood friend, Louis Armstrong, is at his lowest ebb. His big band is bankrupt, he’s playing to empty venues, and he’s in danger of becoming a has-been, until a promoter approaches him with a strange offer to reignite his career . . .

And across the city, nightclub manager and mob fixer Gabriel Leveson’s plans to flee New York are upset when he’s called in for a meeting with the ‘boss of all bosses’, Frank Costello. Tasked with tracking down stolen mob money, Gabriel must embark on a journey through New York’s seedy underbelly, forcing him to confront demons from his own past, all while the clock is ticking on his evermore precarious escape plans.

From its tenements to its luxury hotels, from its bebop clubs to the bustling wharves of the Brooklyn waterfront, award-winning author Ray Celestin’s The Mobster’s Lament is both a gripping crime novel and a vivid, panoramic portrait of 1940s New York as the mob rises to the height of its powers . . .

My Review ~

This series has proven to be phenomenal reading. The author knows how to capture the historical era and atmosphere of post war America perfectly. The characters of Ida Davies and Michael Talbot have continued to grow with added depth to their circumstance. In this novel the focus is heavily on Michael and his doctor son Thomas, who finds himself facing the electric chair for multiple murders….

The title opens with a newspaper article dated August 1947. The article tells of a local NYC hospital worker who is charged with five counts of first-degree murder. Violent and gory deaths scandalised as a ‘Harlem voodoo cult’. The murders took place at a negro flophouse and with the accused an African American male, he is going to need a miracle to be either found not-guilty or acquitted.
This is when Michael brings in Ida to investigate.

Thomas Talbot is the only man left alive, which begs the question; what was he doing there? And how is he connected to the murder victims?

‘Welcome to Harlem’

The novels take’s you on a journey through Harlem, with a variety of characters telling their story. From hookers and their pimps, to junkies and runaways. Ida must interview anyone and everyone, if Thomas is to be set free. But is Thomas telling the truth?

‘The empire of night had arisen’

‘Michael had navigated the torments of people out on the streets’

Aside from Ida and Michael trying to solve Tom’s case. We also meet Gabriel, a man with a painful past who works for the mob. Gabriel works predominately out of the Copa Lounge, when he is asked to investigate missing money. In total 2 million dollars is missing and the mob’s approach to being ripped off is well-known.
Gabriel is a deep, thoughtful individual who has had enough of the ‘gangster’ way of life. He is making his own plans and re-writing his destiny.

‘Like every other mobster, the longer he stayed in the life, the closer he got to a prison cell or a shallow grave’

The novel details the various mobster families the relationships between each other and Gabriel’s connection to each member. I found this fascinating. I think we tend to romanticise the 1940’s, the mob and the post-war feeling. With The Mobster’s Lament the author leaves you under no illusion about how violent the gangsters can be.

There are a series of newspaper articles throughout the novel itself. They add to the atmospheric feel. When I opened the novel, I felt that I was walking amongst the characters and watching all the action unfold.
Ray Celestin does not disappoint, not on one chapter, paragraph or sentence.

The characterisation is superb, from hitmen with murder counts into the treble digits. To following Louis Armstrong and the rise of the American jazz music scene.
To an intelligent black hoodlum who is aware of the way the land lies and he doesn’t miss a trick.

‘It seemed like madness and addiction followed the whole generation around’

Jazz musicians, dirty politicians, private eyes, the mob, hitmen and scam artists come together to make one hell of a story!
5* Genius

RC
Ray Celestin
Website ~ Well worth a visit!
Instagram ~ Also worth a visit to get a feel for the series!

TAJ
The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin ~ #1 in the City Blues Jazz Quartet

Synopsis ~

Winner of the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger for Best Debut Crime Novel of the Year.
Shortlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year Award.
As recommended on the Radio 2 Arts Show with Claudia Winkleman.

Inspired by a true story, set against the heady backdrop of jazz-filled, mob-ruled New Orleans, The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin is a gripping thriller announcing a major talent in historical crime fiction.

New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer – the Axeman – stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him:

Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot – heading up the official investigation, but struggling to find leads, and harbouring a grave secret of his own.

Former detective Luca d’Andrea – now working for the mafia; his need to solve the mystery of the Axeman is every bit as urgent as that of the authorities.

And Ida – a secretary at the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and dreaming of a better life, she stumbles across a clue which lures her and her musician friend, Louis Armstrong, to the case –and into terrible danger . . .

As Michael, Luca and Ida each draw closer to discovering the killer’s identity, the Axeman himself will issue a challenge to the people of New Orleans: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim.

DMB
Dead Man’s Blues by Ray Celestin ~ #2 in the City Blues Quartet

Synopsis ~

*Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of 2017*
Dead Man’s Blues is the gripping historical crime novel from Ray Celestin, following on from the events of his debut The Axeman’s Jazz, winner of the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger for Best First Novel 2014.

Chicago, 1928. In the stifling summer heat three disturbing events take place. A clique of city leaders is poisoned in a fancy hotel. A white gangster is found mutilated in an alleyway in the Blackbelt. And a famous heiress vanishes without a trace.

Pinkerton detectives Michael Talbot and Ida Davis are hired to find the missing heiress by the girl’s troubled mother. But it proves harder than expected to find a face that is known across the city, and Ida must elicit the help of her friend Louis Armstrong.

While the police take little interest in the Blackbelt murder crime scene photographer, Jacob Russo, can’t get the dead man’s image out of his head, and so he embarks on his own investigation.

And Dante Sanfelippo – rum-runner and fixer – is back in Chicago on the orders of Al Capone, who suspects there’s a traitor in the ranks and wants Dante to investigate. But Dante is struggling with problems of his own as he is forced to return to the city he thought he’d never see again . . .

As the three parties edge closer to the truth, their paths cross and their lives are threatened. But will any of them find the answers they need in the capital of blues, booze and corruption?

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris @Joannechocolat 5* Genius #NewRelease #Literature #LiteraryFiction @orionbooks

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The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

Vianne Rocher has settled down. Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the place that once rejected her, has finally become her home. With Rosette, her ‘special’ child, she runs her chocolate shop in the square, talks to her friends on the river, is part of the community. Even Reynaud, the priest, has become a friend.

But when old Narcisse, the florist, dies, leaving a parcel of land to Rosette and a written confession to Reynaud, the life of the sleepy village is once more thrown into disarray.

The arrival of Narcisse’s relatives, the departure of an old friend and the opening of a mysterious new shop in the place of the florist’s across the square – one that mirrors the chocolaterie, and has a strange appeal of its own – all seem to herald some kind of change: a confrontation, a turbulence – even, perhaps, a murder…

My Review ~ 

‘Forty years a witch and now, at last, I have become a puritan’

I am completely new to this series and Joanne Harris’s writing. I do have several on my tbr pile, which I will be aiming to read over the summer. I found The Strawberry Thief to be exceptionally well written, the writing to be both magical and emotive. It really is a feel good summer read for those seeking quirky and eccentric characters.
So lets begin…

‘Snow, out of a clear blue sky. Someone will be dead by dawn’ – Rosette

The title opens with Vianne Rocher who lives with her daughter Rosette in Lansquenet-Sous-Tannes and together they run the local chocolate shop. Vianne deeply misses older daughter Anouk whom is living in Paris. Vianne’s pain at their separation is also followed with a sense of submission to this perfectly normal coming-of-age situation. No matter what age or the circumstance, when your oldest child flies the nest, every mother feels an added sense of loss.

The novel has narratives from various points of view. Which includes Father Reynaud, but my favourite point of view, was that of young Rosette. Who unintentionally becomes the talk of town, when elderly shop owner Narcisse passes away and leaves her an expensive piece of land. Even Vianne is unsure why Narcisse would leave such a gift to a young child. Rosette is often referred to as ‘not-normal, she is often pitied. But despite all the challenges she may face in life. Someone was looking out for her, someone thought she was extra special and someone named her The Strawberry Thief.

‘Making friends isn’t easy when you’re different’

The novel draws in various characters with the reading of the will. We meet the ‘delightful’ Michele Montour (Narcisse’s materialistic daughter) and Vianne’s on/off lover Roux. Rosette is definitely more aware than people give her credit for and in her internal dialogue she begins to question her life and routines. That is until she sees a ghost in Narcisse’s empty shop and becomes entranced by a newcomer to the village.

‘Evil has no feet’

The village is alive with the mystery of Narcisse’s will and speculation turns quickly to gossip. Why did he entrust such a prime piece of land to a young girl of 16yrs old who has her head in the clouds? What makes Rosette so special?
Only one man holds the answers and they are sealed behind the privilege of confession.

Before his death Narcisse had written a letter Which upon his death would be given to Father Reynaud. The letter is a manuscript of Narcisse’s life and within we learn all the secrets he held close to his heart and the deep bond he shared with another.
It is a story that slowly broke my heart, it cuts deep into the human psyche and why we are the way we are. Why we feel the emotions we feel.

‘Love redeems us even when we think ourselves irredeemable’

I highly recommend this title for those whom enjoy quirky characters, beautiful writing and the feeling of being in a small French village as you watch the story unfold.
5* Genius

JH
Joanne Harris
Website
Twitter

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