Anne Bonny #BookReview Edna’s Death Café by @AngelenaBoden 5* @matadorbooks #NewRelease #Mystery @BOTBSPublicity

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Edna’s Death Café Talking About Death, Celebrating Life by Angelena Boden
Review Copy
Synopsis:

As in life, death is not without its agenda. This is something seventy-nine year old Edna Reid finds out when her partner, Ted, suddenly dies.

To cope with her loss, she sets up a Death Cafe to break down the taboo around death and to encourage other members of the community to discuss it openly. Over tea and cake, the participants hide their fears behind a veil of dark humour.

Religious fanaticism clashes with Victorian spiritualism as Edna’s meetings trigger lively conversations on the fragility of life, anxiety over dying, cost of funerals, and making sure long-lost greedy relatives don’t benefit from inheritances.

Soon, a series of events begin to unfold which threaten to undermine Edna’s livelihood and the Death Cafe meetings. These events just happen to coincide with the arrival of a mysterious stranger into the village.

Who is she and why is she so hostile to Edna?

My Review:

“Doing the right thing is very liberating”

Edna’s Death Café, is a quirky and unique read! Perfect for cosying up with in the long winter nights. It is set in Hope Valley, Derbyshire and focuses on many current modern day themes such as loneliness and isolation in the older community.
The novel opens following the death of Edna’s partner Ted Eyre, with Edna struggling with her new identity as a widow. This leads her to begin a series of ‘death cafe’ evenings at the Happy Oatcake Café.

The novel has lots of quirky characters and I loved getting to know their individual stories. You get a real sense of the small town community and gossiping locals. The Derbyshire humour is present throughout, despite the serious nature of the themes within.

“Promises to the dying were often driven by duty to stop them fretting”

The novel discusses the themes of grief/loss in both the aftermath and prior to death. Yet this is not done in a morbid way at all. It is thought-provoking and moving, making it perfect for book groups and debate.
After all, all cultures have a different outlook and approach towards death and living. Which means individuals in communities hold differing opinions, yet it has become a taboo subject to be openly talked about.
Personally, I found the themes very interesting and wondered myself, if I could have attended a death café after the loss of my mothers at 21ys old. Would it have changed my views and helped with my bereavement?

As we come to know the various characters, we learn that they are all effected by death/loss in some way. Ruth in particular was a character that struck at my heartstrings. Ruth is in a deep state of grief over the loss of her daughter. I rooted for Ruth and her husband Patrick my entire way through the story. It is a sub-plot that really moves the reader.

However, with all great stories not everything is what it seems and someone is keeping an exceptionally close eye on Edna and her death café; waiting for their moment to strike. Edna is a tough 80yr old Derbyshire woman, she makes it clear from the get go, she is nobodies victim. What will happen when Edna and her foe come face to face?
Then the local psychics issue Edna with a stark warning!!!!!

Edan’s Death Café is the perfect read, for someone looking for something a bit different and unusual. I have actually been stuck in a reading slump this month and this title brought back my reading mojo.
After I finished Edna, I read two other novels, in one day! 5* 

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Angelena Boden
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Dark Place by @steph2rogers1 #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller #DebutAuthor @BooksManatee #TheDarkPlace ‘Prepare for an intense read 5*’

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The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers
Review Copy
Synopsis:

When you look at those you love, what do you see?

When Issy, young mother and beloved daughter, seemingly kills herself her family is devastated.

Believing she would never leave son Noah willingly, Jon and Mel determine to discover what really happened to Issy. As they and the rest of the family struggle to come to terms with tragedy, Jon and Mel start to realise Issy’s secrets come from a very dark place…

My Review:

‘Faceless and desolate, like her. Lost’
The Dark Place is a family psychological thriller (in my opinion). It revolves around the family of 18yr old Issy after she ends her life by suicide. Her parents Jon and Mel are on a desperate path to understand her motives and why she would abandon her young son Noah (3yrs). I felt as if I was with the couple on their journey into #TheDarkPlace. . .

The method of Issy’s suicide is fully explored within the narrative, and the parents although at first in denial; eventually come to understand it was an intentional act. PC Dawson and PC Carter are called to the parent’s residence to explain. Mel as Issy’s mother is not only devastated, she is mentally broken by the news…..
‘For the next twenty four hours I can’t remember anything else, other than wishing it was me who was dead’ – Mel

When Jon goes to the police station to identify Issy’s body he notices scars of self-harm. It is then that it dawns on him that his daughter was in deep emotional and psychological pain. At first, he responds with anger and rage as the pain and grief consume him. I felt this was an accurate description of the stages of grief.
‘In my chest, where a warm human heart used to be, now sits a stone-cold lump of concrete’ – Jon

Mel and Jon do their best to hold their emotions together for Issy’s young son Noah. But they are still unaware of the child’s biological father and this adds another layer of mystery to Issy’s suicide. Eventually the parents befriend Inspector Steve Jackson, who is as baffled by the case as they are. He agrees to help them investigate when he is off-duty and so forth the journey into The Dark Place begins.

‘Everything looks bleak and I can’t see a way out of it’ – Jon

The investigation gives the parents a focus and a goal to aim for. They seek to understand their daughter and in some way bring themselves closure.
But they are unprepared for what they are about to un-cover and suspicion falls on everyone. . .
‘I’m feeling more and more like I never knew, my daughter at all’ – Mel

Prepare for an intense read 5*

SR
Stephanie Rogers
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Crooked Staircase by @deankoontz 5* #JaneHawk #3 #KickassSeries ‘Intense series with a feisty female protagonist. 5*’

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The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz – Jane Hawk #3
My own copy
Synopsis:

Jane Hawk faces the fight of her life

The No.1 New York Times bestseller and master of suspense Dean Koontz returns with a blockbuster new thriller featuring rogue FBI agent Jane Hawk.

‘I could be dead tomorrow. Or something worse than dead’

Rogue FBI agent Jane Hawk knows she’s living on borrowed time. But as long as she’s breathing, she’ll never cease her one-woman war against the terrifying conspiracy that threatens the freedom – and free will – of millions.

Battling the mysterious epidemic of murder-suicides that claimed Jane’s husband has made Jane a wanted fugitive, hunted relentlessly by the secret cabal behind the plot. They are determined to see her dead . . . or make her wish she was.

Propelled by her righteous fury, Jane will confront head-on the lethal forces arrayed against her. But nothing can prepare her for the chilling truth that awaits when she descends the crooked staircase to the dark and dreadful place where her long nightmare was born.

My Review:

The Crooked Staircase is the third instalment in the Jane Hawk series. Jane Hawk is a formidable force to be reckoned with and the central plot continues to get darker and more complex the further she digs into it.

The novel opens with Jane confronting Sara Holdsteck and as usual with Jane we never know how these confrontations will go and if someone will be left dead at the end!
The novel then jumps to scenes between Tanuja Shukla and her twin Sanjay. One of these pair will be the target of the mind-control’ experiment, but which one?

Throughout the novel you have to follow the clues and attempt to stay ahead of the bad guys. Much like our alter ego Jane. There are intense scenes as Jane continues her quest for justice against the Techno Arcadians.

With Jane’s son Travis’s secret hideaway becomes compromised, Travis is under threat. Now we will see Jane as we have never seen her before. Jane the lioness mother figure.
Jane digs further into the origins of the mind control and the men that use it. At times this makes for disturbing reading.
This series is action-packed, dark and most definitely THRILLLING!

There is a cliff-hanger ending that left me desperate to get my hands on the next in the series The Forbidden Door! Roll on December 2018!
I would also like to praise the author for his inclusive use of an autistic character. The character is a brilliant edition to a fantastic series. As a mother of a son with autism, I couldn’t wait to see how this character developed.
But for now, I will have to wait patiently!

Intense series with a feisty female protagonist. 5*

DK
Dean Koontz
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley 5* #EasyRawlins #Series #14 #CrimeFiction @wnbooks ‘As always from the author a complex, deeply layered mystery. With characters just as sharp and quick witted’

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Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley
My Own Copy
Synopsis:

Seymour Brathwaite, a young physicist, was found standing over the body of a murdered man.

Charcoal Joe, one of the deadliest men in America, wants Brathwaite cleared.

Easy Rawlins, a renowned Los Angeles PI, cannot refuse Charcoal Joe.

But what links the king of the LA underworld to Seymour Brathwaite?
And can Easy find the evidence before he gets embroiled in something much, much worse?

My Review:

I am a huge fan of Walter Mosley, I find his writing brilliant and his interviews very inspiring. I was so excited to finally catch up with the latest instalment in the Easy Rawlins series.

‘A professional detective with a bright future and a dark past’

The year is 1968, but the years never get any easier for Easy Rawlins. They usually bring news cases and more racial politics. Yet with this title, we the readers are also dealt an emotional blow in Easy’s love life. One that actually made me physically wince. Nothing is ever easy for Easy!

‘I been an outlaw since I was five’ – Mouse

I was glad to see the return of Mouse into a more central role in the case. There is also the added addition of Fearless Jones (a series I have yet to get too). Walter Mosley always introduces his characters with little backstories and they are sheer brilliance. This is one of my favourite dynamics of his writing style.

This particular novel revolves around Seymour Braithwaite a talented young physicist, who is found standing over the body of a murdered young man. When Charcoal Joe (one of the deadliest men in the USA) asks Easy to clear his name.
Easy knows this will be a complex case to solve.

‘Knowledge is the only real wealth any man can have; knowledge and the will to power’ – Charcoal Joe

Seymour is no easy mark to wrangle in, he believes the justice system in 1968, is just. He is young, impressionable and separated from the life Easy has known.
‘You think that PHD you got makes you immune from your skin’ – Easy to Seymour

As always from the author a complex, deeply layered mystery. With characters just as sharp and quick witted, they make me insanely jealous of the writer’s talent. 5*

WM
Walter Mosley
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Kindred by Octavia E. Butler 5* #TimeTravel #Slavery #DiverseLiterature @headlinepg ‘This is a powerful novel. It is intelligent and generates deep thought. The hierarchy of slavery and violence is fully explored.’

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Kindred by Octavia. E Butler
My own copy
Synopsis:

In 1976, Dana dreams of being a writer. In 1815, she is assumed a slave.

When Dana first meets Rufus on a Maryland plantation, he’s drowning. She saves his life – and it will happen again and again.

Neither of them understands his power to summon her whenever his life is threatened, nor the significance of the ties that bind them.

And each time Dana saves him, the more aware she is that her own life might be over before it’s even begun.

Octavia E. Butler‘s ground-breaking masterpiece is the extraordinary story of two people bound by blood, separated by so much more than time.

My Review:

Kindred is such an exceptionally difficult novel to describe. Especially when it comes to the area of genre. It has themes of historical slavery, time travel and at it’s heart a beautiful romance between Dana and her husband Kevin.
Although it is tricky to describe and review, I urge you to buy a copy!
You won’t be disappointed.

It is June 9th 1976, Dana’s 26th birthday when she first meets Rufus. She saves his life from drowning in the river and is met with the threat of death via the barrel of a gun!
Dana then reappears in the modern day (1976). Was this a dream? An hallucination? Dana desperately tries to piece it all together. Rufus’s southern accent, the scenery etc.

Dana continues to be drawn and pulled back into the past every time Rufus encounters trouble. When Dana plays close attention to Rufus’s language and the dialogue of his conversations, she then realises, she is in a dark era of time. Dana is being transported back to 1815. Also not just any location but the Weylin Plantation where 38 slaves are held. This is an extremely dangerous era for Dana to be pulled into.

‘The possibility of meeting a white adult here frightened me, more than the possibility of street violence ever had at home’ – Dana

‘Paperless blacks were fair game for any white’

In the modern day (1976) Dana is married to Kevin Franklin. The story of who they met and fell in love is incorporated into the story. He is the only person to have physically witnessed Dana’s journeys into the past and has deep concern. It may be worth noting Dana is African American and Frank is white. Something Rufus refuses to believe, when she attempts to explain the future to him.

‘Rufus fear of death calls me to him, and my own fear of death sends me home’ – Dana

There are violent scenes and scenes where you see the KKK in all their evil glory. They are painful to read but describe the violence and dehumanisation that was inflicted upon slaves and free black people in 1815.

‘Strength. Endurance. To survive, my ancestors had to put up with more than I ever could. Much more’ – Dana

In the lucid moments in the present day (1976) Dana and her husband frantically search for a link between her past and Rufus’s. Their research leads them to believe there is in fact a biological connection of some sort between Dana and Rufus but how?

‘I was the worse possible guardian for him – a black to watch over him in a society that considered blacks subhuman. A woman to watch over him in a society that considered women perennial children’

This is a powerful novel. It is intelligent and generates deep thought. The hierarchy of slavery and violence is fully explored.
I shall leave some of the thought-provoking quotes I noted below. 5*

‘I never realised how easily people could be trained to accept slavery’ – Dana

‘There was no shame in raping a black woman, but there could be shame in loving one’

‘It was so easy to advise other people to live with their pain’ – Dana

‘I had no enforceable rights. None at all’ – Dana

OEB
Octavia E. Butler
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