Anne Bonny #BookReview Too Far by Jason Starr @JasonStarrBooks 5* #Psychological #Noir @noexitpress #TooFarBook

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Too Far by Jason Starr
Review Copy
Synopsis:

One night. One date. What have you got to lose?

Jack Harper isn’t a bad man, but he’s stuck in a loveless marriage with a mediocre job just trying to keep sober. The only good thing in his life is his son. When an old college friend introduces him to a new extramarital dating website, he tentatively reaches out to find a distraction from his misery. But when he goes to meet up with his steamy online date, he quickly realises it was a dire choice.

Soon, Jack finds himself desperately trying to prove his innocence for crimes he did not commit, and the life he once had – unhappy as it was – is nothing but a dream. Now, he’s living his worst nightmare. . .

My Review:

The novel surrounds Jack Harper, trapped in a loveless marriage, with a boring and unhappy career in real estate. He reconnects with an old friend from 20yrs ago Rob McEvoy. Rob appears to have it all, wealthy lifestyle, huge ego and not to mention he openly boasts of cheating on his wife to ease his boredom.
Now, before the little feminist within me got riled, I decided it would be very intriguing to see how this fictional situation carried out before my eyes…

‘Sex has always been risky’

Jack’s wife Maria and young son Jonah are blissfully unaware of his shady late nights on the illicit dating site. But what starts out as just a bit of fun, soon takes a much sinister turn and before Jack knows it, he has lost everything he holds dear…

I don’t want to go into too much detail of the intricate themes. But this novel is far from seedy and much more a sinister psychological thriller. I was absolutely HOOKED! Oh how the other half live, indeed!!!!
I found this novel to be gripping and completely addictive, I read it straight through in just 3 hours!!!!! I couldn’t put it down at all. I HAD to know how it ended and the ending was phenomenal!!!! I was completely blown away! 5*

Huge respect to the author for this clever and addictive thriller. I have since bought Cold Caller and Hard Feelings. Which I shall leave the details of at the end of this post.

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour and apologies for my late post***
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Hard Feelings by Jason Starr
Synopsis:

Richie Segal’s prospects are pretty miserable and, what’s more humiliating, his wife’s career is on the up. Richie knows he is a good salesman, but he just can’t seem to land an account. He’s starting to drink again and worry about whether Paula is seeing that old high school flame or maybe someone new. At thirty-four, he’s a little young for a mid-life crisis, but that’s what it feels like. And then there are those unwelcome memories of the neighbourhood bully, Michael Rudnick, and what he did to Richie when he was eleven…

Just when Richie is about as low as he can get, he runs into Rudnick on the street and knows exactly what he needs to do. Suddenly things seem to be going much better. That is until they get much, much worse.

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Cold Caller by Jason Starr
Synopsis:

Once a rising VP at a topflight ad agency, Bill Moss now works as a ‘cold caller’ at a telemarketing firm in the Times Square area. He’s got a bad case of the urban blues, and when a pink slip rather than promotion comes through, Bill snaps.

Now he’s got a dead supervisor on his hands and problems no career counsellor can help him with…

JS
Jason Starr
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Winters by @lisagabrieletv 5* #Thriller #Suspense @harvillsecker

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The Winters by Lisa Gabriele
Review Copy
Synopsis:

An addictively suspenseful new novel set in the glamorous world of the New York Hamptons, about secrets that refuse to remain buried and consequences that cannot be escaped.

After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter – a wealthy senator and recent widower – and a life of luxury she’s never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate. The house is steeped in the memory of Max’s beautiful first wife Rebekah, who haunts the young woman’s imagination and feeds her uncertainties, while his very alive teenage daughter Dani makes her life a living hell.

As the soon-to-be second Mrs. Winter grows more in love with Max, and more afraid of Dani, she is drawn deeper into the family’s dark secrets – the kind of secrets that could kill her, too.

Inspired by the classic novel Rebecca, The Winters is a riveting story about what happens when a family’s ghosts resurface and threaten to upend everything.

My Review:

‘Last night Rebekah tried to murder me again’

The opening line of this novel, is enough to give anyone nightmares. But what is revealed inside is a much more complex layered suspenseful mystery.
Just less than a year ago, the now newly engaged protagonist met Senator Max Winter. Having no family herself she was rushed off her feet in what is a typical paperback romance fashion. However, all is not as it seems at the Asherley Estate…

‘Recklessness is a luxury to someone like me’

In the secluded house there are photos of Max’s ex-wife Rebekah everywhere. Not to mention their teenage daughter, whom presents as mood and resentful. But this is more than just ordinary teen angst. Dani appears to have a personality disorder and her feelings have built up, to utter contempt and hatred.

‘There are things you do when you’re desperate, things that would shock you’

Eventually, the would-be step-mum and Dani seem to bond. With Dani confiding and offloading some deeply held secrets. But is Dani just a drama queen intent on causing problems? or is something sinister making her behave this way…

One thing is for certain, Max has clearly underestimated his new ‘bride to be’.
An intense and gripping psychological thriller. I thoroughly enjoyed every single page. 5*

LG
Lisa Gabriele
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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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