Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Now You See Her by @HeidiPerksBooks #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller @arrowpublishing #NowYouSeeHer

Now You See Her Hi-Res Cover Image
Now You see Her by Heidi Perks
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.

Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable: tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.

Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.
Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.

Someone is hiding the truth about what really happened to Alice.

My Review:

Now You See Her, is an intense psychological novel. It focuses on the relationship between Charlotte and Harriet. With one simple day, playing a HUGE role in their futures. The two women were once best friends, right up until the moment Charlotte lost Harriet’s daughter Alice (4yrs).

The novel is set in Dorset and it really adds to the drama when we learn that another little boy went missing last year. Dorset being a small coastal community, instantly there is speculation that this is an abduction.

Before we can fully begin to get into the drama, the backgrounds of both women are explored. We learn that Charlotte is a single mother to three children. She is Harriet’s best friend and therefore was quick to offer to help her out and mind Alice, so that Harriet could attend her book keeping course. It is the first time Harriet has ever left Alice with another adult and he is understandably nervous and apprehensive.

‘Somewhere along the line she had become the mother she didn’t want to be’

Charlotte makes her way to the local school’s fete with the four children in tow. She meets up with friends Audrey and Karen. When her attention drifts from the bouncy castle for mere moments. Alice is GONE!

PC Fielding and PC Shaw are first on the scene. They immediately organise a search of the area. Charlotte is left devastated and bereft, she questions if Harriet will ever forgive her. This really is every parent’s worst nightmare, from either perspective. To lose a child or to feel responsible for the possible abduction of a child.

In the days following the disappearance more and more speculation and rumour grows. Charlotte is exposed as being on Facebook at the time of the alleged potential abduction. Her friends turn on her and she feels too ashamed to leave her home. There is online venom poured upon her and her own reliability as a mother. In a moment of deep pain, she reaches out to Harriet and her husband Brian. Only to discover they blame her too.

‘This isn’t the first child she’s lost’ – Brian

Brian demands to be the parent that speaks at the press conference and his whole demeanour is controlling and possessive.
I really began to question his role in this disappearance.

I cannot say too much more for fear of leaving spoilers. But this is an intense read.
The role of suspect and victim constantly shifts.
The novel keeps you guessing and guessing. 4*

20151120_Heidi-Perks_015
Heidi Perks
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Shipyard Girls In Love by @arevellwalton 5* Genius #Saga #ShipyardGirls #Series #ww2 #WomenOfWW2 @arrowpublishing ‏ ‘The cleverly weaved secrets and expert plotting had me hooked!’

Shipyard Girls in Love
Shipyard Girls In Love by Nancy Revell
#4 Shipyard Girls Series

Review copy
Synopsis:

Sunderland, 1941

With a brief break in air raids providing some much-needed respite from the war, things are looking up for head welder Rosie, who has fallen head over heels for Detective Sergeant Miller. But how long can their romance last in such uncertain times?

Life remains full of challenges for Gloria, who must face her abusive ex-husband and confront her own guilty conscience about baby Hope’s real father. The secret is tearing her apart but if she admits the truth, she will risk losing everything.

Both women are determined that their love and faith will be enough to keep the most difficult of promises, but nothing is as simple as it seems…

My Review:

It is well known I am a huge fan of this series, I have sung its praises all over social media. I have to admit this is my favourite of the series so far! It starts off on a fabulous high, but slowly the cleverly weaved secrets emerge, and the ending left me desperate of the next edition to the series.

The novel opens in Sunderland 1941, We pick up pretty much where we left off. We have a brief update on the various girls and where they are now. We also learn they are working on a new ship named the Empire Brutus. There is some gossip and speculation about Martha’s parentage. The darkest update comes from Hannah, who learns her parents have been moved to the Theresienstadt Ghetto. She is desperate for news and concerned for their future. Will they make it out of the war alive?

Across town, Gloria is in a cheerful mood. After Arthur set to helping Jack regain his memories, he can now recall his love for Gloria and remembers baby Hope. Although he still suffers some memory loss and can’t remember his parents and childhood unfortunately. Jack is mystified that he recognised Hope despite never having seen her before. Gloria fears Miriam’s anger and revenge, but for the moment, she wears a huge smile upon her face.
Some of Jack’s memories maybe gone, but his feelings for Gloria remain.

‘She had the love of her life back’

We have a brief re-cap with another couple in-love this time, it is Rosie and Peter. Despite Rosie’s initial struggles to trust Peter, they continue to be absolutely smitten with one another. They decide for their future to succeed they must remain completely honest with one another and they have a heart to heart, where secrets are uncovered, and truths shared.

“I was just thinking how, if I died at this very moment in time, I would do so being the happiest man on earth” – Peter

There is also the impending wedding of George and lily. Which something tells me will be a wedding to die for. Lily is known to exude everything French and luxurious!

There is a minor love triangle between Hannah, ‘young Ollie’ and Martha. With Hannah feeling excluded now Ollie and Martha are working together at the APR.
Will this lead to more heartbreak for Hannah?

Pearl and Maisie return from their trip to London. With this Bel reflects that in the coming future she will be determined to finally uncover who her own father is. Will Bel solve this mystery? Will Maisie learn more about her own father?
In their time away Maisie is able to confide in Pearl about her own experiences after her adoption. It is clear it was not the happy home, Pearl had hoped for her daughter.

One character that remains in the background but fascinates me more and more, is Kate. I know at some point we will uncover her backstory and I can not wait. There are hints at her past, within this novel and I fear it will be a painful past to uncover. But nevertheless, her mousy and quiet appearance and demeanour has me so intrigued.

When there is an accident at the shipyard, Martha is the hero of the moment. But it is a stark reminder, what a dangerous job the women are doing day in and day out. The accident results in Jim Mackie possibly losing his leg but lucky to escape with his life. But is it luck or the heroics of Martha? She is honoured to be put forward for an official commendation by Helen, Harold and Donald the yard’s management.

Helen remains in-charge at the yard, but in this novel, I must admit she does eventually become more humanised. She learns some shocking revelations and must overcome them rather than use the skillset she has inherited from her scheming mother.
Miriam continues to scheme and meddle, it is when Helen starts to see through her that the changing point comes for Helen.

Vinnie finally figures out what has been staring him in the face the entire time. And when he does promises there’ll be hell to pay!
Putting Gloria at serious risk and baby Hope also.

‘This war’s changing us all in so many different ways” – Gloria

Rosie and Peter’s courtship, I found really heart-warming and inspiring. Not because it is one of hot passion or based on secrecy etc. but because it is built upon love and acceptance of each other’s flaws. I just hope this love can withstand the revelations that we learn and the future than has now changed!

‘Why did love always seem to come hand in hand with hurt’

Just before Christmas the yard is full of gossip with the strikes at Pearl Harbour. The women become confused and alarmed but glad the Americans will be joining the war effort on the side of the Allies. It is easy to reflect that in 1941, with the Americans joining the war, many thought it would soon be over!
Which we know from history, was not the case at all.

Christmastime during the war, reminds us of the harsh life of rationing and how truly tough life was for the families that lived under such conditions. Where wrapping paper is made from newspaper and not a scrap to be wasted!

Rosie is shocked to discover that Charlotte wants to come home to Sunderland. Rosie is wary of Charlotte uncovering her secret work at Lily’s. But she also has a desperately miserable teenager on her hands. Worried about the risk of the air raids and exposure to her lifestyle, Rosie doesn’t know which way to turn and what choice to make.
I hope we do see Charlotte come to Sunderland, but that is perhaps because she is another background character that has me very intrigued.

Polly receives a letter from young lover boy Tommy, it is packed full of love and pride in her. What it doesn’t tell Polly is that Tommy has been picked for covert ops. What will this mean for the future of loves young dream?

The shipyard girls enter the new year with shocking revelations for all. Whether these secrets become exposed to all and sundry is yet to be known. But when I finished the final pages I was absolutely gobsmacked!!!

‘There were ships to be built – A war to be won’

This is the first book in the series to leave you on an absolute cliff hanger of an ending! Which leaves you desperate for answers and the next book in the series, Victory For The Shipyard Girls. This is a series that has gone from strength to strength and I had already added it to be list as my ‘series of the year’ before I completed this novel.

Great to be back with the shipyard girls.
The cleverly weaved secrets and expert plotting had me hooked!
5* Genius

Nancy Revell
Nancy Revell
Website
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My Review – The Shipyard Girls #1
My Review – Shipyard Girls At war #2
My Review – Secrets Of The Shipyard Girls #3
Extract – Shipyard Girls In Love #4

*****Coming soon*****
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Victory For The Shipyard Girls – Available 6th September 2018!
Pre-order links available. CANNOT wait!!!!!!!!!

 

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Author Q&A with Matthew Sullivan – Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore #Literary #Mystery #NewRelease @arrowpublishing #BrightIdeasBookstore

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Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
Synopsis:

What do you do when the life you’ve carefully built for yourself comes apart?

Lydia Smith lives a quiet life, spent in the company of her colleagues and customers at the bookstore where she works. But when Joey Molina, a young and mysterious regular, hangs himself in the bookstore and leaves Lydia secret messages hidden in the pages of his books, her world starts to unravel.

Why did Joey do it?

What did he know?

And what does it have to do with Lydia?

Q&A with Matthew Sullivan:

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

A) I grew up in Denver in a pretty wild house with seven brothers and sisters. After moving to San Francisco for college, I spent a number of years bouncing around different states and countries (including living in England for a year), and was always a voracious reader and committed writer. Beginning in my twenties, after college, I spent a number of years working in independent bookstores, and those settings had such a strong impact on me that I eventually decided to try to capture them with fiction.

Enter Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, a crime novel about a 30-year-old bookseller named Lydia who, as a little girl, was the only survivor of a horrifying attack. Those murders traumatize her and define her life for many years, until eventually she finds sanctuary in an urban bookstore. As the novel opens, whatever semblance of peace she has found is disrupted when her favorite “BookFrog,” a young bibliophile named Joey, hangs himself in the store. Lydia soon discovers that Joey has bequeathed her his collection of books—as well as the messages he has cryptically carved into their pages. As Lydia follows his messages, of course she is led right back to that awful childhood night.

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

A) In the early stages of this book, I knew I wanted to write a dark mystery that focused more on character development than anything else, and I knew I wanted to pay homage to independent bookstores. Lydia would see books and the bookstore as an escape from her past, as she had her whole life, but early on I wasn’t sure what specifically she’d be escaping from. And then, during the writing process, I found myself returning to a horrible crime that happened not far from my home in the suburbs of Denver when I was 13 years old: one snowy night, a man with a hammer broke into a house and attacked a family as they slept, killing three of them and leaving a toddler badly injured. This was in a new, quiet neighborhood, and even now, three decades later, the killer—The Hammerman—has never been caught. We were all terrified. It was a disturbing entrance into adulthood. These things have a way of sticking with us, working their way out, and for me that was through fiction.

I spent many years writing the novel, mainly because I was also raising kids and being a teacher and trying to find time to write whenever I could. Once I had a draft done and was lucky enough to be noticed by my current agent and editor, I still ended up rewriting this beast for several more years. It helped to have some great editorial guidance along the way.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Where to even begin? Some recent favourite reads are Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, Jane Harper’s The Dry, Ian McGuire’s The North Water, George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo, Colum McCann’s 13 Ways of Looking, Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, and Denis Johnson’s posthumous collection, The Largesse of the Sea Maiden.

In the literary-mystery genre, I’ve always been drawn to crime writing that pushes against expectations, such as Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy, Tana French’s Dublin Squad series, Jorge Luis Borges’ Labyrinths, Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories, and Jess Walter’s Over Tumbled Graves (and everything else he writes).

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I loved the Encyclopedia Brown series and Judy Blume’s books, especially the Fudge books (Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge). A bit later it was S.E. Hinton’s books, such as The Outsiders and That Was Then, This Is Now, and I eventually made my way to Tom Robbins and Kurt Vonnegut and Flannery O’Connor, all of whom blew my mind.

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

A) I’ve been very touched by the support people have given. You expect that from friends and family and the obligatory neighbor, but many, many other people—booksellers and students and childhood classmates—have really come out of the woodwork to support me and this story. They’ve been wonderful.

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

A) My vision for this book fell somewhere between an edgy contemporary mystery and a character-driven literary novel, so it has always run the risk of slipping between the two genres and disappearing. Despite that, from the start, my agent, Kirby Kim, was steadfast in his support, and steadfast in helping me stay true to my own vision of the book, even if in some ways it was different from a conventional mystery.

My most important ally, of course, has been my wife, Libby. We met over two decades ago while we were booksellers working together in the Children’s section of the Tattered Cover in Denver, and we’ve been together since. We still work together, too, at a community college in the rural Pacific Northwest. She’s a librarian there and I teach writing and literature. We try to keep our marriage on the lowdown at work, but plenty of students have seen the two of us around campus together. Their jaws sometimes drop when they realize that we’re a thing.

MS
Matthew Sullivan *Credit Lucid Concepts
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Our Kind Of Cruelty by Araminta Hall @AramintaHall 5* #Psychological #Thriller @arrowpublishing @fsgbooks The relationship is over. The game has just begun. #WhatIsYourVerdict #TheCrave

Cover
Our Kind Of Cruelty by Araminta Hall
Review Copy – proof
Synopsis:

Mike and Verity have a special game. The Crave.

They play it to prove what they already know: that Verity loves Mike. That she needs Mike.

Even though she’s marrying another man.

Now Mike knows that the stakes of their private game are rising.

This time, someone has to die…

My Review:

‘You should never trust people who yearn to be something other than who they are’

WOW! Where to start with this cracking psychological thriller? This novel gets inside your mind and you become as obsessed with reading the novel, as the protagonist Mike is with telling the narrative. I found the opening very unusual compared to most new release’s in the genre. I didn’t feel drawn to the characters Mike and Verity at all. In fact, I actually found them rather repulsive, but the infatuation, mystery and voice draw you in. Mike can’t be trusted, but can Verity be trusted either?

The novel opens with Mike sat in a prison cell with his cell-mate ‘Fat Terry’. He nonchalantly informs the readers that he is in prison on a murder charge. That his reason for writing his story, is in itself a way of unravelling all the details, so he might grasp a better concept of what he has done. I didn’t like Mike at all.
But I wanted to listen in on his thoughts.

‘In a way she was right, as the American incident proved. I did become a monster’

He tells his story in reflection, recalling the events and his interpretation of them. The timeline is mixed ever so slightly to allow for the many twists and turns.

Upon receiving an invitation to Verity’s upcoming wedding to Angus Metcalf. Something snaps within Mike and he feels compelled to control the past, present, future and what others think of him. But in life you can’t possibly control how others think and feel towards you and so the story flows. . .

Mike and Verity used to date, they had quite a long relationship. Which was tainted by Mikes inability to control and fully dominate Verity at all times.
As healthy relationships go, this one is far from rosy.

Mike and Verity both hold quite prestigious professional roles in their working life. They appear to have ample wealth. But if one thing is for certain, money doesn’t buy you love.
Mike is offered a new opportunity in the states and Verity is unable to accompany him. Mike finds himself thousands of miles away from the woman he so desperately loves. This in turn leads to the breakdown in their relationship, a breakdown Mike is refusing to accept.

The relationship is far from perfect. They both come across as people who enjoy a feeling of superiority over others. This is evidenced in their ‘game’ the crave. I personally found the idea of the crave quite distasteful and immature. I could see, it would only cause further problems as Mike’s inner psychology struggled to separate the game from reality.

‘Some would see that as the basest level of cruelty, others as an act of love. Ultimately, that is what to crave means’

Mike has a deeply troubled past, it goes some way in to explaining why he presents as he does. On the outside, I could easily see why others would envy Mike. His wealth, status and beautiful girlfriend. But deep inside Mike is a broken little boy, a little boy that never felt love, warmth or comfort.
At this point I began to pity Mike. I would say that sympathy is a step too far. But I could empathise with background and why he must struggle with low self-esteem, doubt and a demand to be loved. Mike is a complex and unreliable narrator of the plot, but he is the only one we have. His refusal to let Verity go, began to make me question Verity’s actions and motives. Why would you invite your stalker to your wedding? Is it so easy to judge? Haven’t we all been fooled by the alleged harmless actions of another?
Who is telling the truth Mike or Verity?

There’s a series of emails and Mike’s interactions with others who know and love Verity, such as her snobby mother. These incidents made me sure that it was Mike who was at fault. He was clearly delusional, and Verity was his victim. But there was something about Verity, that I just couldn’t get to grips with.

Looking back, I’m not sure whether I failed to connect with Verity as she failed to fit my view of a victim or because this was a cleverly crafted psychological novel and I should trust no one. Either way, these are fictional characters and therefore it opens the novel up to healthy debate. I could easily see some heated debates in book groups. As not only do the characters get under your skin. It is a powerful theme, which invokes emotions within the reader. Do we blame female victims for the crimes committed against them? If so why? Why are women villainised in high-profile court cases? Does this enable the perpetrator to get an easier sentence?

There are so many themes open for debate the pitfalls of Mikes personality. One moment he is arrogant and confident, the next weak and needy. Is this due to his past or is he cunningly evil? The theme of male entitlement, when dating or pursuing a relationship. Mike’s toxic personality, is he using his childhood vulnerability as a weapon or defence strategy? The power of obsession and its psychological hold on the abuser.

Mike’s emotions and the narrative of the plot become contoured due to his mental health problems and unwillingness to accept reality. He makes the narrative a difficult read in places. Yet I was absolutely hooked on the story from the open pages to the impending court case. Mike’s story reads right up to the very last page. I will be very intrigued to read the reviews of other bloggers and their thoughts on Mike and Verity.
#WhatsYourVerdict? 5*

AH
Araminta Hall
Twitter
Our Kind Of Cruelty is released today in hardback & currently just 99p on Ebook
Happy publication day Araminta Hall

 

Anne Bonny #BookReview Shipyard Girls At War by @arevellwalton 5* #Saga #MustRead #Series #ww2Fiction #WomenOfWW2 @arrowpublishing ‘Highly recommended to fans of Saga’s’

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Shipyard Girls At War by Nancy Revell – Shipyard Girls #2
Own copy from TBR
Synopsis:

1941: it takes strength to work on the docks, but the war demands all hands on deck and the women are doing their best to fill the gap.

Rosie is flourishing in her role as head-welder while still keeping her double life a secret. But a dashing detective is forcing Rosie to choose between love and her duty.

Gloria is hiding her own little secret – one that if found out, could not only threaten her job, but her life.

And the shipyards are proving tougher than Polly ever imagined, while she waits for her man to return home safely.

Join the shipyard girls as they journey through the hardships of life, love and war.

My Review:

I am currently making my way through books 1-4 in the Shipyard Girls series. I was absolutely blown away with the first novel and you warm to the characters instantly. In true saga style, they feel like friends and you mourn their pain and celebrate their highs. I was excited to see what book two, The Shipyard Girls At War would have in store for the women.
*If you haven’t read the first in the series, this review may contain spoilers*

The novel opens with a heart-breaking prologue. If you’ve been following the series so far, it is one that will cut deep. Bel’s devastation and emotional pain flows from the pages. As a former soldier’s wife, myself, I dreaded ever receiving the news Bel receives. Her childhood sweetheart has perished, in Operation compass alongside 624 other soldiers. The grief she feels, is so powerful, it brought tears to my eyes.

‘This Polly realised was what grief looked like in its purest form’

At the shipyard things are back to the usual with Dorothy and Gloria’s playful bickering. There’s a new girl named Martha, who is quite quiet. Or quiet in comparison to the girls we have come to know and love. But Gloria is still trying desperately to conceal her secret, a secret only the other girls are aware of.

Hannah the shipyard worker from Czechoslovakia is quickly picking up her English skills and slowly adapting to life at the shipyard. But stand-in boss Helen is making her life a living hell with her bullying tactics and demeanour. Helen is nobody’s favourite person and instead of trying to make friends and amends, she pursues a vendetta against Hannah.

Polly is devastated at the news about her brother Teddy’s death. She is apprehensive about the home-coming of his twin Joe. How will Teddy’s death impact Joe? Will this cause Bel to fall apart? The future seems uncertain at Polly’s home. A home so much more used to laughter and smiles, than sorrow and grief.

The novel then does something, undone in the previous novel. It jumps the timeline backwards to 1920. Where we meet a childhood Bel and her god-awful mother Pearl. Bel is often left abandoned inside their cramped house, with little or no food. Whilst her mother pleases herself usually at the pubs. Bel is only saved from a childhood of despair when she befriends Polly. This offers Bel a glimpse into a life she’s never known, one of love and care. But will also be where she first meets Teddy.

In the present day, Rosie is excited and looking forward to a visit from her sister Charlotte. Everything Rosie does in her life, is to provide a better life for Charlotte and sometimes this includes activities, that are risqué. Which is why it is shocking to read she has caught the eye of Detective Sgt Miller aka Peter. Peter now works solely at the docks, which causes Lily (Rosie’s other boss) some concern. Will Rosie find love with Peter? What if Peter uncovers her ‘other’ life first?

‘Love’s so bloomin’ unpredictable. It takes you places you just don’t expect to go’ – Lily

Bel is drowning in grief leaving her unable to adequately care for her young daughter. She relies heavily upon Polly and her mother Agnes. The grief that Bel feels is a shared grief, as Agnes lost her husband in the first world war, when Polly was just a baby.

In the flashback scenes we learn that Joe has always harboured a secret love for Bel. But in the present day, she treats him with contempt, borderline loathing. It is unclear if this is grief or Bel’s need for self-preservation.
But It makes for fascinating reading, as you read on.

The harsh reality of the war is always within the background. When an air raid strikes leaving an infant alive, next to its mother’s corpse. You are regularly reminded what harsh times these women are living in and how everyday, really was life or death.

‘Polly realised just how much they all needed each other in these very strange times’

In a moment of panic Gloria confesses her secret to the wrong person. What will this mean for her future?

Rosie and Peter begin to see more of each other, but where will it lead?

Polly receives regular updates from her love, Tommy away at war.
Will Tommy make it home from war?
Or will Polly be grieving also?

Joe joins the home guard and begins to build a life for himself now he is demobbed. But will it be a life alone? Or with another?

Rosie helps a friend from the past in her hour of need.

The saga has a feel-good ending, leaving you longing for the next in the series. Which I am lucky enough to have on my shelves. I can not wait to get stuck in!
Highly recommended to fans of Saga’s this is a series not to be missed! 5*

Nancy Revell
Nancy Revell
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Next up in the series. . . . .
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Secrets Of The Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell
Review scheduled 9th May