Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Party by @LisaHallAuthor 5* #Psychological #Thriller @HQStories ‘It’s all going on in suburbia’

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The Party by Lisa Hall
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Synopsis:

It was just a party. But it turned into a nightmare.

When Rachel wakes up in a strange room, the morning after a neighbour’s party, she has no memory of what happened the night before. Why did her husband leave her alone at the party? Did they row? Why are Rachel’s arms so bruised? And why are her neighbours and friends so vague about what really happened?

Little by little, Rachel pieces together the devastating events that took place in a friend’s house, at a party where she should have been safe. Everyone remembers what happened that night differently, and everyone has something to hide. But someone knows the truth about what happened to Rachel. And she’s determined to find them.

My Review:

‘Something happened. Something bad’ – Rachel

Rachel wakes up, the morning after the night before. She is in an unfamiliar room and feels unwell. She has bruising and is naked from the waist down. She slowly becomes aware, she is in her neighbours Neil and Liz’s spare room. But how did she get there? And what happened to her?

‘I’ve never had a hangover like this before’ – Rachel

As Rachel battles with her own memory, pain and embarrassment she makes her way home. Only to be met by her husband Gareth and his unsympathetic response. . .
‘Look at the state of you, you’re a disgrace’ – Gareth

We begin to learn that Rachel’s marriage is far from perfect and that Gareth’s anger is understandable to some degree. They attempt to keep the peace for the sake of their 18yr old son Robbie. But as Rachel’s realisation sinks in, she is left alone to deal with the emotional and physical pain. Which is made worse by her lack of memory. What happened to Rachel?

‘Something bad happened. Someone did this to me – someone hurt me, and did things to me against my will. Someone raped me’ – Rachel

The novel then jumps in timeline, to four months before the New Year’s Eve party. It continues to flick between the build-up to the party and modern day narrative and the aftermath of the assault. We learn that life is not so rosy in the little West Marsham cul-de-sac, The Vines.

Eventually Rachel confesses the truth to Gareth and they go to the police in search of justice and answers. But Rachel must navigate the world of rape victim, where you are not instantly believed and treated with suspicion yourself. The novel also covers the lack of evidence, DNA and how complex it can be to prove rape took place. Then Rachel begins to receive sinister notes. She is being watched!

The novel is gripping and intense. Rachel’s story and constant state of fear seeps from the pages and I HAD to know what happened to her and what took place that night. When the truth is finally revealed, my jaw hit the floor!

It’s all going on in suburbia 5*

LH
Lisa Hall
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Sticks And Stones by @JoJakemanWrites #Psychological #Thriller #NewRelease @HarvillSecker ‘I detest the man, he really is evil personified!’

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Sticks And Stones by Jo Jakeman
Review copy
Synopsis:

Imogen’s husband is a bad man. His ex-wife and his new mistress might have different perspectives but Imogen thinks she knows the truth. And now he’s given her an ultimatum: get out of the family home in the next fortnight or I’ll fight you for custody of our son.

In a moment of madness, Imogen does something unthinkable: she locks her husband in the cellar. Now she’s in control. But how far will she go to protect her son and punish her husband? And what will happen when his ex and his girlfriend get tangled up in her plans?

My Review:

‘It is a time for lies and cover-ups, not truthful observations’

This novel is a psychologically thriller, which features one of the possibly, most psychologically damaged human beings, I have ever read about all year!

‘I knew the devil lived in his soul’

The novel opens on the day of Phillip Rochester’s funeral. It is clear there was marital abuse and divorce loomed. The opening is a loaded scene, packed with tension and secrets. Phillip Rochester was not just a bad man, he was an evil man.

‘Phillip Rochester got the death he deserved’

The novel then jumps back in time, to the events in the build-up to the demise of Phillip. Imogen is Phillip’s wife, Naomi his new girlfriend, Ruby is his first wife and Little Alistair (6yrs) the son between Phillip and Imogen.
The relationships between the women are fraught and simmering with tension and unease at every turn. But it is not of their making. . .

Phillip has a dominant personality, he is a bully and used to getting his own way. I cannot fully get across my feelings about Phillip because WordPress and Amazon both have community standards. Just know this, I detest the man, he really is evil personified!

The marriage between Phillip and Imogen has been over 18 months. Imogen is slowly over-coming the emotional difficulties, with the help of her quirky best friend Rachel. They have an unusual friendship, but Imogen has support nevertheless. Imogen does start to obsess over Phillip’s new relationship with Naomi. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was more to this than petty jealousy and emotional envy.

‘I was too scared of him to disagree; Phillip was my darkness’

The novel also details the past history of Imogen and Phillip’s marriage. We learn it was one of little happiness or support. Phillip declares he wants Imogen out of the property and it is this that is the catalyst for the entire plot. This is when it all gets REAL!

‘I was sick of being Imogen Rochester: the victim’

When Phillip threatens Imogen for sole custody of their son, he has no idea how much he will push Imogen over the edge.
Or if Imogen can ever truly bring herself back from that edge.

The chapters from the individual women’s backgrounds details what makes them vulnerable. Phillip didn’t just target these women, he preyed upon them.
Now he is the prey. . .

This novel is a complex psychological thriller, it deals with some very strong emotional themes. The power of psychological holds, the intensity of victimhood and the bond that can exist between women. It is an absolute corker of a read and I raced through the pages in one afternoon. 4*

JJ
Jo Jakeman
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract How Far We fall by @Janeshemilt #CrimeFiction #Psychological #Thriller #NewRelease The perfect marriage. The perfect murder?

How Far We Fall HB jacket
How Far We Fall by Jane Shemilt
Synopsis:

We’ve all got secrets. Just how far would you go to keep yours?
The moment Beth first sets eyes on Albie – a brilliant, talented neurosurgeon – she decides he is the man she will marry.
The man she will tie herself to.
The man she will do anything for . . .

But Albie doesn’t know a few things about his new wife.
He doesn’t know that Beth is dying to leave her old life behind, or why.
He doesn’t know about the affair she had with his boss.
He doesn’t even know that the woman he married would do anything to keep his career, their marriage and her secret safe.
Albie is a brilliant husband, but his wife Beth is a brilliant liar . . .

Extract:

Prologue
Hampstead Heath
At twilight, London has a fairground glitter.
At this distance, the small streets and rows of
houses fade from view. The graffiti and the gangs, the
drunks and marauders, the foxes at the rubbish bins,
everything vanishes in the dusk. What you see is not
what you get, what you see is less than half of it.
There are women, four of them gathered together
under the trees. They share a joint; light slides along
a silver piercing, highlights the tip of a nose, guilds
tattoos.
They don’t talk much; they don’t need too. The
plans were laid years ago.
It’s a question of timing. It’s a question of life and
death, especially life. What they will save, and who
they won’t. They huddle and whisper; ruin is in the
air. Smoke rises from their mouths.
Their dogs are restive, their wet coats stink. They
pull at their leads, anxious to be off.
Wait, they are told. Your turn will come.
London glitters, a web smudged by weather.

JS
Jane Shemilt
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Woolgrower’s Companion by @JoyRhoades1 #ww2Fiction #Historical #NewRelease #WoolgrowersCompanion

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The Woolgrower’s Companion by Joy Rhoades
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Australia 1945. Until now Kate Dowd has led a sheltered life on her family’s sprawling sheep station but, with her father’s health in decline, the management of the farm is increasingly falling to her.

Kate is rising to the challenge when the arrival of two Italian POW labourers disrupts everything – especially when Kate finds herself drawn to the enigmatic Luca Canali.

Then she receives devastating news. The farm is near bankrupt and the bank is set to repossess. Given just eight weeks to pay the debt, Kate is now in a race to save everything she holds dear.

My Review:

The Woolgrower’s Companion is without a shadow of a doubt an atmospheric saga novel. It brings alive in the mind, the era and outback of New South Wales, Australia. I really enjoyed the time I spend with Kate, during reading and the various themes which offered an insight into 1940s Australia.

The novel opens at Longhope railway station on 10th January 1945. Kate along with her father Ralph awaits the arrival of two POW’s from North Africa. We become aware these are not only POW’s but were previously fighting Australian soldiers. The situation is quite tense; and we become aware that the family is unsure what it has entered into.
But they require extra hands at the farm as labourers.

Kate is married but her husband Jack is away training soldiers for war at Kogarah. Kate comes across as quite a rigid character at first. It is only when things begin to get tough, we start to see the woman inside.

The POW’s Sgt Luca Canali and Private Vittorio Bottinella, are extremely young. They claim to be conscripted soldiers and therefore at war through no choice of their own.
It is unsure at first, if this is really true.

Harry Grimes is the nephew of ranch hand Keith Grimes. He is an unusual character, that truly brightens up the pages. He is an orphaned child and his conversation comprises of various questions and lots of swearing.
There are moments that I found him quite hilarious, to listen to.

At the ranch is domestic servant Daisy, who is just 14yrs of age. Daisy is an aboriginal and the theme and role of aboriginals in Australian society is fully explored. The race relations are fraught, to say the least. I have never come across aboriginals in ww2 fiction and it was a welcome addition of diversity.
Even if the racism and tension is unsettling.

At the ranch bills remain unpaid, Kate finds she must not only work on the ranch but actively take over the management or face financial ruin. Her father continues to grow more confused and Kate wonders what their future will hold. She writes to her husband Jack, in hope of financial and emotional support.
She receives neither and Kate is left feeling truly alone.

When Kate is served with an eviction notice, her sheer determination and grit is released. Not losing the ranch becomes her primary focus in life. Unbeknown to Kate, this means she fails to notice other situations occurring at the ranch.

The novel is slow burning and the characters grow on you over time. There are not only book club questions at the back of the novel but a series of recipes too.

Kate’s personal journey in The Woolgrower’s Companion, sets up beautifully for a series and I look forward to returning to the ranch in the future. 4*

JR
Joy Rhoades
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview After He’s Gone by @JaneIsaacAuthor #CrimeFiction #NewRelease ‘This novel is a great start to a thoroughly modern new series. It has a diverse multitude of characters and plenty of secrets and lies, to keep you guessing’

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After He’s Gone by Jane Isaac – DC Beth Chamberlain #1
Review copy
Synopsis:

You think you know him. Until he’s dead.

When Cameron Swift is gunned down outside his family home, DC Beth Chamberlain is appointed Family Liaison Officer: a dual role that requires her to support the family, and also investigate them.

As the case unfolds and the body count climbs, Beth discovers that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has secrets.

Even the dead…

My Review:

After He’s Gone is the debut novel in an exciting new series from author Jane Isaac. It centres around the role of DC Beth Chamberlain as family liaison officer; to murder victim Cameron Swift’s family. I loved the angle and narrative of a FLO’s role covering both support and investigation.

‘To kill an adult was gruesome enough. But a child? That was pure unadulterated evil’

The novel opens with an eerie scene of violence. We are left unsure, what it relates to and straightaway this adds to the mystery. The novel then jumps to seven days earlier and the scene of Cameron Swift’s murder. Cameron is hot in broad daylight by a killer on a bike, who tops long enough to take pictures of the victim.

Is this a professional hit? If so who wants to kill Cameron Swift?

Beth is called to the scene with ‘career copper’ DCI Lee. They find the body of Cameron and see 3 shots fired. They immediately begin to search the area for witnesses and organise the CCTV to be obtained. The novel is quite police procedural, in parts.

Cameron Swift was an asset manager, with what appears to be no enemies. His partner Monika and two sons were inside the property at the time of the shooting. Monika assists the police as much as possible. But you can fully grasp her emotional state. Monika is Polish, and her family remain in her native country. Meaning Monika is alone with young sons Oskar (12yrs) and baby Jakub (9 months). I really felt for Monika’s plight and could just imagine the sheer hopelessness of her situation and grief.

The killer posts the photos to social media. The police struggle to grasp why. Is the killer sending a message? Is this an attempt to gain attention? It isn’t too long until the caption ‘Who was #Cameronswift?’ is trending.

So, who was Cameron swift?

Beth has to navigate an intense police investigation, a grieving partner, intense media scrutiny and her police colleagues.
Also, her own personal family drama. With her sister’s ex on the police staff and her new boyfriend rumoured to be a known local criminal. Can Beth find justice for Cameron? And keep the peace at home?

This novel is a great start to a thoroughly modern new series. It has a diverse multitude of characters and plenty of secrets and lies, to keep you guessing. 4*

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Jane Isaac
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Jane Isaac