Anne Bonny #BookReview No Mercy by Martina Cole 5* #NewRelease #CrimeFiction @MartinaCole @headlinepg

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No Mercy by Martina Cole
My Own Copy – Hardback
Synopsis ~

Family always come first. Until now.

No more waiting, the new novel from the No. 1 bestselling phenomenon Martina Cole is here, and it’s pure Martina gold. No Mercy is a heart-stopping rollercoaster ride of a read that proves there really is only one Martina Cole.

Diana Davis has been head of the family business since the death of her husband, an infamous bank robber. She’s a woman in a man’s world, but no one messes with her.

Her only son, Angus, is a natural born villain, but he needs to earn Diana’s trust before she’ll allow him into the business.

Once he’s proved he has the brains to run their clubs in Marbella, he is given what he’s always wanted. It’s the beginning of a reign of terror that knows no bounds.

But Angus has a blind spot: his wife, Lorna, and their three kids, Angus Junior, Sean and Eilish. And as the next generation enters the business, Angus has a painful truth to learn. Even when it comes to family, he must show no mercy…

My Review ~

BOOM! Martina Cole is BACK!!!!!!!!
Just as gritty, dark and gripping as the early novels I devoured one after the other whilst living in sunny Cyprus. I’ve been a fan of Martina Cole’s stayle since 2005, when heavily pregnant I found her books at the library. Before too long she was my new obsession and I read every copyh the library had.

The title is set between 2011 and 1980, it give an insight into the different ways in which gangland was run and IS run. The novel opens with the murders of gangster brother Jimmy & Christos Fernandez. Whomever is responsible has an X on their back…

I love the whole grit and realness that is written within a Martina Cole title. She certain isn’t going to waste time describing a pair of curtains or the countryside. She focuses on the characters and what is written, is deep, layered and eye-opening. The various family members are all introduced and before long you have a clear picture of how the family operates and who they answer to.
One thing is certain Diana Davis doesn’t miss a bloody trick.

There are affairs, mistresses and hookers. Violence revenge and instigation. There is murder and mayhem and that is what makes it such a cracking read.
The cast of characters is very diverse and it is brilliant to see a range of BAME/LGBT characters come alive on the page in this style of genre writing diversity can often be lost.

Absolutely CRACKING!!!! 5* 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

MC
Martina Cole
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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
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Lost Child by Emily Gunnis 4* #DualTimeline #Historical #NewRelease @headlinepg @EmilyGunnis

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The Lost Child by Emily Gunnis
Amazon Vine arc
Synopsis ~

A tragic death. A missing baby. A long-kept secret…

1960. Thirteen-year-old Rebecca lives in fear of her father’s temper. As a storm batters Seaview Cottage one night, she hears a visitor at the door and a violent argument ensues. By the time the police arrive, Rebecca’s parents are dead and the visitor has fled. No one believes Rebecca heard a stranger downstairs…

2014. Iris, a journalist, is sent to cover the story of a new mother on the run with her desperately ill baby. But fatefully the trail leads to the childhood home of Iris’s own mother, Rebecca…Seaview Cottage.
As Iris races to unravel what happened the night Rebecca’s parents were killed, it’s time for Seaview Cottage to give up its secrets.

My Review ~

*The kindle version of this title is currently just 99p in the UK and you can add the audible (narrated by Emilia Fox) for just £4.99.*

The Lost Child is a complex novel set between 1960 and 2014. The characters are detailed and all have individual depth and background stories. The title open in November 1960 with Rebecca Waterhouse (a young child) in an interview room with unsympathetic police officer DI Gibbs. Rebecca is a witness to her paranoid fathers regular violent beatings of her mother. Rebecca feels alone in the world, if it wasn’t for her close friend Harvey Roberts.
Rebecca’s father’s story is explored and although he can be a violent and ruthless man. His decent into paranoia via battle neurosis is eye-opening.

The novel then jumps forward to November 2014 and Harvey’s daughter Jessie has recently given birth. Jessie is estranged from her birth mother and is struggling with the recent grief of the loss of her step-mother 2yrs ago. The deep grief resulted in Jessie being diagnosed depressed and medicated. When she gives birth, the hormones and emotional trauma will result in panic and irrational fear taking control…

‘Why doesn’t she like me? why isn’t she feeding?

When Jessie flees the hospital with new-born baby in tow. This results in an emergency situation. For unbeknown to Jessie, the baby has an untreated infection, without medication the child may not survive.

In the flashbacks to the past we learn of Harriet and Jacob Waterhouse, their married life together and Jacob’s return from war. The novel really explores the theme of returning military personnel from the battlefield to home and hopefully relative safety. The ease at which a person can develop an alcohol problem and excuse short tempered/violent or jealous behaviours is laid bare.

‘The old Jacob had died on the beaches of Normandy and was never coming home to her’

Alternatively Jessie’s plight becomes a major news story. And Iris as a journalist begins digging into her past. Will what Iris uncovers bring peace to them all? Can Iris track down Jessie’s whereabouts in time to save the baby?
Past and present entwine to reveal a captivating story. 4*

EG
Emily Gunnis
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Those Who Are Loved by @VicHislop Victoria Hislop 4* #NewRelease #Historical #ww2Fiction #ww2 #Athens #Greece #GreekHistory @headlinepg

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Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

The gripping new novel by Sunday Times Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop is set against the backdrop of the German occupation of Greece, the subsequent civil war and a military dictatorship, all of which left deep scars.

Athens 1941. After decades of political uncertainty, Greece is polarised between Right- and Left-wing views when the Germans invade.
Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family divided by these political differences. The Nazi occupation deepens the fault-lines between those she loves just as it reduces Greece to destitution. She watches friends die in the ensuing famine and is moved to commit acts of resistance.

In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army, where she experiences the extremes of love and hatred and the paradoxes presented by a war in which Greek fights Greek.

Eventually imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee.
And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live.

As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly the personal and political can become entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.

This powerful new novel from Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Greece’s past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live an extraordinary life.

My Review ~

Those Who Are Loved is an incredibly deep and emotive novel. It is quite lengthy at 496 pages and you do become immersed in the story of Themis Stavridus. We follow her from a young girl full of hope and optimism, to a young woman forced to make and stand by difficult choices. Eventually we return to Themis as an elderly lady reflecting to on her life and the repercussions of the war on their lives as a family.
Whilst I do see this as a ‘holiday read’ I would urge readers to prepare themselves for deep research, ww2 history and the fight between the far-left & far-right in 1940s Greece.

The novel opens in Athens 2016 as the family of four generations, gather for the birthday of Themis Stavridis. As Themis reflects on the current political climate in Greece. Of Homelessness/poverty, the rise of fascism and the anti-immigrant rhetoric. She is consumed with her own past, that she has never previously spoken of…
‘Her life story was not an heirloom, but it was all she had’

‘Once they were seated, Themis began to talk’

We are then rapidly transported to 1930’s Athens and the home of Themis’s childhood. Here we are introduced to her mother Eleftheria and her three siblings Thanasis, Panos and Margarita. Their father Pavlos is a merchant shipping worker and spends large periods away from the family home. They live in a simple and yet modest home on Antigoris Street. But for Themis and her siblings, this will also prove to be a time of great change as they end up being raised by their grandmother Kyria Koralis.
Kyria does her best to raise the children, but she is fighting a tough battle due to the economic depression hitting Greece. The children however, grow up surrounded by maternal love from her.

The novel jumps ahead 10yrs to Oct 1940. Greece is now vulnerable to the German and Italian army’s and potential invasion. The political and wartime climate is explained within the novel. It is done through the characters experiences, and therefore I did not feel like I was sat in a history lesson. Despite taking on a through amount of historical information. When it comes to far-left and far-right sympathies, the siblings are very divided. With Thanasis and Margarita able to accept the far-rights values. Whilst brother Panos sympathises with the far-left of the Soviets.
Themis is unsure to which side she feels a political alliance. That is until she meets school friend and refugee Fotini. Who has been raised in a different way of life, with a different set of politics.

‘Hitler doesn’t respect this country anymore than Mussolini does’

9th April 1941 – Greece becomes an occupied territory of the German Reich. The Nazi top brass blame the British Whilst Thanasis and Margarita are willing to accept this. It is not them who will truly pay the price for Nazi ideology. For Fotini’s mother loses her job, the family begin to starve and before long Fotini is wasting away.

‘Germany was a friend of Greece, not a foe’

Themis’s coming of age in occupied Greece, see her deal with a wide-range of emotional problems. Panos joins the resistance and before long it is Greek vs Greek, occupier vs communist. There are protests and violence. A  resulting massacre at the village of Kalavryta, showing the full horror of the Nazi regime.

The novel continues to tell the story of Themis’s family through the Nazi occupation, to the arrival of the British and eventually to the new government, bringing new hope.
It was easy to put yourself in the teenage siblings situations and walk in their shoes. Destruction of their home town, uncertainty and political divisions between the citizens.
When Themis vows to join the communists. her membership opens her eyes to the full extent of life in the far-left.

‘This is the harmony I want to restore to our country’

we continue on our journey with Themis, through her imprisonment at the most brutal island prison. We also see 1954, 1967, 1976, 1985 and ultimately back to the present day of 2016. With the long drawn out story told, Themis’s family is now fully aware of her past. When I finished the title, I suddenly felt bereft without the attachment to the novel and Themis’s story. I felt as though I had been with the family through their ups and downs. Their hardships and rare moments they had known  peace. It is funny sometimes how you can finish a near 500 page book and still want more.

This my first title read by the author and will definitely not be my last! 4*

VH
Victoria Hislop
Website
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Anne Bonny Top 5 Picks UK #Kindle Monthly Deals @lanakortchik @KHughesAuthor @HeidiPerksBooks @FrancesLiardet @NicolaCornick 99p EACH! @headlinepg @HQDigitalUK @4thEstateBooks @arrowpublishing

*In no particular order*

TSOU
The Story Of Us by Lana Kortchik ~ *Ebook 99P*

Synopsis ~

Watching the Red Army withdraw from Ukraine in the face of Hitler’s relentless advance, Natasha Smirnova realises her life is about to change forever.

As Kiev is cast under the dark cloud of occupation, Natasha falls in love with Mark, a Hungarian soldier, enlisted against all his principles on the side of the Nazis.

But as Natasha fights to protect the friends and family she holds dear she must face up to the dark horrors of war and the pain of betrayal. Will the love she and Mark share be strong enough to overcome the forces which threaten to tear them apart?

TWITL
The Woman In The Lake by Nicola Cornick ~ *Ebook 99P*

Synopsis ~

‘I see it all again: the silver moon swimming beneath the water and the golden gown billowing out about her…’

1765: Lady Isabella Gerard asks her maid to take her new golden gown and destroy it. Its shimmering beauty has been tainted by the actions of her husband the night before.

Three months later: Lord Eustace Gerard stands beside the lake looking down at the woman in the golden gown. As the body slowly rolls over to reveal her face, it’s clear this is not his intended victim…

1996: Fenella Brightwell steals a stunning gown from a stately home. Twenty years later and reeling from the end of an abusive marriage, she wonders if it has cursed her all this time. Now she’s determined to discover the history behind the beautiful golden dress…

WMBB
We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet ~ *Ebook 99P*

Synopsis ~

December, 1940. As German bombs fall on Southampton, the city’s residents flee to the surrounding villages. In Upton village, amid the chaos, newly-married Ellen Parr finds a girl sleeping, unclaimed at the back of an empty bus. Five-year-old Pamela, it seems, is entirely alone.

Ellen has always believed she does not want children, but when she takes Pamela into her home the child cracks open the past Ellen thought she had escaped and the future she had dreamed for herself. As the war rages on, love grows where it was least expected, surprising them all. But with the end of the fighting comes the realization that Pamela was never theirs to keep…

For anyone who loved All the Light we Cannot See and The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, We Must Be Brave is a luminous novel about the ways we can rescue one another, and the many different forms that courage can take.

CBFM
Come Back For me by Heidi Perks ~ *Ebook 99p*

Synopsis ~

A SHOCKING DISCOVERY.
A COMMUNITY WRAPPED IN SECRETS.

A tiny island community is stunned by the discovery of a long-buried body.

For Stella Harvey the news is doubly shocking. The body has been found in the garden of her childhood home – the home her family fled without explanation twenty-five years ago.

Now, questioning her past and desperate to unearth the truth, Stella returns to the isolated island. But she quickly finds that the community she left isn’t as welcoming as she remembers – and that people in it will go to any length to protect their secrets.

One thing rings true…
You can’t bury the truth forever.

HLP
Her Last Promise by Kathryn Hughes ~ *Ebook 99p*

Synopsis ~

Tara Richards was just a girl when she lost her mother. Years later when Tara receives a letter from a London solicitor its contents shake her to the core. Someone has left her a key to a safe deposit box. In the box lies an object that will change everything Tara thought she knew and lead her on a journey to deepest Spain in search of the answers that have haunted her for forty years.

Violet Skye regrets her decision to travel abroad leaving her young daughter behind. As the sun dips below the mountains, she reminds herself she is doing this for their future. Tonight, 4th June 1978, will be the start of a new life for them. This night will indeed change Violet’s destiny, in the most unexpected of ways…