Anne Bonny #bookReview Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke #AmericanNoir #CrimeFiction #Thriller #Literary #NewRelease @SerpentsTail @atticalocke

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Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke
Review Copy ~ Ebook ~ Netgalley
Synopsis ~

Nine-year-old Levi King knew he should have left for home sooner; instead he found himself all alone, adrift on the vastness of Caddo Lake. A sudden noise –
and all goes dark.

Ranger Darren Matthews is trying to emerge from another kind of darkness; his career and reputation lie in the hands of his mother, who’s never exactly had his best interests at heart. Now she holds the key to his freedom, and she’s not above a little blackmail to press her advantage.

An unlikely possibility of rescue arrives in the form of a case down Highway 59, in a small lakeside town. With Texas already suffering a new wave of racial violence in the wake of the election of Donald Trump, a black man is a suspect in the possible murder of a missing white boy: the son of an Aryan Brotherhood captain.

In deep country where the rule of law only goes so far, Darren has to battle centuries-old prejudices as he races to save not only Levi King, but himself.

My Review ~

I am a HUGE fan of Attica Locke (check out my review of Bluebird Bluebird and Q&A). I think she brings something so unique to the genre. Her novel are diverse, they are intelligent and she is certainly NOT afraid to tackle any form of prejudice (I salute you). I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second novel in the Highway 59 series. So here are my thoughts on Heaven, My Home…

The novel opens in Texas 2016 in Marion County. We are introduced to Levi King’s family. Mother Marnie, sister Dana, her boyf Rory Pitkin and his mother’s lover Gil. I took an instant dislike to this white trash family, but taking a moment to step back, it is not the children’s fault who raises them and therefore, I was intrigued to see how the story/family would develop. The novel will revolve around the disappearance of 9yur old Levi King. But who would take him and why?

The novel is ruthless is its tackling of the tensions caused by the 2016 election of he whom shall not be named. I applaud Attica Locke for saying what we are all thinking.
‘After Obama, it was forgiveness betrayed’

The King family dynamics hit further complexity as Levi’s father Bill ‘big kill’ King is an active member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT). He is currently 6yrs into a 20yr sentence for drug offences. In an unlikely twist of events, it is Bill that reaches out for help from Darren…

‘I’m begging you, sir. Find my boy’

The location and setting of the novel is fully explored. This really helps UK readers or NON-America readers such as myself. You get a feel for the town everyone and everywhere forgot….
‘It was a town that time had passed by’

There is also brutally honest descriptions of the family of the missing child…
‘Everything In Hopetown looked as mean and underfed as Marnie King’

The characterisation of the novel is outstanding and the author’s creation of ranger Darren Matthews is one she should be exceptionally proud of. He is just so perfect to carry a series. Almost like a diverse ranger version of Harry Bosch!
WE NEED MORE BOOKS IN THIS SERIES!
The family and namely Bill’s mother through in their two cents of theories into how the boy went missing. Almost no one apart from his incarcerated father seems to care where he is or if he is even alive. Darren does not give up that easily. Not even on a family who despise him…

‘Darren wasn’t sure Gil Thompson knew who Hitler was, let alone could explain the significant of the seminal text of Mein Kampf that was in his trailer’ 

This is a deeply layered exploration of racial hatred, the need for collaboration as citzens of the same county and politics when divides us all. 4.5*
I cannot wait to read what Attica Locke writes next!

AL
Attica Locke
Twitter
Website
My review of Bluebird Bluebird and Q&A with the author

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Photographer Of The Lost by Caroline Scott @CScottBooks 4* #NewRelease #Historical #Fiction #Literary @simonschusterUK @WmMorrowBooks

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The Photographer Of The Lost by Caroline Scott
Review Copy
Synopsis ~

1921. The Great War is over and families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He was declared ‘missing, believed killed’ during the war, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph in the post, taken by Francis, hope flares. And so she begins to search.

Francis’s brother, Harry, is also searching. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, he has returned to the Western Front. As Harry travels through battle-scarred France, gathering news for British wives and mothers, he longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last conversation they ever had.

And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they begin to get closer to a startling truth.

An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.

Caroline Scott is a freelance writer and historian specializing in WWI and women’s history. The Photographer of the Lost is partially inspired by her family history.

My Review ~

As Previously stated on my blog, I am a huge fan of ww2 fiction and fiction around The Great War. My husband is a military veteran of 15yrs service (airborne Para) and I have various family members that have served. My great-grandfather committed suicide after The Great War and it is only know at 36yrs old I fully understand the horror of that conflict. There is also a monument in Belgium to my Great-Uncle my grandmother’s favourite uncle. Which I nor anyone in my family has visited (unfortunately).
So the moment I read the synopsis for this title, it grabbed my interest.

‘A small matter of a war rather got I n the way’ 

The prologue opens in Lancashire (my home town shire) May 1921 when Edie receives a letter from France. a photo of her husband Francis. Bu how can this be? Francis has been missing presumed dead for 4 yrs.

The novel then details Harry (Francis’s brother) in the years 1921 and the past since 1915. You have to pay attention to not muddle the timelines and brothers up.
Harry’s job is to visit the various special hospitals and locate the graves of the perished. It is his hope that providing the family members with images of the burial site or monuments it may bring them some peace/closure or heal there grief.

The novel also covers the spiritualists and psychics that are out to make a fast buck. spinning stories of the ‘souls of lost men’. I found this quite disturbing. But on the other hand you really feel for Edie and her sense of emptiness, mourning and emotional pain as she searches for her lost love. Are these scammers taking advantage or are they attempting to offer comfort to the grieving?

The relationship of the brother’s and the potential love triangle that it causes is first and foremost the running mystery. Does Harry want Edie for himself? Will Edie now turn to Harry, now all hope is lost with Francis? Is all hope lost with Francis? or is he alive?

The novel details the tortured minds of the soldiers of The Great War. It is a beautiful novel, with a stunning cover and exceptional writing. Slightly reminiscent of the writing of Patrick Gale in A Place Called Winter.
I highly recommend this title, it would make the perfect Christmas gift, also for book groups and simply to treat yourself. I only wish I had got round to writing this review earlier because it would have made a poignant gift to mark remembrance day. 4* 🌟🌟🌟🌟

CS
Caroline Scott
Twitter
*At time of posting the Hardback book was available at just £7 on Amazon*

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
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BookReview Resin by @AuthorAneRiel #NewRelease #Literary #Thriller @TransworldBooks Protected Treasured Trapped . . .

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Resin by Ane Riel
Review Copy
Synopsis:

The multi-award-winning international bestseller.
Suspenseful and heart-breaking, Resin is the story of what can happen when you love someone too much – when your desire to keep them safe becomes the thing that could irrevocably harm them.
*
Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think.
Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing.
But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents.
This way, Liv would be safe.

My Review:

WOW! Where to start with this one!!!!!!
The whole novel can be summarised with one word: disturbing!
Which I do not mean in a derogatory manner. The novel focuses around one of possibly the most disturbing families I have ever read! Straight from the opening sentence, you know you’re in for a treat with this one. . . .

‘The white room was completely dark when my dad killed my granny’ – Liv

Meet Liv, your strange, awkward child protagonist. She tells us about the home-made Christmas presents and family hoarding. Even her granny being smothered, set alight and buried is all too nonchalant for Liv. . .
‘After all, none of us is meant to suffer’

The family live on ‘The Head’ a small isolated island, which is linked to the larger island Korsted. But the family are the only occupants at The Head. They steal what they need from others and this is a routine father/daughter night time activity.

‘In time I learned we weren’t like other people’ – Liv

Throughout the novel there are a series of letters from Liv’s mother written to Liv. To be completely honest, they only add to the whole strange/weirdo vibe of the whole family. . .
‘I don’t know whether to call our life a family story or horror story’ – Mum
Even further alarming with words like. . . ‘He may kill me’

This is a family in desperate need of some social services involvement. Immediately!

Liv’s father is Jen Horder and through the novel we learn his backstory and family history. Prepare yourselves!
We also learn how he met and fell in love with Liv’s mother. His mother Else wasn’t too keen on the union between the pair and considering she dies in the opening scenes, I don’t think she was far from wrong!

When Granny Else plans to take Liv away to the mainland for schooling. A premeditated plan is hatched.
One that will see Liv disappear!

‘Live knew that not being seen was a mater of life and death’

This novel is dark, disturbing and yet I could NOT look away from the pages. The scene for which the title gets its name, is beyond my understanding. The last 20/30 pages make for intense reading! I am absolutely HOOKED!

Brilliantly disturbing 4.5*

AR
Ane Riel
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Testament by @kimtsherwood #Literary #ww2Fiction #NewRelease @riverrunbooks #Testament

9781786488671
Testament by Kim Sherwood
Review copy
Synopsis:

WINNER OF THE BATH NOVEL AWARD

Of everyone in her complicated family, Eva was closest to her grandfather: a charismatic painter – and a keeper of secrets. So when he dies, she’s hit by a greater loss – of the questions he never answered, and the past he never shared.

It’s then she finds the letter from the Jewish Museum in Berlin. They have uncovered the testimony he gave after his forced labour service in Hungary, which took him to the death camps and then to England as a refugee. This is how he survived.

But there is a deeper story that Eva will unravel – of how her grandfather learnt to live afterwards. As she confronts the lies that have haunted her family, their identity shifts and her own takes shape. The testament is in her hands.

Kim Sherwood’s extraordinary first novel is a powerful statement of intent. Beautifully written, moving and hopeful, it crosses the tidemark where the third generation meets the first, finding a new language to express love, legacy and our place within history.

My Review:

‘Everything I knew about Silk’s life began in London 1945’

Testament is a tender novel, it explores the relationship between grandfather and granddaughter. The desire for the granddaughter to know more about her grandfather’s history and the journey of discovery this take her upon.

Eva is present at the death of her grandfather Joseph. She has to inform her father and it is then that we learn the relationship between the two is far from perfect. Eva has grown up close to her grandfather and they have shared a close relationship.
One she has not shared with her own father.

When Eva receives a letter from Dr Felix Gershel from the Judisches museum in Berlin, it sets her on a course of discovery about her grandfather and his complex history.
The Testament is the story of Joseph’s time in the labour camps of ww2. Something Eva believes is everything he wouldn’t want the world to see. It was never his desire to be defined by his experiences in the Holocaust.

This is a moving story that fully covers the true horror of being a survivor of the Holocaust. The refugee aftermath and attempting to locate one’s family members. It really puts you in the place of Joseph and we see life through his eyes.

‘You do not know if you will ever see
your family again.
He cries himself to sleep’

It is also very moving in the exploration of father/daughter and grandfather/granddaughter relationships and family roles. Eva has a turbulent relationship with her father, which is fully explored within the novel. But the grief at the loss of her grandfather forces her to search for understanding, to ease her pain.

‘Vengeance is not Jewish’

Personally, I found the tender and emotional bond between Eva and Joseph very touching. I was very close to my own grandfather, before he passed away in 2001. It reminded me, of some of the conversations we had shared and how entirely different our lives were. Yet we are of the same family.

Testament is slow-paced and very literary in its content.
But it is written with such emotional intelligence. 4*

Kim1
Kim Sherwood
Twitter

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