Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Night Visitor by @PRedmondAuthor 5* Genius #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Thriller #Horror @BooksManatee #NightVisitor

The Night Visitor Cover
The Night Visitor by Patrick Redmond
Review Copy
Synopsis:

When does a gift become a curse?

Meg has a gift. She can change lives. But when tragedy strikes in childhood she vows never to use it again.
Now an adult, she is living in Cornwall; a place where the elements themselves have a life of their own. When they call she refuses to listen, fearful of the dark places where her gift can lead.

But the dead will not be silenced. They are stronger than her. And now they have chosen she is powerless to escape…

My Review:

‘Until that dreadful day when everything changed’

The novel opens in Suffolk 1991, with sisters Meg (6yrs) and her little sister Grace and their mother Becky. They are in a café, a seemingly innocent day out. When Meg utters some simple words to widow, Edith Harris. This scene sets the tone for the novel and you instantly become aware there is so much more to Meg than meets the eye.

The novel then fast-forwards to 1992 and Meg is now at Wickenham primary school she is often taunted and bullied by the other children. We begin to learn that due to Meg’s visions/premonitions, she is treated as an outcast. She has a bullying teacher in Mrs Fisher and her classmates are quick to join in. For poor Meg life is tough; handling her visions and the shunning of her peers.

‘Please God, don’t let me ever see anything bad about my mum’ – Meg

Then novel progresses over Meg and Grace’s childhood and we learn that it was one of much suffering. The ultimate suffering for Meg is the tragic death of her beloved mother. Which sets Meg’s life on a unique course and ensures her refusal to ever accept her father’s new wife. The scenes are extremely moving and emotive, the girls plight is fully explored; and I must admit you grow to really admire Meg and her defensive stance.

‘Meg would never allow herself to trust anyone ever again’

Meg decides in order to live a happy fulfilled and ‘normal’ life it is best to close herself off to her visions and block them out. A decision she is determined to live by. . .

‘The dead couldn’t reach her. Not anymore. Her barriers were too firmly in place and none of them would ever break through and trick her again.
None but one’

The novel then jumps to 2017 Cornwall, where we are reunited with a now adult Meg. She is taking a break from her tough job at a prestigious law firm; on the West Coast of Cornwall. She slowly becomes friends with her neighbour Dan. But we also become aware Meg is deep in grief after the death of her sister Grace four months ago. Meg comes across as paranoid at moments but a lifetime of grief and emotional pain, can take its toll. She slowly opens up to Dan about Grace and even befriends some of the locals.
Then the nightmares begin. . . .

‘Only by facing it can you hope to conquer fear’

There are a series of unusual encounters, that force Meg to explore her own painful past and the local Cornish history. What she uncovers will lead to shock revelations.

I have enjoyed previous novels by this author and this one does not disappoint. The characterisation of meg is brilliant, as you the reader become drawn into her personality and story. The ending is beautifully written and clearly shows the skill of the delivery of a well-planned novel.
Expect the unexpected 5* genius

PR
Patrick Redmond
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Stranger Diaries by @ellygriffiths #NewRelease #Gothic #Thriller @QuercusBooks ‘It can be a dangerous thing, reading too much’

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The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to tales of murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer R.M. Holland, she teaches a short course on them every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an R.M. Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…

My Review:

The Stranger Diaries instantly grabbed by interest, a English Lit teacher obsessed with a gothic author and researching his life’s work. When there is a colleague murdered and creepy notes begin to occur in Clare’s diary!!!! #SOLD!
Great synopsis!

The novel opens with a male narrator and we eventually discover this is the work of R.M. Holland the gothic author Clare is currently researching. Although Clare is a secondary English Lit teacher by day; at night she takes adult students and has covered the work of R.M. Holland. We learn she is currently researching to write a biography on the once beloved author.

R.M. Holland is always in the background of the novel. His past, his life and his work are scattered throughout the novel.

Clare is a teacher at Talgarth High, which is located at Holland House, R.M. Holland’s previous residence. This adds to the eerie feel of the novel and even more so when Clare’s colleague Ella is murdered…
“I just can’t believe I’ll never see her again” – Clare

The novel also shows the points of view of DS Harbinder Kaur and Clare’s teen daughter Georgia. Although, it was Clare I was most captivated by. I just found her character so interesting and I kept trying to second guess her motives, choices and actions.

“I keep thinking I’m in a book” – Clare

There is a note left with Ella’s body that hints at the work of R.M. Holland. But Clare misleads detectives to believe it is a quote from The Tempest. This is when I really began to wonder if I could trust Clare’s narrative at all.

This simply is the perfect winter read, to curl up with on those early dark nights! 4*

‘It can be a dangerous thing, reading too much’

EG
Elly Griffiths
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Darling Blue by @AuthorTracyRees @QuercusBooks #NewRelease #Historical #1920s

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Darling Blue by Tracy Rees
Review to follow
Synopsis:

A sweeping tale of love in the 1920s and a powerful story of reinvention, Darling Blue is a simply gorgeous read…

Blue lives a charmed life. From her family’s townhouse in Richmond, she lives a life of luxury and couldn’t want for anything – well, on the surface at least.

Then on the night of her twenty-first birthday her father makes a startling toast: he will give his daughter’s hand to whichever man can capture her heart best in the form of a love letter. But Blue has other ideas and, unwilling to play at her father’s bewildering games, she sets out on her own path to find her own destiny…

Extract:

Chapter One

All through that shimmering riverside summer of 1925 there seemed to be only one question on everybody’s lips: who was Blue Camberwell going to marry? ‘Jolly well everybody wants to know!’ squealed Juno Forrester in the Richmond Gazette. Blue dropped the newspaper onto a side table and rested her brow against the window. The lawn was abuzz with preparations for her twenty-first birthday party. Waiters were lining up diamond-bright champagne glasses on long tables spread with white tablecloths smooth as icing. Servants hired for the evening perched on ladders, stringing fairy lights through the trees and looping ribbons from trellis to trellis. In the summerhouse, Midge was carefully positioning a gramophone in readiness for the half hours when the jazz quartet would take a breather. Blue’s father was nowhere to be seen. Unable to resist what she knew to be a depressing impulse, Blue picked up the article again.
Could that question be answered tonight, at her comingof- age party? Nothing confirmed, remember! But it is a special occasion, and at least three gentlemen of my acquaintance are head over heels with the young lady.

Three? In love? It was news to Blue.

Whether or not an engagement is announced, this promises to be the party of the year. The guest list includes some of our most distinguished neighbours and yours truly has been privileged with an invitation which I’m clutching in my little paws right now (coloured nail polish – naturally). Dear readers, I promise you a full and faithful account tomorrow. But for now, must dash – time to get my glad rags on!

With a low growl, she dropped the Gazette into the wastepaper basket – a gesture only, since Midge would certainly fish it out later and paste the article into her scrapbook. Blue was used to having her life described in extravagant terms: beautiful Blue and her charmed life; beautiful Blue who lived in a castle with her handsome father, her virtuous stepmother and the elf in the garden . . . She was blessed, that she knew, but life was never just one thing nor the other, not for anyone. As for ‘jolly well everybody’ – they would have to face disappointment. They wouldn’t learn who Blue was going to marry for one simple reason – she didn’t know herself. Blue was far more preoccupied by how she could achieve her dream of becoming a writer than she was by thoughts of romance. But that didn’t make good gossip.

TR
Tracy Rees
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BookReview A Spark Of Light by @jodipicoult 4.5* #NewRelease #LiteraryFiction @HodderBooks

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A Spark Of Light by Jodi Picoult
Review Copy
Synopsis:

The Center for women’s reproductive health offers a last chance at hope – but nobody ends up there by choice.

Its very existence is controversial, and to the demonstrators who barricade the building every day, the service it offers is no different from legalised murder.

Now life and death decisions are being made horrifyingly real: a lone protester with a gun has taken the staff, patients and visitors hostage.

Starting at the tensest moment in the negotiations for their release, A Spark of Light unravels backwards, revealing hour by urgent hour what brought each of these people – the gunman, the negotiator, the doctors, nurses and women who have come to them for treatment – to this point.

And certainties unwind as truths and secrets are peeled away, revealing the complexity of balancing the right to life with the right to choose.

My Review:

Jodi Picoult follows up her previous literary novel Small Great Things, with another novel that centres around a contemporary moral issue. With Small Great Things the focus was on race and racism. With A Spark Of Light, the focus is on abortion rights and female reproductive rights.

The author has been very clever is the way the narrative is written. She never takes a stance on either side of the debate, she simply allows the characters from both sides of the debate to tell their stories. So whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, this would make for a thought-provoking read.

The novel works in a backwards storyline, starting with the huge event (a gun man entering an abortion clinic) and telling the stories of the individuals and how they came to be their that day. Not just the female patients but the staff members and the people accompanying the patients.
It isn’t long until we discover that one of the young women inside is a 15yr old girl named Wren. And Wren isn’t just anyone’s daughter, she is the daughter of the hostage negotiator brought into deal with the armed man.

‘She shouldn’t have come here she should have stayed a little girl’ – Wren 15yrs

The gunman is named George Goddard and slowly we begin to learn his backstory and why he has entered the clinic with an eye for revenge. . .
‘An eye, a life for a life’

The novel informs us of the backstory of the 5 hostages held inside and the owner and doctor who run the clinic. I was absolutely captivated by their stories and they felt so incredibly real. It wasn’t until I got to the authors note that I realised the depth of research the author has undertaken on the topic.
It really is worthy of your time to read this part of the novel.

The novel does detail the communication between the gunman and the negotiator and we learn both men’s history’s as they attempt to share their personal stake in this situation. But only one man can put down the gun and give up, a man that it seems is beyond reaching. . .
‘Some men wear responsibility and some men are worn by it’

The novel also covers a completely separate abortion case. One of a young woman arrested for taking abortion medicines, because in the state of Alabama although abortion may be legal, there are strict legal guidelines to be followed and adhered too. If this legislation is not followed to the letter, the woman may find herself facing a lengthy sentence as does 17yr old Beth.

‘We are all capable of things we never imagined’

Although the novel is a fictional story HEAVILY based upon facts, research and statistics. You as the reader do become dis-attached from the reality. That is when Jodi Picoult cleverly reminds us of the real-life case of Roe v wade. As a UK reader, I know that Roe v Wade is an incredibly important piece of legislation; but I was unaware of who Norma McCorvey was and the history that surrounds the 1970’s case. The details are again delivered from an unbiased viewpoint.

Jodi Picoult is not trying to conform readers but asking them to see things from the other side of the debate. It is very intelligently done; and the author deserves to win some awards for her brave take on such a personal issue for many women.
The novel tackles the theme of abortion from various angles: the emotional trauma, religious reasoning by telling the stories of the individuals involved within.
The novel does also cover the shame/stigma associated with choice of abortion and I felt this was a very important theme to include.
‘Good women want to be mothers, bad women don’t’

Personally, I am pro-choice. I wouldn’t personally wish to undertake an abortion and I never have. I don’t believe it is something any woman WANTS to undertake. I just don’t think it is something I could undertake, there is no religious/moral reasoning for this. It is just a personal feeling.
I do however, 100% believe in the legal right for ALL women to have access to safe and accessible abortions. Because every woman in the world does not live my personal circumstances and we must accept that we cannot decide for others. . .
‘It wasn’t sex that made you a woman. It was having to make decisions, sometimes terrible ones’

This novel deals with some tough themes. No matter which side of the fence you sit, your personal views will be challenged by the individual stories.
But I think the author puts it best. . .

‘Laws are black and white. The lives of women are a thousand shades of grey’ – Jodi Picoult

4.5*

JP
Jodi Picoult
Twitter
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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
Twitter

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