Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview You’ll Never See Me Again by @LesleyPearse 5* #NewRelease #Coastal #Historical #Saga #LoveLesley @MichaelJBooks

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You’ll Never See Me Again by Lesley Pearse
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

You have to keep running if you want to survive . . .

When her husband returns shell-shocked and broken from the Great War and his mother makes her life a misery, Betty Wellow discovers how bitter and hard life can truly be. But it is not until a devastating storm sweeps through their small fishing village and endangers her life, that she sees her chance to escape – and takes it.

Fleeing to Bristol, she changes her name to Mabel Brook and takes a position as a maid. But tragedy strikes once more after the sudden death of her mistress and she is cast back onto the streets.

Penniless and alone Mabel suffers a brutal attack before being rescued by a psychic named Nora Nightingale. There she gets her first taste of those who receive messages from the dead and realises she may have this gift herself.

But it isn’t long before Mabel receives her own message and is forced back to the very place she has escaped. A place of heartbreak and perhaps even murder – but Mabel realises that to secure her future she must confront her past one last time.

My Review ~

I am a HUGE Lesley Pearse fangirl. My favourite title is Remember Me which covers the historical fleets of the convicts being shipped to Australia. I would urge anyone and everyone to read it. Especially if you are fans of TV shoes such as Banished or Jamestown which also deal with the theme of British Colonies.

You’ll Never See Me Again deals with some incredibly deep and emotive issues but it is ultimately the story of the protagonist Betty Wellows later known as Mabel Brook. A title I have read lately of a similar summary would be Those Who Are loved by Victoria Hislop. Although this title is set along the Southern coasts of England.

The novel opens in Devon 1917, with Betty battling with her forbidding mother-in-law Agnes. Betty’s husband and childhood sweetheart, Martin has returned from the great war, with severe shell shock and is no longer able to verbally communicate. Betty’s life is now being ran by matriarch Agnes. Whom controls every aspect of betty’s existence.

‘I don’t know what my son ever saw in you’

One Stormy evening, when Betty can’t take the verbal abuse anymore, she makes a rash decision to flee. Leaving behind her, her husband and her miserable life as Betty Fellows.
Betty’s life story is explained and I really felt for the character, she had known so much heartache, so young.
She is determined to start again, a new life, as Mabel Brook.

‘You’ll never see me again’

She ends up in Bristol, although she fears the big city life. The guest house of Mrs Halliwell’s is filled with warmth and kindness. But Mabel fears exposure, as local articles surface of her assumed dead back in Devon.

‘She’d thought she was heading for an adventure, something better than she had before, but it seemed it was going to be far worse’

Mabel moves around and in turn we are introduced to a wide variety of characters. I became quickly and happily wrapped up in the story of Mabel’s future and her quest to finally be free!

‘Holding bitterness inside you isn’t good for anyone’

Lesley Pearse is on fire, as always! 5*

LP
Lesley Pearse
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Out Of The Ashes by Vicky Newham 5* #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #DiverseReads @HQstories #MayaRahman #Series

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Out Of The Ashes by Vicky Newham ~ DI Maya Rahman #2
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

A tragic accident – or a ruthless killer?
When a flash mob on Brick Lane is interrupted by a sudden explosion, DI Maya Rahman dashes to the scene. A fire is raging through one of the city’s most infamous streets, the site of Maya’s childhood home. And the discovery of two charred bodies in the burnt-out building transforms an arson attack into a murder case.

With witnesses too caught up in the crowd to have seen anything useful, Maya is facing a complex investigation without a single lead. And, when reports of a second, even more horrifying crime land on Maya’s desk, it’s obvious there’s more at stake than she could ever have imagined. She must find the answers – before all of East London goes up in flames.

My Review ~

Out Of The Ashes is the second title in the DI Maya Rahman series. With this novel taking place in the diverse area of London known as Brick Lane. I was really looking forward to digging further into Maya’s personality and past as a character and I was not disappointed at all.

The novel opens with Rosa Feldman a Jewish business owner on Brick Lane. She is swept up with a local flash mob appears, narrowly just missing an explosion on the Lane. DI Maya Rahman and DS Dan Maguire are called to the scene. With two dead victims their investigation, just became potentially a double murder case…
Is this an accident? tragic arson? a terrorist attack? or a hate crime?

Through the story we are introduced to a wealth of interesting and diverse characters. This is clearly a theme that the author is passionate about and it reflects brilliantly on the page. A modern new crime series, with a modern protagonist and for a new era of young modern readers. I think Newham’s creation of Maya, is the perfect character to bring the younger readers to the genre.

Back to the story ~ Although Maya and Dan appear to have only a minor few leads. They lead to much more intriguing mysteries. Such as: a flash mob protest with a anti-gentrification mission. We learn of the various diverse communities. The racism they’ve faced historically and in the current climate.
There is much more depth to Brick Lane, than first assumed.

‘Working class areas of London are becoming the domain of the privileged’ 

The victims lives adds more confusion and complexity into the case. A man found dead, in the arms of a lover, but not his pregnant partner…
We are given some insight into Maya’s past with some interesting breadcrumb clues of her backstory. Why did Maya’s father go missing? And Why is Rosa Feldman convinced that he did not simply disappear?

I raced through the title in just one afternoon. It has various themes that really resonate with the reader. Family loyalty and people just trying to get by, with the support of their local communities. 5*

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Vicky Newham
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The River by Peter Heller 4* #NewRelease #LiteraryFiction #Mystery @wnbooks #Survival #Canada

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The River by Peter Heller
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

Two friends
Wynn and Jack have been best friends since their first day of college, brought together by their shared love of books and the great outdoors.

The adventure of a lifetime
When they decide to take time off university and canoe down the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate the ultimate wilderness experience.
No phones.
No fellow travellers.
No way of going back.

A hellish ride
But as a raging wildfire starts to make its way towards them, their expedition becomes a desperate race for survival. And when a man suddenly appears, claiming his wife has vanished, the fight against nature’s destructive power becomes entangled with a much deadlier game of cat and mouse.

My Review ~

‘The only tracks in the mud of the portages were wolf and moose, otter, bear’

The prologue warns us of a local forest fire. The opening within this title is at times difficult, with the intensity of the story and the descriptive writing. But once Wynn and Jack’s Backstory is revealed it does become a much easier read. Their childhood and family relationships are explored and we come to understand what drives them to want to be alone in the wilderness.

‘There should be two paddles, a man and a woman’
On their trek down river they come across a man (Pierre) alone. He talks of a missing wife named Maia, but she is nowhere to be seen. Wynn and Jack are torn as what to do, they are not only battling natures elements but the elements of great danger with a forest fire quickly spreading. They decide to venture back to the couples camp and assess the situation from there. On the journey back, 10 days of provisions are lost and things don’t look any brighter when they arrive at the couple’s camp, to find Maia, a victim of a violent attack.

Who did this to Maia? Was this a bear attack? A domestic violence incident?
Who can Wynn and Jack trust? 

‘It’s a death sentence’ 

The remote location really adds to the sense of despair and isolation from assistance. There are various scenarios for Pierre and Maia’s plight, scenarios both Wynn and Jack attempt to understand. The hunger, exposure or the elements and exhaustion seeps from the pages. I really felt as though I was on the river, in a kayak, with the characters.
I raced through the pages in less than 3hrs, a perfect Saturday afternoon read! 4*

PH
Peter Heller
GoodReads

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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
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Absolution by @YrsaSig Yrsa Sigurdardottir 5* #Psychological #Thriller #ChildrensHouse #Series #FreyaAndHuldar @HodderBooks @HodderFiction

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The Absolution by Yrsa Sigurdardottir – Children’s House #3
Translated by Victoria Cribb
My Own Copy ~ Hardback

Synopsis ~

The new novel from the internationally bestselling, prizewinning, queen of Icelandic crime.

All he wants is for them to say sorry.

The police find out about the crime the way everyone does: on Snapchat. The video shows the terrified victim begging for forgiveness.
When her body is found, it is marked with a number 2…

Detective Huldar joins the investigation, bringing child psychologist Freyja on board to help question the murdered teenager’s friends. Soon, they uncover that Stella was far from the angel people claim – but even so, who could have hated her enough to kill?

Then another teenager goes missing, and more clips are sent. Freyja and Huldar can agree on two things at least: the truth is far from simple. And the killer is not done yet.

A brilliantly suspenseful story about the dark side of social media, The Absolution will make you wonder what you should have said sorry for…

My Review ~

‘Say You’re sorry’

The Absolution is a thoroughly modern novel, dealing with the themes of online bullying, stalking and revenge! It is action-packed and a neat edition to the Children’s House series. I am a huge fan of this series and have read The Legacy #1 and The Reckoning #2. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the latest.

The novel opens with a vicious attack on a young teenage girl. It is a scene that plays out perfectly as if it was in a teen horror movie. The victim alone, late at night in an empty cinema theatre. Huldar arrives and finds plenty of blood, but a missing body. The CCTV footage later reveals just what took place…

‘What can she have done to the man to deserve that?’

Freyja is brought in to help interview the teenage friends and potential enemies of the victim (Stella). She is moved (and so was I) when she interviews Adalheidur, a female student and victim of Stella’s relentless bullying. The social media bullying narrative is fully explained and the cruel harsh reality of the abuse is laid bare.
There is a narrative from another bullying victim David’s perspective. Hearing the vile threats/abuse and knowing he is at the edges of suicidal ideation, is absolutely heart-breaking! As a parent, my heart was ripped out for these kids. Scary to admit that the perpetrator’s are often just kids themselves also.

There are chapters from the killers point of view, where the killer attempts to justify their actions of murder as revenge. After reading of the harsh venom thrown towards the victim’s, you do begin to understand the killer’s psychology. After all, wouldn’t most of us snap under this kind of daily rigorous abuse?

The novel has dark theme’s as listed above, but in this modern era it is a story we see played out multiple times in the local and national media. Kids bullying kids, to the point of vicious and graphic assaults.
A dark and scary theme, very well done! 5*

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Yrsa Sigurdardottir
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My Review of The Legacy – Children’s House #1
My Review of The Reckoning – Children’s House #2
My Review of Someone To Watch Over Me
My Review of The Undesired
My Review of Why Did You Lie?