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
Review Copy
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 #BookReview Yesterday by @FeliciaMYap #CrimeFiction #Psychological #Thriller @Wildfirebks ‘With themes of politics, mental health, obsession and memory, this novel is a brave debut.’

coverYesterday by Felicia Yap
Review copy
Synopsis:

Today, the police are at your door.

They say that the body of your husband’s mistress has been found in the River Cam. They think your husband killed her two days ago.

You can’t recall what he did that day, because you only remember yesterday.

You rely on your diary to tell you where you’ve been, who you love and what you’ve done.

So, can you trust the police?
Can you trust your husband?
Can you trust yourself?

My Review:

This is a cracking novel with a unique edge, which is not revealed in the synopsis. The world of mono/duo’s is revealed much later in the novel. However, as a psychological thriller this novel definitely delivers. It has various themes within and I think the author was very brave to tackle such a multitude of themes in a debut novel. What I would personally refer to as ‘the author came out swinging’. The book market and in-particular the psychological/thriller genre is massively competitive. I can read this genre for an entire month of new releases alone and they will all be fantastic. But I suppose what you need as a debut author in this genre, is a niche that makes your book stand out against the rest.
Yesterday, has that niche.

The novel opens 2yr before the murder of Sophia Alyssa Ayling. With a female patient in a mental health institution talking directly to the reader. She talks of revenge and of past pain, it doesn’t make much sense at the time. Yet the words are incredibly powerful.
All will be revealed much later, as they say…

‘It’s the sum total of remembered grievances that makes hatred potent’ – Sophia

‘The cat of revenge will be easy’ – Sophia

The novel then introduces Claire Evans. Claire is a mono which means her memory is much shorter than the superior duo’s. She has been married to her husband, successful author and wannabe MP Mark for 20yrs. Part of his political campaign is built upon their successful mixed marriage.
Except the marriage is far from perfect, as we read on and discover. . .

‘This is why he think he’s superior’ – Claire

The marriage seems as though it is one of appearances and carefully constructed by the pair to give the illusion that their life together is perfect. They live in a mansion, have exotic holidays and appear to want for nothing. Yet something, just does not add up.

‘My life is idyllic – but only on the surface’ – Claire

In the mono/duo world, everyone keeps a diary. Apple have amassed a small fortune from providing the idiary with fingerprint recognition. However, it is what is locked inside these diaries that is so much more revealing. . .

‘Unlike my husband, I have done very little to be proud of in my lifetime’ – Claire

When the body of a woman is discovered in the river Cam. The police are quick to investigate those listed in the victim’s diary. Leading them straight to the door of Mark Evans. DCI Hans Richardson is the investigating officer, he has secrets of his own, which he must shield from discovery.

There are several chapters from Sophia’s diary, of her brief encounters with various men. I quite liked Sophia, she is feisty and not afraid to use sexual temptation to get what she wants. It becomes clear that what she really seeks is revenge. As revenge themes go, stealing 17yrs of someone’s life is strong enough but then having them incarcerated in a mental hospital, is far more enraging. No wonder Sophia wants revenge! But she has also learnt and adapted due to her experiences in various institutions. Sophia knows to be patient, bide her time and strike only with absolute certainty.

‘They stole seventeen years of my life’ – Sophia

As the police scrutinise Mark and Claire’s life. Mark becomes aware his political career is also at risk. But what links him to the body in the Cam?

‘No one elects a man who can’t keep his own household in order. No one’ – Rowan

Claire doesn’t know who or what to believe. But she is adamant Mark has been unfaithful and for this he must pay. Also driven by revenge, she begins to create a nightmare scenario under the media spotlight. But has Mark been unfaithful? Is Claire, right? Or is the ‘other woman’ merely an attempt to obliterate his political message?
‘Someone out there is trying to bring you down’

The novel also has various articles scattered throughout that explain and expand upon the mono/duo world, better than I ever could. They give you an insight into a world where your memory length, designates your place in the class system.
The diary entries are brilliant, I am rarely hooked on this kind of element and find letters/diaries a distraction from the story. But these are just so well written and key to the plot. I was absolutely gripped. Yet again Sophia, struck gold for me with the diary entries. She had read every person involved perfectly and her character was determined by their actions against her. but why was she so obsessed with Claire, I had no idea?

‘Looking ill in a hospital isn’t a good idea. It’s as bad as looking guilty in a court of law’ – Sophia

With themes of politics, mental health, obsession and memory, this novel is a brave debut. The relationships people hold with one another and a marriage that is not all it seems, which ends with a twist in the tale, impressive and I look forward to the next release by the author. 4*

FY
Felicia Yap
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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 #BookReview The Dead Ex by @JaneCorryAuthor #Psychological #Thriller #NewRelease #TheDeadEx He cheated. He lied. He died.

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The Dead Ex by Jane Corry
Review Copy
Synopsis:

HE CHEATED. HE LIED. HE DIED.

Vicki’s husband David once promised to love her in sickness and in health. But after a brutal attack left her suffering with epilepsy, he ran away with his mistress.

So when Vicki gets a call one day to say that he’s missing, her first thought is ‘good riddance’. But then the police find evidence suggesting that David is dead. And they think Vicki had something to do with it.

What really happened on the night of David’s disappearance?
And how can Vicki prove her innocence, when she’s not even sure of it herself?

My Review:

The Dead Ex, is a cleverly weaved psychological thriller that keeps you on your toes. There are multiple narratives and I was unsure how they would all fit together. But when the truth is finally revealed it is makes for a dramatic finale.
We follow Vicki an aromatherapist from Cornwall, who comes under police suspicion when her ex-husband goes missing.
What is Vicki’s story? Why is she so evasive with the truth?

‘I love aromatherapy. Its magic is both distracting and calming’

The second narrative is that of Scarlet, a young child. Scarlet’s narrative is written from 2007. We become aware she is living with her mother and that the circumstances aren’t healthy for such a young child. When her mother is arrested, Scarlet enters the foster care system. It is a system that will come to shape her entire existence and being.

The novel jumps between Vicki and Scarlet’s stories. We learn that Vicki’s marriage was one of disaster, married to a cold and distant man. When Vicki is viciously attacked at her workplace, she develops epilepsy. Which calls an abrupt end to her marriage. Her ex, clearly not to big on the whole ‘in sickness and in health’ vow. Scarlet enters the foster care system and we become aware of the wide-range of placements that exist. From abusive and overcrowded to loving and caring. Scarlet rejects all forms of help, her tie to her mother too strong to let go of.

Vicki is an unreliable narrator due to her personal feelings of vengeance towards her husband. You never fully feel comfortable trusting that she is as innocent as she makes out.
Scarlet is an unreliable narrator due to the emotional manipulation she has sustained over her childhood. After all, a child that has emotionally abused, will only grow-up to replicate that behaviour.

The author has done an outstanding job of weaving the two stories and keeping the reader guessing throughout. 4*

JC
Jane Corry
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Strangers On A Bridge by @LouiseMangos #Psychological #Thriller #NewRelease @HarperCollins #StrangersOnABridge She should never have saved him. . .

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Strangers On A Bridge by Louise Mangos
Review copy
Synopsis:

She should never have saved him.

When Alice Reed goes on her regular morning jog in the peaceful Swiss Alps, she doesn’t expect to save a man from suicide. But she does. And it is her first mistake.

Adamant they have an instant connection, Manfred’s charming exterior grows darker and his obsession with Alice grows stronger.

In a country far from home, where the police don’t believe her, the locals don’t trust her and even her husband questions the truth about Manfred, Alice has nowhere to turn.

To what lengths will Alice go to protect herself and her family?

My Review:

Strangers On A Bridge is a clever story of obsession, packed with twists! I can see this being a huge hit for summer readers and a definite one for the beach. It tells the story of Alice Reed, who saves a random stranger from a suicide attempt. Only what Alice doesn’t know yet, is this will be the unravelling of everything she holds dear.

The novel is set in the Swiss alps, which really adds to the setting in terms of background scenery. You can imagine Alice on her morning run, by the Tobel bridge.
It conjures instant images in my mind.
It is at Tobel bridge she first encounters Manfred Guggenbuhl.
She finds him alone and anxious and her training as a psychologist kicks in. . .

“I cannot live with myself any more. I cannot live with who I am, what I do. What I have done’ – Manfred

Immediately Manfred sees Alice as a saviour figure and this is when her trouble begins.
At first it is mild and almost coincidental, Manfred appears desperate to please Alice and prove to her his gratitude. But then he begins to appear everywhere she goes. She feels hounded and harassed. The police won’t listen, her own husband doesn’t seem interested. Alice feels alone and desperate.

‘The only person I could talk to was my Swiss alps GP’ – Alice

Alice turns into her own personal investigator. She becomes determined to get to the bottom of creepy Manfred. His past, his family and his history. She is desperate to understand the man hellbent on ruining her life.

The unravelling of Alice Reed

Alice is without a doubt a memorable character. She is strong-willed and defiant, refusing to allow Manfred to sabotage her future in the Swiss new neighbourhood. What ensues is a battle of wills, who will win and who will lose? 4*

LM
Louise Mangos
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