Anne Bonny Mini #BookReview Meet Me At The Museum by #AnneYoungson #NewRelease #Literary #Romance @TransworldBooks #MeetMeAtTheMuseum ‘A tender novel’

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Meet Me At The Museum by Anne Youngson
Review copy
Synopsis:

Sometimes it takes a stranger to really know who you are

When Tina Hopgood writes a letter of regret to a man she has never met, she doesn’t expect a reply.

When Anders Larsen, a lonely museum curator, answers it, nor does he.

They’re both searching for something, they just don’t know it yet.

Anders has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. Tina is trapped in a marriage she doesn’t remember choosing.

Slowly their correspondence blossoms as they bare their souls to each other with stories of joy, anguish and discovery. But then Tina’s letters suddenly cease, and Anders is thrown into despair.

Can their unexpected friendship survive?

My Review:

Meet Me At The Museum, is a short novel at just 201 pages. It is a correspondence based exploration of the two central characters. Tina Hopgood writes a letter originally intended to reach P.V. Glob, a professor whom dedicated a novel to her many years ago. Upon the discovery of P.V Glob’s death, she begins writing a series of letters to museum curator Anders Larson.

Through the letters we learn Tina and Anders full history. The hardships they have faced and the lessons they have learned throughout their lives.

What I really enjoyed about the exchange of letters, was that they were conversations you would never possibly hold with anyone face to face. But given the distance they are allowed to connect in an unusual way. They become emotionally intimate, with each offering the other a source of comfort and acknowledgement.

The novel is a story of human connection and it made me wonder, if we all had a pen-pal to confide in would it help us to self-analyse our own behaviours and lifestyle choices.

A tender novel 4*

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A beautiful hardback to add to any collection!

 

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Author Q&A with @RebeccaLFleet – The House Swap #Psychological #Thriller #NewRelease #TheHouseSwap #AuthorTalks @TransworldBooks Be careful who you let in. . .

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The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet
Review to follow
Synopsis:

‘No one lives this way unless they want to hide something.’

When Caroline and Francis receive an offer to house swap, they jump at the chance for a week away from home. After the difficulties of the past few years, they’ve worked hard to rebuild their marriage for their son’s sake; now they want to reconnect as a couple.

On arrival, they find a house that is stark and sinister in its emptiness – it’s hard to imagine what kind of person lives here. Then, gradually, Caroline begins to uncover some signs of life – signs of her life. The flowers in the bathroom or the music in the CD player might seem innocent to her husband but to her they are anything but. It seems the person they have swapped with is someone she used to know; someone she’s desperate to leave in her past.

But that person is now in her home – and they want to make sure she’ll never forget . . .

Q&A:

Q) For the readers can you tell us a bit about yourself and your new novel, The House Swap?

A) Hello! I’m 38, live in London, and in my day job I work as a brand strategy consultant. I’ve always written, but The House Swap is my first foray into psychological thriller/suspense. It tells the story of a married couple struggling to get their relationship back on track after a difficult few years. To this end, they decide to enter into a house swap and have a break away from home, but when they reach the new house it isn’t long before the wife, Caroline, begins to feel that their surroundings are loaded, carrying memories of a traumatic period of her life that she has worked hard to forget. She starts to wonder if it can be a coincidence – and if not, who she has just let into her own home.

Q) The novel has the unique theme of being centred around a house swap, what was the inspiration behind this idea?

A) I had noticed the growing popularity of house swaps through sites such as Airbnb and not been remotely tempted to try it myself, as I always found it a rather worrying concept – our homes are such personal and private spaces, and allowing a stranger into them without being there ourselves requires a high degree of trust. I started thinking about what could go wrong, and how it would feel if you became aware that you had opened up your own home to someone who might not be a complete stranger after all, and who had their own dark motivations for being there.

Q) The novel focuses on a couple trying to get their marriage back on track. Does this add extra depth to their characters and backgrounds?

A) I hope so! I always saw the book as a relationship drama as much as a thriller. These days, psychological thriller is a pretty broad term. For me, the tension in the book springs largely from the dynamics between the key characters, their relationships to one another and the ways in which they might undermine each other and threaten the fabric of their lives through their own behaviour. The couple in the book, Caroline and Francis, aren’t intended to be wholly likeable; the whole point for me was to show them as real and very flawed people who are trying to do the best they can in difficult circumstances – sometimes misguidedly.

Q) The novel also has a theme of past relationships and those we’d rather leave in the past. With social media and sites such as friends reunited, this has become much more difficult. Did this inspire the novel in any way?

A) I think that our attitudes to past relationship in general are very different in today’s society. The temptation to “keep tabs” on people in a virtual sense even when they have disappeared from our day-to-day lives is a strong one, and it’s almost become socially acceptable, even if we don’t like to admit it. So although this might not have inspired the plot of the novel consciously, I do think that I was aware that these days, trying to leave a relationship in the past as Caroline is doing in the book requires a lot of discipline and dedication. It’s so easy to slip back into wanting to know what that person is up to, and it’s a short step from that to still caring about them.

Q) With the psychological/thriller genre being massively competitive, does this encourage authors to think outside the box and develop new ideas and themes?

A) It’s fair to say that there is quite a bit of repetition when it comes to psychological thriller plots, which I think is pretty inevitable – there are only so many themes and ideas to go round! But yes, I do think it has become more important to try and push the boundaries of those and put a new spin on them. The funny thing is that often new trends emerge which perhaps you find yourself part of without having known or planned it; recently in the Evening Standard, The House Swap was included as an example of the new “criblit” trend (psychological suspense/thrillers with houses at their heart). At the time of writing the book, I don’t think this was a “thing”, but I suppose that sometimes there is just something in the water…

Q) House Swap is a debut novel, what was your feeling upon seeing the finished cover and promotional materials?

A) I have actually had a couple of literary novels published under a different name in a past life (!), but the experience was quite different this time. The psychological thriller genre is one that lends itself brilliantly to strong covers and promotion, and Transworld have done a great job on that. I immediately loved the cover concept of the two monochrome doors – I think it stands out nicely on the shelf and sets the right tone. And then there have been the posters, the book trailer… it is more than I had hoped for and very exciting to see it all coming together.

Q) How will you be celebrating your books launch/release?

A) I had my launch party on 3rd May, which was a great occasion! We held it in a bookshop in Notting Hill and it was the perfect chance for family and friends to come together along with people from Transworld and my agent to celebrate the book’s release. It was very much like a wedding in the sense that in retrospect I can’t actually remember much of what I said to people or even who I talked to, but I was left with the sense of having enjoyed it a lot, which is what you want really…

Q) Finally, what is next in store do you have a next novel planned and are we allowed any details?

A) Yes, I am currently working on my next book, which is in the same genre but not directly connected to The House Swap. In brief, it concerns a man who discovers that his wife is in the witness protection programme as a result of a crime involving her sister eighteen years earlier, and the action shifts back and forth between the present day and the time at which the crime took place. I won’t say too much more about it now, but hopefully it will appeal to the same sort of readers who enjoy The House Swap!

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Rebecca Fleet
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Snap by @BelindaBauer #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #SnapBook @TransworldBooks ‘Bauer writes child characters scarily good!!!’

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Snap by Belinda Bauer
Review copy
Synopsis:

SNAP DECISIONS CAN BE DANGEROUS . . .

On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them.
Jack’s in charge, she’d said. I won’t be long.

But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back.
And life as the children know it is changed for ever.

Three years later, Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother. . .

My Review:

I am a HUGE fan of this author and have read ALL of her previous novels. I love the sound of the synopsis and the way the author has previous written the psychology of children in her novels. I literally could not wait to read this book!

The novel opens in August 1998 on the hard shoulder of the M5. Jack (11yrs) is in the broken down car with his siblings Joy (9yrs) and Merry (2yrs). Their heavily pregnant mother has left the vehicle to use the SOS phones on the hard shoulder. The setting of 1998 adds to the feeling of helplessness as the children must be left alone, whilst the mother attempts to get help.
But their mother never returns!

‘Jack’s in charge’

In 2001 we are introduced to another character, heavily pregnant first time mum Catherine. She disturbs an intruder and finds a knife and note stating ‘I could have killed you’. However, she takes the bizarre course of action to not tell anyone about the encounter. Not wanting to appear a victim or seen as weak in any form. It is a choice that will lead her to come face to face with her intruder.

Jack and his sibling’s fate goes from bad to much worse. The press continues to hound the family, resulting in the children being unable to return to school. Their father is a broken man, falling apart. It falls to Jack to take charge and make the decisions needed for his sibling’s survival.

Jack for me personally is the shining star of this novel. He is so emotionally fragile and vulnerable. He struggles to deal with his own feelings in the aftermath of his mother’s disappearance, leading to bad dreams and a criminal future.
Bauer writes child characters scarily good!!!

West Country Detective Chief Inspector John Marvel has transferred from the murder squad in Lewisham to the quiet town of Somerset. He is a no-nonsense cop and he is itching to solve some ‘proper’ crime. He puts together an operation to trap a local serial burglar nicknamed ‘Goldilocks’.

Catherine continues to be harassed by the anonymous intruder that left the note. She has a weird relationship with her husband Adam, which kept me guessing. I never really trusted her character, there is just something about her, I don’t like. . .

The first 40% of the novel is a difficult read and very slow burning. But once the twists start, the plot really takes off. I was so emotionally invested in the character of Jack. Maybe this is because I am a mother of two young sons. Or his journey of being the oldest sibling and the bearer of responsibility. But there is something very moving about Jack’s plight. His characterisation is an example of excellent writing. 4*

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Belinda Bauer
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Anne Bonny #BookReview American By Day by @derekbmiller 4* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #AmericanNoir @TransworldBooks ‘It’s not a justice story but a story of a broken justice system’

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American By Day by Derek B. Miller
Review copy
Synopsis:

She knew it was a weird place. She’d heard the stories, seen the movies, read the books. But now police Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård has to leave her native Norway and actually go there; to that land across the Atlantic where her missing brother is implicated in the mysterious death of a prominent African-American academic.

America.

And not someplace interesting, either: upstate New York.

It is election season, 2008, and Sigrid is plunged into a United States where race and identity, politics and promise, reverberate in every aspect of daily life.

To find her older brother, she needs the help of the local police who appear to have already made up their minds about the case. Working with – or, if necessary, against — someone actually named Sheriff Irving ‘Irv’ Wylie, she must negotiate the local political minefields and navigate the back woods of the Adirondacks to uncover the truth before events escalate further.

My Review:

This novel is an impressive blend of Nordic Noir and American Noir. It’s not a justice story but a story of a broken justice system.

Police Chief Inspector Sigrid Odegard of Oslo, Norway has only recently been exonerated in a tough case where deadly force was used. When she is summoned to her father’s residence. Her father, Morten is 69yrs old and lonely. He is estranged from his son; Marcus and we learn that this is surrounding past issues when their mother Astrid died. Marcus has never truly gotten over the death of his mother, he has blamed his father and fled to the US. Marcus seeks a better life, a fresh start, but will he find it?

Over the course of the conversation between Sigrid and Morten, we learn that father and son had been in contact via letter recently. That the written communication began seven months ago and ended abruptly a week ago. Morten is concerned and urges Sigrid to investigate. When I say ‘urges’, I mean he already has her flight booked.

On the journey we learn that Marcus had acquired a position at a university and had recently found love. Sigrid is an unusual character she applies rational thought and almost immediately begins compiling the ‘data’ she has surrounded her own brother. She is apprehensive about entering the USA, regarding it as a weird place.
The contrast between the society and way of life in Norway and America is intriguing throughout the novel.

When Sigrid arrives at Marcus’s apartment she is greeted by a hooker named Juliet. She tells Sigrid that not only is Marcus missing but that local Sheriff Irving Wylie has been asking questions regarding the death of Marcus’s girlfriend Lydia.
Did Marcus commit murder?
What kind of mess has Sigrid walked into?
Can she find Marcus before the police?

Alone and in a foreign country, Sigrid know she has to confront the situation with the Sheriff head on. But what she uncovers just leads to more mystery and suspicion. Sigrid often clashes with Irv about police tactics and attitudes. Especially when the case leads to the past police shooting of an unarmed African American boy named Jeffrey, who was just 12 years old.

‘In Jefferson County alone there had been almost two dozen police shootings that had left someone dead. Eighty percent of those dead were black despite fewer than ten percent of the population being black. Everyone knew something was off, but event by event, every shooting sounded right and reasonable. But how could that be?’

When Sigrid gains access to Marcus’s computer files, she learns this case is so much deeper than she originally believed. The novel deals with the issue of institutionalised racism within the police force and the aftermath of trauma for the community of the murdered victim. When I read the scene of Jeffrey’s death, I became as angry as Sigrid, at the injustice of it all.
But can Sigrid take on the American justice system and find her brother?

The novel is set in the 2008 election season and the potential of Obama as president plays out in the background. It is impossible to ignore the political, social and race themes within the novel. This is a detailed crime fiction novel, that I can see being very popular amongst readers of the genre. 4*

DBM
Derek B. Miller
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#BlogTour #Review The Intruder by #PSHogan 4* @TransworldBooks #NewRelease #Creepy #Sinister

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The Intruder by P.S Hogan
Synopsis:

He has the key to hundreds of houses.
Maybe even to yours.

 

A gripping, sinister, deeply unsettling novel from the most sociopathic narrator of 2018. Meet Mr Heming…

William Heming is an estate agent. He’s kept a copy of every key to every house he’s ever sold. Sometimes he visits them. He lets himself in when the owners are out.
But what will happen if he gets caught?
What will he do next?

My review:

I love the short, sharp and catchy synopsis! I think this immediately gathers the readers attention. The narrative of the novel however, grows on you page by page. Until you are absolutely hooked on the last pages.
The story is one of voyeurism, spying and unhealthy behaviour. Told from the perspective, of our protagonist William Heming.

William Heming is a respected and successful estate agent. He clearly has no financial issues. Unfortunately for William, he has a magnitude of other issues. The novel slowly unravels his life from childhood to the present day. The chapters jump back and forth, both have a consistent eerie feeling.
I got the impression, this is a feeling, a man like William would give off to those he meets. He appears to be friendless, odd and full of self-confidence.
William’s personality is a recipe for disaster!

“Here, among the stranger’s belongings, is where I am most at home” – William

William is difficult to get to grips with at first. Is he a pathological liar? Are we reading the inner thoughts of a psychopath? Why does he have delusions of grandeur?
What are the secrets in his past?

As the story develops, we observe his obsessions with specific people. How he interacts with them, both when they know and when they do not. I was on the edge of my seat as he lurks in people’s homes, inspecting their lives and making quick judgements. One thing, is for certain William is the nosey neighbour from hell!
He reels off stories of his previous harassment of others. With great ease and with an almost proud attitude. This is when I began to become fascinated by his character.

“I may be there when you are, or when you are gone, or more likely just before you arrive” – William

I often read psychological thrillers or novels with great suspenseful moments. But there is no one quite like William. He tells so many elaborate lies, he believes them himself! Leaving you the reader, to read between the lines.
I read this novel in one day and I felt more and more drawn into the story with every single page! 4*

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