Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Seas Of Snow by @zinca Kerensa Jennings 5* Genius #PaperbackRelease #LiteraryFiction @unbounders Trust. Betrayal. Consequences.

Seas of Snow Paperback Cover Kerensa Jennings
Seas Of Snow by Kerensa Jennings
Synopsis:

1950s England. Five-year-old Gracie Scott lives with her Mam and next door to her best friend Billy. An only child, she has never known her Da. When her Uncle Joe moves in, his physical abuse of Gracie’s mother starts almost immediately. But when his attentions wander to Gracie, an even more sinister pattern of behaviour begins.

As Gracie grows older, she finds solace and liberation in books, poetry and her enduring friendship with Billy.
Together they escape into the poetic fairy-tale worlds of their imaginations.

But will fairy tales be enough to save Gracie from Uncle Joe’s psychopathic behaviour – and how far will it go?

Seas of Snow is a haunting, psychological domestic drama that probes the nature and the origins of evil.

My Review:

As I type this I am still very blown away by this novel. I was gripped by this intense plot and by gripped, I mean I have just read this novel straight through in 5 hours and 15 minutes! I couldn’t put it down! I felt a wide range of emotion, the strongest one being the urge to hold my daughter in my arms and promise her I will never, ever let her down. This novel really hit me in the feels, badly! It is one I doubt I will ever forget.
Here is my review…..

Seas Of Snow is essentially two stories interwoven into one powerful novel. On the one hand, the novel spans 1940s-1950s and details the childhoods of neighbourhood best friends Gracie and Billy. An incredibly moving friendship built upon childhood innocence. On the other hand, the novel shows the nightmare Gracie will come to know and live. When Uncle Joe darkens her door!

The early chapters are written from Gracie’s perspective and we meet an intelligent young girl, who loves to dream and dream big. Gracie is the literal depiction of innocence and with her charming outlook on life “you don’t know everything when you’re 5”. You slowly grow to love her character. Gracie has a deep love for fairy tales and all things magical. She is a sweet little girl who reminded me of my own daughter many times. Armed with her best friend Billy, Gracie feels she can take on the world………that is until late one night in 1946.

Uncle Joe is a narcissistic bully, who destroys the lives of everyone he comes into contact with. When Uncle Joe comes to stay he automatically takes on the role of ‘abusive father’. Suddenly Gracie is witnessing her mother sustain vicious beatings at his hands. Due to the era, there is no real support or help to call upon. With these issues considered ‘domestics’ and the police unlikely to help. What goes on behind closed doors must stay there! Life at May close, Tyneside rapidly becomes unbearable. We read on as Gracie’s mother slowly becomes a beaten down, powerless and submissive woman. It is at this point Uncle Joe turns his attentions towards Gracie, one day when she is in the bath.

Gracie and Billy are best friends and their summers are spent building dens and reading poetry. The novel is scattered with literature references and they add to the story and explain how words help Gracie and poetry is a secret key. Gracie idolises Billy and it is through this friendship and hero worship she maintains some level of normality in her existence. Billie loves to invent games such as dragons and princesses. They have a genuine, once in a lifetime bond and it is simply beautiful to read it play out. Billy comforts her with her fears of ravens and eventually her confessions about Uncle Joe.

There is a backdrop character of an elderly fragile lady who Billy visits. A woman whom life has been painful and unkind too. Billy visits and reads to her and seeks to offer her some comfort and it is in this moment you realise the true beauty of Billy’s character. Gracie continues in her life to seek to interpret the world around her. She is living with nightmare presence of Uncle Joe’s returning vile, poisonous, darkness. Therefore, she starts to blame herself and believe god must be punishing her. This is not helped when Gracie’s mother encourages her to keep the secrets, out of fear for what Joe may do next. Further on in the novel we see chapters from the perspective of Joe. That show what a truly terrifying horrible man he is. Also from the perspective of a now adult Billy, as he tries to piece his and Gracie’s past life together.
We soon learn that Gracie is one in a long line of Joe’s victims.

This novel is a story of life and the darkness of past betrayals. It symbolises the burdens people carry and the secrets in their closest. What makes it so harrowing, is that it could so easily all be true. The powerlessness of women in the era, the lack of legal assistance, the hushing up of abuses both sexual and physical all contributed massively to the victimising of Gracie.

It is such an emotional journey, that provides many thought-provoking moments. It is one I think would be very popular for book groups. For the members to debate/discuss the various characters and the narrative. This novel flowed at an easy 5* pace, but with that ending I completely broke down.
It was expertly crafted into the story and the writer deserves a ‘5* Genius’ rating!
Highly recommended!

My Q&A with Kerensa Jennings

Author Image Kerensa Jennings
Kerensa Jennings
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***Don’t miss the other fabulous bloggers on the blog tour***
Book Blog Tour Poster Seas of Snow Kerensa Jennings
#BlogTour organised by @CarolineBookBit 

#BlogTour #GuestReview by @zinca The Future Can’t Wait by @AngelenaBoden @urbanepub #NewRelease @urbanebooks

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The Future Can’t Wait by Angelena Boden
Synopsis:

The Future Can’t Wait is a contemporary novel set in multicultural Birmingham against a background of growing radicalisation of young people sympathetic to Islamic State.   Kendra Blackmore’s half Iranian daughter Ariana (Rani) undergoes an identity crisis which results in her cutting off all contact with her family. Sick with worry and desperate to understand why her home loving daughter would do this, Kendra becomes increasingly desperate for answers – and to bring her estranged daughter home….

#GuestReview:

Review by Kerensa Jennings, bestselling author of SEAS OF SNOW

 

The terrifying unravelling of a mother’s life. The fragility of the human psyche. Brilliantly drawn.

My overwhelming feeling after finishing this book was that I could see it being used in the classroom and in other educational applications to help vulnerable young people. It’s a fascinating read that forces you to evaluate complex issues of identity and cultural heritage from different perspectives and in a variety of lights.

It’s a challenging book because of the highly charged content, infused as it is with an undercurrent of disaffection and anger. Highly relevant to the world we live in, I am impressed both by the author’s courage and the publisher’s commitment to seeing a difficult topic published.

The heart and emotion of the story sing through the pages.

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The unravelling of the protagonist’s mental state as she is caught in the grip of grief, bewilderment and paranoia, is expertly crafted. The dialogue feels authentic and the characters particularly of Kendra – our valiant, yet emotionally fragile lead, her husband David and son Adam are written with integrity. It’s a contemporary novel set in contemporary times. Social media and the digital connectedness of the world are described in technicolour.

The beating pulse of the story is a mother’s relationship with her daughter. It is a painful and upsetting read in many ways, so clunk-click, get ready for the ride. You’ll need to strap yourself in for this one. Anyone wanting a cosy fireside Autumn read…. my advice would be, this is not for you. But anyone intrigued by issues of identity, and the issues and behaviours it might provoke both in the parents and offspring of mixed race children, will find this revealing, difficult and thought provoking.

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I had no preconceptions about this book. I was invited to read it by the publisher, with a view to potentially reviewing it. I have since learned a lot more about the wonderful author behind The Future Can’t Wait – Angelena Boden – her academic rigour, her own personal journey, and her experiences having married an Iranian man earlier in her life. The acknowledgements page at the back of this book is the first time an acknowledgements page has brought tears to my eyes.

There are elements of the story I personally struggled with – particularly an aspect of Kendra’s behaviour involving psychics which I shall let you discover for yourself. It didn’t ring true to me that someone of Kendra’s groundedness would resort to seek comfort in the weasel words of confidence tricksters. But I know from my own journalism background that it is worryingly common for smart, well-rounded people to descend into a spiral of decline. So behaviours can become both unpredictable and unexpected.

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On a personal level, I wish Angelena Boden the very best of luck as her work is gradually discovered across the bookosphere. I know from personal experience writing – and seeing published – my own psychological thriller, SEAS OF SNOW, how overwhelming and frightening it is. My book covers extremely difficult topics, too – from child abuse and domestic abuse to psychopathy. I was incredibly excited about seeing my work out there, but also petrified about the response. I think Angelena Boden has been immensely brave bringing such an important topic to life through such an extraordinary story. It can’t have been easy, I don’t think, but I and many other readers will be very glad that she did.

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Angelena Boden
Author Bio:

Angelena Boden (M.Soc.Sc PGDE) has spent thirty five years as an international training consultant, specialising in interpersonal skills and conflict resolution. She trained in Transactional Analysis, the psychology of communication and behaviour, her preferred tool for counselling and coaching.

Since retiring from training, she runs a coaching practice in Malvern for people who are going through transition periods in their life; divorce, empty nesting, redundancy or coping with difficult situations at work, home and within the wider family.

Angelena has two half Iranian daughters and has extensive experience of helping mixed nationality couples navigate problems in their marriages.

She is the author of The Cruelty of Lambs, a novel about psychological domestic abuse. Her new book, The Future Can’t Wait tackles the breakdown of a mother and daughter relationship within a cross cultural context. It is published by Urbane Publications and is out in November 2017.

Author Links:
Web: http://www.angelenaboden.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AngelenaBoden @AngelenaBoden
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bodenangelena/

#GuestReviewer:
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Kerensa Jennings author of, Seas Of Snow
Website: http://www.seasofsnow.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15253227.Kerensa_Jennings
Twitter: @zinca

*Huge Thanks to Guest reviewer Kerensa Jennings for her review of, The Future can’t Wait.
Which was released 2nd November and is available via kindle or just 99p*