Good Samaritans by Will Carver @will_carver @annecater @OrendaBooks #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my review of Good Samaritans by Will Carver today as part of the Blog Tour with Orenda Books. Huge thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invite and to Orenda and Will for my copy of this fabulous book.

Synopsis:

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his
phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps
upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to
Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.
But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more
for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into
day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into
something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…
And someone is watching…
Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the
scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

My Thoughts:

The Samaritans are a group available to people in need. What happens if a phone call goes beyond a phone call. This story takes a dark look into a sinister world that kept me avidly turning the pages.

This is the first book I have read by this author and good god is it creepy, sinister dark and delicious. Full of twists and turns that left me just a bit shocked. Definitely not what I was expecting, and this is meant in a good way. The synopsis did a great job of getting me hooked, the pages of the story had me addicted.

I am not elaborating on the plot at all because I don’t want to give spoilers. I will say it is clever and has a real sense of suspense, there were times I was wondering where this story was going and how it was going to link up. By the end, I was feeling a little stunned as this disturbing story was revealed, Oh and in a really good way.

The way the book is laid out worked really well, in daily chapters and then broken down into quick sub-chapters. These gave a snappiness to the story as it moved along at a good pace. I would suggest that it would be ideal for picking up reading a couple of sections and then carrying on about your day, but this will not happen as once you pick it up you will not want to put it down.

If there were a limit to words I could use to describe this book they would be: twisted, dangerous, disturbing and sick and that is just some of the characters. You will soon work out who to like and then there are the ones that you want to be nowhere near, not in the same postcode, county or for that matter the same country.

I would say this is definitely a book aimed at adults with shall I say a slightly more open mind, there are a few erm… sexy, dirty bits and you know what it actually worked well and was appropriate.

So if you are after a book that has shocks, thrills, creepiness, and suspense then this is a must read. If you like an edginess that has a realistic feel to it then it is a must read and believe me when I say that you will never look at a bottle of bleach in the same way again…

A book that readers of psychological thrillers, domestic noir, crime, suspense and one I would highly recommend.
Purchase link: Amazon UK

About the Author:

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Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January
David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but
returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He
turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and
television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful
theatre company.
He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while
working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

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The Cornish Retribution by Amanda James #BookReview @Bloodhoundbook

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I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Cornish Retribution by Amanda James as part of the Blog Blitz with Emma at Bloodhound Books. My thanks to Emma for the invite.

As soon as I saw an email for the new Amanda James book I didn’t read the synopsis I just grabbed my diary and scheduled the review straight in. I have read a few of Amanda’s books and I have not been disappointed. There are a few authors whose books I will automatically agree to be part of a Blog Tour/ Blitz for and Amanda is one of them 🙂

Synopsis:

After a tragic car accident, Samantha is left widowed and bereft.  Her husband Adam was everything to her. But at least the home they shared together in Cornwall provides her with some security. Or does it?

Upon returning from a school reunion in Sheffield, where Sam met her old friend, Penny, and an old flame from her school days, Dan, she discovers that Adam had invested money unwisely and she is now penniless.

When Penny and Dan, who are now married, arrive in Cornwall to visit Sam, Dan comes up with a way in which Sam can keep the house. He suggests she turns it into a writing retreat. And he is willing to invest.

Despite his wife’s reservations, Dan gets his way but at what price?

Why is Dan so keen to help? Has Sam put herself in harm’s way?

Some relationships are built to last. Others are deadly.

 

My Thoughts:

Samantha (Sam) is recently widowed and struggling to deal with various things. She decides to attend an school reunion and meets up with Penny and Dan. They haven’t seen each other for many years and when Penny and Dan decide to visit. They find Sam isn’t quite as financially secure as she thought she would be and so a business partnership is arranged though not everyone is quite so keen …

One thing I have discovered with this author, no actually there are two things… one is the ability to keep me dangling as she weaves her story and the other is the spectacular setting descriptions.

The setting in this book is the Cornish coastline that provides its own range of characteristics that compliment the characters and the story in the book. The characters themselves are not all they appear to be and take routes I wasn’t expecting. What is a seemingly nice gesture and a friendly helping hand soon turns out to be something quite different.

As I read this book I found my emotions towards the characters changing, one moment feeling sorry for them and at others thinking they’re hiding something or being shocked at their actions.

As the characters were gradually introduced I did wonder how the connections would be made, they came across as nice, normal people…but what is normal? By the end of the book I had been manipulated into various beliefs and thoughts that had me chopping and changing as I read. I have to say the baddie was one that made my skin crawl as I discovered who they were and why they were doing the things they did. You will certainly work out your favourites.

I know this is my usual vague non spoiler review, but it has to be like this. I read this story on one sitting as I got hooked, willing some characters to see sense and hoping others would get their comeuppance. The story line held my  attention throughout and I really enjoyed that feeling of not quite being sure about who I could trust or what the truth would eventually be.

If you are a reader who likes a vividly described, atmospheric read that has a plot that has you guessing as it weaves and twists then this is one you should definitely read. A wonderful crime, thriller novel with a psychological edge, its devious, full of suspense, drama and manipulation and one I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

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Amanda has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published, given that she left school with no real qualifications of note apart from an A* in how to be a nuisance in class. Nevertheless, she returned to education when her daughter was five and eventually became a history teacher. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true when her first short story was published. Amanda has written many short stories and has six novels currently published.

Amanda grew up in Sheffield but now has realised her lifelong dream of living in Cornwall and her writing is inspired every day by the dramatic coastline near her home. She has sketched out many stories in her head while walking the cliff paths. Four of her mystery/suspense novels are set there, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Summer in Tintagel, Behind the Lie and Rip Current. The Cornish Retribution is also set in Cornwall and will be published by Bloodhound Books in October 2018.

Amanda, known to many as Mandy, spends far more time than is good for her on social media and has turned procrastination to a fine art. She can also usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.

Links: Amanda’s blog – Amanda’s Blog –  Twitter  –  Facebook

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The Choice by Edith Eger #BookReview @PenguinRHUK

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Today I am delighted to be sharing The Choice by Edith Eger, a holocaust survivor and now an acclaimed psychologist. I would like to thank Bishneen Gurwara at Penguin Random House for inviting me to read a copy of this book.

You can purchase a copy of this book at good bookshops or at AMAZON UK where it is available in various formats.

Synopsis:

‘Little dancer’, Mengele says, ‘dance for me’

In 1944, sixteen-year-old ballerina Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. Separated from her parents on arrival, she endures unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. When the camp is finally liberated, she is pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive.

The horrors of the Holocaust didn’t break Edith. In fact, they helped her learn to live again with a life-affirming strength and a truly remarkable resilience.

The Choice is her unforgettable story. It shows that hope can flower in the most unlikely places.

My Thoughts:

Edith Eger was 16 when she made the journey with her mother and one of her sisters, to join a queue to enter her first concentration camp. This would be the last time she saw her mother. This is Edith’s story. The story of her life. The story of her survival. The story of how she was liberated and then learnt to live.

This is a book of two halves as Edith recounts her experiences of her life. A girl who wanted to dance, her parents, her sisters and first love. Then the how she survived the war in the concentration camps, sharing many thoughts and feelings not from herself but of her sister. Then how to live her life after leaving Europe to live in America.

Sometimes you can move away, but at some point you really do have to deal with the horror of your past.

The Holocaust and Auschwitz are words that evoke so many emotions. Edith Eger tells her story in four parts. The first being about her life, including the camps, up to her liberation, then her liberation, dealing with her freedom and finally how she started to heal herself.

As you would expect I found her time as a prisoner very hard to read. It is something that still brings shock, horror and disgust that any person could be treated in such a horrific and abhorrant way. I did however find that it was the story of her freedom and her healing that caught me by surprise. She then started to piece her life together and learn how to live. This is where the inspiration of this lady really Shines through, even more so than it had previously. To me this sounds slightly wrong but, she trained as a psychologist to help people from various backgrounds. They had many different problems that they struggled to deal with. In meeting and trying to help these people she found that she could also use their experiences to help herself, using her own advice if you like. This took her many years to reach a place where she felt some sort of freedom from her past, but to do that took a huge amount of courage to escape from her own fears and trauma.

This is a stunningly beautiful and candid account from a truly inspirational lady. It is moving and emotional, inspiring and hopeful. The more psychological aspect in the latter half of the book was something that I found very insightful and gave me a different way of looking at things.

This is a moving and important story that I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

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A native of Hungary, Edith Eger was a teenager in 1944 when she and her family were sent to Auschwitz during the Second World War. Despite overwhelming odds, Edith survived the Holocaust and moved with her husband to the United States. Having worked in a factory whilst raising her young family, she went on to graduate with a PhD from the University of Texas and became an eminent psychologist. Today, she maintains a busy clinical practice and lectures around the world.

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Vox by Christina Dalcher #BookReview

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I am so delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Vox by Chistina Dalcher. I had originally requested this via NetGalley and was declined by the publisher. I am not a reader who expects all requests to be accepted so, not being deterred at all I treated myself to the hardback copy, it was one I was desperate to read. Also the added bonus is that when my review goes onto Amazon it will be as a verified purchase, so a win for all. One hundred words isn’t a lot, this first paragraph is exactly one hundred words long…

Synopsis:

Silence can be deafening.

Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins.

Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you’re a woman.

Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write.

For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning…

My Thoughts:

If you are a female you have 100 words a day that you can speak. You have no bank account. No job. No entitlement. No mail. No nothing. If you have a son, he will have more rights than you, his mother…

Did I mention that as a female you are required to wear a word counter. Oh and it will give a bolt of electricity if you exceed the word count!

Oh WTFlaming Hell….. I can speak 100 words and most of them crap and waffle before I have finished my second cup of coffee in the morning…

This book did such a good job of building up not only the sense of injustice in a patriarchal society but there was such a heartbreaking essence to it as well. As a mother you want to chat to your children about what they did at school, yeah well forget that… Sentences have become condensed to such an extreme, yet the father and male siblings can chat away about anything, laugh and joke about things but you dare not utter a word, as that means you may not be able to Goodnight, or Love You at the end of the day.

It was as if the women became an asset to be managed, a homemaker, cleaner, carer and a quiet one at that. Now we may laugh and joke about people who constantly chatter away, but the author has managed to build a world that has a scary reality to it.

As I was reading through the book and getting to grips with how and why things had changed, the tone and way of the story started to change. This did initially throw me and took me a while to get my head around.

Essentially women played their role in society before the enforced change. They had jobs, responsibilities, they were leaders in certain fields and had in some areas knowledge that few others had. This change of direction in the story, once I had time to get used to it actually made sense. Even though it was worked quite well into the story, it did give the book a feeling of being one of two stories.

This is a book that will possibly divide readers, but for this reader worked so well. I also think it would be a great book for reading groups as there are many possibilities for discussion. I found it quite thought-provoking and there are concepts that I have not touched on as I don’t want to spoil it for other readers.

Ideal for those who like dystopian read with a political aspect, contemporary fiction as well as general fiction genres I would also add that there is a psychological aspect to it. This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers who like a book with an eerily realistic feel.

It is published by HQ in various formats and available from good book shops and also AMAZON UK.

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Perfect Silence by Helen Fields @Helen_Fields @AvonBooksUK #NetGalley #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts with you all for Perfect Silence by Helen Fields. I admit to be being a huge fan of this series and I was so delighted to get approval from Avon Book UK for my copy from NetGalley. You can purchase this book from 23rd August from Amazon UK and it is available in various formats.

Synopsis:

When silence falls, who will hear their cries?

The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.

After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?

My Thoughts:

So in this latest instalment there are two crimes, both as brutal as the other but in different ways and for ultimately different reasons. A young woman found dead with skin removed from her stomach and back. The second is the use of new drug Spice that leaves users zombified and open for attack.

I have read all the ‘Perfect’ books and always eagerly await the next in the series. This is where I say, yes each could be read as a stand alone but, in my heart of hearts I know that a series read in order works so much better for getting to know the characters and their dynamics within the group settings.

Perfect Silence for me had a slightly different feel to it in the respect that Ava seemed to take more of a lead in the story itself. She had been promoted, she is feeling her way in her new role and finding her feet. She also discovers that protocol and procedure falls directly to her to deal with. She is no longer part of the group as such because she is answerable to her own boss and responsible for the actions of her team. This actually made a lot of sense to me as far as her character development goes and in someway helps to stamp her authority.

So not only is Ava having to deal with a change in role she is also in the firing line from the powers that be, Overbeck in particular has been the proverbial ‘pain in the rear’ and it is a chance to get to know this one a little better. Good old, borderline cheeky / rude Lively is back and is another one I got to see a bit more of. There is a newcomer in the form of DS Graham, and what a nice form he has.

The story or should I say stories are of a bloody and gruesome nature, the authors descriptions does a great job of giving enough information to let your imagination do the rest. The cases are very different in the reasons for the attacks, they are not straightforward and the tension and frustration definitely start to mount.

As I mentioned earlier this for me was more about Ava rather the luscious Luc Callanch, I do have such a spot for him and as much as love his character I was more drawn to Ava. Don’t panic though he is still around and is as supportive as ever. But also he has his only little story going on, it is something I am not going to delve into as I am not as sure about this development in his character yet, but I’m interested to see where that part of his life will go.

So to kind of sum up a little, it is a fantastic next instalment in the Perfect books. If you have not read this series then you need to if you like dark, gritty, compulsive and addictive twisted story-lines. Ideal for crime, thriller, murder, mystery and tension filled suspense readers, it’s not all about the crime as there are things within some of the characters lives that are being brought out more as well, but the crime part is blooming brilliant 🙂

A book and series I would highly recommend.
My Reviews for the previous books:

My review for Perfect RemainsBuy from AmazonUK

My review for Perfect PreyBuy from AmazonUK

My review for Perfect Death Buy from AmazonUK

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About the Author:

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Helen Fields studied law at the University of East Anglia, then went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London. After completing her pupillage, she joined chambers in Middle Temple where she practised criminal and family law for thirteen years. After her second child was born, Helen left the Bar.

Together with her husband David, she runs a film production company, acting as script writer and producer. Perfect Remains is set in Scotland, where Helen feels most at one with the world. Helen and her husband now live in Hampshire with their three children and two dogs.

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The Confession by Jo Spain @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks @ellakroftpatel #PublicationDay

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The Confession by Jo Spain and published by Quercus Books and will be available in paperback from 9th September, you can get your copy from AMAZON UK. I was lucky to be able to read an advance copy of the eBook version earlier this year. If you have not had the chance to read it yet then you should 🙂

Synopsis:

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?

This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who – of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one? And is Carney’s surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?

‘I can’t praise The Confession enough. Brilliant writing, great story… a really cracking read’ BA Paris, author of Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown

An absolute cracker of a book, compulsive, deviously plotted and intense – I will be recommending this to everyone Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner

‘Has you addicted from the very first page. I found it impossible to put down’ Michelle Frances, author of The Girlfriend

‘Here is my confession: I’ve never read Jo Spain before but now I’ll be buying all of her books. The Confession is brutal and brilliant’ Fiona Cummins, author of Rattle

My Thoughts

When a stranger walks into a house, beats up the husband as the wife watches frozen, unable to do anything to help or stop the attack, you know there will or should be a pretty good reason for it.

Oh! This is a good read, a well paced psychological thriller. It is set over several years, filling in the background of the main characters. The chapters are told by different characters and from their own perspectives. They flit between times and places with quick succession. It did take me a few chapters to get to grips with this, occasionally loosing what time I was in, but its one of those books that, as you read you get to learn the style and format.

The characters themselves, I have mixed opinions on some and changes my opinion on others. This is a good thing by the way, for me it means the author has manipulated my feelings as I have read and therefore my opinion matches the character as they change, or you learn more about them. Now as for the plot, it is one of those deliciously deep and twisty ones that kept me guessing, even when things were being drawn together for the conclusion a few more sneaky twists were included in this slippery tale.

This is a book that I would definitely recommend to readers who like a good psychological thriller with twists that are revealed at the end with extra twisty bits. It also has elements that show the contrasts of two different social backgrounds, one poor and one rich, the haves and the have nots. A well written and executed read that kept me turning the pages avidly.

About the Author:

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Jo Spain’s first novel, With Our Blessing, was one of seven books shortlisted in the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition and went on to be a top-ten bestseller in Ireland. She has written two further in the series, featuring DI Tom Reynolds.
Jo has worked as a party advisor on the economy in the Irish parliament and is now writing full-time. She is currently writing a screen play for a brand new RTÉ crime drama series. Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and their four young children.

Follow Jo on Twitter
• Jo will be speaking at Bloody Scotland alongside Elly Griffiths and Sarah Pinborough on Sunday 23rd 2018.

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#BlogTour : The Last Friend by Harvey Church @HarveyChurch1 : @CarolineBookBit : #BookReview

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“The Last Friend” by Harvey Church is available in eBook format from AMAZON UK or AMAZON.COM date of publication is 15th April.  My thanks to Harvey for my copy of the book and also to Caroline at Bits about Books  for my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

The Knock on his Door…That Changed his Life

Fifteen years after Donovan’s daughter is abducted, Monica Russell knocks on his door. She claims she knew his daughter while in captivity and says she made a promise to tell him about their friendship.

The Last Friend to hold His Daughter’s Hand

When Monica claims to know where his daughter’s remains are buried, Donovan is immediately committed to doing whatever this last friend needs from him, regardless of the warnings from his family and friends.

The Friend Who Can Help Him Seek Vengeance

And when Monica claims to know where he can find the man who abducted, assaulted, and murdered his princess, Donovan knows he will stop at nothing to get his vengeance.

What Cost Will He Ultimately Pay?

Monica claims she can show Donovan a lot of things about his daughter, but what price will Donovan ultimately pay the young lady who claims to be the last friend to know his daughter?

My Thoughts:

Donovan’s daughter Elizabeth was abducted 15 years ago and his wife has recently committed suicide. One night Monica Russell lands on his doorstep and tells him that she was held captive with Elizabeth.  Monica had promised Elizabeth that she would tell her Dad the truth of her life and death.

This book is the story of how far a father will go to discover the truth behind the kidnapping of his daughter.  It tells a dark tale that had me guessing Monica’s motives.  Was she stringing him along if so what were her reasons for doing so. Was she genuine and if she was why was she taking time to give Donovan all the facts. The characters of Donovan and Monica I really liked as I got to know them a little better.  They both have a lot of problems as well as emotional scars that they have to live with.

This is quite a quick read and I found myself eagerly turning the pages to discover the truth and discovered a twisted and dark world. The plot takes you into a world of kidnapping girls and also what is done to them, but I will emphasise that the author does not go into graphic details here.  He has chosen his words to convey enough to give an understanding of the situation.

This is a book that I would recommend to readers who read psychological, crime, mystery story from the perspective of the father of a victim and also a survivor.

About the Author:

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Harvey Church has a background in finance, which is how he found himself writing about the people and ridiculousness (sometimes the same thing) of that field in his Edwin Burrows light mystery series. Although he considers himself retired from that field (aka not working), he’s planning another three Edwin Burrows novels for 2018.

His first “serious” novel, The Last Friend, is a Kindle Scout writing competition winner and was published by Kindle Press on January 9, 2018. The BookLife Prize called it “an entertaining read for mystery and thriller fans alike,” and said it is “an unexpected and exciting series of events that will grab readers.” Harvey plans two sister novels to The Last Friend in 2018, one titled The Last Night (Spring 2018) and the other tentatively titled The Last Survivor.

For fun, Harvey likes to practice street magic and spends hours engineering tricks to wow his audiences. He is also an avid hockey fan (Go Leafs Go). He has a wife and two kids. His favorite color is blue, but he drives a black car because he read somewhere, back in the 90’s, that radar detectors have a tough time seeing them. Interestingly, he never speeds because he’s too busy singing like nobody’s watching, or maybe it’s that everybody is deaf.

He’s a supporter of double-chins, double-dates, and double-dipping (though never on double-dates), and obviously enjoys writing about himself in the third person, in the voice of the narrator from The Royal Tenenbaums.

Connect with Harvey Church by searching Harvey Church Mysteries on Facebook, at @hashtag_harv on Instagram, and @harveychurch1 on Twitter. You can also find him wandering the streets of Chicago, Toronto, Montreal or the Lido deck of a Princess Cruise ship. If you ever meet Harv, ask to see a magic trick! Don’t forget to sign up for his email list at AListHarvey.com

 

Harvey Church Online:  Website ~ Twitter  ~ Instagram

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#BookBlitz | Manipulated Lives by H.A.Leuschel | #Giveaway (open Int’lly) @HALeuschel @rararesources | #Bookreview

Manipulated lives“Manipulated Lives” by H.A.Leuschel.  A series of five stories that have a psychological aspect to them.  I am delighted to be on the blog tour for this wonderful book.  My thanks to Helene for my ecopy and also to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour. You can get a copy of this book via  Books 2 Read.

Synopsis:

Five stories – Five Lives

Have you ever felt confused or at a loss for words in front of a spouse, colleague or parent, to the extent that you have felt inadequate or, worse, a failure? Do you ever wonder why someone close to you seems to endure humiliation without resistance?

Manipulators are everywhere. At first these devious and calculating people can be hard to spot, because that is their way. They are often masters of disguise: witty, disarming, even charming in public – tricks to snare their prey – but then they revert to their true self of being controlling and angry in private. Their main aim: to dominate and use others to satisfy their needs, with a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their victim. 

In this collection of short novellas, you meet people like you and me, intent on living happy lives, yet each of them, in one way or another, is caught up and damaged by a manipulative individual. First you meet Tess, whose past is haunted by a wrong decision, then young, successful and well balanced Sophie, who is drawn into the life of a little boy and his troubled father. Next, there is teenage Holly, who is intent on making a better life for herself, followed by a manipulator himself, trying to make sense of his irreversible incarceration. Lastly, there is Lisa, who has to face a parent’s biggest regret. All stories highlight to what extent abusive manipulation can distort lives and threaten our very feeling of self-worth.

My Thoughts:

Manipulated Lives is a collection of five stories.  Tess and Tattoos. The Spell. Runaway Girl. The Narcissist. My Perfect Child. Each story takes a look at the different ways people can manipulate and be manipulated.

The stories read individually like a collection of novellas.  Each one is unique, but at their core is the psychological impact that makes its presence felt.  Each story drew me in quickly and held my attention.  I soon saw a pattern emerging with each one, what I thought was happening and what actually happened were two different things.  Helene has managed to create subtle twists, this leads the reader to challenge their initial thoughts.  They contain strong characters, often I didn’t see the strength until I was further into the story.  There are many characters and some have very unique traits that will leave you with a range of emotions, love, like or despise them.

This isn’t an action packed, race through the story book.  It is more subtle than that and I was led gently into each story and then was able to watch them unfold.  First perceptions are not always the true indication of someones life.  At times it felt like the author was manipulating me  as I read, leading me to one thought then showing me I was wrong.

This is a captivating read, very cleverly crafted and made me think.  I like stories like this and I think it will appeal to many readers, I Highly Recommend Manipulated Lives for those who are looking for a quiet and more subtle psychological look at how people lives can be affected.

About the Author:

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Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga.

Social Media Links – Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Website

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#BookReview : Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris @BAParisAuthor #BringMeBack @HQstories @NetGalley

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I have a wonderful suspense today on my blog “Bring Me Back” by B A Paris.  This is due for publication on 8th March 2018 by HQ Stories and available in various formats. Pre-order link HERE for Amazon UK

Synopsis:

The million-copy bestselling author returns with a breathtaking thriller – available to pre-order now

‘We’re in a new Golden Age of suspense writing now, because of amazing books like Bring Me Back, and I for one am loving it’ Lee Child

The Disappearance
Twelve years ago Finn’s girlfriend disappeared.

The Suspicion
He told the police the truth about that night.
Just not quite the whole truth.

The Fear
Now Finn has moved on.
But his past won’t stay buried…

My Thoughts:

On their way back from a holiday in France to their home in UK a couple stop at a picnic stop, she remains in the car while he grabs supplies.  When he return to the car she is missing, no sign of her anywhere.  Now 12 years later we catch up with him, he has sort of moved on and is due to get married.  She knows some of the details of the events in his past but begins to get concerned when items start to turn up at their home.  What is the significance and why are they arriving now?

This is going to be such a vague “My Thoughts” post.  No names, no details, no chance of spoiling the plot.  To reveal anything would be to revealing one of the many threads that have been woven into this story.  Set as a time slip as the reader is taken through events that occurred 12 years ago and also present day. It has three parts to the story and each part is deals with different sections in a definitive way.  As you move through these sections you are drawn deeper into the story, the suspense continually builds and the red herrings have been superbly placed to lead you down the wrong thought path.

This is a suspense filled psychological thriller and mystery that moves quickly and definitely accelerates, I found myself almost racing through this story to find out the end and also having to slow my reading in the eagerness to get the truth.  This story will almost certainly have you wondering who is telling the truth and who can be trusted. As you progress you will wonder who played what part if any in the mystery element of this book.

I loved this book and found myself quickly caught up and engrossed.  This is a book I would highly recommend to readers who like their thrillers full of suspense and mystery that are quick in their pace and addictive reading.

About the Author:

A1G5P+CAU6L._SY200_  B A Paris is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown. Having sold over one million copies in the UK alone, she is a New York Times bestseller as well as a number one bestseller on Amazon and iBooks. Her books have sold in 37 territories around the world. Having lived in France for many years, she recently moved back to the UK. She has five daughters.
Her third novel, Bring Me Back is out in March 2018.
Follow B A on Twitter

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#AudioBook : Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski @ConcreteKraken #Review

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I have a first for me today on my blog, an audio book! “Six Stories” by Matt Wesolowski published by Audible Studios, this is also available in paperback and eBook format by Orenda Books. Take your pick of format and BUY HERE

Synopsis:

It’s 1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who took that fateful trip and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.

It’s 2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult Internet figure.

Featuring a full cast narration using 17 different voices!

My Thoughts:

I have never really properly sat down to listen to an audio book before, they have been background noise like a radio would be, so when I spotted Amazon running a free trial I decided it was about time I gave them a go.  Where to start and what to pick was a problem, you have 1 free purchase of any book and there are millions, literally millions to chose from.  So my choice was based on just browsing until something cropped up.  This is when I saw “Six Stories” I have this one on my wish list, it is there because of the  book reviews I had seen from fellow Bloggers and also on the Blog Tour for Orenda Books organised by Anne Cater.  It seemed like a good choice as I had not read it, wanted read it but finding the time to fit it in was a problem.  I agree not the most scientific choice, but it worked for me.  What I had not realised, or more like had forgotten about was that this book was set out as a podcast and it soon became apparent, either by pure luck or fate this book was already a good choice given its written style.  I listened to this as I was digging my garden, you may think this odd, but NO DISTRACTIONS! so it worked for me 🙂

So enough waffling, onto my thoughts.  This is story is set out as a series of podcasts by  6 different people as they recount their version of events from 1995/6 when a Tom Jeffries body is found. The podcast is produced 10 years later and is the work of Scott King and he has interviewed those who knew Tom.

OH WOW!!!! What a story, twists, darkness, atmospheric details, suspense, drama it has the lot and a hell of a lot more.  As I listened to this story there were times when I forgot I was listening to a book or a work of fiction.  You get a real sense of the characters and also the environment of Scarclaw Fell. The characters conveyed many emotions as they told their tale, some with hesitation and nerves, a sign of embarrassment or guilt maybe.  The interviewees have a reluctance about them that adds to the air of mystery, also adds to the feeling of them having more involvement than they want to admit.  I really liked the way Matt used Scott’s character by adding little asides about the little nuances he picks up from the characters as they tell their tales.  He relates a reluctance a hesitation or little visual quirks he notices in the characters, whether they are coincidental to the story they tell or just something he notices.  Again another great way to build up suspicion and suspense.

The description of the Fell were very well described, an area containing geological, historical and industrial descriptions.  A place of danger from abandoned mine shafts and marshes, with the inevitable folklore tales of a mysterious, legendary character that will trap the unwary.  There is a presence of bullying in this story, it is not nice listening to someone tell of how it had affected them it is an essential element that has been very well portrayed and Matt has not held back on this issue but has also not over dramatised it.

So as a bit of a summary, this is a real gritty, atmospheric and superb listen.  I think this is one I will definitely read as a book even though I have listened to the audio.  I did get a real sense of suspense, drama and there is a little bit of a horror element to it.  It has a feel of something very different, new and exciting about it.  On the audio side of it, the voices of the characters were good, I did find a couple of voices that I was not that keen on but it didn’t take away any of the enjoyment.  It helped that with remembering the characters, but not as much as I would remember them in a book.  I think this is a skill that can be developed over time.

This is a story I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND who want a something that is full of mystery, tales, folklore, that is atmospheric, gritty and dark.  It will keep you on the edge of your seat as the tale is told, and what a tale it was.  I absolutely loved this one.

 

About the Author:

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Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North.

Wesolowski started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous magazines and US anthologies.

Wesolowski was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at ‘Bloody Scotland’; Crime Writing Festival 2015, his subsequent debut crime novel ‘Six Stories’ was published by Orenda Books in the spring of 2017

Follow Matt on Twitter 

About the Audio Book:

  • Listening Length: 8 hours and 11 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 15 Mar. 2017
  • Language: English

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