#BlogBlitz : Game Players by Anita Waller @anitamayw : @BloodhoundBook @sarahhardy681 : #NetGalley #GamePlayers #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Game Players” by Anita Waller today as part of a blog tour by Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books. It is available to purchase from Amazon UK. My thanks to Sarah, Anita and Bloodhound for my copy of the book from NetGalley.

Synopsis:

When a gang of six children playing in their den in the woods spot a man burying drugs nearby, it marks the beginning of the end of their childhoods.

Unsure what to do, the children dig up the drugs and take them away. But when the dealer, who they watched bury the stash, shows up dead, the youngsters are thrown into turmoil.

Scared of what might happen, the children tell the police about the body they have discovered.

Meanwhile, a group of gangsters start searching for their missing drugs.

 Soon the children and their families become the target of the vicious criminals who will stop at nothing to retrieve their narcotics…

My Thoughts:

Well the synopsis definitely did the job for me when I agreed to read this book for the Book Blitz, it did not however prepare me for the journey contained within its pages and the emotions I would go through reading this story. Be prepared to put everything on hold when you pick up this book, for me it was a “one sitting read” a book that I could not put down.

The six children are a close-knit group and it was great to read a story about a group playing outside, making dens and basically building the bonds of a strong friendship. They definitely have each others backs and this really shows when they discover not only bag of drugs but then a body. They discuss the stages of what they will do and the possible outcomes of their actions. They did not however discuss every possible variable or outcome and I can say that I didn’t envisage the route this story would take.

This fast paced story had me with my heart in my mouth as I read how their childhood innocence was taken from them, the author has injected real emotion, feeling and absolutely shocking story lines within its pages as I read.

The children are fundamental to this story in making this story a really great read. The plot is twisted and although I am not going to give any details, believe when I say you will be horrified, shocked and if like me you really get into a story you will also go through the wringer. It is easy to follow and also quite detailed.

This for me was a book I absolutely loved. It had crime, mystery, suspense and murder that was wrapped around the story of six children and their families as well as a community. It showed the bond of friendship and how decisions they made were for their own justifiable reasons. This is an absolute Highly Recommended read from me.

About the Author:

 

unnamed (1)  Anita Waller was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1946. She married Dave in 1967 and they have three adult children.

She began writing when she was around 8 years of age, writing ‘compositions’ at junior school that became books with chapters.

In 1995 she sent Beautiful to a publisher and as they reached the contract stage the publisher went into liquidation. As a result, the book was consigned to the attic in dejected disgust but in 2013 it was dragged out again for an enforced complete re-type. The original was written on an Amstrad 8256 and the only thing that remained was one hard copy.

Anita is not a typist and it was painfully reworked over two years, submitted to Bloodhound Books who, within three days of reading it, offered her a contract. 31 August 2015 saw its release into the wide world.

Following the outstanding success of Beautiful, she began a sequel on 27 December 2015, finishing it on 19 March 2016. The new novel, Angel, was launched on 7 May 2016.
34 Days followed, with its launch in October 2016. This was a huge success, particularly in the United States. While this, her third book in the psychological thriller genre, was flying out in all directions, she began work on her fourth book.

Winterscroft was a change in genre. It is a supernatural tale, set in Castleton, Derbyshire, and its release date was February 2017.

While she was writing Winterscroft, it became very clear from reading reviews that a sequel to 34 days was needed, and she began work on that. Bloodhound Books launched Strategy, on 10 August 2017.

Her next book, launched February 2018 and entitled Captor, is a psychological thriller, set exclusively in Sheffield. It was an instant success, both in the UK and the US.

The along came Game Players… once more set in Sheffield, the story involves a group of six children who have each other’s backs to a remarkable extent. The darker, criminal side of Sheffield is explored, and the book launch is 18 May 2018.
In her life away from the computer in the corner of her kitchen, she is a Sheffield Wednesday supporter with blue blood in her veins! The club was particularly helpful during the writing of 34 Days, as a couple of matches feature in the novel, along with Ross Wallace. Information was needed, and they provided it.

Her genre is murder – necessary murder.

Follow Anita on – Amazon Author Page – Facebook page – Website – Twitter

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#BlogBlitz : My Sweet Friend by HA Leuschel @HALeuschel : @rararesources : #BookReview : #Giveaway (open Int’lly)

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I am delighted to be sharing “My Sweet Friend” by H.A Leuschel today on the blog as part of the blog blitz by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I have read Helen’s last Book of short stories and did not hesitate when the offer to take part in the blitz for the next book. You can purchase “My Sweet Friend” Here.

Synopsis:

A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives

A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?
Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships. 

But is Alexa all she claims to be? 

As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?

In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.

My Thoughts:

For “My Thoughts” I am going to start at the end of the book with the acknowledgements, a little odd but there is a reason for this. Helen refers to the research she had done into the consequences of lying. It is this that provides a premise for the story of “My Sweet Friend”.

We follow the two main characters in this novella. Alexis is just about to start her new job where she meets fellow employee Rosie. They become friends and in the alternating chapters between the two women we gradually learn more about them. It isn’t long before you start to become aware that not everything is quite as it should be, the snarky little comments are a little more barbed than they should be between friends. But friends stick together right?

The author has a very convincing way of telling her stories and a devious way of leading you to think one way when actually she has taken on a different route. I love the way the author uses distraction to hoodwink the reader.

It was nice to be able to read something by this author that was longer than a short story. I really liked to be able to immerse myself in this longer format, and it was still over far to quickly. Helene manages to create atmosphere in the surrounding of the streets and cafes.

Using the trust we place in a friend, Helene has created a story that explores how far a person can push the boundaries of friendship. This is a novella that has some very good twists and an element of suspense. This is an author I would definitely recommend and  one who knows how to create a story that relates to human behaviour in a very convincing and believable and enjoyable way.

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

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the tour

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I also have a link for a chance to win a signed copy of “Manipulated Lives” that is open internationally.

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Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

#BlogTour : Stench by AB Morgan @AliMorgan2304 : @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681 : #NeyGalley #Stench #BookReview

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I am sharing my thoughts on “Stench” by AB Morgan as part of the Blog Blitz by Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books. Many thanks for my copy that I received via NetGalley. Stench can be purchased from Amazon UK in paperback and eBook format.

Synopsis:

Rory Norton didn’t always make his living as a motorbike instructor and he went to great lengths to leave his past life behind, to start again.

He thought he had succeeded, until the body of a missing woman is discovered under the floor of his cottage. Only then do the guilt and shame of his wife’s mysterious, untimely death and the accusations about his connection to the missing woman combine to break him.

The question is not how the missing woman died but why, and who is responsible?

Sometimes the truth stinks.

My Thoughts:

Ali Morgan is an author I am becoming quite familiar with as I have taken part in a few of the Blog Tours for her books. She is becoming an author that I agree to reading without paying too much attention to the book, now I know that sounds bad but it isn’t really, what I mean is she is an author I will read as I know I will get a story that I will enjoy.  Stench is no exception.

I thought the title was a bazaar choice as I started this story, but by the end I realised actually it is a really good choice of title, there are various meanings behind the title and it makes perfect sense. The author has used the various different threads for this story and from the smell of the noxious fumes from the neighbour and the fishy smell of something not being right as the plot unfolds you start to see a link, this does continue with a character as well, but I’m leaving it there for now.

The characters did take a little while to get used to but as you start to get familiar with their roles you soon recognise them. The timeline for this is not a standard one, it does flicker and change but as you realise how this style works it makes for a really enjoyable read. I think this also adds to the story as you get to witness different perspectives and this adds to the story. You begin to realise there is a lot more going on than you first think. Anna has her own story to tell and she decides she wants to learn how to ride a motorbike, walk in Rory an instructor who gets to know Anna. Through the story you get to learn about these two characters and what makes them tick. It is not straight forward and they both have things in their pasts that still haunt them.

Ali has a background in that she really does bring into play with this story. There are  Mental Health aspects within this story and the author has used her experiences of the system to show how quickly things can spiral out of control when someone does not get the treatment they need. It is a side to the Mental Health Service that we are aware, the under-funding, the out of hours service and general inadequacies, now I do mention this as it plays a part in the story but the author has got the balance spot on for me, incorporating a problem into a story without going over the top and coming across as preaching.

I thought this story was an addictive, absorbing and an insightful read. It has elements that I found fascinating and I liked the pacing of it, not all action and rush, but slower and deliberate that fitted in with the mystery element of the story. Another great read and a book I would definitely recommend as one for those who like a psychological mystery, crime and suspense read.

About the Author:

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Married to an overgrown child with a beard and too many motorbikes, Alison Morgan lives in a corner of a field in North Bedfordshire and is making the most of a mid-life crisis. The Morgans are determined not to grow old gracefully or to be seen wearing beige and can be found exploring life through a love of live music, anything with an engine, the sea, mountains, rugby, proper pubs and fascinating people.

Alison worked for the NHS for nearly thirty years, twenty of those within mental health services, at the front line. She eventually became the manager of a countywide community service for people experiencing their first episode of psychosis. Much to her frustration, her heart decided to develop an electrical fault, which forced her to sit down for more than five minutes and her career juddered to a halt. Not one for thumb twiddling, she took up position in front of a computer with a plan to write a set of clinical guidelines for assessment of psychosis but instead a story, which had been lurking in her mind for several years, came tumbling out.

Her first two novels, A Justifiable Madness and Divine Poison, were inspired by her career as a psychiatric nurse and her fascination with the extremes of human behaviour. Then she stepped sideways and wrote a gritty psychological thriller, The Camera Lies. All published by Bloodhound Books, Alison’s novels have received excellent reviews and inspired many an interesting debate. Above all, they are entertaining reads and, despite dark subjects, will raise a smile.

Links:

Email: alison@abmorgan.co.uk /  www.abmorgan.co.uk / Facebook: @ABMorganwriter

Twitter: @AliMorgan2304 / LinkedIn: Ali Morgan

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#BlogBlitz : Under The Woods by KA Richardson @KerryAnn77 : @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681 : #BookReview

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This is the fourth book by this author, but my first time reading one of her books.  “Under The Woods” by KA Richardson was published by Bloodhound Books yesterday. It is available for purchase from Amazon UK in eBook format.  My huge thanks to Sarah, Bloodhound and KA Richardson for my copy and my spot on the Blog Tour. I am including the four book link HERE for the series xx

Synopsis:

Looking for a fast-paced crime thriller? Then you’ll love the gripping Under The Woods.

When a homeless woman, Cheryl Whiffen, hears voices in her head telling her to do bad things, she can’t help but obey.

But when Cheryl becomes the victim of a serial killer who is collecting angels, this time the voices can’t help her. She is deemed not worthy of being an angel and the killer has to find another way to dispose of her body. 

TJ Tulley has connections in the police force – her brother Jacob is a digital forensic analyst and her soon to be sister-in-law is a CSI. She knows many of their colleagues so when someone breaks into her house at the riding stables she owns, it’s not a surprise when the police dispatch CSI Jackson Doherty.

Is there a link between a suspicious fire at the stables and the serial killer?

As TJ and Doherty get closer to the truth they don’t realise the danger they are in. He is a killer – he’s angry at their investigation and he’ll do just about anything to protect his angels… 

Also available in The Forensic Files:

I’ve Been Watching You

Time to Play

Watch You Burn

Under The Woods is the 4th book in the unmissable and best-selling Forensic Files. It will appeal to fans of authors like Joy Ellis, Faith Martin, Robert Byrndza and Angela Marsons.

My Thoughts:

A woman is abducted and no one knows about it. Her body is buried and no one knows where. Another is abducted and is only missed by a homeless person. TJ Tulley discovers a break in at her home at her home at the riding stables and thinks it could possibly be someone close by who is responsible.

I am all over the place with where to start My Thoughts on this books, I should add that this means it was so good I want to tell you all about all of the story. easy to say this is a great read as I read it in one sitting, yep it was that good. This is the fourth in the Forensic Files series and true to my usual form it is the first one I have read. Under the Woods can be read as a standalone but I do want to read the other books in this series,

This is a dark and addictive murder mystery read with various plot lines.  It is a procedural mystery but from the usually overlooked forensic side of the investigation. This is something that I really liked, normally CSI guys come in do their thing and are gone, where as in this they have more of a lead role within the story.

The character of TJ is really quite an intriguing one, she has a past medical condition that affects her everyday life.  This becomes more prominent as the story and her part in it unfolds and explanations are given as to what happened.The killer is unknown until the author lets you in on who it is, I did have an ever changing idea as to who it could be and I really liked this cat and mouse style game between myself and the author as I tried to work it out. He is one of those characters you will love to hate, he makes his presence felt from his own point of view within the story, and he is a very creepy and twisted individual. There are various members of TJ’s family and also of the CSI team that make an appearance and once you realise who thay are and their role they are easily identifiable.

If you like dark, multilayered, well written, addictive and absorbing crime, thriller, mystery suspense reads then this is one I would highly recommend. I am now off to buy the rest of the books in this series xx

About the Author:

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My name is Kerry-Ann Richardson (generally known as Kerry) and I write as KA Richardson. I started writing the North East Police series in 2010 when I was working towards my MA Creative Writing – I used the first 15000 words of With Deadly Intent as my dissertation. I passed my MA in 2011 and kept on writing. This all came about from working as a Crime Scene Investigator – I’d always written but when I was a CSI I went to see a psychic, Anthony, and he wanted to know why I wasn’t writing. He reminded me that it was my passion and said he could see me signing in Waterstones in 5 years. That was 5.5 years before my first ever signing in Waterstones so he wasn’t far wrong! 

I did the normal things writers do when their book is ready to go out into the world – submitted to agents etc. I got a few nice personal responses back – still saying no but being constructive and polite about it. I approached Darren Laws from Caffeine Nights whilst at a crime festival and he asked to see my work. He agreed to publish With Deadly Intent from there, and once that was out I approached Bloodhound Books as wanted to know if there was any other interest in my novels. Bloodhound came back within 24 hours and offered me a 3 book deal!  And I’ve since signed an additional 3 book deal with them which covers the series up to and including book 7! 

LinksWebsite – Twitter – Facebook – Amazon

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#BlogBlitz : Godsend by J.A. Marley @jamarleybooks : @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681 : #NetGalley #BookReview

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Delighted to be sharing my thoughts today for Godsend by J.A Marley. Published by Bloodhound Books and available for purchase from Amazon UK in paperback or eBook format. My thanks to Sarah Hardy for my spot on the tour and for my copy of the book via NetGalley.

Synopsis:

Looking for page-turning action and well-placed suspense? Then you’ll love the unmissable Godsend.

It has been eighteen months since Danny Felix pulled off the robbery of his life.  His plan brought London to a standstill, but at a heavy price. 

Now, living a quiet life running a charter fishing business in the Florida Keys, Danny is trying to come to terms with the death and destruction he had unwittingly unleashed. However, the low profile is beginning to wear thin and he soon starts to crave the adrenalin rush of his former criminal ways.  

Little does he know that three very different women are about to enter his life and turn it upside-down. Soon Danny finds himself right back in the action. 

But why has he been chosen? And does he have the appetite to pull off another job where the stakes are so lethally high?

My Thoughts:

Danny Felix is back! He is trying to keep his head down at his Miami bolt hole. A loveable criminal who just seems to attract trouble.  Even in the US he is not immune and it is not long before a blast from his past comes a calling.  A chance to confront his demons and a rather intriguing offer entices him out again.

I really like Danny’s character and was glad to catch up with him again after reading the first book “Standstill” (my thoughts here). With his British humour in an American setting the author really appears to have had fun and plays the British humour card well.  Danny has problems that haunt him and they crop up at the most inopportune moments and give a glimpse into the previous story.

I was expecting a “nothing will be straightforward” plot with this book and I was not disappointed. The author plays his cards close to his chest as the angles are played out with a variety of twists and turns along the way. Using an interesting starting point for this story and then, introducing new characters and bringing in the odd old face to gradually start picking up the tempo as the story unfolds. It has an imaginative plot line that twists and turn until the grand finale is reached and all the questions are answered as the author pulls all the threads together.

I really enjoyed this book and it could be read as a stand alone, but for a better idea into who Danny Felix is I would recommend reading the books in order. This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers who like a twisted plot, action and thrills with a pinch of British humour added in their crime, mystery and thriller reads.

About the Author:

John Marley, 27April2016, photographer Bronac McNeillJohn A. Marley’s writing career started with a poem about two brothers who both liked sausages…their names were Butch and Dutch and his Primary School teacher Mr. Murray liked it so much it made the main noticeboard at the entrance to Holy Child Primary School in West Belfast. A little older but none the wiser, he ended up as a film journalist in his native Northern Ireland, contributing to local newspapers, BBC Radio Ulster and latterly writing as the main film critic for the glossy magazine, Northern Woman.

John’s love of good stories came from the Irish predilection for telling a good yarn and the fact that there was nothing quite like sneaking away his Dad’s battered paperbacks to read even though he knew they were meant for adults and not kids. And so pulp fiction such as The Edge Westerns by George G. Gilman, the adventure novels of Alistair MacLean and the thrillers of Jack Higgins all served to whet his appetite for a good story told at pace.

These days, his reading tastes still focus on thrills, spills and good plot and he can’t walk by a James Lee Burke or an Elmore Leonard without pausing to read a few pages…even if it is in a busy bookshop.

Follow John on Twitter or his Website.

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#Blogblitz : Another Mother by Amanda James @akjames61 : @sarahhardy681 @Bloodhoundbook : #BookReview #PublicationDay

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“Another Mother” by Amanda James. Published by Bloodhound Books and available in paperback or eBook, to purchase a copy CLICK HERE. I am delighted to be one of the opening Bloggers for this blitz my thanks to Sarah at Bloodhound Books for my spot on the tour. Happy Publication Day to you Amanda xxx

Synopsis:

A suspenseful and gripping psychological thriller, perfect for fans of domestic noir.

Adopted at birth, for years Lu has secretly dreamt of finding her birth mother but childhood bullying has left her with a lack of confidence. When a tragic accident changes her life forever it sets her on a mission to get in contact with her birth mother and find out the reasons behind her adoption.

When she tracks down her mother in Cornwall there is an emotional reunion and the pair begin to form a relationship.

But is everything as wonderful as it appears or has Lu walked into a nightmare?

My Thoughts:

Lu is your average almost 30 something, dead-end job and a bit of a loner, she is also adopted.  After the recent death of her adoptive mother she decides this is the thing she needs to give her the push to actually find her birth mother.  When contact is made, Lu makes the decision to make the visit to meet her mother in Cornwall. Things seem to go well and a tentative relationship is struck between mother and daughter. As they get to know each other a little more the cracks start to show.

This starts off more like a contemporary fiction and then slowly it morphs into an absolutely amazing psychological story.  Lu is a really good character and I like the way she herself changed the story, from living at home with her adopted parents to finally taking the decision to stand on her own two feet.  By the end of the story I thought she was more confident and also more upbeat and positive about her life. From being a bullied child to a more confident woman. The dynamics between the two different families is a convincing read that really does draw you in the their lives.

I am a little bit biased about the Cornish setting of the book as I live in Cornwall, but I have to say the author does a wonderful job with the descriptions of St. Ives.  This knowledge of the area and also the love shows through in the authors writing giving a wonderful picture of a great place.

So as I mentioned earlier, this story changes, it steps up a gear and the depth the plot is revealed.  Here I think the author has done a great job of building up the thought of something not being quite right and when the twist finally shows itself bloody hell was I shocked, really didn’t see it coming and caught me completely unawares.

This is a great read and I would highly recommend it to readers who like a book that turns from a contemporary read into an amazing dark psychological suspense filled read.

 

About the Author:

Amanda+James.jpgAmanda James has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true.

Amanda has written many short stories and has six novels currently published. Her time travelling debut – A Stitch in Time was published in April of 2013 and has met with great success.

Amanda lives in Cornwall and is inspired every day by the beautiful coastline near her home. Three of her suspense/mystery novels are set there, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Summer in Tintagel and the Behind the Lie – April 2017 pub – HQUK ( HarperCollins) Another Mother, also set in Cornwall is due out in April 2018 with Bloodhound Books.

Amanda can usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.

Follow Amanda on her – Blog ~ Twitter   ~ Facebook

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#BlogBlitz | When Evil Calls Your Name by John Nicholl @nicholl06 | @bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy #BookReview #BookReview

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Today I have the “When Evil Calls Your Name” by John Nicholl.  Published by Bloodhound Books and available in various formats from Amazon UK.  My thanks to Sarah for my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

Are you looking for a dark and gripping psychological thriller? Then you’ll love When Evil Calls Your Name by #1 best-selling author John Nicholl. 

Even the darkest secrets can’t stay hidden forever…

When twenty-nine-year-old Cynthia Galbraith struggles to come to terms with her traumatic past and the realities of prison life, a prison counsellor persuades her to write a diary exploring the events that led to a life sentence for murder.

Although unconvinced at first, Cynthia finally decides she has all the time in the world and very little, if anything, to lose. As she begins writing she holds back nothing: sharing the thoughts she hadn’t dare vocalise, the things that keep her awake at night and haunt her waking hours. 

Will the truth finally be revealed?

My Thoughts:

This story follows on from White Is The Coldest Colour, (my review) and is from the viewpoint of Cynthia who now lives in prison.  Her story is told via a journal that her counsellor has advised she writes.

Please read the first book before you start this one.

This answers so many questions I had about Cynthia.  I was frustrated with her character, but this one is her account of her life as a child, through university and how she met David Galbraith and how he completely destroyed any control she had over any decision, he controlled her and others around her. This is a really addictive read, and as you learn about Cynthia’s life you realise how she was manipulated so convincingly. But also you see how she is starting to make steps towards standing up for herself, no longer wanted to be a victim.

This story really plays on how a master manipulator plays on the vulnerabilities and insecurities of a person until they become a shadow of their former selves.  Because of the writing style it has a very believable feel to it, that personal account adds the perfect touch to the realism of the story.

In comparison to the first book it does differ quite a lot.  Even though it has a dark psychology theme, it is not as the dark and twisted as the first book.  It is an addictive read and a great follow on story.  A book I would recommend to those who like to read a psychological thriller from the perspective of the victim who was unaware she was being manipulated.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be great 🙂 xx

#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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#BlogBlitz : No Comment by Graham Smith @GrahamSmith1972 @rararesources @caffeinenights #BookReview

No CommentI am delighted to be sharing No Comment by Graham Smith with you all today.  A novella that involves DI Harry Evans. Purchase links for this great power packed read are at Amazon UK or Amazon.Com.

Synopsis:

When a single mother, Julie Simon, is found in her kitchen with a stab wound to her stomach, Cumbria’s Major Crimes Team are handed the case. Under the supervision of DI Campbell and with advice from his former DI, Harry Evans, DC Amir Bhaki fights to discover who assaulted an innocent woman and left her with life-threatening injuries.
Nothing is as it first appears and when the team looks into Julie’s life they uncover a hidden sex-life that may just hold the key to the identity of her attacker.

My Thoughts:

When Julie Simon’s is found stabbed in the stomach, DC Amir Bhaki is the first detective on the scene.  His gut instinct tells him this is more than a burglary gone wrong, the whole crime scene looks not quite right.The new DI in charge is Campbell, he has big shoes to fill as he follows in the footsteps of his predecessor, as along with his team of DC Phollips and Chrisholm they work the case with assistance of Harry as they find themselves in a confusing case.

For a novella this doesn’t half pack a punch.  Addictive from the outset as the hard hitting details unfurl and have you guessing at the motive behind the crime, and it was one I didn’t guess until the author led me and allowed me to become aware of it.

The investigative team are dealing with a new boss who has his own ways of doing things; by the book.  A step away from their previous gut instinct boss.  But some of their slightly unorthodox ways of going about their jobs does get some results, so even thought it rankles Campbell does let some things slide.

The author has worked the dynamics between the team very well in such a short space of time and is a credit to his writing skills. There is the genuine feel of a team that has worked together before, and the uncertainty of having another person joining them. They are definitely a unique bunch and by the end of the story I felt I had got a good idea of them, their characters their traits and a little of what makes them tick. It is enough to leave me wanting to know more about them all and also how they will continue in the future books.

This is a read from a new to me author, though I do have a couple of this his books on my kindle yet to be read.  So if you are after a quick, hard hitting, crime thriller then I highly recommend giving NoComment a go.

About the Author:

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Graham Smith is a time served joiner who has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000, he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

He is an internationally best-selling Kindle author and has four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team, and three novels, featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009

Graham is the founder of Crime and Publishment, a weekend of crime-writing classes which includes the chance for attendees to pitch their novels to agents and publishers. Since the first weekend in 2013, eight attendees have gone on to sign publishing contracts. Graham can be found at: ~ Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website

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#BlogBlitz : White is the Coldest Colour by John Nicholl @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681

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I am sharing my thoughts with you for “White is the Coldest Colour” by John Nicholl.  Published by Bloodhound Books and available HERE in paperback, eBook and audio formats.  My thanks to Sarah Hardy, Bloodhound and the author for my copy of this book.

Synopsis:

Are you looking for a dark and gripping psychological thriller? Then you’ll love White Is The Coldest Colour by #1 best-selling author John Nicholl.

Be careful who you trust…

The Mailer family is oblivious to the terrible danger that enters their lives when seven-year-old Anthony is referred to the child guidance service by the family GP, following the breakdown of his parents’ marriage.

Fifty-eight-year-old Dr David Galbraith, a sadistic, predatory paedophile, employed as a consultant child psychiatrist, has already murdered one child in the soundproofed cellar below the South Wales Georgian town-house he shares with his wife and two young daughters.

When Anthony becomes Galbraith’s latest obsession he will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality.

But can Anthony be saved before it’s too late?

The book includes content that some readers may find disturbing from the start. It is dedicated to survivors everywhere.

What readers are saying:

‘One of the best psychological thrillers I’ve ever read.’ The Book Review Cafe

‘I confess to holding my breath as the conclusion drew near.’ Crimesquad.com

‘Nicholl is a superb storyteller; it is an art to write a book with such a violent and brutal plot line and conveying it without gratuitous details.’ Great Book Escapes

‘A masterfully written dark psychological thriller.’ Albina Hume – bestselling author

‘I don’t think that I’ve ever read a book that explores the darkness of the human mind and soul as well as White is the Coldest Colour. ’ Books, Movies and Wine Reviews.

‘One of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read!’ Carissa Backherms – bestselling author

‘I seriously was on the edge of my seat reading it.  I really do highly recommend his book.’ Cheekypee Reads and Reviews

‘Confident crime writing at its best. A must-read for lovers of very dark crime.’ Northern Crime

‘Some of the best writing I’ve read.’ Mark Tilbury – bestselling author

‘Absolutely brilliant.’ Relax and Read Book Reviews

‘The writing is fab. Intense and gripping. A hard-hitting, eye-opener of a book.’ Renita D’ Silva – bestselling author

‘A suspenseful eloquently worded page-turner.’ Angie Smith – bestselling author

‘I literally could not tap to the next page on my kindle quick enough.’ By The Letter Book Reviews

‘You don’t read this book, you experience it.’ Stella Marie Alden – bestselling author

‘I would very highly recommend this book.’ Readers Favorite

’The writing is superb. I was totally gripped.’ Read Along With Sue

‘Very cleverly plotted, well-developed characters, and disturbingly believable. The ending just blew my socks off. Highly recommended.’ Booklover Catlady Reviews

White Is The Coldest Colour is a dark and disturbing thriller, it will appeal to fans of authors like Joy Ellis, Mark Edwards, KL Slater and John Marrs.

My Thoughts:

Anthony Mailer is referred by his GP to see a child psychiatrist.  After the break up of his parents marriage, Anthony (7 years old) is having problems and feels guilty, thinking it is his fault that his mum and dad are no longer together.  Unfortunately he is referred to Dr Galbraith, a predatory paedophile who has gone under the radar for many years.  He uses his position and knowledge to undermine, manipulate and abuse the defenceless and the innocent.

Oh  wow! Oh dear god!  Bloody hell! How can you admit to loving a book so much when it has the most evil of subjects as its plot line, it feels so wrong to admit to it.  It is one of the most intensely twisted psychological reads I think I have read.  John has a background of being an ex police officer and child protection social worker and this experience gives such an extra dimension, edge and a truth to this story.  The way the agencies have to work, liaise and co-ordinate, the way protocols and working procedures are used adds extra factors. The plot is a mix of the Mailer Family, Police and Agency Workers, there is a paedophile ring and finally the character of Dr Galbraith.  I don’t think I have ever hated a character in a story as much as I have hated this one, he is smug, self-righteous, loathsome, evil and abhorrent, credit to John for making this character so believable as to evoke such anger, hatred and disgust.

The start of the story is disturbing, it is not easy reading and given the subject it shouldn’t be.  But John has crafted his writing in such a way that he has not glorified the details of events, he has used just enough words to give an indication.  It did not take long before I realised that this was a story I just could not put down. The way you are taken into the thoughts and lives of the characters is superb, and at times very scary.

It is a truth that this is based on things that happen a lot more than people realise.  It is often mentioned in the news that people are coming forward on a regular basis to report abuse to them, this may have happened in recent times but also a lot are now admitting what happened years and even decades ago.

Yes this is a shocking, disturbing, intense and shows the levels of psychological manipulation that are astounding.  It is also heartbreaking, at times frustrating and also verypowerful.  It shows how people can find the inner strength to change, challenge and stand up to atrocities.  This is a book that will stay in my thoughts for quite a long time, and I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND it to those who read very real psychological thrillers.

About the Author:

91LTM9AIN+L._SY200_John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written six darkly psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon bestseller. He reached # 10 of all books on Amazon in Australia and has been given four Amazon All-Star awards for being one of the most read authors in the UK and USA. John’s latest book, A Cold Cold Heart, was published by Bloodhound Books in January 2018.

John is always happy to hear from readers, bloggers or the media, and can be contacted via his author Website.

Rights enquiries should be directed to Toby Mundy – Literary agent at TMA
http://tma-agency.com

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Or go and grab a copy of this amazing book xx