Manipulated Lives by H.A Leuschel #Blogtour #Review #Giveaway

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.

MyReview

I’d like to thank Rachel’s Random Resources and H.A.Leuschel for including me in this blog tour.

Manipulated lives is a very unusual and engrossing read. I really enjoy short stories for a change and always finish them making a mental note I must read more.

Manipulated lives consists of five stories all with the main theme of a person who is being manipulated. Although there is a common theme that runs through all stories they are very individual.

Every story is beautifully written and in the short time you’re reading each one you become so involved in the characters and their situation.

Each story for me brought a sadness, but also a realisation of how manipulators can come in many shapes and sizes and cause so much destruction.

I loved the twists in the stories and sometimes an adde eerie feel, similar to the one you get when you’re watching a scary movie and waiting for that moment when someone jumps out.

5* review from me!

Click here to buy Manipulated Lives

All About Helene

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.

Where to find Helene

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Website

Giveaway – Win a signed copy of Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel (Open Internationally)

*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.

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We’ve Come To Take You Home by Susan Gandar #Review

Synopsis

Samantha Foster and Jessica Brown are destined to meet. But one lives in the 20th century, the other in the 21st… It is April 1916 and thousands of men have left home to fight in the war to end all wars. Jessica Brown’s father is about to be one of these men. A year later, he is still alive, but Jess has to steal to keep her family from starving. And then a telegram arrives – her father has been killed in action. Four generations later, Sam Foster’s father is admitted to hospital with a suspected brain haemorrhage. A nurse asks if she would like to take her father’s hand. Sam refuses. All she wants is to get out of this place, stuck between the world of the living and the world of the dead, a place with no hope and no future, as quickly as possible. As Sam’s father’s condition worsens, her dreams become more frequent – and more frightening. She realises that what she is experiencing is not a dream, but someone else’s living nightmare…

My Review

Firstly my thanks to Susan for providing me with a copy of We’ve come to take you home to review. My apologies that it has taken me so long.

We’ve come to take you home is definitely not your normal read, it is beautifully written and crosses over between two different era’s with ease. The book alternates between Sam Foster’s life in the present day to Jessica Brown’s life in 1916.

I enjoyed becoming engrossed in each girls story. Both were facing difficult times, although years apart each one of their hardships, although very different were very real.

The link between the girls slowly emerges and gave a real edge to the book.

The ending is poignant and one I read with tears in my eyes

We’ve come to take you home is an emotional read and one I think that will stay with me for a long time.

Buy We’ve come to take you home here

All about SusanSusan Gandar is the daughter of film designer and multi-Oscar winner John Box. As one of the UK’s story consultants, working on shows such as ‘Casualty’, she became known for going after the more ‘difficult’ stories – at the same time successfully increasing viewing figures from 7 to 14 million. We’ve Come to Take You Home is her first novel.

Where to find Susan

Website

Twitter

Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb #loveaudio #teamorenda


Synopsis

Lori Anderson is as tough as they come, managing to keep her career as a fearless Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills start to rack up, she has no choice but to take her daughter along on a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things start to go wrong. The fugitive she’s assigned to haul back to court is none other than JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her everything she knows … the man who also knows the secrets of her murky past.

Not only is JT fighting a child exploitation racket operating out of one of Florida’s biggest theme parks, Winter Wonderland, a place where ‘bad things never happen’, but he’s also mixed up with the powerful Miami Mob. With two fearsome foes on their tails, just three days to get JT back to Florida, and her daughter to protect, Lori has her work cut out for her. When they’re ambushed at a gas station, the stakes go from high to stratospheric, and things become personal.
Breathtakingly fast-paced, both hard-boiled and heart-breaking, Deep Down Dead is a simply stunning debut from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

My review

I have just listened to the last chapter of Deep down dead and I have one word……..WOW! My heart has only just returned to a steady beat. I am now entering that stage after reading a fantastic book, or in this case, listening to a fantastic book, that I like to call ‘book mourning’. The moment when you actually don’t think you can live without a daily dose of the characters.

I haven’t listened to an audio book in such a long time but jumped at the chance when I received an email from Anne. I have a long journey to and from work so this was actually an ideal opportunity to rekindle my love of audio.

Jennifer Woodward the narrator brought the book to life, her Southern American drawl was perfect for the main characters and she managed amazingly to put a different spin on the male voices.

Now to the storyline and what a storyline it is! If you like cute, steady paced, predictable books, this is not the book for you, but if you like edgy, gutsy, fast moving, edge of your seat type of books then…..jackpot!

Meet Lori who has more guts than a lion tamer and just so happens to be a kick ass bounty hunter. Deep down dead throws you at high speed into the world of the bounty hunter. Lori has medical bills to pay for her daughter Dakota. Dakota is in recovery from cancer. Lori is struggling financially, so when this job comes up with a very healthy sum of money in return for the capture of a convicted criminal, she decides it’s a no brainer. The problem is, well there are a few problems. One being Lori has no one to look after Dakota and secondly the fugitive just happens to be JT, the man who taught Lori all there was to know about being a bounty hunter and the man who she has way too much personal history with.

And so begins a roller coaster ride, buckle up and sit tight as you are thrown into the midst of the lowest of the low criminals, drugs and a paedophile ring run by a trusted, high flying business man.

I can’t recommend Deep Down Dead highly enough, it has a twist of a romance thrown in too. The ending leaves the story open for a return of Lori Anderson, I just hope it’s sooner rather than later!

Thank you to Orenda books and Anne Cater for allowing me to take part in the Deep Down Dead audio blog tour.

About the Author

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at http://www.crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases.Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Deep Down Dead is her debut novel.

Where to find Steph Broadribb


Before The Rains by Dinah Jefferies

  • Before the rains

 

 

Synopsis

A romantic, heart-wrenching tale of love against the odds from the Number One Sunday Timesbestselling author

1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband’s death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza’s only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she’s determined to make a name for herself.

But when Eliza arrives at the palace she meets Jay, the Prince’s handsome, brooding brother. While Eliza awakens Jay to the poverty of his people, he awakens her to the injustices of British rule. Soon Jay and Eliza find they have more in common than they think. But their families – and society – think otherwise. Eventually they will have to make a choice between doing what’s expected, or following their hearts.

My review

The tea planters wife remains one of my favourite books so it was with excitement and slight trepidation that I started to read Before the rains. Theres always the risk that ‘this’ book will not magic you away as the last did. I needn’t have worried, as Before the rains delivered!

For a week i was transported to India. Dinah has a rare skill of using such descriptive language that you can almost see, hear and feel the setting of the story. The characters story becomes your story.

Before the rains tells the story of Eliza who arrives in India comissioned to take photographs of the royal family in their daily lives. The castle has an air of mystery which Eliza is excited to uncover if somewhat apprehensive.

Jay is the handsome prince, reckless, gypsy like and not one to live by the rules.

When their worlds collide under the British rule it’s not an easy path of true love for either of them. They are up agaisnt the boundaries of Jay’s culture and expectations. For one, Eliza is a widow which is very much frowned upon, she is also British and does not come from a noble background.

There is much deceit within the castle which slowly unfolds, as does an amazing string of coincidences which can only mean that Eliza and Jay’s love stroy was meant to be, some may say their destiny.

The ending leaves you on a high but with a heavy heart that the story has come to an end.

I dare you to read this book and not be consumed by it!

Thank you to Netgalley, Dinah Jefferies, Viking and Penguin books uk for allowing me to review this book.

Click here to buy

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Little Teashop Of Lost And Found by Trisha Ashley

litle teashop

 

Synopsis
Alice Rose is a foundling, discovered on the Yorkshire moors above Haworth as a baby. Adopted but then later rejected again by a horrid step-mother, Alice struggles to find a place where she belongs. Only baking – the scent of cinnamon and citrus and the feel of butter and flour between her fingers – brings a comforting sense of home.

So it seems natural that when she finally decides to return to Haworth, Alice turns to baking again, taking over a run-down little teashop and working to set up an afternoon tea emporium.

Luckily she soon makes friends – including a Grecian god-like neighbour – who help her both set up home and try to solve the mystery of who she is. There are one or two last twists in the dark fairytale of Alice’s life to come . . . but can she find her happily ever after?

My review

The pinned tweet at the top of Trisha’s twitter reads

”With my writing, I want everyone to step inside Trishaworld for a vacation and then walk out of the door feeling happy. And then I’m happy” This book definitely succeeded!
This book felt like I was covering myself with a comfort blanket, it was divine! The characters are believable and you feel as if you know them personally after a few chapters ., and to top it all it has recipes, how perfect!
Alice hasn’t had the best start in life, she was found abandoned on the Yorkshire moors when she was only a few hours old. Adopted by a doting Dad but not so doting Mother meant that when her dad died she felt as though she didn’t really belong. She left home and started on her baking journey.
There are twists and turns that eventually bring Alice to Haworth where she was abandoned as a baby. She buys a rundown café that she decides to turn into an upmarket tea emporium, ‘The fat rascal’
She also decides that she is going to try to track down her birth mother, just for closure if nothing else.
This is when we are introduced to the wonderful Giddings family. Nile Giddings is the delectable owner of ‘small and perfect’ the antique shop next door to The fat rascal. Immediately you realise he will be the love interest for Alice, even so it doesn’t take the enjoyment away from seeing their love story unfold.
Alongside the main story there are snippets of a diary written by someone connected to Alice’s past. At first it’s unclear who this is but as the story unfolds you put two and two together and come up with five!!
I so didn’t want this book to end, it was my first time reading one of Trisha’s novels but it certainly will not be my last!

Thank you to Net galley, Random house, Transworld and Trisha Ashley for allowing me to review this book.

Click to buy here

The Little Breton Bistro by Nina George

little-breton-bistro

Synopsis

Marianne Messman longs to escape her loveless marriage to an uncaring husband – an artillery sergeant major named Lothar. On a day trip to Paris, Marianne decides to leap off the Pont Neuf into the Seine, but she is saved from drowning by a homeless man. While recovering in hospital, Marianne comes across a painting of the tiny port town of Kerdruc in Brittany and decides to try her luck on the coast.

In Kerdruc, Marianne meets a host of colourful characters who all gravitate around the restaurant of Ar Mor (The Sea). It is this cast of true Bretons who become Marianne’s new family, and among whom she will find love once again. But with her husband looking to pull her back to her old life, Marianne is left with a choice: to step back into the known, or to take a huge jump into an exciting and unpredictable future.

My Review

The little Paris bookshop also by Nina George is on my TRB pile, well after reading The little Breton Bistro it has been rapidly moved to the top!

The book surrounds the life of Marianne and her escape to a new life. The book begins as Marianne decides she can no longer live her loveless life, controlled and down trodden by her husband she feels her only option is to take her own life. With a beginning like this i feared the story would be a rather sad one. I was very wrong, yes there are sad moments in this book but there are also uplifting and beautiful moments too.

As different characters are introduced you gradually untangle the web of lives within the story. You learn the background of each new character as there story goes alongside Marianne’s.

I was rooting for Marianne all the way through, urging her to grab the new life she had found.

A truly beautiful story with descriptions of France so real if you closed your eyes you could almost imagine you were there.

Thank you to Netgalley , Little, brown book group & Abacus books for allowing me to review this book.Click here to buy

Mad girl by Bryony Gordon

I had never heard of Bryony Gordon and then I stumbled upon Mad girl in the latest Richard & Judy reads. The cover caught my eye and when I read the blurb it became the top of my 2017 ‘to be read’ list.

Growing up I suffered with awful anxieties and mental health issues which really shadowed my childhood, adolescent and early adulthood. At the time there wasn’t the support there is now, luckily I had a great family doctor who seemed to understand or partly understood what I was going through, and instead of making me feel daft he actually listened and tried to shed some light on the constant turmoil I was going through.

Reading ‘Mad girl’ was slightly like reading an autobiography of my life! I laughed out loud at some of Bryony’s stories, to the point that I took the book to the hairdressers with me and literally spat my coffee out at one point! This book made me sigh a big sigh of relief, finally there was a name for the turmoil I’d suffered all those years ago, OCD. I wasn’t alone! There are other Mad Girls & men out there! 

I, like Bryony, never see myself as cured, I handle my OCD now, it sits within a secure box in my mind, it’s been asleep now for years but occasionally it stirs, I hear it starting to wake but I’m clever now & manage to secure the box before it has a chance to open it.

I’d recommend this book to everyone, it makes you laugh, cry & sometimes spit out coffee!

The trophy child by Paula Daly

twist. A great suspense thriller.
I have walked around like a zombie for the last week whilst reading ‘The Trophy Child’, mainly because I literally could not put it down and had way too many late nights just wanting to finish a chapter! The story had me gripped and the ending was a great unexpected twist.
Karen is a ‘tiger mum’, she pushes Bronte to the limit with out of school activities and extra tuition. Noel, Karen’s husband buries his head in the sand and throws himself into his work & the occasional extra marital dalliance

Verity, Noels’s daughter from his first marriage lives with them, Verity’s Mum has MS and is in a care home. Verity mildly puts up with Karen but her anger tends to over flow when she witnesses how horrible Bronte’s life is becoming at the hands of her Step Mum.

Everything changes on the day Bronte disappears, it starts a whole domino effect of events. Everyone comes under scrutiny and the family is never the same again, but this isn’t entirely a bad thing!

Isolation junction by Jennifer Gilmour

I was kindly given this book to review by Jennifer

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Great book about a subject that needs publicity.

Rose is in an abusive relationship. Isolation junction follows her story from falling in love with Darren to the slow demise of the relationship as Darren reveals his true colours.

As Rose’s story unfolds she becomes isolated from her friends & family. Her self confidence is non existence, she can’t see a way out. Jennifer shows that with courage & support there is life after an abusive relationship. Well worth a read.

 

Click here to buy Isolation Junction