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.

Click here to enter

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

You, Me and Us by Liam Hurley #Review

Synopsis

“F*** you for breaking my f***ing heart…” This is the heart-breaking yet hilarious story of Jimmy Rowland and Erin Poppet. Jimmy Rowland has the perfect life. He works in his favourite bar by day, and by night he lives his dream with his two best friends in his band. Erin Poppet crashes into Jimmy’s life like a beautiful storm. He falls in love with her as quickly and as deeply as possible. The intensity of their relationship leaves Jimmy with a broken heart, a useless vacuum and a demon inside him. Jimmy’s dream life quickly becomes a nightmare when he loses his dream job and destroys his musical career live on stage. When he hits rock bottom, he decides he only has one choice, to rebuild his life from scratch. He has to get back the life he had before Erin. This is her story. This is his story. This is their story. Or as Jimmy would say… “… this is the story of You, Me and Us.”

My Review

I was lucky enough to be part of the tour for the very brilliant you, me and us at the beginning of December. However I didn’t have time to write a review but I did host a great guest post from Liam.

From the synopsis about the book, I pre ordered it and it jumped to the top of my TBR pile!

So I treated myself over Christmas whilst I had a gap in blog tours and here follows my review!

I adored this book, it was so easy to read, I felt like I knew Jimmy by the end of the first chapter. He reminded me of so many men I have met over the years. Confident on the outside with an inner insecurity that’s masked by a top sense of humour.

Liam has managed to write a book that makes you feel like you are reading about a friends life.

You, me and us is the story of a mad, heady all consuming relationship, you know the type. The type that you think is going to last forever, the type that makes you lose your mind for a while, the type where you give someone the power to destroy you.

It was refreshing to read about this from the male perspective.

Erin, the main female character is someone you initially like but slowly grow to dislike. This for me was because I liked Jimmy so much and I wanted him to come out in top!

I can’t recommend this book enough, it’s funny, heartbreaking and real!

5* review from me, I can’t wait for Liam’s next book!

Click here to buy you, me and us

All about Liam

What up? My name is Liam; I am an author from Manchester, UK. I love three things in this world, writing, reading and the viral video of the Irish family trying to catch a bat. (My girlfriend, family, friends and cats may be unhappy with this).

My hobbies include listening to podcasts, watching grown men fight and trying every possible type of ground coffee in the world.

Here are my Top Ten reasons to read my book or spend the night with me…

1. It won’t cost you much.

2. It will be over relatively quickly.

3. I will be very grateful.

4. You can tell other people about it if you enjoyed it.

5. If not, don’t bother.

6. It’s always fun to have something in your hands to flick through.

7. You can review it online.

8. It will leave a mark on you.

9. You won’t want to put it down.

10. It’ll make you laugh.

Where to find Liam

Website

Twitter

Bryant & May Wild Chambers by Christopher Fowler #Blogtour

Bryant & May 2

Synopsis

Our story begins at the end of an investigation, as the members of London’s Peculiar Crimes Unit race to catch a killer near London Bridge Station in the rain, not realising that they’re about to cause a bizarre accident just yards away from the crime scene. And it will have repercussions for them all…
One year later, in an exclusive London crescent, a woman walks her dog – but she’s being watched. When she’s found dead, the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to investigate. Why? Because the method of death is odd, the gardens are locked, the killer had no way in – or out – and the dog has disappeared.
So a typical case for Bryant & May. But the hows and whys of the murder are not the only mysteries surrounding the dead woman – there’s a missing husband and a lost nanny to puzzle over too. And it seems very like that the killer is preparing to strike again.
As Arthur Bryant delves in to the history of London’s ‘wild chambers’ – its extraordinary parks and gardens, John May and the rest of the team seem to have caused a national scandal. If no-one is safe then all of London’s open spaces must be closed…
With the PCU placed under house arrest, only Arthur Bryant remains at liberty – but can a hallucinating old codger catch the criminal and save the unit before it’s too late?

My Review

It’s my stop today on the blog tour for Christopher Fowler’s fourteenth novel in the Bryant & May series.

This is the first Bryant & May book i have had the pleasure to read and it certainly wont be the last!

The story begins as an investigation comes to an end. A traffic diversion due to the investigation causes a fatal accident involving a young child and his Nanny,  from here the ripple effect resulting from this leads to a whole new investigation a year later.

Fast forward a year…….A murder,  in a well to do area of London in a private secluded park, turns out to be a case for the PCU (peculiar crimes unit). This and the subsequent murders all seemingly link back to that fateful day a year ago.  But how and what is the link to London’s parks and garden’s?

I loved the characters in this book, Bryant & May are believable if somewhat eccentric.The relationships between the key characters were well established and you could tell that these have developed over the last thirteen books. I could quite imagine watching this drama unfold as a tv series. The clues to the case were there but had me turning the page and wanting to find out more. The chracters were all woven together like an intricate patchwork quilt, the suspects and victims all had common links which had me trying to fit the pieces together myself.

The authors historical knowledge of London was apparent throuhghout with references to lots of interesting facts.

There were some moments in the book that really made me laugh out loud and although it wasn’t a sit on the edge of your seat type of thriller it definitely had me gripped and wanting to find out more.

Reading wild chambers has made me want to go back to the beginning of the Bryant & May novels to find out more about their partnership and how they have got to where they are in this current story.

Thank you to Sophie Christopher from Transworld, Christopher Fowler and Doubleday for allowing me to take part in this blog tour.

Click here to buy

Christopher fowler

Christopher Fowler is the award-winning author of many novels and short story collections, and the Bryant & May mystery novels, which record the adventures of two Golden Age detectives investigating impossible London crimes.

His latest books are the Dubai-set thriller ‘The Sand Men’ and the Bryant & May novel ‘Strange Tide’. Other recent work includes a graphic novel, ‘The Casebook of Bryant & May’, and a Hammer horror radio play under the Hammer Chillers label.

Christopher was born in Greenwich, London. He attended Colfes, the Royal Leathersellers Guild School, and after joined J Walter Thompson as a copywriter. At the age of 26 he founded The Creative Partnership, a company that changed the face of UK and international film marketing, and spent many years working in film, creating movie posters, trailers and documentaries.

A self-confessed movie-obsessive, he handled films like ‘Reservoir Dogs’, ‘Trainspotting’, ‘Goldeneye’, ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ’28 Weeks Later’. He worked with directors like Mike Leigh, Martin Campbell and Peter Greenaway, and on countless Hollywood blockbusters. He has written for everyone from Kenneth Williams to Michael Caine, the Spice Girls, Pierce Brosnan, Leslie Nielsen, Julie Walters, John Cleese and Eric Idle. He has written comedy and drama for the BBC, including Radio One’s first live broadcast drama in 2005.

He is a five-time British Fantasy Award-winner. His first thriller was the bestseller ‘Roofworld’. Subsequent novels include ‘Spanky’, ‘Disturbia’, ‘Psychoville’ and ‘Calabash’. His books have been optioned by everyone from Guillermo Del Toro (‘Spanky’) to Jude Law (‘Psychoville’).

His graphic novel for DC Comics was the critically acclaimed ‘Menz Insana’. His short story ‘The Master Builder’ became a feature film entitled ‘Through The Eyes Of A Killer’, starring Tippi Hedren and Marg Helgenberger. His filmed short stories include: ‘Left Hand Drive’, ‘On Edge’, ‘Perfect Casting’, ‘The Most Boring Woman In The World’ and ‘Rainy Day Boys’.

In 2010 he wrote and produced the fringe play ‘Celebrity’ at the Phoenix, London. In 2011 he created the ‘War Of The Worlds’ videogame for Paramount, starring Sir Patrick Stewart. He has written for The Times, the Financial Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Daily Mail, Time Out, Smoke, Big Issue, i-D magazine and many others.

Last year he was nominated for 9 national book awards. He is the winner of the Edge Hill prize for ‘Old Devil Moon’, the Last Laugh prize twice for ‘The Victoria Vanishes’ and ‘The Burning Man’, the Green Carnation Award for ‘Paperboy’, the E-Dunnit Award for ‘Bryant & May and the Invisible Code’ and the CWA 2015 Dagger In The Library for his body of work.

Christopher has achieved several pathetic schoolboy fantasies, releasing a really horrible Christmas pop single, working as a male model, writing two London stage shows, posing as the villain in a Batman graphic novel ‘Man-Bat’, running a Soho night club, appearing in the Pan Books of Horror, and standing in for James Bond. After living in France and the USA he now lives in King’s Cross, London and Barcelona.

His short stories have appeared in Best British Mysteries, The Time Out Book Of London Stories, The New English Book Of Internet Stories, Dark Terrors, London Noir, Neon Lit, Cinema Macabre, Inferno, Gutshot, Dead Letters, Zombie Apocalypse 1 & 2 and many others. His award-winning memoirs ‘Paperboy’ and ‘Film Freak’ have been published to critical acclaim.

Find out more about Christopher Fowler here

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 kitchens of the great Midwest by J Ryan Stradal

My third review for love reading is an unusual book which i was sure i would dislike, that just happens sometimes doesn’t it! Some books just don’t sit right or feel right, the characters don’t jump out of the page at you. I was wrong however with this particular book, i gave it a chance & loved it 🙂

I started this book with trepidation, after the first chapter i was hooked!  The story follows Eva Thorvald as she enters her father’s world of culinary expertise.

This is not a straight forward story, there is sorrow as well as triumphs throughout. Each chapter depicts the lives of friends, family & mere acquaintances who all touch & impact on Eva’s life. Eva remains the central character as people come & go.

Her Mother, Cindy, leaves Eva & her father when Eva is only a few months old, Lars, Eva’s father, dies shortly after & Eva is bought up by her uncle & aunt who bring Eva up as their own, never telling her the truth about her parents. When Cindy re-enters the story in the final chapters, she meets her daughter as a grown woman who has become an enigma in the fashionable foodie world, will Cindy tell Eva who she is?

I dare you to read this story & not become entwined within the pages!

Click here to buy The Kitchens Of The Great Midwest

The Tea planters Wife by Dinah Jefferies

I discovered by accident a fantastic group on facebook for avid readers like myself. Through this i have enlightened my reading flame. Reading has always been my passion but with a hectic life sometimes gets put on a back burner. I get so cross with myself because reading takes me away to another place which lets face it we all sometimes need. Its good for the soul & my mental health!!

Through this wonderful little group i’ve become a reviewer for books that are about to be published, it’s given me the kick up the backside i needed to start reading again.

My first review was for a beautiful book called The tea Planters wife, written by Dinah Jefferies. I had never heard of Dinah before, this is her second novel, her first is called The Seperation (which is now winging its way to me)

I thought i would share my review with you…….

I was captivated with this book from the first few pages. It follows the life of Gwendolene Hooper who at the age of 19 marries Laurence the owner of a large tea plantation, she arrives in Ceylon as the story begins. 1920’s  Ceylon is beautifully described throughout. The story twists & turns & pulls you in, so much so i could not put the book down! There are lots of hidden secrets surrounding Lawrence & his family that slowly unfold.

Gwen becomes pregnant & from there on in the story becomes gripping. Gwen has a secret to hide from her husband & the rest of his family. The only person she confides in is Naveena the family’s house maid. You feel as though you are taking the journey with Gwen, her emotions & feelings are so well depicted. A sense of love & compassion exude from Lawrence throughout, he is a very likeable believable character, as is Gwen.

I would highly recommend this book.

Click here to buy The Tea Planters Wife