My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel #MiniReview @HALeuschel

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Book description

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.

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I’m not a huge fan of novella’s if I’m honest and I’m going to state the obvious here and admit I find them too short! I like a book I can sink my teeth into, I like to immerse myself in the plot and it’s characters, but with a novella it’s difficult to fit such detail in to such a short read. Although every now and again I will pick one as I do feel they showcase an author’s writing so you can get a feel for their work. I read Manipulated Lies earlier this year, which I really enjoyed, so when H.A. Leauschel asked me if I would like to read My Sweet Friend a novella  I was more than happy to give it ago.

A “true” friendship is built on trust and loyalty or I would hope so! My Sweet Friend is very much a character study of Alexa who starts out being the “perfect friend” to Rosie, but it’s not long before the lies begin and the truth is distorted in fact it soon become apparent that Alexa is a pathological liar. It was interesting to see how Rosie’s personality changed once she became friends with Alexa, it’s obvious their relationship is having a negative impact on her, and you can’t help hoping Rosie will see through Alexa and end their toxic relationship.

It’s obvious from H.A. Leauschel writing she is well versed in the workings of the humans mind, Alexa makes for a very credible character, after all I’m sure we have all come across someone who lies, distorts the truth or deceives us without feeling any remorse. Although a Novella I felt this short story packed a lot in and it certainly made for an intriguing read. If I had one small criticism I think I would have liked this story to have been a full length book, as I would like to have read more about the changes and shift in power between the two friends, never the less I would recommend My Sweet Friend if you are looking for a quick and intriguing read.

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Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel #Bookreview @HALeuschel

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Book description

Five stories – Five Lives.

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.

There are five short stories:
The Narcissist
Tess and Tattoos
The Spell
Runaway Girl
My Perfect Child

img_1258Manipulated Lives is a very different read to my usual crime/thriller reads but never the less I was intrigued by the book description. Here’s the thing after spending years working in mental health I’ve always been intrigued by the human psyche and behaviour so the concept for Manipulated Lies fascinated me . What makes someone become a manipulator and more importantly how does someone find themselves caught up and damaged by a Manipulative individual?

In this collection of five short stories we meet the masters of manipulators, we also meet the victims ordinary people trying to lead normal life’s, there’s no specific gender, (although interestingly a high percentage of men are classed as manipulators) or age group, or characteristics that sets these victims apart. It literally could happen to anyone.

The five stories are all very different, each one gives a troubling insight into the workings of a manipulator, their ability to lack compassion and the devastating impact their behaviour has on their victims. Although each story is fairly short they certainly don’t lack depth, each one will stay with me for very different reasons. The Characters were an intriguing bunch and they were really well developed which took my by surprise as sometimes a short story doesn’t  give the author time to develop the characters.

The story that stands out for me is the third in the book The Spell, it features Sophie who unwittingly becomes entangled in the lives of a young boy and his father, both running from something or someone…it shows how a perfectly normal relationship between a couple can turn into something much darker and sinister. I’m not sure where or how but H A Leuschel manages to give such an incredible insight into the subject of manipulative behaviour, I couldn’t help but wonder was she writing from experience or has she researched the subject throughly?

Each story very much highlight the fact that anyone has the ability to be a manipulator, just like everyone has the potential to become a victim so Manipulative Lies not only made for a disconcerting read but a thought provoking one too. I’m not sure this book gave me all the answers I was looking for, but it certainly gave me a better understanding of the subject and made for a very compelling read.

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

Paperback: 272 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (28 Jun. 2016)

 

**Weekly Wrap Up**

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Another week gone and I managed to read two books which I’m  happy about one was the top secret ARC I mentioned in last weeks post, my lips remained tightly shut for now but when I can share you will be the first to know until then…..🤐🤐🤐

Books I read this week

 

 

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter I’m a huge fan of this author but I won’t be sharing my review just yet as I’m saving it until Monday 17th July when it’s my stop on the blog tour.

What I’m hoping to read next week

Beneath The Surface by Sibel Hodge

Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel

Books I bought this week

I know I said I was on a self imposed book ban until my NetGalley pile had decreased, but in my defence it’s an Ebook so in my world that doesn’t count, although the lovely Dee over at http://www.noveldeelights.com was quick to point out that it does! I’ve always been a rebel  😂😂

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Book description

The heat of the Florida summer is relentless. Lucas is coasting to retirement in a mundane Florida police precinct. His world falls apart when a brutal serial killer codenamed Mechanic lands on his patch.

Three years ago they thought Mechanic was dead. But Mechanic is very much alive and the savage ritualistic murders continue. No family is safe from the threat of slaughter at this sadistic killer’s hands.

Mechanic is always one step ahead and Lucas is forced to operate outside the law.

Who can he trust?

The shocking truth is more terrifying than Lucas could ever imagine … and he has to put his life on the line to get it.

ARC’s I received this week

Ooopps I popped over to NetGalley to leave a review and some how managed to “click” on a couple of books, so there goes my 84% 🙈(Holds head in shame)

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Book description

How do you catch a killer who knows your every move?

She drew the curtains and returned to the kitchen where she removed the bottle of vodka from the freezer and reached for the large kitchen knife. If he dared to come back, she’d be ready for him.

When a body is found hanging in the remains of a dock-side warehouse, Detective Kate Matthews is called to the scene. Recently transferred following the death of a colleague, Kate is yet to see a successful prosecution over the line. But this won’t be an easy win…

Someone is watching her: leaving her clues in her home, taunting her to throw the case and threatening the life of her little girl.

As more bodies begin to surface and Kate’s stalker closes in, her instincts tell her that there is a link hidden among the victims’ missing pieces. This is a killer with a message and Kate must race against the clock to solve his twisted riddle.

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Book description

How far is too far when it comes to protecting your marriage? Find out in this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense.

“Gripping, thought-provoking, and irresistible.”—Dean Koontz

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .

Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.

And then one of them breaks the rules.

The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.

For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

Last week on the book review café

#TopFiveThursday with #BookBlogger Sean aka Seansbookreviews @seantalbot1977 | The Book Review Café
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/06/22/%ef%bb%bftopfivethursday-with-bookblogger-sean-aka-seansbookreviews-seantalbot1977/

The Detriment by David Videcette #BookReview @DavidVidecette | The Book Review Café
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/06/21/the-detriment-by-david-videcette-bookreview-davidvidecette/

The Betrayed by Casey Kelleher #BookReview @CaseyKelleher @Bookouture | The Book Review Café
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/06/20/the-betrayed-by-casey-kelleher-bookreview-caseykelleher-bookouture/

**Blog Tour** The Woman In The Wood by Lesley Pearse @LesleyPearse #LoveLesley #BookReview | The Book Review Café
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/06/19/blog-tour-the-woman-in-the-wood-by-lesley-pearse-lesleypearse-lovelesley-bookreview/

Next week on the book review café

**Blog tour** Exquisite by Sarah Stovall #Bookreview

**Blog tour**  Wolves In The Dark by Gunnar Staalesen

The Marsh Kings Daughter byKaren Dionne #Bookreview

My book of the month

#Giveaway