Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens #BookReview

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Book description

Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband was sent to jail and she started over with a new life. Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her ex-husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she’s cut all ties. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But can he really change? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

img_1258I’ve been a huge fan of Chevy Stevens since I read her first novel Still Missing way back in 2010, so as you can imagine I couldn’t wait to start reading Never Let You Go. As I would expect this novel has all the hallmarks I have come to expect from this author, suspense, intrigue and plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader captivated. Never Let Yo Go is a disturbing and insightful study of domestic abuse with dark and dangerous undertones running throughout, which certainly made for a gripping read

This isn’t the most original plot Lindsey flees and abusive relationship, and years later thinks she’s being stalked by her ex husband, I’ve read numerous books with the very same theme running through them, but thanks to this authors descriptive writing and her ability to build skilfully on the suspense she manages to deliver an extremely disturbing tale. I should point out some readers might find this book distressing due to the scenes of domestic abuse.

The narrative goes back and forth between past and present and alternates between Lindsey and her daughter Sophie’s POV’s. The author uses this to good effect and the reader gets a sense of foreboding from the first chapter. Another factor that added to my enjoyment of this book were the different points of view of both Lindsey and Sophie, as you get different perspectives of events and characters.

Chevy Stevens expertly builds on Laura’s paranoia which in turn lead to the reader seeing each character as someone not to be trusted, as events take a sinister turn I had many a “heart in your mouth moments”. I became so engrossed in this story it was a difficult one to put down, as you reach the end of each chapter the tension is taut, and the sense of foreboding is overwhelming. With red herrings a plenty the author skilfully keeps the reader in suspense right up until the last few chapters which isn’t an easy task. If you enjoy a psychological thriller that explores obsession, jealousy, and relationships then I would recommend adding this one to your TBR pile.

Print Length: 415 pages

Publisher: Sphere (14 Mar. 2017)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧          Amazon US 🇺🇸

Bully Boy Blue by John Nicholl #BookReview @nicholl06

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Book description

Every aspect of Kathy’s life is dominated by her abusive bully boy husband. Now she’s pregnant and in fear for her life. Can she ever escape him?

img_1258BULLY BOY BLUE is a dark psychological suspense novella by John Nicholl, and when I say dark it’s really, really dark! It may only be a short story but the author certainly packs a powerful and disturbing tale into these pages. It’s dark, intense and hard hitting, in fact some readers may prefer to give Bully Boy Blue a miss as it deals with domestic abuse, and the author doesn’t hold back on the details.

The plot centres around Kathy whose life is dominated by her abusive husband Michael a pillar of society, unfortunately for Kathy whose going to believe her story? Can she escape the evil clutches of a monster? I’m certainly not going to give anything away here. Oh my Michael really is a nasty piece of work, as you learn more about his abusive behaviour towards Kathy I found my stomach turning, and all my sympathies lay with her. All I could hope for in this sorry tale was Michael would get what he deserved.

John Nicholl never fails to amaze me as his villains are always so well portrayed, so much so you can’t help but detest them for the terrible things they do and Michael is no exception. The author takes the worse parts of human behaviour and creates characters that you wouldn’t wish to meet in your worse nightmares. Bully Boy Blue makes for a grim, brutal and very disconcerting read, but it’s well plotted with a very satisfying conclusion.

Print Length: 60 pages

Publication Date: April 1, 2017

Amazon UK 🇬🇧

The Marriage Lie by Kimberley Belle #Review

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Book description

When a plane crashes, Iris Griffiths watches the news unfold with horror…and then relief. Her beloved husband Will had just flown out from the same airport, but he was on a different flight. So why is his name on the list of victims?

Surely there’s some mistake – her husband would never lie to her. Would he?

But wading deeper into the truth of her husband’s deception, Iris begins to think the unthinkable. Maybe she’s glad that he’s dead…

An exploration of betrayal complex lies and dark secrets of a marriage

img_0925I’m not sure if it’s just me or I just need a break from this genre but I’m finding there are lots of novel that seem to have the same formula, a happily married couple living the perfect life, and low and behold it soon becomes apparent one of them has built their marriage on lies and deceit. Some of the novels I have read following this well used theme have been exceptionally good others mediocre, The marriage Lie By Kimberley Belle sits somewhere in the middle. Iris thinks she has the perfect husband, they share everything or so she believes, but all that changes when Iris’s husband is believed to be one of the victims of plane crash, a plane he wasn’t meant to be on. What follows is Iris’s quest to find out the truth about the husband she never really knew.

I must admit I did have trouble forming a connection with the characters, Iris doesn’t come across as the most likeable character, in fact I found myself becoming very irritated with her, she spent much of the book crying, being angry or feeling sick, yes I know the poor woman was grieving but even so there are only so many times you can read about a persons emotions before it becomes a tad irritating. I know it’s possible to enjoy a novel and not like the characters, but for me I need to have some sort of connection even if it’s only wanting to see someone get their comeuppance. So although the plot was suspenseful and intriguing at times my indifference to the characters spoilt my enjoyment of this novel.

The plot of The Marriage Lie did intrigue me as you can’t help wondering why Will based his marriage on so many lies, the author gradually reveals Will’s reasons and there not pretty. For me the pace wasn’t as fast paced as I normally like, but it does have suspense and intrigue. There weren’t any big shocks in this novel, I think I was expecting something “mind blowing” to happen, but unfortunately it never materialised. In the authors defence I do think there are going to be a large number of readers who will love this book, but for me personally I wanted something more, better character development or a twist I didn’t see coming to make this an outstanding read.

Although an enjoyable read and one I read quickly The Marriage Lie lacked the “thrilling” element I relish when reading a book of this genre. There are lots of five star reviews for this book so it’s definitely one you may prefer to check out for yourself, and in the authors defence if I hadn’t read so many books that involved lies, marriage and secrets I may have felt differently and enjoyed The Marriage Lie much more than I did.

3.5 out of 5

Paperback: 384 pages

Publisher: HQ (29 Dec. 2016)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

Her Husband’s Lover by Julia Crouch #Review @thatJuliaCrouch @headlinepg

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Book description

After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start.

Her husband Sam is dead. Her children, too, are gone, victims of the car accident in which he died.

Sam said that she would never get away from him. That he would hound her to death if she tried to leave. Louisa never thought that he would want to harm their children though.

But then she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie.

And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her – the life she would have had if Sam had lived.

Her husband’s lover wants to take her life. The only question is will Louisa let her?

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This is an absolute cracker of a read and what a compelling and unsettling thriller Her Husband’s Lover by Julia Crouch turned out to be. I have read numerous novels that have been described as domestic noir, but this one takes you somewhere much darker, it’s disturbing and uncomfortable at times, but it’s a hell of a twisted tale and one that was difficult to put down, I was so caught up in this novel I was reading it at every possible opportunity.

Her Husband’s Lover concentrates on two protagonists Louisa the poor heartbroken widow who not only lost her husband, but her two children in a car accident, and Sophie the pregnant mistress, the stark contrast between the two make them even more intriguing. I love an unreliable narrator in a story, but the author goes one better here and gives you two! The story is told from both Louisa and Sophie’s POV, past and present which really works for this novel. I have to applaud the author on her character development both characters are complex, and I found my sympathies towards each character constantly shifting for reasons I’m not going to go into, as I don’t want to give away spoilers, suffice to say by the end of the book I was absolutely astounded that my opinions of the two were reversed completely. Neither character are particularly likeable I found them selfish, manipulative and very unreliable, which normally means I struggle with the whole concept, but thanks to authors skilful writing I was desperate to learn more about these two.

Sometimes I find a novel told from two characters POV and past and present can appear disjointed, fortunately this wasn’t the case and the author goes between the two very skilfully. I wouldn’t consider this to be a fast paced plot, as the story is unravelled slowly building on the tension and suspense until it reaches fever pitch, but it’s one that will pull you in and keep you in its clutches to the very last shocking page. As the plot builds in momentum the author reveals more shocking events, it’s then you realise what a well constructed and dark tale Her Husband’s Lover really is. Nothing is what it seems in this novel and that’s what I enjoyed the most about this book, what the author does brilliantly is play with the reader’s sympathies, she pulls you in one direction and then throws a spanner in the works, making you question everything you believe. Julia Crouch has written a brilliant and compelling psychological thriller that I would highly recommend to lovers of psychological thrillers and domestic noir.

5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️out of 5

Print Length: 480 pages

Publisher:Headline (26 Jan. 2017)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧      Amazon US 🇺🇸

**Guest Post** By Jennifer Gilmour Author Of Isolation Junction.

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Today I am thrilled to have Jennifer Gilmour author of Isolation Junction on my blog. Jennifer is a passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she amalgamated and fictionalised other survivors experiences alongside her own to write her first novel detailing the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage.

Although the author discusses a difficult subject in her guest post, I do think it’s an important one, if it helps to raise awareness than it can only be a good thing right?

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I’m Jennifer Gilmour, a young married mum of 3, an entrepreneur and now a published author. From an early age, I have had a passion for writing and have been gathering ideas and plot lines from my teenage years.  A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, I have amalgamated and fictionalised other survivors’ experiences alongside my own to write my first novel. It details the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again.

With Christmas almost upon us the pressures for someone who is in an abusive relationship can be at a peak. From little pressures such as whether you can or can’t attend a Christmas party, see friends and family and what is said and how’s it’s said in anyone else’s presence. To the threat that something bad will happen and the worry that the abuser will ruin Christmas for the children or relatives. From my own experience it seems to be taken upon yourself to do above and beyond your ability to make sure nothing will go wrong; and to try and sail through Christmas in any way possible. Then there’s the financial abuse, if the abuser refuses to help buy Christmas gifts how are you going to buy them or are you going to give nothing and lie about why. These are just a couple of examples and there are 1,000 more that could present. People often asked why I didn’t leave the relationship and it was because of all these 1,000 reasons to stay to make it easier and which were fuelled with fear, there are only been perhaps a 100 positive reasons to leave and they seem to out weigh each other massively.

Between the 19th December to 26th December and the kindle version of Isolation Junction will be just 99p. It is also free on Kindle Unlimited.

Could this help someone you know who is being abused but they are defensive? This book could help them see that it isn’t normal behaviour, it’s not their fault and they can be happy and leave safely with the right help. The novel has opened up a huge discussion of the behaviour and for those who don’t understand, it’s enlightened them to see what it could be and the progression behind it. My aim is to encourage questions, challenge the current law and the behaviour itself. It has gotten people thinking about their friendship circle and I have been contacted by many saying, “I have passed your book on to my friend because I think they are in this situation…”

People have seen a different side to abuse through my fictional novel. It’s something that has before been addressed in a text book rather than a novel. The reaction has been that people have learnt about a different type of abuse and what coercive control can look like. It is hard to explain in a text book to fully demonstrate this type of behaviour. I’m pleased that people are being educated through my fictional story and are also looking for the signs of abuse in friends and family.

I quote a few reviews here to give you a bit of an idea:

”This book I was not able to put down”
“A hugely important book!”
“A very gripping and interesting read”
“Thank you Jennifer for highlighting this issue and hopefully inspiring women to break free from emotional abuse”
“A fictional account of an everyday, unacceptable issue”
“It really packed a punch and left me feeling quite emotional!”
“Isolation Junction shows that there can be life after abuse”

As well as educating, it is also an entertaining book as you can see from the reviews. It is not filled with doom and gloom but features romance and some comedic moments.

I would like to wish you all a happy Christmas but also a safe one as well.

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Born in the North East, I am a young, married mum with three children. I am an entrepreneur, running a family business from my home-base and I have a large readership of other young mums in business for my blog posts.

From an early age I have had a passion for writing and have been gathering ideas and plot lines from my teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, I have amalgamated and fictionalised other survivors experiences alongside my own to write my first novel detailing the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again.

I hope that in reading my debut novel, I will raise awareness of this often hidden and unseen behaviour and empower women in abusive relationships to seek help for themselves and find the confidence to change their lives.

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Website     Facebook     Twitter     Amazon Author Profile

Book description

Rose is the mother of two young children, and finds herself living a robotic life with an abusive and controlling husband. While she struggles to maintain a calm front for the sake of her children, inside Rose is dying and trapped in ‘Isolation Junction’. She runs an online business from home, because Darren won’t let her work outside the house. Through this, she meets other mums and finds courage to attend networking events, while Darren is at work, to promote her business. It’s at one of these events that Rose meets Tim, a sympathetic, dark-haired stranger who unwittingly becomes an important part of her survival.

After years of emotional abuse, of doubting her future and losing all self-confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself distraught, alone and helpless, Rose wonders how she’ll ever escape with her sanity and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1,000 reasons she can’t, will she be able to do it? Will Tim help her? Will Rose find peace and the happiness she deserves? Can Rose break free from this spiralling life she so desperately wants to change?

Amazon UK 🇬🇧 Paperback        Amazon UK 🇬🇧Kindle

You can read my review here……

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/11/08/isolation-junction-by-jennifer-gilmour-review-jenlgilmour/

My thanks to Jennifer Gilmour for her Guest Post.

If you would like help or advice on domestic abuse You can contact…….
24 hour free-phone National Domestic Violence helpline on 0808 2000 247

 

Isolation Junction by Jennifer Gilmour #Review @JenLGilmour

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Book description

Rose is the mother of two young children, and finds herself living a robotic life with an abusive and controlling husband. While she struggles to maintain a calm front for the sake of her children, inside Rose is dying and trapped in ‘Isolation Junction’. She runs an online business from home, because Darren won’t let her work outside the house. Through this, she meets other mums and finds courage to attend networking events, while Darren is at work, to promote her business. It’s at one of these events that Rose meets Tim, a sympathetic, dark-haired stranger who unwittingly becomes an important part of her survival.

After years of emotional abuse, of doubting her future and losing all self-confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself distraught, alone and helpless, Rose wonders how she’ll ever escape with her sanity and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1,000 reasons she can’t, will she be able to do it? Will Tim help her? Will Rose find peace and the happiness she deserves? Can Rose break free from this spiralling life she so desperately wants to change?

img_0925A book that deals with domestic abuse isn’t going to be an easy read, it’s a subject that is both emotive and disturbing but the author deals with the subject in a sensitive manner, this is a lady who has drawn on her own personal experience to highlight a difficult subject. This is a fairly short book at a 134 pages, but it’s long enough for the author to deliver on both the plot and characters. Rose lives with her abusive and controlling husband Darren, trapped in a marriage that offers nothing but fear and dread.

Domestic abuse is something a lot of people can’t understand but Isolation Junction paints a vivid and very believable picture of how someone is left feeling completely isolated. Darren manages to control every aspect of Rose’s life who she see’s, what she does, even controlling their finances, such power leaves Rose estranged from family and friends and highlights the insidious nature of abuse which leaves the victim unable to ask for help or voice their fear.

Rose can think of a 100 reasons to leave and a 1,000 reasons to stay in a relationship that is destroying her, it’s only when Rose finds herself thrown out of the marital home, alone and helpless she begins the journey to discover her own identity, with the help of Tim, Rose begins to think that it could be possible for for both her and her young children to live a far happier life, one that is free from abuse.

Interestingly the story is told from Ruth’s point of view, but her abusive life with Darren is told in the third person, an unusual style for this type of read, but it works as it feels like you are reading about two people “the Rose who was abused” and “the Rose that got away”. Although the book focuses mainly on mental abuse, it doesn’t make it any easier to read, it’s a very credible and emotive read.

Isolation Junction shows that there can be life after abuse, that a woman finding herself in a similar situation deserves to be valued. For me a book that raises awareness of hidden and unseen abuse has to be a good thing, I also feel it’s a book that will hopefully empower women in abusive relationships to seek help for themselves and to find the confidence to change their life’s for the better. Although the subject of this book could be a depressing read I found it to be enlightening and more importantly offering hope to others who maybe in a similar situation

4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️out of 5

If you would like help or advice on domestic abuse You can contact…….
24 hour free-phone National Domestic Violence helpline on 0808 2000 247

Amazon UK
Paperback: 134 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (22 Sept. 2016)

#BookOfThe Month October 2016 @michaelJmalone1 @orendaBooks

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As it’s the last day of October today (Happy Halloween by the way 🎃🕸👻🎃) I thought I would post my book of the month for October 2016. 

I’ve read some fabulous books this month and four books got my special “gold star award“, books that I consider be an outstanding read. I really can’t recommend theses books highly enough and they are certainly worthy of being added to any crime thrillers TBR pile they include……..

Dark Waters by Robert Bryndza

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land 

The Killing Game by J.S. Carol

Untouchable by Sibel Hodge

But there’s one book that stands out  for me it covered ever aspect of what I look for in a good read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that drew me in from the first page and kept me in its grip until I reached the very last page, it also made me cry as it was heartbreaking, but dark and very sinister, so If you haven’t already guessed my book of the month is……..

A Suitable Lie By Michael J Malone

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Book description

Some secrets should never be kept… Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match … and she loves his son like he is her own.

When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. Desperate for that happy-ever-after, he ignores it. A dangerous mistake that could cost him everything.

A brave, deeply moving, page-turning psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie marks a stunning departure for one of Scotland’s finest crime writers, exploring the lengths people will go to hide their deepest secrets, even if it kills them…

My thanks to Karen over at Orenda books and Michael J Malone for giving me the chance to read this fabulous book. 

You can read my full review here…..
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/10/26/a-suitable-lie-by-michael-j-malone-michaeljmalone1-orendabooks-review/

Or you can buy a copy here…….

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Suitable-Lie-Michael-J-Malone-ebook/dp/B01BOGQDJ0