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

Cover: My Sweet Friend
by author H. A. Leuschel

The author sent me an ARC of this book (mobi format) in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Plot
(by Goodreads)

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 façade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.

Genre(s): Kindle eBooks
> Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Psychological
> Kindle Short Reads > Two hours + (65-100 pages) > Literature & Fiction
Books
> Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Psychological Thrillers
Series: n.a.
Length: 92 pages
Release date: 2017-12-06

 

Teaser


‘Oh, don’t tell me she’s already wanting to give you a make-over.’ She eyed me suspiciously. ‘Don’t trust her,’ she said, leaning closer to my ear, so that no one else could hear. ‘There’s something about her I don’t like,’ she added, her eyes a steady, calm stare.


My Opinion

This book introduces you to Alexa, new employee at a Parisian PR company.

With My Sweet Friend, H. A. Leuschel has created an intense and thought-provoking story that kept me glued to my Kindle. Helene Leuschel introduces her characters as the story proceeds; I suddenly realised that I knew them quite well. The main characters are of sufficient depth – as well as believable. The story has a good flow; it certainly will not leave you unaffected.

This is a book for you if you like compelling stories, psychology, shorter reads, and food for thought.

Recommended.

In brief:

Cover ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Writing ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Plot ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Characters ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Mood Suspenseful
Pace Steady
POV Third person – past tense
Language :mrgreen:
Violence :mrgreen:
Sexual content :mrgreen: – 😳

 

About the author

Helene 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.

Connect with the author:

Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading.  Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you?  What did you think about My Sweet Friend?  Or – if you did not yet read My Sweet Friend – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂

 

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Tess and Tattoos by H. A. Leuschel #BookReview @HALeuschel

The Amazon version of this book (mobi format) was available for free; it is also part of H. A. Leuschel’s ‘Manipulated Lives‘.

My rating:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Plot
(by Goodreads)

A suspenseful and emotional novella exploring whether we can ever be free from our past mistakes.

In this story, the reader is taken on a compelling journey into the human mind where genuine friendship offers the key to inner peace.

Meet Tess, an elderly lady living in a care home apartment in the outskirts of Edinburgh, whose past is haunted by a wrong decision. She meets Nurse Sandra, a warm and bubbly single mother of three, who is instantly intrigued by Tess’s personality and the mystery that surrounds her.

‘Tess and Tattoos’ is one of five gripping stories in HA Leuschel’s story collection Manipulated Lives centred around psychological manipulation

.

Genre(s): Kindle Short Reads
> 90 minutes (44-64 pages) > Literature & Fiction
Kindle eBooks
> Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > Single Authors
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Psychological
Series: n.a.
Length: 61 pages
Release date: 2017-05-29

 

Teaser


‘Good morning, Tess.’ She knew instantly on hearing the voice that it did not sound familiar. She was probably about to meet a new member of staff, she thought. The woman entering the living room was in her mid-thirties with an energetic step and friendly smile and eyes that conveyed sympathy. Oh well, Tess told herself, that is a good start. The nurse’s uniform was light blue and her shoes squeaked as she walked over to Tess, holding a clipboard. There was something different and fresh about this particular nurse and Tess didn’t think it was due to the brand-new shoes or what looked like an only recently unwrapped and perfectly ironed uniform. It was hard at the best of times to explain why one was drawn to certain people and not at all to others. Was it the smell? The sound of their voice or … Before she could finish her thoughts, the nurse’s hand reached out to take hers.


My Opinion

This story introduces you to Tess, living in a care home, as well as to Sandra, the new nurse.

With Tess and Tattoos, H. A. Leuschel has created a highly remarkable story about how one human has been manipulated – and how this has affected also the lives of others. Helene Leuschel delicately introduces her characters, revealing the story with utmost care. The main characters are complex – as well as believable. The story got under my skin; it is excellently written and has the right flow. This story and the persons therein certainly will not leave you unaffected.

This is a book for you if you like great storytelling, compelling stories, psychology, shorter reads, and food for thought.

Highly recommended.

In brief:

Cover ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Writing ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Plot ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Characters ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Mood Suspenseful
Pace Steady
POV Third person – past tense
Language :mrgreen:
Violence :mrgreen: – 😳
Sexual content :mrgreen:

 

About the author

Helene 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.

Connect with the author:

Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading.  Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you?  What did you think about Tess and Tattoos?  Or – if you did not yet read Tess and Tattoos – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂

 

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

The author sent me an ARC of this book (epub format) in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Plot
(by Goodreads)

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.

Genre(s): Books
> Parenting & Relationships > Family Relationships > Abuse > Partner Abuse
Kindle eBooks
> Parenting & Relationships > Family Relationships > Dysfunctional Relationships
> Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Psychological
Series: n.a.
Length: 273 pages
Release date: 2016-06-08

 

Teaser


They arrived at the train station and he was all over her when they walked into the main hall.

‘Babe, I’m skint, I’ve got to get some cash out of the machine first, so I can treat you.’

‘Yes, don’t forget the train tickets and the seventy pounds. I can’t afford to pay for all of this, you know.’

‘Now, now are you pleading poverty? You told me that you worked!’ He looked at her expectantly.

‘Still, I … you said you’d treat me and the money was to help you buy shoes.’


My Opinion

This book introduces you to five cases of manipulation – i.e. five fates that could easily have been ours.

With Manipulated Lives, H. A. Leuschel has created five remarkable stories about how one human being manipulated – and therefore interfered with one other’s well-being. Helene Leuschel delicately introduces her characters, revealing each story with utmost care. The main characters are of sufficient depth – as well as believable. The stories all have a good flow. These stories and the persons therein certainly will not leave you unaffected.

5 stars:  Tess and Tattoos, Runaway Girl
4 stars:  The Spell, The Narcissist, My Perfect Child

This is a book for you if you like compelling stories, psychology, shorter reads, and food for thought.

Recommended.

In brief:

Cover ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Writing ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Plot ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Characters ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Mood Suspenseful
Pace Steady
POV Third person – past tense
Language :mrgreen:
Violence :mrgreen: – 😳
Sexual content :mrgreen:

 

About the author

Helene 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.

Connect with the author:

Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading.  Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you?  What did you think about Manipulated Lives?  Or – if you did not yet read Manipulated Lives – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂

 

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The Disembodied by Anthony Hains

 

The author sent me an ARC of this book (mobi format) in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Plot
(by Goodreads)

Thirteen-year-old Griffin Rinaldi seems like a normal kid. He plays basketball at the Y and he’s just learning to talk to girls. But Griffin doesn’t feel normal. He’s been diagnosed with Depersonalization Disorder—he feels disconnected from his body, and at times, he doesn’t know if he’s dead or alive. And it seems to be getting worse.

Following the brutal death of his abusive father, Griffin is haunted by a red-haired kid only he can see and who wants him to do things he doesn’t understand. Griffin’s only sources of support are his grandfather, Soren – a regional author of Outer Banks ghost stories – and his same-aged cousin, Tanner, a boy coping with his own troubled life.

When a rare blizzard strikes the Outer Banks, Griffin recognizes the red-haired boy as a vengeful specter from Soren’s tales. To make matters worse, his well-meaning aunt has convinced his mother he’s under some sort of spiritual attack. Unsure if the mysterious boy is a symptom of his disorder or an entity with evil intent, Griffin finds himself in a struggle to save his life, his sanity and maybe his very soul.

Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Ghosts
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Horror
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Psychological
Series: n.a.
Length: 316 pages
Release date: 2016-08-16

 

Teaser


Beatings and belittling were common methods of child-rearing employed by the adult Rinaldi brothers. For Griffin, the terror had ended when his father died the previous summer. He’d felt a sense of relief. What would other people say if they knew? They wouldn’t understand. None of them had any idea what he went through – other than Tanner, of course. They’d both lived with the same shit, but now his nightmare was over. Did Griffin feel guilty for being relieved? No, that didn’t weigh on him.


My Opinion

This book introduces you to 13-year-old Griffin Rinaldi. He is suffering from strange out-of-body experiences.

With The Disembodied, Anthony Hains has created a surprising and thrilling story about a boy who is having mental issues after his father’s death. It is a compelling read, drawing you close to Griffin and his grandfather, Soren. Anthony Hains knows how to keep you glued to Griffin’s story, giving you the feeling of being an invisible ally and/or at least part of the events. Griffin is quite complex and likeable, so are Soren and Tanner, the other characters are of sufficient depth (according to their relevance). The story comprises realistic characters in a “normal” environment with interesting turns and nicely fitting surprises; it has a great flow. The story covers a disturbing topic; its characters are sometimes too realistic for comfort.

This is a book for you if you like well written and compelling stories with major psychological and horror aspects, if you like getting close to likeable characters.

Highly recommended!

In brief:

Cover ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Writing ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Plot ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Characters ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Mood Suspenseful
Pace Steady
POV third person – past tense
Language 😳
Violence 😳 – 😡
Sexual content :mrgreen:

 

About the author:

Anthony Hains is a professor of counseling psychology with a specialization in pediatric psychology. His latest novel, The Disembodied, is a Kindle Scout winner and published by Kindle Press. He is the author of two previous horror novels, Birth Offering and Dead Works. Anthony lives with his wife in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. They have one daughter.

Connect with the author:

Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading.  Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you?  What did you think about The Disembodied?  Or – if you did not yet read The Disembodied – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂


10 Statements – Anthony Hains

 

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