Sunday Connection – What Has Been Happening This week? #Blogging #SundayBlogShare

Here’s a chance to catch up with books we’ve been reviewing this week.

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Monday: I reviewed cold war drama The Leipzig affair by Fiona Rintoul

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Tuesday: Noelle reviewed historical mystery A Tincture Of Secrets And Lies by William Savage

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Wednesday: Judith reviewed thriller novella My sweet Friend by H.A Leuschel

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Thursday: I reviewed romance Resolutions by Carol Warham

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Friday: Teri reviewed horror Ghosts Of Manor House by Matt Powers

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Saturday: Brittany reviewed children’s fiction Muffy & Valor by Karl Beckstrand

Discussion postWhat must it be like for the family of a monster killer? The Obsession by Nora Roberts

Book Twins PostIf You Liked The Wizard Of Oz, You Might Like Ruby Slips And Poker Chips By Heather Kindt

Plus links to interesting posts from the blogosphere

Lucy has tips on how you can support book bloggers

http://queenofcontemporary.com/2018/01/how-to-support-your-favourite-blogs-in-2018.html

Laura asks, What makes a good villain?

http://boatsagainstthecurrent.net/what-makes-a-good-villain/

Do you want more visibility for your blog? Susie has some great tips.

https://susielindau.com/2018/01/11/how-to-be-discovered-on-wordpress/

5 Ways That Playing with Pricing Can Sell More Books

http://writersinthestormblog.com/2018/01/5-ways-that-playing-with-pricing-can-sell-more-books/

Shruti wrote an entertaining satirical piece on the problems some authors have writing about the opposite sex.

https://thisislitblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/struggling-male-author-just-cannot-write-female-characters/

Chris has tips For Giveaways On Goodreads

https://chrismcmullen.com/2018/01/17/tips-for-the-new-goodreads-giveaways/

Do you enjoy books that feature book shops?

http://www.bookword.co.uk/bookshops-in-books/

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT @CathyRy reviews MY SWEET FRIEND by @HALeuschel

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading My Sweet Friend by H. A. Leuschel

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Following in a similar vein to Manipulated Lives, My Sweet Friend explores how much first impressions and appearances sometimes count in someone’s favour and the devastation that can be caused by deliberate manipulation of other people. Told from the alternating perspectives of Alexa and Rosie, we see how quickly their friendship develops when Alexa joins the PR firm Rosie works for. It’s mostly down to Alexa’s persuasiveness and outgoing nature that they quickly become best friends. Rosie is more reserved. Aways ready to help and easy to get along with, Rosie is quickly swept up by Alexa’s enthusiasm and friendliness.

As the story unfolds it’s obvious something isn’t quite right between Alexa and Rosie. They both have personal problems, a sick mother and a stalking boyfriend, but it’s only when Alexa takes sick leave that things begin to unravel in earnest and the whole truth becomes known.

‘Here, no one knew me. No one would judge me for skipping my usually elaborate make-up routine. No one would notice that I’d chosen unremarkable outfits on purpose to blend into the crowd, and had donned a pair of comfortable sandals instead of the achingly-high heels that complimented my typically carefully selected office clothes. If I’d learned one thing over the years, it was the fact that both immaculate looks and controlled behaviour could go a long way towards influencing people’s impressions of me.’

This quick but thought provoking read packs a lot in, mainly, I think, because it’s driven by the characters, mostly through their dialogue, with little to no telling of events. We learn, little by little, who is doing the manipulating, as it isn’t obvious to begin with, showing a darker side to friendships and how easy it can be for some people to be drawn in without realising what’s actually happening. Manipulators have a wide-reaching effect, encompassing not only the victim but others in their lives.

I enjoyed the more unusual locations of Paris and Biarritz. The characters are well defined and portrayed extremely well, each individual and realistic with flaws and weaknesses. H.A. Leuschel obviously has a very good understanding of the human psyche in all its complexities, and it just goes to show that people aren’t always what they seem. It’s a little scary to think someone might go to those lengths to keep up a deceit, which is starkly apparent between the work and home personas.

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.

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.

H.A. Leuschel

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Thriller Novella MY SWEET FRIEND by @HALeuschel

Today’s team review is from Judith B, she blogs here http://judithbarrowblog.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Judith has been reading My Sweet Friend by H. A Leuschel

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My Review:

I first came across  H.A. Leuschel when I read and enjoyed her collection of short stories, Manipulated Lives.

In this novella the author  has, once again, concentrated on the theme of manipulation; from the manoeuvrings for power in business to the exploitation that can be committed in personal relationships. This is an emotional exploration of the human psyche on various levels. It is also a brilliant story.

Told from the first person point of view of the two main characters, Rosie and Alexa, each have their own chapters, which move from present to flashbacks.  The plot takes us from absolute loyalty and hope in Rosie’s understanding of her relationship with Alexa, to the first seeds of doubt and distrust, (emphasised by the exchanges of dialogue with Jack; would be boyfriend and initially also taken in by Alexa). With Alexa the portrayal of  the ultimate confidence that she is in control of her life and is blinkered to any faults of her own, is gradually undermined by glimpses of vulnerability. Each character is so multi layered and believable that I found myself at various points throughout the narrative both empathising but being exasperated with Rosie and disliking yet understanding Alexa. Ultimately, though, I had compassion for both.

These are strongly- written characters; Leuschel has an innate sense of the way anyone can manipulate others through the facade of friendship and loyalty; even subliminally. Both the internal  and the spoken dialogue are used to give rise to unease and doubt in the reader’s mind as to who is actually the victim in this relationship.  Even the descriptions that give a good sense of place are used to show brilliant interpretation of the emotional weakness of each character.

I would have loved the intricacies of the relationships within the story to have moved more slowly, shift in the strengths and weaknesses between the characters. I felt this novella could easily have been made into a novel. But then, perhaps, it wouldn’t have worked; it is a very intensely controlled friendship so would have always burned out quickly.

There is only one tiny thing I really disliked in this story – and I will admit it sounds trivial and silly but it is a personal aversion; I did not like the word “sniggered” (Alexa sniggered a few times – it drove me mad!) the verb just did not fit in with the image I had of this character. Sorry H.A. Leuschel.

Putting such an inconsequential point to one side  I would certainly recommend My Sweet Friend to any reader; it’s a thought-provoking physiological and gripping read.

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.

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.

H.A. Leuschel

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter