WWW Wednesdays – 31st July ‘19

WWWWednesdays

Hosted by Taking on a World of Words, this meme is all about the three Ws:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Why not join in too?  Leave a comment with your link at Taking on a World of Words and then go blog hopping!


Currently reading

I’m on to the final part of Fake Like Me as part of the buddy read organised by the publishers.  It’s been fun reading and discussing it along with others but hard to resist turning a few more pages… Untitled is one of the books on my Henley Literary Festival reading list as the author, Anna Pasternak, is appearing at this year’s festival.

Fake Like MeFake Like Me by Barbara Bourland (paperback, review copy courtesy of riverrun)

After a fire decimates her studio, including the seven billboard-size paintings for her next show, a young, no-name painter is left with an impossible task: recreate her art in three months-or ruin her fledgling career.

Homeless and desperate, she flees to an exclusive retreat in upstate New York famous for its outrageous revelries and glamorous artists. And notorious as the place where brilliant young artist Carey Logan-one of her idols-drowned in the lake.

But when she arrives, the retreat is a ghost of its former self. No one shares their work. No parties light up the deck. No one speaks of Carey, though her death haunts the cabins and the black lake, lurking beneath the surface like a shipwreck. As the young painter works obsessively in Carey’s former studio, uncovers strange secrets and starts to fall–hard and fast–for Carey’s mysterious boyfriend, it’s as if she’s taking her place.

But one thought shadows her every move: What really happened to Carey Logan?

This Mortal BoyThis Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman (paperback, advance review copy courtesy of Gallic Books)

‘The offender is not one of ours. It is unfortunate that we got this undesirable from his homeland.’

Auckland, October 1955. If young Paddy Black sings to himself he can almost see himself back home in Belfast. Yet, less than two years after sailing across the globe in search of a better life, here he stands in a prison cell awaiting trial for murder. He pulled a knife at the jukebox that night, but should his actions lead him to the gallows? As his desperate mother waits on, Paddy must face a judge and jury unlikely to favour an outsider, as a wave of moral panic sweeps the island nation.

UntitledUntitled: The Real Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor by Anna Pasternak (ebook, NetGalley)

Who was the real Wallis: an opportunistic American social climber, a master manipulator or the true love of Edward’s life? Amid the cacophony of condemnation her story has become obfuscated. Untitled is an intimate biography of one of the most misunderstood women in British royal history.

His charisma and glamour ensured him the status of a rock star prince. Yet Edward gave up the British throne, the British Empire and his position as Emperor of India, to marry his true love, American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

So much gossip and innuendo has been levelled at Wallis Simpson that it has become nearly impossible to discern the real woman. Many have wondered why, when Edward could have had anyone he desired, he was smitten with this unusual American woman. As her friend Herman Rogers said to her in 1936 when news of her affair with Edward broke: ‘Much of what is being said concerns a woman who does not exist and never did exist.’

History is mostly perceived from the perspective of his-story. But what about her story? Anna Pasternak’s new book is the first ever to give Wallis a chance and a voice to show that she was a warm, loyal, intelligent woman adored by her friends, who was written off by cunning, influential Establishment men seeking to diminish her and destroy her reputation. As the author argues, far from being the villain of the abdication, she was the victim.


Recently finished (click on titles to read my reviews)

6DegreesTheRunagatesClubThe Runagates Club by John Buchan (hardcover)

These twelve stories are told by the old soldiers of the Runagates Club as they reminisce. Richard Hannay, hero of The Thirty-nine Steps, reappears recounting a trek into the bush in ‘The Green Wildebeest’. In ‘Dr Lartius’, John Palliser-Yeates describes an ingenious Secret Service operation during the First World War and a German code is finally broken in ‘The Loathly Opposite’.

Motive XMotive X by Stefan Ahnhem (hardcover, review copy courtesy of Head of Zeus)

He strikes at random. His motive unknown. No one is safe…

Helsingborg police must solve the unsolveable. A wave of apparently random homicides is sweeping through their idyllic seaside town. The murders have no pattern, no order, no reason. The perpetrator is immune to psychological profiling; forensically untraceable; utterly invulnerable to modern police techniques.

The body count is growing. But lead investigator Fabian Risk is distracted by his mission to expose a corrupt colleague, and his boss Astrid is spiralling back into addiction. As the hunt for the solution becoming ever more desperate, their tight-knit team begins to unravel…


What Cathy (will) Read Next

the mathematical bridgeThe Mathematical Bridge by Jim Kelly (hardcover, review copy courtesy of Allison & Busby)

Cambridge, 1940. It is the first winter of the war, and snow is falling. When an evacuee drowns in the river, his body swept away, Detective Inspector Eden Brooke sets out to investigate what seems to be a deliberate attack. The following night, a local electronics factory is attacked, and an Irish republican slogan is left at the scene. The IRA are campaigning to win freedom for Ulster, but why has Cambridge been chosen as a target? And when Brooke learns that the drowned boy was part of the close-knit local Irish Catholic community, he begins to question whether there may be a connection between the boy’s death and the attack at the factory. As more riddles come to light, can Brooke solve the mystery before a second attack claims a famous victim?

The Traitor of Treasure IslandThe Traitor of Treasure Island by John Drake (eARC, courtesy of Endeavour Quill)

Buried for nearly three hundred years and now brought triumphantly to light by Dr Livesey, this is, at last, the true story of what happened on the fateful Treasure Island…

The truth about Captain Flint and his fabled death.

The truth about Long John Silver and his coveted wife.

And the truth about Jim Hawkins, that double-dealing turncoat of the first order: the traitor of Treasure Island.

Blog Tour/Book Review: Manipulated Lives by H. A. Leuschel

Manipulated Lives

Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Manipulated Lives by H. A. Leuschel. Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the author for my review copy.

WinTo enter the giveaway (open internationally) for a chance to win a paperback copy of Manipulated Lives click here

Giveaway Terms and Conditions:

  • Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Worldwide entries welcome.
  • 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 an alternative winner will be selected.
  • 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 the data will be deleted.
  •  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

ManipulatedLivesAbout the Book

Five compelling true-to-life stories each highlighting a narcissist’s manipulative mind games

Narcissists are everywhere. They can be witty, charming and highly charismatic. Anyone can be their target.

At first their devious, calculating mind games can be hard to spot because they are masters of disguise, 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.

All the stories highlight to what extent narcissistic abuse can distort lives and threaten our self-worth yet ultimately, also send a positive message that once the narcissist is unmasked, the victims can at last break free.

Format: ebook (273 pp.)     Publisher:
Published: 8th June 2016    Genre: Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction

Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk  ǀ  Amazon.com
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Manipulated Lives on Goodreads


My Review

In this collection of compelling short stories, the author puts the reader inside the minds of five people who have either suffered psychological manipulation at the hands of another or been responsible for it.  The book persuasively illustrates that anyone – young or old, male or female – can fall prey to manipulation.  For instance, in the story ‘Tess and Tattoos’, we meet Tess, a charming, kind old lady, who was unlucky enough to form a relationship with someone who abused her physically and psychologically.  Incidentally, I was so glad that Tess found a friend to provide comfort to her as she unburdens herself of her traumatic memories.

In all the stories, the reader is witness to the internal dialogue of the characters as they reflect on their experiences and try to make sense of how they were manipulated or, in one case, to justify (unsuccessfully to my mind) their actions. The bleak nature of their experiences can make difficult reading at time.  By the time I got to the story of ‘The Narcissist’ I felt myself in sympathy with the thoughts of his psychiatrist: ‘It is tiring, exhausting, and in cases like this, downright gruelling to observe the human mind at its worst.’

The author clearly has a gift for creating memorable characters, believable situations and stories that often have a surprising sting in the tail.  Readers with an interest in psychology or who like to inhabit the minds of characters (and don’t mind if some of these are unlikeable) will find Manipulated Lives a fascinating and compelling read.   I also think the book might be helpful for anyone trying to understand the experiences of someone who has been subject to coercive control or manipulation.

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In three words: Dark, intense, thought-provoking


H A LeuschelAbout the Author

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.

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