#Review The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean


Jane is an unwilling participant in her marriage. She is a captive. She stays only to keep someone else safe, although her husband has made it impossible to escape his clutches. Hope seems to be a thing of the past until something changes her determination to break free of the chains that bind her so tightly.

Dean certainly is full of surprises, which isn’t a bad thing when it comes to writing or creating captivating stories. Just when you think you have the measure of the flair, spectrum and ability, and then he goes and writes a complete curveball. A brilliantly engaging, intense and incredibly important one.

Aside from the immaculate plotting and on point characters there is another element of the story that absolutely deserves a kudos. The way Dean was able to immerse himself into the world of coercive, mental, physical abuse and the psychological abuse that goes hand-in-hand with trafficking and modern day slavery. You’ll often hear or read cries of indignation ‘why didn’t he/she leave or ask for help, which of course is one of the many reasons abusive relationships are incomprehensible to someone who hasn’t experienced them – the inability to comprehend the dynamics of control, power and abuse.

Whilst it is absolutely true that the young, vulnerable and inexperienced are statistically more likely to become victims, abuse does not halt before the intelligent, educated mind or person. It is far more complex than that. Anyway I digress.

My point is that Dean writes this with such an in-depth perception it made me wonder about the ability of certain storytellers to write beyond the construct and patriarchal dogma or bias of their gender, which is important depending on the topic and the gender of their characters. This story would have been ruined by tropes, instead it is a hard-hitting piece of fiction set in realism.

It is also written in an almost minimalistic style and mindset, which captures the isolation of the main character and the surroundings. An element I found extremely intriguing given where the story takes place. It serves as a stark reminder as to how disconnected the majority of us are from each other. Easier to look away and ignore the obvious signs than to become involved and help.

Above all Dean shines a spotlight on one of the most prevalent crimes of our modern era, although one could argue that slavery and human trafficking has merely evolved with the times and the demand. Unfortunately it’s a very profitable, albeit completely despicable business and crime.

This is a cracking read. Oh and kudos to the author for the name and identity part of the story, especially in relation to Mary. Subtle, and yet simultaneously gut-wrenching and visceral. 

Buy/Pre-order The Last Thing to Burn at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; pub date 7 Jan. 2021. Buy at Amazon comHiveBookshop orgWaterstones.

Follow @willrdean on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreadson YoutubeBuy The Last Thing to Burn

#BlogTour Into The Dark by Karen Rose

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Into The Dark by Karen Rose.About the Author

Karen Rose was introduced to suspense and horror at the tender age of eight when she accidentally read Poe’s The Pit and The Pendulum and was afraid to go to sleep for years. She now enjoys writing books that make other people afraid to go to sleep.

Karen lives in Florida with her family, their cat, Bella, and two dogs, Loki and Freya. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, and her new hobby – knitting.

Follow @KarenRoseBooks on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit karenrosebooks.comBuy Into The Dark

About the book

When Michael Rowland saves his younger brother Joshua from the clutches of his stepfather, he runs for his life with his brother in his arms. From his hiding place he sees the man who has made their lives a misery taken away in the trunk of a stranger’s car, never to be seen again.

Doctor Dani Novak has been keeping soccer coach Diesel Kennedy at arm’s length to protect him from her dark secrets. When they are brought together by the two young brothers who desperately need their help, it seems they might finally be able to leave their damaged pasts behind them.

But as the only witness to the man who kidnapped and murdered his stepfather, Michael is in danger.

As Diesel and Dani do all that they can to protect him, their own investigation into the murder uncovers a much darker web of secrets than they could have imagined.

As more bodies start to appear it’s clear that this killer wants vengeance. And will wipe out anything that gets in his way…


Michael has only one concern – keeping his brother Joshua safe. The only way to do that is making sure they stay together, and their step-father away from him. When he stumbles upon said step-father preparing to put his brother in danger certain events are set in motion that will change their lives forever.

I have to say kudos to the author for writing the story in such a careful, thoughtful and emotive way. Part of me wishes, and I can imagine other readers and perhaps even the author, that victims of abuse were always treated with such sincerity and genuine concern. The truth is that the systems that are put in place to keep children safe are often inadequate and overburdened. The vulnerable fall through the loopholes of the systems, and even when the abuse is recognised and acted upon what comes afterwards is only as good as the system that put the procedures in place.

Also the sensitivity with which Rose approaches both the abuse, the deaf child and the hearing impaired is exceptionally well done. When you take all of the above and add crime to the plot, whilst simultaneously throwing in a serial killer who leaves body parts all over the place, it creates this spectacularly emotionally raw and charged read.

Then as if crime and abuse weren’t enough to keep the reader captivated the author adds romance to the picture, and where the abuse is concerned I don’t mean captivated in a salacious way but rather in an emotionally involved way. Usually this often leads to a less is more or too many cooks scenario, but Rose balances every part of the story so well – it’s as if it was meant to be.

It’s romantic suspense, an uncompromisingly direct and honest read with a great set of characters and highly sensitive topics.

Buy Into The Dark at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Headline Publishing│Hardback │£20 pub date 14th November 2019 – eBook and audio also available. Buy at Amazon com.

#PublicationDay Deadly Harm by Owen Mullen

It’s Publication Day for Deadly Harm by Owen Mullen. It’s a domestic noir thriller that tackles difficult topics with the realism and honesty it deserves.

About the Author

Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year and best selling author.

Owen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; he still loves to perform on occasion. His passion for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home in the Greek Islands where Owen writes.

Follow @OwenMullen6 @Bloodhoundbook on Twitter, Follow Owen Mullen on Instagramon Facebookon YoutubeAmazon Author pageGoodreads Author pageBookbub pageBuy Deadly Harm

About the book

It’s been five years since Mackenzie Darroch was abducted and held captive in a derelict house. She thought she’d found her way out of the darkness. She was wrong.

When she witnesses a car crash and saves the driver’s life, it sets in motion a chain of events that will alter both their futures.

The two women get involved in a high profile police case and draw the attention of a ruthless reporter. Gina Calvi is convinced Mackenzie is not what she appears and is prepared to do anything to prove it.

Meanwhile, across the city, Kirsty McBride, a young single mother, is persuaded to leave a violent relationship. Her partner, Malkie Boyle a Glasgow hardman, is due to be released from prison. Once back on the street and bent on revenge, Boyle is determined to find the people responsible for stealing his family from him. Can Mackenzie save them or will Boyle get his revenge?


As I mentioned in my review of Mullen’s Out of Silence, he has a penchant for tackling the topics of abuse, victimisation and domestic violence, as they pertain to women. Where others mansplain and fail to hit the mark, Mullen approaches said topics from the victim’s perspective.

This is the follow-up to In Harm’s Way, which also features DS Geddes and Mackenzie. The story starts with two women burying a body then the reader gets swooped up into the world Mackenzie  inhabits now. She runs a refuge for abused women. Geddes gets in touch with her to try and convince a young woman to leave her abusive husband, which is where the story actually does start.

I have to be honest I got so wrapped up in the story that I completely forgot about anyone burying a body. (The story does return to that moment)

Fear lives on…

No truer words can be spoken when it comes to domestic violence. Even if someone does manage to extricate themselves from a domestic violence situation it doesn’t mean the fear magically disappears. It doesn’t, partly because victims comprehend the very harsh and real fact that society and the rule of law has not built in enough measures to keep victims safe. That is just the stone cold truth.

The reality of escaping is a financial and emotional imbalance created by society and the perpetrator. The victim can only be safe if they leave everything behind and start afresh. It sounds so easy to anyone not in that situation. It isn’t, and it is part of the reason victims find it so hard to leave. There isn’t sufficient support to stay safe or start anew.

It’s a domestic noir thriller that tackles difficult topics with the realism and honesty it deserves. Just one more thing, I have to give a shout out to my favourite character, Grandpa Boyle. Don’t ever mess with his Liquorice Allsorts – ever.

Buy Deadly Harm at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bloodhound Books; pub date 15 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Out of Silence by Owen Mullen

#BlogTour A Fool’s Circle by Suzanne Seddon

It’s my turn on the BlogTour A Fool’s Circle by Suzanne Seddon. It’s crime fiction with domestic abuse at the forefront of the plot.About the Author

Suzanne Seddon was born in 1968 in Islington, London. After leaving school she had many interesting jobs, from swimming teacher to air hostess, and was able to travel the globe. Now a single mum to her teenage daughter Poppy-willow, Suzanne spends her days writing and has written several articles for magazines and newspapers.

Growing up, Suzanne witnessed mental and physical abuse within her own family which strongly influenced her when she wrote her first play, A Fool’s Circle, when she attended the famous Anna Scher Theatre. Suzanne, however, was not content to leave it there and decided to go ahead and transform her play into a novel.

Not one to shy away from exciting challenges, she also wrote, acted, directed, cast and produced a trailer for the book around her hometown in Islington with the support of local businesses, who recognised the drive and importance of Suzanne and her work.

Suzanne is a passionate writer and she is determined to be heard so that the issue of domestic abuse is raised amongst the public’s consciousness, empowering others to speak out. She wants those who suffer at the hands of another to have their voices heard, loud and clear.

Follow @suzseddon on Twitter

Buy A Fool’s Circle

About the book

Kate Sanders has suffered many years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her abusive husband Alan, and convinces herself that she is only holding the family together for the sake of her eight-year-old daughter. If it wasn’t for her best friend Jill Reynolds, she would have taken the suicide option a long time ago.

As she desperately seeks a way to escape, she is contacted by a solicitor. Kate’s old aunt has died and she has been left a small fortune. For the first time, she sees the light at the end of the tunnel. She dreams of a fresh start, a new home, a new life. What Kate doesn’t know is that Jill and Alan have their own secrets, and are both desperate to get their hands on her money.

Kate soon finds herself falling for the charms of Jonathon Jacobs in what she believes to be fate finally intervening and offering her a second chance, unaware that each move he makes has been directed, orchestrated and well-rehearsed as he begs her to leave her husband Alan.

But is it all too late, as she finds herself in the frame for murder.


Kate is the victim of domestic abuse. The behaviour of her husband has spiralled from small things to a constant barrage of abuse on a daily basis. She has convinced herself that staying with her husband is better for their daughter, but the truth is she is just too frightened to leave him.

Things take a turn for the worse when an opportunity for freedom arises, however Kate hasn’t taken into account just how vindictive her husband can be and that she can’t trust the people around her. Sometimes there is a fine line between someone being a friend or an frenemy.

The author mentions her inspiration for this story in the acknowledgements. Being a witness to physical and mental abuse has made her more determined to be an advocate for domestic violence.

The experience of witnessing such abuse isn’t the same as being a victim of abuse, it does however leave a lasting impression on that person. The repercussions of being in such a toxic environment can last a lifetime and often needs therapeutic intervention. It can taint the way a person interacts with difficult situations and treats the people around them. Unfortunately the abused and those who have witnessed the abuse as children, a small number of them sometimes – not always, go on to be abusers themselves. There is however a strong correlation between children who have experienced abuse and go on to experience further abuse as adults.

The novel has been adapted from the play, also written by Seddon, which probably explains the awkward dialogue and repetitive use of names in said dialogue. It lacks smooth linguistic transfers or continuance and could do with a good edit.

It’s crime fiction with domestic abuse at the forefront of the plot. It’s all about how Kate tries to sever the destructive ties between herself and her husband, and protect her young daughter at the same time.

Buy A Fool’s Circle at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Wallace Publishing; pub date 17 Mar. 2019. Buy on Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl. It’s historical and women’s fiction with a strong political storyline, and yet McGurl contains the turbulence and focuses on the people, their lives and emotions.

About the Author

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband and elderly tabby cat. She has two sons who are now grown-up and have left home. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

Follow @KathMcGurl @HQDigitalUK on Twitter, Visit kathleenmcgurl.com

Buy The Forgotten Secret

About the book

A country at war – It’s the summer of 1919 and Ellen O’Brien has her whole life ahead of her. Young, in love and leaving home for her first job, the future seems full of shining possibility. But war is brewing and before long Ellen and everyone around her are swept up by it. As Ireland is torn apart by the turmoil, Ellen finds herself facing the ultimate test of love and loyalty.

And a long-buried secret – A hundred years later and Clare Farrell has inherited a dilapidated old farmhouse in County Meath. Seizing the chance to escape her unhappy marriage she strikes out on her own for the first time, hoping the old building might also provide clues to her family’s shadowy history. As she sets out to put the place – and herself – back to rights, she stumbles across a long-forgotten hiding place, with a clue to a secret that has lain buried for decades.

For fans of Kate Morton and Gill Paul comes an unforgettable novel about two women fighting for independence.


The story tells the tale of two women, of Clare in the 21st century and Ellen in 1919, with Ireland and its last few centuries of troubled history at the core of both stories.

The reader meets Clare when she inherits a dilapidated property in Ireland and uses this inheritance to free herself from under the oppressive thumb of her husband. After many decades of marriage and two grown children, she finally plucks up the courage to free herself from his constant verbal abuse and abusive control.

I think it’s important to note that the author makes a deliberate attempt to show that abuse doesn’t always mean something physical. Sometimes it means someone controlling,  who isolates and verbally abuses a person, an aspect of abusive relationships which has only just become punishable by law.

Even Clare feels as if she has to say sorry for not not being physically abused and only abused in a non-physical way. This strange feeling of guilt and not being worthy of a concern is also the reason many don’t feel able to report non-physical abuse, because they think they won’t be taken seriously.

Ellen on the other hand finds herself in the middle of a question of loyalty. Not just any loyalty either. In a time of great upheaval and the seeds of later violent discord, rebellion and terrorism are sown and begin to sprout in the proud inhabitants of the Irish Isles (choosing not to use a political term which could be construed as hinting at political overlordship).

It’s historical and women’s fiction with a strong political storyline, and yet McGurl contains the turbulence and focuses on the people, their lives and emotions. The result is a tale of mystery, heartbreak and forgiveness, which intersects when the past meets the present in the form of a well hidden secret.

Buy The Forgotten Secret at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; Ecopy pub date 1 March 2019, Paperback pub date 16 May 2019.

Read my review of The Daughters of Red Hill Hall, of The Emerald Comb, The Pearl Locket and The Girl from Ballymoor by Kathleen McGurl.

#BlogTour It’s No Secret: Thriving after Surviving by Danielle Downey

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour It’s No Secret by Danielle Downey. It’s a personal account of emotional and physical survival.

About the Author

Danielle lives in Devon with her children and husband. Her own experiences in overcoming adversity allow her to be a positive role model, inspiring others that thriving after surviving is truly possible.

Follow Danielle aka @crazykids48 on Twitter, Visit danielledowney.co.uk

Buy It’s No Secret:Thriving after Surviving

About the book

Danielle knew early on that she was not like most children at her school.With a chaotic home life riddled with violence, neglect, abuse and poverty she learned early on how to survive and adapt. Every challenge taught her a valuable lesson about resilience and self-motivation allowing her to develop an unshakable positive mindset, along with a sense of humour.

This book takes the reader on a journey detailing the life-changing events which tested Danielle’s resilience and willpower. She bravely shares the difficult choices she was forced to make in order to safeguard her precious family as long-forgotten secrets are revealed.This uplifting, shocking and empowering book chronicles Danielle’s story and her determination to never let her past define her future.It promises to inspire the reader that change and choice are absolutely possible and that nothing is ever insurmountable.


For me this book is written closure, it’s packed in the guise of helping others, but it is closure. Putting the thoughts, pain, fractured memories in black and white for everyone to read is a way of making it real. A way of making it something you can physically touch and see, instead of a dark cloud of thoughts sitting on your shoulder like a heavy invisible burden.

See my pain, read my pain, feel my pain. Now look at me and see the woman I have become, despite all the pain, abuse, disappointment and lack of support. That is the message that comes through on every single page.

The most important thing to note is that this story doesn’t belong to any other person other than Danielle. Let’s be absolutely one hundred percent clear on that. This is her truth. This is what she felt and feels. 

There is one element of the story I need to address, because giving advice and showing people a way forward is admirable, however some of it verges into the medical parameters, which is a whole different matter.

If you are on anti-depressants please do not come off them cold turkey or reduce your tablet dosage without consulting your doctor. This is incredibly important. If you are being treated for depression or a condition which necessitates anti-depressants, reducing the dosage or coming off them alone without medical advice can have serious repercussions, especially from a physical perspective.

Danielle chose to do so, but this isn’t something a medical professional would ever suggest and certainly not without a treatment plan or supervision. It is also equally important to note that anti-depressants do not work like aspirin, it takes weeks for the body to adjust and for the medication to work. Also not every combo of meds works for every person and condition or mental health issue, and they don’t make every person feel like a zombie. 

The author says herself that the most important aspect, for her, of writing and publishing this book is trying to help others in similar situations. To give them support and show them that there is a way forward, through and a life beyond abuse. 

It’s a personal account of emotional and physical survival. How a woman has come to terms with her difficult childhood and come out on the other side to live her best life. Books and messages like this are important. Sometimes society is so full of negative and painful stories, so it is important to hear from someone who has survived and has managed to face the demons in her head and in her life.

It sometimes reads very factual and disconnected, which is quite common for abuse victims, but the most important thing is that this gives Danielle the closure she needs.

Buy It’s No Secret: Thriving After Surviving at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Independently published; pub date 15 Nov. 2018, Buy at Amazon com

#SpotlightTour After the Fire by Will Hill

Today it is my turn to turn the Spotlight on After the Fire by Will Hill. It is a really good read, despite the topic, which is indicative of an author being able to captivate without turning the reader away from disturbing home-truths. a traumatic, psychologically captivating and well-written story.

About the Author

Will Hill grew up in the northeast of England and worked as a bartender, bookseller, and in publishing before quitting to write full-time. He lives is East London.

Follow @WillHillauthor @SourcebooksFire on Twitter

willhillauthor1 on Instagram

Visit willhillauthor.com

About the book

The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.

Before, she lived inside the fence. Before, she was never allowed to leave the property, never allowed to talk to Outsiders, never allowed to speak her mind. Because Father John controlled everything—and Father John liked rules. Disobeying Father John came with terrible consequences.

But there are lies behind Father John’s words. Outside, there are different truths.

Then came the fire.


This is the story of a young girl caught in the middle of an abusive cult. It follows her as she finds her own truth and begins to rebel against the system, despite the fact part of her still believes what she is being told. It’s a traumatic, psychologically captivating and well-written story.

Both Moonbean and the author are right about one thing, that there are some children and adults who are broken by their traumatic experiences. Some things aren’t fixable, can’t be therapeutically resolved and can’t be healed by the power of faith. No matter what the experts say, and they can see the difference in the blank hollow eyes. Moon can see the difference, she can hear the brainwashed devotion and the survivors who may never deviate from the path they were taught to walk.

Perhaps the younger generations are unaware of Waco and similar cult-related tragedies, and this is reminder we all need of the danger cults bring with them. They are always run by megalomaniacs, power and money hungry ruthless con-men and sometimes women.

At this very moment there are men and women on trial for creating yet another so-called self-help environment, which is in fact a cesspool of women coercing other women into being branded (yes branded with the initials of the man at the top) and becoming sex slaves to the head of said wonderful group (Nxivm). Like another successful money leeching cult, who brainwash their members into thinking the mother-ship will be picking them up when the end is nye, Nxivm uses celebrities to bring in the vulnerable.

Unfortunately there are still too many religious cults that cultivate sexual abuse and incest, all in the name of the Lord. Fringe groups living just within the borderlines of legality, thereby the authorities are either powerless to help or ignore the children born and brought into these groups by their parents. The ones who become victims to people turning a blind eye.

This isn’t just a YA read, it can be read by both younger and older readers. In fact I would recommend this book to give someone an idea of what the mindset is within these cults. How the upper echelon manage to control everyone within the group.

It’s a fascinating look at what coercion, fear and religious zealots can do to a young mind. How systemic abuse and sexual abuse has become a normal part of the patriarchal society. Hill gives his reader a look on the inside, a close look at the way the mind of this child works. Torn between suppressed anger, feelings of abandonment and guilt, which will either help her save herself or slowly destroy her.

It is a really good read, despite the topic, which is indicative of an author being able to captivate without turning the reader away from disturbing home-truths.

Buy After the Fire on Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Buy After the Fire on Amazon com Barnes & Noble BooksAMillion !ndigo IndieBound

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire, Release Date: October 2nd

Enter the Giveaway below to Win 2 copies of After the Fire (US & Canada only)

Runs October 2nd -31st

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

#BlogTour Silencing Anna by Sadie Mitchell

It’s my turn on the BlogTour for Silencing Anna by Sadie Mitchell. It’s a psychological thriller with a focus on domestic abuse. It’s a tense emotional read and a warning in a world full of duplicitous charmers and abusers who go unpunished.

About the Author

This is Sadie’s first novel. She has three children and and a rabbit. She works in healthcare. When she’s not writing or working most of her life seems to involve picking up toys and finding things she’d forgotten she has.

Follow @sadiedmitchell @3ppublishing1 on Twitter

Connect with @SadieMitchellAuthor on Instagram on Facebook

Visit sadiemitchellauthor.wordpress.com

Buy Silencing Anna

About the book

Voices surround Anna as she lies on her hospital bed, but she cannot answer them. Her voice has been taken, along with her mobility and her sight. She can hear the nurses chattering and her family that come to visit. Her mum cries a lot and her dad struggles to deal with what he sees. Life used to be good for Anna, but life can change in a heartbeat, as she knows so well.

And then there are the people we think we know. When the smile hides the anger. When the beauty hides the beast.

Only Anna knows the truth, but Anna cannot speak.


Stories about domestic abuse are always emotional and can be hard to read. The hope is that even the fictional ones will encourage victims to recognise the abuse, to speak out and to get help.

Anna is trapped in her own body with no physical ability to communicate with anyone. Her devastating injuries have left her in limbo. She can hear and have inner dialogue with herself, but she is unable to tell anyone what really happened.  Her boyfriend James has been identified as a violent abuser who deserves to be sat in jail for assault.

James is quite typical for an abuser, it’s always the victim who is at fault and he goes as far as to malign her name to shift the blame. This type of abuser often has one face for the victim and another for everyone else. The charmer becomes the violent controlling aggressor, whilst convincing outsiders that he is a friendly loving guy.

He has previous relationships with supposedly violent women, which means his friends and family tend to support and believe him. It also means they are more likely to believe any scenario he presents to them. The contradiction is the way he manipulates, controls and isolates Anna.

One of the interesting questions which arises in this premise is whether omitting the truth is the way to get justice. Does the violence and abuse justify this silent form of vigilantism? It may only be a passing thought or hidden under the guise of karma, but does it make the victim as guilty as the perpetrator?

Sometimes you have to fight dirty when your opponent will go to any length to bring you down. Forget two wrongs don’t make a right, when the abusers tend to hold all the legal cards and the reality is there is no protection from a person who has the law on their side the majority of the time.

Mitchell brings an interesting twist to the table. The kind of moral twist that makes the reader want to protect the victim, but at the same time rid the world of the abuser. Is saving the life of many worth the life of one?

It’s a tense emotional read, especially in regards to the Anna being entombed in her own body. A warning in a world full of duplicitous charmers and abusers who go unpunished.

Buy Silencing Anna at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Buy at 3ppublishing

Publisher: 3P Publishing, Pub. date July 2018

#BlogTour Signs in the Rearview Mirror: Leaving A Toxic Relationship Behind by Kelly Smith

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Signs in the Rearview Mirror by Kelly Smith. It’s an autobiographical account of her struggle to recognise and extract herself from an abusive relationship.

About the Author

Boston born and raised, Kelly now makes her home in Austin with her three sons and one amazing Giant Schnauzer Bullseye. Kelly has written for Huffington Post, blogs at Thoughts Becoming Words, and hosts a podcast, Lets Get Wicked Deep.

Follow @kellys_author @sunnydaypub on Twitter, Connect with Kelly Marie Smith, Author on Facebook, Visit thoughtsbecomingwords.com

Buy Signs in the Rearview Mirror

About the book

What kind of person ends up in a toxic relationship? And why does she stay? This searingly honest novel answers both those questions head-on. Coming out of a failing marriage, Kelly turns to Gabe out of fear of being alone. Her gradual slide into danger is at once terrifying and inevitable, and the steps she takes to get out of it will both inspire and offer hope.


This is the story of Kelly Smith. It’s an autobiographical account of her experiences in an abusive relationship, but it is also in a way an attempt to apologise for her own failings in her relationships.

It is incredibly hard to admit to your own mistakes or wrong paths taken in your life. Smith does so to a certain extent, but there is either an attempt to shield or a refusal to dive too deeply. I can understand both of those reasons. It’s hard enough to share your mistakes with the world without opening up your soul, so complete strangers can have a good look around.

Shame, blame and guilt walk hand in hand with fear, anger and a sense of powerlessness when you end up in an abusive relationship, especially when you involve children in such a dangerous situation. You can’t take back the impressions, the experiences or indeed the impact of experiencing or being around abuse has on a young mind. It’s important to note, and the author does at the very beginning of this book, that this is the story from her perspective. Her children will have a completely different view on her choices and why she chose Gabe over her safety and their safety over and over again.

Abusive relationships are hard for outsiders to understand. There are a lot of misconceptions about why the abused stays and also the level of support there is depending on where you live.

I think it is very important to note that the author acknowledges, albeit in a less focused way, her own abusive behaviour towards her first husband. The way she treats the people she loves/loved is through her own frame of references. Her own references were determined by the volatile and loveless relationship with her own mother, and her father the alcoholic.

On a side note it’s interesting that Smith holds fonder memories of the abusive drunk, and is more antagonistic towards the mother who lived with the abusive drunk. Has she inadvertently reproduced a scenario where she gives her children reason to dislike her choices, her narcissistic tendencies and indeed is herself the volatile verbally abusive person she saw in her own mother.

The author talks a lot about the how and why of ending up in a relationship with Gabe has been steered by her own sense of insecurity and lack of self-worth. For me this is closure. The end of this chapter in her life, and in a way the written word may make it more real and definitive for her.

Kudos to the author for finally extracting herself from an abusive and damaging relationship, and for trying to comprehend the damage it caused. The most important thing is acknowledging and then being strong enough to cut the ties that bind.

I think it is commendable to try and break the cycle. To try and change the habits of a lifetime and to try and move forward. None of it is a guarantee that your loved ones will forgive or forget, but perhaps everyone can find a way forward.

The author needed to see the cycle to be able to break out of it and I hope she continues to search and grow from her epiphanies. It’s an honest read, albeit a hard one at times.

Buy Signs in the Rearview Mirror at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Buy Signs in the Rearview Mirror at Amazon com

Paperback version Kindle version

Publisher: Sunny Day Publishing, Pub. date: April 2018

#BlogTour A Mother’s Sacrifice by Gemma Metcalfe

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour for A Mother’s Sacrifice by Gemma MetCalfe. It is a fast-paced emotional read with some astute insights into infertility, abuse and post-partum depression, and woven into this thriller is a real threat. Or is there?

About the Author

Gemma Metcalfe is a Manchester born author who now lives in sunny Tenerife with her husband Danny and two crazy rescue dogs Dora and Diego. By day, Gemma can be found working as a Primary school teacher, but as the sun sets, she ditches the glitter and glue and becomes a writer of psychological thrillers. An established drama queen, she admits to having a rather warped imagination, and loves writing original plots with shocking twists. The plot for her debut novel ´Trust Me,´ is loosely based on her experiences as a call centre operative, where she was never quite sure who would answer the phone…

Follow @gemmakmetcalfe @HQDigitalUK

Buy A Mother’s Sacrifice

About the book

God ensured she crossed my path. And that is why I chose her.

The day Louisa and James bring their newborn son home from the hospital marks a new beginning for all of them. To hold their child in their arms, makes all the stress and trauma of fertility treatment worth it. Little Cory is theirs and theirs alone. Or so they think…

After her mother’s suicide when she was a child, Louisa’s life took an even darker turn. But meeting James changed everything. She can trust him to protect her, and to never leave her. Even if deep down, she worries that she has never told him the full truth about her past, or the truth about their baby.

But someone knows all her secrets – and that person is watching and waiting, with a twisted game that will try to take everything Louisa holds dear.


What the author does exceptionally well is portray the ‘throw the Christians to the lions’ mentality between Louisa, Magda and Annette, especially when it comes to their infertility. Three women who bond because they are in the same boat, suddenly become envious adversaries when Louisa achieves the ultimate goal of a full term pregnancy and a beautiful baby.

This is actually one of the strengths of the story, the way the author doesn’t shy away from the reality of their emotions. Women struggling with infertility do feel envy and anger at women who have what they want. The need to have a child can become all-consuming, sometimes it can even be destructive. Not every relationship can withstand the strain of infertility, IVF and the desire for a child.

Metcalfe combines that sensitive topic with the often taboo topic of mental health, in this case post-partum depression and post-partum psychosis. Again giving the reader an excellent insight into the paranoia, fear and internal turmoil the mother feels in this situation. What is more upsetting is the feeling of powerlessness and loss of control. Everyone treats you like a ticking time-bomb and a child who needs to be sent to the naughty corner. You can feel Louisa being pulled between what she knows to be reality, what others tell her is real and what her paranoia is dictating to her at the same time. It is both frustrating and annoying.

Saying that there are of course two sides to every story, and somewhere in the middle is the truth, so what may seem like meddling and controlling is just concern. If you are on the outside watching your wife or partner go through post-partum depression, then your concern would be for the child and the mother. Their health and safety has to be at the top of the list. Any intervention would appear to be everything but helpful to someone suffering from the worst case scenario, which in this case is a post-partum psychosis.

Louisa has to battle with the trauma of her past and the insecurities of her present to keep her baby and herself safe. The question is whether she is strong enough to fight every single person in her vicinity.

A Mother’s Sacrifice deals with the very sensitive issues of mental health, post-partum depression and infertility. Not exactly easy topics to work with when you’re coming up with a plot for a psychological thriller, but Metcalfe pulls it off and more importantly she leaves a lasting impression. The kind of impression which will hopefully resonate with readers going through similar issues. Not the crazy stalker type of impression of course, but perhaps the sense that it is okay to feel negative emotions and anger when you’re going through difficult emotional upheavals in your life.

Buy A Mother’s Sacrifice at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.