#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.

Review

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

Advertisements

#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.

Review

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

Now You See Her by Heidi Perks

npw you see herThe only thing worse than losing someone else’s child is losing your own child. You already have the burden of responsibility of your own child, but having the extra pressure of keeping someone else’s child safe is a whole different level of responsibility.

Charlotte is Harriet’s only friend, she is isolated and reclusive. She has also never left her daughter Alice alone with anyone before, which makes it even more tragic when Alice vanishes into thin air at a school fete.

Charlotte is faced with the negative opinions of her circle of friends and strangers. She was distracted, she wasn’t paying attention and Alice did disappear on her watch. So the blame is being placed firmly on her shoulders. Now her so-called friends don’t want to entrust their children to her care in case something happens, again.

Perks takes an awful scenario and turns it into something more insidious. Can one justify doing the worst possible thing to try and protect a loved one? All whilst dragging someone else under the mud and watching them suffocate, as you try and achieve your own goal.

Now You See Her might make you question your sympathy for the main characters, which is the essence of this premise. Perks asks her readers to think about crossing lines and being ruthless. When is it too much and when is an attempt to save your child unforgivable? You might be surprised by this premise and the conclusion you come to. Personally I’m not sure I would have been so forgiving.

Buy/Preorder Now You See Her at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Pub Date 18th July 2018 Kindle

Pub Date 26 July 2018 Hardcover

Publisher Random House Uk, Cornerstone

Follow @HeidiPerksBooks @arrowpublishing @PenguinRHUK

The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve

the starsIn our day and age the problems Grace encounters might seem conventional and the way she deals with them completely normal. In 1947 her attempts to be independent and raise her children as a single mother would have been frowned upon. In that era the wife was still very much considered to be property of said man. Women were still coming into their own and starting to throw off the chains of their servitude.

Grace has no idea that her marriage isn’t like every other marriage. Gene is her first sexual experience and her first encounter with what she believes to be love.

When Gene disappears in the midst of a terrible fire she gets the opportunity to discover new emotions and real love. She also experiences friendship with both genders and the kindness of strangers.

Faced with a life of abuse, neglect and anger she has to make a choice to either stay and be silent or refuse to endure a life lived on the terms of a bully.

Kudos to Shreve for adding historical facts and for the authentic feel of the story. Grace was and is every woman, regardless of the era.

Buy The Stars are Fire at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer

Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon

dont closeThere are plenty of hot topics in this psychological thriller, however I think there was one in particular that resonated more with me. Possibly because in this story it is the root and cause of everything else, all the other problems to come, and perhaps also because it is so commonplace nowadays.

Divorce, separation, custody battles and enforced patchwork families. That doesn’t mean some families don’t manage amicable arrangements, however the emotional trauma still remains the same. Depending on how vicious and vindictive things get the emotional damage is unmeasurable.

For the twins, Robin and Sarah, the moment they are ripped apart is the beginning of the end. The reader meets two happy little girls in the past and then moves forward to encounter two unhappy women in the future. The paths the two of them take are completely different. Robin finds fame and enough anxiety to fill a house, whereas Sarah creates a family, but is ousted by her manipulative husband.

It is fair to say that all is not what it seems, as the layers of this story are slowly torn away like someone peeling an onion. The anger, abuse and hate ripples through the two families over the years. It leaves victims in its wake.

Seddon confronts the reader with quite a few uncomfortable truths, and yet simultaneously she spins a web of fear, deceit and mayhem around them. It is done in such cunning way that you don’t see the twist coming until it nearly smacks you in the face.

Buy Don’t Close Your Eyes at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @hollyseddon and @Atlanticbooks

Read Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

Blog-Tour: Don’t Say a Word by A.L. Bird

I do ‘love me some A.L. Bird’ so it is my absolute pleasure to kick off the Blog-Tour for the amazing Don’t Say a Word by A.L. Bird. Get ready for another tense and captivating read.

About the Author

AL Bird lives in North London, where she divides her time between writing and working as a lawyer. The Good Mother is her major psychological thriller for Carina UK, embarking into the world of ‘grip-lit’. Don’t Say a Word is her new psychological thriller from HQDigital, an imprint of HarperCollins. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London, and is also an alumna of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course, which she studied under Richard Skinner. She’s also a member of the Crime Writers’Association.

For updates on her writing, you can follow her on Twitter, @ALBirdwriter, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ALBirdwriter or by visiting her website, at www.albirdwriter.com

Buy Don’t Say a Word

About the book

A happy child.

Every parent knows the world can be scary. Lawyer Jen Sutton knows it better than most. And she’ll go to any length to protect her son from what – and who – lies outside their front door.

A loving mother.

Some might say she’s being over-protective. But isn’t it a mother’s duty to protect her child from harm?

A family built on a lie.

Jen has kept her secrets safe. Until the postcard arrives, signed by the one person she hoped would never catch up with her… and her new case begins to feel a little too close to home.

One thing is clear: Jen has been found.

Now, she faces a choice. Run, and lose everything? Or fight – and risk her son discovering the truth.

Don’t Say a Word is the electrifying new psychological thriller from AL Bird – perfect for fans of CL Taylor and Sue Fortin.

Review

It’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you. In a nutshell that is both the life motto and curse Jen lives by and with. She is convinced her past is right on her heels and ready to implode her new life. She is hiding from a vengeful, abusive ex, and someone who used to be both her closest confidante and her nemesis at the same time. Chloe is with Jen 24/7. In her head, on her mind and featuring in quite a few flashbacks. Jen feels as if she is hemmed in by the paranoia and the gut feeling that retribution is waiting just around the corner.

So when a case at work starts to ring a few alarm bells she puts it down to her heightened senses and her instincts. All she ever thinks of is her son and keeping him safe. These coincidences are exactly that, aren’t they? And that is precisely why Jen is always in a constant state of anxious apprehension. She knows the fear will always follow her around like a little black rain cloud.

There is a chapter in this book that really annoyed me, not from a plot point of view, but because it is the painful truth. The way some children fall through the system. The kids with no voice, the ones no one ever listens to, because they are invisible. Then the way the system or rather those enforcing the system, become nothing more than highly judgemental morality police. They judge based on ticked boxes, theoretical knowledge and false assumptions.

Be prepared for the kind of read that makes you query the characters, the truth and perhaps even the systems our society uses to keep our children safe. Whether we like it or not there is a level of indifference, which in turn explains why abuse and domestic violence are still so prevalent in the 21st century.

Sometimes I think Bird takes pleasure in screwing with our brains. Nothing is ever what it seems in her stories. The lines between the good and the bad guys are always skewed. Fifty shades of grey instead of clear black or white. The reader is often suddenly blind-sided by the unexpected twists and turns.

Don’t say a Word is a ride on the wild side with barely any space to take a breath and exhale. Bird combines her experience of the real world with her innate talent for creating fascinating reads.

Buy Don’t Say a Word on Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.


Follow @ALBirdwriter and @HQDigitalUK

Read The Good Mother by A.L. Bird.

Watching Edie by Camilla Way

watching edieOne of the most interesting elements of this story is the fact the author hasn’t created a black or white situation.

There are many shades of grey, and in this case those shades relate directly to whether the characters are good guys or bad guys. The truth is, there is no clear answer to that question.

The reader feels sympathy with Edie, because of the hard situation she finds herself in. She is a single woman, who is about to become a single mother. When the baby does eventually arrive she is overwhelmed and clearly needs a friend.

Heather seems like the great alternative to a support system, despite the troubled past she and Edie share. Seems like the perfect solution. Edie needs help and Heather wants to help. Does she really want to help though?

Heather has a tendency to stalk, get violent and blackout. She is creepy and clearly unstable. Would you want her to take care of your newborn baby?

Throughout the book Edie has flashbacks to a time when she and Heather were friends and also to some terrible event that ended said friendship.

What it comes down to is who you think is guilty of the greater crime or wrong-doing. There are things that are unforgivable or so inhumane that they leave a deep dark stain on anyone involved in them. Some wrongs can never be righted.

Watching Edie will make you question everything and everyone. It is a nicely paced and well-developed psychological thriller, and despite the fact the reader can probably guess the traumatic secret the two of them are hiding, it is still a compelling read.

Buy Watching Edie at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.