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Shame On You By Amy Heydenrych

Shame On You‘Shame On You’ is the latest book by Amy Heydenrych.

Meet Holly. Social media sensation. The face of clean eating. Everyone loves her. Everyone wants to be her. Or do they? When Holly is attacked by a man she’s only just met, her life starts to spiral out of control. Was she targeted because of her online wellness empire, or is there a darker reason behind the attack? He seemed to know her – but she doesn’t know him. Or does she? What if Holly isn’t who she seems to be? What if Holly’s living a lie? But surely we all lie a bit online, don’t we . . .?

I started reading this book late one Friday night and reluctantly had to stop reading it when I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

With short and snappy chapters that leave the reader wanting more this book is one of the grippiest books of 2017.

The story is seen through the narratives of Holly Evans and her attacker Tyler on the lead up to and after her attack.

Holly is an influential and powerful character who has a huge following on instagram after proclaiming that after a healthy diet and vitamins, she was able to cure herself of cancer and stay away from the more rigorous and traditional method of chemotherapy. But one night, she meets a handsome man who attacks her slicing her face and taking away her beautiful looks and confidence. As her army of fans rally around her, Tyler is determined to bring her down for the destruction, she caused to his life.

Both characters are equally fascinating and unlikable. Holly, is so caught up in the glory of her popularity and her legion of followers, that she fails to see the error of her ways. She’s determined to keep her mistakes a secret, she thrives on likes and loves from social media.

Whilst Tyler is consumed by hatred for the woman who unknowingly ruined his life. His bitterness leaps off the pages as he goes on a one man quest to ruin her life. He hates social media and everything that it stands for and as a doctor himself, doubts that Holly was able to cure her cancer solely through a healthy diet.

Fast paced and gritty from the very first page, ‘Shame On You’ is a dark, possessive and telling read about the power of social media and how much it controls people’s lives, reminiscent of an episode of ‘Black Mirror’, this book was a thrilling read.

You can pre-order Shame on You from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from July 26 2018.

Book Tour – She’s Not There By Joy Fielding

She's Not ThereToday on the book tour for Joy Fielding’s thrilling new book called ‘She Not There’, sit back and enjoy an extract from the exciting tale.

The trip had started out well enough. Samantha had fallen asleep almost as soon as the car was out of the driveway, and Michelle had seemed content playing with her new Wonder Woman doll. Unfortunately, fifteen minutes into the drive, an ill-advised attempt to get the doll to fly had sent Wonder Woman crashing to the floor, where she disappeared under the front seat, unleashing Michelle’s first flood of tears. Then heavy traffic along Interstate Highway 5 coupled with a delay at the San Ysidro border crossing at Tijuana had stretched the thirty-mile drive into a ninety-minute ordeal. Caroline wondered if she should have listened to Hunter when he’d suggested leaving the girls at home for the week. But that would have meant entrusting them to her mother, something Caroline would never do.

Her mother had made enough of a mess with her own children.

Caroline pictured her brother, Steve, two years her junior, a handsome man with sandy brown hair, a killer smile, and gold-flecked hazel eyes. His easy charm had made him their mother’s pride and joy. But what he had in charm, he lacked in ambition, and he’d spent most of his adult life shedding careers as regularly as a snake sheds its skin. A year ago he’d gone into real estate, and much to the surprise of everyone—except, of course, his mother, in whose eyes he could do no wrong—he seemed to be prospering. Maybe he’d finally found his niche.

“I’m thirrrrrsty,” Michelle wailed, the word threatening to stretch into eternity.

“Sweetheart, please. You’ll wake the baby.”

“She’s not a baby.”

“She’s asleep . . .”

“And I’m thirsty.”

“Okay, that’s enough,” Hunter snapped, spinning around in his seat and waving his index finger in the air. “Listen to your mother and stop this nonsense right now.”

Michelle’s response was immediate and complete hysteria. Her shrieks filled the car, bouncing off the tinted windows and pummeling Samantha awake. Now two children were screaming.

“Still think kids were a good idea?” Hunter asked with a smile. “Maybe your brother is right after all.”

Caroline said nothing. Hunter was well aware that her brother and his wife, Becky, had been trying unsuccessfully for years to have a family of their own. Their failure to do so was a constant source of tension between them, a situation Caroline’s mother took great pains to exploit, chiding Becky regularly for not providing her with more grandchildren and causing unnecessary friction between her daughter and her daughter-in-law.

Divide and conquer, Caroline thought. Words her mother lived by. What else was new?

“How much longer?” Caroline asked.

“We should be there soon. Hang in there.”

Caroline leaned her head against the side window and closed her eyes, her daughters’ cries piercing her ears like overlapping sirens. Not exactly an auspicious start to their vacation. Oh, well, she decided. It can only get better.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

You can buy She’s Not There from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Perfect Victim By Corrie Jackson

The Perfect Victim ‘The Perfect Victim’ is the second book in the Sophie Kent series.

Charlie and Emily Swift are the Instagram-perfect couple: gorgeous, successful and in love. But then Charlie is named as the prime suspect in a gruesome murder and Emily’s world falls apart. Desperate for answers, she turns to Charlie’s troubled best friend, London Herald journalist, Sophie Kent. Sophie knows police have the wrong man – she trusts Charlie with her life. Then Charlie flees. Sophie puts her reputation on the line to clear his name. But as she’s drawn deeper into Charlie and Emily’s unravelling marriage, she realises that there is nothing perfect about the Swifts. As she begins to question Charlie’s innocence, something happens that blows the investigation – and their friendship – apart. Now Sophie isn’t just fighting for justice, she’s fighting for her life.

I started reading this book one evening and was unable to put it down until the I reached the final page.

The story is quirkily written with an inquisitive and passionate lead character, who isn’t happy unless her life is at stake and she’s got a good news story.

Sophie Kent is a driven young journalist, who’s determined to prove her colleague and friend’s innocence when he is suspected of murdering a solicitor, Sophie believes there’s a lot more going on, than people are letting on and particularly finds Charlie’s wife, Emily a person of interest. Emily and Charlie had a whirlwind romance, the perfect couple on social media, but when new revelations come to light, the couple are seen to be far from perfect.

Sophie is quite a complex and troubled character, she puts on a hard act pushing herself to limits, but all the while she is dealing with the death of little brother Tommy. She doesn’t believe that he committed suicide and fears something a lot more sinister is at place and finds herself embroiled in a cult, whilst trying to find Charlie as well as piece Tommy’s last dying moments together. But just as Sophie gets closer to discovering the truth, her life and those around her are put into danger.

The story is fast paced with each chapter ending on a hook, making it difficult to put down. The characters are interesting and well written and with the chapters flowing between past and present tense, it really sets the scene in this quite bleak thriller.

As well as the seeing the story through Sophie’s narrative, we also see the perspective from Emily’s eyes, as her perfect life unravels before her eyes. I thought it was quite clever to add another voice to the story, adding another layer to the thriller.

This book is the second in the Sophie Kent series and although I haven’t read the first book in the series, I thought this book gave plenty of background information, so I wasn’t lost in the plot.

Packed with great characters, particularly the ballsy lead with a great plot and strong dialogue, ‘The Perfect Victim’ is a twisty tale that I genuinely enjoyed.

You can buy The Perfect Victim from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

How Our Minds Can Be Hacked By Christopher Farnsworth

Christopher FarnsworthOn the book tour for his sixth book, ‘Hunt You Down’, Christopher Farmsworth talks about the power and influence of social media.

Almost everyone I know is an unpaid content provider for at least one social media platform. Writers who get thousands of dollars for their scripts and books willingly spend hours typing up jokes and observations and stories for Facebook and Twitter. I know professional photographers who donate their best shots to Instagram. We write up restaurant reviews, add places to maps, and even give away our children’s baby pictures — all without a single dime in compensation. No matter how busy we are, we find time every day — sometimes hours — to work at this second job, tapping at our phones and computers to make Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey richer.

And it all works — this multi-billion dollar economy based on free labor and cat videos — because our brains are painfully easy to hack. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram all use a basic stimulus-response system. Every time we see a “like” or a heart or even a negative comment on one of our posts on social media, our brains react with a small hit of dopamine that acts like a tiny burst of happiness. We want to get that hit again and again, so we keep posting more stuff.

We keep checking our accounts even when it makes us feel bad. There have been studies that show people who spend a lot of time on social media feel sad, depressed and anxious. We see our friends and family members in posed photos, smiling for the camera. We get a highlight reel of their vacations. We see the news about new babies, new homes, new jobs. And when we compare their best moments with our everyday lives, we feel like there’s something lacking.

It’s like those rats that were given a lever that delivered cocaine every time they pressed it. The difference is, software developers have figured out to make us perform tricks for their benefit.

As reported by the ‘New York Times’ and Mother Jones, Facebook has even experimented on its users by showing them things in their timelines to make them depressed or to encourage them to vote. This is a technique called “emotional contagion” — the same way one person in a bad mood can spread that mood to others — carried out on a massive scale.

Hunt You DownIn other words, Facebook — and other social media sites — can make you feel things. They can influence your thinking. And they can manipulate you into doing things.

Even the guy who invented the Facebook “like” button thinks it has gone too far.

I’m as hooked as anyone else. I’ve been on almost every form of social media. I was on sixdegrees and the original Friendster. I was friends with Tom on MySpace. I have profiles out there on the Internet that I’ve abandoned and forgotten, shells of past selves with old profile pics that still stare blankly from sites that no one has visited in years. I’m on LinkedIn, for God’s sake.

At this moment, I’m struggling to keep from clicking back to Twitter to check on the latest scandal engulfing the White House, and to see if anyone has liked one of my jokes. I got 327 retweets the other day, and each one was a little affirmation, a little neurological reward that keeps me focused on the screen.

I suppose it’s possible to simply shut off social media, to abandon my accounts, or to go Facebook-vegan, like the writer Cory Doctorow. But this would mean losing touch with family, friends, and former co-workers, not to mention missing out on our relatives’ wildly incorrect opinions on politics and kale. I admit it: I just don’t have the guts.

The real problem, as always, isn’t in our apps and our tools. It’s in us, and how we use them. We now have the challenge of racing to catch up to our technology. We have to become smarter and better than the things we’ve built.

Despite all of its names and faces, the Internet is us. If we don’t like what we’re seeing, then we know exactly where we have to begin to change it.

You can pre-order Hunt You Down from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 2nd November 2017.

Too Close Book Tour – What Books Inspired Me By Gayle Curtis

Gayle CurtisToday on the book tour for Gayle Curtis’ new book ‘Too Close’, Gayle talks about the books that have inspired her over the years.

There are lots of books that have inspired me from childhood to the present day but they’re not all necessarily the literary kind. I have a huge love for photographic books, picture books if you like. My parents always had them on the shelves when I was a child so I would spend a lot of time perusing ‘Don McCullen’ and ‘The National Geographic’, such was my love of books.

A couple of years ago, my mother invited me to go on a trip to London with the art group she is a member of. They were going to the National Portrait Gallery to see David Bailey’s, Stardust exhibition. I can still remember the feeling it evoked when I arrived and how in awe I was of all the rooms; the stark white walls and striking photographs. This is how I want my house to look, I want to live here, I thought to myself. I was so spellbound by the exhibition, especially the controversial portraits of David Bailey’s wife, Catherine that I visited again the following week with one of my sisters, who had the same reaction as me.

Too Close

Consequently, I bought Bailey’s ‘Stardust’ book and also, ‘The Lady is a Tramp’. It’s not the actual picture that gives me ideas, it’s the emotion that conjures up all sorts of scenarios in my mind. I suppose the best way I can describe this kind of inspiration is that I peer into a personal part of someone’s life that evokes ideas.

Other books that inspire me tend to be about buildings, I have a particular love of concrete and cranes! I could sit and ‘crane’ watch for hours. They are beautiful and I haven’t quite worked out why I think that. I have just bought a book called, ‘Abandoned America’ by Christopher Mathews, which is filled with stunning photographs of derelict buildings. It’s amazing if you like that kind of subject. I have always been fascinated by Stanley Kubrick’s film, ‘The Shining’, more for the strange hotel than anything else. After I watched that film I held onto the empty, creepy, dark feeling it stirred in me and now every time I see an abandoned holiday camp, I say it reminds me of the ‘Overlook Hotel’.

Books containing letters or articles are another favourite of mine, I find them really inspirational especially set in a particular era, you get such a strong feeling of what it was actually like, a true recording of history. Some of my regulars are ‘Letters of Note’ by Shaun Usher, ‘Dear Mr Bigelow’ by Frances Woodsford, ‘The Mitfords – Letters Between Six Sisters’, ‘Letters from a Lost Generation’ and ‘Lunch with the FT’. The ones containing letters are really special, there’s something about reading the thoughts and feelings from pen to paper, a snapshot in time from one person to another – I guess I’m just nosy!

You can pre-order Too Close: A Dark and Gripping Psychological Thriller from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 30th June 2016.