Book Review : My Sweet Friend

My Sweet Friend

by H.A. Leuschel

Publication Date: December 6, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction

Synopsis: 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.

From the author:

Lying is a symptom shared by the most convincing, cunning and ruthless individuals such as psychopaths and narcissistic manipulators. They have an invincible sense of self-importance and an addictive urge to project an image of power and perfection at all cost which are fuelled by the rewarding tools of charm, diversion and … clever deception.
Like anything in life, whether the skill is morally laudable or not, skills require training, effort and hard work. The danger lies in the brain progressively adapting to the dishonest behaviour and the longer the lies, the harder it would seem to be able to change the conditioning of one’s sensitivity to telling the truth. The truth and nothing but the truth or at the very least the intention to do so most of the time therefore appears to be a basic requirement for any interpersonal trust.
In my new stand-alone novella, I explore the idea that when crossing the line between truth or lie too often, it becomes a curse the person is eventually unable to shed …

Want to see an excerpt? Of course you do 🙂

I was brushing my teeth the next morning when Alexa called, crying over another nasty phone call from her ex. I was running late as it was but was unable to stop her barrage of insults against a man I didn’t even know the name of.
‘He’s driving me absolutely insane. I’ve really had enough,’ I heard her shout, the heels of her shoes clicking on the pavement. She was clearly on her way to work while I was only slipping my feet into my shoes. It had been her second frantic call that morning.
‘Listen. Alexa, calm down. I understand you’re upset but I’ll be late if you don’t stop.’
‘I’m there for you when you need me but when I’m the one in need for once, you fob me off. Great, really nice, thanks.’ She hung up, leaving me in an angry sweat. I was her polar opposite – organized and calm – but lately I felt out of kilter myself. I’d missed out on seeing my mum because, for one reason or another, Alexa managed to ambush my attention.
When I eventually rushed through the office door, Alexa was looking up at me indifferently, in deep conversation with Jack, who tapped his watch with pursed lips and raised eyebrows. I lowered my eyes, my stomach heaving with repressed fury. Alexa had crawled under my skin yet I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why and how it had all come about.
I hid in the ladies’ toilets, panic rising to my throat, and utterly lost for words. I realised that if it had been Alexa running off, I’d have made sure I was giving her moral support, coaxing her back to work. Where was she now that I needed her? Was I getting hysterical, losing the plot?

Be prepared for mind games, this is a thrilling read.

About 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.


Author Links

Read what others are saying on Goodreads 

Purchase My Sweet Friend Here

Giveaway: Enter for your chance to win a digital copy (Format of Choice) of My Sweet Friend

Blog tour organised by R&R Book Tours


My thoughts: 4/5 stars

Don’t you just love a book that demands debate? I know I do. This depiction of the relationship between work colleagues, Alexa and Rosie, does exactly that.
We first meet Alexa while she’s on sick leave. Although, she’s not at home recuperating from her stressful life, she’s in Biarritz. Hmm, say no more, the poor thing! You might actually feel sorry for her at this point.
A call from Rosie – who is still at work – puts Alexa on edge. There is something amiss.

Then comes the backstory to their first encounter when Alexa joins the marketing firm. Everyone at the office is impressed by her, but Rosie, in particular, is captivated by her magnetic aura of confidence and self-assurance. When Alexa drops a few compliments in her direction, Rosie is enchanted, and Alexa soon becomes her closest friend.

With their friendship now established, the story alternates between their points of view and they seem to muddle along well. However, very little is as it seems. While Rosie struggles financially (due to exorbitant care costs for her mother), Alexa is frivolous (until we see her apartment). She buys Rosie expensive gifts galore but doesn’t want anyone else to know she bought them.
They seem to be polar opposites, yet each find something in the other that holds the relationship together.

Bringing Jack, the Account Manager, into the mix adds another layer to the story. Alexa seeks to attract his attention. Her reasons for doing so are not those of a ‘sweet friend’, that’s for sure. She certainly doesn’t expect her ‘grey mouse’ of a friend (her words, not mine) to see through the lies, after all, she has convinced herself that her ‘truth’ is just that: why would anyone doubt her?

Comments made during conversations lead to ‘misunderstandings’, but Alexa talks her way out of everything, always coming out on top. But these inconsistencies continue, creating confusion and doubt in Rosie’s mind . The cracks deepen. Lies unravel further once Jack and Rosie ‘swap notes’, deceptions become clear and confrontation is inevitable.

This is a clever piece of writing. The reader is never quite sure who to believe at the start, but the hints are there, building to the only possible conclusion (or at least the one I hoped for).

This novella left me with many questions. Did Alexa really not expect the outcome? Was she so convinced by her own lies that the truth became fiction to her? Why did she need to lie? What was so wrong with her life that she had no other recourse than to re-invent herself? Why did her employers let her go quietly, only to effectively pass the problem onto the next? Is that ethical? Where would she go next? Where will it end?

The story has novel potential to me – I would have liked greater insight into what made Alexa who she was and more on what lay ahead for her. For me, this was a little like reading the middle of a bigger story – I wanted a beginning and an end too.

Nonetheless, a fascinating, well-written read. Totally plausible and insightful.

This was a story that pulled me in, as evidenced by the many moments spent screaming at the characters:

“Don’t fall for it, Rosie!”

“Not nice, Alexa! Not nice at all.”

“Did she really just wriggle out of that?”  … among others.

Fortunately, no-one spotted me yelling at my Kindle 😉


If you choose to purchase Helene’s novella, please consider leaving a review once you’ve read it.

Reviews keep authors writing.

Thanks for reading 🙂



Army of Authors Blog Tour – Kitty Boyes

Have you ever helped out a stranger only

to have it turn your normal life into something

that resembles a nightmare?

Arina did.

After a dead man is discovered in one of her motel units, his only relative, an older sister, asks Arina to help her. The sister believes her brother was murdered.

Despite being dissuaded from getting involved, true to form, Arina dives in. Head first.

Without knowing exactly what she was getting into, she inadvertently puts lives on the line. Including the life of her two-year-old son, Ben.

Money laundering and multi-million-dollar tax evasion scams are uncovered. Ruthless and desperate people will do all they can to avoid detection to protect their interests. Including murder.

Book Three ‘HER BROTHER’S KEEPER’ of the Arina Perry Series takes a psychological ride on the wild side.

Releasing in e-book late November 2017 and in paperback late December 2017.

Get your copy from Amazon here 

About the author:

Kitty Boyes resides on the coast of Western Australia.
Her debut novel ‘The Sins of Our Mothers’ written and published November 2015 is already a hit with romantic thriller readers. Kitty promised a sequel for early 2016. She delivered ‘Her Fathers Daughter’. Now, book three is looming. Are you ready?

Catch up with the author on her Amazon page and check out books 1 and 2 in this suspenseful series.

Still unsure?  Take a look at this review for Boyes’ first book – Her Mother’s Sins

“Her Mother’s Sins” is an absolutely spectacular, thoroughly engrossing novel. 
Boyes is a born storyteller and a fantastic writer. 
A unique, intriguing plot combined with masterful pacing, exciting suspense, romance, and strong characterization makes this book stand out. 
Readers will be captivated from the start and eagerly await Boyes’s next novel. 
Five-stars!” – NY Literary Magazine 

If you decide to grab a copy, be sure to leave a review for Kitty.

Reviews keep authors writing! 

Thanks for reading.

Featured Author – Nicole Fitton

Here at Mystery Authors International we always have a great story to tell.

This month is no exception, since our featured author is none other than Nicole Fitton, and we’re going to be looking at her book, Forbidden Colours. 

Before we delve into the details, let me just add that Nicole is having an awesome spell as an author.

Not only has she been nominated for an author of the year award, but the cover of her novel was a front-runner in Cover Wars too.

As this is such a wonderfully imaginative cover, I feel the need to display it in full resolution – as a piece of artwork it merits its own spot of glory.

So, well done, Nicole. This is just the start of a successful writing career and we’re supporting you all the way.

You’re no doubt wanting to know what the novel is all about, so without further ado, Nicole tells me how the story came to be.

Forbidden Colours was the evolution of a question that had been rattling around in my brain. You know, those annoying questions that wake you at 4am and won’t let you rest until you’ve written something. Well, that’s how it was for me. I had read a newspaper article about the complexity of the human brain and well, it all started from there. Forbidden Colours is a gripping love story which contains elements of psychological suspense. It has enough adrenaline fuelled drama to power the national grid! Once I had the protagonist Midori Yates firmly fixed in my mind’s eye she took charge and dictated the direction of travel. I have a passion for science and being able to incorporate that into a book is very exciting. The story centres around a new drug being brought to market that does not quite do what it is supposed to…. I shall leave it at that. As I said earlier I started Forbidden Colours with a question and everything flowed from there. So, I know you want to know, what was the question? It’s a question I often ask myself but seldom has it led me in such an unusual direction…… ‘ What if?’

A thriller that offers suspense and romance must be bound for great things – next stop, Hollywood, Nicole?

Check out the blurb for greater insight into the plot:

What if your memories were not your memories? What if the drug hailed as a cure becomes your curse and ultimately your destruction?

Forbidden Colours is a gripping tale where nothing is quite as it seems. Neurologist Nick Campbell is all set to believe in new drug Centoria, but when his patients start turning up dead he starts to wonder whether his faith has been blind.

Determined to uncover the truth, pharmaceutical employee Midori Yates and Dr Nick Campbell find a conspiracy that is to have devastating consequences for both of them. Forbidden Colours is a clever contemporary thriller that has numerous twists and turns that will make your head spin! A book for bedtime? Maybe but don’t expect to get any sleep!

Powerful stuff, I think you’ll agree, and most definitely unique in its concept and intriguing to boot! Who needs sleep, anyway? 🙂

Fancy a snippet? (Of course you do, and what the reader wants, the reader gets …)

Katzuko Yates eyed her daughter thoughtfully. A sense of apprehension gripped her. Those years in Japan were long ago; she wondered if she could be clear with her explanation. Even though buried, her memories continued to breathe under the mountain of life she’d lived. Dare she even speak of them? Could she speak of them? Their place of residence had become an unmarked grave in her history. Her family had a right to know, after everything that had happened. His world was dark and full of shadows; where would she begin? For over 25 years she had told no one. Now she was being drawn back into his world. It was a time she wanted to forget. The tie that had been bound to her so tightly was about to be broken.

Wow! You must be tempted to one-click this now – so here’s the all-important link you need.

Pardon me, where are my manners? Let me introduce you to Nicole and provide all the links so you may stalk – I mean follow – her 🙂

Author Bio:

Nicole Fitton is an author and freelance writer who has lived in such glamorous locations as London, New York and Croydon! She currently reside in Devon, UK with her family. Forbidden Colours is her second novel. Her career has spanned over 3 decades working in PR and marketing within the music industry. She currently works within healthcare in the UK.

Alongside her novels Nicole has a passion for writing short stories. This year has seen her short ‘Soaring’ featured in an anthology by the Black Pear Press. Her stories always have a happy ending, but, the way in which they get there will keep you guessing right up until the last page! She admits she gets bored easily and can often be found enjoying new adventures!






Amazon Author Page

Before I go, let me share another tidbit – Forbidden Colours is on Kindle Countdown until May 4th – so time to grab your own copy and enjoy the bargain!

C is for … Courting Danger

Courting Danger is my next book to be published later this summer. It follows on from The Fifth Wheel, taking Fern back to Portugal for the trial against her attacker, Stefan.

Here’s a taster of what’s coming …

Fern Mortimer wants her life back.
After five years recovering from a hit-and-run accident, the last thing she needed was a maniac – even a charming one – trying to kill her.
Now, eight months after that attempt on her life, she returns to Portugal to face her nemesis in court.

But her attacker, Stefan Pereira, has no intention of spending any more time in prison and will do whatever it takes to secure his freedom and complete his mission – he wants her dead.

Losing doesn’t bear thinking about but then again, she hadn’t planned on being anyone’s target in the first place. Cursed by her own insecurities, can she hold her nerve? She has a strong case, after all … and a witness.
Does that even matter, when Stefan has his father’s money, the face of an angel and an ability to lie convincingly in three languages?

A ‘Not Guilty’ verdict will make her nightmare a reality.

Surely justice will prevail? She’s the victim, after all. Right?


It’s a courtroom drama in the main, but with a hint of psychological suspense that will continue to manifest itself in the The Blackleaf Agency series that follows on from here.

To stay updated with the upcoming cover reveal and launch later this summer, sign up for the newsletter here.

Blogging from A to Z

I love this challenge.

I did it a few years ago before I started writing fiction – but now I’m going to combine the two.

It starts on April 1st and runs each day of the month, excluding Sundays.

So, 26 days = 26 posts




My theme is going to be my next book: Courting Danger (that’s ‘C’ covered anyway) and it will include character profiles, photos of settings, issues covered in the story and few others that I’ve yet to work out. (X,Y & Z are being particularly stubborn right now, but there’s time to get creative yet.)

Well, I’m off to plan my posts. See you next week 🙂