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The Stolen Sisters By Louise Jensen

The Stolen Sisters‘The Stolen Sisters’ is the latest book by Louise Jensen and is currently only 99p on the Kindle Store, which is a must buy for fans of the author and fans of tense thrillers.

Leah’s perfect marriage isn’t what it seems but the biggest lie of all is that she’s learned to live with what happened all those years ago.Marie drinks a bit too much to help her forget. And Carly has never forgiven herself for not keeping them safe. Twenty years ago The Sinclair Sisters were taken. But what came after their return was far worse. Can a family ever recover, especially when not everyone is telling the truth?

The story is about the 3 sisters Carly, Leah and Marie Sinclair who one day are kidnapped from their house and spend the next couple of days keep captive in an old military base and were fed crisps and sweets to keep their energy going, before they finally escaped to freedom. Now, it’s the 20th anniversary of their kidnapping and the women are on edge especially when they begin to receive letters counting down to the actual day. The kidnapping received a lot of interest from the media and the girls became a national treasure.

The story is written in the past and present sequences with the past scenes seen through Carly’s perspective and the present scenes are seen through Leah’s narrative. Carly is a typical teenager, desperate to hear from Dean, the boy that she likes and when she doesn’t hear from him, she takes her disappointment on her 8 year old twin sisters Marie and Leah. Snapping and being nasty to them, she makes them out go outside the house to retrieve their lost ball and this is when the kidnapping occurs. But during the kidnapping, she feels terrible for her behaviour and makes it her duty to get them to safety.

20 years after the kidnapping, it’s terribly sad to see how the events have effected the women’s lives. Carly leaves alone with the guilt that she could have prevented it all from happening, if she hadn’t horrible to the girls and looked after them properly. She punishes herself by not letting herself or anyone else get close to her. Leah is married with a little boy but her extreme OCD is ruining her relationship and she’s convinced that every person she sees is the kidnappers even though they are dead and Marie is battling a drink addiction. All 3 women were fun and happy girls and it’s so sad to read the kidnapping ruin their lives.

The story flows between past and present tense in the alternating chapters and this keeps the reader on their toes with this snappy and fast paced thriller. As the days count down to the anniversary and Leah receives more letters, I was gripped by what was going to be revealed on the day and who was behind them. There are so many fractured relationships and characters in the story, that I found myself regularly wondering was it person or was it this person as the story progresses.

One fascinating thing that I learned from reading this book was that Leah suffered from a rare condition called The Fregoli delusion or Fregoli syndrome. A rare disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that different people are in fact a single person who changes appearance or is in disguise and this was why she was convinced that the kidnappers were following her.

A cleverly crafted and twisted tale with drama and deceit riddled throughout, ‘The Stolen Sisters’ is a sad and traumatic tale that made for gripping reading with hook and reveal that left me chilled.

You can buy ‘The Stolen Sisters’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Life We Almost Had By Amelia Henley

The Life We Almost Had‘The Life We Almost Had’ is the latest book by Amelia Henley.

Anna wasn’t looking for love when Adam swept her off her feet but there was no denying their connection, and she believed they would be together forever. Years later, cracks have appeared in their relationship. Anna is questioning whether their love can really be eternal when a cruel twist of fate delivers a crushing blow, and Anna and Adam are completely lost to one another. Now, Anna needs Adam more than ever, but the way back to him has life-changing consequences. Is a second chance at first love really worth the sacrifice? Anna needs to decide and time is running out…

If you like books that tug at your heartstrings with relatable characters and life situations, then ‘The Life We Almost Had’ is just for you.

The story is seen through the narrative of couple Anna and Adam. At 24 years of age, Anna was dumped by her cheating husband to be, with the honeymoon paid for, Anna takes her best friend Nell to the Spanish island of Alircia to heal her wounds. It’s there that she meets Adam and their love for each other begins, as they struggle with long distance relationships when they return home before getting married. Now married, they want to create a baby and struggle to conceive which causes distance and resentment between the pair of them as they both long for the same thing but it seems to be out of their reach. To try to make things better for them, Adam thoughtfully surprises Anna with a return trip to Alircia hoping to reignite their love for each other. But on this trip which should be a joyful occasion tragedy strikes when Adam is injured in the an accident that leaves him in a coma with only 3% survival. As days passes by with Anna alone in a strange country, she’s approached by Oliver, a neurologist who wants to use Adam for his therapy that is able to tune to people’s consciousness although Anna is opposed to the idea she then decides to go along with it, so she once be with Adam in his dreams.

OK, this book is a heartbreaker, is a story of love and loss that makes for tender and frustrated reading, as the couple finally get their happy ever after only for it to pulled away. The main characters are relatable and for this, I was really able to connect with them. Anna has low self esteem after being dumped and Adam quickly becomes besotted with her and really lifts her mood and confidence. They are perfect for each other but you can really feel the dynamics changing between them as the struggle for a baby becomes harder and Anna pulls away from her best friend Nell who unexpectedly becomes pregnant. Anna hates that she feels jealous and resentment to the person that’s been there for you, so she pulls back from the friendship. I really liked Adam, he was always such a giving character and he gave up his dreams to travel the world to be with Anna and I thought that was such considerate thing to do.

The story is written in alternating chapters between Adam and Anna and it’s interesting to read the different insights on the relationship and the struggles between them, as they both deal with the complexities of the relationship. As Anna vows never to give up on the relationship and hope for the Adam to return to her, we see her regain her love for Adam and the commitment for each other. It’s heartbreaking to join Anna as she goes inside Adam’s consciousness, as he’s carrying on with life unaware of what’s going on outside in the real world.

There are plenty of magical moments in the story, from the interactions between Adam and Anna to the 50p coin that they exchange instead of words. The coin dates back to Anna’s grandfather when he first played ‘Love Me Tender’ on the jukebox to get her to dance with him, so the song has sentimental value. Oliver was also an interesting character who threw himself into his work to help distract him from the death of his wife Clem.

‘The Life We Almost Had’ is the first romantic novel from Amelia Henley who’s really psychological thriller author Louise Jensen and this is a stunning debut from the author which is thoroughly researched and gave an fascinating insight into how the brain works.

Tenderly written and injected with love and hope, ‘The Life We Almost Had’ is an emotional rollercoaster of a story that tugs on your heartstrings from the first page.

You can buy ‘The Life We Almost Had’ is available to buy from Amazon

In Cold Blood By Jane Bettany

In Cold Blood‘In Cold Blood’ is Jane Bettany’s first novel.

As the Whitworth family begin renovations on their new home, their plans are brought to an abrupt end when they discover a body buried in the back garden. DI Isabel Blood and her team are called to investigate, but as she approaches Ecclesdale Drive, a feeling of unease settles in her gut. The property cordoned off is number 23. The house she used to live in as a child. The forensic team estimate that the body has been in the ground for up to forty years – coinciding with the time Isabel’s family lived in the house. Isabel’s father vanished without a trace when she was fourteen years old. And with her mother remaining tight-lipped about her father’s disappearance, Isabel can’t escape the unnerving sense of dread that it’s his body, buried in the garden.

As a debut novel, ‘In Cold Blood’ is a gripping story that introduces a new detective series with her own drama in life.

The story is seen from the narrative of DI Isobel Blood who’s been called to the scene of crime when a body has been discovered. Unfortunately, the location of the body is at her old family home and having to revisit the homestead brings back unwanted feelings and emotions. As she and her dedicated team investigate the crime, they discover it’s not a simple case of whodunnit it but an historical journey into the previous owners and nosy neighbours.

This book was easy to get absorbed in and right away, I enjoyed Jane’s style of writing. Isabel is a complex character, she’s an older mother struggling with a teenager as well as struggling with her own mother who lives in Spain. Having to revisit her childhood home, has brought back unwanted feelings of her father’s disappearance, so at times she gets emotionally involved in the crime. As her job is so demanding, this often causes some tension in the family, as her daughter Ellie feels that her job is her priority and not her family.

The story is fascinating in not only its premise but also the amount of research in the story is outstanding. As the team are investigating an historical crime, it’s interesting to see how police procedures have changed through the years.

The victim of the crime is also an interesting character, although we never meet Celia. There’s plenty of opinions on the elderly woman. Described as cold and private, as we delve into past, we find an interesting woman who has many secrets that she’s been hiding for years.

‘In Cold Blood’ is a cleverly crafted and well written story that is a great introduction to a new detective. An observational and insightful story about police procedures and a well hidden crime.

You can buy ‘In Cold Blood’ from Amazon.

Miranda Dickinson Reveals New Book called Our Story

Our StoryMiranda Dickinson has revealed her latest book with HQ Stories called, ‘Our Story’.

What the back cover says –

Otty has just landed her dream job. She’s about to join the writing team of one of the most respected showrunners in TV. And then the night before her first day, she’s evicted from her flat.

Joe has been working with Russell for years. He’s the best writer on his team, but lately something has been off. He’s trying to get his mojo back, but when his flatmate moves out without warning he has other things to worry about.

Otty moving into Joe’s house seems like the perfect solution to both their problems, but neither is prepared for what happens next. Paired together in the writing room, their obvious chemistry sparks from the page and they are the writing duo to beat. But their relationship off the page is an entirely different story, and neither of them can figure out why.

And suddenly the question isn’t, will they, or won’t they? It’s why won’t they?

Sounds like another lovely story from Miranda to curl up with up with.

You can pre-order ‘Our Story’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 25th August 2020.

Just My Luck By Adele Parks

'Just My Luck‘Just My Luck’ is the current ’Sunday Times’ number 1 bestseller by Adele Parks.

For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends, the Pearsons and the Heathcotes. Over dinner parties, fish & chip suppers and summer barbecues, they’ve discussed the important stuff – the kids, marriages, jobs and houses – and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything more than a tenner. But then, one Saturday night, the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone doesn’t tell the truth. And soon after, six numbers come up which change everything forever. Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth £18 million. And their friends are determined to claim a share of it.

2020 marks Adele Parks being an author for the 20 years and her latest book ‘Just My Luck’ is her twentieth book which I revealed on publication day is being optioned for screen.

The story is seen primarily through the narrative of Lexi, after years of doing the lottery, finally her lucky numbers come through. Up until the winning ticket, Lexi and her husband Jake, took part in a syndicate with their friends Carla, Patrick, Jennifer and Fred until the four of them decided that doing the lottery was common. Now £18,000,000 richer, the friends decide they are owed what they feel is rightfully theirs. So instead of being able to enjoy the excitement of being millionaires, Lexi and her family discover the how much of a disastrous effect coming into money can have on people’s lives.

I read this book in two sittings purely because Adele is one of my favourite authors and plus the story was just so addictive. Seen from the narrative of Lexi, a quiet woman who’s primary concern is her family, she’s refused to be swept away by the madness of winning the lottery unlike her husband Jake, who’s throwing money left, right and centre. She wants to be sensible with the money and put it to good use and charitable needs whilst Jake would prefer to rub it in everyone’s faces. She’s hurt when their friends demand that they are owed money even though they backed out of the syndicate. There’s also narrative from her husband Jake and her teenage children. The multiple narratives give an interesting insight to how money can influence and change people’s lives and not for the best.

Now a Sunday Times number 1 bestselling book, ‘Just My Luck’ is Adele at her finest. With short chapters that really grip the readers attentions from the exciting moment of discovering those lucky numbers, to the twisted reveal at the final page, this book was a riveting rollercoaster of a story. A story filled with suspense and drama that explores the dynamic of relationships and the challenges faced new found wealth is bestowed upon them, ‘Just My Luck’ is compelled and well crafted story that is relatable and triggers the question, would we change if we won the lottery?

You can buy ‘Just My Luck’ from Amazon and will be availble to buy from good bookshops.

Check out my interview with Adele Parks catching up with the excitement of publication day as well as life in lockdown.