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Sleepless By Louise Mumford

Sleepless”Sleepless’ is the latest book by Louise Mumford.

Thea is an insomniac; she hasn’t slept more than three hours a night for years. So when an ad for a sleep trial that promises to change her life pops up on her phone, Thea knows this is her last chance at finding any kind of normal life. Soon Thea’s sleeping for longer than she has in a decade, and awakes feeling transformed. So much so that at first she’s willing to overlook the oddities of the trial – the lack of any phone signal; the way she can’t leave her bedroom without permission; the fact that all her personal possessions are locked away, even her shoes. But it soon becomes clear that the trial doesn’t just want to help Thea sleep. It wants to control her sleep.

‘Sleepless’ is an unsettling story that is cleverly crafted to keep the reader on their toes.

The story is seen mostly through the narrative of Thea, who hasn’t had a proper night’s sleep in years. Admitting defeat and after seeing the clinic advertised a number of times, Thea signs herself up to Morpheus, which guarantees her a cure for her sleep deprivation. The clinic is on an remote island and even though her mother was convinced she’s joining a cult, Thea wonders if her mother is correct when her new friend called Rosie is brutally attacked and Thea finds herself the subject of unwanted attention with her sleep issues.

Right from the offset, this book is an uncomfortable read, from the claustrophobic island to the secretive testing, it’s obvious that something sinister is happening to the participants of the clinic but as Thea delves into the clinic’s work, it brings up some nasty surprises.

The story is vividly written and descriptive from the description of the island, the metal discs that are stuck to the participants head and are unable to be removed to the vivid dreams the keep the people awake.

Thea is an interesting lead as she is determined to find out what’s really happening at the clinic and seems to be able to thrive on little or no sleep. Other elements from the story are seen from the perspective of her mother Vivian. I loved Vivian with her viewpoints and outspoken behaviour and determination to save her daughter.

With a gripping and unsettling plot line that hooks the reader in, ‘Sleepless’ is a chilling thriller with suspicious characters that will leave the reader unable to sleep until they reach the final page.

You can buy ‘Sleepless’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Beneath A Starless Sky By Tessa Harris

Beneath A Starless Sky By‘Beneath A Starless Sky’ is the latest book by Tessa Harris.

Lilli Sternberg longs to be a ballet dancer. But outside the sanctuary of the theatre, her beloved city is in chaos and Munich is no longer a place for dreams. The Nazi party are gaining power and the threats to those who deviate from the party line are increasing. Jewish families are being targeted and their businesses raided, even her father’s shop was torched because of their faith. When Lilli meets Captain Marco Zeiller during a chance encounter, her heart soars. He is the perfect gentleman and her love for him feels like a bright hope under a bleak sky. But battle lines are being drawn, and Marco has been spotted by the Reich as an officer with great potential. A relationship with Lilli would compromise them both. Will Lilli be able to escape the threats facing her family, and how much is she willing to risk for the man she loves?

Over the last while, I’ve come to have read a few historical novels and what was originally a romantic tale transformed into a spy story.

The story is primarily seen through the perspective of Lillian Sternberg, a Jewish dancer. She’s got a bright future ahead of her and is fortunate to have fallen in love with an Italian officer called Captain Marco Zeiller. But one day he has to go ahead and though they promise to stay in touch, Lillian’s heart is broken when he sends her a telegram breaking off their relationship. Heartbroken, she sets her sights for America where she establishes her career as a dancer and even stars in films with Fred Astaire. It’s whilst she’s in America that Hitler comes into power and the mistreatment of Jews begins and Lillian begins to fear for her family back home in Germany but they refuse to leave their homes. When Lillian’s career suddenly ends, she finds herself falling in love with James, a kind English man who can offer her a good life in England but wants her to become a spy when she befriends Wallis Simpson, the mistress of the Prince of Wales.

Through this undercover work, Lillian unravels a whole load of secrets and lies and finds herself face to face with her beloved Marco, who is now a Nazi.

The story is a romantic novel but reads like a biography, with the inclusion of real people such as the famous Wallis Simpson and the whispered comments about her relationship with the Prince of Wales as well as being a Nazi sympathiser.

The story is fascinating in its content, not only the love story aspect but the work of an undercover spy as well as the historical parts such as the rise of Nazism and sad decline with the treatment of the Jews and how simple pleasures like a radio where forbidden. It’s small inclusions like this in the story that make for genuinely upsetting reading as it’s factual events and not something the author has conjured up.

Lillian is a wonderful character with tremendous spirit, she’s brave and fascinating as she puts her life in jeopardy for the sake of her family and has to hide to her heritage from the world to do so.

With a stunning cover and a heartbreaking plot, ‘Beneath A Starless Sky’ is a cleverly crafted story, encompassing fact and fiction with historical figures and a brave protagonist that makes for compelling reading.

You can buy ‘Beneath A Starless Sky’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Therapist By B.A. Paris

The Therapist‘The Therapist’ is the latest book by Sunday times bestselling author B.A. Paris.

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive. As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating, grisly secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before. Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbours are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem.

B.A. Paris has rapidly become one of my favourite authors after reading her debut novel called ‘Behind Closed Doors’/

It’s now the norm for me to read her books in one sitting and ‘The Therapist’ was no different. Although, I did stupidly start the book before bed one night, intending to read only a chapter or 2 but ended reading 24 instead and unable to put it down the following day!

The story is seen through the narrative of Alice, who’s just moved into her new house with her boyfriend Leo. After months of only seeing each other at the weekends, they decided to give their relationship a proper go with buying a house together. Having left the comfort of her country cottage, Alice moves into the private, gated community, home to professional couples and families. It’s at her house warming party that she meets her neighbours and is surprised at their coolness towards her. But Alice is determined to male friends and is horrified to discover that one day, a man turns up telling her that a woman called Nina was brutally murdered in the house.

Alice is distraught that Leo had kept this information from her and so begins the breakdown of their relationship and Alice’s fascination into Nina’s death and her own quest into finding out who really killed Nina.

The story is filled with paranoia and suspense as Alice begins to discover flaws in Nina and in her new friends with the secrets that they keep. As the story develops, it’s difficult to sometimes tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not as Alice is a bit of an unreliable narrator at times and other people including Leo are seen as a potential threat.

I loved this story, it’s well written and paced with short and snappy chapters that really engage the reader. I speak from experience! Alice is a great protagonist, she’s complex and finds a connection in Nina, as she shares the same name as Alice’s sister who is also dead and hopes that with finding Nina’s killer, will give her some peace even if that means making some enemies along the way.

The story is not only seen from Alice’s perspective but there is also an unknown therapist meeting their patients for the first time.

Atmospheric and filled with paranoia and suspense throughout, ‘The Therapist’ is a gripping guessing game with unsettling moments and suspicious characters that keeps the reader on their and is another terrific roller coaster of a story from B.A. Paris.

You can pre-order ‘The Therapist’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 7th January 2021.

Our Story By Miranda Dickinson

Our StoryMiranda Dickinson has returned our bookshelves with her latest book called,’Our Story’.

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?

The story is seen through alternating chapters between Otty and Joe who as flat mates as well as colleagues and this give interesting insights into the pairs thoughts, perspectives and experiences.

Otty has always dreamt of being a script writer even though her father thinks it’s a bit of pipe dream and even when she lands the dream role of working with one of her dream writers, she can’t believe her luck! An established writer, Joe is hoping that he will achieve success with this new television series and lives up to the hype of his previous show. Paired with his new flat mate and Otty he’s under immense pressure to succeed but is distracted by Otty and her enthusiasm.

The pair of them have a great dynamic in both professional and friendly sense but are attracted to each other but they don’t want to blur the lines and ruin a great relationship. I loved the interactions between the pair of them, their shared passion television shows and great writing, but the underlying chemistry between them made for sizzling reading.

I loved both characters, Otty was a joy with her bubbly and sweet personality and is determined to succeed and leave her past life behind. Whereas Joe was quiet and brooding, but Otty really brings him out of his shell and the pair of them at their happiest when writing.

Beautifully written with characters that are both enchanting and relatable, ‘Our Story’ was a joy to read and is a modern day love story that warms the cockles of your heart.

You can buy ‘Our Story’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Just Between Friends By Rosie Nixon

Just Between Friends‘Just Between Friends’ is the latest book by Rosie Nixon.

Aisha Moore is eight months pregnant. She’s thrilled, and a little scared. Not least because her husband Jason hasn’t quite wrapped his head around the fact. Lucy is having her first child too. She has finally got her wish – although the circumstances aren’t quite what she had hoped. Oscar will be a great dad though, won’t he? When the two women join the same baby group, they quickly become friends and before long they’re confiding in each other. Only there’s one thing Lucy hasn’t told Aisha. And while a baby may turn your life upside-down, a secret this big will change everything.

This is the second book that I’ve read by Rosie Nixon and I must admit it was a really interesting and completely different from her previous book called ‘The Stylist’.

The story is seen through the narrative of 2 first time mothers called Aisha and Lucy who meet at a Baby Group and become friends on this shared journey of becoming first time mothers. Aisha is happily married to Jason who’s longed for a child for a number of years, whilst Lucy conceived her baby through IVF whilst being broken up from her partner.

Both women have different stories and are coping differently to the new changes in their lives. It’s fascinating to read they’re perceptions are off each other. Aisha sees Lucy as glamorous and Lucy is envious of how easily Aisha has adapted to motherhood and how placid her baby is compared to Lucy’s little boy.

This book is completely different to Rosie’s previous books, which are always lighthearted and escapist story. ‘Just Between Friends’ is a deep exploration of relationships and there was a sense of suspense and unease that weaved seamlessly through each page.

There’s an underlying twist in the story, that was great to read, I guessed part of it but wasn’t completely right, so that made the book a far from predictable read.

The characters are relatable and interesting to read, as we joined them on their first trip into motherhood. Although the story is primarily a suspense story, there are elements of humour and wit in the story when the women meet for the first time at their baby group. The leader of the class is an outspoken and opinionated character who was prone to shouting “vagina”.

A smart and engaging story that is riddled with drama, secrets and dirty nappies, ‘Just Between Friends’ is a sharp and witty story that made for compelling reading with every snappy chapter.

You can pre-order ‘Just Between Friends’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops from 12th November 2020.