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The Source By Sarah Sultoon

The Source‘The Source’ is the debut novel by award-winning CNN journalist Sarah Sultoon.

A young TV journalist is forced to revisit her harrowing past when she’s thrust into a sex-trafficking investigation in her hometown.

Written in the past and present tense, this book which is based on true life experience is a intense thriller that makes for unsettling reading at times.

The story is seen through of the narrative of teenager Carly, who lives with her alcoholic mother and baby sister called Kayleigh. She hates the life that she has to lead and blames her mother for everything that has gone wrong. Her brother Jason has joined the army and invites her and her best friend Rachel to come to the barracks and it’s there that both girls get caught in a sex abuse and Carly feels unable to say no incase something happens to her little sister. Now many years later, Marie a journalist is investigating a new sex trafficking ring and is finding it a difficult with new emotions and memories coming back the closer and more involved she gets in the story.

This story is a difficult read, Carly is a strong character with a deep frustration for her alcoholic mother who has let the family go and sits around self-pitying herself. She longs for a better life and the sex is an escape for her. Her primary concern is her little sister and will do everything in her power to keep her safe and from harm. As the story progresses, we see Carly realise that this isn’t the life for her and longs to make a better one and it makes for sad reading when everything blows up and Carly has to deal with the aftermath.

Although the author doesn’t go into much detail of the extent of the sex abuse, there is enough details for the reader to read between the lines, how never to say no and bite the sheets and this does make for disturbing imagery for teenagers as young as 14 and younger.

Deeply dark and troubling. ‘The Source’ shines a light on sex abuse within the army and police, forces that are meant to protect and not to deprive young ones of their innocence. The story is written over a decade, shows how far a person will go for a story as well as confronting their past. Fast paced and powerful writing from the very beginning, ‘The Source’ is a hard hitting and emotional story about survival and resilience.

You can pre-order ‘The Source’ from Amazon and will be available from good bookshops from 15th April 2021.

Hunt By Leona Deakin

Hunt‘Hunt’ is the third book in Leona Deakin’s ‘Dr Bloom’ series.

The Foreign Secretary is being held under the Terrorism Act. He will answer the police’s questions on one condition – they let him speak to Dr Augusta Bloom. He asks Bloom to track down his niece, Scarlett, who hasn’t spoken to her family for ten years. The last they heard, Scarlett was getting involved with Artemis – an organisation dedicated to women’s rights and the feminist movement, led by the charismatic Paula Kunis. But as Bloom learns more about Artemis, she’s torn. Is this organisation everything it claims to be, or do they have a secret side and an alternative agenda? And if so, what has become of Scarlett? The only way to find out for sure is for Bloom to go undercover. But will she make it out safely – or will she become the next Artemis woman to disappear?

Leona is back with a new book, with old characters resurfacing that Dr. Bloom thought that she and her team and put into prison but it seems that due to lack of evidence Seraphine Walker was walked free.

In the latest book of the series, Dr Bloom’s services has been required by the Secretary of State to look into the disappearance of his niece, Scarlett who no one has heard from in many years. There’s a fear that she’s been held captive in a women’s group called Artemis, so Dr. Bloom finds herself entering the group hoping to find Scarlett but instead is faced with dealing with a clever group of women and discovers that once you enter Artemis, you never get out.

I really enjoyed this book and this series. Dr. Bloom is a great character and gives a fascinating insight into police procedure and psychology. Cleverly written with tension and suspense throughout, this taunt thriller made for gripping reading.

The story is seen from multiple characters, Dr. Bloom, her partner Jameson as well as Scarlett, the missing woman and Seraphine Walker.

The different narratives really set the tone for the story, a countdown into finding the missing woman as well as Dr. Bloom getting deeper into the Artemis group. Although, the group has been created for to empower woman, it seems to brainwash its members into staying and that the outside world isn’t for them.

This latest book is a thrilling read, giving further insights and details into the character’s past and this narrative really adds to the story.

Fast paced and riddled with drama and twists throughout, ‘Hunt’ is another thrilling and suspenseful story in the Dr. Bloom series.

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

The Secret Diary of a New Mum (aged 43 1/4) By Cari Rosen

The Secret Diary of a New Mum (aged 43 1/4) ‘The Secret Diary of a New Mum (aged 43 1/4)’ is the latest book by Cari Rosen.

Whatever your age, becoming a mum for the first time brings excitement, anxiety and numerous challenges. But how do you cope when, to top it all off, you discover you are almost old enough to be the mother of everyone else in your birth prep group? As one in five babies is born to a mum over 35, and the number of women over 40 giving birth has doubled, Whether it’s deftly side-stepping questions about your age and baby number two, weeping as younger counterparts ping back into their size ten jeans within thirty seconds of giving birth, or your doctor suddenly referring to you as geriatric Cari approaches the shared experiences of an ever-increasing number of mothers with insight, humour and honesty.

This is a fun and relatable story that highlights the struggles and reality of becoming an older mum.

After years of trying to become a mother, Cari is successful in her 43rd year and in this diary, Cari documents her journey in a deliciously honest and frank manner. From the insulting terminology of being called a geriatric mother to the questions about being an older mother and all the drama surrounding it.

Cari is a fantastic writer and is a breath of fresh air with hilarious and honest writing to being an older first time mother. She tackles breast feeding, car seats and vomiting with lightness and warmth but also writes about the fears of becoming older mothers such as increased chances of sickness and disabilities with open concern and fear.

As a woman who’s conscious of getting older and the loud tick of the biological clock, ‘The Secret Diary of a New Mum (aged 43 1/4)’ counting down, this refreshing, reassuring and wise story is an incredibly enjoyable book.

You can buy ‘The Secret Diary of a New Mum (aged 43 1/4) from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Dare By Lesley Kara

The Dare‘The Dare’ is the latest book by Lesley Kara.

When teenage friends Lizzie and Alice decide to head off for a walk in the countryside, they are blissfully unaware that this will be their final day together – and that only Lizzie will come back alive. Lizzie has no memory of what happened in the moments before Alice died, she only knows that it must have been a tragic accident. But as she tries to cope with her grief, she is shocked to find herself alienated from Alice’s friends and relatives. They are convinced she somehow had a part to play in her friend’s death. Twelve years later, unpacking boxes in the new home she shares with her fiancé, Lizzie is horrified to find long-buried memories suddenly surfacing. Is the trauma of the accident finally catching up with her, or could someone be trying to threaten her new-found happiness?

‘The Dare’ is a thrilling story of lies and betrayal in this suspenseful story.

It’s primarily seen through the narrative of Lizzie in past and present tense when she was present at the death of her best friend and now as an adult when her dead best friend’s sister reenters her life bringing back bad memories.

Lizzie was present at Alice’s death and at the moment of her death when she was hit by a train, Lizzie had an elliptic seizure remembering nothing and making her a suspect in the death even though it was ruled as accidental. But Lizzie’s classmates and friends maintain that she was killed Alice and Lizzie spends the remainder of her teenage years tormented by her peers. Now, many years later Lizzie is content in her new life with her fiancée Ross and looking forward to becoming a new mum.

I loved this book and it was the perfect psychological thriller that really engaged with the reader. The different time periods really sets the tone for the story. Alice and Lizzie have a great friendship, best friends friends from children, they have a stereotypical relationship where they confide in teenage crushes and share clothes and compete for boy’s attention. Alice’s family is troubled with her mum who suffers from depression, an alcoholic father and an older sister who doesn’t like Lizzie. Because of Lizzie’s epilepsy, she’s the target of bullying especially when it comes to the school disco and they can’t put the disco light on due to the flashing lights.

The story is primarily seen through Lizzie’s narrative as she’s confronted from her past with Catherine reappearing in her life. Catherine wasn’t nice to Lizzie blaming her for Alice’s death so Lizzie finds it hard to get past the nastiness and become friends. Ross works with Catherine in the same surgery and wants both Lizzie and Ross get on together and Lizzie to move on from her past. There is also the inclusion of another narrative in the story that really keeps the reader on their toes and guessing throughout.

This story is a fast paced thriller, that is cleverly written with characters that are unreliable, so the reader is unsure if the protagonist is friend or foe. The further I delved into the story, the more gripping it became with twists and dramatic reveals. A cunningly crafted psychological story that spans decades, ‘The Dare’ is the perfect twisty story to settle into.

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

Saving Missy By Beth Morrey

Saving Missy‘Saving Missy’ is the debut novel by Beth Morrey.

Missy Carmichael is prickly, stubborn – and terribly lonely. Until a chance encounter in the park with two very different women opens the door to something new. Something wonderful. Missy was used to her small, solitary existence, listening to her footsteps echoing around the empty house, the tick-tick-tick of the watching clock. After all, she had made her life her way. Now another life is beckoning to Missy – if she’s brave enough.

This book is such a tender and poignant story that made for heartwarming reading.

It’s seen from the narrative of Missy, a 78 year old woman, she lives alone with 2 grown up children, her son lives in Australia with his wife and son and her daughter lives in Cambridge. Their relationship is a bit estranged which causes Missy some upset with not having family close to her.

But on a walk to the park, she collapses and through this incident, 2 friends take her under their wings and offer friendship and company so the day isn’t as long for the lonely widow. Sylvie is a kind woman who likes to help others, Angela is a feisty Irish woman with her little boy called Otis. She looks after others and introduces Bob to Missy, a dog that needs looked after whilst her friend sorts herself. Missy underestimates the value of having a dog for company and learns to love the four legged creature and the new activities and friendship it provides.

I loved this story and the sweet characters. The story is seen solely through the narrative of Missy in the present but there are also chapters from the past explaining her background and life, which really sets the tone for the story.

At the start Missy, is quiet character who wishes to be invited to events and now with her new friends is the bell of the ball and growing in confidence and is repairing her relationship with her daughter Melanie.

A beautifully written story about new beginnings, the value of friendships and the companionship of dogs, ‘Saving Missy’ is an uplifting triumph of a debut that celebrates community kindness and second chances.

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