Review | The Date by Louise Jensen

Another fast-moving page-turner with plenty of surprises. 4/5 stars.

The Date by Louise Jensen

Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for giving me an e-copy of this book to read and review.


The blurb: Something bad has happened to Alison Taylor.

Her Saturday night started normally. Recently separated from her husband, Ali has been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a new man. She is ready, she is nervous, she is excited. She is about to take a step into her new future.

By Sunday morning, Ali’s life is unrecognisable. She wakes, and she knows that something is wrong. She is home, she is alone, she is hurt and she has no memory of what happened to her.

Worse still, when she looks in the mirror, Ali doesn’t recognise the face staring back at her. She can’t recognise her friends and family. And she can’t recognise the person who is trying to destroy her…

My take:

Apologies if this review seems vague, but I’m trying very hard to avoid spoilers. As with most thrillers, the less you know before you go into this book, the better!

Having read and enjoyed Jensen’s three previous books, The Sister, The Gift and The Surrogate, I went into The Date expecting a fast-moving page-turner. And that’s exactly what I got!

The Date is more of what Jensen does so well. She has her suspense formula down to a t. I think it’s probably the short chapters that make her books so hard to put down (“Just one more…”), but whatever the reason, this is another example of easy-to-read, pure book crack.

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ARC Review | The Surrogate by Louise Jensen

A brilliant epilogue is the perfect ending to another enjoyable read from Louise Jensen. 4/5 stars.

The Surrogate by Louise Jensen

The Surrogate is out tomorrow, Wednesday 27th September 2017

Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for giving me an e-copy of this book to read and review.


The blurb: Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.

But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.

And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye.

As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…

My take:

This will be a short review to avoid spoilers!

Regular readers of my reviews will know I have an up-and-down relationships with book branded “psychological thrillers” or “dark thrillers”. However, having enjoyed Louise Jensen’s previous two books – The Sister and The Gift (click the titles for my reviews) – I went into The Surrogate with high hopes, which thankfully weren’t disappointed.

From the blurb and the first couple of chapters, I came to expect something along the lines of The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, but I was pleased to discover that the author gives us something else entirely!

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Review | The Gift by Louise Jensen

Another enthralling page-turner. The new Queen of Suspense strikes again! 4/5 stars.


Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for giving me an e-copy of this book to read and review.

The blurb: Jenna is seriously ill. She’s lost all hope of getting the heart transplant she needs to live. But just as her life is ebbing away, she receives a donor heart from a girl called Callie.

Who was Callie and how did she die? Jenna is determined to find out.

The closer Jenna gets to those who loved Callie, the more questions arise about her untimely death. Someone knows what happened to Callie. Why won’t they talk?

Jenna is about to uncover the truth, but it could cost her everything; her loved ones, her sanity, even her life.

My take:

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book since I enjoyed Louise Jensen’s debut, The Sister, back in August. And so I’m delighted to say that The Gift is another gripping psychological thriller which fans of the genre are sure to love.

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Review | The Sister by Louise Jensen

A terrific debut. 4/5 stars.

The Sister by Louise Jensen

The blurb: Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s words, the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie …or was there?

My take:

This review will be rather sparse as I think the less you know about the plot of The Sister, the more you’ll enjoy it. And the more I say, the more spoilery things will get, so I’ll keep this brief.

If I hadn’t know this was Louise’s debut novel, I never would have guessed. So the first thing I have to say is, congratulations Louise!

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Review | When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

Convincingly toxic, but not my cup of tea. 3.5/5 stars.

When She was bad by tammy cohen

Thank you to Black Swan and NetGalley for giving me an e-copy of this book in return for an honest review.

The blurb: You see the people you work with every day. But what can’t you see?

Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years – they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in…

Now there’s something chilling in the air. Who secretly hates everyone? Who is tortured by their past? Who is capable of murder?

My take:

There are quite a few characters to keep up with in this book and all of them are sad, stressed, exhausted and/or worried. Each chapter gives us the opportunity to swap between their point of views, but even this doesn’t provide any light relief. You only get a reprieve from one character whose life sucks, to be passed to one whose life sucks harder.

The original office group are mostly just clinging onto sanity when, into this joyful mix, comes the new boss. Quick to pit the employees against each other, she creates an atmosphere which is described by one of her subordinates as “toxic”. And “toxic” is the perfect word to describe my experience of this book which was like being trapped in the poisonous headspace of a group of miserable people. Add to this past descriptions of appalling child abuse and no, I can’t say I “enjoyed” reading this book.

However, I have to take my hat off to the author for the terrific job she does in creating this claustrophobic atmosphere and a group of characters whose personal and employment predicaments are entirely believable. Anyone who has ever worked in an office will recognise something in this book, whether it be the gossip machine or how quickly small things can become politicised or blown out of proportion.

The mystery element of the story is also well-handled. We are given just enough clues so we can keep up and make some educated guesses as to who is who, but there are also a few things you have no hope of guessing and come as surprises at the end. I did find the ending a little disappointing and underwhelming. After all the tension the author had built up between the characters, I was expecting some sort of tragic finale. Although this could just be because I found all the characters so unlikable I was hoping a few more of them would get bumped off!

Overall: fans of dark thrillers and mysteries should definitely pick up this book. Me? I’m off to re-read some Rainbow Rowell.

Claire Huston / Art and Soul








Review | 24 Hours by Claire Seeber

Impressive structure and writing but my failure to connect with the main characters meant this “thriller” fell flat. 3/5 stars.

24 Hours by Claire Seeber cover

The blurb: “Here today. Dead tomorrow?
My best friend, Emily, is dead – killed last night in a hotel fire.
But it was meant to be me.
Now I have 24 hours to find my daughter.
Before he finds out I’m still alive.

24 Hours is a fast-paced, intelligent psychological thriller that will leave you breathless.”

My take:

I am giving 24 Hours three out of five stars for the quality of the writing and structure. Writing a book which switches between the past and present every chapter is no mean feat. Even more impressive is producing one which does all this time shifting without disorientating or confusing the reader.

The plot was fine and the author includes various twists and turns to keep the reader guessing as to who the real villain/s of the piece is/are.

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Review | Disclaimer by Renée Knight

With such a brilliant premise (how has no-one thought of this before?!) and glowing reviews, I was looking forward to reading Disclaimer very much. Which is perhaps partly why I was so disappointed…

Disclaimer by Renee Knight book cover

The blurb: Finding a mysterious novel at her bedside plunges documentary filmmaker Catherine Ravenscroft into a living nightmare. Though ostensibly fiction, The Perfect Stranger recreates in vivid, unmistakable detail the terrible day Catherine became hostage to a dark secret, a secret that only one other person knew–and that person is dead. Now that the past is catching up with her, Catherine’s world is falling apart. Her only hope is to confront what really happened on that awful day even if the shocking truth might destroy her.

My take:

I have thought very hard about why I didn’t enjoy this book. I know I’m in the minority and if you’re a fan of the suspense/thriller genre perhaps you should still give it a go.

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WWW Wednesday 17th June 2015


This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

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