Some of you lovely folk may be aware that I am one of the ‘First Monday Crime’ blogger team. First Monday Crime is a brilliant event held for crime fiction fans on the first Monday of the month in London. To find out more, visit their website by clicking HERE. One day I hope to make it along myself so I’ll hopefully see you there 🙄.
When I heard that Louise Jensen is appearing at the event in December, well, I squealed with glee. You see, I am a MAHOOSIVE fan of Louise’s work. She is a superb writer and I want other readers to discover her incredible books (my mum thinks I’m on commission, I can assure you I’m not!). So I came up with the idea of sharing all three of my Louise Jensen reviews in one glorious post. Three stupendous books, three enthusiastic damppebbles reviews…
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 that 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?
This is a psychological thriller and a half! Huge congratulations to the author, Louise Jensen, as this is her debut novel, what an achievement! No pressure Louise but you’ve set the bar incredibly high for yourself!
Grace and Charlie are childhood best friends. On her first day at her new school, Grace encounters a classroom bully who is immediately put in his place by the forthright Charlie. From there builds an unbreakable friendship, BFF together forever. But, six years after burying their precious memory box, Charlie is dead. Grace finds it impossible to cope with the grief, pushing everyone away and gradually falling to pieces. In a bid to help her accept Charlie’s death she decides to find Charlie’s wayward father. It’s something Charlie always wanted to do herself and it feels the right thing for Grace to do. That’s when the mysterious Anna walks into Grace’s life. Anna claims to be Charlie’s half-sister but before long she has ensconced herself firmly in Grace’s life. Grace is overjoyed, she finally has a link to Charlie again. Or does she…?
Wowsers! This is a stonking, heart-stopping read and I loved it. I couldn’t put it down (I refused to put it down more like!). I loved Louise’s style and I wanted to keep reading, no matter what else was happening around me. The story was so engaging that I became transfixed with Grace’s tale, wanting to discover what strange occurrence was going to happen next.
I didn’t really warm to any of the characters, except for Grace’s grandfather who was just lovely. Grace was a little too needy for me. Charlie would probably be my favourite but she’s only present for a small percentage of the novel so I’m not sure she counts. As for Dan, Grace’s boyfriend, he needs to man up, grr! Anna is just sinister with a capital S and thinking about her makes me shudder. I didn’t want to like any of this lot though, that’s part of the appeal of a psychological thriller. What’s the point in having likeable characters?
The plot moves at an enjoyable pace. There are twists and turns along the way which keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s pretty darn perfect, in my opinion.
Would I recommend this book? Oh yes, without a doubt. It’s a creepy tale of when good intentions turn bad. It had my heart racing and I didn’t want to stop reading for anything. A fabulous debut and I cannot wait to see what Louise Jensen has in store for us next.
Five out of five stars.
I chose to read and review an ARC of The Sister. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
The Sister by Louise Jensen was published in the UK by Sphere on 24th August 2017 and is available in paperback format. Previously published in eBook and audio formats by Bookouture| amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |
Jenna is given another shot at life when she receives a donor heart from a girl called Callie. Eternally grateful to Callie and her family, Jenna gets closer to them, but she soon discovers that Callie’s perfect family is hiding some very dark secrets…
Callie’s parents are grieving, yet Jenna knows they’re only telling her half the story. Where is Callie’s sister Sophie? She’s been ‘abroad’ since her sister’s death but something about her absence doesn’t add up. And when Jenna meets Callie’s boyfriend Nathan, she makes a shocking discovery.
Jenna knows that Callie didn’t die in an accident. But how did she die? Jenna is determined to discover the truth but it could cost her everything; her loved ones, her sanity, even her life.
Jenna is critically ill and needs heart replacement surgery. The worst possible news at a time when donor organs are scarce. Luckily for Jenna, a heart becomes available and the transplant goes well. But Jenna can’t stop thinking about whose heart now beats inside her chest. She is desperate to meet with the family and they don’t hesitate to arrange a meeting after she gets in touch. Against the advice of her therapist, Jenna goes to meet Tom and Amanda. It’s an uncomfortable start but Jenna feels she owes this couple and refuses to walk away. Then the dreams start, along with other strange feelings and what appear to be memories…things Jenna herself never experienced. Jenna knows that something isn’t right. The way she is told Callie, her donor, died doesn’t tally with what she’s seeing in frightening visions. Jenna decides that Tom and Amanda need closure to stop the hurt they’re suffering, and Jenna is the right person to deliver that closure. So she starts to investigate; attempting to tie the feelings, the dreams and what little evidence she has together. But the deeper she digs, the more secrets she uncovers. What really happened to Callie? And how far is Jenna willing to go to find out…?
First off, I want to say that I find it very hard to believe in some of the theories affecting Jenna in this book. I seem to have a scientific head on my shoulders and try as I might, sometimes (most times!) I can’t submerge myself in unproven theories. But I want to put that side of things away for now and comment on other aspects of this novel. I absolutely ADORE Louise Jensen’s writing. Jensen has a way of pulling you in, the way her words flow is sublime and that is exactly what she has achieved once again. She is such a gifted storyteller and one of my very favourite writers. Full stop. I had highly anticipated the release of this book after falling head over heels in love with The Sister and I wasn’t the slightest bit disappointed, despite the scientific noggin!
I absolutely adored Jenna, the lead protagonist. That drive and determination for her cause gave me goosebumps at times. I love a strong, spirited female lead in my books and Jenna fits the bill nicely. Strangely, that same determination did also annoy me a little. Particularly when she was pushing away ex-boyfriend, Sam and best mate, Rachel in her bid to give Callie’s parents closure.
As I have come to expect from Louise Jensen’s writing, you never really have a hold on exactly who the bad guy/gal is or his/her reasons for being the bad guy/gal until the reveal. The Gift is full to the brim of twists and turns. There was an audible gasp from me at one point; I was so shocked by what I was reading! Brilliantly crafted twists which send your brain into overdrive as you try and guess what will happen next. But I bet you can’t…
Would I recommend this book? I most definitely would (and grab yourself a copy of ‘The Sister’ whilst you’re at it!). Sleek, assured writing that pulls the reader into the story from the opening pages until the shocking conclusion. Superb!
Four and a half stars out of five.
I chose to read and review an ARC of The Gift. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
The Gift by Louise Jensen was published in the UK by Sphere on 16th November 2017 and is available in paperback format. The Gift was originally published in eBook and audio formats by Bookouture | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones| Goodreads |
And last but by NO MEANS least….
She can give you everything you want… But can you trust her?
Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents. All they want is a child to love but they are beginning to lose hope. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives them one last chance.
Kat and Lisa were once as close as sisters. The secrets they share mean their trust is for life… Or is it?
Just when the couple’s dream seems within reach, Kat begins to suspect she’s being watched and Nick is telling her lies.
Are the cracks appearing in Kat’s perfect picture of the future all in her head, or should she be scared for the lives of herself and her family?
How far would you go, to protect everything you love?
Dare I say this is Jensen’s best book to date? Y’know what, I think I dare! The Surrogate has become my very favourite of Louise Jensen’s books knocking the incredible The Sister from the top spot. If this one doesn’t end up on my list of top ten books of the year then there is something seriously wrong with me.
Kat is desperate for a baby. Unable to have her own child she turns to adoption to fill the baby-sized hole in her heart. But when it all falls through she is devastated. After all, she has decorated the nursery for Dewei and is a familiar (rather too well-known) face in Mothercare. The second attempt to adopt Mai also falls through leaving Kat at her wit’s end. And then Lisa miraculously appears in her life. Unsure of her intentions to start with, Kat is wary of her ex-best friend. The women have a murky past which Kat fears has not been forgotten. Before long, Lisa is entertaining Kat with tales of how she acted as a surrogate for a friend, how she gave birth to baby Gabrielle and then willingly handed her over. How she feels more of an aunt towards the baby than the infant’s birth mother. Kat can see a way out of her predicament, a way in which she can finally have the baby she so craves. All she has to do is convince husband Nick and make sure she keeps Lisa happy and relaxed, totally stress-free. But exactly how far is Kat prepared to go for that little bundle of joy…
There are so many surprises in The Surrogate that I became dizzy with joy while reading. You think you know what’s going on, where the story will lead you but in reality, you know nothing! Jensen has created a wonderfully intricate web of lies and half-truths with bucketfuls of creeping paranoia. I loved it! (I may have said that already…)
The thread of malice woven through many of the character’s relationships was sublime. The reader is frequently given glimpses into Kat’s teenage years at school and her interaction with the younger Lisa. We also get to see how Nick, Kat’s husband was raised by his parents and how, due to injury and the inability to work, Nick’s father begins to mistreat his son. Both episodes are unsettling and add so much emotion to the story. I found myself becoming more and more invested in Kat and Nick, knowing something awful was heading their way but not knowing exactly what.
And WOAH, that ending. Hugely satisfying, totally unexpected and I can guarantee it will stay me for some time to come. I had my own ideas of how I wanted the story to end but what Jensen has given the reader blows everything else out of the water. Absolutely superb!
Would I recommend this book? Without a shadow of a doubt, I would. If you are a fan of the psychological thriller then you MUST get yourself a copy of The Surrogate. Louise Jensen just keeps getting better and better and I am so excited about what she has in store for us in the future. You’ve set the bar even higher now, Louise. No pressure! A superb, twisty read that I wish I could give more than five stars to.
Five out of five stars.
I chose to read and review an eARC of The Surrogate. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
So there you go, a plethora of Louise Jensen loveliness. Three cracking books, three reviews. I think it’s fair to say I’m a fan, Louise!
Louise Jensen will be appearing at December’s First Monday Crime event alongside Chris Whitaker, Susi Holliday and Mel McGrath. All expertly moderated by Claire McGowan. The event takes place on Monday 4th December, 6.30pm at City University, College Building, A130. Click HERE to book your FREE ticket. Plus, because it’s December and we’re all starting to feel jolly festive, there will be extra fun and frivolities in store! Check out the First Monday Crime website for more information.
Louise Jensen always wanted to be Enid Blyton when she grew up, and when that didn’t happen she got a ‘proper’ job instead.
Several years ago an accident left Louise with a disability and she began writing once again, to distract her from her pain and compromised mobility. But writing turned out to be more than just a good distraction. Louise loves creating exciting worlds, dark characters, and twisted plots.
Louise lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, sons, a dog and a rather naughty cat, and also teaches mindfulness.