The Gift Louise Jensen



The Gift        Louise Jensen

I love a book that gets me surfing the internet to learn about something I’ve never heard of before, and when there’s a cracking story involved, it’s just a bonus.

In this case Google was employed to research Cellular Memory. The less than scientific theory that cells in the body can contain memories. So; when the main protagonist of this story, Jenna, starts to have strange dreams following a heart transplant, is she re-living memories of the donor?

In a very unorthodox move Jenna manages to identify her donor, Callie, and visits the late girl’s family. Are her Mom and dad telling the truth, where is the errant sister, Sophie, and why is Callie’s Dads brother, Joe, so threatening.

Jenna finds out that Callie died in a car crash and that nobody had an explanation for why she was driving alone on a country road late at night, miles from where she should have been.

Jenna’s dreams become more vivid, but are they Callie’s memories, or is she just getting over familiar with the other girl’s life.

Things get worse when Jenna meets Nathan, the too-good-to-be-true, fiancé of Callie.

The investigation into Callie’s life and death begin to overtake Jenna’s daily life.

The more Jenna considers the death of her donor the worse the dreams and flashbacks become.

Will Jenna solve what might not even be a puzzle, and how much danger will she put herself into trying to do so?

You’ll have to read the book to find out.

You won’t be disappointed.

This is a genuinely new story for me. In a world where many books are just rehashes of the same-old, same-old, with different character names, this book stands out as being original.

Did I like it?


Somebody must have used this in a blog already but. The Gift is the gift that just keeps giving, right up to the last page.


The Devils Prayer Luke Gracias


The Devil’s Prayer        Luke Gracias

Stephen King meets Dan Brown, with a sprinkling of C.J. Sansom, in one of the best books I’ve read this year.

What genre is it?

Horror? Psychological thriller? Historical fiction?

Mix them up and you will end up with The Devils Prayer.

The book starts with a Nun running through secret passages, between an isolated convent and a hidden tomb, in an isolated area of Spain.

A short time later the Nun kills herself in front of 1000’s of people in a public square.

Meanwhile, Siobhan, a young journalist in Australia, has not seen her mother for 6 years. A knock on the door from the local police officer brings the news she has hoped never to hear. Her Mom is dead.

Siobhan makes a trip to Spain to see her mother’s grave, and find some closure into why she disappeared. She finds out her mother was the Nun who committed suicide so publicly and uncovers a journal her mother had left hidden for her.

The journal, called The Confession, describes a sequence of events starting in the mid 1990’s; including a horrific crime and the ramifications it has on the victim and its perpetrators, and explains what Denise has been doing since she went missing.

The Confession tells the story of Denise, a successful newsreader, a single mother living with her daughter, Siobhan, and her mother Edith. Following an accident in which Siobhan nearly drowns Denise’s life begins to change.

Some years later Denise gives birth to a second daughter Jess; but between the near drowning of Siobhan and the birth of Jess things have changed drastically for Denise.

Eventually Denise begins to realise that she is central to events which she now has no control over. When she is approached by a mysterious Monk, who offers her help to find a closure and put things right, she has no choice but to leave and start a journey through libraries full of ancient scripture in an attempt to save those nearest her.

Disguised as a Nun with a vow of Silence she is taken around Europe to read and translate ancient scriptures ultimately trying to find the lost pages of an ancient book. The pages are The Devils Prayer.

 This book is beautifully written and had me hooked from the start. I read it in 2 days and was left wanting more.

Luke Gracias eases between the two main protagonists as the main story is told with Siobhan, taking the lead character, reading her mother’s Confession, with Denise being the main character.

Gracias takes the reader through; family trauma, a horrific crime, and betrayal in Australia; to historical artefacts, ancient documents, Monasteries and Convents in Europe.

As the book raced towards the end I began to find myself thinking, “there’s not enough pages left to finish this story” I was right.

What a cliff-hanger.

Mr Gracias please don’t make us wait long till the next one please.

How to Murder Your Life Cat Marnell


How to Murder Your Life.     Cat Marnell

This type of book is not usually my thing, but since I’ve started lecturing in Colleges and Universities, I’ve seen a few young talented people nearly throw a lot of hard work away through partying. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude, and I certainly haven’t got a squeaky-clean past, but things seem different to this generation.

When I read the bumph for this book I thought maybe I was in for a cathartic revelation, the story of how bad things can get, with at least a hint of “don’t do this” from the author.

I was wrong. This is a terrible story of a young woman that had, from her account, a terrible upbringing by two totally dysfunctional parents.

Moving on from a sad home life Marnell somehow manages to portray that the only way she got through school, and college, was to over medicate on drugs prescribed to her by her father, scrounged from fellow students, or purchased of teenage drug dealers in her boarding school.

She clearly describes drug highs and tumbling lows which lead her to alcohol, underage sex, and bulimia.

Marnell’s dream job was to be a fashion journalist, and she managed to somehow gain internships with some of the biggest fashion magazines in New York. How, I’ll never know, her accounts of her getting stoned the nights before interviews, and turning up for work hours late.

She graphically describes showing herself up in front of industry leaders at lavish party’s whilst being showered with freebies by the fashion houses and make-up companies.

Yet she still managed to secure one of the top jobs, in one of the top magazines.

OK her life has been a nightmare, and if I had lived it I would probably be dead by now, but I was hoping for a story with some level of contrition. Is there any? Not a lot.

My honest opinion of this book is that is has been written more as a, “look what I’ve got away with” attitude.

The author is not bragging, but she’s not apologetic either. She makes fun of herself during some of the more lurid scenes; passing out at a party and waking up with, well god knows who, making herself sick in her “vomitarium” during bouts of bulimia, losing jobs and generally acting like a person with no self-respect.

Would I recommend this book to anybody?



I Think it gives out the wrong messages. Yes it’s a sad story, but it’s a story of self-indulgence. It has no message it’s just words, words that make a nasty story about a very damaged young lady.