Book review: The Date by Louise Jensen



If you enjoy psychological thrillers you’re in for a treat with this one!

It starts off quite simply but the tension creeps up and up and the situation becomes more complex as layer upon layer of intrigue and suspense is added. It’s clear from the start when Alison wakes up the morning after her date that something has gone horribly wrong. She has no recollection of the evening, has a head injury and has developed face blindness – she’s unable to recognise even the people she knows well which makes her very vulnerable. As threatening messages appear and her best friend goes missing it’s clear someone wants her to suffer for something she’s done in the past.

The story’s told in two viewpoints – the victim and the stalker whose identity isn’t revealed until the end. It’s obviously someone who knows a lot about the victim including her real name. I had to keep reading  to find out what what Ali had done and why the stalker was out for vengeance. To be honest I wasn’t convinced by everything that happened but I think you have to be prepared to suspend some disbelief and just go with it in order to enjoy this story to the max.

I can’t wait to see what Louise Jensen comes up with next.

This book will be published on June 21st. I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley with no obligation to review.


Hopping on the Virtual Vespa

I was thrilled to be invited to take part in Jane Bwye’s lovely series on settings today and have the chance to talk about the Lucca area in Tuscany.

Jane Bwye

We’re in for another treat today. This series on settings for books is becoming more and more interesting, as I welcome back my friend and fellow “Cat”, Katherine Johnson. Sit back and enjoy!


I’ve written two books set in Tuscany – The Silence which was published last year and The Secret which has just been published (June 1st).

Montefegatesi Montefegatesi

I chose Tuscany as a setting for my Villa Leonida novels because of its beauty, the remote mountain villages and their multi-layered history. There are so many lovely areas in Tuscany and I wouldn’t want to claim any is better than another because they’re all amazing in different ways.

But some of the region’s best kept secrets lie far away from the art cities and Chiantishire. It seemed appropriate to set The Silence and The Secret in one of these lesser-known locations.

I had in mind the Lucca province…

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Blog tour: The World is Never Enough by Sarah Donohue

I’m excited to be taking part in the blog tour for this remarkable autobiography and have the chance to tell you about it. If you’re looking for a bit of motivation in your life at the moment, this is the book to choose!



The World is Never Enough is the action packed story of a female racing driver and stuntwoman who lives life on the edge and enjoys every extreme moment of it… A thrill-seeker by day and glamorous showgirl by night, Sarah Donohue believes in living out her dreams and living life to the full bringing colour and laughter to the lives of everyone around her.

Even after a high-speed powerboat crash putting her on a life-support machine, Sarah didn’t let dying for four minutes or a face held together by titanium plates dampen her spirits. The crash was documented as one of the worst crashes seen in powerboat racings history yet Sarah returned back to racing with BBC’s ‘999’ and ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ hiring her as the stuntwoman to re-enact her own near fatal experience. Soon after she became the European powerboat champion. Her journey of triumph over adversity is both inspiring and extreme.

This story takes you through a roller coaster of emotions as Sarah experiences the highest of highs on podium tops to the lowest of lows as she suffers jealous cyber abusers. The funny stories recalled as a forces pinup and staunch supporter of the military through to the not so funny story of Sarah enduring Donald Trump, the now president of the United States of America and his legal team for almost four years.

This feisty girl from Yorkshire loves life and puts as much into it as she can whilst taking anything it throws back at her remaining positive and up beat. This shows that even the impossible can be made possible with the right attitude no matter who you are or where you come from. A motivational, funny and inspirational book showing one woman’s journey on taking on any challenge head to head and her world-renowned success in the male dominated sport of offshore powerboat racing. Even death becomes her.

Book information

Title: The World is Never Enough
Author: Sarah Donohue
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Deringer Publishing
Format: Paperback


About the author

Born and raised in Saddleworth, Yorkshire born Sarah Donohue has enjoyed over twenty five years competing as a powerboat racer, and is currently the most successful female competitor within the sport. She’ll be returning to race again this year in the US and Hong Kong as the face of the Asia Powerboat Series. As well as racing, Sarah is a qualified personal trainer, international Tri-Fitness champion and, between the years of 2011-2017, created and ran the annual Miss Galaxy Universe fitness competitions in the UK.

Website: Website
Twitter: Twitter
Instagram: Instagram

To find out more check out the other stops on Sarah’s blog tour:



Another Italian lover

I really enjoyed my virtual hop over the Appenines to visit author Angela Petch and chat about writing and Italy. Visit her website to find out about her brilliant books and a creative writing course in Tuscany:

Angela Petch's Blog

Now, did I catch your interest with my title? I’m happily married, thank you, to a half-Italian, half-English gentleman, so I don’t need no lover… BUT, via social media, I have met another writer who has fallen under the Italian spell. Her latest book, “The Silence”, came out a few days ago and I caught up with her for a chiacchierata and a coffee… (work that one out for yourselves). Meet Katharine Johnson, who is published by Crooked Cat Books.

Katy,  both the books I’ve read by you are set in Italy and have a historical slant. How did your interest in Italy start?

In the 1990s I spent a month in Florence between leaving one magazine and starting on a new one whose launch was a bit delayed. While I was there I found out about a wonderful course at the university per stranieri at Villa Fabricotti, all taught…

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An “antipasto” for tomorrow

It was so lovely to get this review from someone who knows Italy and its wartime history better than I do

Angela Petch's Blog

In anticipation of the main course tomorrow, here is my review of Katharine Johnson’s new release. As you all know, I love Italy, and I hugely enjoyed “The Secret”. Even the cover is characteristic.

Secret cover (1)

I recently read “The Silence” by this author and really enjoyed it, but “The Secret” is on another level. If I could have given it 6 stars, I would have. There are many facets to the story and the clever time-switches between the present day and past add to the layers of secrets that stretch back to occupied Italy during the Second World War. I strongly believe that we need to understand our past, in order to understand the present and cope with the future, and Katharine Johnson voices this through Carlo, whose mother (Irene) is on the fringes of dementia. He wants to know what happened in her past. “It’s our memories that make us…

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Excerpt: The Paradise Trees by Linda Huber

The Paradise Trees by Linda Huber is being republished today with a stunning new cover, and I’m delighted to share an excerpt:


But first, here’s the blurb:

He had found exactly the right spot in the woods. A little clearing, green and dim, encircled by tall trees. He would bring his lovely Helen here… This time, it was going to be perfect.

When Alicia Bryson returns to her childhood home in a tiny Yorkshire village, she finds her estranged father frail and unable to care for himself. Her daughter Jenny is delighted at the prospect of a whole summer playing in the woods at the bottom of the garden, but as soon as Alicia sets foot in Lower Banford, strange and disturbing memories begin to plague her. What happened in her father’s house, all those years ago?

But coping with the uncertainty and arranging Bob’s care plan aren’t Alicia’s only problems. Unknown to her, she has a stalker. Someone is watching, waiting, making plans of his own. To him, Alicia and Jenny are his beautiful Helens… and they should be in Paradise.



(Alicia and her 8-year-old daughter Jenny are staying in Alicia’s childhood home in Yorkshire while she organises end-of-life care for her father. Unknown to her, they have a stalker, who knows them both as ‘Helen’, and whose only wish is to send them to Paradise, to be with the first Helen…)

The most wonderful thing had happened. He had touched little Helen. A lovely warm shiver ran through him as he recalled the moment.

He switched on the lamp by his armchair and pulled the heavy velvet curtains across the window, shutting the world out. It was beginning to get dark, and here in the stillness of his own home it was safe to think about the miracle that had occurred. With shaking hands he poured himself a glass of red wine, then sat down slowly, cradling the glass in both hands, watching the ruby liquid swirl as he raised it to the light.

Such an amazing thing.

He had gone up through the woods late that afternoon, hoping that little Helen might be playing outside again, and she was. In the woods, at the special place. He had talked to her, he had touched her sweet face, and it had been just the two of them. And oh, she was so lovely. His own Helen herself must have been exactly like that as a little child.

She’d been running around amongst the trees, talking to that stupid enormous dog. He ducked behind a tree to watch her, then crept closer, still carefully concealed, until he could hear her every word. She was pretending to be a princess in a palace. How perfect she was.

‘Come and sit on your throne, Unicorn Conker,’ she said. ‘We have to wait for the King.’

He hadn’t been able to help himself. He stepped out in front of her and bowed, a low, old-fashioned bow. The dog growled, then barked twice.

‘Your Majesty,’ he said. ‘I am your humble servant, King Oberon. Permit me to wait upon you and the unicorn Conker.’

‘Oh,’ she said, and he could see both puzzlement and fascination in her eyes. ‘All right. Be quiet, Conker. You can play too, King Oberon. I’m Princess, um–’

‘Queen Titania,’ he said, bowing again. The dog had subsided, thank God.

‘‘Oh yes. Queen Titania. And Conker, does he have a special name?’

‘The jester, Puck.’

It was that easy; he couldn’t believe his luck. She had laughed and chatted and showed him round the ‘palace’. Then Big Helen had called from their garden.

‘A secret,’ he said quickly, bending close and touching a finger to her perfectly formed lips, feeling the warmth from her delicious little body spread right through his own. ‘We won’t tell anyone, not a soul. This is our secret.’

And of course she agreed straightaway. She was his friend now.

‘A secret.’ She touched her lips too, then turned and raced down through the woods, the dog loping along behind her. It was a pity about the dog; he would have to get rid of it.

Very soon it would be Paradise time for Little Helen. When he was certain that big Helen trusted him – and that wouldn’t be long now – then it would be his hour. His day. And when little Helen was safe with his own Helen, big Helen would turn to him. All his Helens, how lucky he was.

Little Helen in Paradise. It would be easy, she was so sweet and trusting.

The wine glass was empty, and he set it down on the table, smiling gently. The good times were beginning.


About the author

LindaHuberLinda Huber grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, but went to work in Switzerland for a year aged twenty-two, and has lived there ever since. Her day jobs have included working as a physiotherapist in hospitals and schools for handicapped children, and teaching English in a medieval castle. Currently she teaches one day a week, and writes psychological suspense novels and feel-good novellas with (a lot of) the rest of her time.

Her writing career began in the nineties, when she had over fifty short stories published in women’s magazines. Several years later, she turned to psychological suspense fiction, and her seventh novel, Death Wish, was published by Bloodhound Books in August 2017.

Linda’s latest project is a series of feel-good novellas, set on the banks of Lake Constance and just minutes from her home in north-east Switzerland. She really appreciates having the views enjoyed by her characters right on her own doorstep!

Get in touch

Amazon Author Page:




Happy Publication Day! The Secret by Katharine Johnson

so thrilled with this lovely introduction to The Secret by Helen Pryke whose brilliant books are set in Italy where she’s lived and worked for many years

Pink Quill Books

June 1st is Publication Day for The Secret by Katharine Johnson

I recently read The Silence by Katharine Johnson, and pre-ordered The Secret as soon as it was available. Today I finally get to read it! I’m really pleased to present Katharine’s second novel, and highly recommend you read the first one as well! I love the Ape on the cover (pronounced Ah-pay) – an iconic Italian car that has been causing tailbacks on the roads for decades!

Secret cover

This is the second book set at Villa Leonida, the house at the centre of The Silence which was published last year but it’s a standalone story.

In The Silence some bodies were discovered at Villa Leonida, an idyllic holiday home, during a children’s game of hide-and-seek during a family holiday. They’re found to relate back to the summer of 1992.

A year on, in The Secret, the villa has been…

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