Marlene Bell


Manhattan antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury dreams of a quiet life on the family farm among the sheep she loves, when her best friend is murdered. The police assume robbery is the motive because her friend’s expensive bracelet is missing. But the 500-year-old artifact is rumored to carry an ancient curse, one that unleashes evil upon any who dare wear the jewelry created for the Persian royal family—and Annalisse believes her friend is the latest victim.

Weeks later, Annalisse sees a necklace matching the stolen bracelet at a gallery opening. Convinced the necklace is part of the deadly collection, Annalisse begs the gallery’s owner to destroy the piece, but her pleas are ignored— despite the unnatural death that occurs during the opening. With two victims linked to the jewelry, Annalisse is certain she must act.

Desperate to keep the gallery owner safe, Annalisse reluctantly enlists the owner’s son to help—even though she’s afraid he’ll break her heart. Wealthy and devastatingly handsome, with a string of bereft women in his wake, Greek playboy Alec Zavos dismisses Annalisse’s concerns—until his parents are ripped from the Zavos family yacht during their ocean voyage near Crete.

Annalisse and Alec race across two oceans to save his mother, feared dead or kidnapped. As time lapses, the killer switches mode and closes in on the man who’s meant for Annalisse with the lifestyle she wants most.

But when it’s her turn as the hunted, will she choose to save Alec and his mother, or sacrifice everything to save herself?

Author Bio

Marlene M Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as,Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested at


Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in East Texas with their 50 head of Horned Dorset sheep, a lovable Maremma guard dog named, Tia, and 3 spoiled cats who rule the household.

Connect with Marlene on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Goodreads.  

  • Critic Score:80/100

    Our Review Ranking:

    A Good Read


Our Review


Great cover! It fits perfectly with the storyline and the way the necklace looks like it's being washed ashore aludes to some of the storylines. Nicely done!

Book Blurb:

The blurb tells me everything I need to know about the book inside. It introduces the reader to the Annalisse, the main character and creates just enough intrigue. It tells me a little about the setting, and clearly defines the genre. If I picked this up in a book store, I would definitely be inclined to start reading chapter one.

Formatting :

No formatting .issues. And I liked the chapter number design.

Grammar & Spelling:

No real issues with grammar or spelling. There were several sentences that read a bit off to me, but they were minor distractions and quicky forgotten.

Character Development:

The characters in the book were fairly well-developed. I like that we got to see bits of Annalisse's expertise as an appraiser and there was some nice romantic tension between her and Alec. The supporting characters were originial and interesting, though I might have liked just a tad more details and backstory on them.

My only critique about the characters, and it goes a little hand in hand with both plot and pacing, is that sometimes, details and conversations felt a little forced. New, important ideas and details were sometimes introduced very quickly. I might have liked a little more backstory or transition, or at the very least a little more introspective thought. For example, (SPOILER ALERT!!), when certain supporting characters die or are kidnapped, I didn't really feel the magnitude of those events on the characters. Especially considering the closeness and love the main characters felt for them. Things felt a little glossed over and as a reader this pushed me out of the story a bit as I would have expected the emotional impact to have been much more apparent.

Plot & Structure:

The plot was solid and followed an expected format: intro of main character, intro of love interest, inciting event, and growing conflict until a satsifying conclusion.

My only critique is that some of the details stretched the limit of my suspension of disbelief. Many were introduced too matter-of-factly, or a little too conveniently for me. But, I really enjoyed the overall plot of the book, so while some of this quick details were a little distracting, I still wanted to find out what happened next. I do want to note that this style of introducing facts and back story were consistent and as such, I tend to think this way of introducing them were part of this author's unique voice, which I appreciate. 


I love stories that push the plot forward with great action and dialogue. Unfortunately, for me, this book struggled a little in this department. I did like the characters and enjoyed the plot, but as mentioned in some of the other feedback sections, some things felt rushed and too quick. I think even using a more after-the-moment matter-of-fact approach to bringing in back story, as a reader, I would have liked more information and been allowed to sit and process those details with the characters in the story. Maybe a little more introspection on the part of the main characters, or more dialogue designed to expose feelings and motiviations would have helped.

Use of Language:

This book reads very well. Nice descriptions, nice use of some dialect in the dialogue, and clear and meaningful language helped me to see everything that was happening in the book. 


This book had a lot of twists and turns, lots of drama and excitement which kept things interesting. I like that the setting is unusual and this is a nice genre mashup of thriller and romance.

Overall Readability:

Even though I felt there were some things that could be improved, I enjoyed this book. I liked the characters, was intrigued by the plot, and genuinely wanted to know how it all ended. The story moved forward well and there was a lot of action. There was not a single place where I felt things dragged or a place where I wasn't 100% rooting for the main characters.

A Note From the Critic:

This is an excellent debut novel. I appreciate the storytelling voice and technique of this author and look forward to more from her!


Thanks so much for reading Stolen Obsession and your review. I truly appreciate it!

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