Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Escape – C.L. Taylor

Psychological Thriller
4*s

Jo Blackmore has suffered from agoraphobia since the death of her unborn child but she’s got strategies for coping and manages to hold down a job by sticking to rigid rules. Those rules are breached when she is asked to give a lift to a woman on her way to picking up her young daughter Elise from nursery. Paula doesn’t give Jo much of an option to refuse, and once in the car she returns one of Elise’s mittens with the warning:

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

Well can you just imagine the panic especially when it becomes clear that she knows all about Jo, her husband Max, a crime reporter and of course Elise. Jo’s fight or flight mechanism goes into overdrive!

The Escape is full of tension from that bizarre car journey onwards we see Jo juggling her anxiety, her step-father’s illness and her husband’s increasing lack of patience with her. Jo suspects that Max, a crime reporter has led her into danger. Paula, the woman who accosted her, has made it clear he has something that belongs to her, and she wants it back! Max denies all knowledge and Jo is left with few places to turn for help.

The cliché rollercoaster is absolutely the right one to use for this book, but the plot itself has a number of pleasing variations on the theme. In one of the best we discover that Jo is also seeking answers to her early years. She remembers little of her life in Ireland before she moved to the UK with her mother, and her mother has remained tight-lipped about it becoming quite upset when Jo wanted to know more. So naturally when she needs somewhere to lay low, she takes a trip to get some answers. The scenes set in Ireland were fantastic, but the change in scenery isn’t used as an excuse to drop any of that tension, no it is transported across the water with Jo. Now we have the pounding February waves and the bitter winds to accompany the swirling secrets and lies… and danger!

Cally Taylor is the mistress of lifting the stones in a domestic situation and allowing all the creepy crawlies out to unsettle her readers by bringing to the fore the most instinctive of reactions. In The Escape the nightmares of parents the world over are given clarity and it is impossible to resist the ‘What would I do?’ questions run through your mind. It is interesting how the author has chosen not to provide us with an easy to like character and then made me root for her nonetheless and made me admire the writing all the more for the fact. It wasn’t that I disliked the character more that I wished she would have a little more spunk – but then, just maybe, she wouldn’t have needed to escape!

I’ve enjoyed all the authors previous books, she provides us with true-to-life characters thereby instantly stamping realism into the storyline and not just with the main protagonists. I was particularly fond of the B&B owner who having been shouted at by Jo then huffily sets her breakfast down without a word – this is how real people behave, it is rare to have rolling confrontations, and the reader is left in no doubt what her real opinion of Jo was.

The Escape was a thrilling read; it is definitely one of those books to open and then hold on tight and enjoy each and every page.

I’d like to thank the publishers Avon Books for my copy of The Escape which was published on 23 March 2017. This unbiased review is my thanks to them.

First Published UK: 23 March 2017
Publisher: Avon Books
No of Pages:  433
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Books by C.L. Taylor

The Accident
The Lie
The Missing

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (May 17)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

At the moment I am reading The Escape by C.L. Taylor which is one twisty and thrilling ride!

Blurb

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”
When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.
The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.
What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.
No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN. Amazon

The last book I finished was Blood Tide by Claire McGowan the fifth in the Paula McGuire who works for the missing persons unit in this great series set in Ireland.

Blurb

Called in to investigate the disappearance of a young couple during a violent storm, Paula Maguire, forensic psychologist, has mixed feelings about going back to Bone Island. Her last family holiday as a child was spent on its beautiful, remote beaches and returning brings back haunting memories of her long-lost mother.

It soon becomes clear that outsiders aren’t welcome on the island, and with no choice but to investigate the local community, Paula soon suspects foul play, realising that the islanders are hiding secrets from her, and each other.
With another storm fast approaching, Paula is faced with a choice. Leave alive or risk being trapped with a killer on an inescapable island, as the blood tide rushes in… Amazon

Next up I intend to read Go To Sleep by Helen Walsh for my Mount TBR Challenge 2017, having bought this book in April 2015.

Blurb

Hours from now, Rachel Massey will become a mother. Terrified and excited, there is nothing she wants more.

But motherhood is not as she had imagined. The sleepless nights turn to weeks, the weeks to months, and while Rachel loves her son as much as any mother, she can’t escape the feeling that something has gone terribly wrong.
Honest, uplifting and often shocking, Go To Sleep is a powerful and heart-wrenching story. Amazon

So what are you reading this week? Have you read any of these choices? Do you want to?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (February 26)

Weekly Wrap Up

Another week and another the lovely Emma from damppebbles spotted my name in the paperback release of Little Bones by Sam Blake. There is something exceptionally thrilling to seeing your words quoted, so thank you Bonnier for picking my review!

little-bones-png

This Week on the Blog

A busy one with four reviews posted starting with my thoughts on My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon, the book that accompanied me on my travels a couple of weeks back.

My excerpt post this week was for  Quieter Than Killing by Sarah Hilary, the fourth in the London Detective Inspector Marnie Rome series.

On Wednesday I outlined my fabulous line-up of books for the week which included Agatha Christie, Denise Mina and Jane Casey – if nothing else it has been a fantastic book week!

A tiger mum was the subject matter of my second review of the week in The Trophy Child by Paula Daly, although whichever subject she choses to spin a story around, this author is always a hit with me.

Then came a five star review for The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell, If you haven’t read this book, you really should which is definitely my best choice for the Mount TBR Challenge yet, although once again I am fighting the urge the second book she wrote to the TBR!

Last up review wise was my thoughts on The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie, a collection of linked short stories posed as a problem with Miss Marple. This was another book read as part of the TBR Challenge which is currently on track with 6 books read and reviewed by the end of February!

This Time Last Year…

I was reading a Non-Fiction book about the last woman hanged in New South Wales which sparked my interest in poisoning as a murder weapon. Last Woman Hanged by Caroline Overington wasn’t just about the crime and punishment though the links were made to the woman’s movement which was behind a valiant attempt to have Louisa Collin’s sentence commuted.

If you’d like to you can read my full review here or click on the book cover.

Last Woman Hanged

Blurb

Darlinghurst Gaol and the last woman hanged in New South Wales. Both of Louisa’s husbands had died suddenly and the Crown, convinced that Louisa poisoned them with arsenic, put her on trial an extraordinary four times in order to get a conviction, to the horror of many in the legal community. Louisa protested her innocence until the end.

Much of the evidence against Louisa was circumstantial. Some of the most important testimony was given by her only daughter, May, who was just 10-years-old when asked to take the stand. Louisa Collins was hanged at a time when women were in no sense equal under the law – except when it came to the gallows. They could not vote or stand for parliament – or sit on juries. Against this background, a small group of women rose up to try to save Louisa’s life, arguing that a legal system comprised only of men – male judges, all-male jury, male prosecutor, governor and Premier – could not with any integrity hang a woman. The tenacity of these women would not save Louisa but it would ultimately carry women from their homes all the way to Parliament House. Amazon

Stacking The Shelves

This week I have gained a copy of The Housekeeper by Suellen Dainty which is already available in eBook but will be published in paperback on 9 March 2017.

the-housekeeper

Blurb

“I am the housekeeper, the hired help with a messy past who cleans up other people’s messy lives, the one who protects their messy little secrets.”

When Anne Morgan’s successful boyfriend, (who also happens to be her boss), leaves her for another woman, Anne finds herself in desperate need of a new job and a quiet place to recover. Meanwhile, her celebrity idol, Emma Helmsley, is in need of a housekeeper, an opportunity which seems too good to be true.

Through her books, website, and blog, Emma Helmsley advises her devoted followers on how to live a balanced life. Her husband, Rob, is a high profile academic and her children, Jake and Lily, are well-adjusted teenagers. On the surface, they are the perfect family. But Anne soon finds herself intimately ensconced in the Helmsley’s dirty laundry, both literally and figuratively. Underneath the dust, grime and whimsical clutter, everyone has a secret to hide and Anne’s own disturbing past threatens to unhinge everything.

For fans of Notes on a Scandal and The Woman Upstairs, The Housekeeper is a nuanced and nail-biting psychological thriller about the dark recesses of the human mind and the dangerous consequences of long-buried secrets. Amazon

I was also approved on NetGalley to read The Escape by C.L. Taylor which will be published on 23 March 2017. I have read all of this author’s previous books and I’m really looking forward to this one.

the-escape

Blurb

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t. The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her. No one believes that Elise is in danger.
But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN. NetGalley

I also already had, but hadn’t featured a copy of The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett which is out in April 2017.

the-people-at-number-9

Blurb

‘Have you met them yet, the new couple?’

When Gav and Lou move into the house next door, Sara spends days plucking up courage to say hello. The neighbours are glamorous, chaotic and just a little eccentric. They make the rest of Sara’s street seem dull by comparison.
When the hand of friendship is extended, Sara is delighted and flattered. Incredibly, Gav and Lou seem to see something in Sara and Neil that they admire too. In no time at all, the two couples are soulmates, sharing suppers, bottles of red wine and childcare, laughing and trading stories and secrets late into the night in one another’s houses.

And the more time Sara spends with Gav and Lou, the more she longs to make changes in her own life. But those changes will come at a price. Soon Gav and Lou will be asking things they’ve no right to ask of their neighbours, with shattering consequences for all of them… NetGalley

… and The Special Girls by Isabelle Grey, the third in the DI Grace Fisher series, also out in April 2017. I’m eager to read the follow up to  Good Girls Don’t Die and Shot Through The Heart

the-special-girls

Blurb

A case of historical child sex abuse by a famous doctor is linked to the murder of his young and popular colleague at a summer camp deep in the Essex woods.

A young psychiatric registrar is found beaten to death in the woods close to a summer camp for young patients suffering from eating disorders. It is run by the charismatic, world-renowned Professor Ned Chesham. DI Grace Fisher investigates, but it is not long before she is pulled from the case – to head up a Metropolitan Police review into a cold case involving Chesham himself.

Nearly twenty years ago, one of Chesham’s patients made allegations that he sexually assaulted her. The investigation at the time found no conclusive proof, but Grace soon discovers another victim, and a witness whose account never reached the police. Does this mean the original investigation was bungled? Scotland Yard would certainly like her to conclude otherwise.

As Grace uncovers the lies that led to the young doctor’s murder, she discovers the full extent of the damage done to Chesham’s ‘special girls’ – and the danger they are still in. NetGalley

and finally You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood a book that captured my attention and my new found enjoyment in court room dramas. You Don’t Know Me is being published by Penguin on 4 May 2017.

you-dont-know-me

Blurb

An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder.

Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech. He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he’s going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth. There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands.

We, the reader – member of the jury – must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions… but at the end of the speeches, only one matters: Did he do it? NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read 3 books and gained just 2 – although I found a missing book from the TBR list while another 2 were discarded.. so the grand total is 189
Physical Books – 111
Kindle Books – 65
NetGalley Books – 13

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Missing – C.L. Taylor

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller
5*s

Fifteen year old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, no one saw him leave that night and six months on they have no idea if he is dead or alive, all they know is that there has been no sight of him since he disappeared.

C.L. Taylor’s writing takes us into the Wilkinson household in the aftermath of the disappearance and with unnerving skill sums up the multitude of emotions that most of us don’t even want to imagine. We see this mainly through the eyes of Claire as she begins to suffer amnesic episodes bought on by the trauma of losing her youngest son. Through this medium we see how the other members of the household are faring; Mark his father who had an argument with Billy because of his persistent graffiti habit, his brother Jake who has lost his work-ethic and Jake’s girlfriend Kira who is living with them. With each member of the household hiding something, are any of those secrets the key to where Billy is?

Inserted between the narrative are messages between two unknown characters, these are of a disturbing nature but what connection do they have to the mystery of where Billy went and why? The tension mounts as the messages become darker, this aspect really got under my skin in a way that this device rarely does as I pondered their meaning and who they came from. I really thought I had the answer of who was writing one side of these at least, but I was totally off track!

The success of this author’s books is down to characterisation. I felt I knew Claire, she came across as level-headed but understandably grief-stricken but one thing kept her going, she believed that Billy was alive. At the start of the book her and Mark attend a second televised appeal for information, she goes out looking for Billy in and around Bristol to the places he tagged with his graffiti, she visits his school, talks to his friend and repeats. She even keeps her patience with her mother who recommends psychics to find Billy. She is a kind and good woman who loves her children, cares for Kira whose own family life was in chaos and has a close friend who mercifully treats her as normal thereby giving her a brief respite from the overwhelming sympathy which alternates with barbed comments that the family must have something to hide – a fifteen year old boy doesn’t vanish into thin air.

The secondary characters are sufficiently well-drawn to also come across as real people, particularly Mark’s reaction to his son’s disappearance which is to strive to keep going at work and to ignore the whispers about his possible involvement. Kira’s shyness, her inability to interact with Claire in any meaningful way was also authentic, after all most adults would struggle to cope, let alone a student who has recently left home due to problems.

The icing on the cake is the fabulous plotting which allows the tension to build incrementally from the very beginning to the superb dénouement.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to HarperCollins UK who gave me a copy of this book before publication today, 7 April 2016. This review is my thank you to them and the author for such a fantastic read.

C.L. Taylor has written two other psychological thrillers; The Accident and The Lie, both superb but this one just had the edge for me – if you enjoy the exploration of the mind and you haven’t read any of these, you are in for a real treat!

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (March 30)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading The Missing by C.L.Taylor which will be published on 7 April 2016.

The Missing cl

Blurb

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them.
But should you…?
When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.
Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.
A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?
Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide… NetGalley

I have just finished Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary, my review will follow shortly.

Tastes Like Fear.png

Read the synopsis and opening in yesterday’s post

Next I am going to read another book by a favourite author, this time a genealogical mystery; Kindred by Steve Robinson which will be published on 12 April 2016.

Kindred

Blurb

Jefferson Tayte is good at finding people who don’t want to be found. For years he has followed faint genealogical trails to reunite families—and uncover long-hidden secrets. But Tayte is a loner, a man with no ties of his own; his true identity is the most elusive case of his career.
But that could all be about to change. Now Tayte has in his possession the beginnings of a new trail—clues his late mentor had started to gather—that might at last lead to his own family. With Professor Jean Summer, his partner in genealogical sleuthing, he travels to Munich to pick up the scent. But the hunt takes them deep into dangerous territory: the sinister secrets of World War II Germany, and those who must keep them buried at any cost.
When their investigations threaten to undermine a fascist organisation, Tayte and Summer know time is running out. Can they find their way to the dark heart of a deadly history before they become its latest victims? NetGalley

What are you reading this week? Please do share!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (March 19)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

Oh dear, oh dear… since I last did one of these posts I have quite a selection to share with you all this week, but I think you’ll agree they are all worthy additions to the stack!

First up the NetGalley offerings, in no particular order:

A timely addition given my fascination with Victorian poisoners illustrated in my reviews of Last Woman Hanged and Mrs Maybrick I now have a whole century of them in The Secret Poisoner by Linda Stratmann which will be published on 22 March 2016.

The Secret Poisoner

Blurb

Murder by poison alarmed, enthralled, and in many ways encapsulated the Victorian age. Linda Stratmann’s dark and splendid social history reveals the nineteenth century as a gruesome battleground where poisoners went head-to-head with authorities who strove to detect poisons, control their availability, and bring the guilty to justice. She corrects many misconceptions about particular poisons and documents how the evolution of issues such as marital rights and the legal protection of children impacted poisonings. Combining archival research with a novelist’s eye, Stratmann charts the era’s inexorable rise of poison cases both shocking and sad. NetGalley

I have a psychological thriller in the shape of The Missing by C.L. Taylor, an author who has proved herself to me with The Accident and The Lie so my hopes are high for this addition out on 7 April 2016.

The Missing cl

Blurb

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them.
But should you…?
When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinson’s are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.
Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.
A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?
Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide… NetGalley

I have also been lucky enough to get a copy of Kindred by Steve Robinson, the author who created Jefferson Tayte, a genealogist who uncovers historical mysteries whilst often facing some level of danger in the present, this is his fifth outing. Kindred will be published on 12 April 2016

Kindred

Blurb

Jefferson Tayte is good at finding people who don’t want to be found. For years he has followed faint genealogical trails to reunite families—and uncover long-hidden secrets. But Tayte is a loner, a man with no ties of his own; his true identity is the most elusive case of his career.
But that could all be about to change. Now Tayte has in his possession the beginnings of a new trail—clues his late mentor had started to gather—that might at last lead to his own family. With Professor Jean Summer, his partner in genealogical sleuthing, he travels to Munich to pick up the scent. But the hunt takes them deep into dangerous territory: the sinister secrets of World War II Germany, and those who must keep them buried at any cost.
When their investigations threaten to undermine a fascist organisation, Tayte and Summer know time is running out. Can they find their way to the dark heart of a deadly history before they become its latest victims? NetGalley

Next up is an author whose first two books really impressed me; Mary Kubica’s third novel Don’t You Cry will be published on 12 May 2016.

Blurb

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.
Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbour town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where 18 year old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister.
As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger’s spell, Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted rollercoaster ride that builds to a stunning conclusion. NetGalley

Lastly from NetGalley a book that I already have on pre-order, The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale, which I’m so excited about.

The Wicked Boy

Blurb

Early in the morning of Monday 8 July 1895, thirteen-year-old Robert Coombes and his twelve-year-old brother Nattie set out from their small, yellow-brick terraced house in East London to watch a cricket match at Lord’s. Their father had gone to sea the previous Friday, the boys told their neighbours, and their mother was visiting her family in Liverpool. Over the next ten days Robert and Nattie spent extravagantly, pawning their parents’ valuables to fund trips to the theatre and the seaside. But as the sun beat down on the Coombes house, a strange smell began to emanate from the building.
When the police were finally called to investigate, the discovery they made sent the press into a frenzy of horror and alarm, and Robert and Nattie were swept up in a criminal trial that echoed the outrageous plots of the ‘penny dreadful’ novels that Robert loved to read.
In The Wicked Boy, Kate Summerscale has uncovered a fascinating true story of murder and morality – it is not just a meticulous examination of a shocking Victorian case, but also a compelling account of its aftermath, and of man’s capacity to overcome the past. Amazon

Through the post from Penguin UK I got a copy of My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry which is to be published as an eBook on 26 May 2016 with the paperback following in August.

My Husband's Wife

Blurb

It’s the perfect love story.
Lily meets Ed at a party, and on their second date, he proposes. She’s a lawyer, he’s an up-and-coming artist. They own a small but beautiful flat in London and mix with all the right people.
But Lily has a secret. Something from her past, that is soon to collide with her present. And she thinks her new husband is hiding something too…
The vows they made will soon be tested to the very limits.
‘Till death us do part…’
Perfect for readers of Liane Moriarty and Clare Mackintosh, lose yourself in the twist-filled story that everyone’s talking about. Goodreads

From Lovereading UK I was lucky enough to get another book by a favourite author who I discovered last year with The Sudden Departure of the Frasers; The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish will be published on 5 May 2016.

The Swimming Pool

Blurb

In the heady swelter of a London summer, the Elm Hill lido opens.
For teacher Natalie Steele, the school holiday typically means weeks of carefully planned activities with her husband Ed and their daughter Molly. But not this year.
Despite Molly’s extreme phobia of the water, Natalie is drawn to the lido and its dazzling social scene, led by the glamorous Lara Channing. Soon Natalie is spending long, intoxicating days with Lara at the pool – and intimate evenings at her home. Natalie’s real life begins to feel very far away.
But is the new friendship everything it seems? Why is Natalie haunted by memories from another summer years ago? And, without realising, has she been swept dangerously out of her depth? Amazon

And if all of that wasn’t enough I bought a copy of Harriet Said by Beryl Bainbridge, a book that had been on wishlist for quite some time but this wonderful review by Heavenali (if you haven’t already checked out her wonderful blog, you’re missing out!) meant that I could no longer resist the pull.

Harriet Said

Blurb

A girl returns from boarding school to her sleepy Merseyside hometown and waits to be reunited with her childhood friend, Harriet, chief architect of all their past mischief. She roams listlessly along the shoreline and the woods still pitted with wartime trenches, and encounters ‘the Tsar’ – almost old, unhappily married, both dangerously fascinating and repulsive.
Pretty, malevolent Harriet finally arrives – and over the course of the long holidays draws her friend into a scheme to beguile then humiliate the Tsar, with disastrous, shocking consequences. A gripping portrayal of adolescent transgression, Beryl Bainbridge’s classic first novel remains as subversive today as when it was written. Amazon

I’m so excited about all of these finds that I’m not at all sorry about what has happened to the poor old TBR – more books, more pleasure is the motto for this week!

 

 

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 6 books, and gained, 8, and DNF 1, so the total has increased overall by 1 giving a total of 172 books!
87 physical books
69 e-books
16 books on NetGalley

 

What have you found to read this week?

Posted in Author Interview

The Lie – C.L. Taylor – Most Memorable Holidays

The Lie

The Lie could be read as a cautionary tale of what could happen if you decide to holiday with friends. Fortunately most of us don’t end up in dire peril but I doubt that there are many of us that don’t have at least one story to tell.

My tales aren’t so much from a holiday but from when myself and a friend decided that we would come to Jersey and work for a season… that was 25 years ago and although she returned to the UK while I remained in Jersey, we are still very close friends. Most of those stories will never, ever see the light of day but are sniggered about over glasses of wine by the more mature and responsible women we have become!  Suffice to say the stories that can be told consist of dodgy boyfriends, hitch-hiking, misunderstandings with the locals and a complete load of pink washing that my bf swore was white, and of course she hadn’t put her red knickers in with our white work shirts.

Anyway enough about me, CL Taylor’s is here to share her Top Five Most Memorable Holidays with Friends*

CL Taylor Holiday

We all love our friends, we wouldn’t keep them in our lives if we didn’t but one of the greatest tests a friendship can endure is a holiday together. When you spend a week with someone, when you’re in each other’s company for 24 hours a day, you see each other at your best and your worst. And that can make or break a friendship.

When I was researching THE LIE, my new psychological thriller about four friends who go on holiday together and find themselves in a situation so dangerous they have to run for their lives, I asked my Facebook friends to let me know about any awful holidays they’d had with friends. Wow, I could have written another three books with all the stories I heard – friends attaching themselves limpet-like and refusing to do anything alone, friends abandoning each other and friends disappearing off with their boyfriends for the entirety of the holiday. I’m lucky in that I haven’t had any awful holidays with friends but I have had some memorable ones. Here are my top five…

IBIZA – aged 21

My trip to Ibiza aged 21 was my first ever holiday abroad without my family. I’d just graduated from university and it was supposed to be a last gasp hurrah with my friend Mel before we decided what we were going to do with our lives. This was the holiday that very nearly didn’t happen as Mel discovered, during the car drive to Birmingham airport, that her passport was out of date. Cue a quick U turn, lots of frantic phone calls and fingers crossed that the Ibizian embassy would accept an out of date passport. Thankfully they did.

Most memorable moment: Running into the sea in my new indigo-coloured, knee-length skirt and emerging a couple of minutes later with purple dye dripping down my legs.

RHODES, GREECE – aged 29

Milly and I were both single and desperately in need of of a break abroad to soak up some sun and swim in a crystal clear sea.

Most memorable moment: I went scuba diving for the first time and nearly had a panic attack when the instructor guided me into a cave and indicated that I should hang onto a rock. I had no idea what was going on until he whipped out his underwater camera and took a photo of my terrified face.

BEZIERS, FRANCE – aged 34

I went to the South of France with four friends. We hired a villa with our own private pool and spent our days exploring the Cité de Carcassonne, browsing the artisan shops in the nearby towns and going on wine tasting tours. We may have had slightly too much to drink after the wine tasting tour on the penultimate day as a HUGE row erupted between two best friends in our group. The last day of the holiday was a tense one as they studiously ignored each other and the rest of us pretended that we were still having a loving time.

Most memorable moment: Turning our tongues purple during wine tasting.

NEW YORK – aged 35

I’d never been to New York before and when a friend announced that Virgin were having a sale on tickets and would I like to go over there to help her celebrate her birthday I jumped at the chance. It was the most astonishing trip. It’s true what they say about feeling like you’re on a movie set when you walk around New York. Everything is so familiar and Times Square in particular blew me away.

Most memorable moment: I am terrified of heights so wasn’t hugely keen on following the others up the Rockefeller Centre but I knew it afforded the most amazing views of New York – views I might never get to see again – so I agreed to go with them. Once we were at top my stomach dropped away and I froze. The tower was shaking beneath my feet. My friend told me it was all in my head but, once we were on firm ground again, she admitted that she’d lied to reassure me. It HAD been shaking.

NEPAL– aged aged 32

This was the biggest adventure of my lifetime and the holiday that inspired THE LIE. I’d never been to Asia before and it was the biggest eye opener of my life. There were monkeys in the streets, the ‘traffic system’ was non existent and the rain was monsoon-like. It was like stepping into a completely different world. The trek up the Anna Purna range was HORRIBLE, my thighs and feet ached like they’d never ached before but to stand on a mountain where you’re higher than the clouds is the most astonishing feeling in the world. Unlike the girls who go to the fictional mountain retreat in THE LIE we all got along famously.

Most memorable moment: Nearly drowning whitewater rafting. We were all tipped out of our dinghy as we tried to traverse the rapids and I dropped so deeply into the water that, when my lifejacket tried to bob me back to the surface, I found myself directly under my friends’ feet. They stamped on my helmet, with no idea that I was beneath them, and I inhaled quite a lot of water. When I finally surfaced I barked like a seal each time I inhaled. Never, ever again!

* Friends names changed to protect their identities!


My Book Review: The Lie by C.L. Taylor

C.L. Taylor has chosen one of the most the under-represented relationships to feature in psychological thrillers for The Lie which features friendship. When Al breaks up with Simone she is distraught and takes to stalking her and her new partner on facebook and in real life. Her three closest friends from their days at Newcastle university; Emma, Daisy and Leanne decide that action is needed and hit on a holiday to a retreat in Nepal where there is no internet, to help Al break the cycle and learn to let her failed relationship go.

In the present day we meet Emma Woolfe who has moved to Wales and works in an animal sanctuary, has a fledgling relationship with a teacher and is happier than she has ever been, but for some reason she is no longer Emma, she now goes by the name of Jane Hughes. Worse still an anonymous letter alerts her that someone has tracked her down. And so the questions begin; What happened on the holiday? What is she trying to conceal? And who is trying to expose Jane?

Told in alternating scenes from five years previously on the trip and in the present day the author maintains the tension exceptionally well. This book works so well as an expose of the unsavoury side of female friendships without the accompanying mystery that it makes for quite uncomfortable reading at times. I certainly recognised some of the individuals although the author stops well short of creating stereotypical characters. With the cracks in their friendship already present before the trip, the author perfectly captures how allegiances are formed to serve ulterior motives and in this tale each member of the group did their best not to be excluded from the pack, probably a wise move in a setting where the rules of normal life had been swept away and substituted for those of a new age cult.

There is also a good sense of place with the descriptions of Nepal beautiful and evocative so that I could imagine the scenery although I wouldn’t have been too keen on the trek to the Ektanta yatra retreat. During that scene I could almost feel my muscles burning as the group followed their guide up the rough path and equally could visualise their relief when they were welcomed with a cup of chai.

I am a huge fan of psychological thrillers and in this crowded genre it is great to find something that stands apart from the crowd, The Lie does exactly that from the unusual setting to the relationships being put under the microscope. That accompanied with the excellent pace which has tension ratcheting up in both the past and the present, this is a great addition to the genre.

I’d like to thank the publishers Harper Collins UK for allowing me to read this great book which will be published on 23 April 2015. If you can’t wait that long you could always get yourself a copy of the author’s debut The Accident which I also highly recommend.

Do you have any memorable holidays you are prepared to share?

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Lie – C.L. Taylor

Psychological Thriller 4*'s
Psychological Thriller
4*’s

C.L. Taylor has chosen one of the most the under-represented relationships to feature in psychological thrillers for The Lie which features friendship. When Al breaks up with Simone she is distraught and takes to stalking her and her new partner on facebook and in real life. Her three closest friends from their days at Newcastle university; Emma, Daisy and Leanne decide that action is needed and hit on a holiday to a retreat in Nepal where there is no internet, to help Al break the cycle and learn to let her failed relationship go.

In the present day we meet Emma Woolfe who has moved to Wales and works in an animal sanctuary, has a fledgling relationship with a teacher and is happier than she has ever been, but for some reason she is no longer Emma, she now goes by the name of Jane Hughes. Worse still an anonymous letter alerts her that someone has tracked her down. And so the questions begin; What happened on the holiday? What is she trying to conceal? And who is trying to expose Jane?

Told in alternating scenes from five years previously on the trip and in the present day the author maintains the tension exceptionally well. This book works so well as an expose of the unsavoury side of female friendships without the accompanying mystery that it makes for quite uncomfortable reading at times. I certainly recognised some of the individuals although the author stops well short of creating stereotypical characters. With the cracks in their friendship already present before the trip, the author perfectly captures how allegiances are formed to serve ulterior motives and in this tale each member of the group did their best not to be excluded from the pack, probably a wise move in a setting where the rules of normal life had been swept away and substituted for those of a new age cult.

There is also a good sense of place with the descriptions of Nepal beautiful and evocative so that I could imagine the scenery although I wouldn’t have been too keen on the trek to the Ektanta yatra retreat. During that scene I could almost feel my muscles burning as the group followed their guide up the rough path and equally could visualise their relief when they were welcomed with a cup of chai.

I am a huge fan of psychological thrillers and in this crowded genre it is great to find something that stands apart from the crowd, The Lie does exactly that from the unusual setting to the relationships being put under the microscope. That accompanied with the excellent pace which has tension ratcheting up in both the past and the present, this is a great addition to the genre.

I’d like to thank the publishers Harper Collins UK for allowing me to read this great book which will be published on 23 April 2015. If you can’t wait that long you could always get yourself a copy of the author’s debut The Accident which I also highly recommend.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (April 15)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading The Lie by C.L. Taylor as I enjoyed her first psychological Thriller,The Accident, last year.

The Lie

You can read the blurb and opening paragraph in yesterday’s post.

I have just finished How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

How I Lost You

Blurb

They told her she killed her son. She served her time. But what if they lied?
I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don’t you?
My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address and a chance to rebuild my shattered life.
This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he’s dead?
If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back? NetGalley

My review will follow soon

Next I plan to read I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You Go

Blurb

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?
In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world is shattered. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape her past, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of the cruel November night that changed her life for ever.
DI Ray Stevens is tasked with seeking justice for a mother who is living every parent’s worst nightmare. Determined to get to the bottom of the case, it begins to consume him as he puts both his professional and personal life on the line.
As Ray and his team seek to uncover the truth, Jenna, slowly, begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . . Goodreads

What are you reading this week? Please share in the comments box below.

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (April 14)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My intro this week is from The Lie by C.L. Taylor

The Lie

Blurb

I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes . . .
Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.
Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.
Jane has tried to put the past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves. NetGalley

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Present Day

I know he’s trouble before he even sets foot in the building. I can tell by the way he slams the door of his 4×4
and storms across the car park without waiting to see if his short, bespectacled wife is following him. When he reaches the glass double doors to reception, I avert my gaze back to my computer screen. It’s best to avoid direct contact with an aggressor. When you spend twelve hours a day with dangerous animals, you learn a lot about confrontation, fear and hostility – and not just in relation to dogs.

Do you want to know more? Would you keep reading?