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?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking The Shelves (March 21)

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!

This Week I was offered a copy of The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and The Missing Corpse by Piu Marie Eatwell by the publishers, Head of Zeus, and having read the synopsis simply had to say a big ‘Yes Please!’

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and the Missing Corpse

Blurb

The extraordinary story of the Druce-Portland affair, one of the most notorious, tangled and bizarre legal cases of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras.
In 1897 an elderly widow, Anna Maria Druce, made a strange request of the London Ecclesiastical Court: it was for the exhumation of the grave of her late father-in-law, T.C. Druce.
Behind her application lay a sensational claim: that Druce had been none other than the eccentric and massively wealthy 5th Duke of Portland, and that the – now dead – Duke had faked the death of his alter ego. When opened, Anna Maria contended, Druce’s coffin would be found to be empty. And her children, therefore, were heirs to the Portland millions.
The extraordinary legal case that followed would last for ten years. Its eventual outcome revealed a dark underbelly of lies lurking beneath the genteel facade of late Victorian England. Goodreads

From NetGalley I have a copy of The Lie by C.L. Taylor which caught my eye on social media because it looks like my kind of read.

The Lie

Blurb

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

The Faerie Tree by one of my twitter buddies Jane Cable

The Faerie Tree


Blurb

I tried to remember the first time I’d been here and to see the tree through Izzie’s eyes. The oak stood on a rise just above the path; not too tall or wide but graceful and straight, its trunk covered in what I can only describe as offerings – pieces of ribbon, daisy chains, a shell necklace, a tiny doll or two and even an old cuckoo clock.
“Why do people do this?” Izzie asked.
I winked at her. “To say thank you to the fairies.”
In the summer of 1986 Robin and Izzie hold hands under The Faerie Tree and wish for a future together. Within hours tragedy rips their dreams apart.
In the winter of 2006, each carrying their own burden of grief, they stumble back into each other’s lives and try to create a second chance. But why are their memories of 1986 so different? And which one of them is right? NetGalley

Lastly I have another book from a crime series; Time of Death featuring Tom Thorne by Mark Billingham which is due to be published in June 2015.

Time of Death

Blurb

The astonishing thirteenth Tom Thorne novel is a story of kidnapping, the tabloid press, and a frightening case of mistaken identity.
Tom Thorne is on holiday with his girlfriend DS Helen Weeks, when two girls are abducted in Helen’s home town. When a body is discovered and a man is arrested, Helen recognizes the suspect’s wife as an old school-friend and returns home for the first time in twenty-five years to lend her support. As his partner faces up to a past she has tried desperately to forget and a media storm engulfs the town, Thorne becomes convinced that, despite overwhelming evidence of his guilt, the police have got the wrong man. There is still an extremely clever and killer on the loose and a missing girl who Thorne believes might still be alive. NetGalley

So my reads are predictably full of secrets and lies and dodgy memories with a few dead bodies thrown in for good measure, what have you found to read this week?