The Treatment by C.L Taylor

The Treatment

How did I get it?
NetGalley- many thanks to HQ/Harper Collins

Synopsis:

“You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.”

All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She’s not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she’s almost relieved.

Everything changes when she’s followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.

Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.

Before it’s too late.

Thoughts:

I have been intending to read C.L Taylor’s books for the longest time. I don’t know why I haven’t yet, but I will soon be rectifying that after reading her fantastic YA debut! I was utterly gripped by The Treatment and finished it within a day.

The Treatment centres around sixteen year old Drew Finch. Her younger brother, Mason, is expelled from school and sent to a residential reform academy in Northumberland. It is from then that the problems really occur. Drew is followed by Doctor Cobey with a message from Mason. Mason tells Drew that he’s worried about the ‘treatment’ that’s going on at the reform academy. He needs her help. After some googling and finding a former resident, Drew needs to get into the school to discover exactly what’s going on for herself before it’s too late.

I thought this book was utterly gripping. Right from the start it had me intrigued and didn’t let go of me until the last page. The story is really easy to read. It has some interesting characters, ones you hate and ones you root for. I loved to hate some of the characters in this story. There really is a great range of well written characters. The pace was fast and short chapters really helped this.

I really enjoy psychology reads and I loved how C.L Taylor used psychology in the story without it becoming too bogged down. It was incredibly clever and engaging.

I’m not the desired age for this book, but I absolutely lapped it up and I’m pretty confident that this book would appeal to adults as well.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

I will definitely be reading C.L Taylor’s adult thrillers after thoroughly enjoying this book!

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No Shame

No Shame

How did I get it?:
I received it from the publisher in exchange for a honest review!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Stacey Woods has been raped and now she has to go through a different ordeal – the court trial. But nothing in life it seems is black and white and life is not always fair or just. Suddenly it seems that she may not be believed and that the man who attacked her may be found not guilty . . . if so Stacey will need to find a way to rebuild her life again . . .

Thoughts:

This book follows No Virgin. I think you can read this book without reading No Virgin but it enhances your reading experience if you do read the previous book. Ultimately, this book has the same message as No Virgin. It encourages victims of rape to speak out and seek justice for the terrible thing that has happened to them.

In No Shame, Stacey has reported the disgusting man to the police and the trial is looming. Stacey is trying to carry on with her life. She’s thinking about her future and works a part time job. As well as this, she has to be prepared for standing against the man who raped her. I found the man in question incredibly creepy and arrogant. Every single time he smirked in court, it made me mad. I was desperate for him to be charged. I won’t ruin what happens but things aren’t easy, that’s for sure!

This isn’t an easy read, but it’s an important one. Anne Cassidy is wonderful at creating characters that you feel empathy for. The book is short and fast paced. It really packs a punch. I think both books have such an important place in YA literature. I’m so pleased I read it because it does make you think about keeping yourself safe and speaking out when you’re uncomfortable!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

I thought this was a fantastic companion novel that shows that there can be many bumps in the road in your life!

Then She Was Gone

Then She Was Gone

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

The Girls

Synopsis:

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.  And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone. 

NOW 
It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter. And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet. Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter. Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away. 

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. 

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go? Who still has secrets to hide?

Thoughts:

I’m a massive fan of this genre, which you’ll know if you’ve been around my blog for a while. My sister Beth and I recently read Lisa Jewell’s The Girls and really enjoyed it so I was intrigued to read this one. Especially after Beth raved about it. I found Then She Was Gone to be such a compelling read. I couldn’t put it down and easily could have read it in one sitting if I had the time!

It follows the story of Laurel whose fifteen-year-old daughter disappeared one day. Laurel and the rest of her children were so close to Ellie and her loss affects the whole family. Ten long years later, Laurel finds out that there’s updates on the case. Unfortunately for the family, Ellie’s remains have been found. With some closure, Laurel begins to move forward. She meets a man called Floyd who brings back some joy into her life. Laurel is introduced to his girls and is struck by the similarities between his daughter Poppy and her Ellie. The truth about what happened around the time Ellie was missing comes to light. Laurel isn’t sure whether she should be trusting Floyd but she’s desperate to find out what happened.

As I mentioned, I have read so many thrillers. So many are a bit samey, but I was impressed with Then She Was Gone. It kept me turning the pages. Although I had guessed what had happened to Ellie, I was still compelled to keep reading. Desperate to see if I was right. I also didn’t know exactly how the thing I thought (sorry, no spoilers!) had happened. Therefore guessing the twist didn’t affect my enjoyment. 

I loved the narrative! It’s broken up into different parts, thinking about then and present day times. As a reader, you get to read from the main character’s point of view and I love that. I felt like it gave a really well rounded look at the story.

Lisa Jewell’s writing is exceptional. I am seriously considering checking out the other books that she’s read as I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve read so far. I love getting into the minds of her ‘bad’ characters. It’s fascinating!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

This book comes highly recommended if you’re a fan of the thriller/mystery genre!

No Virgin

No Virgin

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

My name is Stacey Woods and I was raped.

Stacey is the victim of a terrible sexual attack. She does not feel able to go to the police, or talk about it to anybody other than her best friend, Patrice. Patrice, outraged, when she cannot persuade her to go to the police, encourages Stacey to write everything down. This is Stacey’s story.

Thoughts:

I was approached to read the sequel of this book No Shame and decided that I needed to read No Virgin first. I’m glad i did because I think No Virgin is important to read before you read the next story.

It tells the story of Stacey Woods who was raped. Stacey has a falling out with her sister (who has a child at 14) and her mother. She leaves the house determined not to go home. Stacey meets a boy that she feels instantly connected to. She goes back to his house, but she doesn’t expect things to turn out the way they do. Stacey doesn’t feel like she can tell people, but ultimately she works out it’s the best thing to do.

I loved how this story promoted speaking to others about rape something which is never acceptable. Stacey seeks help from her friend, family and a rape crisis helpline.

If you find reading stories around these themes then I wouldn’t recommend this book. It’s not as intense as Asking For It by Louise O’Neill (it’s been compared to it) but it’s an important story that I believe should be told!

Would I recommend it?
Yes! 3.5 stars

An important, though dark read!

Look out for my review of the companion novel, No Shame next week!

Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

Thoughts:

I had heard so much about this book. SO much. As a lover of physiological thrillers, I knew it had to be a book that I picked up. I bought a copy, but have taken a while to get around to it. I wish I hadn’t as it was a bloomin’ brilliant psychological thriller. It’s definitely dark and twisted, so if that’s what you like in your thrillers…then I’d recommend picking up this book. It’s a book where you have to suspend your disbelief. It’s a tad far fetched but I loved it nevertheless.

Behind Closed Doors tells the story of Jack and Grace. On the surface, they look like the perfect couple. They are incredibly well matched and their love for each other is clear to see. However, when everyone leaves their parties, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t want to be Jack and Grace. No one really knows what goes on behind closed doors…

I immediately didn’t trust Jack, (but maybe that says more about me) he seemed too good to be true. He was highly successful, defending victims of domestic violence and was desperate to have Grace’s sister who has Downs Syndrome living with them. Hmm… I started to wonder if there was more to him than met the eye? No one is that perfect, right?

I thought this book was an incredible read. I didn’t want to put it down. It’s one that can easily be read in a day. It may not be full of amazing twists and turns, but it’s a shocking read and that’s what makes you turn the pages. B.A. Paris has really created a wonderfully tense atmosphere. I loved how the author used past and present moments to tell their story. I don’t always enjoy books told in this way, but it was great to see Jack and Grace’s relationship from the start and to ‘witness’ the moment that things started going wrong for them.

I would highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a fast paced thriller!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fantastic debut! I hope B.A Paris writes more in the future!

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- Saffy’s Angel

Saffy's Angel (Casson Family, #1)

How did I get it?
I bought it!

Synopsis:

The four Casson children, whose mother, Eve, is a fine-arts painter, have all been given the names of paint colors. Cadmium (Caddy), is the eldest; then Saffron (Saffy); Indigo, the only boy; and Rose, the youngest. When Saffy discovers quite by accident that she has been adopted, she is deeply upset, though the others assure her that it makes no difference at all. Saffy is the daughter of Eve’s twin sister, who lived in Siena, Italy, and died in a car crash. Grandad brought Saffy, as a very small child, back from Siena. 

At Grandad’s death he leaves something to each of the children. To Saffy, it is “her angel,” although no one knows its identity. How Saffy discovers what her angel is, with the help of an energetic new friend, lies at the heart of this enchanting story. Unforgettable characters come alive in often deeply humorous and always absorbing events to be treasured for a long, long time.

Thoughts:

I hadn’t heard of Saffy’s Angel before it was picked for our kid-lit challenge. I don’t know what I was expecting really, as I didn’t read anything about the book prior to reading it. I just jumped into it. I found a quintessentially British children’s book.

Saffy’s Angel is about an eccentric family. It’s about a family of four children whose mother named her children after paint colours. The mother in the story is a painter. The father is absent for most of the story! The four children are close to one another and get up to much mischief! Saffron finds out about her younger years which leads to her stowing away to Italy in search for Saffron’s inheritance, a missing stone angel.

I thought this was such a charming little story. I found it incredibly easy to read. It felt like a very British book! It really warmed my heart. I could imagine myself loving this book if I had read it when I was younger. My favourite part of the book was the adorable sibling relationships. Even when Saffy found out about her past, the family still stuck together. I felt sorry for the mother, who had the difficult task of looking after four children practically on her own. The father frustrated me a little bit. I found him to be quite selfish!

The only reason why I haven’t rated this book any higher is because I don’t feel compelled to read the next one. I mean, I would read it… but I’m not running to get a copy.

For Beth’s wonderful review, check her blog here!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit challenge (October):
Black Hearts in Battersea- Joan Aiken

Last Seen Alive

Last Seen Alive

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

The Hero

Libby Hall never really wanted to be noticed. But after she saves the children in her care from a fire, she finds herself headline news. And horrified by the attention. It all reminds her of what happened nine years ago. The last time she saw her best friend alive.

The Swap

Which is why the house swap is such a godsend. Libby and her husband Jamie exchange their flat in Bath for a beautiful, secluded house in Cornwall. It’s a chance to heal their marriage – to stop its secrets tearing them apart.

The Hideaway

But this stylish Cornish home isn’t the getaway they’d hoped for. They make odd, even disturbing, discoveries in the house. It’s so isolated-yet Libby doesn’t feel entirely alone. As if she’s being watched.

Is Libby being paranoid? What is her husband hiding? And. As the secrets and lies come tumbling out, is the past about to catch up with them?

Thoughts:

Beth really enjoyed this book when she read it in August. She told me I had to read it ASAP. I can totally see why she wanted me to read this book as it was such an engaging, gripping read. I could barely put it down! Claire Douglas has a fabulous writing style and I will definitely try to read more from her.

Last Seen Alive tells the story of Libby and Jamie. They haven’t been married long but are having some problems. They need to get away to reconnect with one another. Libby is a teacher and has just experienced something awful at work. She finds a leaflet about a house swap and encourages Jamie to house swap with another couple in Cornwall. She thinks a getaway will help them connect once more and get away from their troubles. Immediately, things start going wrong. Libby doesn’t know if she’s just paranoid or if there’s something more sinister going on.

I thought this book was absolutely fantastic. I didn’t see where it was going and the twist was so incredibly well crafted. I loved how the story was split into parts and when the twist was revealed it was intrigued to read about what had happened in the past that led Libby to where she was. I didn’t see it coming. Claire Douglas has created such a tense atmosphere in this story. I didn’t feel like I fully trusted any character as I was so suspicious of them all.

I highly recommend picking up this book if you’re into thrillers. It’s not one to miss.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A twisty, tense thriller. I loved it!