The Escape

The Escape

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Treatment
The Accident
The Lie
The Missing

Synopsis:

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.

Thoughts:

I’ve come to realise that C.L Taylor’s books are dramatic and can sometimes a little unbelievable but do you know something? I’m totally okay with that. This is the fifth book I’ve read by C.L Taylor and I can confirm that I’m quite a fan of her writing!

The Escape centres around who has been suffering from agoraphobia for many years. However, Jo has learn strategies to cope with her agoraphobia. She’s able to work as long as she keeps to the rules she has set for herself. Unfortunately, one day Jo loosens the rules by giving a lift to a woman she doesn’t know. The woman’s name is Paula and she gives Jo very little chance to refuse. She has one of Elise’s mittens and gives her a very unsettling warning about looking after her daughter. It turns out that Paula knows her, her husband and her daughter. Jo’s worries heighten as you can imagine and this begins the tension. Jo ends up going to Ireland to lie low, but the trouble just follows her…

Jo isn’t the easiest character to like. I don’t know what it was about her really, but I was desperate for her to have a little more fight in her. However, I still found myself wanting things to turn out well for her. I found her husband a little infuriating too, but this didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story. There’s something about this author’s writing that I find totally compelling.

C.L Taylor sure has a way of keeping you turning the pages. Her characters are well fleshed out and totally believable, even if sometimes the situations may seem a little exaggerated- it still seems like these could be real people!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

I may not have thought much of these characters, but the story kept me turning the pages!

Advertisements

The Stranger In My Home

The Stranger In My Home

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from my sister, Beth!

Synopsis:

Alison is lucky and she knows it. She has the life she always craved, including a happy home with Jeff and their brilliant, vivacious teenage daughter, Katherine – the absolute centre of Alison’s world. Then a knock at the door ends life as they know it. Fifteen years ago, someone else took Alison’s baby from the hospital. And now Alison is facing the unthinkable.

The daughter she brought home doesn’t belong to her.

When you have everything you dreamed of, there is everything to lose.

Thoughts:

My sister, Beth thought I would enjoy this book, so she brought it over for me to read. I’ve read and enjoyed some Adele Parks prior to blogging, so I thought I’d give this book a go. I thought it was enjoyable, but it wasn’t what I expected it to be. I guess from the blurb, I envisaged a psychological thriller but it wasn’t. It was a story about family. Don’t get me wrong, I did still enjoy it, it just wasn’t the book that I’d anticipated.

The Stranger In My Home opens with a man named Tom, knocking on Alison’s door one day. It appears that there’s been a massive mix up years ago when Tom’s wife and Alison had their children. Olivia, Tom’s daughter, is actually Alison’s daughter and Alison’s daughter Katherine actually belongs to Tom, a recent widower. It’s come to light that Tom’s wife died of breast cancer and Katherine might have the gene. She needs to undergo tests to determine whether she has inherited the gene from her real mother.

The story then focuses on Alison and Jeff reacting to such terrible news. They were an incredibly happy family before the bombshell was dropped on them. There are so many questions to be asked and answered. Adele Parks slowly trickles information into a tightly weaved plot.  I had some ideas of what might be going on throughout, but I feel like there’s definitely enough to keep you guessing.

I enjoyed most of the characters. They certainly were in the most unusual and horrific situation. I didn’t envy them at all. They behaved in a realistic manner. However, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the main character, Alison. I found her to be slightly irritating and I couldn’t connect with her, despite feeling sorry for her and the situation she had found herself in.

I thought there was definitely enough in this story to capture your attention. So many secrets and lies to be discovered. There was a lot to get your head around and become fully immersed in.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

A good read, but I struggled with the likeability of one of the main characters!

Days Of Wonder

Days of Wonder

How did I get it?:
NetGalley thanks to Little, Brown Book Group

Previously reviewed by the same author:
A Boy Made Of Blocks

Synopsis:

Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable.

But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah’s diagnosis with a heart condition that will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen, that time is coming.

Hannah’s heart is literally broken – and she can’t bear the idea of her dad’s breaking too. So she resolves to find a partner for Tom, someone else to love, to fill the space beside him.

While all the time Tom plans a final day of magic that might just save them both.

Thoughts:

I was a massive fan of Keith Stuart’s debut novel A Boy Made Of Blocks. I thought it was absolutely sensational, so when I noticed his second novel up for grabs on NetGalley, I just had to go for it. I really enjoy Keith Stuart’s writing. He’s clearly a very talented writer because Days Of Wonder is another brilliant novel. It’s emotional and heart-warming at the same time. Days Of Wonder is narrated by Tom and his daughter Hannah. They take alternate chapters. I absolutely loved this narration!

Tom is a single father devoted to his daughter Hannah and his job as theatre manager. Hannah was diagnosed with a serious heart condition when she was younger. She’s now fifteen and mature beyond her young years. The story starts after Hannah’s diagnosis at five. For her fifth birthday, an amateur dramatic group put on a fairy tale for her outside her window. This leads to a tradition of a fairy tale for every birthday that follows. Days of Wonder follows Tom and Hannah through tough times. Hannah’s desperate for her father to have someone by his side when she leaves him. 😦 It’s heart-breaking!

Keith Stuart really has a way of making me feel for the characters. I immediately adored Tom and Hannah, however, there are so many other brilliant characters in this story. There was an older lady named Margaret who Hannah was very close to. I loved her anecdotes and how she would talk to Hannah about anything… including death. Hannah’s friends were lovable as well. They were always there for her. Hannah is a very special girl, she realises that her life is so fragile and doesn’t want to plan for the future, instead she puts her energy into ensuring her father is looked out for. I loved how she was desperate for her father to be happy.

I knew this book was going to be emotional, but I didn’t expect to be as invested in the story as I was. I loved seeing Hannah grow as a character and her father grew too. He learnt to be less overprotective despite his child’s life being so fragile. It may seem like a really depressing story, but I think its sweetness and the way it really makes you feel grateful for everything that you have really makes the book reach new heights.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A beautiful book that both breaks and warms your heart!

The Lie

The Lie

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Treatment
The Accident

Synopsis:

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 her 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.

Thoughts:

I have been making my way through C.L Taylor’s books after seeing so many of them around. I thought it was time to get around to them. I’m pleased I have because I’ve found another brilliant writer of thrillers! Whilst The Lie isn’t my favourite book by C.L Taylor, it still didn’t take me long to read. It still made my skin crawl a little bit which I’m coming to expect from a C.L Taylor book!

The Lie centres around a character we believe is called Jane. We find out that ‘Jane’ is her new identity. Five years previously, Jane was Emma and she went to Nepal with her friends to cheer up one of her friends. It was definitely not a relaxing holiday and Emma returned needing to change her name. We know from the start that something bad happened to the girls, but the terrible details start to unfold slowly as you read her story. ‘Jane’ feels like she’s moving on with her life with a job she loves and a relationship that’s developing nicely. However, she soon finds out that someone knows about the past and is going to make sure that she can’t forget it!

I thought The Lie was an incredibly dark read with some awful characters. Awful characters that I loved to read about though. I loved how the story unfolded through flashbacks of 5 years ago and present time. It added to the tension of the story. I have to admit that most of the chapters set in Nepal really were menacing. I found them tricky to read at some points, especially when they were becoming increasingly more violent. It became so tense and the cracks in the friendships really started to show. That’s when I began to dislike characters more and more, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story.

I was also intrigued by Emma/Jane’s present day story. I always try and work out who is behind everything during these sorts of stories, but I didn’t quite get there, although I began to have some suspicions. Once again, C.L Taylor does weave a wonderful plot.

I think you’ll enjoy this thriller if you enjoy intense, menacing and uncomfortable thrillers!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Whilst it wasn’t my favourite book from C.L Taylor, I still tore through it desperate to find out what was happening!

The Accident

The Accident

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Treatment

Synopsis:

Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.

Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.

There is a lot that Sue doesn’t know about Charlotte’s life. But then there’s a lot that Charlotte doesn’t know about Sue’s …

Thoughts:

I have heard so much about C.L Taylor’s adult fiction that I made it my mission to get to some of her backlist. This especially became the case when I read The Treatment, the author’s YA release. I loved that book so thought it was time to get to The Accident. I’m pleased I did because I found it to be a completely addictive read. I think I’ve found another thriller author that I adore.

It centres around Charlotte and her family. Charlotte is in a coma after being hit by a bus. Her mother, Sue,  believes it may have been deliberate after reading Charlotte’s diary and finding ‘keeping this secret is killing me.’ Sue is desperate to find out what Charlotte’s secret is. Through Sue’s exploration we find more about Charlotte’s life. We also find out about Sue’s past which is much darker than you first anticipate.

I loved the narration because it had flashbacks to what had happened to Sue in the 1990s when she was with James. A very dangerous partner. As a reader, we learn about Sue’s past and begin to understand her reasons behind her decisions she makes when trying to uncover Charlotte’s secret. I loved reading the diary entries. They were intense and hard to read at points, but still so intriguing to begin to piece the story together. I found Sue to be such an unreliable narrator. She suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which makes you question her every move as a reader. She wasn’t afraid to directly accuse people of being involved with Charlotte’s accident. I loved that her relationship with her husband wasn’t perfect. It was incredibly authentic.

I thoroughly enjoyed the pace of this story. I was constantly turning the pages to try to figure out what had happened to Charlotte. A very decent psychological thriller!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A wonderful debut psychological thriller. Its narration really kept me guessing!

The Good Twin

The Good Twin

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Thomas and Mercer

Synopsis:

Mallory Holcolm is an unfulfilled waitress and aspiring artist living in a Queens boardinghouse when she learns something astonishing about her past: she has an identical twin sister named Charly she never knew existed.

Charly is a Princeton graduate, a respected gallery owner, and an heiress married to her handsome college sweetheart, Ben. Charly got everything she ever wanted. Everything Mallory wanted, too. And now it might be easier than Mallory ever imagined. Because Ben has reasons of his own for wanting to help her.

It begins with his startling proposal. All Mallory has to do is say yes.

But as their devious plan falls into place, piece by piece, Mallory learns more about her sister and herself than she ever meant to—a discovery that comes with an unexpected twist. A chilling deception is about to become a dangerous double cross. And it’s going to change the rules of Ben and Mallory’s game to the very end.

Thoughts:

Sometimes I find thrillers really hard to review. This is because you want to give the reader enough to want to read it but you don’t want to spoil the book at the same time. This is totally the way I feel with The Good Twin. I found the book to be incredibly gripping. I flew through it! Whilst I did predict some of the story, I still found it to be a highly enjoyable read.

The Good Twin centres around twins who were separated at birth. Both led a very different life. Mallory grew up with not lot of money. Charly grew up with everything she ever wanted. Charly’s husband, Ben, comes across Mallory one day who is absolutely identical to Charly. Ben has a dark plan that he needs Mallory to help him out with.

As I mentioned, this book is a real page-turner. I quickly managed to read it, desperate to find out whether Ben’s plan was going to work. I did guess what had happened, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment.

The only reason why I haven’t rated this book a 4 star read is because I felt like the characters weren’t as developed as I like them to be. I think Ben was probably the character I thought was the best developed. He was portrayed to be an awful villain and that’s exactly what he was. The twins themselves, weren’t the most likeable. I found some of their decisions to be a little unrealistic, but if you can get past that (which I did) the story itself is still utterly enjoyable.

I did thoroughly enjoy this book and I think that thriller fans would do so as well. There’s enough going on to keep you invested with the story. The lies and deception are simply awful but wonderfully gripping at the same time. I would definitely read more from this author in the future.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Not the most believable book, but gripping nevertheless!

White Lies

White Lies

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Bookouture

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Daughter

Synopsis:

Alexandra Inglis is a respected family doctor, trusted by her patients to keep their most intimate secrets. And if sometimes the boundaries between duty and desire blur… well, she’s only human. 

But when Alex oversteps a line with Jonathan, one of her patients, she knows she’s gone too far. Jonathan is obsessive, and to get what he wants he will tear Alex’s world apart – threatening not only her career but her marriage and family too. 

Soon Alex finds she’s capable of doing almost anything to keep hold of her perfect life, as it begins to spin dangerously out of her control… 

Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed Lucy Dawson’s The Daughter so when I read about White Lies, I immediately wanted to read it. Luckily for me, the lovely people over at Bookouture approved my request to read it. This book immediately grabbed my attention. I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t had to go out I would have devoured it quicker than the 24 hours it took me to read it!

It centres around Alex who is a GP who loves her job. She’s respected within her practice and by those that work with her. Alex knows the ethics behind relationships with patients, having had experience in the past with her now husband. On a girly holiday with her friends, Alex sleeps with a young man. She never expected him to turn up in her office. He says she knows who he was. She says she’s never seen him before or has no recollection of seeing him before. After all, she sees so many patients a day. The story turns into a he said, she said, with many points of view and parts of the story. I really couldn’t put it down!

It’s so hard to review a book like this without giving too much away. It’s one of those that you want to discover as the story reveals itself. I don’t think I’ve ever jumped around so much with who was telling the truth. I really didn’t know who to believe. I wanted to believe Alex, but then Jonathan, the young man in question, made me think again. Also Alex’s previous history didn’t really help her case. I loved the uncertainty of the story though, I really did. It kept me desperately turning the pages!

I thought I had got to the truth, but I hadn’t. It took the last few pages for me to work it out which I loved. I really enjoyed the fast paced style and how nothing was straight forward. It read like a testimonial which was very interesting. There were twists along the way and a whole lot of doubt. I love that in this type of read. This is a book that will stay with me for a while!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

I love it when you can’t work out characters! A fabulous read!