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!

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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!

Talking About ‘The Marriage Pact’ with Bibliobeth!

The Marriage Pact: For fans of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact, and most of its rules make sense: Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .

Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples–and then one of them breaks the rules. The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life, and The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule. For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

CHRISSI: Did you have any preconceptions about this book before starting it?

BETH: A few, yes I did indeed. First of all, it’s on the Richard and Judy Spring Book Club list for 2018 and I normally trust the novels they pick as being compelling reads so I was looking forward to it on that count. Secondly, I’ve heard a lot of good things about this novel from bloggers I admire and whose opinions I trust. As a result, I went into it with slightly raised expectations, expecting a fantastic, memorable read. Now I have such mixed feelings I don’t know where to start!

BETH: Did you believe in Jake and Alice’s relationship? Do you think their marriage will last beyond the novel?

CHRISSI: I did actually. You could tell as a reader that they really did love each other. There were moments when I felt like Jake felt more deeply for Alice than vice versa, but in the main part I did believe in them. Alice did have moments of vulnerability which made me realise how she felt. I thought they both wanted the best out of their marriage. Whether joining The Pact was a way to go about it, I don’t know. As for whether it would last beyond the novel? I’m not sure. They went through so much together and perhaps they’d take the best bits out of The Pact to improve on in the future?

CHRISSI: What do you think motivates people to join cults such as The Pact? What motivates Jake and Alice in particular?

BETH: I have no idea! Personally, I would never be tempted to join a group like this especially when we find out further along the novel what they are really like. Jake and Alice however, although they clearly love each other dearly are motivated to join The Pact as it is advertised to them as simply a way of making sure they have a happy marriage and are unlikely to ever get divorced. They are sold completely on this idea and perhaps Alice feels a bit vulnerable, really wanting her marriage to work. Of course, it all seems completely above board and just a lovely thing to be a participant of, as well as making new friends so they don’t hesitate in signing up.

BETH: What were the best/worst parts of this novel for you?

CHRISSI: Ooh what a tricky question. As I mentioned to you when we were reading this book, I wasn’t sure what to rate it. That’s mainly because some of it I thought was bloody brilliant and other parts made my skin crawl. What I liked about this book was that it certainly kept me turning the pages. I’m not so sure it was always in the right way that I wanted to continue. Mainly I was like ‘WTF am I reading?’ but perhaps that was the author’s intention? It certainly got me thinking and reading. I didn’t want to put it down. The worst parts were when really disgusting things happened to a person and Jake enjoyed (?) it!

CHRISSI: Did you ever feel like this book was too much?

BETH: And so it begins…In a word, yes. At times, I really felt like I had to suspend my disbelief in what was going on to Jake and Alice and this normally wouldn’t bother me in a novel. I love a bit of fantasy, a bit of uncertainty and a thrilling plot that just takes you along for the ride and in some ways, this is exactly what I got. However, at some points I’m afraid to say my eyebrows remained perfectly raised and I just thought erm….really?! I think there’s only so far you can go with pushing the boundaries of what people will believe and if you step over that line, there is a real chance you’re going to lose that reader. Unfortunately by the last third of the book, this was definitely the case with me. Then there were those scenes…… where Alice is chained and being taken away and Jake gets turned on. Then another woman is naked in a jail cell and looks a bit unkempt and has obviously been treated violently, AND HE GETS TURNED ON. I mean, really? Did she have to go all Fifty Shades on us? Quite unnecessary and frankly, a bit warped and creepy. It is a shame because I did really enjoy parts of this novel, it was just these other parts that foxed me a little bit and lowered an otherwise “brilliant” rating.

BETH: Did you find this book thrilling or suspenseful at all?

CHRISSI: For me, thrilling? No. I didn’t think it was a particularly thrilling read because as I mentioned, some parts really didn’t work for me and made me feel uncomfortable in a way that made me want to stop reading. Suspenseful? Totally. I was intrigued and wanted to know what was going to happen next. I really was captivated…just not always in a positive way.

CHRISSI: Are there any rules of The Pact that you think could strengthen a marriage? Are the principles behind the extreme methods sound, or not?

BETH: Apologies for the above rant. I had a few issues! Yes, I think some of the rules were quite good for strengthening a marriage. Things like making sure you go on holiday with each other often to get away from it all. buying a gift no matter how silly every month I think is nice and obviously, prioritising each others feelings and wants and not letting work get in the way to much. However, the extreme methods that The Pact goes to when enforcing these principles are in no way sound and are very frightening. I couldn’t believe that Jake and Alice put up with what they did for so long!

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: Tricky one. I really think it depends on the subject matter. She can clearly write but I’m not sure the content is my sort of thing!

Would we recommend it?

BETH: Yes!

CHRISSI: A tentative yes!

The Girlfriend

The Girlfriend

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Laura has it all. A successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband, and a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, who is kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but she hasn’t had the same opportunities as Daniel. And she wants Laura’s life.

Cherry comes to the family wide-eyed and wants to be welcomed with open arms, but Laura suspects she’s not all that she seems.

When tragedy strikes, an unforgiveable lie is told. It is an act of desperation, but the fall-out will change their lives forever.

Thoughts:

I had heard a lot of good things about The Girlfriend and goodness knows I love a psychological thriller. I was completely gripped by The Girlfriend right from the start. I knew something messed up was going to go down and I wasn’t disappointed. I am quite shocked that this book is a debut novel because it felt like a book from an incredibly established author. All too often, thrillers are like each other and I didn’t get that vibe with The Girlfriend. 

It centres around Laura, Daniel and Cherry. Laura has a wonderful career, a marriage to a rich husband and a brilliant, intelligent, kind relationship with her son Daniel. Daniel meets Cherry, who is beautiful and smart, but her life has been much tougher than Daniel’s. She certainly hasn’t had the same opportunities that Daniel has had. Cherry wants a life like Laura’s. Cherry is introduced to the family and Laura is immediately unsure of Cherry. She’s protective over her son and thinks there’s something not right about her. After a terrible accident, a lie is told which changes their lives. Who do you trust? Who is in the wrong?

Basically, those last two questions were my thoughts the whole way through reading this gripping thriller. I wanted to know what on earth was going to happen. Talk about unlikeable female characters! This book had them in abundance. This really is a dark, twisted tale. One I kept on turning the pages, eager to find out how far Cherry and Laura would go. Ooh.

Cherry has been brought up in a poor family with not many opportunities. Daniel is completely the opposite. They fall in love quickly, but Laura is not happy. I thought Laura’s relationship with Daniel was quite creepy. I didn’t trust her from the start with her obsessing over her son. Then I wasn’t sure if Cherry’s intentions were true. Daniel really was obsessed over by both ladies in his life.

This is a brilliant debut novel and I’m super excited to see what Michelle Frances writes next. The only reason why I didn’t give it 5 stars is because I felt the ending was a little rushed.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

This book is a little gem! I devoured it!

The Daughter

The Daughter

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

Synopsis:

You lost your daughter. You will never forgive yourself. And now someone’s determined to make you pay… 

Seventeen years ago, something happened to Jess’s daughter Beth. The memory of it still makes her blood run cold. Jess has tried everything to make peace with that day, and the part she played in what happened. It was only a brief moment of desire… but she’ll pay for it with a lifetime of guilt. 

To distance herself from the mistakes of the past, Jess has moved away and started over with her family. But when terrifying things begin happening in her new home, seemingly connected to what happened to Beth, Jess knows that her past has finally caught up with her. Somebody feels Jess hasn’t paid enough, and is determined to make her suffer for the secrets she’s kept all these years. 

Thoughts:

I was immediately intrigued by the synopsis of this book. I’m very into my thrillers which you’ll know if you’re a regular reader of my blog.

The Daughter starts with something awful happening to Jess’s daughter Beth. Seventeen years later, Jess is trying to move on and make peace with the past and the part she played. However, no-one can get over such a tragic event, especially when there’s guilt there. Jess has moved away and started over with her family. When looking to move into a new home, years later, terrifying things start to happen to Jess which seem to be connected to Beth. Someone seems determined to make Jess pay…

This book immediately gripped me when it started with the incident at school. I’m pretty sure it’s a common fear in parents…a call to say your child has been rushed to hospital. Terrifying. Even as a devoted Auntie, I would be so anxious to take that call. Immediately, the author humanises our main character Jess. I sympathised with her. Beth’s funeral was an incredibly hard moment to read about. It was then I realised that Lucy Dawson had completely captured my attention.

I loved this book because it contained so many secrets and lies. Secrets and lies always catch up eventually and it was a matter of when they were going to catch up with the characters. It’s such a fast paced plot and it’s so easy to just keep turning the pages and reading.

Jess isn’t an easy character to understand at times. She makes some horrific decisions but I could always see why she had made the decisions she did. She wasn’t always likeable, but she was understandable.  Some of the other characters were simply fascinating as well. I loved watching their stories unravel. This really is a fantastic psychological thriller, but one that’ll tug at your heart strings.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

This was quite an emotional read! I thoroughly enjoyed this thriller!