#bookreview: The Treatment by C.L Taylor (@callytaylor)

About the book


Format: Paperback
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 19th October 2017
Pages: 384 Pages
Genres: YA, Contemporary; Thriller.

The Blurb

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.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book depository


Review

You’re probably familiar with C.L Taylor’s The Missing, The Lie and The Accident. But, Taylor has set upon the Young Adult world with her new novel The Treatment.

Set in a Residential Reform Academy, sixteen-year-old Drew Finch needs to save herself and her brother. Her brother Mason is classed as an unruly teenager, but sending him away from home won’t help, surely? Drew needs to investigate the RRA and get her brother out – she’s not convinced it’s as innocent as people suggest. The academy is shrouded in secrecy and its residents know nothing of its treatments. In fact, neither do we, until Drew is subjected to how they are ‘reformed’. Let’s just say it doesn’t involve talking things through!

Prior to her admission, she researches the academy, but finds no evidence of its wrongdoings, or ‘bad nature’.  She finds a lone SnapChat user (YA reference) that warns her about what can happen; they meet, Drew gets worried and is admitted into the RRA.

Given that Drew was admitted to the academy for being troublesome only once, she put herself through a lot for the sake of her brother. I understand she cared for him deeply, but believing the words of one woman who she barely knows seems strange. She’s a kick-ass character that takes no crap and makes unlikely friends in other residents that help her out.

The Treatment was incredibly fast-paced and action-packed, with points of apprehension that left you asking: why/what/who?! The YA nature pops out in the form of your ‘typical’ teenage lifestyle. Drew has a high school bully, she’s insecure and is a young girl unsure of her feelings. I say typical quite loosely because I’m sure not every teenage experience the above. As much as I am a YA advocate, some adults may think the nature of Drew and her friends is a little childish, but that’s all preference really.

After reading C.L. Taylor’s YA offering, I should probably put some of her other novels in my basket, too! I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.


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Be kind to yourself | #WorldMentalHealthDay

As I’m sure you’re all aware, Tuesday 10th October was #WorldMentalHealthDay – a day to unite the world and raise awareness of all mental health issues.

World Mental Health Day

It’s no secret that I suffer from anxiety and depression (as do a lot of people), so the day was something I wanted to get behind and promote. From experience, a number of people who simply don’t understand is shocking. I’ve had many suggest it’s not ‘real’ and that it’s because of my temperament. But, what they don’t seem to grasp is that anyone who suffers can’t control how they feel and more importantly, they don’t want to feel this way.

So, what has this got to do with a book blog?

Well, the reason I decided to post this blog today was that it got me thinking about how people feel when they blog. Although the majority of feelings are always positive, there are times where it all becomes a little too much!

Recently, I’ve noticed bloggers posting about their struggles with trying to keep the right balance – whether this is through work and blogging or blogging for work. The majority of people always seem to feel bad about not posting and the negative connotations surrounding it.

Where does the pressure and negative feelings come from?

Well, most of the time the pressure comes from the individual themselves and that’s all because they care!

I will admit that I often feel anxiety about my blog because let’s face it, I need to post more, but I struggle to find the time. However, the only person that puts unnecessary pressure on me for not posting is: me.

My fear is that if I don’t post frequently, I’ll lose the engagement and/or publishers won’t send me books anymore. It has happened before where I’ve taken some absence and people who I spoke to (and formed a relationship with!) stopped talking and publishers didn’t email anymore. It’s not a nice feeling when you’ve put so much time and effort into something for it to just dwindle away so easily.

But, do you know what?

F**k it! Blogging should be fun and that’s the main reason I started: to have fun! It is, and always will be, a hobby and I shouldn’t feel pressured or stressed about it. So what if people stop talking? They weren’t worth it if this is how you get treated. If publishers don’t send any books? Don’t panic, there are bookshops out there! Buy ones to read instead. Personally, I never started this blog to receive free books and that’s one thing I need to remember.

So, here’s my advice to you:

There’s no point in stressing over something you can’t change. Move on and grow stronger.

Please don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourselves. You’ve got a lot more other things to worry about! Your blog isn’t going anywhere and you can get back to it when you’re feeling in the right frame of mind.

We’re all human and things don’t always go right and that’s fine – you can do it!

Patrick from Spongebob

Have you ever felt pressure when blogging?


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#bookreview: All That She Can See by Carrie Hope Fletcher

Format: Hardback
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Published: 13th July 2017
Pages: 354 Pages

The Blurb
Feelings are part of life – feelings are life. If you take away what people feel, you take away anything meaningful. Wanting to diminish the evil in this world is a good cause, one I have fought for the majority of my life, but not like this…

Cherry has a hidden talent. She can see things other people can’t and she decided a long time ago to use this skill to help others. As far as the rest of the town is concerned she’s simply the kind-hearted young woman who runs the local bakery, but in private she uses her gift to add something special to her cakes so that after just one mouthful the townspeople start to feel better about their lives. They don’t know why they’re drawn to Cherry’s bakery – they just know that they’re safe there and that’s how Cherry likes it. She can help them in secret and no one will ever need to know the truth behind her gift.

And then Chase arrives in town and threatens to undo all the good Cherry has done. Because it turns out she’s not the only one who can see what she sees…

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository


The Review

Well, it’s certainly no secret that I love Carrie and her beautiful ways. However, I will admit that All That She Can See is the first book of hers that I have read – how shameful?

You may recognise Carrie from her current stint as Wednesday Addams in the UK production of The Addams family, as well as from her YouTube Channel. If you don’t know, you can find out more about her here.

All That She Can See is all about Cherry Redgrave, a baker with a hidden talent. She’s empathetic and caring and makes some delicious cakes. They say ‘the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach’, and Cherry uses this mantra at her bakery. Cake always makes you feel happy, doesn’t it? I love cake!

Although a work of fiction, with a hint of fantasy, I do believe the story, concepts and characters are close to modern day living. The people in Carrie’s story are attached to ‘beings’ called Meddlums, which are manifestations of their innermost feelings. If they’re feeling a certain way, the Meddlums will transpire to be that. This is where Cherry uses her baking skills and adapts the recipes to suit the people and their Meddlums. All Cherry wants to do is help people and to make them feel content.

I think if people could see how other’s were feeling, they’d understand mental health and well-being more. We need to accept that we’re going to have good days, and equally, we’re going to have bad days and that’s fine! Carrie’s wordings were fresh and thoughtful and this helped approach the subject.

When Chase arrives into the small town, Cherry’s world turns upside down. She’s worked hard to make people feel happy, so why is he coming here trying to cause trouble? Stop it, Chase!


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#bookreview: Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill

Keep You Safe Book CoverFormat: Hardback
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 21st September 2017
Pages: 384 Pages

The Blurb
For readers who love issue-driven fiction, Melissa Hill has written a breakout novel exploring the “to vaccinate or not” debate and the tragic consequences of one mother’s decision on another.

Single mom Kate O’Donnell is living her worst nightmare. Her young daughter, Clara, who has a medical condition that doesn’t allow her to be vaccinated, becomes critically ill when one of her classmates, Lauren-whose family chose not to vaccinate-contracts and spreads the virus. While Lauren has no trouble recovering from the disease, Clara’s condition worsens. With time spent by her daughter’s bedside, Kate loses her job and slides deeper into medical debt. But when another school parent points the blame at Lauren’s mother, Lucy, and the media begins an attack, we see two very different views on parenting and how badly things can spin out of control when all either of these two women wanted was to keep their daughters safe.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK


The Review

Keep You Safe is something completely different and a story that you’ve probably not heard much about – I know I certainly haven’t. This book is designed to cause some serious debate and quite rightly so. As someone noted on their Goodreads review, it’s definitely a ‘two sides to every story’ kinda thing.

You’re introduced to two families, both with younger children and both unable to vaccinate their daughters with the MMR jab. However, their reasoning’s why they’re unable to are incredibly different:

  • One cannot due to medical reasons, and;
  • Two won’t because of morals and ethics.

Which one would you agree and disagree with?

Personally, I don’t know what I’d choose. I am, myself, allergic to most injections due to the nature of what it’s mixed with, so they always made me poorly, but I think I’m grateful not to have succumbed to one of the nasty diseases you’re preventing. Then again, I don’t have children, so who knows?! Lots of questions!

My short paragraph above demonstrates just how much the issue of vaccinating your children is debated amongst groups. Melissa dealt with the issue brilliantly – not only was it provoking, it was written diplomatically. I liked how both families received the same amount of time within the book because I think it would appear biased otherwise.

Visit the other hosts on the tour – for stops see the photo below!


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#bookreview: Living the Dream by Lauren Berry

Living the Dream book cover

Format: Paperback
Published: Virago Press
Publisher:6th July 2017
Pages: 336 Pages

The Blurb
A funny, satirical, sharp and honest look at modern British life from the perspective of two young women. The launch of an exciting new voice from Virago Press.

Emma Derringer is an assistant at a branding agency in London. Each morning she arrives at the office, types in her password (Fresh_He11) and shoves her jacket under her desk (DEAR ALL, Please keep your coats and bags out of sight and NOT on your chairs as they are unsightly. Thx). Most days Emma wears a mask of indifference that disguises either her boredom, her hangover or both. When her overbearing boss isn’t looking she pursues her career as a writer, sending articles, posting blogs and trying to get noticed for her talent, instead of mistakes on her PowerPoint presentations.

Clementine Twist arrives home from a stint in New York with a hefty overdraft, a crushed heart and a waning confidence in her budding career as a screenwriter. She moves in with her mum, gets a job in bar and spends her days composing emails to agents, producers and anyone who might help her onto the slippery ladder of the film industry.

As their 30’s loom and the freedom and fun of their 20’s gives way to the adult pressures of job satisfaction and perceived success, Emma and Clem realise it’s time to ramp up their efforts, and think about quitting the day job.

Amid life’s larger questions Emma and Clem have to answer to the daily challenges of big city life on a little budget, as well as inane questions about getting their nails did from their mutual frenemy Yasmin, the phone to increasingly technophobic parents and emails to ever more rejection letters.

Living the Dream is a razor-sharp comic novel of office life, friendship and the search for meaning.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK


The Review

Hooray, finally a novel that accurately represents a typical twenty-something’s life without the need to include children and boyfriends. Just because you’re in your late twenties does not mean you have to have children or have you life completely planned out. I for one think it’s insulting to those that don’t have children and don’t see them in their future. Yes, I know I’m nearly 30 and yes, I’m happily married, but I’m quite comfortable as I am, thanks. Anyway, enough of my ‘issues’, here’s the review!

Although they’ve previously lived separate lives, Emma and Clem are back together – thick as thieves. Emma is working as an assistant at a branding agency and Clem is working in a bar. They’re easy jobs, but both have creative dreams that they want to pursue. Living in London aids in their career path, there’s so much more opportunity and fun to be had. I honestly feel like there’s a slight disadvantage if you don’t live in a big city, especially if you’re after something creative.

I loved how Living the Dream was a humorous tale following the girls as they attempt to achieve their dreams, which by their own admission isn’t easy. Yes, there’s bad language and adult situations, but it’s not crude and that’s something I liked. Clem’s character was my favourite, she was less serious and although she felt ‘old’, she never acted it and often enjoyed herself. Although, being in debt can’t be nice – poor Clem.


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#bookreview: Final Girls by Riley Sager

I’ll start this post by saying a great big thank you for all your well-wishes! 🙂 Married life is treating me well. Although, it’s hard to remember your new last name!

Anyway, onto the review…


Final Girls Cover
Format: E-book (Kindle)
Publisher: Ebury Press
Published: 13th July 2017
Pages: 352 Pages

The Blurb
Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well – maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK


The Review

Three different women, one common scenario – they’re all survivors. Each girl has been branded a ‘Final Girl’ by the media and their stories are plastered around the world for all to see. They’re called ‘Final Girls’ because that’s exactly what they are: each is a sole survivor of a gruesome massacre – everyone else died.

Final Girls is Quincy’s story with the other two Final Girls joining her in parts. Currently, Quincy’s life is going well. She has a supportive fiancé, a great baking business and is comfortable. However, when Sam, another Final Girl, visits her unexpectedly things go from bad to worse. The more Sam is a part of her life, the more Quincy realises that she needs her in her life. Without Sam questioning everything, Quincy will never come to terms with the severity of it all. Plus, this gives you a better understanding of exactly why certain people are involved in her life and just why they want to keep Quincy close.

Coop is someone that has supportive Quincy throughout the whole ordeal. He was the one she ran to when covered in blood and is her contact within the Police. They do have a slight unhealthy relationship, whereby Coop worships Quincy and she confides in him, rather than Jeff, her fiancé. I always got the impression that they were more than just friends, but apparently that would be stepping over the line.

In the words of Maroon 5, ‘it’s not always rainbows and butterflies’ in this novel, it’s dark; harrowing, and makes you question everything. They’re essentially a group of ‘messed-up’ people who can’t get over the unintentional feeling of sadness. I suppose you wouldn’t be feeling all joyful after the experiences you’d went through. Why are these girls the only survivors? Why does Sam come find Quincy to cause trouble? All the questions!

No spoilers, I promise. But, let’s just say that you will NOT expect the ending, especially the actual reasons behind the massacres and why each were the only survivors.


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