#bookreview: The Fear by CL Taylor (@callytaylor)

The Fear Book Cover

Format: E-book (Kindle)
Publisher: Avon Books
Published: 22nd March 2018
Pages: 400 Pages
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller; Crime.

The Blurb
When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.

Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.

But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository


The Review

As I write this review, The Fear is jumping to the top of the Sunday Times bestsellers list and it’s totally deserved! I’ve not read many books like this and yes, I may sound like a broken record, but it’s true it’s bloody brilliant. It drew me in, messed with my emotions and then spat me back out. How could you do that to me? Anyway, it was ‘Wow’.

The Fear contains materials that some readers may find distressing. However, Taylor deals with it sensitively and appropriately. The main concept of the novel focuses on child grooming and the parties involved with one man’s actions. You’d expect it to be quite a difficult read yet it doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable, just angrier that things like this happen to vulnerable people.

During the ordeal, you read the POVs of three women Wendy, Chloe and Louise. They each have a relationship with Mike – whether that is through love or hate – and their stories are how he has affected them through his actions. There’s no denying he is a sex offender but will he ever change his ways? You’ll have to read to find out 😉

Prepare to be taken on an emotional rollercoaster of mind games, violence and infatuation.

The Fear Book Review BannerImage Credit: Avon Books UK


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#bookreview: The Perfect Girlfriend by @KJHAuthor

Format: Paperback
Published: 22nd March 2018
Publisher: Headline
Pages: 368 Pages
Genres: Thriller, Suspense; Psychological Thriller

The Blurb
Juliette loves Nate.
She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.
The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing.
Because Juliette has a plan to win him back.

She is the perfect girlfriend.
And she’ll make sure no one stops her from
getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain…

Purchase the book: Amazon UK


The Review

Juliette is a psycho – there’s no way you can make it sound any nicer than it is. She is clever (I know, right?), manipulative and cold-hearted. But, do you know what? I actually felt sorry for her. Her troubled upbringing coupled with her traumatic time at boarding school probably had something to do with her psychotic ways. You also learn about the death of her younger brother and mother. There’s no excuse to act like a woman scorned but you can understand why she acts the way she does.

During the story, you see Juliette become an air hostess where she embarks on a jet-setting career across the globe. It’s something new for her and something she’s always wanted to do. Why I hear you ask? Well, that’s to get closer to Nate. He’s a pilot for the airline that she’s recently joined – see where this is going? Here we have a prime example of a ‘Bunny Boiler’ style scenario but with the dial turned up to the extreme. Nate is her ex-boyfriend and she wants to be closer to him.

As much as I did enjoy The Perfect Girlfriend, I felt that the story didn’t pick up until halfway through. It took time for it to accelerate into something that makes you think: ‘wow, you really are mentally unstable’. You don’t need convincing that she’s troubled, you know straight away she’s someone to stay well away from. The first-half was more about Juliette’s calculating mind and then what she wants to achieve. The second-half was her putting the plan into place and causing some destruction in many people’s lives.

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#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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#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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#bookreview: Sweetpea by CJ Skuse

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Format: E-book (Kindle)
Publisher:
HQ Stories
Published: 20th April 2017
Pages: 384 Pages

The Blurb
The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcoholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…

Purchase the book: Amazon UK


The Review

This review warrants a good ol’ keyboard bash of excitement because Sweetpea was BRILLIANT. Fnkjfndjnfjsdk ffni489b’#.glfkjgh896uhjkhjgf9huj950fnkjfndjnfjsdk ffni489b’#.glfkjgh896uhjkhjgf9huj950 – see what I did there? LOTS OF BASHING!

Sweetpea is not for the faint-hearted, or those that are shocked easily because you can guarantee there will be swearing, sexual and crude references, plus dark dark humour – all of which adds tonnes of dimension to the diary style story. One thing that I didn’t like, and there’s only one, please can we stop using the c word, please? I don’t know why, but it’s a swear word that I just can’t get my head around, the rest don’t phase me, just the c one. It’s all personal preference, though!

Rhiannon has a kill list, and a lot of people need to be careful as they might just be on it. Each chapter starts off with the list, detailing a selection of people that she wouldn’t mind bumping off. I’m not suggesting by any means that killing someone is acceptable, but there are a few people on the list that really don’t help their cause, and in her eyes, probably deserve it. Sometimes she’s lucky and is able to kill, others not so much.

Even though you know she’s a killer, you strangely find her endearing – she’s funny, blunt and honest, probably all the things you wouldn’t expect from someone like her. I’m not justifying her actions, but let’s just say that Rhiannon hasn’t had the best start to life, what with being involved in a nursery massacre and her being the only survivor. She did have a nasty head injury and I think her troubled mind probably comes from that experience – you’ve got to be a little troubled,  haven’t you?

There’s even talk about Sweetpea becoming a TV programme and I cannot wait – perhaps it’ll have the same kind of vibe as Dexter.

If you’ve not read any other books by CJ Skuse, take a look at my reviews for Monster and The Deviants.


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#bookreview: Good as Gone by Amy Gentry

Good as Gone cover
Format: E-book (Kindle)
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 6th April 2017
Pages: 384 Pages

The Blurb
Eight years ago, thirteen-year-old Julie Whitaker was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night.

In the years since, her family have papered over the cracks of their grief – while hoping against hope that Julie is still arrive.

And then, one night, the doorbell rings.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK


The Review

This is a story all about 13 year-old Julie and her kidnapping, which is told through the eyes of her mother, Anna. All members of the family are impacted by Julie’s disappearance, especially sister Jane who witnessed Julie’s abduction.

You’d be wrong in thinking that Good as Gone is your typical ‘thriller’ because in reality, it’s so much more. You’re kept in suspense throughout, with little droplets of shock thrown in for good measure. Rather than a gritty crime scene (no spoilers here), there’s a puzzle for you to finish. Julie’s kidnapping is far more complex than anyone can imagine, and when people start making an appearance, it leaves Anna and the family questioning everything they’ve experienced, or felt.

Part of me wanted to read about Julie’s experience first hand because I’m a little sadistic in the fact that I’d want to feel what she experienced. Sometimes you can relate more to a character if you’re aware of how they are feeling. However, I also think it was clever to read about how Anna was feeling, so you’re left in the dark with what has happened. It focuses on Anna’s mental health and the relationships she has with other people. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to experience such a loss, more so when you don’t have any answers. Her relationship with her husband Tom and daughter Jane were strained, which added extra sadness onto an already sad situation.

I will admit that I preferred the second half of the book because I felt that the story hit speed during this time, compared to quite a slow, yet informative beginning. Given that it’s penned as ‘a novel of suspense’ I’m not too sure if there was a lot of suspense, more of why things happened and who people were.


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