2018, audible, Review, Uncategorized

Audio Review: The Accident By C L Taylor

Blurb: To the outside world Susan Jackson has it all – a loving family, a successful politician husband and a beautiful home – but when Charlotte, her fifteen year old daughter,  deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma Sue questions whether any of it was real.

Desperate to find out what caused Charlotte’s suicide attempt, she is horrified by an entry in her diary – ‘Keeping this secret is killing me’.  As Sue spins in desperate circles, she risks everything to discover the truth and finds herself immersed in a shady world she didn’t know existed. The deeper she delves the darker the world becomes and the more danger she puts herself in.

Can Sue wake up from the nightmares that haunt her and save her daughter, or will ‘the secret’ destroy them both?

Review: Having devoured The Escape quite quickly via Audible I was eager to listen to something else by Cally Taylor. On my Kindle I have The Treatment and The Missing so it made sense to devour her first novel – which a very good friend loved, I knew I had made the right choice.

From the off I liked Sue but I must say, I have said this to Cally via Twitter the lady reading this novel was extremely posh and bleep bleep bleeping of a monitor and tap tap tapping was extremely off putting at times. Although I carried on as I was intrigued and completely invested in the story. In downloading this I had another friend follow me in reading she managed to pip me to the post though and her thoughts differed to mine slightly.

I am always anxious not to spoil a book in reviewing and there’s certain aspects that I just can’t talk about without spoiling the outcome of this psychological thriller.

The book goes from the 90s to present day explaining segments of Sue Jackson’s life and more importantly her relationship with Steve – and how that changes her and her relationships with some of her closest friends. Then we go to the present day where Sue’s 15-year-old daughter Charlotte had recently stepped in front of a bus and is in a coma.

I really liked how Sue’s life came full circle and choices she made along the way had an impact in later life. I’m not a parent so I can’t begin to understand how Sue was feeling after the initial accident and in visiting Charlotte. What I do know is I too would have done anything to find out exactly what happened if it was any of my friends or loved ones. No matter how mad people thought Sue was becoming she stuck to her instincts in her daughter and her actions leading up to her accident – she became a woman determined to find out the truth of what really happened, and in what had scared Charlotte that much.

I also liked that Cally has explored how many emotions a mother and a family would go through in times of these hardships.

As I stated I’m not spoiling but I must say this thriller really does get under your skin. I have never been in a hideously toxic relationship but I do believe that Cally has written this well. In some ways I get some brashness from my Mum so I wouldn’t stand for that sort of behaviour and I value myself a lot. But it’s easy to get trapped and to listen to the words. As the saying goes if you are told something often enough you start to believe it. So with Sue being called a number of names and described in a certain way she started to believe it was her fault initially.

The later Sue who was a mother and a step mother was much stronger and more assured of herself and I believe her experiences aided that side of her. It’s nice to see a story where a victim becomes stronger and much more confident rather than letting these horrific experiences ruin her life.

I am literally in awe of Cally’s writing – I have The Missing on my Kindle and as I have mentioned on more than one occasion I work for Cancer Research and we actually had a copy of that come in. Yesterday I read the opening of The Missing and I can safely say she has a knack of exciting and intriguing me. I will be devouring that shortly.

I can see why people are disappointed by the ending of The Accident as there are certain unanswered questions but for me those wonders are what make you intrigued by a story after you’ve closed the book.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this psychological thriller and feel free to give me more recommendations. I feel like a woman obsessed right now.

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audible, New Author to me, Review, Uncategorized

Audio Review: The Escape By C L Taylor

Blurb: “Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

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.

Review: Firstly, I have been wanting to read a Cally Taylor book in forever ever since my good friend Catriona had read The Accident and she was literally buzzing about it.

I’m ashamed to say I have The Missing and The Treatment on my Kindle TBR pile but I haven’t managed to devour them yet. Even though I was super eager for The Treatment I was gutted that my YALC day didn’t include it.

So listening to The Escape was the first interaction I have had with one of her books. I started listening one Sunday when I was off work tidying my room – I must say I did jump at my own shadow whilst cleaning my mirror in listening to the car exchange at the beginning of this book between Jo, Elise and Paula.

Even though I have had a pounding ear infection I have had one headphone in as I walk to and from work these past few days listening to this bone tingling tale. From the start I really liked Jo her acrophobia and anxiety was apparent from the off but from that nerve wracking scene with Paula in her car I instantly felt like all she ever wanted was the safety of her little girl.

Jo’s sense of fear only escalates when she is arrested for something she knows nothing about and that for me was a turning point in the novel. From then on Jo is fighting to prove that she’s a good mother and that all she wants is the best for her child. When she goes on the run you really get the sense of apprehension and worry. Jo’s focus is not to be separated from Elise.

Most of the novel is set in Bristol but Jo is originally from Ireland so that’s where the latter part of the novel is set. I love that within this thriller there are a number of sub stories that interlink later on. The background to Jo and Mary and what links them is truly heartbreaking. I’m not a mother myself but I have nieces who add to my grey hair so I can appreciate the strains.

What a psychological thriller this is I won’t be spoiling the finer details but I just wasn’t expecting what happened. As the story hit the dramatic climax I was left saying that can’t be how it ends and it wasn’t. The saying keep your friends close and your enemies closer comes to mind. I won’t ruin as for a large part of the novel I didn’t see this coming until the other character voices became darker and for me that was a light bulb moment.

The ending for me was serendipity – all the good characters had their time to shine and I loved how it ended very much how it started although this time the new and every so much stronger Jo was taunting Paula with the spine tingling words she used at the very start. “Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

Now that I have finished this tasty treat I’m eager for more Cally Taylor and I believe the poll on my Twitter said I should listen to The Accident next. I’m super excited for her March release of The Fear although I’m thinking I want to read not listen to that one. I have a blogger event and possibly an assistant managers meeting that day which means train/bus time rather than walking so I’m hoping to get that one started on release day and if it’s anything like this I can’t see it taking too long for me to devour it.

I would love to hear your thoughts on The Escape any of C L Taylor’s back catalogue and any psychological thrillers that you think I may like.

Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Vicky & Lizzie’s First Period….

Today on Hayley Reviews I’m pleased to have an extract from Vicky & Lizzie’s first period. Thanks once again to Rachel for including me on another tour.

Happy Valentines Day all I hope you have had a fab day I treated myself to a Starbucks and had my gorgeous red lippy on. Bar that I have been crazy productive at work now for a chilled evening.

I would love to hear what you all think about this book.

Blurb: Bloody Hell!

All together now…

There were two girls called Vicky & Lizzie

Who kept their high school busy

Causing trouble and mirth

For all they were worth

Sending teachers right into a tizzy

They kicked-off a false, nasty rumour

Saying one of the staff was a groomer

For everyone knows

Gossip grows and explodes

But the school didn’t quite see the humour

Would Vicky & Lizzie regret

The damage they caused? Nah, not yet

Scheming, conniving

The girls kept on vying

Their dangerous precedent set

Vicky & Lizzie delivered a blitz

Their school reached the end of its wits

Did they care? Did they f**k

They were common as muck

Those nasty, vindictive young s#!ts

Now, this might cause upset and uproar

It’s a musical satire, what’s more

For the first time ever

We promise you’ve never

Read anything like this before

So pick up your copy today

Of a story about which you will say

That I wanted to barf

But so hard I did laugh

Vicky & Lizzie have just made my day!

Here’s a sneak peek of an extract from the book…..

Vicky and Lizzie pushed through double doors and entered the sports hall concourse. They were a few minutes late. A congregation of one hundred anxious students lined the wall. They looked nervous as they waited to enter the sports hall to sit their exam.

‘You’re late!’ Jody said. She clutched her English text book under her arm. ‘Bowery’s gonna be well pissed when she gets back.’

‘Oh, who cares?’ Vicky said, reaching into her rucksack and taking out her textbook. ‘She thinks she’s a good teacher. All she ever does is flirt with the boys and take out their rejections on us.’

‘Where is she?’ Lizzie asked, looking over the line of heads and shoulders leading to the door.

‘Ah, you’ve decided to join us.’ A female voice came from behind the line. ‘Vicky. Lizzie.’

They turned around to see the not-unattractive English teacher, Mrs Bowery, staring at them. She’d heard everything that had been said but decided not to challenge it. ‘Where have you two been?’

‘Sorry, miss,’ Lizzie said, looking the woman up and down. Today, she had elected to wear a tight thigh-high skirt, revealing a lot of leg.

‘We had to get our bags from Mr Parker’s class.’

‘They’re lying, miss!’ came a squeaky voice from the front of the line. It belonged to Nancy, the girl who’d collected up the phones in tutor.

‘What’s that, Nancy?’ Mrs Bowery asked.

‘We took our bags to assembly, miss,’ Nancy explained. ‘They were just taking their time.’

‘Is that true?’ Mrs Bowery asked the pair.

They didn’t answer. Instead, they looked down at their shoes.

‘I thought so. Thank you for informing me, Ms Brittle.’

Mrs Bowery walked toward the door to the sports hall. ‘Okay, everyone, before we go in, I want absolute silence. Do you understand what I’ve just said?’

‘Yes, miss,’ came a chorus of twelve-year-old voices.

The doors to the building pushed in. This time, it was Jonnie and Sam. ‘Sorry we’re late, miss!’

‘Jonnie Barron! Samuel Bright. Where have you two been?’

‘Needed to take a piss before the exam, miss,’ Jonnie shouted down the corridor.

‘Language, Jonnie!’ she said, before realising he had a sarcastic response. ‘And don’t you dare say—’

‘—Enlighs, miss.’

‘Right, that’s it. See me during break time.’

Jonnie caught a glimpse of her generous posterior and licked his lips with delight. ‘Can’t wait, miss.’

Mrs Bowery pushed the door open. ‘Okay, in you go.’

The students filed in one-by-one. Nancy stopped by the door and looked up at Mrs Bowery.

‘Miss?’

‘What is it, Nancy?’

‘You know Jonnie does it on purpose, don’t you?’

‘Does what on purpose, sweetie?’

Nancy took a deep breath and sighed as Jonnie walked into the sports hall with Sam. ‘Little bitch.’

‘Shut up!’ she said.

‘You shut up!’ Jonnie’s voice echoed around the sports hall.

‘Nancy?’

‘Yes, miss?’

‘What do you mean? Jonnie does what on purpose?’

‘He does bad things so you’ll give him detention. I heard him say he fancies you and likes looking at your legs and boobs, miss.’

Mrs Bowery swallowed hard and looked up at Jonnie, who took his seat at the back of the sports hall. ‘Really?’

‘Yes, miss. He said he wants to put his willy between your—’

‘—Okay, that’s enough. Thank you, Nancy.’ Shocked, she didn’t quite know how to respond. Nancy, the do-gooder canary, needed removing from any further embarrassment.

‘Okay, miss.’

Nancy trundled into the sports hall along with the horde of students. A grid of one hundred single chairs and an accompanying desk filled up the space.

Vicky and Lizzie weren’t sat together. Vicky Hopper sat in the middle of the sports hall. Lizzie’s surname – White – meant, as usual, she was last in the food chain. She took her seat at the front of the sports hall, near the tutor desk.

Jonnie Barron and Sam Bright – lucky buggers – were sat next to each other right at the back of the hall.

Each student looked for their name written on a small bit of paper on each desk and finally took their seats.

‘Okay, pencil cases and equipment out, please!’ Mrs Bowery said as she walked to the front desk. ‘You have five minutes until the exam starts. It will last one hour exactly.’

She pointed to the giant wall clock hanging on the front wall by the basketball stand. ‘Absolute silence, please. No peeking at the papers until I tell you!’

Jonnie looked over at Sam at the adjacent seat. ‘Psst!’

Sam didn’t hear him. He took a pencil out from his bag.

‘Psst!’

Still no response.

Jonnie sighed and kicked his table. ‘I said Psst, gay boy!’

‘Huh?’ Sam turned to Jonnie, confused. ‘What? What do you want?’

‘You got a spare pencil?’

‘Haven’t you got one?’

‘Yeah, but it’s my bag.’ Jonnie kicked his rucksack under the table. ‘I can’t be arsed to get it out.’

‘Ugh…’ Sam reached into his case and took out a second pencil. He flung it at his friend. ‘There.’

Jonnie caught it. ‘Cheers.’

Lizzie lined up three pencils, two erasers and a sharpener on her desktop. She looked over her shoulder and saw Vicky. She tapped the end of her pencil on the desk in tune to her toe kicking the squeaky sports floor.

Vicky gave Lizzie a wink. She raised her eyebrows and nodded at the door to the sports hall.

Lizzie blew Vicky a kiss and winked at her. She turned to the door.

Mr Bloom, the technology teacher, hurried into the hall. ‘Sorry I’m late, Mrs Bowery.’

‘That’s okay, Mr Bloom,’ she smiled and turned to the children. ‘Okay, when I say, you may turn over your papers and begin.’

Mr Bloom took a seat behind the desk and kept a close eye on the students. Mrs Bowery folded her arms and took a deep breath.

‘Three… two… one…’

She looked at the wall clock. Exactly 9:00 am.

‘Make sure your full name is at the top in block capitals, please.’

The children turned over their papers and began to read the questions.

‘You may begin.’

About Andrew Mackay

Some authors are afraid to cross the line.

Me? Oh, I’m glad you asked! I make “the line” my starting point…

My brand is satire.

I hop between genres like madman on crack because my razor-sharp literary knife is hungry for political and social commentary. One genre just can’t cut it (if you’ll forgive the pun.) I’m obsessed, I tell you!

I write straight-up humor and farce, horror, crime, romance… all under the banner of satire.

My novels often contain a ruthless commentary on society, delving into the darker machinations of modern life. They can be uproarious, funny, outrageous and shocking. Make no mistake, though. They are this way for a reason, and always come equipped with a sense of humanity and wit.

My influences include John Cleese, Tom Sharpe, Kurt Vonnegut, James Patterson, Hunter S Thompson, Douglas Adams, Imogen Edwards-Jones, Michael Frayn, Chris Morris, Jerry Sadowitz, Christopher Hitchins, Bill Maher, George Carlin, Jordan Peterson, Pat Condell, and writer/director Larry Cohen.

My obsessions include (and are essentially limited to) obscene amounts of: smoking, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, sex, debating, daydreaming and writing about himself in the third person.

Website – https://chromevalleybooks.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/chromevalleybooks

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Andrew_CVB

Join Andrew Mackay on Facebook for a virtual launch party tonight for a selection of author takeovers and giveaways.

17:00 – 20:00 CST  which is  23:00 – 02:00 GMT (14/15 Feb)

https://www.facebook.com/events/254661718405712/