Avon · commercial fiction · HarperCollins Publishers · new reads

The Escape by C L Taylor

The-escape-cltaylor-aiysha-reads-book-blog

“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.

The Sunday Times bestseller returns with her biggest and best book yet. The perfect read for fans of Paula Hawkins and Clare Mackintosh.

I read The Escape in three sittings because it really was that good! Here’s what I thought about it.

The story centres around Jo Blackmore who is un an unhappy marriage. She suffers from agoraphobia and is still grieving the loss of her first born. This loss has understandably made her over-protective of her daughter, Elise.

Quite early on in the novel Jo is approached by a strange women, Paula, in the street who claims she knows her husband, Max. This stranger makes Jo feel uneasy as she threatens Jo and her daughter; a chilling turn of events begin to unfold after this. This is certainly not the last time that Jo hears of Paula. The seed of doubt is planted in Jo’s mind, yet Max denies knowing anything about the odd woman that Jo describes to him. As the threat begins to turn into a harsh reality, life as Jo knows it becomes terrifying. Her parenting skills are questioned and the situation escalated until Jo’s own husband starts to turn against her. With no-one she can fully trust, where is Jo to turn?

A good psychological thriller will dive straight into the story and kick off with lots of action from the very first scene. Cally does exactly that with this novel. There is no sense of security as I read this – I had absolute no idea what was going to happen, I was almost always on the edge, fearing the worst but praying that things would work out for Jo. This really was an excellently written, chilling page-turner from the very beginning all the way to the end.

Jo is a fascinating and complex character and it’s very easy to sympathise with her as she does go through an awful hell-of-alot throughout the novel. Her mental health is being called into question, which sometimes allows you to doubt her, but then you’re also being swayed to doubt Max too. So, who can you really trust? Cally creates believable and realistic cases for both Jo and Max and she allows both characters’ viewpoints to come across successfully throughout the novel.

The novel also allows the readers to relate to the circumstances being explored – especially through the character of Jo. It was very easy to feel her fear, anxiety, confusion etc as the plot developed. Being without children, I tried to put myself in her situation – what would I do if I had to protect my child at all costs? I was on one big adrenaline rush reading this novel and could not highly recommend it enough. I like books that make me think, but also surprise me with great, big hooks and twists and turns.

Many thanks to the Avon team for allowing me to review this.

The Escape was published by Avon, HarperCollins on March 2017.

Avon · fiction · Women's Fiction

If Ever I fall by S.D Robertson

if-ever-i-fall-aiysha-reads

Is holding on harder than letting go?

Dan’s life has fallen apart at the seams. All he’s ever wanted is to keep his family together, but everything seems beyond repair and, try as he might, he can’t turn back time.

Maria is drowning in grief. She spends her days writing letters that will never be answered, unable to connect with the real world.

In the face of real tragedy, can this couple find a way to reconcile their past with a new future? And is love enough to carry them through? 

I’d heard so much about this book that I knew I had to get my hands on it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been touched by a genuine, emotionally-gripping and beautifully written story and it was effortless to read. The story reveals and centres around a broken family that are trying to get through the storm of loss and devastation.  This is achieved by having three very distinct narrative threads and it did take a while to understand that all three were deeply connected to one another.

There is Maria who writes letters to Sam as a way of dealing with the tragic loss that she is struggling to come to terms with. She also writes these letters as a means to explore her marriage with Dan and to also calm her OCD. Each time Maria writes a letter to Sam, the plot moves forward in time, which allows the plot to unfold.

Then there is Dan and each time we meet him, the time is going backwards leading up to a very specific, tragic event (that would be every parent’s nightmare) that happened a couple of years ago. In the book we get to see how both Maria and Dan deal with this tragic event, but in their own  unique ways. We also see how this event alone has strained their marriage and their family dynamics, as everything from that point onwards feels as though it is falling a part.

There is also a man named Jack who is suffering from severe amnesia and is being looked after by a retired Dr. Miles in a remote part of Wales. Jack tries to regain his memory and does sometimes gets flashes of memory but fails to understand how they’re connected to himself. I thought the exploration of amnesia through Jack’s character was very insightful as I knew very little about the illness and it helps to bring awareness to the severity of it.

Towards the end of the book, these three separate strands come together by looking at the tragic event itself, as Dan relives the devastation (not going to say what happens, but it would be most parents’ nightmare to have to go through this.) As the threads are woven together, everything begins to make perfect sense.

This is a touching book that explores the complexities of a nuclear family and how a family can cope with loss. This book also focuses on marriage and the complexities of a marriage fizzling out when children are involved. I thoroughly enjoyed reading every part of it as the plot and characters was well developed and I love losing myself in other people’s lives to take the pressure off of focusing on my own life so much, and this book allowed me to do just that.

If Ever I Fall was published on 9 February by Avon.

 

 

 

 

 

Avon · fiction · HarperCollins Publishers · psychological thrillers

Perfect Remains by Helen Fields

perfect-remains-800x528Devoured in three days, it was that brilliant!

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness…

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

Perfect Remains has all the right amount of ingredients for a chilling page-turning psychological thriller. It has a complex yet original plot and an intriguing lead that keeps readers hooked from the very first page.

Helen was able to really develop each of her characters, which played an integral role in the plot. The nameless killer who we meet at the very beginning was developed so beautifully and realistically. Dr. King is a university lecturer, a very normalish looking man and you wouldn’t think he would be capable of going to such extents to torture the women, (I would say) he could never really have.

The character of Luc Callanach was also very interesting due to his sordid past and saucy attitude. He became a likeable detective quite early on in the book and the relationship he shares with Ava Turner is also likeable, though I wished there was a bit more of a romantic thread there – maybe in book 2, fingers crossed!

The book is narrated by alternating chapters between Callanach and his department, and by the murderer himself as he uncovers his hidden tracks for abducting his female victims. My favourite chapters had to be (hands down) when Dr. King gets to work in capturing and torturing his victims. I also found it really creepy how he wanted them to learn German and recite German to him. What a sick guy but still couldn’t stop reading as the plot was so dark and compelling.

Helen was able to run multiple story lines at the same time, which also added more tension to the main plot. I was extremely happy when the investigation came to a close and all was solved. I’m looking forward to reading Perfect Prey and have high expectations of it.

Perfect Remains was published in January 2017 by Avon.

2016 · Avon · fiction · HarperCollins Publishers · new reads · psychological thrillers · Uncategorized

Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington | Revie

https://allthingsbooksweb.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/saving-sophie-book-review-all-things-blog-20161012_093225_burst01.jpg?w=663A psychological thriller with lots of twists and turns that will keep you hooked. Opening with a prologue – anonymous voice, a captured girl. We are then plunged headlong into the main plot – Sophie is missing, but nothing makes sense.

When Sophie Finch returns home from a night out with her friends with a police escort having been found wandering drunk alone, her mother, Karen is immediately worried., blaming Sophie’s friends for having allowed her to get into such a state and abandoning her. With Sophie uttering something incoherent about her friend Amy, and her behavior being so erratic, Karen begins to suspect that that the issue is much deeper with Sophie and perhaps, even Amy. When she contacts Amy’s mother only to find out that she hadn’t returned him, the worry transforms to panic and when a young girl’s body is found near to where the police found Sophie, everyone fears the absolute worst.

The chapters are told alternately form the point of view of Sophie and her Karen. This, I thought was really affective to hear to view points of the same incidents. Karen’s narrative reveals her past, her secrets and her psychological issues. By having two main protagonists, Carrington has two sets of secrets and buried pasts to uncover as well as develop and explore more relationships, friendships – both between Sophie’s friends and Karen’s friendship with Rachel, relationships between mother and daughter, teenager’s relationship and marriage. These subplots work together to the main plot and the tensions, which these subplots create, are immense.

Carrington’s prose is relentlessly gripping from the very first page. It is an absolute page-turner of a thriller with all the necessary ingredients of a gripping and chilling psychological thriller. I managed to finish the book in two sittings. Saving Sophie consume my thoughts when I wasn’t reading it, I would think about the characters and the situations they found themselves in and would pull out my phone when I had any moment to keep reading.

Like most modern psychological thrillers, social media and the internet are integral to Saving Sophie and it fascinates me the way that the power of the web has affected crime writing – not only of making criminals more powerful or difficult to track down but also the work of the police and investigation teams becomes more complex. I loved how Carrington developed the characters through the use of emails as you can really get a sense of their personalities from the way they communicate.

Without giving the juicy bits away, I would say that this novel is definitely about secrets and uncovering them. Expect to be blown away with the revelations, surprises, twists and turns, as this is exactly what Saving Sophie will give you.

Saving Sophie is Sam Carrington’s debut novel. It was published by Avon books, which is an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.