Her Last Holiday by C.L. Taylor #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping debut novel by C.L. Taylor, Her Last Holiday.

Her Last Holiday: the most addictive crime thriller of 2021 from the bestselling author of Strangers and Sleep by [C.L. Taylor]

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You come to Soul Shrink to be healed. You don’t expect to die.

Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong.

Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of two people. But he has never let on what happened to the third victim: Jenna.

Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden?

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a huge C.L. Taylor fan, so I couldn’t wait to start her latest book, Her Last Holiday. As I have found with all of her books, I was desperate to keep turning the pages once I got to the end of each chapter. This is the type of book which you can quite happily lose an afternoon to.

I was intrigued right from the beginning when Tom Wade was released from prison. He was arrested for the deaths of two people at one of his wellness retreats. I wanted to know more about what had happened at that time and who this man really was. But it’s also revealed that another woman, Jenna, also disappeared. He has never said what happened to her. What is he keeping secret?

I really wanted to get to the bottom of what had happened to Jenna. When Tom is released from prison, his wife, Kate, is desperate to get their business up and running again. Tom is reluctant to go ahead with it, but it’s Kate, who is really driving his return to the business. I didn’t know what to think about Kate. There’s no way I would feel comfortable in going along to an event run by a man who has just served time in prison for being responsible for two deaths. There is tension right from the start, but what can Tom do now that guests have arrived?

But there is someone among the guests who wants to find out what happened to Jenna and what Tom knows. Fran is Jenna’s older sister, and she is desperate to find out the truth. Fran has no closure; she has no idea if Jenna is alive or dead. There are some very tense scenes when she tries to confront Tom, and I had no idea just how dangerous he was. I could never predict how he was going to react.

There are some bombshell moments when the truth is revealed as C.L. Taylor wraps the plot up. She brings everything altogether very well, and I loved how she gradually did this. Her Last Holiday isn’t an action-packed book, but it is very gripping, and I love C.L. Taylor’s writing. If you’re a fan of her books, then you are in for a treat. I loved it.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 29th April 2021

Print length: 388 pages

Her Last Holiday is available to buy:

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Strangers by C.L. Taylor #bookreview blog tour @callytaylor @AvonBooksUK #DontTalkToStrangers

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for C.L. Taylor’s latest psychological thriller, Strangers. With thanks to Sanjana Cunniah at Avon Books for inviting me to take part.

Strangers: the gripping new book from the Sunday Times bestseller by [Taylor, C.L.]

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Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.
And Alice is being stalked.

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.

Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve been a big fan of C.L. Taylor for a while now, and I think that Strangers, her latest, is her most addictive and compelling book yet. Whenever I’ve picked up one of her books, I’ve read them in just a couple of days. C.L. Taylor creates a cast of intriguing characters, and she draws you into their lives and personal struggles. Nothing binds them at the start of this book, and how she brings them together is done brilliantly. C.L. Taylor will have you wondering throughout how everything is going to pan out, and how she does this will totally shock you.

We’re introduced to three characters, Gareth, Ursula and Alice. They are all going through some kind of turmoil in their lives. Gareth finds himself at the centre of a police probe which he has no idea about; Ursula is addicted to shop-lifting and the thrill of it, which is why she has just been kicked out of the flat she shares with her friend. Alice is scared that she is being stalked and is constantly on edge. And in the midst of this, strange disappearances are sparking intrigue in the local community, prompting many to start discussing them online.

What really makes this book exceptional are the characters. I found their lives and their circumstance utterly compelling, and it’s what made me turn the pages faster and faster. I think I felt most for Ursula as she battles her addiction to shop-lifting. You can see that she is desperate to stop doing this as it is destroying her social life, particularly when her friends kick her out of her flat. And I engaged with Gareth and Alice. Gareth works as a security guard, which is already a demanding job, but he also has to care for his mother, who has dementia. I felt exasperated for him when he became involved in a police investigation, especially as he already had a lot of other things going on in his life demanding attention. Alice is desperate to find love again, but she is also having to deal with her teenage daughter trying to give her advice. But her daughter may not be giving her advice in the most sensitive of ways.

It’s really hard to talk more about the plot without giving anything away, but what I can say is that you will be pulled into the lives of the characters and the story, C.L. Taylor has created without any effort. If you’re already a fan of her work, you’ll no doubt already know what a treat you have in store. Strangers is C.L. Taylor’s best book yet.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 2nd April 2020

Print length: 400 pages

Strangers is available to buy:

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Sleep by C.L. Taylor #bookreview blog tour @callytaylor @AvonBooksUK

I’m delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Sleep by C.L. Taylor today on my blog, I’ve been a fan of her novels for a while now, but this one I think, is her best yet.

Sleep: Pre-order the twistiest, most suspenseful thriller of 2019! by [Taylor, C.L.]

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All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

MY THOUGHTS

Sleep is my favourite book yet by C.L. Taylor. It’s a dark, claustrophobic read that will keep you gripped right from the first page.

C.L. Taylor always manages to hook me very early on in her novels, and she manages tension so well. The end of each chapter always leaves me wanting more. The novel opens as a horrific car accident takes place, taking the lives of two people and severely injuring another. Anna is the person who was at the wheel of the car involved in the accident. She is haunted by the deaths of her colleagues who were in the car with her and blames herself. Desperate for a fresh start, Anna relocates to a remote Scottish island. But someone is keen to make sure Anna hasn’t forgotten what she’s done, and they are eager to make sure that she pays for her role in her colleague’s deaths.

The claustrophobic setting of the hotel on the Scottish island, where Anna starts a new job made this book a real winner for me. There was a growing sense of alarm and danger, especially as they realised they were beginning to run out of food. The group of guests all have their own, well-crafted backstories and as Anna started to believe that she was being targeted, I didn’t know who I could trust. C.L. Taylor created a splendid locked room mystery, and she brought to life a truly isolated setting, especially when the storm struck leaving the guests and Anna stranded in the hotel.

This is an absolutely must-read for fans of psychological thrillers. I remember how chilling I found the ending of C.L. Taylor’s last book and she delivers another brilliant one here, after finishing it I’m still thinking about the characters and what they’re all getting up to. And I think I’m going to be thinking about them for a while.

A top read from C.L. Taylor. I was never sure how this book was going to pan out, and the tension kept me glued to the pages.

Thank you to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for the invitation to join the blog tour and for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 4th April 2019

Print length: 368 pages

If you would like to purchase Sleep, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

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The Fear by C.L. Taylor Blog tour @callytaylor @AvonBooksUK

Source: Review Copy

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Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…

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…

MY THOUGHTS

The Fear is perhaps C.L. Taylor’s darkest novel yet. She explores some unsettling themes in her latest book and it has an ending which really gave me chills.

We are introduced to Lou Wandsworth, who, ten years ago, ran away with her teacher, Mike Hughes to France. But her dream of happiness turned into a living nightmare when Mike became a man unlike the one she thought she knew. Ten years later and she discovers that he could be grooming another young girl, a thirteen-year-old girl called Chloe. Lou is desperate to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself, but how can she stop it when Chloe doesn’t want to listen to her advice?

The story is told through the narratives of Chloe, Lou and a mystery woman called Wendy. Wendy is one of the main sources of tension throughout the novel and what I found really interesting was how C.L. Taylor played around with her character. My perception of her changed throughout the book, in my opinion, I felt that she was the most engaging character.

Through Lou’s diary entries and Chloe’s narrative we can see how easily Mike grooms and manipulates them; there are some scenes in the book which do make for an uncomfortable read but the plot and C.L. Taylor’s writing compelled me to read on, she is an author who pulls no punches in her writing.

As with her previous books The Fear makes for an engaging read, once you’re hooked by C.L. Taylor’s writing you won’t want to put it down. She is a writer who really makes you have strong feelings about her characters; she will have you shaking your head and shouting at them for the decisions they’re making.

The Fear is a tense, rollercoaster of a read, if you have enjoyed C.L. Taylor’s previous novels then you are in for a treat. Thank you to Sabah Khan at Avon for sending me a copy of the book to review and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 22nd March 2018

Print length: 416 pages

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