Sleep blogtour – C.L. Taylor

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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 has 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…

A big thank you to Sabah Khan for inviting me on the blog tour, I loved The Fear and I absolutely could not wait to get stuck into Sleep – and let me tell you, I got so engrossed that I’ve lost a fair bit of sleep myself across my Easter break in stunning Fife this week as I could not stop reading til I found out the truth…

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Sleep introduces us to Anna who is trapped in a nightmarish world of insomnia and horrifying flashbacks to a night she simply cannot erase from her memory in this compelling and gripping read. Anna has escaped from her ‘real life’ to Rum, a remote Sottish island where she hopes she can put some distance between herself and the trauma that she’s been through.

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I absolutely love books that are set on Islands and seek them out whenever I can. It’s the sensation of being ‘marooned’ I feel, that I’m ceaselessly drawn to and I love the feeling that the answer is somewhere in this confined space-  if only we can just work out where.

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As a result of the accident, where she was behind the wheel, Anna decides that the isolation of her new situation might well be a fresh start for her and hopes that the only baggage she brings will be in her suitcase. If you are a fan of Cally Taylor, you will know that her characters often believe that they know what’s best for them, only to discover to their peril that the truth is very far from their initial estimation, and Anna runs true to form. As her guests begin to arrive, it becomes apparent that the seven strangers have all turned up with secrets of their own, and it seems to Anna that she’s become trapped in a nightmare with a murderer among them and her past slowly and insidiously catching up with her…

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I loved the way that Cally Taylor switches up the point of view in this book as we then hear from  multiple perspectives as it allows even more suspense as we wonder exactly how much we can trust what we are hearing and we all know that Cally Taylor novels are full of twists and red herrings so it added a dimension of intrigue as I navigated myself through the stepping stones of the story, picking my way forward carefully just like Anna does as it is increasingly hard for her to know exactly whose truths to believe.

 

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C L Taylor has really created a troubling and disturbing tale here. She’s a seasoned pro at misdirecting you and playing with your fears and you will definitely feel more than a little disconcerted after reading certain passages in Sleep. The writing is skilful and fast paced and you will be up late trying to discover with Anna who exactly has uncovered her secrets and what they are going to do next. The island setting really made the tension here particularly realistic and give you a real feeling of paranoia and entrapment that racked up the tension nicely and kept me reading into the wee small hours just so that I could find out exactly was going on and if my suspicions were correct.

Anna’s terrifying ordeal and the way we are constantly kept on our toes means that you’ll race through Sleep at a breakneck pace.  I hate spoilers, so all I’ll say is that you won’t be disappointed. This is sure to please Cally’s legions of fans and bound to win her a few more! It’ll definitely be seen on tons of sunloungers this summer and will definitely be a very popular beach read of 2019

 

Buy yourself a copy here

Writer On The Shelf

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C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and son. She started writing fiction in 2005 and her short stories have won several awards and have
been published by a variety of literary and women’s magazines. C.L. Taylor was voted as one of the Bestselling Adult Fiction Debut Authors of 2014 in The Bookseller.

Author Links: Twitter | Website

Pilgrim – Blog tour

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In Dublin, fourteen-year-old Jen and her father, Charlie, are struggling to cope with the death of their mother/wife. Charlie, in particular, seems to have given up on life. When Jen’s aunt, Suzanne, convinces them to go on a pilgrimage to a strange village in Yugoslavia, there is hope that some solace or healing may be brought to their broken lives.

On their arrival, however, they find a village in upheaval. An influx of pilgrims have swarmed into the village, each looking for their own miracle. Then there are the local police, who aim to suppress this so-called `revolution’. Amid all this, Jen makes a friend, Iva – one of the children who claims to have seen the Virgin Mary.

Told with a deep humanity and grace, Pilgrim is a story about a man who feels he has nothing to live for, and a daughter who is determined to prove him wrong. A nuanced and moving exploration of grief and faith. Unique subject matter based around the famed Medjugorje apparitions. The author already has a dedicated readership built up from her two non-fiction books on Medjugorje. This is her first fictional take on the story.

We all have experienced places that have ‘spoken’ to us. Whether you are religious or not, experiencing some greater power in a special place is an overwhelming feeling. I’ve never been to Lourdes or Knock, and definitely haven’t travelled to Medjugorje – but I really felt some kind of deeper peace last year at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona which was everything that I hoped it would be and lighting a candle for lost ones made me feel a sense of peace and calmness that stayed with me long after leaving.

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Jen’s hopes in this fascinating novel are that her pilgrimage will have a more immediate and practical impact on her life – after the loss of her mum, she is desperate not to also lose her dad Charlie – who is coping with the loss of his wife by drinking too much and trying to escape from a world which seems set against him. She believes that this pilgrimage will transform her life and heal the wounds of loss for her family.

This novel allows us to follow Jen on her pilgrimage to a tiny hilltop village in Yugoslavia in a bid to seek something, some greater power that will change all of their lives for the better. The pilgrims around her all have their own stories, their own hopes, fears and beliefs and this is one of the things that I found most compelling about this read. I was engrossed in all of the overlaying stories and the unspoken motivations that drew this disparate group of people together on a common journey and asked them to believe…in something that defies explanation and asks them to have faith in faith itself.

We really bond with Jen as her innocence and her hope allow us to see this pilgrimage through her optimistic young eyes. Her determination to make the best out of things and to keep going even when things are not going entirely to plan really endeared her to me and I was absolutely rooting for her as she genuinely sees this journey as a means of changing her life for the better – and I was with her every step of the way.  Her pain at losing her mother is very real, but she refuses to let this define her and her bravery and determination to find hope for her father make her one of the most memorable characters I’ve read this year. I was really sad to leave her behind as our pilgrimage together ended.

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Charlie himself is a much less sympathetic character as he seems so unwilling to actually help himself. He has allowed his grief to bury him alive and not even the hope and optimism of his daughter can drag him out of the hole he has gotten into. Although it was easy to judge Charlie at times, Hall is such a skilled writer that she does ask us to consider why Charlie might behave the way he does and this allows us to build our empathy for him the more we read on and find out his story by walking in his shoes and learning that everyone does ‘walk their own path’ on this journey.

Iva was the most intriguing character for me: her place as one of the visionary six. fascinated me as it was difficult to understand how she dealt with the responsibility of this situation and being set apart from her peers in this way must have been a real weight on her shoulders.  I love being inspired by books to do some research afterwards and this led me on a real journey looking into the six children of Medjugorje and their often heartbreaking stories. This quote from Mirjana from Our Lady shows that the burdens these young people carried was very real and it is hard to read about the way that the authorities treated these young people for their beliefs during the communist regime.

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“Now you will have to turn to God in the faith like any other person. I will appear to you on the day of your birthday and when you will experience difficulties in life. Mirjana, I have chosen you; I have confided in you everything that is essential. I have also shown you many terrible things. You must now bear it all with courage. Think of Me and think of the tears I must shed for that. You must remain courageous. You have quickly grasped the messages. You must also understand now that I have to go away. Be courageous.”

You can read more about Mirjana and her companions here; I was truly fascinated by her story and loved finding out more about this part of history.

Even though I am not a religious person myself, the description of the visionary six was beautifully conveyed. You could absolutely believe in their devotion to their duty and feel their bond and calling through Hall’s prose. It does not matter whether you are a Christian or an atheist, there is something very compelling about the way that the Gospa is portrayed in this novel that will captivate you and make you want to read more about this intriguing story that I’d never heard of before reading this novel. For many people, they were a beacon of hope in a dark time and this really shines through in Hall’s novel as she allows us to see the transformative power of hope for those that do believe.

I would like to thank Mercia Press for a copy of Pilgrim to read and review and to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for inviting me on the tour. I think that #Pilgrim looks absolutely amazing in my #OnTheShelfie and it makes me so happy to encounter books through my blogging that I might otherwise never have encountered.

Buy yourself a copy here

 

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Writer On The Shelf

 

Louise Hall is from Malahide, Co. Dublin. 
She has previously published two works of non-fiction, ‘Medjugorje: What it Means to Me’ and ‘Medjugorje and Me: A Collection of Stories from Across the World’. 
Her fiction has been published in ‘The Irish Times’ and been shortlisted for numerous competitions, such as the RTE Guide/Penguin Short Story Award, the Colm Toibin International Short Story Competition and the Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Awards. 

‘Pilgrim’ is her debut novel.



Website : www.louisehall.ie
Twitter : @LouHallWriter
Instagram : @louisehallwriter







Mercier Press is Ireland’s oldest independent publishing house, based in Cork. It was founded in 1944 by Captain Seán and Mary Feehan. The publishing house was named after Cardinal Mercier of Belgium, a man who in his day, proved himself not only a man of thought, whose mind ranged over every subject of vital interest to humanity, but a man of action in the varying circumstances of a life that shone before the eyes of a watching world. The voice of Cardinal Mercier could not be stilled and Mercier Press is proud to borrow from him the inspiration for its publishing programme, which is a belief in the importance of Ireland’s ability to provide accessible histories and cultural books for Irish readers and all who are interested in Irish cultural life.

Website : www.mercierpress.ie