#BookReview THE TEMPLE HOUSE VANISHING by RACHEL DONOHUE #TheTempleHouseVanishing @ThePigeonHoleHQ

ABOUT THE BOOK

Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, and act out passionately as a result. That is, until he and Louisa suddenly disappear.Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair. The search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.The Temple House Vanishing is a stunning, intensely atmospheric novel of unrequited longing, dark obsession and uneasy consequences.


PUBLISHED BY  CORVUS


PURCHASE LINKS


Amazon  £12.99

hive.co.uk  £10.55

whsmith  £10.65

MY REVIEW


I read this via the Pigeonhole app.

This was a dark, unsettling slow burn of a read that really explores the complexities of obsessive love and teenage girls. How growing up can be so tangled and traumatic, and how the art of love can cloud the judgement of those involved.

The story centres around a school where a teacher and young student went missing 25 years ago and the scandal has never really died down. So when a journalist gets the chance to investigate the story a little deeper, even she isn’t prepared for what she’s about to find out.

The story is also told from the viewpoints of the girls from the elite Catholic boarding school – Louisa and Victoria – who were involved at the time with the art teacher Mr Lavelle and his influence on them and other girls under his ‘charge’. This was always the unsettling part of the story for me – a teacher taking advantage of his position, knowing full well that the young girls were battling with their own identities and feeling vunerable. The more you read into the story though, the more you understand just how vindictive and manipulative that teenage girls can be!!

With the mystery into the whereabouts of the teacher and student being told slowly, we get to hear how the events affected everyone then and now – how they were seduced by personalities, probably in rebellion to the strict rules imposed on their day to day life at the school. This art teacher gave them the chance to express themselves more – some may have just taken that a little too literally!

I did find the ‘to and fro’ way of story telling a little confusing at times, and that may have affected my ability to connect more with these characters. They came across as quite heartless and that made it difficult to bond with them, but maybe that was their age showing and it was all just a front to save themselves from hurt. They were quick to put up walls to protect themselves when needed and that was how they dealt with the world around them. None of them wanted to appear vunerable as others would have taken advantage of that fact.

The viewpoint of the journalist was an interesting aspect – she had a vague connection with one of the girls and the area so that helped her delve a little deeper than others had gone, and she often seemed shocked by what she found out. Looking back at life at the school between the girls just goes to show how vicious young women can be – girls are evil!!! But they thought they were in love! They were deluded and their powers of rational thought had long gone so the consequences often proved to be more brutal than they should have been.

An interesting study of characters and a brooding read!


★★★

#BookReview #20BooksOfSummer FOLLOW ME TO GROUND by SUE RAINSFORD

Back again! Time for me to review Book 16 – and guess what?!! another one that wasn’t on my original list! But it was Cosy Reading Night over the weekend and this one just spoke to me with its’ lovely gold cover and was around 200 pages so perfect for an evening of reading and scoffing of chocolate!!

‘Equal parts beauty and horror, and unlike anything you will read this year’ TEA OBREHT

‘Seethingly assured debut fuses magical realism with critical and feminist theory’ GUARDIAN


ABOUT THE BOOK
In house in a wood, Ada and her father live peacefully, tending to their garden and the wildlife in it. They are not human though. Ada was made by her father from the Ground, a unique patch of earth with birthing and healing properties. Though perhaps he didn’t get her quite right. They spend their days healing the local human folk – named Cures – who visit them, suspiciously, with their ailments.

When Ada embarks on a relationship with a local Cure named Samson, and is forced to choose between her old life with her father, and a new one with her human lover. Her decision will uproot the town – and the Ground itself – for ever.

A poised and simmering tour-de-force, FOLLOW ME TO GROUND is a sinister vision of desire and freewill, voiced in earthy prose and eviscerating detail by an astoundingly original new writer.

‘Fierce, palpable, hynoptic. A dazzling, troubling dream’ COLIN BARRETT

LONGLISTED FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOT PRIZE 2019

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £9.99

hive.co.uk  £10.25

whsmith  £9.35

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a dark, strange, absorbing and extremely enjoyable read! One of those books that didn’t always work for me, but the bits that did were so captivating that I just wanted to read on!

Ada and her father live in the woods and they aren’t human. But they’re ‘tolerated’ by the humans living nearby as they have gifts that means that they can cure sickness. It’s how they get by. 

Ada was made from The Ground nearby, which is a patch of earth that has birthing and healing properties – it must also be respected as it can eat you up so you do wonder just what is the meaning of this ground – a double edged sword maybe?!

This book allows you to see the complexities of a father/daughter relationship along with how those seen as outsiders are seen within the community and there’s always a fear of them despite their help when needed.

Ada grows close to one of the ‘cures’ she is treating, and when she spends more time with Samson the dynamics change with her father – is he being over protective? Or is she being blinded by the overbearing personality of Samson. 

WE also get to see little thoughts on the pair from the people they’ve cured – the rumours, their experiences and this was a really interesting little side story. 

As Ada grows in confidence in her own abilities she starts to think more for herself and that doesn’t always lead to the best decisions, and with Samson’s own sister showing concerns you are always wondering just who to trust in their judgement of characters.

A really interesting and twisted little story and one that I raced through and hope to re-read in the future!

★★★★

#BookReview Burn by Hannah Pearl #publicationday @RubyFiction

About the book

There’s no smoke without fire …

Jess has always held a candle for Dex – so when he comes back into her life after a school reunion, she couldn’t be happier.

But something happened to Dex before he mysteriously left the area all those years before – something that still gives him terrible nightmares and makes him seem cold and distant.

And then there are the rumours – rumours that Jess can’t bring herself to believe. But when the truth finally comes out, can Jess be the one to help Dex fight the demons from his past before they consume him completely?

Published by Ruby Fiction

Purchase Links

Amazon

Apple Books

Google Play

Kobo

Nook

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a fascinating darker read – dealing with a very difficult subject but showing just how the consequences of the actions of others can affect you and those around you, and just how the act of time can give you the strength to fight an injustice.

When a group of people are back at their old school to raise funds for rebuilding it after a fire, they can’t help but reminisce about the ‘old days’ especially when they see many faces from the past! Jess and her friends also notice Dexter there, who left under strange circumstances so she can’t resist the chance to reconnect with him and try and find out what he’s been up to – and just what happened to him before he left the school.

As they reconnect she notices that he’s not the same kind of personality as she remembers, and when he starts having nightmares when they are back together she just wants to try and help him get over whatever has triggered these feelings. 

As he’s been dealing with these things by himself for so long, he’s reluctant to have someone come in and ‘fix’ him, but it’s nice to see how supportive Jess is to him and the severity of what happened in the past is just something he needs to let others help him with.

I enjoyed how this book deals with a very difficult but relevant subject.  It puts to the front the question of  ‘who do you believe’ and people being taken advantage of by others who are in a  position of power and handles things in a sensitive and dignified manner.  Dex begins to see the importance of sharing and opening up to others and how the rumour mill affected how people saw him. Jess is also a really cool character as she remains level headed and pragmatic in her approach to helping her friend.  

A smart and thought provoking read!

🔥🔥🔥🔥

#BlogTour Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce #RandomThingsTours #BloodOrange #BookReview

Huge delight to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for BLOOD ORANGE by HARRIET TYCE.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for letting me be part of it all!

Today I’ll be sharing my thoughts about the book and it’s one of those books that I found myself unable to put down once I’d started reading it!! Always a good sign with a book!!

ABOUT THE BOOK

21st February 2019

Published in hardback by Wildfire, £12.99

Ebook and Audiobook also available

An utterly addictive, spectacularly dark psychological thriller that explores the power of desire, jealousy and betrayal.

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems . . .

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.

Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.

Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself. I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.

But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything . . .

A disturbing, toxic and compelling novel that explores the power of fear and desire, jealousy and betrayal, love and hate, BLOOD ORANGE introduces a stunning new voice in psychological suspense. 

Praise for Blood Orange

‘A Classy thriller with complex and compelling characters’ CLARE MACKINTOSH, author of I SEE YOU

‘Blood Orange is destined to be the debut that everyone is talking about in 2019. Dark, original and utterly compelling, I could not put it down. And what a twist at the end!’ LISA JEWELL, author of I FOUND YOU

‘A dark and disturbing domestic noir’

LOUISE JENSEN, author of THE SURROGATE

‘Blood Orange kept me frantically turning the pages, desperate to know what would happen next. A superb, compulsive read!’

TESS GERRITSEN, author of RIZZOLI ISLES SERIES

‘Wonderful and deeply satisfying, devour-in-one-sitting stuff!’

LUCY MANGAN

‘A dark and disturbing domestic noir’

LOUISE JENSEN, author of THE SISTER

‘Combines sharp spare prose with a gloriously twisted plot – I read this in one heart-pounding, furiously angry sitting’ EMMA FLINT, author of LITTLE DEATHS

‘This brilliant debut from Harriet Tyce has it all’

RACHEL ABBOTT, 3 million copy eBook bestselling author of ONLY THE INNOCENT

‘The debut novel of the year. Harriet Tyce is now on my ‘must read’ list’

JEFF ABBOTT, New York Times bestselling author of THE SAM CAPRA SERIES

‘Gritty and compelling, Blood Orange drags you right into the hearts of the flawed characters and their stories from the get go. A book that will keep you up all night.’ KATE HAMER, author of THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT

PURCHASE LINKS

Goldsboro Books – signed first edition £12.99

www.hive.co.uk  £10.69

waterstones  £10.99

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Harriet Tyce grew up in Edinburgh and studied English at Oxford University before doing a law conversion course at City University. She practised as a criminal barrister in London for nearly a decade. She is currently doing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.

She lives in north London. Blood Orange is her debut novel

. Find Harriet on Twitter on @harriet_tyce

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a book that stays with you for days after you finish reading it! The main character – Alison – is one of those women who on paper has it all! Highly intelligent and working as a lawyer and married with a young daughter BUT still seemingly on a mission to self destruct as she lives life on the edge with a drinking problem and an addiction to affairs.

This story follows her as she negotiates her first big murder case, while trying to work her way through her own problems and dealing with a boss who is in full control of their affair and uses her but she just can’t seem to stay away from him.

The murder case is one that strikes a chord with her – a woman who is happily married and does charity work, finds herself accused of murdering her husband in cold blood.  The more Alison looks into the case you sense there is more to this than meets the eye, it’s just whether Alison has enough focus to figure it out.

And when Alison starts receiving sinister text messages saying ‘they know what she’s doing’ it just ramps up the tension and intrigue into this clever story full of very flawed characters.

I really loved the pace and flow of this story – it’s a very dark story and some of the twists were so well crafted that I found myself gasping with each reveal! It showed just how destructive a person can be to themselves, be it through drink or sex, when they should really be enjoying their lives and being happy with what they have.  At a time when she should be celebrating her success and rise in the legal world, she finds her life spiralling out of control and dealing with the consequences of her actions

An astonishing debut that was a stunningly shocking read, and Harriet is an author I will definitely be reading more of in the future!

The Visitors by Catherine Burns #bookreview

thevisitors2

THE BLURB

Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother, John in a decaying Georgian townhouse on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to shut out the shocking secret that John keeps in the cellar.

Until, suddenly, John has a heart attack and Marion is forced to go down to the cellar herself and face the gruesome truth that her brother has kept hidden.

As questions are asked and secrets unravel, maybe John isn’t the only one with a dark side

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

My obsession for reading all things dark and twisted continues, and this ‘experience’ was one of the twisted , unnverving and creepiest I’ve ever had the pleasure (!) to embark on!! If you’re looking for a book full of fluffy, heart melting moments then this is NOT the book for you! But if you’re looking for a book to give you chills, repulse you and be completely disturbing then BUY THIS BOOK!!

The story focuses on Marion who is one of those characters you don’t know whether to feel outright sympathy for, or just lose patience with! Her life has been a hard one living amongst a completely dysfunctional family who treated her like dirt, and there was no escape from her lousy upbringing at school, where she was teased by pupils and teachers alike. But Marion seemed to accept her fate, and found her refuge in her attic bedroom amongst her cuddly toys who were her friends and always there for her.

Since the death of her mother, she has lived in the 6 bedroom home with her domineering, freak of a brother who she is in complete fear of due to his strange and violent behaviour – and is under strict control never to go in the cellar where John keeps ‘the visitors’. This is the start of the chilling side of the story as Marion often hears cries from the cellar but ignores them!! As you do!! I’m so glad I don’t have a cellar

As the story develops, Marion starts to slowly come out of her shell, even with just walking around the town she lives, revisiting an Aunts’ house that she finds up for sale which brings back worrying memories and constructing fantasy lives for herself based on people she meets. But things begin to change more when John has a heart attack and she has to confront her fears in the cellar – it is fascinating how she reacts when she has been so put upon her whole life and now she has an insight into her brothers’ hidden life..

I find it a little disturbing that I enjoyed this book so much!! The characters were strange creatures, and as you looked into their past you could begin to understand how they turned out the way they did!! The Visitors don’t really feature in the book until well past halfway, so that means you get more time delving into Marion and Johns’ upbringing and their outlook on life and people. There are also some fascinating email messages in between certain chapters, which don’t begin to make any sense until towards the end!

A fabulously dark and twisted debut from an author who I will definitely be following for future releases!!

thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the advanced readers copy in return for a fair and honest review.