The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue

4 Stars from me

This darkly atmospheric tale is in Temple House  boarding school for girls – run by some rather lacklustre nuns. In 1990 Louisa gains a scholarship but is deemed inferior by the richer students. Think Mallory Towers but make it more of an R rating! Ripe for the picking she soon latches onto Victoria, the only girl to truly offer her friendship, and fangirls over the male art teacher Mr Lavelle.

Questions abound when Mr Lavelle and Victoria disappear…

25 years later and we join the story as told by Louisa and a journalist – layers of history are unveiled in a bid to find the truth.

Beautifully descriptive, this story is essentially a dark mystery, a cold case in a way, but it is full of acutely observed tales of the falsehood of friendships, teenage angst and raging hormones, deceit, the dreadful ways in which some people behave towards others and an obsessive quest for the truth.

Blurb: 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.

The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood

4 Stars from me

The story alternates between present day and a few years ago – present day is Lisa and her little boy who are on the run from her controlling partner – and the older story is from the previous occupants of the house on the lake.

I have to admit I was peeved when the first ‘older’ chapter appeared as I hadn’t realised it was that style of story and I was really into the present day… However, I very soon become utterly drawn in to both timelines and can honestly say I enjoyed them equally.

The house was so well described – it sounded AWFUL! I wouldn’t have stayed there for 5 minutes, fair play to Lisa for putting up with it.

The two storylines run alongside each other very well and as you would expect there comes a points where the two cross – some interesting little sidelines and a few unexpected moments, overall a good solid page turner.

Blurb: No matter how far you run . . . He’s never far behind

Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend’s rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It’s miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe.

But when a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren’t as safe as she thought.

What secret has Rowan Isle House – and her friend – kept hidden all these years?

And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?

The Goodbye Man by Jeffery Deaver

4 Stars from me

In this, the second of the Colter Shaw series, the story starts with a BANG as Shaw is forced off the road and finds himself in mortal danger.

Literally as I flipped the page desperate to see what happened next I groaned as we were jolted back in time to the beginning of the story!

Our main character Colter Shaw is searching for two youths – purely for the $50,000 reward, of course!

Featuring and almost constant thrum of suspense, this book covers racism, murder, religion and – a bit of a personal fascination – a cult.

The Goodbye Man is a high octane ride, a proper thriller with bucket loads of peril and tension throughout. I would expect no less from Jeffery Deaver – creator of  the fabulous Lincoln Rhyme.

I would definitely recommend that you read the first in the series – The Never Game – first so as to fully acquaint yourself with Colter Shaw.

Blurb: A thrilling new Colter Shaw adventure by the master of suspense, Jeffery Deaver. Colter Shaw, the itinerant reward-seeker readers met in The Never Game, returns in a new adventure.

Colter takes on a new case when he learns of a reward – two, actually – being offered in Gig Harbor, a small spot in Washington State. Two white teenagers decided to deface a few black churches, and then to set one aflame. But as it turns out, it wasn’t empty. And when the preacher and the janitor emerged from the burning building, they were shot–and the suspects drove off.

So state police and the town are offering $50,000 for help in finding the two suspects. The family of one of the two suspects is offering $900 for help in proving his innocence.

Game for a challenge, hungry to see justice done, and intrigued by the forces in opposition in this specific case, Colter drives north and west…only to discover that no case comes without its unexpected complications, or without its considerable dangers.

The Perfect Couple by Lisa Hall

5 Stars from me

BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT

Will that do as a book review?

Oh, ok. Suffice it to say I loved The Perfect Couple, much as I have also loved Lisa Hall‘s previous novels.

I have had the best, most lazy day today as I started The Perfect Couple shortly after waking up and (with the exception of a shower and making lunch) I have read all day, having finished the book just now.

As I fully expect from this master of the twisty turn snake of a story, The Perfect Couple is a fabulous read! I was hooked from the very first chapter and simply had to read to the end to find out what had happened.

So many potential versions of the truth, so many possible scenarios, so many available outcomes – do you know what, they would all have been brilliant… However, for me, the ending was as good as the book itself.

Please don’t be mistaken into thinking this is just a hot flash of ‘a twist’ for it is not, this book is beautifully constructed, the imagery created when reading is superb – pictures, scenes, places, people will fill your mind as you reads. Smells, sounds and emotions are all brought to life within these pages – The Perfect Couple is not just a pretty face.

 

Blurb: When Emily applies for a job as a housekeeper for widower Rupert, it’s a chance to start over – a steady job and regular money means she can work towards her own place, not sharing a grimy flat with old mate, Mags.

As Emily gets to know more about Rupert’s world – how he likes his supper when he comes in from work, who his friends are – she can make sure everything runs like clockwork for him.

Soon there’s a spark between them; Rupert likes Emily and invites her to stay. For good.

To the outside world, they really seem to be a perfect match. There’s just the small issue of what really happened to Rupert’s first wife…

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

4.5 Stars from me

Where to start with this addictive and multi layered domestic thriller?

Blood Orange is an accomplished and compelling read with lively characters and scenes written so well that you can practically smell the cigarette smoke hanging in the air.

I read it as part of a book group and found it quite interesting that none of us liked Alison’s ‘doting husband’ at any point throughout the book.

Blood Orange makes the world of barristers sound shocking and intoxicating in equal measure, it was so easy to see why Alison felt the need to commit so much to her role.

However, I varied in my sympathies towards Alison – part of me completely understood her situation – part of me felt she was just selfish. One of the book group ladies summed it up quite nicely ‘lawyers/coppers always bonk each other, don’t they, it’s just part of the job‘!

The sub-story of the client who was literally caught red handed was excellent and practically and stand along tale in its own right, it was just as interesting as the main plot.

I definitely look forward to more by Harriet Tyce.

Blurb: 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.

Break The Silence by D K Hood

4 Stars from me

This is a fast paced, classic thriller which will keep you turning the pages late into the night on your quest to see the bad guy(s) caught.

I thought the descriptive intro and scene setting were excellent and hugely atmospheric. Chrissie was wonderfully described.

The relationship between the two main detectives was added a nice frisson rather then overshadowing the whole story, which I liked.

This is a really SOLID 4 stars – I have to be honest and say I dropped a star for a couple of reasons. One because it was super obvious to me who the killer was and two because I felt things got slightly (and I do mean slightly) muddled towards the end.

But that does not detract from the fact that this is a good solid thriller and I will definitely look out for more books by this author.

Blurb: Her head throbbed as she stumbles up the stairs. Music vibrating and the sound of partygoers fill her head as she walks into one of the dark, empty rooms. As she sits on the bed, she hears the unmistakable sound of the door locking behind her. She is not alone.

The body of college student Chrissie Lowe lies curled into a ball – long red cuts along her arms suggesting how she had met her death. Detective Jenna Alton is called in to investigate.

Purplish bruising on Chrissie’s upper arms make Jenna believe there is more to Chrissie’s death than others suspected, and she soon finds herself following the trail of the student’s last few moments, leading her to the scene of a party that had ended just hours before Chrissie’s body was found.

When Jenna hears reports that Chrissie was seen going into the bedroom of a college football star, she knows that finding out what went on behind that closed door could be the key to finding out how Chrissie ended up dead. But then another partygoer dies in an apparent accident at the campus gym just hours later, and Jenna is convinced the deaths are connected.

Facing a wall of silence from the student population, Jenna has to act fast to find the killer, but soon another student is found dead on the campus. As Jenna sends in one of her deputies undercover, she prays that she hasn’t just sealed his fate. Can she find the killer before any more lives are taken? 

Paper Soldiers by Mark Pettinger

4 Stars from me

Opening with the dramatic discovery of a dead body, Paper Soldiers offers an exciting trip into the dark and murky underworld of Greater Manchester as DCI Priest tries to establish the murderer of known Yardie gang leader.

This is a scary and unpredictable world and one which Pettinger seems to effortlessly bring to life on the page.

Once the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) get involved it soon becomes apparent that that there is a lot more at stack than getting a collar.

The storyline is good and not the usual run of the mill – race to find the killer – in Paper Soldiers there is more of a battle to stay alive amid the gangland antics.

Great tension and brutally descriptive!

#PaperSoliders #DCIPriest My thanks to @m_pettinger and @damppebbles for letting me be a part of this #damppebblesblogtours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Blurb: The streets of Greater Manchester are awash with drugs and weapons, and the gangs that control this multi-million pound business will stop at nothing to protect and grow their business. The Dolsen family are one such gang.

When the head of a rival Yardie gang is found brutally murdered, revenge attacks were always likely to follow, and gang members were unlikely to be the only ones hurt.

DCI Priest teams up with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA); but they soon admit to conflicting objectives which may unravel their alliance, and prove to it be more of a hindrance than a help.

Was DCI Priest was about to undertake his most challenging investigation to date?

So Many Lies by Paul J Teague

5 stars from me

Oh my word what an unlikeable bunch of people!

So Many Lies is a book that most certainly lives up to its name! The story follows the somewhat screwed up life (all his own doing) of Ben Harrington who seems to have taken a life long path of least effort and least resistance.

Even he can see that his little affair and weak nature mean that he has lost a wife, family and beautiful house in exchange for a woman he isn’t even sure he likes, a starter home, a baby he isn’t sure he wants and a whole heap of debt!

Ben Harrington isn’t a man who can be accused of learning from his mistakes so he blunders on, ignoring good advice and offers of help and digs himself further into debt in order to attend his Dad’s 70th birthday.

The story flicks between past and present day as it builds up towards the conclusion with lies scattering in the air like old confetti – it’s a humdinger – hold on to your hat!

My thanks to BOTBS Publicity and Paul J Teague for letting me be a part of this blog tour.

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: It began with a family gathering – it ended in a bloodbath.

When the Harrington family rent a private island to celebrate their dad’s 70th birthday, old lies resurface, resulting in a murderous revenge.

Ben Harrington is stuck.

He’s recently separated from his wife of over twenty years, leaving his almost adult son and daughter feeling angry and betrayed.

What’s more, his daughter Alice has cerebral palsy and he can’t forgive himself for letting her down when she needed him most.

Ben left the family house due to an ill-advised fling with Laura resulting in an unplanned pregnancy.

But all that is the least of Ben’s troubles.

It’s his dad Tony’s 70th birthday and he and his wife Susan have invited the family over to a remote tropical island in order to mark the occasion.

That should be cause for celebration, but there are terrible secrets lurking in the Harrington family which are about to burst out into the open – siblings Steve, Ben, Gaby and Richard are all caught up in this web of deceit.

So Many Lies follows the story of the Harringtons through a series of life-changing lies, dating back to 1979, and as the story builds towards the big celebration, so does the gravity of the lies which brought the family to where they are when we meet them in the book.

Thought your family was screwed up? Wait until you meet the Harringtons…  

The Patience of a Dead Man by Michael Clark

5 Stars from me

I can’t remember the last ‘proper’ ghost story that I read and losing my self in ‘The Patience of a Dead Man’ was reminiscent of my first times as a child reading the words of authors like James Herbert and Dean Koontz…

I truly believe this is the perfect lockdown book, it is so utterly engaging and you simply HAVE to keep turning those pages to see if Tim and Holly win against ‘Millie’ and co.

The writing style was enchanting and very atmospheric – it was easy to picture the scenes being described and I am glad that I wasn’t reading this story on my own, in an old house, on a dark winters night…

Overall, The Patience of a Dead Man has brilliant characterisation, a great storyline and makes for an engrossing read.

My thanks to Michael Clark and Damp Pebbles for letting me be a part of this blog tour.

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: He just spent everything on a house in disrepair, but he didn’t know someone was waiting inside.

Tim Russell just put his last dollar on a handyman’s dream; a quaint but dilapidated farmhouse in New Hampshire. Newly single after a messy divorce, his plan is to live in the house as he restores it for resale.

To his horror, as soon as the papers are signed and his work starts, ghosts begin to appear. A bone-white little boy. A woman covered in flies. Tim can’t afford to leave and lose it all, so he turns to his real estate agent Holly Burns to help him decide whether he has any shot at solving his haunted problem. Can they solve the mystery before he loses his investment…or maybe his life?

Roses Are Red by Miranda Rijks

5 Stars from me

I did a LOT of internal screaming while reading this book!

Oh Lydia Palmer, I could literally shake you!

Miranda Rijks creates a sublime mix of tension in her books and always love reading them. In Roses Are Red we follow the unfortunate Lydia Palmer who – despite being a strong woman and a hard working entrepreneur – falls down a virtual rabbit hole of bad decisions.

I took advantage of the current Lockdown and devoted the vast majority of the day to reading Roses Are Red, I didn’t intend to but I couldn’t but the damn book down… I just had to keep turning the pages!

I warn you, you will need a comfy chair, several cups of tea and a good few clear hours for when you start this book you won’t be stopping until the bitter end.

My thanks to @MirandaRijks #InkubatorBooks @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours for letting me be a part of this blog tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Blurb: She wanted a second chance at happiness. She got a first-class ticket to hell.

Lydia Palmer seems to have it all – a thriving business, a beautiful house, a picture-perfect husband and two wonderful kids. But things are different behind closed doors – Lydia is desperately unhappy and wants a divorce.  Then, shockingly, her husband Adam dies.

When her grief eases, Lydia starts online dating and almost immediately meets Patrick. Handsome, successful, loving, he’ll make the perfect second husband.

But is Patrick too good to be true? Can you really find prince charming online?

These are questions Lydia is forced to ask when her world begins to collapse. First, the police say Adam may have been murdered. Then her daughter turns against her, her business disintegrates…

Lydia is convinced that someone is trying to destroy her happiness. She’s wrong. They want so much more than that…

Roses are Red is a gripping psychological thriller that will keep you up until the early hours. Perfect for fans of K. L. Slater, Teresa Driscoll, and Andrew Hart.

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