The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue – Ambassador Book Buzz.

About The Book

Power. Jealousy. Desire.

Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…
When Louisa arrives at Temple House, an elite catholic boarding school, she quickly finds herself drawn to sophisticated fellow pupil Victoria and their young bohemian art teacher, Mr Lavelle. The three of them from a bond that seems to offer an escape from the repressive regime of the nuns who run the cloistered school. Until Louisa and Mr Lavelle suddenly disappear without trace.

Years later, a journalist with a childhood connection to Louisa determines to resolve the mystery. Her 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 unintended consequences.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher and Love Reading for the copy received. The Temple House Vanishing was an intriguing dual time frame novel that focused on the disappearance of a school girl and her teacher. It is narrated by Laura, the girl concerned, where you learn about her life up to her disappearance and the journalist who is writing about the circumstances twenty five years later and has the unfortunate task of interviewing the ones who knew her. Neither her friend Victoria or prefect Helen are likeable. Helen in particular made me angry every time she appeared.

I had expected the nuns who ran the school to feature more but they were very much in the background, oblivious to the students, the way they were bullied by the prefects and also the effect that the young good looking male teacher had on their pupils.

It was unusual reading Louisa’a story and not knowing what happened to her. Usually you are given clues but nothing was revealed until the end and it was far from straightforward. I had a lot of sympathy for her, she was completely out of her depth when coping with her feelings and the treatment she received at the hands of the prefects, in particular Helen.

Spooky, threatening and with a sense of loneliness this was a great debut by Rachel Donohue.

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard – Review.

About The Book

PLAY
Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges onscreen, kills her and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?

PAUSE
Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t – not until she’s found what she’s looking for…

REWIND
This is an explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via Pigeonhole. Rewind was a novel that I found gripping and at times slightly intimidating. It was a novel where even though none of the characters were particularly likeable I wanted to know more about all of them.

It does jump backward and forward in time quite often and at first I found this a little confusing but once I got used to it and the characters I thought it worked well. Natalie’s career choice was one that baffled me. Internet stardom is something that I don’t really understand the attraction of, but it was more preferable than Audrey’s. Voyeuristic journalism is something I detest, and the author managed to make me dislike it even more. It amused me that Audrey felt the same way. she was one of the few characters I liked more than the others.

I found Rewind to be original, reading it serialised added to the intrigue and suspicion and has left me with the need to examine every inch of a hotel room from now on.

The Serpent’s Mark by S. W. Perry – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Treason sleeps for no man…

London, 1591. Nicholas Shelby, physician and reluctant spy, returns to his old haunts on London’s lawless Bankside. But, when spymaster Robert Cecil asks him to investigate the dubious practices of a mysterious doctor from Switzerland, Nicholas is soon embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens not just the life of an innocent young patient, but the overthrow of Queen Elizabeth herself.

With fellow healer and mistress of the Jackdaw tavern, Bianca Merton, again at his side, Nicholas is drawn into a sinister world of zealots, charlatans and dangerous fanatics…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Serpent’s Mark is the second book in this Tudor crime series. It can be read as a stand-alone novel quite easily.

It is a novel that combines real life characters as well as fictional. As always, some names I am familiar with, some I spend time on the internet trying to find out more information. Even though there are courtiers and titled people in the novel most of it concerns ‘normal’ people. 

Anybody who is familiar with Tudor history will be aware of the turmoil created by religious beliefs at the time. How, whoever was on the throne dictated whether you were Catholic or Protestant. When this novel takes place Elizabeth I was queen and her Faith  was Protestant. Anybody who practised Catholicism faced execution so did so discreetly. The author creates a terrifying insight into how this must have been, it was here that we get to know more about Bianca, her childhood and the betrayal she felt over the way her father was abandoned by the one she thought was a friend.

As well as the religious storyline, and like the previous book, he shows developing medical beliefs. I found it fascinating, reading about how knowledge and understanding regarding science has changed over the years.

All my favourite characters from the last book featured and I have to add another to my list, Rose. I loved her sense of humour, her loyalty and the way she handled the men in her life. Especially Ned.  Nicolas was also a character I appreciated more, how he was starting to move on and acknowledge his feelings towards Bianca without feeling guilt.

Arcampora, the doctor who Nicolas has been asked to investigate, is one of the most terrifying characters I have ever met in any novel. Everything about him had me unsettled. I cringed when he appeared but was also desperate to learn what he would do next. 

A great follow up from an author who is now a favourite. 


Night By Night by Jack Jordon – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

If you’re reading this, I’m dead.’

Rejected by her family and plagued by insomnia, Rose Shaw is on the brink . But one dark evening she collides with a man running through the streets, who quickly vanishes. The only sign he ever existed – a journal dropped at Rose’s feet.

She begins to obsessively dedicate her sleepless nights to discovering what happened to Finn Matthews, the mysterious author of the journal. Why was he convinced someone wanted to kill him? And why, in the midst of a string of murders, won’t the police investigate his disappearance?

Rose is determined to uncover the truth. But she has no idea what the truth will cost her…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. This is the first book I have read by Jack Jordan and I’m certain it won’t be the last. If I have a bad nights sleep, I struggle throughout the day. I can’t imagine what it is like to have insomnia. Or how to cope with what happened to her family because of it. It was a book that had me feeling tense but not for the reasons I expected. The crimes committed were horrific, even though there wasn’t much detail about the killing, it is more about what each of the victims experienced in the events leading up to their deaths. The main reason I felt so tense was because of the level of hatred throughout. Not only towards Finn and the others but also towards Rose. I found it very difficult to understand why nobody had any sympathy for what happened to her.

Most of the novel focuses on Rose but there are also small parts that concerns others. Finn is the most common one, as the notes from his journal were revealed. But the others are as disturbing, one of them towards the end is more upsetting that the others.

I have never read anything like this book before. The level of hatred towards most of the characters is at times draining but equally fascinating. It is also sadly, believable with the society that we live in.  It is at times, emotional, reading about Rose’s life. she has nobody who she can turn to, everybody in the town knew what happened to her and she was increasingly isolated and mistrusted, especially by her own family.

An intriguing and heartbreaking novel that is different to most books I have read recently.

The Bridal Party by J. G. Murray – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Sometimes friendship can be murder… 

It’s the weekend of Clarisse’s bridal party, a trip the girls have all been looking forward to. Then, on the day of their flight, Tamsyn, the maid of honour, suddenly backs out. Upset and confused, they try to make the most of the stunning, isolated seaside house they find themselves in. 

But, there is a surprise in store – Tamsyn has organised a murder mystery, a sinister game in which they must discover a killer in their midst. As tensions quickly boil over, it becomes clear to them all that there are some secrets that won’t stay buried…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Bridal Party is one of the creepiest books I have read for a long time. I hadn’t been reading it long when I decided that nothing would have made me stay in the house in Jersey. I had no idea what could have happened to Tamsyn or what the other members of the hen party would face.

It is only a short novel but the storyline contains everything. A spoilt hen, Clarisse, who everybody tried to keep happy despite the unease they all felt. The more successful combined with the ones who didn’t have the confidence, ability or wealth to help them be successful. Nada is the one I had most sympathy for and she is the character you got to know more.

With increasing amounts there are chapters that reveal what happened before and these explain why their weekend hasn’t gone the way they expected it to. You also get to see the fractures in the supposedly group of good friends. You see how high maintenance Clarisse is and the frustration it causes but how they still fell over themselves to make her happy.

I expected this to be a novel where the threat was from the supernatural but it wasn’t. Instead it is from something that was more real yet just as vicious. It would make brilliant TV, for its originality and it’s suspense.