The Parrot Told Me by Rachael Rawlings

The Parrot Told MeThe Parrot Told Me by Rachael Rawlings

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Parrot Told me is a mystery surrounding the murder of Monica Gibs. The opening pages are really gripping and the author does a wonderful job of drip feeding information so that I stayed enthralled wanting to know more.

Camille has been left Monica’s African Grey parrot and is very impressed by his talents to talk and learn tricks. His ability to copy voices makes Camille curious about Monica’s death. Aided by best friend Leo and another resident from the apartments Camille finds her search leads to danger. Just who did murder Monica and why?

Twists and turns and several suspects, plus an ending I didn’t see coming. A Very good read.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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Rosie’s Book review Team #RBRT Alison reviews The Girl In Blue by Barbara J Hancock

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Today’s book review is from Alison, she blogs at http://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/

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Alison chose to read and review the Harlequin boxset, today’s book is The Girl In Blue by Barbara J Hancock

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The Girl in Blue by Barbara J. Hancock

This was a fairly quick read, but on the whole an enjoyable one.

Trinity returns to Scarlet Falls looking for answers to the tragedies that have followed her all her life and that have marred the town and its residents. She is surprised to find Samuel living in her parents’ home; the two are connected by the past and by Samuels’ brush with death. He, like Trinity, is looking for answers and they join forces to track down what’s behind the mysterious girl in blue who has been haunting Trinity for as long as she can remember.

There is some great scene- setting in this – creepy moments and creepy places, and the relationship between Trinity and Samuel works well.

My only gripe is that it was too short – I wanted to know more about Trinity, about Samuel and about what really lies behind Scarlet Falls. That said, it’s a great creepy read and if you love gothic and romance then it’s definitely worth giving it a go.

4 out of 5 stars

Now available as individual books

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Good Deeds Challenge, Year 2 Week 35

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year, now I am into my second year.

New Good DeedsThis week I’ve been doing the following;

December 14th – Big push today to get some more reviews for books on the review team list. I’m reading After The Evil by Cary Allen Stone.

December 15th – No school this morning as it was dress rehearsal for the school nativity play. Instead went to see a friend and took cakes.

December 16th – A lovely sunny day, walked into town and picked up litter on my way home.

December 17th – Today I read and reviewed Baby Girl Book 3; City By The Bay by Elle Klaas

December 18th – Just trying to make a big inroad in my book review request pile. Today I read Marlin, Darlin’ by Margaret Langstaff. Gave the postman a box of chocolates for all this year’s deliveries.

December 19th – We have friends coming over for tea today. Schools have now broken up for the holidays. Am reading Sheer Fear by Geoffrey West.

December 20th – Helped share the news of Nicky Wells’ two Christmas books and went out for a lovely walk, bringing home litter for the bin.

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Two Christmas Tales from Nicky Wells

Today’s book review comes from Cathy, she blogs at  http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com

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Cathy chose to read and review these two books from Nicky Wells in conjunction with Brook Cottage Books

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Spirits of Christmas
A perfect seasonal read – a novella with a modern twist on an old classic, with the traditional theme of reformation and possible outcomes.

Jude Shaw is the lead singer of the rock band The Blood Roses. They had it made with a platinum album, but have lost their way due in no small part to Jude’s overbearing and selfish attitude. Their downward slide in popularity has been slow but steady and when eventually they are booed off stage Jude predictably blames his band mates, Darren, Tom and Rob.  And to cap it all his girlfriend, Carrie, has left him. Jude can only see misery and loneliness in his future.

That night Jude is visited by the Ghost of Forewarning, who has a very crucial message. He is followed by three more apparitions, all rock legends, who take Jude on incredible journeys to revisit his past, present and his possible future. Jude couldn’t see how antagonistic and indifferent he had become to those closest to him. This was a wake up call like no other. Jude determines to change his ways and devises a plan which he hopes will bring everyone back together.

I loved this very creative, evocative story with the paranormal aspect, which was written extremely well.  The rock ghost references are inventive and fun. Very enjoyable, believable and well defined characters.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Fairy Tale In New York

Fairy Tale In New York by Nicky Wells

Fairy Tale In New York by Nicky Wells

Twelve months on from Jude’s transformational Christmas he and the band, along with Carrie and baby Maya, have just finished a successful US tour. Jude and his family are scheduled to fly home from New York. While waiting in line at the airport check in they swap flights with a man needing desperately to get to London. What’s another day? Unless, of course, one day turns into more. As a white out hits the city and all planes are grounded Jude, Carrie and Maya are stranded.

The hotel they’ve just left is full and no rooms are available anywhere. Jude, Carrie and Maya are facing a dismal and lonely Christmas. Or are they? A chance meeting changes everything. Little did either Jude or Carrie realise their good deed would result in an enchanting Christmas and totally unforeseen long-term benefits for them all.

A story full of Christmas spirit and joy of the season. A magical city covered in snow, making special friends, giving sick children in hospital a very special Christmas and an impromptu wedding. I love the perception that Christmas isn’t about how much you have and the commercialism but more to do with love, kindness and the benefits from helping other people.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Alison reviews The Ghosts of Cragera Bay by Dawn Brown

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Today’s book review comes from Alison, she blogs at http://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/

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Alison chose the Harlequins Boxset of Gothic Romance and this is a review of The Ghosts of Cragera Bay by Dawn Brown

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The Ghosts of Cragera Bay – Dawn Brown

This is a very creepy read and a lot deeper and more complex than many gothic romance novels.

Declan and his mother fled from his father when Declan was small and Declan has built a life in the US. Years later, Declan has inherited Stonecliff – an estate on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales. He returns to the place of his birth, wanting only to sell the estate which has been the scene of numerous murders.

Parapsychologist Dr Carly Evans wants to investigate exactly what is going on in Stonecliff and an initially reluctant Declan decides to help. The two are strongly attracted to each other, and their romance plays out amidst some really scary goings-on in Stonecliff.

Declan is a great romantic hero, and Carly is likable and intelligent. The premise behind the story is a good one, although I did find it quite difficult to understand what was going on at first, and what the history was with Declan’s half-sisters. There are two other books ‘The Witch of Stonecliff’ and ‘The Devil’s Eye’ that recount these other stories and it might be helpful to read them first, although this book does work as a standalone.

4 out of 5 stars.

Now available as individual books

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Bending The Boyne by J.S.Dunn

Bending the Boyne: A Novel of Ancient IrelandBending the Boyne: A Novel of Ancient Ireland by J.S. Dunn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bending The Boyne is set around 2200BCE in Eire (Ireland) Here live simple folk, stone-cutters, potters, weavers and Star-watchers. These people live with the land and learn from the stars. They have mounds built and carve on stones, they celebrate the Equinoxes and plot shifts of the moon and the sun.

The people of the river Boyne watch as invaders come in boats across the sea in search of copper and gold. The invaders are harsh, brutal and do not understand the simple star-watchers, they declare ownership of the land and tax the people of their crops and animals.

Boann and Cian are the future of the star-watcher people, they both realise that progress is inevitable and change happens, but they go about helping their people in different ways. Boann marries the invader Elcmar and tries to keep an alliance between the two peoples. She is a strong woman who defies the rules the invaders try to bind her by and she always looks out for the star-watchers.

Cian in turn tries to learn the warrior and trading ways of the invaders. He travels to the copper mining areas and learns the art of trading. He crosses the seas to Europe listening and learning. He learns about the value of gold and why the invaders search Eire for the precious metal. He seeks the knowledge so that his people may one day fight the invaders for their rights.

This book draws on myths and legends from many sources as well as historical evidence handed down through the generations. Very in-depth about star-gazing and ancient mounds and megaliths.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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Guest Author Anne Allen

Today we have author Anne Allen joining us. Cathy from the book review team recently read and reviewed Anne’s book Guernsey Retreat, catch up with the review here. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-61d

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Let’s find out more about Anne and her writing.

Where is your home town?

I now live in sunny (sometimes!) Teignmouth, by the sea in Devon, but I was born and raised in Rugby. For someone who learnt early on that she loved the sea, this proved to be a problem and I’ve spent my adult life making my home by various coasts.

How long have you been writing?

Not that long – I’m a late starter! I began writing my first novel, Dangerous Waters, about 9 years ago, after thinking about writing for many moons. I’m one of those people who tends to prevaricate when attempting anything new but I finally ran out of excuses at that time – now working part-time and the children had flown the nest – and inspiration floated in. Phew! I was boosted by winning First Prize in a competition run by Prima magazine, who were looking for a true-life story of 500 words. After receiving my prize of £500 in M&S vouchers, I thought writing might prove to be a rewarding second career after semi-retiring from being a psychotherapist.

Which genre do your books belong to?

They fall into several genres; each one has a romantic element and Dangerous Waters and Guernsey Retreat are also mysteries, while Finding Mother is a family drama. As a result of my work as a psychotherapist, I’ve been fascinated by relationship issues and these figure largely in my work. And I love buried secrets and mysteries. ☺

Cathy from the book review team recently reviewed Guernsey Retreat. Is this the first book you’ve set on the Channel Island of Guernsey?

No, all my books are set on the island. When I wrote Dangerous Waters it was my homage to the place where I had lived for many happy years and where I left behind a son and numerous friends. I didn’t set out to write a series even with Finding Mother, but by the time I wrote Guernsey Retreat I realised that was what I was doing. The series is called The Guernsey Novels which says it all! Each book is a standalone story, but linked by characters and places. Readers have commented on the fact that characters from one book pop up in another and they enjoy discovering what has happened to them in the intervening years.

Tell us a bit about Malcolm Roget from Guernsey Retreat.

He is an older man, about 70, who was brought up by a single mother, Betty, and learnt young that you could be successful if you worked hard enough. Brought up in Canada, he became a wealthy man from running his own hotel group, but didn’t allow himself a private life, apart from when he met Susan Canning. They had a passionate time together when he worked for a while in London, but he returned to Canada without knowing Susan was pregnant. Meeting his daughter late in life proves to be a turning point for him, coinciding as it does with his decision to set up a natural health centre and retreat in Guernsey, his mother’s original home.

Who is Louisa Canning?

Louisa is the child of Susan and Malcolm. Her mother never married and all Louisa knew about her father was his name. She lives in London and works as a hospital physiotherapist but is feeling stressed by her job and unhappy after the abrupt end of a relationship. It is at this point that her mother dies tragically and Louisa has to embark on a journey of discovery, in more ways than one.

Tell us a bit about Dangerous Waters, the first book in the Guernsey series.

The story focuses on Jeanne Le Page who left Guernsey at 16 after a tragic family accident. She now returns reluctantly following the death of her beloved grandmother. Jeanne, reeling from that loss and the end of a long-term relationship, only plans to stay long enough to sell the cottage she has inherited. However, the cottage holds a secret going back to World War II when Guernsey was occupied and she is drawn into learning more. Jeanne also meets up with old school friends and begins to see that it might be better to stay after all. Another mystery surrounds the tragedy which claimed the lives of her family and left her injured and suffering from traumatic amnesia. Back on the island hazy, frightening memories begin to surface and Jeanne has no choice but to face her demons and re-live the awful events of that long-ago night. As the truth is finally revealed her life is, once again, in danger…

What is the second book, Finding Mother, about?

This story follows Nicole’s search for her birth mother after her marriage hits the rocks and she needs to find out who ‘she really is’. Adopted by Jersey parents, Nicole has enjoyed a comfortable upbringing and, after university, met Tom Oxford when they were both working in radio in Bristol. They married and their careers took off in television, becoming the proverbial media ‘golden couple’. But when Tom’s unfaithful, Nicole realises it’s time for things to change and she wants to find her ‘real’ mother. Her search takes her from England to Spain, where her parents have retired, to Jersey and finally Guernsey. It’s here that she finds a family riddled with its own secrets and Nicole becomes a catalyst for change for them all.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

My fourth book in the series, The Family Divided. The story concerns a local family, the Batistes, who have been split since Edmund Batiste was killed during the German Occupation, amidst allegations of collaborating with the enemy. Edmund’s grandson, Andy, wants to clear his grandfather’s name and restore his own father’s rightful inheritance. In this he is helped by Charlotte Townsend, an English friend of Louisa and who appeared in Finding Mother. Charlotte, a recently divorced publisher and fledgling writer, is drawn to Andy and only too willing to undertake research on his behalf. So again we have romance, mystery and family drama as threads throughout the book. It’s due to be published in spring 2015.

Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

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The best place is my website – http://www.anneallen.co.uk Here you can read the first chapters of all of my books, watch the book trailers, dip into my blog or the About Me page. I’m always happy to hear from readers and there’s a contact form on the site.

If anyone wants to follow me – nicely of course! – I’m on twitter @AnneAllen21 and my facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anne-Allen-Author/176883759173475

Find Anne’s Books here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Vanessa reviews Midnight Sky by Jan Ruth

Today we have a review from book review team member Vanessa, she blogs at http://vanessawesterwriter.blogspot.co.uk/

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Vanessa chose to read and review Midnight Sky by Jan Ruth

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“The first book I selected to review via Rosie’s Book list was MIDNIGHT SKY. I don’t know if it was the cover or the blurb, or both, but something drew me to this one. I can tell you I was not disappointed! Five stars for my first read! I did not expect that.

It’s difficult to explain a story like this in a review, because it was so real! There were a lot of characters who I loved and a lot of issues discussed, which I consider really important. Also, the fact that I know so little about horses added an extra depth to the plot.
So, let’s start with the characters. Laura is a pretty, talented home designer who lives and works with a married man, who is now juggling the kids and his ex (but has yet to get a divorce). Simon is the married man and a rogue – he represents the male stereotype I dislike. But, he does seem to care about his kids so he is not a complete waste of space. Maggie, Laura’s older sister, has been in a stable relationship from a young age and is stereotypical of the stay-at-home wife, frustrated by her husbands lack of motivation to help at home. Finally, I have to mention Jess, Maggie’s daughter. A seventeen, going on eighteen, flirtatious and outrageous girl, who made me laugh many times!
There are other characters, but the one I have to talk about is the brooding (let’s think of Darcy or perhaps Mr Rochester) male hunk, James! James is heartbroken after losing his wife in a riding accident and I felt his pain on many levels. However, his patience and ability with broken horses and children won me over. When he also managed to be there for Laura when she goes through a traumatic experience he became my favourite!
However, without giving away any spoilers, this story is about how Laura, James, Maggie, and Jess confront and overcome their issues. It has a feel-good ending, which, in my opinion, opens the door for a sequel. I would love to know what happens next.”
Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Avid Readers #RBRT Three Stations by Martin Cruz Smith

Rosie's Avid Readers

Rosie’s Avid readers are people who like reading and have a book to tell us about, they are the voice of a friend who says ” I just read this book….”

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Avid Reader’s thoughts

Set in Moscow this is a tale surrounding some of the down and outs of the city. Drugs, murder, bribery and corruption written in a staccato style that emphasises the conditions and lives of the people involved as Arkady Renko investigates his next case.

Book Description.

A passenger train hurting through the night. An unwed teenage mother headed to Moscow to seek a new life. A cruel-hearted soldier looking furtively, forcibly, for sex. An infant disappearing without a trace.

So begins Martin Cruz Smith’s masterful Three Stations, a suspenseful, intricately constructed novel featuring Investigator Arkady Renko. For the last three decades, beginning with the trailblazing Gorky Park, Renko (and Smith) have captivated readers with detective tales set in Russia. Renko is the ironic, brilliantly observant cop who finds solutions to heinous crimes when other lawmen refuse to even acknowledge that crimes have occurred. He uses his biting humour and intuitive leaps to fight not only wrongdoers but the corrupt state apparatus as well.

In Three Stations, Renko’s skills are put to their most severe test. Though he has been technically suspended from the prosecutor’s office for once again turning up unpleasant truths, he strives to solve a last case: the death of an elegant young woman whose body is found in a construction trailer on the perimeter of Moscow’s main rail hub. It looks like a simple drug overdose to everyone — except to Renko, whose examination of the crime scene turns up some inexplicable clues, most notably an invitation to Russia’s premier charity ball, the billionaires’ Nijinksy Fair. Thus a sordid death becomes interwoven with the lifestyles of Moscow’s rich and famous, many of whom are clinging to their cash in the face of Putin’s crackdown on the very oligarchs who placed him in power.

Renko uncovers a web of death, money, madness and a kidnapping that threatens the woman he is coming to love and the lives of children he is desperate to protect. In Three Stations, Smith produces a complex and haunting vision of an emergent Russia’s secret underclass of street urchins, greedy thugs and a bureaucracy still paralyzed by power and fear.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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Twisted Wire by Ray Stone

Twisted WireTwisted Wire by Ray Stone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Twisted wire is a complex spy thriller. The prologue introduces us to Nigel Silsbury, a spy who is searching for the mole in MI6, a man known as Krane. Enda Osin is a political reporter for the Herald newspaper, he returns from holiday to a strange message on his phone. He follows up the lead and finds himself involved with industrial espionage and the theft of material about a high-speed experimental air craft.

The storyline involves the Americans, Russians, the EU and the British secret service in a plot line with plenty of twists and turns as spies are exposed, sabotage planned and deals are double crossed. Enda Osin, his wife Jessica and a handy right hand man called Fish sniff out a story and try to help justice win. Determined to be able to get a story for the paper Enda goes to great lengths and takes huge risks as he follows a trail to Germany and Europe.

A good storyline, a little of the dialogue didn’t flow on occasions as much as I would have hoped and I did struggle with the amount of characters and all the names, however a good ending which I didn’t see coming and had me checking back to the beginning of the book to re-read the prologue.

Fond a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodeads