Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #CrimeFiction LISTED DEAD (Bunch Courtney Investigations #3) by @Jancoledwards

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading Listed Dead by Jan Edwards

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You can tell from the title that this volume of investigations by Bunch Courtney and Chief Inspector Wright involves more than one fatality. Not only are people losing their lives in combat or in city air raids but now there is a murderer about, working through a list of rich young people whose supper club meets up at the Café de Paris in London.  When the first deaths occur close to Bunch’s home, she discovers she knows the victims so she will be indispensable, assisting William Wright with his investigations. He doesn’t seem keen for her to follow up leads but that is probably because she is putting herself in great danger.

The lifestyle of these self-centred young people contrasts with the suffering of the military forces and also with the ordinary folk, but it reflects the social structure of the Sussex countryside before the war. Now in 1940 there is another dimension and people like Bunch put many hours of hard work into the war effort.  She juggles care for her Land Girls who run the estate, worry about her sick mother and determination to find the murderer.  Her relationship with William moves between close companionship and detachment reflecting the complex social rules and busy working life they have.

This series gives an interesting picture of the home front during World War Two and the difficulties experienced when people’s homes and land were taken over by the military authorities. We feel the fear and danger of a London air raid and the attempt to continue country life as it had been pre-war.  In Listed Dead, Bunch finds herself in several frightening situations as she gradually works out the complex mystery. A most enjoyable read.

Book description

November 1940. The Battle of Britain has only just ended and the horror of the Blitz is reaching its height.

Two deaths in rapid succession on the Sussex Downs brings Bunch Courtney and Chief Inspector Wright together once more. What could possibly link a fatal auto accident with the corpse in a derelict shepherd’s hut? The only clue the pair have is a handwritten list of the members of a supper club that meets at London’s Café de Paris.

Two of those on that list are now dead and the race is on to solve the mystery before any more end up on the mortuary slab.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT A Western Style Novella BILLY (THE KID) by Peter Meech @backonthebeach

Today’s team review is from Olga, she blogs here https://www.authortranslatorolga.com

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading Billy (The Kid) by Peter Meech

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This is the first novel I read by the author (although I might have watched some of the productions based on his scripts), and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If Peter Meech carries on writing fiction, I intend to keep reading him.

The description below provides enough detail to allow possible readers to decide if they are interested or not. This novella is a Western, a late-day Western. We are at a point in history where there is little of the old West left, where there are cars, the cinematographer, inventions all around (this novella has some of the feel of steampunk, because there is a lot of attention paid to novelties and new technology, as it would have been the case, especially in a small town), and legends and myths about the good old times are rife, to the point where there are books, movies, and even auctions of items belonging to Western heroes, outlaws, and everything in between. This is emphasised by the story about two bootlegging operations that brings in an element of the gangster tradition as well (down to golden teeth, fancy cars, henchmen, offers one dare not refuse, and bloodbaths) and a reminder of the Prohibition and its business practices. At the heart of the book is the story of Billy the Kid, or at least, of a retired dentist who claims to be (or have been in a previous life) Billy the Kid. That means that much of the book revolves around: issues of identity, what makes us who we are (and what makes others accept or not who we are), growing old, popularity (particularly interesting in these times of social media and celebrities), living with a certain reputation, wanting to set the record straight, second chances (there is a budding romance as well), settling old debts, old and new friends, honour and morality. Times are a-changing and that is also evident in the book, which manages to conjure up a vivid and compelling image of that momentous time and place in the readers’ minds.

The story is narrated in the third person, most of the time from Billy’s (?) point of view, although at times there is an omniscient narrator that shares with readers an observer’s viewpoint, but whose style is very similar to that of Billy’s own reflections (and considering he is forever researching, compiling information, and taking notes to write his own story, a metafictional interpretation is also possible). Billy is an observer of people, places, the weather, and everything in between, and the author manages to combine language that feels historically appropriate, with a lyricism that makes for a beautiful reading experience. His experience writing, producing and directing scripts is quite evident, as the scenes are vividly rendered, not only visually, thanks to the detailed but not excessive descriptions, but also to the use of all the senses. We hear, smell, touch and even taste what happens. At times, we can see the main character zooming in on a sound, an image, or a little detail. And that is what makes it come alive. Oh, a word or pre-warning. Although I enjoyed the snippets of dialogue included (and some would not be out of place in the call-and-response tradition), I have to warn you that no dialogue quotations are used to mark the sentences spoken by the characters, although the dialogue tags used prevent any confusion.

There are numerous characters, although some don’t play big roles and are more a part of the background. Some are as expected in the genre (the corrupt sheriff, the waitress with a heart of gold, the baddy/gangster and his henchmen, Billy’s pals…) but some are better drawn (especially considering this is a short book), like Tommy, Billy’s young friend and protégé, and his love interest, Grace. Billy himself is an ambiguous but engaging character, and he has his (well-deserved) moment of glory towards the end of the book. If he is or not truly Billy the Kid… Let’s say you can read the book and reach your own conclusions.

Talking about the ending, I enjoyed it and felt it suited the genre well (yes, the protagonist rides into the horizon), but things are left open to interpretation. My favourite kind of ending.

So, I thoroughly enjoy this book, and I recommend it to fans of Westerns, particularly modern takes on the genre, those interested in historical fiction especially set on the West or the prohibition era, anybody interested in Billy the Kid, and readers looking for a short novel wonderfully written. This is a book to be savoured and enjoyed, rather than to be read at speed, but due to its length, it won’t last you long anyway. I recommend you to read the interview with the author and to try a sample if you have any doubts, and if not, don’t hesitate. I will make sure I follow the author’s trajectory from now on.

Book description

Pueblo, Colorado,1932. Bootleggers thrive in a town where the sheriff is on the take and you can kill a man with impunity. In this thrilling narrative, a once-famous outlaw finds himself thrust into the middle of a bootleg war against his will. At stake is nothing less than the life of his best friend and his last chance at true love with the town beauty. But is the legendary gunman who he claims to be, or is he just a retired dentist with a vivid imagination? In this remarkable first novel, Peter Meech reimagines the figure of Billy the Kid in a story told with verve and humor. Visually magnificent, and brimming with small-town charm, Billy (the Kid) builds to a climax that is as powerful as it is unexpected.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #HistoricalFiction Inspired by London’s Foundling Hospital THE SERVANT by @maggiedavieswr1

The ServantThe Servant by Maggie Richell-Davies

4 stars

The Servant is an historical fiction story set in London during the 1760s. The story was inspired by the author’s visit to London’s Foundling Hospital Museum.

This is Hannah’s story; she is a girl of fifteen employed as cook and housekeeper. Unusually taught to read and write by her previous employer, Hannah is able to detect possible illegal activities undertaken by her current employers. She is placed in terrible danger as she learns more, but what can one servant girl do? Who will listen to her accusations?

Although the subject matter was dark and disturbing, this was a well-written and interesting story; I immediately wanted to know more about Hannah. I read the first half of the book easily in one sitting. Poor women and young girls had so few opportunities to live better lives; I’m glad there was someone who gave Hannah hope. I would easily recommend this to historical fiction fans.

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Book description

1765.

London.

Young Hannah Hubert may be the granddaughter of a French merchant and the daughter of a Spitalfields silk weaver, but she has come down in the world.

Sent one spring day as maidservant to a disgraced aristocrat, she finds herself in a house full of mysteries – with a locked room and strange auctions being held behind closed doors.

As a servant, she has little power but – unknown to her employers – she can read. And it is only when she uses her education to uncover the secrets of the house, that she realises the peril she is in.

Hannah is unable to turn to the other servant, Peg, who is clearly terrified of their employers and keeps warning her to find alternative work.

But help might come from Thomas, the taciturn farmer delivering milk to the neighbourhood, or from Jack Twyford, a friendly young man apprenticed to his uncle’s bookselling business. Yet Thomas is still grieving for his late wife – and can she trust Jack, since his uncle is one of her master’s associates?

Hannah soon discovers damning evidence she cannot ignore.

She must act alone, but at what price?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of Light-Hearted #Mystery LOUISIANA LONGSHOT by @JanaDeLeon #FridayReads

Louisiana Longshot (Miss Fortune Mystery, #1)Louisiana Longshot by Jana Deleon

4 stars

Louisiana Longshot is a light-hearted mystery and features disgraced CIA agent Fortune Redding. With a price on her head she is sent off-grid to Sinful, Louisana, to pose as an ex-beauty queen and librarian whose late Aunt has bequeathed her a house and its contents.

The expected sleepy backwater immediately throws Fortune into the limelight when her inherited dog digs up a human bone on her property. The investigation which follows gets her involved with the hilarious town Ladies Of Sinful who appear to be the real authority in the area. Fortune struggles to keep a low profile as her involvement keeps bringing her face-to-face with inquisitive but handsome police officer LeBlanc.

This is a fun read, not to be taken too seriously; a mystery entangled with ladies of a certain age who have a knitting club and years of life experience. Their antics were chuckle-worthy, while Fortune’s skills as an assassin would surely have embarrassed the CIA; think Johnny English rather than James Bond. This is the second book that I have read by the author and I like her fun, outrageous characters – I would happily pick up another one.

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Book description

It was a hell of a longshot…

CIA Assassin Fortune Redding is about to undertake her most difficult mission ever–in Sinful, Louisiana.

With a leak at the CIA and a price on her head by one of the world’s largest arms dealers, Fortune has to go off grid, but she never expected to be this far out of her element. Posing as a former beauty queen turned librarian in a small, bayou town seems worse than death to Fortune, but she’s determined to fly below the radar until her boss finds the leak and puts the arms dealer out of play.

Unfortunately, she hasn’t even unpacked a suitcase before her newly-inherited dog digs up a human bone in her backyard. Thrust into the middle of a bayou murder mystery, Fortune teams up with a couple of seemingly-sweet old ladies whose looks completely belie their hold on the little town. To top things off, the handsome local deputy is asking her too many questions. If she’s not careful, this investigation may blow her cover and get her killed.

Armed with her considerable skills and a group of old ladies referred to by locals as The Geritol Mafia, Fortune has no choice but to solve the murder before it’s too late.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery DEATH BY WINDMILL by Jennifer S. Alderson

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Death by Windmill by Jennifer S. Alderson

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Lana Hansen is scheduled to lead the Mother’s Day tour of the Netherlands despite her boss Dotty Thompson’s reservations. Lana and her estranged mother, Gillian, haven’t been close for the past ten years, since Lana was sacked from her job as an investigative reporter for the Seattle Chronicle. Dotty is determined to bring them closer together and has a plan.

Unbeknownst to Lana, Dotty and her friend are joining the cruise but she is less than pleased when she discovers Dotty has asked her mother to join them. Adding to Lana’s dismay and anger is the fact that one of the guests is the person responsible for destroying her career.

The passengers are a diverse group, a few appeared in previous books. Some are definitely more likeable than others who always find something or someone to complain about, even before they get on the boat.

[quote] “I don’t want to hear your excuses. The view from our room is substandard, and I want to know what you are going to do about it. We expected better from Wanderlust Tours. We are paying quite a bit to be here, you know.” [unquote]

While on the tour Lana discovers more about the incident that cost her job and anger prompts her to do something drastic and, I thought, out of character. When a death occurs it’s initially unclear whether it’s an accident or murder but the police have their eye on someone.

I enjoyed the well described armchair travel aspect of the story very much, imagining the sights and locations in Amsterdam—the Keukenhof Garden, the museum of bags and purses, the floating flower market and the windmills, to name but a few.

Book description

A Mother’s Day trip to the Netherlands turns deadly when a guest plummets from a windmill. Was it an accident or a murder? For Lana Hansen, the answer will mean freedom or imprisonment for someone close to her…

Wanderlust Tours guide Lana Hansen and her mother, Gillian, haven’t seen eye to eye in over a decade, ever since Lana was wrongly fired from her job as an investigative reporter. So when Lana’s boss invites Gillian to join her upcoming Mother’s Day tour to the Netherlands, Lana is less than pleased.

What could be worse than spending ten days with her estranged mother? Lana is about to find out…

The tour begins on a high note when the majority of guests bond during their visit to the Keukenhof flower gardens and a cruise around the picturesque canals of Amsterdam.

Despite her initial reservations, Lana thinks this might be the best group she had ever led. Until she discovers one of her guests—a recent retiree named Priscilla—is the person who destroyed her career in journalism.

All Lana can see is red. But circumstances dictate that she figure out a way to lead the tour, make peace with her mother, and not murder her guest. She doesn’t know whether she can handle the pressure.

Lana needn’t worry. Shortly after their fight, Priscilla falls off the balcony of a historic windmill at Zaanse Schans. Was she pushed or simply careless? The investigating officers suspect murder—and topping their suspect list is Lana’s mom!

Can Lana save Gillian? Or will her mother end up spending the rest of her days in a Dutch prison?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #NewAdult #SportsRomance THE PERFECT FIRST by @mhugheswrites

The Perfect First (Fulton U, #1)The Perfect First by Maya Hughes

4 stars

The Perfect First is a new adult college sports romance. Persephone (Seph) Alexander is a maths genius, but she has spent her life being home-schooled and has no friends and is socially inept. She has escaped from her father’s strict rules while at Fulton University, and during this time she plans to complete a dream list of ‘firsts’.

Reece Michaels is a football star, full of self-confidence, but his attitude won’t impress the talent scouts, so his coach books him lessons which will improve his off-field image. In a classic mistaken identity moment, Reece meets Seph just as she is interviewing for her first sexual partner. Reece cannot believe the danger that Seph is placing herself in, so he promises to be her friend and help her with her other list items, but not the sex.

The author takes a studious introvert and gives her a bold streak mixing this with a confident male and tests his loyalties. I thought it worked well. The romance was fresh and teasing while the characters and minor story threads had plenty of depth and enough attraction to keep me interested and absorbed in the tale.

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“How long do you last in bed?” Those were her first words to me, swiftly followed up with, “And how big would you say you are?”

Persephone Alexander. Math genius. Lover of blazers. The only girl I know who can make Heidi braids look sexy as hell. And she’s on a mission. Lose her virginity by the end of the semester.

I walked in on her interview session for potential candidates (who even does that?) and saw straight through her brave front. She’s got a list of Firsts to accomplish like she’s only got months to live. I’ve decided to be her guide for all her firsts except one. Someone’s got to keep her out of trouble. I have one rule, no sex. We even shook on it.

I’ll help her find the right guy for the job. Someone like her doesn’t need someone like me and my massive…baggage for her first time.

Drinking at a bar. Check.

Partying all night. Double check.

Skinny dipping. Triple check.

She’s unlike anyone I’ve ever met. The walls I’d put up around my heart are slowly crumbling with each touch that sets fire to my soul.

I’m the first to bend the rules. One electrifying kiss changes everything and suddenly I don’t want to be her first, I want to be her only. But her plan was written before I came onto the scene and now I’m determined to get her to re-write her future with me.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #Travelogue ADVENTURE BY CHICKEN BUS: Family Backpacking Through Central America by @JanetLoSole #TuesdayBookBlog

Adventure by Chicken BusAdventure by Chicken Bus by Janet Losole

4 stars

Adventure by Chicken Bus is a travelogue from a family of four Canadians who sold up all their possessions and went back-packing through Central America. Between 2005 and 2007, Janet and Lloyd took their two home-schooled children, then aged 8 and 5 years old, on a very long school field trip.

The family started in Costa Rica and were determined to live and travel as the locals did. This meant taking long uncomfortable journeys on ‘chicken buses’, ex North American yellow school buses that have been recycled. Janet and Lloyd were both experienced back-packers and travellers, but the extra challenge was travelling with small children.

I was fascinated by some of their experiences which often took them on a less travelled route and far away from popular tourist destinations. This way they immersed themselves in the people and the places. The turtle conservation, watching ships pass through the Panama Canal and walking around Mayan cities, which remained almost undisturbed, were some of my favourite parts.

Janet and her family travelled for almost two years; they became adept at frugal living, keeping themselves safe and planned trips, excursions and long distance travel carefully where possible. Although Costa Rica was the primary destination, the family also backpacked in Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Mexico, I know very little about these countries so the map at the front of the book was a great help.

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Book description

Embarking on a homeschooling field trip to Central America is stressful enough, but add in perilous bridge crossings, trips to the hospital, and a lack of women’s underwear, and you have the makings of an Adventure by Chicken Bus.

Buckling under a mountain of debt, Janet LoSole and her family are at their wits’ end. Determined to make a drastic change, they sell all worldly possessions and hit the road. With only a few items of clothing, a four-person tent, and little else, the family visits a sleepy island backwater in Costa Rica to save endangered sea turtles.

In Panama, they bounce around like turnips in the back of a vegetable truck to reach an isolated monkey sanctuary. In Guatemala, they scale the ancient Mayan temples of Tikal.

In between tales of begging rides from total strangers and sleeping overnight in the jungle with an indigenous family, Janet endorses community-based travel–supporting local businesses and favoring public transportation called chicken buses. She also writes candidly about what it takes to travel long-term with two little girls amid the chaos of border crossings, erratic drivers, and creepy crawlies lurking at the edge of the jungle.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Thriller DRACA by @GeoffreyGudgion @unbounders

Today’s team review is from Olga, she blogs here https://www.authortranslatorolga.com

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading Draca by Geoffrey Gudgion

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I didn’t know Geoffrey Gudgion before I read this novel, but the description and the cover called me (a bit worrying when I think about it after finishing the book), and my reward was a fantastic read that combines many elements likely to interest a large variety of readers. Draca, the vessel of the title, is a haunting presence throughout the book. Old Eddie, its owner, was fascinated by old Norse mythology and his Viking heritage, and there are fragments from the Saga of King Guthrum (c a AD 875) heading each new chapter and telling a fascinating story of the Vikings’ incursions into Britain and their battles with the Saxons. This mythological background and the story of King Guthrum and his son Jarl Harald moves apace with the adventures of Draca and Jack, Eddie’s grandson and new owner of the sailing cutter. There are adventures that will delight those who love sailing (but also those who don’t. I haven’t done any proper sailing but have a soft spot for books and movies set at sea, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Let me clarify that although there is ample evidence of knowledge and research on the topic of sailing, no expertise is required to enjoy the novel). The characters, and especially the relationship between the male members of the Ahlquist family, make for fascinating reading, as we have parents and sons of different generations with complex love-hate relationships, and they relive their conflicts on and off the ship.

Other themes are also explored and add to the overall interest of the novel: Jack, the main protagonist of the story, was a decorated Royal Marine who was severely wounded during the war, and now suffers from PTSD and is finding it difficult to adjust to civilian life. His flashbacks and his account of his experiences are realistic and compelling (not surprising when we take into account the author’s background), and it makes him a particularly sympathetic character. We also have romance (although the two characters seemed made for each other from the beginning, and I’m sure most readers will enjoy it, considering the background of both characters it seemed a bit too perfect for me, especially if readers are expecting a standard horror story); a woman with a gift for healing and for sensing things about people; and a paranormal element that I felt worked very well.

I think the description offers more than enough information about the plot, and I want to avoid spoilers.  I think this novel cuts across a few genres. There are very realistic elements, in particular those depicting the psychological state of the characters, PTSD and obsession; there are also mythological and fantastical elements; paranormal/horror elements; sailing adventures; family relationships (a family saga, to a point); and a romance (there is some sex, but it is pretty mild and not very explicit, and people who follow my review know I don’t like erotica, so…). If I had to choose, I enjoyed the mythological/fantastical aspects of the story, the sailing adventure, and the realistic aspects, especially the relationship between the men, the most.

I have mentioned some of the characters already. The story is narrated in the third person, each chapter usually following the point of view of one of the main characters (Harry, Old Eddie’s son and Jack’s father, not a particularly likeable character and not somebody who evolves much during the novel, but he is not all bad either; Jack; and George, the main female character, who runs the boatyard and seems to combine characteristics of the caring female who would do anything for her man, with an independent and wise woman who tries hard to keep trouble at bay), interspersed with the Saga of King Guthrum and also, especially at the beginning, with fragments of Eddie’s diary, which help us understand more about the man and about Draca. We also meet Charlotte (Charlie), Jack’s wife, who is a very intriguing character, but her story is not developed in a lot of detail (and we don’t see things from her point of view), not is that of Jack’s mother, who seems to be an old-fashioned housewife and hardly has a voice of her own. We don’t see enough of Tilly, Jack’s sister, for her to play a part in the story (other than being a hindrance at times).

The writing is excellent. There are beautiful descriptions of sailing, not only of the act of sailing but also of the emotions it creates, and as I’ve said already, the psychological experiences of the characters, particularly of Jack are rendered in such a way that we can’t help but feel as if we were there, sharing in his anguish and feelings. There are lyrical passages that made me reread them again, and this is a book that combines an absorbing story that makes you keep turning the pages with a style of writing that demands to be savoured an enjoyed. I’ve highlighted many fragments, but I thought I’d share a couple to give you some idea of what to expect:

When the tide was just on the ebb it sucked at the beach below the cottage, a soft susurration at the limit of hearing. In the pre-dawn darkness it sounded like whispering, so human that he strained to distinguish the words.

Draca was a bit like some men she’d met who were handsome on the outside and dangerous on the inside. In that way, Draca was the opposite of Jack. He was dangerous on the outside but probably dead gentle on the inside, like he was wearing a suit of armour, or a shell, like a crab.

The ending… I think the author has managed to pull quite a trick there, because all the different elements come to a satisfactory ending (no, I’m not saying happy), and I enjoyed it, for sure. And it does not leave us hanging, so people who don’t appreciate cliff-hangers don’t need to worry… much.

The author mentions his sources (people and books) in his acknowledgments, and I was particularly happy to learn about Unbound, the first crowdfunding publisher, which made the book possible. The book also includes a list of supporters and patrons, and I will try to keep track of their future projects.

In brief, a great read, that I’d recommend to people interested in male family relationships, PTSD, and who don’t mind a touch of the paranormal and romance. Fans of sailing stories and those who love Norse mythology and Old Saxon history will enjoy it even more. There are some chilling and eerie moments, but the horror, such as it is, is mostly psychological, so this should not put off people who usually avoid the genre. I won’t forget Draca in a long time, and I’m sure if you read it you won’t, either.

Book description

Draca was a vintage sailing cutter, Old Eddie’s pride and joy. But now she’s beached, her varnish peeling. She’s dying, just like Eddie.
Eddie leaves Draca to his grandson Jack, a legacy that’s the final wedge between Jack and his father. Yet for Jack, the old boat is a lifeline. Medically discharged from the Marines, with his marriage on the rocks, the damaged veteran finds new purpose; Draca will sail again. Wonderful therapy for a wounded hero, people say.
Young Georgia ‘George’ Fenton, who runs the boatyard, has doubts. She saw changes in Old Eddie that were more sinister even than cancer. And by the time Draca tastes the sea again, the man she dares to love is going the same way. To George, Jack’s ‘purpose’ has become ‘possession’; the boat owns the man and her flawed hero is on a mission to self-destruct. As his controlling and disinherited father pushes him closer to the edge, she gives all she has to hold him back.
And between them all, there’s an old boat with dark secrets, and perhaps a mind of its own.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #Young Adult #SciFi PLACE OF FEAR (Atlantic Island: Guardian Book 2) by Rennie St. James

Place of Fear (Atlantic Island: Guardian Book 2)Place of Fear by Rennie St. James

3.5 stars

Place Of Fear is the second book in a fan fiction spin-off series from Fredric Shernoff’s young adult science fiction Atlantic Island stories. I recommend reading them in the order that they are written to gain the most from the series.

In this story Scout and his friends continue their research into the Mayan culture to find historical artefacts which have magical powers. Others seek these powers too and themes of good versus evil and power versus balance are threaded throughout the story. There are lots of mystical elements and the Mayan history interested me the most as I was reading, to the point when I was skip reading much of the mundane everyday parts to get back to the mythical stories.

I have come to this series without reading the original Atlantic Island story so I can’t comment on how this extended tale fits. However, I found the pacing rather slow and it became hard to feel engaged with the characters, which may just be because I am not the intended audience for this genre. The author injects her recognisable style from her Rahki Chronicles into this book, so if you are a fan of those stories then you might enjoy these.

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Book description

Scout Ainsley may have discovered two of the Mayan artifacts, but he still doubts his sanity. The search for the remaining relics could cost him his life as well.

The disappearance of a friend reveals new truths and powers. Scout isn’t alone in his search for answers, but he struggles to trust those closest to him. His nightmares reflect his worst experiences and most terrifying fears.

Every path to the future is coated in blood and death. Can he use lies to find the truth? Can he trust others or even himself?

If Scout wants to survive, he’ll have to conquer his fears.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Of #Autobiography BREAKFAST AT BRONZEFIELD by Sophie Campbell

Breakfast at BronzefieldBreakfast at Bronzefield by Sophie Campbell

3.5 stars

Breakfast At Bronzefield is a non-fiction memoir from Sophie Campbell who spent almost two years in two English women’s prisons. The first was Bronzefield; this is Sophie’s take on the conditions and how she coped with prison life.

Although Sophie was brought up with family who partook in criminal activities, Sophie strived to distance herself from them. However, after assaulting a police officer she was first put on remand and then sentenced to time in prison.

If you know nothing about the English prison system then this is quite eye-opening; however, if you have an interest in real crime, you may already be aware of many of the events that Sophie described.

I was very surprised by the lack of support given to the prisoners especially as they approached release. Sophie was homeless when she left and she was forced to stay with her criminal father who tried to coerce her back into a life of crime. I could understand how easy it could be for some prisoners to re-offend.

Although I found this book interesting, at times the content jumped around and gave away later elements, which was distracting. As I had an ARC of this book for review, hopefully these points and most of the typos I spotted were corrected before publication. One final thought: I didn’t think that the choice of book cover and title suited the book genre.

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Book description

HMP Bronzefield, the UK’s largest women’s prison: notorious for bent screws and drugs:

But what’s the truth behind the headlines?

Forced into signing an NDA when she arrived there on remand, former public schoolgirl Sophie risked extra time on her sentence by documenting her experiences of life inside.

Backed up by recent research and statistics, Breakfast at Bronzefield offers a powerful glimpse into a world few see: riots; unethical medical prescribing; and prison barons – key figures behind prostitution and drug-smuggling.

In a world where anything goes and being rehabilitated simply means saying ‘sorry’ right up until you’re released, how will Sophie cope on the outside, where she is expected to play by different rules? Will she succeed in creating the life she wants? Or, like most prisoners, will she end up back where she started?

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