Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT DIDN’T GET FRAZZLED by David Z Hirsch #Medical #Fiction

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

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading Didn’t Get Frazzled by David Z Hirsch

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My review:

I’m reviewing this book on behalf of Rosie’s Book Review Team and thank the author and Rosie for the ARC copy of the book that I voluntarily chose to review.

I’m a doctor and I must admit this book brought many memories for me (although I studied Medicine almost ten years earlier than the character Seth in the book and in Barcelona, Spain, where the system of medical training is slightly different to the one in the US that’s portrayed in the book): the shared experiences (some pleasant, some not so much), the trials, the discoveries, the surprises, the stress, the uncertainty… I’m sure anybody who’s studied and/or worked in a health-related field will be able to identify with much of the books’ content, especially the struggle between the need to offer the best care and the reality of what is available and how specific services work. Not all patients are patient, not all colleagues are helpful, and no matter how hard we try, things don’t always work out.

The story is told in the first person from the point of view of Seth, who has always wanted to be a doctor and manages to get into Medical School in New York. His long-term girlfriend, April, goes with him, and they hope that being together will help them both survive the experience, but that proves not to the case. Trying to juggle the pressures of Medical School (that with the regular schedule, on-calls and studying leave little time for personal life, especially if the significant other is not another medical student) and a relationship that is changing proves complicated, and when the relationship ends, Seth finds it difficult to move on. Whilst Seth, the medical student, is usually successful at navigating the intricacies of his training, acquiring knowledge, and trying to deal with both patients and staff, Seth, the man, has more difficulty managing his emotions. He relies on his friends, explores relationships (some that confuse matters even more) and by the end, might have found somebody new. When one of his trainers says of him that he doesn’t get frazzled, he decides to adopt it as his motto, and he manages to live up to it, at least in appearance, most of the time. But he has moments when things get too much for him and then his coping mechanisms are not always the best. He goes above and beyond his duty for the patients and we’re sure he’ll make a good doctor, but he’s far from perfect and only a human being, after all. We see him interact with some of this friends too, most of them medical students as well, and that offers us different perspectives on the effect the training has and on how it affects people’s lives. It also allows us to see him in a more relaxed environment and get a better sense of what kind of person Seth is.

The plot, such as it is, is the process of transformation of a somewhat naïve student into a doctor, more or less ready to face professional life and it follows the chronology of his studies, from first year eager student to an experienced third year who’s teaching others. There are amusing (although some readers might find some of them gross) episodes, some to do with medical school and others with everyday life (cockroaches and mice included). There are also some sad and touching moments and some inspiring and reflective observations. At a time when medical care and its provision is a matter of much debate, this book, that illustrates the experience from the perspective of those directly engaged in providing it, can help personalise the issue and return the focus where it should be, patients and the caring professionals. As I am a doctor, I’m not in the best position to comment how much of the material might be too specialised and medically-based for the general readership to enjoy. A fair amount of the book consists of following medical students through training, be it studying anatomy, attending post-mortem examinations, going through a very special gynaecological examination training, and also descriptions of cases they have to treat (many among the less privileged echelons of society). Due to this, I would not recommend this book to readers who don’t enjoy books with a medical background, and in my opinion, it is more detailed than what is usually found in TV medical series or some fiction such as medical mysteries.

This is a well-written book that gives a very good idea of what life as a medical student in the US is (or at least was in the 1990s). The characters and the anecdotes have a realistic feel and it will be particularly appreciated by those in the health professions or considering them as an option. Readers who enjoy medical fiction would gain a better understanding of the realities behind the fiction by reading this book. Not recommended for people who are squeamish but it will be an inspiring read for many.

Book Description

Medical student Seth Levine faces escalating stress and gallows humor as he struggles with the collapse of his romantic relationships and all preconceived notions of what it means to be a doctor. It doesn’t take long before he realizes not getting frazzled is the least of his problems. Seth encounters a student so arrogant he boasts that he’ll eat any cadaver part he can’t name, an instructor so dedicated she tests the student’s ability to perform a gynecological exam on herself, and a woman so captivating that Seth will do whatever it takes to make her laugh, including regale her with a story about a diagnostic squabble over an erection. Didn’t Get Frazzled captures with distressing accuracy the gauntlet idealistic college grads must face to secure an MD and, against the odds, come out of it a better human being.

About the author

David Z. Hirsch

David Z Hirsch grew up on the steppes of Nebraska peddling Kool-Aid off I-129 until saving up enough cash for medical school. After graduation, he moved to Pyongyang to teach pre-med classes at Kim Il-sung University. He soon fell out of favor and was imprisoned at Kaechon where he traded medical favors for soup and toilet paper until he made a daring escape across the border. 

Dr. Hirsch subsisted for the next three years by foraging gooseberries and licking the dew off spiny toads. This led to a burst of creativity, and he wrote the first draft of Didn’t Get Frazzled on bark peeled off a dying Manchurian Ash tree. Ultimately discovered in a semi-feral state by the China Coast Guard flotilla from Liaoning, Dr. Hirsch returned to the United States sixty pounds lighter but more inspired than ever.

David Z Hirsch is a pen name, so absolutely nothing in the above paragraphs are true. This is not lying, you see. It’s fiction. Many well-regarded sources insist that these are two distinct things. The actual guy who wrote this novel is a practicing physician in Maryland. His life story is considerably more prosaic, but in his head he lives a fascinating, fascinating life.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT REMNANTS by @Carolyn_Arnold Police #CrimeFic Drama

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

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading Remnants by Carolyn Arnold

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I read thrillers often and although until recently I’d been reluctant to read books belonging to series that I had not followed before, I’ve found myself reading a few books in this category and enjoying them. Sometimes we might feel particularly attracted to a story line but wonder if we’ll enjoy a book where we’re missing much of the background. Rest assured; although your experience might be different to that of somebody who’s followed the characters from the very beginning, that shouldn’t put you off.

In this novel, the sixth in the Brandon Fisher FBI series, the story is complex and intriguing. The setting, Savannah, Georgia, where some body parts are found in the river crossing through an old plantation. New remains keep appearing and the details of the cases point at ritual killings. Things get more and more bizarre and the plot twists and turns like the river itself.

Most of the book is narrated in the first person by Brandon Fisher. As mentioned, I haven’t read any of the previous books in the series, but there are quite a few clues as to past events in his life (he was married, lost a child, was in a relationship with a member of the team, Paige, that ended…) and in that of other team members (his boss almost died in a recent case, Paige is now in a new relationship…) and we get a good sense of the dynamics within the team. There are some chapters written in the third person but narrated by Paige, and also by other unnamed characters (that we soon realise are involved in the crime). The author spins the story with these different threads, managing to maintain the intrigue and mystery despite the alternating viewpoints and complexities. She is also very adept at making the characters sound genuine, using professional terminology and achieving a high degree of accuracy on the procedural side of things, ensuring that the authentic details serve the story rather than slowing it down with endless descriptions that distract the reader from the plot.

There is plenty of action, clues to follow, puzzles to be solved, and an interesting explanation behind the crimes. (As I want to avoid spoilers at all cost, I won’t talk in detail about it, although as a psychiatrist, and one who has worked in forensic psychiatry for a number of years, I must say one of the aspects of the explanation is controversial within the profession [the diagnosis is included in several classifications of mental disorders although disputed by clinicians] but very popular in books and movies.)

The book is easy to read, a page-turner and difficult to put down. Brandon Fisher is not the typical hero: he doubts himself, wonders often about his personal life and questions his decisions, worries about his partners and his boss, has a weak stomach and gets queasy in the scene of violent crimes. He can be reckless at times, has a sense of humour, and is good at convincing people and reading them, gaining their trust. I wasn’t totally convinced that what he does at the end fits in with his behaviour and comments throughout the story, but it is understandable that being exposed to extreme risks and dangers would make anybody reconsider his or her life. The book can be enjoyed in its own right, but I’m always curious about the background of the characters, and I’m sure I would have enjoyed coming to the book armed with the knowledge of the previous novels in the series.

The local characters vary between the local police, who do not play an important part, the relatives of the victims, that are depicted sympathetically and given their own touching stories, and the characters linked to the current case. Some of those make brief appearances, whilst we know how the minds of others work and we see events from their points of view although we only find out their circumstances later. This works well for lovers of mysteries as we suspect and rule out many of the characters and keep wondering until the end.

In sum, a solid police procedural novel, well researched and constructed, for those who love complex stories and who don’t mind gore details.

Book Description

When multiple body parts are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, local law enforcement calls in FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team to investigate. But with the remains pointing to three separate victims, this isn’t proving to be an open-and-shut case.

With no quick means of identifying the deceased, building a profile of this serial killer is more challenging than usual. How are these targets being selected? Why are their limbs being severed and their bodies mutilated? And what is it about them that is triggering this person to murder?

The questions compound as the body count continues to rise, and when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found, the case takes an even darker turn. But this is only the beginning, and these new leads draw the FBI into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though: The killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

About the author

Carolyn Arnold

CAROLYN ARNOLD is the international bestselling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town, but that never kept her from dreaming big. On par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives outside Toronto with her husband and beagle. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Codename Lazarus by @APMartin51 #WW2 #Spy #Thriller

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Codename Lazarus by A P Martin

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CODENAME LAZARUS by A P Martin

4 out of 5 stars

This is a spy story set in England and Germany during Hitler’s rise to power and the first year of the Second World War.  John King, a history lecturer, is invited to become an undercover agent, and, despite the realisation of how dangerous and lonely his life will become, he agrees.

What I liked about this book

  • The author clearly knows his subject inside out and, I would imagine, has a great interest in it, as opposed to just having done the research required to produce this novel; you can tell the difference.  I feel that A P Martin has an innate understanding of the era itself, and the people who lived within it.
  • The section before the war, when agent King witnesses the ‘gathering storm’ of Nazi Germany, is excellent, and SS man Joachim Brandt’s witnessing of Dunkirk, from the point of view of a German spy, is outstanding.  I loved these two parts.
  • I thought the plot was well thought out, generally, and it kept me interested throughout.
  • The understated communication between King and his controller, Pym, was most believeable.  The characterisation of Pym and Brandt was particularly good, as was that of misguided informant Abigail Stevenson; Brandt’s duplicitous relationship with her was executed very well, as was Brandt’s developing character, as he grows from patriot to confirmed Nazi.  There’s a key scene were he slaughters some POWs, which triggers him off; it’s so well done.
  • The build up to the war, with the growing danger in Germany, the differing attitudes to Hitler, and the many theories about his intentions, was fascinating, and gave such insight into how that time must have been for different people across both countries.

What I was not so sure about 

  • I found some elements early in the book less than convincing; at the beginning, King is with his friends in Germany in 1933, and everyone speaks in perfectly formed sentences, giving just the right amount of information to the reader; the conversation didn’t seem real.
  • I wasn’t convinced by the romance with Greta; I found their Christmas together in 1938 not a last idyllic, romantic few days before the war, but a mildly interesting account of activities.  Greta never came across to me as a living, flesh and blood woman. However, it was no worse than the depiction of women by some well-known writers of this genre, Jeffrey Archer to name but one.
  • I would urge Mr Martin to seek out a proofreader who knows how to punctuate ~ there are scores of missing or incorrectly placed commas, and the curious placing of quotations marks around proper nouns (eg, ‘Lords Cricket Ground’).  I didn’t find any spelling mistakes or typos, though.
  • The ending.  The book just stopped.  The main conflict of the plot is resolved, and satisfactorily, but it seemed almost as though the author had forgotten that minor story threads needed resolution, too.  I turned the page expecting another chapter, or at least an epilogue, but that was that.

This book has much to commend it, hence the four stars; the parts I liked, I liked very much indeed, but I feel it needs a bit of ‘sorting out’ by a really good editor, perhaps a trimming down and removing of mundane detail, to make it the first class novel it deserves to be.  I think lovers of ‘old school’ sort of spy stories will love it.

Book Description

Spring 1938: Great Britain is facing potentially lethal threats: the looming war with Germany; the fear that her Secret Service has been penetrated by Nazi agents and the existence of hundreds of British citizens, who are keen to pass information to her enemies.

John King, a young academic, is approached by his Oxbridge mentor to participate in a stunning deception that would frustrate Britain’s enemies. As King struggles to come to terms with the demands of his mission, he must learn to survive in a dangerous and lonely ‘no man’s land’, whilst remaining one step ahead of those in hot pursuit.

Adapted from a true story, ‘Codename Lazarus’ takes the reader on a journey from the dark heart of Hitler’s Germany, across the snowy peaks of Switzerland to the horrors of Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain and the London Blitz, before reaching a thrilling and decisive conclusion, from which none of those present emerges unscathed.

About the author

A.P. Martin

I was born and spent my entire working life in the North West of England, where I taught at school, college and university levels. I became Head of Department of Social Sciences at a University, specialising in the study of social inequality, social mobility and sport. During my academic career I published many sociological studies on these themes.

Since taking early retirement, I have really enjoyed immersing myself in reading and writing fiction. I feel that most historical fiction benefits from a connection to something that actually happened, so when I wrote my first book, Codename Lazarus, I took a little known true story and used it as a framework for an exciting thriller.

I am currently writing my second spy story, which also takes as its inspiration a fascinating, yet almost unknown episode from the Second World War.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The Bridge Of The Golden Wood by @KarlBeckstrand Kids #BusinessBook

Today’s team review is from Shelley, she blogs at http://shelleywilsonauthor.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Shelley has been reading The Bridge Of The Golden Wood by Karl Beckstrand

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Book Title: The Bridge of the Golden Wood
Author: Karl Beckstrand
Category: Children’s Fiction
 
My Rating: 4 Star
 
My Review:
 
The Bridge of the Golden Wood is a delightful tale about a young Chinese boy who helps some hungry fish but learns a valuable life lesson along the way. According to the blurb, this illustrated folktale teaches the reader how to spot opportunities to help others and make money. After the story, there are money-making activities included, together with a valuable resource section.
 
The illustrations are beautiful, and the words are in a dyslexic font making this book accessible to a wide audience.
 
It’s aimed at children between the ages of 5 and 18 and has a business/non-fiction element to the story. However, I’m not sure my three teenagers would read it, even though two of them are studying business, and my young nephew would not grasp the business element, but I’m sure he would enjoy the story. The author is a bestselling and award-winning author of 18 multicultural books, so I’m pretty sure he knows what he’s doing.
 
I loved the inspirational message of the picture book and enjoyed reading it.
 
I received a copy of The Bridge of the Golden Wood from the author as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team in exchange for an honest review.
 
Book Description
 
A child with a knack for solving problems helps some hungry fish and finds a treasure.
 
Illustrated folktale teaches how to spot opportunities to help others and make money. Comes with ideas for businesses; money-making activities; and online resources on finding customers, managing money, and moving up in an organization (for ages 5 and up). Young children will be captivated by the story; older ones will want to apply the things they learn.
 
Teach someone to fish: a how-to book on careers, small business, and learning how to serve/earn money. Soon available in hard and soft cover—Asian characters, Chinese boy, red panda, 26-page picture book, 530 words in dyslexic font by Karl Beckstrand.
About the author
Karl Beckstrand
Karl Beckstrand is the award-winning and bestselling author of 18 multicultural titles and more than 50 e-books (reviews by Kirkus, The Horn Book blog, School Library Journal, ForeWord Reviews). Beckstrand earned a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from APU, and a certificate from Film A. Academy. Once a technical recruiter in Silicon Valley, Beckstrand’s early work was produced by two publishers (the first died the day they were to print his book!). Since 2004 he has guided Premio Publishing & Gozo Books.

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The Silent Kookaburra by @LizaPerrat #Thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from E. L. Lindley, she blogs at http://lindleyreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

E.L. has been reading The Silent Kookaburra by Liza Perrat

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The Silent Kookaburra by Liza Perrat is a hauntingly poignant story, set in small town Australia primarily in 1973 and told through the voice of eleven year old Tanya Randall. Perrat does not shy away from dark subject matter such as paedophilia, mental illness and bereavement but she offsets the horror with her lyrical, almost poetic writing.

From the opening page, Perrat evokes in her reader an uneasy ominous tension as the middle-aged Tanya is going through her grandmother’s things and finds a newspaper clipping from January 26th 1973. As Tanya’s memories are invoked, we are left in no doubt that this date was catastrophic for the family and this foreshadowing hangs over the rest of the novel.

One of the most effective aspects of the novel is the way that eleven year old Tanya relates her childhood through her own innocent eyes whilst the reader has a more knowing perspective. Consequently the story takes on an added dimension as the reader has more idea of what is actually happening than the young narrator. We read with a sense of dread, knowing what is about to unfold as she is unable to process what she is telling us.

This sense of tension is increased as Perrat sets events to a backdrop of unbearable heat which heightens the emotions of the characters adding to the reader’s sense of foreboding. There are also constant references to Australia’s history and the idea that everything is built on the blood of convicts which leaves it tainted. Tanya and her parents and grandmother live in Gumtree Cottage which Nanna Purvis believes is cursed as a result of being built by convicts, “built on blood money”. It’s also significant that January 26th which becomes so fateful for the family is Australia Day which marks the anniversary of convict ships arriving in Sydney.

The power of this novel comes from Perrat’s skill at characterisation. Tanya is heartbreakingly real – a vulnerable, lonely girl, bullied and called “Ten-ton Tanya” by the other kids. She’s caught in the vicious cycle of comfort eating and then hating herself for being overweight. As the reader helplessly watches Tanya teetering on the brink of disaster it’s almost too much to bear.

The fact that the novel is set in 1973 highlights the way the world has changed and, despite the dark undertones, anyone who survived the 70s will find much humour in the realistic depiction. For example the casual use of Valium which is handed around like Smarties and the nips of Sherry given to children for medicinal purposes. Not to mention a diet which basically consists of biscuits and sugar.

A product of her time is Nanna Purvis, a hilariously irreverent character. Her malapropisms such as calling her varicose veins “very cows veins” and the no-nonsense often course way she views the world made me laugh uncontrollably. My favourite line is when she dismisses Tanya’s nemesis and chief bully Stacy Mornon with, “Wasn’t her head too big for her mother’s fanny?” Typical of her time, Nanna Purvis is racist, casually referring to an Italian family as “dirty eyeties,” this reflects the tensions that were rife as Australia became more multi-cultural.

Perrat uses her novel to tackle some very serious issues, most notably paedophilia. I found it particularly affecting how she uses Tanya’s perspective to emphasise the complexities of grooming. Tanya is singled out because she is vulnerable and the paedophile exploits her vulnerabilities to manipulate her whilst successfully inserting himself into her family. I think Perrat does a great job of portraying the pervasive nature of child abuse and the reasons why it so often goes unreported.

The novel also explores mental illness in the shape of Tanya’s mother, Eleanor. At a time when very little was understood about mental health and treatment was limited, Eleanor’s manic depression is worsened by grief and Perrat describes her descent into madness in a vivid and believable way. We also see how mental illness effects the whole family as Tanya’s entire childhood is defined by her mother’s black moods which hang over the house making her feel like “The Invisible Girl.”

Tanya’s childhood is a real childhood rather than the imagined, idealised ones that are often depicted in fiction. Children are brutally cruel and the bullying and name calling is relentless. Tanya has no control over her life whatsoever and is at the mercy of her parents’ actions and behaviour. Her only friend is Angela Moretti who is also ostracised because she is Italian.

The novel ends as it began with the middle-aged Tanya bringing the reader up to date with her life. The ending for me was a complete sucker punch as Perrat lulled me into believing that she had opted for the fairytale finale only to deliver a final blow that left me reeling.

The Silent Kookaburra is a novel that I can’t recommend highly enough. It’s an intelligent portrayal of real life with all its flaws that will leave you thinking long after you’ve finished reading it.

Book Description

All eleven-year-old Tanya Randall wants is a happy family. But Mum does nothing besides housework, Dad’s always down the pub and Nanna Purvis moans at everyone except her dog. Then Shelley arrives –– the miracle baby who fuses the Randall family in love for their little gumnut blossom.

Tanya’s life gets even better when she meets an uncle she didn’t know she had. He tells her she’s beautiful and could be a model. Her family refuses to talk about him. But that’s okay, it’s their little secret.

Then one blistering summer day tragedy strikes, and the surrounding mystery and suspicion tear apart this fragile family web. 

Embracing the social changes of 1970s Australia, against a backdrop of native fauna and flora, The Silent Kookaburra is a haunting exploration of the blessings, curses and tyranny of memory. 

Unsettling psychological suspense blending the intensity of Wally Lamb with the atmosphere of Peter James, this story will get under your skin.

About the author

An image posted by the author.

Liza grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years.
When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her husband and three children for twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist.
Several of her short stories have won awards, notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004 and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine and France Today.

Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in the historical “The Bone Angel” series set against a backdrop of rural France during the French Revolution. The second in the series, Wolfsangel, set during the WWII German Occupation of France, was published in October, 2013. The third in the series, Blood Rose Angel, set during the 14th century Black Plague years was published in November, 2015.

The Silent Kookaburra, a dark psychological suspense novel set in 1970s Australia, was published in November, 2016.

Friends, Family and Other Strangers From Downunder is a collection of 14 humorous, horrific and entertaining short stories set in Australia, for readers everywhere.

Liza is a co-founder and member of Triskele Books, an independent writers’ collective with a commitment to quality and a strong sense of place, and also reviews books for Bookmuse.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The Old Man At The End Of The World by @AKSilversmith #Apocalypse

Today’s team review is from Georgia, she blogs at http://www.georgiarosebooks.com

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading The Old Man At The End Of The World: Bite No.1 by A.K Silversmith

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I’ll be honest and say I don’t know much about zombies but thought I’d try this and see what they’re all about. I’m assuming that some other books of this genre are considerably more gory and scary but this one is a different sort of read. There is a bit of zombie like behaviour in it – blood and gore and what have you, but overall it came across as more a humorous telling of a terribly British reaction to the whole situation.

Gerald Stockwell-Poulter is earthing up leeks one minute and being attacked by a fellow allotment holder the next. Hamilton comes to his rescue and after a bit of toing and froing, and taking pity on the rather smug Finnbar they manage to find sanctuary at Gerald’s house.

It did start off a little silly but once I’d settled in I found much of the humour amusing and enjoyed the writing. There wasn’t a lot of emotion shown at all and it didn’t come across as if these characters feared the zombies but instead just found them a bit of a nuisance. There were reminders of Shaun of the Dead in there with the humour and also of Carry on up the Khyber. No zombies in that of course but it was the same stoicism as shown in the dinner towards the end of the film when bombs are falling all around but proper dinner etiquette must be followed. Nothing is more important to Gerald than getting back home in order to have, of course, a nice cup of tea, regardless of the mayhem playing out amongst his neighbours.

All in all this is a small bite of a light-hearted zombie book, well written and amusing.

Book Description

Gerald Stockwell-Poulter couldn’t help but feel it was extraordinary just how quickly his life had changed. One moment he was earthing up leeks in the West Sussex sunshine and the next he was rooted to the spot as Rodney Timmins from the end allotment ambled towards him, arms outstretched, blood pouring from a hole in his neck and a look in his eye which suggested that he was less after help and more after a helping of Gerald. 

Now, as Gerald’s life takes a quick turn for the worse, he must do things he has never done before. After 87 largely well-behaved years as a model citizen, less than four hours into the ‘zompocalypse’ and he has already killed a neighbour, rescued a moody millenial drug dealer and forged an unlikely allegiance with a giant ginger Scotsman. And it isn’t even tea time. 

Join Gerald as he and his newfound allies navigate the post-apocalyptic English countryside in their hilarious bid to stay off the menu. 

The first installment of the Old Man at the End of the World Series. A novella of 20,000 words.

About the author

AK Silversmith

AK Silversmith is the author of The Old Man at the End of the World; a series of zombie apocalypse Bites centering on the world of 87-year-old Gerald Stockwell-Poulter.

Bite 2 is coming soon…

She was born in Tasmania in 1983 and now lives in western Ireland where the weather is similar but the zombies are still absent.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT EXPOSURE by @RoseEdmunds Financial #Thriller #SundayBlogShare

Today’s second team review is from Babus, she blogs here http://ajoobacatsblog.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Babus has been reading Exposure by Rose Edmunds

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Amy returns in book two of this series after leaving her last employers and, taking advantage of the remainder of her private health insurance, goes to rehab. The very publicised death of an old colleague involves her as she is mentioned in his dying words, but why? Matters are complicated further as she teams up with an old flame to get to the bottom of what the man’s dying words meant, but her investigation puts her right inside the hornets nest where no one can be trusted and Amy is in mortal danger. Will she uncover the truth and get out intact?

Absolutely love reading Amy, she’s a character that amuses and intrigues as I’m never quite sure what she’ll do next. A breath of fresh air from the sanitised female protagonist, Amy is proof women can be human, flawed and less moral than Snow White and still be good reading.

I found this second instalment more suspenseful than the first one with a rapid pace that kept me on the edge of my seat, but the book still managed to fill some blanks in Amy’s troubled past. A mystery to keep me guessing as well as revisiting a much loved character, I recommend this rare type of thriller, a finance thriller, to all thriller fans. You won’t be disappointed.

Book Description

City high-flyer Amy has crashed and burned. Fresh out of rehab and with her career in tatters, the sudden death of an old friend propels her into an illicit undercover fraud investigation. 
But Amy’s in way over her head. The assignment quickly turns sour, pitching her into a nightmare where no one can be trusted and nothing is what it seems. 
In mortal danger, and with enemies old and new conspiring against her, Amy’s resilience is tested to the limit as she strives to defeat them and rebuild her life.

About the author

Rose Edmunds

For more than 20 years, Rose Edmunds almost passed as normal, working undercover in several well-known financial firms in London while quietly gathering material for her novels.

Since jumping off the corporate hamster wheel Rose now writes thrillers with a strong ethical theme. Her writing draws heavily on her considerable insight into business world and in particular the uncomfortable conflict between capitalism and humanity. 

Rose’s debut thriller, Never Say Sorry, was about a Big Pharma conspiracy to suppress a cancer cure. Since then, she has been working on the Crazy Amy thriller series—an ambitious project which will follow the brilliant but unstable Amy Robinson on her journey from senior finance executive to who knows where…

You can find out more by checking out Rose’s website at www.roseedmunds.co.uk or on Facebook at Rose Edmunds – Author Page. Via the website, you can also join the Crazy Amy VIP Fan Club, for exclusive access to free bonus Crazy Amy short stories and other exciting offers. There is also a closed Facebook group for club members.

Rose lives in Brighton with her husband David.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT DANGEROUS by Ian Probert @Truth42 #Boxing industry #Memoir

Today’s team review is from Chris, she blogs here http://cphilippou123.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Chris has been reading Dangerous by Ian Probert

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An unexpected read that delves deep into the issues that athletes and fans face when things go wrong in sport.

A few decades after leaving the sport behind following a rather harrowing event, ex sports journalist Ian Probert returns to investigate boxing and all the changes that have occurred since his last foray into the sport. And change it has…

Based on the blurb, I was expecting a book on boxing but, instead, I got a memoir punctuated by meetings, memories, and the good (and bad) that the sport brought out in the author. This was an interesting story that delved into the depths of the human psyche, and charts the effects that wins, losses, and retirement can have on fighters and fans alike. It is not always comfortable or indeed pleasurable reading, but it is a very interesting memoir cum investigation that makes you think about the sport in very different ways.

*Thank you to the author and to #RBRT for my free review copy.

Book Description

A quarter of a century ago journalist and author Ian Probert decided never to write about boxing again. His decision was prompted by the injuries sustained by boxer Michael Watson during his world title fight with Chris Eubank. Now, in common with so many fighters, Probert is making an inevitable comeback. Dangerous sees Probert return to the scene of an obsession that has gripped him from childhood. In the course of numerous meetings with a number of leading figures in the fight game, including Herol Graham, Steve Collins, Michael Watson, Nigel Benn, Ambrose Mendy, Rod Douglas, Frank Buglioni, Kellie Maloney, Glen McCrory and Jim McDonnell among others, Probert takes a look at how lives have changed, developed and even unravelled during the time he has been away from the sport. From an illuminating and honest encounter with transgender fight manager Kellie Maloney to an emotional reunion with Watson himself, Probert discovers just how much the sport has changed during his absence. The end result is one of the most fascinating and unusual books ever to have been written about boxing.

About the author

Ian Probert

Ian Probert has been scribbling down words ever since he learned to spell the phrase: ‘Once upon a time…’. He is the author of Internet Spy, Rope Burns and a bunch of other titles. Internet Spy was a bestseller in the US and made into a TV film. Rope Burns is a book about why books shouldn’t be written about boxing. Ian has also written things for a shed load of newspapers and magazines. When Ian was a student he used to write lots of letters to the bank manager.

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Burner: Book one of the Affinity series by J.S Lenore #UrbanFantasy @p1013

Burner (Affinity Series, #1)Burner by J.S. Lenore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Burner is an urban fantasy set in Chicago. The book opens with a detailed warehouse scene and a very angry ghost attacking medium Kim Phillips, who wants to help her.

Kim has a special ability: together with her spiritual partner Priya, she helps ghosts pass over to the light; she’s a ‘burner’ but as a police detective, she also tries to find answers as to why the ghost remains.

Emma Murphy was a student and her life ended with violent abuse. During her “sending”, Emma leaves details of her murder and a partial vision of her killer. This burning leaves Kim exhausted, and during the night she has a vivid and frightening dream, one which continues on other nights. At police headquarters, her interest in this case leads Kim’s boss to suggest she partner up with detective Riley Cross. Research reveals Emma was an apprentice medium, and the death of one of her own community shocks Kim.

When Emma’s murder is followed by several more, all mediums, Kim is very confused; who would want to target mediums, and why? An attempt to “read” a knife for psychic residue leaves Kim badly injured, and she’s sent home for enforced rest. Here she reads diaries left by her grandmother, and the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place.

I like books about the paranormal, and the seven different affinities of mediums was an interesting slant; however, I had expected there to be more about each of the different affinities to add some layers to the writing. I was left not understanding several of their special abilities until the final reveal. It was also surprising that Kim didn’t use her own mentor or Emma’s mentor and Aunt, other than with general police procedures, I thought they would have been quite obvious sources of knowledge for the case; I don’t think this was thought through enough.

The very tentative hints of romance between Kim and Riley did little for my reading experience; it was definitely awkward, but as this is the first in a series I’m sure there will be more for them in later books. In this book, if Kim’s character had been developed further with more feminine traits the idea may have worked better. Currently Kim read as a very masculine figure “scrubbing her face with her hands”, on occasion. This being a very masculine move. I’m not sure how many women, even with only the basics of make-up on, scrub their faces with their hands as a typical gesture. At one point I even questioned if Kim was in fact a male character; much of the book read as if she was.

I liked the idea behind the book, but for me there were areas and characters which were under-developed. I was never convinced as to what truly had been discovered all those years ago and was a little disappointed in that I guessed the culprit before the police. Also Kim did the clichéd “head off to get the villain on her own with no backup” scenario, which has been overdone many times. If my points seem harsh it is only because this is a saturated genre and new books really do need to step up, above and beyond, to be competitive.

View all my reviews  on Goodreads

Book Description

Homicide detective Kim Phillips isn’t like the other officers of the Chicago Police Department. She’s quiet, isolated, and she can speak with the dead. Born with the ability to see into and interact with the afterlife, she is a Burner: a person tasked with hunting down dangerous spirits and sending them to the other side.
When Kim exorcises the ghost of a young girl, she’s dragged into a new and unsettling case, one where people like Kim are being killed. The only problem? There’s no connection between the victims, and no proof that they were murdered in the first place. Kim has to catch the killer before he finds his last victim and unleashes an unknown evil on the world.
Burner, the first book in the Affinity Series, is a dark exploration of how life and death are only separated by a single breath and how even those with power can be powerless.

About the author

Bio:
From an early age, J.S. Lenore has always been passionate about books and storytelling, but it wasn’t until high school that she started writing her own stories. Starting with fan fiction, Lenore found some minor success writing under the handle p1013. Burner, the first book in the Affinity Series, is her first foray into novel-length fiction. Set in Chicago, where Lenore was born and raised, it’s a dark tale about life and death, the ways that people define themselves, and how our histories can impact our futures.

J.S. Lenore now lives in Indianapolis with her husband, daughter, three cats, and zero ghosts.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Tropical Shadows by @SusieVereker #Suspense #Thriller

Today’s team review is from Judith, she blogs here http://judithbarrowblog.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Judith has been reading Tropical Shadows by Susie Vereker

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My Review:

Firstly,  I’d like to say I think the Blurb gives away  too much of the plot. When I read a book I like to find out for myself what happens; to discover the story for myself.

Tropical Shadows begins interestingly and sets up the story in the long first chapter.  The reader is thrust into the plot right away and I was looking forward to a tense read.  A young girl caught with drugs and imprisoned into a primitive prison in a foreign country has all the ingredients of a disturbing, even sinister tale. Add to that a disquieting parallel plot of a missing child and the expectation of tension grows.

There are quite a few portrayals of interesting characters who add background to Tropical Shadows, some well-written descriptions of the settings that give a good sense of place, and a quite good insight to how Embassies could be run. It’s a good plot.

But, as a whole, I’m afraid it didn’t work for me. I found difficult to have any empathy with both the protagonist or any of the main characters because I didn’t feel I got to know them. And, somehow, the dialogue isn’t emotional enough; it doesn’t show the fear, the anxiety, the hopelessness of the some of the situations.  The words are there but there is no showing of rise and fall of crisis and conflict in the characters or the action. And every now and again the story falls into telling, rather than showing, especially when relating the past.

Perhaps a tighter, final edit  could resolve these issues.

Book Description

Respectable Julia is horrified to receive a phone call from the British Consul saying that her teenage sister Emily has been thrown in jail on a South-East Asian island for alleged drug smuggling.

Immediately she takes the next plane for Maising, leaving her disgruntled husband behind.

Even more bad news, nobody knows the whereabouts of her sister’s child.

Julia visits the jail where Emily insists toddler Rosie is safe because she’s with a trusted friend.

But where the trusted friend is, no one knows.

Emily, a teenage single mum on a belated gap year plus toddler, says she bought a padded cotton bag from an itinerant seller at the bus station.

Yet when she went through airport security, the bag was found to have a false bottom containing cannabis.

Julia believes Em’s claims that she’s been framed, but the young Consul says the penalties for drug smuggling are severe, as in many other parts of South East Asia.

Obviously Julia wants to rescue her sister and find her child as quickly as possible.

The British Embassy vainly tries to help and so does Duncan Hereford, an expat doctor with something of a past, and Julia’s pompous husband keeps phoning with his ideas too.

The Embassy advises it is imperative the British Press don’t get to hear about Emily because the tabloids are bound to write nonsense about backward foreign Maising and offend the Prince, making Emily’s chances of receiving a royal pardon highly unlikely.

But she’s innocent, Julia keeps saying but no one will believe her.

Meanwhile there are constant rumours from the outlying islands that a white child has been seen and Duncan offers to take Julia on several boat trips to investigate, all in vain.

But then the tabloids get hold of the story of the beautiful imprisoned British girl and her lost baby and all hell breaks loose. And Emily’s bad-news ex-boyfriend, the toddler’s natural father, begins to take an interest.

Tropical Shadows is a delightful story of sibling love and loyalty that will capture your heart.

About the author

Susie Vereker

Born in the English Lake District, Susie Vereker has spent much of her life travelling round the world, first as an army daughter then as a diplomat’s wife. She worked in publishing in London, au paired in Germany, taught English in Surrey, and raised her three sons in Australia, Greece, Thailand, Switzerland and France. Now she has returned home to a small village in the south of England, complete with a black Labrador.

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