Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Family drama – All The Tomorrows by @nillunasser

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading All The Tomorrows by Nullu Nasser

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ALL THE TOMORROWS by Nillu Nasser

4 out of 5 stars

Set in Bombay, the novel starts when Jaya, one year into an arranged marriage, discovers that her idealist, undemonstrative husband, Akash, has a lover.  Criticised by her parents and feeling uncared for, her torment results in a truly shocking action, so stomach-turning I wondered if I could actually carry on reading the book.  Brave of the writer to include it, and that I reacted so strongly shows that it was well-written; I did continue, anyway.

Akash is knocked sideways by Jaya’s extreme reaction, and his life takes a swift, sharp turn downwards.  In short, this novel is about a falling apart and slow coming together… several of them.

The first twenty per cent is about Jaya and Akash’s younger years and the immediate fall-out of ‘the event’, after which we are moved swiftly on by being told that ‘the years sped by’, and suddenly it’s twenty years later, when we find out how the characters’ lives have fared in the interim, and what happens when they collide once more.

Nillu Nasser is a talented writer, without a doubt.  One of the reasons I chose this is because I like to read about other cultures, and this book taught me stuff I didn’t know, so that’s a tick from me.  Her storytelling ability held my interest, which is good for another big shiny red tick.  On occasion the dialogue felt a little stilted, or a teensy bit Hollywood, and she fell into the debut novelist trap of using dialogue to impart information to the reader rather than keeping it realistic, but I’ll cut her some slack with this; it was not constant, and, as I said, it’s a debut novel, and a good one (nb, this is not her first published work, but her first published novel).  Her characterisation was good; Jaya, her sister Ruhi, and their mother, were real, as were Akash, his friend, Tariq, and his lover, Soraya; Ms Nasser writes them all in clear definition, and even the secondary characters were completely convincing ~ another big tick!

I was, however, less sure about the pacing and structure.  With the younger lives of Akash and Jaya taking up only around the first fifth of the book, I was given little time to care that much about what happened to them before suddenly they were older but nothing much had gone on in the intervening twenty years except more of the same.  How much more effective it would have been to have cut the line about speeding years, and have a couple of interim chapters showing their lives after five, ten or fifteen years, too.  Akash tells Soraya all he has suffered in those years, but I wanted to see it, not just read it in a spoken report.  I loathe clichés, not least of all book reviewing ones, and you can’t play out every scene or the book would be a thousand pages long, but in this case I needed to be shown, not told.  For me (and a review is only ever a personal opinion), a slow build up could have turned this 4* book into a 5* one.

As the rest of the story unravels, Ms Nasser continues to write with authenticity, care and sensitivity, and I’d say that if you like emotional family dramas, you’ll love this.

Book description

Sometimes we can’t escape the webs we are born into. Sometimes we are the architects of our own fall.

Akash Choudry wants a love for all time, not an arranged marriage. Still, under the weight of parental hopes, he agrees to one. He and Jaya marry in a cloud of colour and spice in Bombay. Their marriage has barely begun when Akash embarks on an affair.

Jaya cannot contemplate sharing her husband with another woman, or looking past his indiscretions as her mother suggests. Cornered by sexual politics, she takes her fate into her own hands in the form of a lit match.

Nothing endures fire. As shards of their past threaten their future, will Jaya ever bloom into the woman she can be, and will redemption be within Akash’s reach?

About the author

Nillu Nasser is a writer of literary fiction novels. In March 2017 she signed a three book deal with Evolved Publishing. She also blogs, writes short fiction and poetry.

Nillu’s short story ‘Painted Truths and Prayer Beads’ was published in May 2016 in Mosaics 2: A Collection of Independent Women. Another short story ‘The Tombstone Man and the Coming of the Tigress’ was published in June 2016 in UnCommon Origins, an anthology of short fiction. In 2017, ‘Tombstone Man’ reappeared in UnCommonly Good.

Nillu has a BA in English and German Literature and an MA in European Politics. After graduating she worked in national and regional politics, but eventually reverted to her first love.

She lives in London with her husband, three children, one angelic and one demonic cat, though she secretly yearns for a dog. If you fly into Gatwick and look hard enough, you will see her furiously scribbling in her garden office, where she is working on her next story.

Nillu Nasser

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The book can be purchased for a discounted price until December 12th, when it will return to the full price.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The Elephant And The Sheep by @PatFurstenberg #KidsLit

Today’s team review is from Brittany, she blogs at https://brittthereader.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading The Elephant And The Sheep by Patricia Furstenberg

The Elephant and the Sheep takes place in South Africa and is about the friendship of an orphaned elephant named Themba and a sheep named Albert.  The book particularly excels in creating a sense of carefree joy that surrounds Themba and Albert’s friendship.  There is also a strong sense of place throughout the story.  There are charming touches that mention the weather and baobab trees, which help establish the African setting.

The story is written as a poem. The rhyme and meter are a bit inconsistent, but overall they help create a story that is fun to read aloud to children. The illustrations are attractive and colorful. Some of the clip art pieces were a bit blurry, but the four-year old I read the book with did not mind at all.  She very much enjoyed looking at all the bright, cheerful illustrations, especially the colorful suns

The names of the main characters are not mentioned for several pages. The main characters are originally referred to as “two tails”, which could be disorienting for children reading the book alone. The reader learns that Themba sleeps all night under the tree where Albert and Themba play, but it is never directly stated that Themba is an orphan who does not have a home.  Younger children will likely need an adult who can explain Themba’s situation to them. The ending of the book lends itself nicely to further discussion with children about the importance of kindness, family and generosity.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Book description

The story tells of an elephant calf Themba and a lamb called Albert, they meet at a puddle during the big bad thirst. They shared the puddle equally so that neither one would go thirsty. Then from that moment in time they became the best of friends. What follows is a tale of friendship beyond words and a fabulous happy ending. This story will teach children about sharing, caring and most of all what true friendship is really about. A tale of innocence and unconditional love.

Patricia Furstenberg came to writing though reading, her passion for books being something she inherited from her parents.
She won two key legs (chapter six, “Someone is Missing” and chapter nine, “Reconstruction of the Crime”) of the Write Your Own Christie Competition and was runner-up for chapter four.
When she’s not writing Patricia likes to read, read, read, drink coffee and listen to music.
One of the characters portrayed in her children stories is Pete, the yellow toy elephant. Not many know, but Pete exists and lives in Pat’s home.
This Romanian born writer is living happily with her husband, children and dogs in sunny South Africa.

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT @CathyRy reads #Thriller Ryan Kaine: On The Rocks by @KerryJDonovan

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Ryan Kaine: On The Rocks by Kerry J Donovan

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Following on from book one – Ryan Kaine: On the Run – Ryan is making a mad dash up to Scotland to help in the search for sixteen year old Martin Princeton, whose brother was a passenger on the doomed civilian aircraft. The events that transpired in the first book continue to take a heavy toll on Ryan, the guilt he feels is overwhelming at times which is why he’s determined to do all he can to see Martin safe and back with his parents. Martin has gone missing during a school camping trip in the Scottish Highlands and is in a desperate life and death situation.

Hunted by the police and with his picture in the press, Ryan does as much as he can to disguise himself, helped by the fact he had taken a beating which resulted in some facial disfiguration.

Ryan’s vow begins with Martin Princeton. And so, in the guise of Sergeant-Major Peter Sidings, Ryan joins the Lodge Farm Mountain Rescue Centre, hoping there’s no-one there who might recognise him. He’s a moral, considerate man who, although not technically to blame for the disaster that changed his life, still feels the full weight of guilt, responsibility and a need for reparation.

Kerry Donovan’s tightly plotted and twisty narrative is full of tension and action, with everything taking place over a two day period. A couple of characters from the first book make brief appearances but in the main it’s a whole new cast. Siblings Drew and Iona McTay are fabulously well drawn, and add a contrast to the severity of the story line. Both are tough and decent, in their element and sitting well in the rugged landscape. The wonderful highland setting, with its dangerous terrain, adds to the suspense and helped give one character in particular his just deserts. Emotions run high throughout, not least from the loose cannon heading the armed response team. I had no idea how it was all going to play out.

I always enjoy the more rounded picture that a narrative with multiple perspectives gives and, although the majority is from Ryan’s point of view, we do get other characters’ viewpoints. Kerry Donovan continues to impress with engaging writing, great plotting and characterisations. Looking forward to the next adventure with Ryan Kaine.

Book description

Ryan Kaine is back in the action-packed sequel to the hit adventure thriller, Ryan Kaine: On the Run. 

Fresh from finding evidence that might clear him of terrorism charges and still carrying the scars of battle, Ryan Kaine heads to Scotland to help find missing schoolboy, Martin Princeton.

Facing arrest for shooting down civilian aircraft, Flight BE1555, and killing the 83 people aboard, Kaine is desperate to help find the boy. Why? Martin’s brother was on that plane and Kaine has vowed to protect the families of the victims–The 83.

Hunted by the authorities, can Kaine escape capture long enough to find the boy, or will the police and his more dangerous enemies find him first?

From the pen of Kerry J Donovan, Ryan Kaine: On the Rocks, is a powerful, action-packed novel set in the mountainous highlands of Scotland.

Ryan Kaine is a new addition to the great military action characters in the tradition of Lee Child, Mark Dawson, Chris Ryan, and Matt Rogers.

About the author

Internationally bestselling fiction author, Kerry was born in Dublin. He spent most of his life in the UK, and now lives in the heart of rural Brittany with his wonderful and patient wife, Jan. They have three children and four grandchildren (so far), all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the advent of video calling.

The cottage is a pet free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and red squirrels).

Kerry earned a first class honours degree in Human Biology, and has a PhD in Sport and Exercise Sciences. A former scientific advisor to The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, he helped UK emergency first-responders prepare for chemical attacks in the wake of 9/11. This background adds a scientific edge to his writing. He is also a former furniture designer/maker.

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The Rosie’s Book Review Team (#RBRT) awards. VOTE NOW for your 2017 favourite.

The Rosie’s Book Review Team (#RBRT) awards are back! 

Now in their third year, I’m delighted to open the public vote.  The books were chosen from the hundreds submitted to our team for review in 2017.   My team of reviewers were asked to nominate their favourites; here are those that made the final cut.

You may vote for one book in each category.  Please only vote for books that you honestly feel deserve an award, in accordance with the authenticity of my team’s reviews.

Voting closes on December 15th and the results will be announced  on Tuesday December 19th.

Meanwhile, huge congratulations to all the finalists!

Fantasy /Scifi

General Contemporary Fiction

Historical

Mystery / Thriller

Non-Fiction

Romance

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Christmas #Shortstories Silent Night by @WendyClarke99 #fridayreads

Today’s team review is from Jenny R

#RBRT Review Team

Jenny has been reading Silent Night by Wendy Clarke

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Short Stories

4 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Full of short stories which are easy to read, each and every one of them well written.  The theme is Christmas and includes the stress, fun, excitement and endearing moments that all come with the festive period. I am sure that we are all able to relate to the situations in every composition that Wendy Clarke writes about in this book.

It made a delightful change to be able to pick up a book and read a whole story in 10-20 minutes. This is a book that you are able to fit in with household chores, coffee breaks at work, on the daily commute or simply when you have a little free time.

Every festive tale in the book is different. They range from endearing, sad, funny and inspiring.  It is such a marvellous idea to write a book with a variety of short stories.

I recommend this book completely

Book description

‘Silent Night’ is a collection of thirteen Christmas stories by Wendy Clarke, a regular writer of fiction for national magazines.

All of these stories have previously been published in either ‘The People’s Friend’ or ‘Take a Break Fiction Feast’. If you like stories with emotional depth and a satisfying ending, then this collection is for you.

About the author

Wendy Clarke is a full time writer of women’s fiction. She started writing when the primary school she taught in closed down and after completing two creative writing courses, began writing short fiction for magazines. Since then, she has sold over a hundred short stories and her work regularly appears in national women’s magazines such as The People’s Friend, Take a Break Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly. She has also written serials and a number of non-fiction magazine articles.

Wendy lives with her husband, cat and step-dog in Sussex and when not writing is usually dancing, singing or watching any programme that involves food!

Wendy Clarke

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Rosie’s Team #RBRT #KidsLit Ronaldo: The Flying Reindeer Academy by Maxine Sylvester @flyingronaldo

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

#RBRT Review Team

Chris has been reading Ronaldo: The Flying Reindeer Academy by Maxine Sylvester

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Thoughtful, witty, cute, and action-packed, this is a wonderful children’s story.

Ronaldo is not the best cadet at the Reindeer Flying Academy, but hopes to grow up to become one of Santa’s reindeer, like his hero, Vixen. When the day of the Endurance Challenge arrives, Ronaldo and his best friend Rudi gear up to take part and hopefully beat the rather nasty Dasher in the challenge. And so the adventure begins…

With peppy dialogue, wit, and a good dose of action, this is a fun read. The book also does a good job of showcasing the topic of finding one’s inner strength despite the odds. And who can resist a lovely reindeer protagonist? Recommended.

Book description

Ronaldo is the top flying cadet at the prestigious Reindeer Flying Academy. He dreams of getting his flying license, just like his hero, Vixen.
In this first exciting chapter in the ‘Ronaldo’ series, our hero is faced with his toughest flying test ever – The Endurance Challenge!
Can Ronaldo triumph over mean bully, Dasher, and win the ‘Golden Wings’ medal? Spurred on by Rudi, his quirky, loyal best friend and with a belly full of his favourite carrot pancakes, Ronaldo takes on the challenge of his life!

About the author

I was born in Hounslow, Middlesex in the south of England. As a child, I loved drawing and took private art classes with a wonderful teacher called, Pearl Lee. She had an abundance of Disney magazines, and I would paint the characters on wood, card, canvas or anything else I was allowed to use, including walls.

When I was nine, my mum took me on holiday to Majorca. I clearly remember being fascinated by how other people lived outside of England. Travelling became my new obsession.

After Sixth Form College, I intended to go to art school, but my travel bug got the better of me and chose to work as a holiday representative in Greece instead. This was followed by seven years working on cruise ships, two years in Israel and Palestine, and six years in Russia and Armenia. Although I lapped up the different cultures, I found my work over the years very unfulfilling. I decided to dig out my Caran d’Arche pencils, and do something about it!

I enrolled in The College of Cartoon Art and was mentored by the renowned caricaturist, Steve Chadburn. I created a character called Ronaldo and decided to write a short story about him. Before I knew it, my head was spinning with ideas and the first book, The Reindeer Flying Academy, went from a small picture book into a fully blown chapter book … but more importantly, I loved every minute of the writing and illustrating process.

Nowadays, I live in Bali, Indonesia, with my amazing partner, Mark, (Bristol born and bred) and am currently illustrating the third book for the Ronaldo series, Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza.

I am still a self-confessed Disney geek and get excited as a five-year-old whenever a new Disney animated film comes out. I love the Disney theme parks and have visited Orlando, Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo – California and Shanghai are next on my bucket list.

I have an unhealthy fondness for pizza and chocolate but a healthy love of Pilates – I like to think they balance each other out.

And finally, I am a lifelong Arsenal supporter … although sometimes I wish I wasn’t!

Photo of award winning kids books author Maxine Sylvester with friend Ronaldo

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Writers: Are You Ready To Sign With An Independent Publisher? Read This First #AmWriting

Please welcome review team member Terry Tyler, with some important thoughts on Independent Publishers

Please note: I am aware that there are plenty of good independent publishers around, who work hard for their authors and maintain good standards. The purpose of this article is to warn writers to do their research, and find them. It’s a warning not to fall prey to either the blatant conmen, or the inept.

Ten years ago, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing was launched.  Since then, thousands of scammers and cowboys have emerged from the murky corners of the internet to make a quick quid out of the millions of writers who’ve been tapping away at the keys for years, and are delighted that they can finally get their work in front of the reading public without a contract from a traditional publisher. These scammers include: proofreaders who don’t know how to punctuate, editors who don’t recognise a badly constructed sentence, promotional services who don’t achieve any sales, and hordes and hordes of new, independent publishers who have recognised the money to be made from cheap-to-produce, cheap-to-buy Kindle books.

Did you know that anyone can set themselves up as a publisher? It doesn’t cost much, and there is no official body to whom you must prove your ability to prepare a novel for publication. There are thousands of indie publishers around these days, and most writers can find one to suit their work if they really want to. Over the last few years, though, I’ve heard the same stories, over and over. Unpaid royalties (please see H A Callum’s story, further down this article). Bad quality paperbacks. Book tour disappointments. Epic distribution fails. Worst of all, though, I’ve seen with my own eyes the low standard of editing and proofreading in some books published by small presses that have been submitted for this blog for our review team.

Recently I read one that had errors on every page. I felt so angry on behalf of the author, who had written a basically decent book. Yet the publishers’ website looks great, with avatars of smiling professionals who claim to know their stuff. It’s relatively easy to produce a great website. Producing a great book takes a little more expertise. And money.

Writers:  Do Your Research.

Don’t sign any contract until you’ve looked at a good selection of the books already published by the company, especially those with bad reviews. If the proofreading and editing is not up to scratch, don’t go there. Too many writers are so thrilled that someone wants to publish their work that they look no further than the realisation of their ‘published author’ fantasies.

Which brings me onto: the vanity publishers.

Before Amazon KDP, before the internet was littered with independent publishers, writers had three choices: aim for the dizzy heights of traditional publishing (the ‘Big Five’ and their offshoots), use a vanity publisher, or just keep writing for its own sake. Some who were desperate to see themselves in print would pay for a vanity press to turn their work into books they could hold in their hand, give as gifts, or try to flog at car boot sales. They knew what they were doing. There was no pretence about it.

Now, though, the vanity press has reinvented itself. Companies have smart websites, and give themselves descriptions like ‘hybrid publisher’, or say they are ‘bridging the gap between self and traditional publishing’. They insist that quality comes first, and make claims about their expert editors and proofreaders. They give the impression that they won’t accept just any submission that falls into their email inbox.

This is not necessarily true.

Many vanity publishers (for this is what they are) will accept pretty much any work, as long as you pay them. The clue is in the name: they will tell you how excited they are about working with you on your fabulous manuscript; they flatter you, tell you what a talented writer you are. They know what you want to hear. Of course they are excited about working with you. You’re about to hand over several thousand pounds. Then there’s their cut of the proceeds from books sold.  Yes, from the book that YOU have paid to get published. Not that you’re likely to sell very many.  Most vanity presses do nothing to promote your work. Why should they? They’ve already made their profit. From you. Recently, I and some other members of the team looked at a book published by one of these outfits. It contained numerous errors, and the content was not of a standard fit for the minimum 3* review rating required by Rosie for her blog. Heartbreakingly, the writer had written a dedication to the publishers in the book, thanking them for believing in her work.

A while back I received a message on Twitter asking me to review a book published by the most well-known of these vanity publishing scammers.  It had errors in the blurb, one of which described the heroine as being ‘adverse’ to something, rather than ‘averse’. Didn’t say much for the standard of the book itself!

Do Your Research.  If you are asked to pay for the privilege (or ‘contribute towards the cost’) of being published, it’s a vanity press. End of story.  If you don’t mind this, if you know what you’re doing and you just want someone else to do the work for you, and have print copies of your book, fine.  Do your homework, get recommendations, seek out one of the better ones, because, like with independent publishers, there are decent vanity presses, too.  But don’t just believe claims on websites. And don’t make the mistake of thinking you are being offered a real publishing deal.

 

If you self-publish, you can choose your own editors and proofreaders.  Of all the books I read for review, those that are self-published are often the best presented. Perhaps this is because they have shopped around and found the best people for the job.  If you want recommendations, ask me, or Rosie, or any writer you know who self-publishes and produces great books.

Now I’d like to bring you a summarised version of the story of H A (Heath) Callum, who, along with a few others, has been let down by a small press.

Heath’s publisher made many promises at the outset, either contractually or in writing via email.  Here is a list of what actually happened.

  • As launch day for his debut novel approached, the publisher would disappear for weeks at a time.  This meant that Heath did not have good time to get ARCs out to reviewers, and the debut was a hurried affair.
  • Heath had to facilitate his own launch and promotion, despite the original promises.  All sales and reviews were obtained by Heath himself.
  • It took over a month for the publisher to correctly list the genre of the book with vendors, which meant that it could not be found in searches.  Heath discovered how important this is when the problem was rectified, and the sales started coming in.
  • The publisher left for a European holiday (Heath is in the US) when royalties were due, having advised that funds for royalties were currently unavailable.  At this point, Heath got together with other writers in this publisher’s ‘stable’, and found that their experiences were all the same.
  • On the publisher’s return, the royalties for the second quarter were paid late, and with no statement, so the writers had no idea if the amounts were correct.
  • This was followed by another vanishing act, and the third quarter royalties were late, too.
  • Emails, voicemails and social media messages went unanswered.
  • Heath and his fellow authors then filed a petition, to recoup their losses and make others aware of the situation.

Heath and his friends felt it was important to warn and protect other writers, which is why he has chosen to speak out about this, and was happy to have his story told here; these are his words, written up by me as per the details he gave me.  He chose to submit to a small, new independent in good faith, because he liked the idea of a collaborative effort, with writers and publisher growing alongside each other.  Alas, that ideal was never met.

This is what I mean when I say that anyone can set themselves up as a publisher, with a flashy website and promises of professionalism.  Sadly, these days, you can’t believe everything you read.  Do Your Research.  Talk to other writers on the label.  Google the company, to see if anyone has made complaints about them.  Take a look at the books they’ve published.  BEFORE you end up in a situation like Heath’s.

Writing tips

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Guernsey #Mystery and Part #WW2 The Betrayal by @AnneAllen21

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

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading The Betrayal by Anne Allen

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A great read that takes place in the 1940s and 2000s. I loved the way the book was written to give you a background of what happened during the German occupancy of Guernsey in the 1940s and goes to current day where we find out who the betrayer was as well as what happened to Leo’s families valuables. The book was well written and moves effortlessly through between the decades.

This was my first time reading Anne Allen, and I now want to go back to read the other books in the Guernsey Novels. The mystery of the belongings found and the rightful owner takes us through the years and how the items came to be hidden as well as their value in present day.

If you enjoy a good mystery and the connections made while trying to figure out who the bad guy is, then this book is a good choice. I give this book 5 stars.

Book description

Treachery and theft lead to death – and love

1940. Teresa Bichard and her baby are sent by her beloved husband, Leo, to England as the Germans draw closer to Guernsey. Days later they invade…
1942. Leo, of Jewish descent, is betrayed to the Germans and is sent to a concentration camp, never to return.
1945. Teresa returns to find Leo did not survive and the family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, is missing. Heartbroken, she returns to England.
2011. Nigel and his twin Fiona, buy a long-established antique shop in Guernsey and during a refit, find a hidden stash of paintings, including what appears to be a Renoir. Days later, Fiona finds Nigel dead, an apparent suicide. Refusing to accept the verdict, a distraught Fiona employs a detective to help her discover the truth…
Searching for the rightful owner of the painting brings Fiona close to someone who opens a chink in her broken heart. Can she answer some crucial questions before laying her brother’s ghost to rest?
Who betrayed Leo?
Who knew about the stolen Renoir?
And are they prepared to kill – again?

About the author

Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. She was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.
By profession Anne was a psychotherapist but has long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. At the back of her mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now retired from the ‘day job’, there’s more time to write and Anne has now published five books in The Guernsey Novels series (as at August 2016). A sixth will be published in 2017

Anne Allen

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Rosie’s Team #RBRT #Mystery A Tincture Of Secrets And Lies by @penandpension #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading A Tincture Of Secrets by William Savage

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A TINCTURE OF SECRETS AND LIES by William Savage

4.5 stars

An 18th century murder mystery, the 4th in the Adam Bascom series.  Stands alone, but I would suggest reading the earlier books first, to become acquainted with Adam and the other players in his world.

The first 35% or so of this novel takes place in the bedroom of our hero, the Norfolk doctor and crime solver; he is suffering from dire injuries following an accident, and, whilst recovering, is brought news of foul deeds and heinous crimes that deserve his attention.  Anyone who can hold my attention with the first third of a novel set in one room (and I read every word) is worthy of applause ~ indeed, in many ways, this is the best so far of Mr Savage’s novels.  As well as the nicely plotted murder mystery, he has included more scene-setting, more detail about the day-to-day living of the time, and the history of the area; North Norfolk is particularly close to my heart, and the setting of his books is part of their appeal for me.

The story brings to life so well the class hierarchy of the time, and tells how for the inhabitants of coastal villagers, involvement in smuggling was a way of life; I’d love to read another Bascom book based around this.  It also shows how those in power in England were concerned that the rebellion of the French peasantry would influence those in this country to rise up in the same manner.

With Adam housebound, the novel needed to step outside his Aylsham house eventually, to add drama, and I was pleased to see some chapters from other characters’ points of view: Ruth Scudamore, who is absolutely my sort of girl (she has no time for fripperies and society trivia), her brother Charles, who finds himself far outside his life of genteel leisure when he joins in a military attack to stop a scuffle with a group of rebels, and Adam’s groom, William, sent to uncover a mysterious ‘quack’ who sells his elixirs to the gullible public.  I was also very impressed by a chapter written from the point of view of rebel Peter Gort, who sees himself as a swashbuckling hero of the underclasses.

I was slightly underwhelmed by the wrapping up, and would have liked to see the baddies get their comeuppance(s) rather than just hearing about it in reports and letters, and just a bit more drama and impact, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the book ~ and the delightful way in which it ended: will Adam’s romantic life unfold as he wishes, after all his doubt and frustration?  I look forward to the next episode, to find out!

Book description

The night of April 13th, 1793 has proved unlucky for at least two people. Dr Adam Bascom has been thrown from his horse to lie injured, unconscious and alone on a remote country roadway. Barely a mile away, another man is thrusting the body of the young woman he has just murdered as far under a hedge as he can. Thus begins one of Adam Bascom’s most complicated mysteries; one that will end in many more deaths and a fight off the coast of Norfolk between a navy frigate and a French privateer. Trapped at home by his injuries, Adam still finds ways to use his friends and family as his eyes and ears as he uncovers the solution to a series of local murders — and a plot to destabilise the country as it awaits the threatened invasion by the French revolutionary government.

About the author

I started to write fiction as a way of keeping my mind active in retirement. I have read and enjoyed hundreds of detective stories and mystery novels. One of my other loves is history, so it seemed natural to put the two together. Thus began two series of murder mystery books set in Norfolk.
All my books are set between 1760 and around 1800, a period of turmoil in Britain, with constant wars, revolutions in America and France and finally the titanic, 22-year struggle with Napoleon.
The Ashmole Foxe series takes place at the start of this time and is located in Norwich. Mr Foxe is a dandy, a bookseller and, unknown to most around him, the mayor’s immediate choice to deal with anything likely to upset the peace or economic security of the city.
The series featuring Dr Adam Bascom, a young gentleman physician caught up in the beginning of the Napoleonic wars, takes place in a variety of locations nearer the North Norfolk coast. Adam builds a successful medical practice, but his insatiable curiosity and knack for unravelling intrigue constantly involve him in mysteries large and small.
I have spent a good deal of my life travelling in Britain and overseas. Now I am more than content to write stories and run a blog devoted to the world of Georgian England.

William Savage

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Riding Shotgun by Andy Rausch @writerrausch1 @crimewavepress

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties by Andy Rausch

Riding Shotgun: And Other American Cruelties by [Rausch, Andy]

RIDING SHOTGUN and other American Cruelties by Andy Rausch

4 out of 5 stars

This is a collection of three novellas, and I enjoyed them all.  I really liked Andy Rausch’s writing style, it’s right up my street; very current, intelligently witty, sharp and observant.

The first one is Easy-Peezy, set in 1920/30s America, about Emmet Dalton, a former bank robber of the late 19th century who has hung up his boots and holster, but longs to show young guns like John Dillinger how it’s done.  He teams up with a couple of others from the same era and sets off for one last crime spree.  On its own, I’d have given this 4*.

The second, Riding Shotgun, is about a writer who find himself involved in a life of crime after his wife is killed.  I liked this one slightly less, as at times ‘darkly humorous’ crossed the border into ‘just daft’, although it was still well-written.  3*.

The last story, $crilla, is easily the best, I loved it.  Almost totally dialogue, and hilarious, easily 5*.  Two unsuccessful gangsta rappers hatch a plot to extort money from their reluctant producer.

The language, particularly in the last one, would not suit anyone who finds authentic street talk offensive; if you don’t, and can appreciate how well-observed it is, you’ll love it.  I felt the influence of certain TV shows and films, throughout, even in some specific lines, but I quite liked that about it.  It’s a good collection, professionally presented, and worth getting for the last one alone.

Book description

RIDING SHOTGUN AND OTHER AMERICAN CRUELTIES is a unique collection of quirky, Tarantinoesque crime novellas, representing three very different sub-genres. In the first story, “Easy-Peezy,” a band of elderly Old West bank robbers return to their wicked ways robbing banks in the 1930s John Dillinger era. The second story, “Riding Shotgun,” is a bitter tale about a man pushed to the limits of human endurance and forced to take up arms to protect those he loves. The third tale, “$crilla,” is an urban crime fantasy in which a fledgling hip-hop group kidnaps a record mogul in the hopes of finally making the kind of loot they’ve always dreamed of.

About the author

Andy Rausch is a freelance journalist, celebrity interviewer, and film critic. He is the author or co-author of nearly twenty books on the subject of popular culture. These include Making Movies with Orson Welles, The Films of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, and The Wit and Wisdom of Stephen King. He is also the author of the novels Elvis Presley, CIA Assassin, Mad World and Bloodletting: A Tale of Revenge. He has also worked as an actor, film producer, composer, casting director, and as the screenwriter of the cult film Dahmer vs. Gacy. He is a regular contributor to Screem magazine, and his work has appeared in such publications and online journals as Film Threat, Shock Cinema, and Bright Lights Film Journal. He resides in Parsons, Kansas.

Andy Rausch

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