113 Books Read To Date in this years Goodreads Challenge #SundayBlogShare

#AugustReviews is nearing an end but my own 2016 reading challenge continues.

Each year I enjoy taking part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge so I thought I’d do an update.  So far I have read 113 books and below are books which made my top 20, are any of them your favourites too?

Are any of you taking part in the challenge too?

What has been your favourite read this year?

Top 20 Books Read

THE SISTERS OF ST. CROIX by Diney Costeloe #WW2 #HistFic #SundayBlogShare

The Sisters of St. CroixThe Sisters of St. Croix by Diney Costeloe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three Point Five Stars.

The Sisters Of St. Croix is a WW2 historical fiction with the main body of the book set around the convent of St Croix based near the Somme area of France. The first three chapters serve as an introduction to Adelaide Anson-Gravetty and the lead up to her place in the war effort.

Chapter four introduces us to the plight of French families as they try to flee the German occupation and the particular tale of three orphaned Jewish children, taken in by the Nuns of St Croix.

It is during the war that Adelaide is trained as a spy, given the role of organising escape routes for pilots shot down over France. She is dropped into France and sent to the St Croix area given her link to the Convent. However it is a Jewish family that Adelaide ends up trying to rescue and keep hidden from the Germans.

I enjoyed the parts of the book dealing with the resistance and the secrecy and danger involved with moving people around France under the noses of the enemy and the roles of Reverend Mother and some of the Sisters was well written. Other areas of the book didn’t work so well for me, for instance time spent on parts which added little to the story-line, dialogue sections which weren’t always necessary, repetition of events and conversations. The opening scenes added little to the story-line and the ending was rushed with a neat and tidy epilogue which I wasn’t sure was necessary.

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

I reviewed this book on Amazon as part of #AugustReviews

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT WINGS OF MAYHEM by @SueColetta1 #Thriller #SundayBlogShare

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Shelley has been reading Wings of Mayhem by Sue Coletta.

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Author: Sue Coletta

Category: Crime/Thriller

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Review:

Shawnee Daniels is a computer forensics specialist by day and a cat burglar by night. I loved how the author managed to blend the two ‘roles’ so well. You get an insight into the talented specialist (or hacker!) as she uses her computer skills to aid the detectives, and then the flip side of her secret life of breaking and entering.

Unlike some psychological thrillers where you don’t find out who the bad guy is until the end, we are introduced to the serial killer from the start, observing events from his point of view in certain chapters and getting a ‘feel’ for the man behind the murders. Even though we know who the big bad is, we are left in the dark as to his motives until the end.

The pace waxes and wanes throughout the book. Just when you think you’ve caught your breath, there is another twist and the pace increases. The author has a beautifully imaginative and descriptive way with murder scenes! I cringed at certain points – just like I do when watching CSI – and then shouted and bawled at Shawnee when she did something stupid or life-threatening.

Sue Coletta creates characters with heart and soul, and Shawnee Daniels has this in abundance. I loved her fire, passion, and loyalty. She doesn’t take any crap from anyone, and I loved this about her. Detective Levaughn is a perfect character to compliment Shawnee’s fiery temperament, and they make a good team.

I loved Nadine – as BFFs go, she is great. The scenes between the two women were humorous and heart-warming – I especially loved their crawl through the heating ducts!

There are twists that I didn’t see coming and a nicely wrapped up ending. If you are a fan of riveting thrillers, then Wings of Mayhem is for you.

I purchased the eBook via Amazon and reviewed it as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

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

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT WHAT TIM KNOWS by @Wendyproof #WeekendBlogShare

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

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Georgia has been reading What Tim Knows by Wendy Janes

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What Tim Knows features six short stories which all have links with this author’s novel, What Jennifer Knows, but you do not have to have read that (as I haven’t, yet!) to enjoy this, as each of these stories is complete in itself.

The stories cover five decades, all are very well written and each tells a very different tale which I found enjoyable and interesting. The writing style flows and I really liked spotting the links between each of these and What Jennifer Knows.

I don’t like picking favourites because each of them had something to recommend it but if I was pushed I would go for the story of the title, What Tim Knows. This is told from the point of view of a young boy with autism who goes to his first party. It shows terrific knowledge, insight and understanding on the part of the author, is very well written and the feelings of this little boy come across so well it manages to be both entertaining and heart breaking at the same time.

At the moment I am struggling to read anything longer than a short story so these fitted the bill perfectly. I also find a well written short story is a terrific introduction to an author’s work without too much investment of time and after reading these What Jennifer Knows is definitely on my to-be-read list.

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

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT FURY by @JoanDeLaHaye #Horror #WeekendBlogShare

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

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Terry has been reading Fury by Joan De La Haye

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Fury by Joan De La Haye

3.5 stars

Set in the mean streets of Pretoria, the story starts with Andre, a smack addict who will do anything to get his fix ~ including supplying girls for the makers of snuff and sexual torture films.  He entices Angela, who is murdered in the most brutal way imaginable; the only trouble is, she keeps coming back to remind Andre of what he’s done….

….enter Alice, Andre’s next ‘mark’, an art history student who has a bit more about her than the usual victim.  Alice is caught in the middle when un-dead Angela wreaks havoc to extract her revenge.

This is horror at its most grisly, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever been more keen to point out that a book is not for the faint of heart, and you definitely shouldn’t read it while you’re eating.  If you’re a fan of films like ‘Hostel’ and ‘Saw’, and if you didn’t have to shut your eyes in the more revolting bits of ‘Trainspotting’, you’ll like this.  That is all I will say!

It’s an interesting portrayal of human life at its most debauched, and Andre’s junkie torment is expressed so graphically that it should put anyone off even mildly addictive prescription drugs (!). There’s a good twist at the end, it’s a decently thought out story and not badly written, certainly not boring, though I found some of the dialogue a little unlikely and there are lots of repetitions that should have been sorted out in redrafts and editing.

I found it just okay, but I imagine it will tick the boxes for lovers of no-holds-barred, gruesome horror.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Talk About #Bookreviews Day 5 A Book Community

This August I’ve been helping support “Write a book review on Amazon” month. We’ve been encouraging readers to post a book review then, tweet the URL to the Amazon review on Twitter and use the Hashtag #AugustReviews Terry Tyler has been busy collating the review links and posting them in her Hall Of Fame  – catch up with them here  http://terrytyler59.blogspot.co.uk/

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My Book Community

Book Reviewing and reading is a big part of my life, a full time hobby, I do it because I love reading and it’s completely non paid work.

Over the years I’ve set up a book review team, where we offer the opportunity for multiple reviews for a book from one place, we’ll post to Goodreads, Amazon, reviewer’s blogs and I get a copy of each review to post on my own blog. This way a book and its author get a wide exposure opportunity. Posts get shared by other reviewers and we use #RBRT (Rosie’s Book Review team) on Twitter. More details here http://wp.me/P2Eu3u-5qu

Rosie's Book Review team 1

If you’d like to join our team, do send me a note via the contact above, to prevent the muddy waters of review swaps, we no longer review team member’s own books, but have an extensive list of sites where a member can ask for a review of their own work.

We’ve also set up the #TuesdayBookBlog Hashtag on Twitter where we support book related blog posts for the book community on a Tuesday, we encourage people to use the Hashtag and more importantly to re-tweet and share posts. The power of Twitter is in the capacity to spread far and wide measured in impressions and engagements. It’s not just our Hashtag, we encourage anyone who blogs about books to use it on a Tuesday, it has been running since November 2015 and trends on Twitter at some point most Tuesdays. Guidelines for its use can be found here http://wp.me/P2Eu3u-86n

RBRT (1)

My next project.

Ever conscious of linking readers to authors I want to get working with book clubs, both online and off line. I feel I have access to a wide range of books and authors, many of them from the indie/ self-publishing platforms that need all the publicity they can get. I want to encourage book clubs to post book reviews either as individuals or as a club.

Some readers already belong to book clubs which meet in their communities and I’d like to get them reading more indies, trying a wider range of genres, posting more book reviews and perhaps helping set up Q&A’s with the authors about their book.

Other people might like to join an on-line book club again where there is some access to the actual book author and I’m looking at how I can make it work. If you have any comments about this project do leave a reply below or contact me via the form in the header above.

If you’ve enjoyed this series of posts, do feel free to have a rummage around the rest of the blog, we’ve also got easy to use book review templates here to help start you off on book reviewing http://wp.me/P2Eu3u-7Lq

Thanks for reading today,

Rosie

Catch up with posts from:
There’s still time to join the #AugustReviews campaign.
1) Write a review for a book you’ve read,
2) Post it on Amazon,
3) Tweet the URL of the Amazon review and add #AugustReviews and @TerryTyler4
4) Not on Twitter? No Problem, send me the link using the contact form above and I’ll send it on to Terry, she’ll get it up on her Halls of Fame.

THE HONEY TRAP by @MaryJayneBaker #ChickLit @HarperImpulse #Bookreview #fridayreads

The Honey TrapThe Honey Trap by Mary Jayne Baker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three Point Five Stars.

The Honey Trap is a chick lit story based around the gutter press. Angel Blackthorne is an intern reporter for “The Daily Investigator”. Sent on a job by her editor to entrap squeaky clean film editor Sebastian Wilchester and create a front page sensation, Angel must find a way to get Sebastian naked in front of a hidden camera.

Laidened with guilt over what she’s done, yet constantly thinking about the mutual attraction there was between the pair, Angel is next sent to the premier of his latest film so she can write up a review. The after party at the Lavish Luxe nightclub, turns into a nightmare for Seb and he finds it’s Angel who helps him out.

Never sure if he can fully trust her, Seb can’t keep away. They find a mutual love of vintage films, and it’s Angel that Seb offers an exclusive interview and studio tour to. Here she discovers the Reelkids charity which Seb and his wife have started up and gets an invite to the fundraiser. With a wife in tow, can they ever become more than just good friends?

There are some great characters, newspaper editor Steve Clifton is so sexist he’d have human resources managers reaching for the smelling salts. This is a dialogue lead read and the style lends itself to patches of “telling” rather than “showing” the reader the story-line, add in a good dose of cliques and name dropping and for me the book lost its ability to stand out from the crowd.

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

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT OY YEW by @AnaSalote #KidsLit #Fantasy #fridayreads

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Lilyn has been reading Oy Yew by Ana Salote

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Oy Yew has a slow, special magic to it. It’s not a book that immediately draws you in, but gently ushers you in the story’s direction. The world Ana Salote has created has a sense of richness to it, though not much is seen in this first book. The main character, Oy Yew, is a gorgeous soul. The type of soul that you never have to worry about going bad, or getting spoiled by the meanness in the world. Fiercely loyal, with an innate ability to make the best of everything, and bring out the best in every one, Oy worms himself into your heart.

This story felt, strongly, as if it could have been the story of the House Elves from Harry Potter. Take away the magic, and make the elves a bit more human looking, and you’ve got it. That subservient attitude with the occasional free-thinker bucking the trend. The ridiculous punishments and gets-on-with-its. Even Master Jeopardine brings to mind a slightly more insane acting Lucius Malfoy. It’s very much it’s own story, but if you’ve read Harry Potter and felt even the tiniest flicker of sympathy for Dobby, you’ll make the connection to this book. This is not a light and fluffy story. It’s dark, sometimes disturbing, and filled with sorrow but ultimately rewarding.

Oy Yew is aimed at 8 to 12 year olds, and I think hits that pretty well. However, it feels a bit long. It took me a good while to read through it on my own.  I think it could have been cut down by about 30 pages, and still been just as good. Easily distracted readers will probably have problems with it. I’d highly recommend making it bedtime read, where the kids can just relax and listen to the story. Oy Yew is the first book in the Waifs of Duldred series and is available on Amazon. It’s worth the money and the time to read it.

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

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE MEMORY BOX by @EvaNatiello #Mystery #Thriller

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry has been reading The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello

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The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

This is one of the most unusual books I’ve read in a long time. I’d class it as a psychological family drama/thriller/mystery … it’s hard to classify and hard to review, too, as it’s imperative that I don’t give away the terrific twist. And it really IS terrific, not like some books hyped as having an unguessable twist that half the reviews say you can suss out in the first chapter.

Right, so we start off with suburban housewife and mother, Caroline Thompson, who doesn’t fit in with the image and doesn’t really want to; she detests her gossipy, nosy, trivia obsessed neighbours. Slowly, we begin to see exactly how much she doesn’t fit in; this is one disturbed woman. But is everything as it seems? Caroline’s whole psyche is affected by the mysteries and half-memories of her past. Why did her sister die? Is she really dead at all?

I grew more unsure as I read on, and had questions: why did none of her friends or family make Caroline seek help? How come her husband just accepted all her excuses for forgetting stuff, acting strangely, etc? She was clearly undergoing a severe emotional breakdown. But then, in part two, the last ten per cent of the novel, the whole story turns on its head; such an unexpected turn of events. Before, I was going to give this 4*, because I found some of Caroline’s muzzy-headed thoughts a little repetitive and I thought the premise wasn’t completely feasible, although I was certainly enjoying it.   Once I’d read the last ten per cent, I realised it deserved 5, without a doubt. Quite brilliant!

I LOVE the way this lady writes, it’s sharp, acutely observed, slightly manic in a way that really works, with some clever, amusing metaphors. Highly recommended to anyone who likes something a bit different. Great ending, too; that’s another little about-turn, after the terrific twist, by the way!

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

 

 

Let’s Talk About #BookReviews Day 4

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We are well over half way through “Write a book review on Amazon ” month and this week I’ve been supporting the campaign with some book reviewing themed posts.

Readers reviewers

At some point in book reviewing everyone will come across a book they really didn’t like, could you still write a review and how could you write it?

Negative and Bad Reviews

I can guarantee this is going to cause a scene.

So what do you do if you really didn’t like a book? People who slam a book and its author publically are often called Book Trolls. Like wise authors who have fans who bully anyone who dares to post a low star rated review, are also connected to the troll label. I suspect this is one of the top reasons why people fear to post a review and it damages the industry as a whole.

Firstly put yourself in the shoes of an author, someone who has toiled hard over their book, you don’t know the mountains they’ve climbed to get this far. Personal, physical, emotional mountains, how would you feel if this was your life’s work?

So you can still write a review, it will be challenging. Find points that you did like, perhaps the overall story, a strong character, a funny moment. You might have liked the first chapter, perhaps it was full of promise, even if it all went down hill from there, still say what you liked.

You can say things didn’t work for you like a fight scene or a love scene. Or you had trouble picturing the mystery building. Some fantasy and sci-fi books need to really make the reader understand new imaginary planets and realms. I once read a book which read like an arcade game with characters leaping from level to level in huge cavernous spaces, it felt 2-D and I longed for depth in the form of the descriptions and the senses, like smell and hearing.

My best advice for a book you don’t like, is LESS IS MORE. If I wrote my favourite character was the mother-in-law and she had a minor part in the book, then I’m hoping the author might pick up that the main characters hadn’t hit the mark. If I said I really like the first three chapters, then there is a hint that the rest of the book may not have lived up to my expectations. If you’ve struggled to write perhaps 10 lines then there probably wasn’t much that made you jump up and down, leave a shorter review.  However you still haven’t been rude about the book.

Ultimately the top LESS is MORE tip. If you can’t find anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. A no review speaks volumes. If you’ve been asked to write a review and really feel you can’t, be polite and say the book wasn’t for you. If you bought the book and didn’t like it, move on there are billions more books out there.

Reading Original

A little note to authors.

All authors who put there work out in the public eye, cannot reasonably expect every single person to like their work. We all read a book differently and a range of book reviews and their star ratings is a healthy thing on review sites. I do understand the hours spent on creating a book and often the author is so attached to their work that they cannot stand, that anyone might not love it as they do and see it as they wrote it.

I’ve come across authors who want to disagree with a book review and try to “heavily suggest” that the reader can’t possibly have read the entire book, if they didn’t enjoy, “the romance between the characters”, or they didn’t comment on the brilliant ending. You can’t tell someone how they should read your book.

I have an author who came back to me several times in the last year, to tell me how brilliant some other readers have thought his work, he doesn’t tell me about the other readers who gave it a 3* review as I did, instead he is insistent that I couldn’t have read the book as it was intended, that I “didn’t get it” and I feel he is trying to wear me down, either to withdraw my review or to reconsider. Nope, nada, not happening, don’t do this authors, it makes you look petty and word gets around the book community that you are to be avoided.

Minstrel Loveheart

Tomorrow I shall be looking at my book community.

Catch up with posts from:
There’s still time to join the #AugustReviews campaign.
1) Write a review for a book you’ve read,
2) Post it on Amazon,
3) Tweet the URL of the Amazon review and add #AugustReviews and @TerryTyler4
4) Not on Twitter? No Problem, send me the link using the contact form above and I’ll send it on to Terry, she’ll get it up on her Halls of Fame.