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

Today’s team review is from Judith W, she blogs at https://readandreview2016.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Judith has been reading The Old Man At the End Of The World: Bite 1 by A K Silversmith

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THE OLD MAN AT THE END OF THE WORLD by AK SILVERSMITH @AkSilversmith#BookReview #Zombie

  • Title: The Old Man at the End of the World: Bite No. 1
  • Author: AK Silversmith
  • Published: 2017
  • Started: Wednesday 22nd February 2017
  • Finished: Friday 24th February 2017

The Old Man At The End Of The World is a short story, and the first instalment of a zombie comedy series by AK Silversmith. The plot is simple: 87-year-old Gerald Stockwell-Poulter was simply tending to his allotment when his neighbours, who have been turned into zombies, attack. The ‘zompocalypse’ – that’s zombie + apocalypse – has begun.

I thought this little story was brilliant – there wasn’t too much description to weigh down the plot and the dialogue exchanges between the characters was fast-paced. This allowed for quirky comments and sarcastic quips, which added to the humour of the overall novella.

Comedy was conveyed well, and the mix of jokes, zombies, and a stereotypical British setting reminded me very much of Edgar Wright’s ‘zom-com’ film, Shaun of the Dead, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The Old Man At The End Of The World even has jokes about a Bentley too!

This is a considerably shorter book review, for a considerably shorter book.

I thoroughly enjoyed this short read, and it had me chuckling and smiling throughout. If you liked Shaun of the Dead, I think you’ll really enjoy this!

I look forward to reading Bite No. 2, the second instalment of this series.

Star Rating: 4/5 Stars

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.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

 

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

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

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading The Silent Kookaburra by Liza Perrat

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My review:

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and I was provided with an ARC copy that I voluntarily chose to review.

The story —set in an Australia richly brought to life by the writing that describes landscape, animals, trees, food, furniture, cars, lifestyle and social mores— is told in the first person by Tanya Randall. Adult Tanya is back in her childhood cottage and a newspaper cutting from 1973, which her grandmother kept, makes her remember that time when she was only eleven. The story of adult Tanya frames that of her childhood memories, which take up most of the book (I had almost forgotten that fact until the very end of the story).

Young Tanya is quite innocent (of course, she doesn’t think so), overweight (she eats compulsively, seemingly to comfort herself when the situation gets difficult at home, when they call her names, when she has any upsets or… most of the time. There are long lists of biscuits and other foods she consumes at an alarming pace, well-researched for the period, although I’m not familiar with them), and loves her mother, father, cat (that she insists on walking as if it were a dog, even if that brings her even more unwanted attention), dog, true crime magazines, and her friend Angelina, although not so much her grandmother, Nanna Purvis.

Seeing (or reading) things from a child’s point of view is a good way to reflect on how adult behaviour might appear to children and how difficult certain things might be to process and understand. Her mother’s miscarriages and depression (that keeps getting missed until very late in the novel), her secret uncle’s devious behaviour (it’s hard to read the scenes of Tanya with her uncle, as she’s clearly craving for attention and we know from early on where things are headed, but Tanya doesn’t and she finds it more and more difficult to extricate herself from the situation). The author is excellent at making us share her point of view and her thought processes that create an atmosphere of dread and impending disaster. The dualistic life view of young children, for whom everything is black or white is reflected perfectly in Tanya’s reactions to her grandmother (whom at first she doesn’t like at all but later, as she realises she’s the only one to stick by her, goes on to become complicit with) and to her uncle, who goes from being perfect to being a monster (although the novel suggests that he had also been a victim).

The novel is not easy to classify, although it comes under the thriller label, but it is a psychological exploration of childhood, memory, tragedy, the lies we tell ourselves, and also a work of historical (albeit recent history) fiction, as it beautifully recreates the time and place (down details such as hit songs, records of the era, bicycles, toys, cars, magazines, foodstuffs, clothing and hairdos) and even historical events, like the opening of the Sidney Opera House. There is something of a twist at the end, and plenty of secrets, like in most domestic noir novels, but for me, the strong points are the way the story is told, and some of the characters. Nanna Purvis (who is a fantastic character and proves that grandmothers are almost always right) has old-fashioned ideas about relationships, sexuality, religion and race, but manages to surprise us and has good insight into her own family. Tanya reminded me of myself at her age (although I read other types of books, I was also overweight and wasn’t the most popular girl at school, and we also lived with my mother’s mother, although thankfully my home circumstances were not as tragic) and she tries hard to keep her family together. Her point of view and her understanding are limited, and her actions and frame of mind repetitive at times (she munches through countless packets of biscuits, pulls at her cowlick often, bemoans the unattractive shape of her ears, wonders if she’s adopted) as it befits a character of her age and historical period (so close but yet so far. No internet, no social media, no easy way to access information). Real life is not a succession of exciting events; even at times of crisis, most of our lives are taken up by routine actions and everyday tasks. Her mother’s sinking into depression and her bizarre behaviour, which is sadly misunderstood and left untreated for far too long, rang a chord with me as a psychiatrist. It is an accurate portrayal of such conditions, of the effect the illness can have not only on the sufferers but also on the family, and of the reactions of the society to such illnesses (especially at the time). Uncle Blackie is also a fascinating character but I won’t say anything else as I want to avoid spoilers. Although the setting and the atmosphere are very different, it brought to my mind some of Henry James’s stories, in particular, What Maisie Knew and The Turn of the Screw.

This is a great novel that I recommend to those who are interested in accurate psychological portrayals, reflections on the nature of memory, and books with a strong sense of setting and historical period, rather than fast action and an ever changing plot. A word of warning: it will be difficult to read for those with a low tolerance for stories about child abuse and bullying. If you’re a fan of good writing that submerges you into a time and place and plunges you inside of a character’s head, with an edge of creepiness and intrigue, this is your book.

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 IREX by @CarlRackman Maritime #HistFic #wwwblogs

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Irex by Carl Rackman

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First of all, I have to say it’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. It’s so good and the quality of the writing is excellent throughout. The story is based in history, the ship, a couple of the main crew members, reason for the wreck and the attempts at rescue, are all fact. Carl Rackman has woven an incredibly imaginative and compelling tale around that tragic event.

Frederick Blake, the County Coroner for Hampshire, arrives in Newport on the Isle of White in February, 1890 to conduct an inquest into the cause of the sinking of the sailing vessel, Irex and, in turn, the fate of the crew and passengers. In Court Room No.1 Blake is welcomed by Mr Peabody, senior magistrate, and Henry Rudd. They are forestalled in their efforts by government interference, the justification for which Blake and Peabody could not fathom, and which left them confused and frustrated. It soon became clear all was not as it had seemed aboard the Irex, and Blake’s inquest becomes more of an investigation. Time is not on their side and it soon becomes apparent someone doesn’t want the truth told.

The Irex’s first attempt at setting sail was defeated by shifting cargo de-stabilising the ship and so forcing the Captain, Will Hutton, to put back into port. And there they stayed to watch for a break in the weather in order to once again attempt to set sail. When the chance finally arrived, the Irex began her ill-fated proposed journey to Rio de Janeiro with, unusually for a cargo ship, three passengers; Major George Barstow, his wife, Elizabeth, Salvation Army missionaries, and Eddy Clarence, unlikable from the first.

The events on board the Irex unfold alongside the ever more complicated and undermined investigation, through alternate chapters. The mood in both parts of the narrative, but especially so aboard the storm-tossed ship, is convincing and portrayed extremely well. Undercurrents of unease and ill feeling steadily intensify the suspense and tension. I enjoyed the writing and the distinctive characterisations. Will Hutton is a sympathetic character, and who could have guessed the terrible secret of one of the passengers. I liked the investigators more and more as the story progressed, particularly the irrepressible news reporter.

Judging by the wonderfully descriptive writing the research must have been very comprehensive. With vivid imagery throughout the narrative it’s easy to picture the terrifying and traumatic journey on the high seas. I can hardly imagine masts of 200 feet in height, much less think about climbing them. A very intriguing and harrowing story, filled with action, adventure, mystery and murder. I look forward to the next novel by Carl Rackman.

Book Description

In the harsh winter of December 1889, the sailing vessel Irex leaves Scotland bound for Rio de Janeiro. She carries three thousand tons of pig iron and just three passengers for what should be a routine voyage. But Captain Will Hutton discovers that one of his passengers hides a horrifying secret. 

When the Irex is wrecked off the Isle of Wight six weeks later, it falls to the county coroner, Frederick Blake, to begin to unravel the events that overtook the doomed ship — but he soon finds that powerful forces within the British Establishment are working to thwart him. Locked in a race against time and the sinister agents sent to impede him, he gradually discovers that nothing aboard the Irex is what it first seemed… 

Irex is an atmospheric mystery, set in a rich Victorian world, packed with intrigue, twists and colourful characters — the spellbinding first novel by Carl Rackman.

About the author

Carl Rackman

Carl Rackman is a British former airline pilot turned author. From a naval military background, he has held a lifelong interest in military history and seafaring. His life spent travelling the world has given him a keen interest in other cultures, and he has drawn on his many experiences for his writing.

Carl’s writing style can best be described as the “literary thriller”, with a flair for evocative descriptions of locales and characters. Complex, absorbing storylines combine with rich, believable characters to create immersive worlds for the reader to explore.

Carl is married with two daughters and lives in Surrey, United Kingdom. Irex is his first novel, published under his own company, Rackman Books.

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