Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #memoir Living In Italy by Stef Smulders by @italie_verhalen

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

#RBRT Review Team

Alison has been reading Living In Italy by Stef Smulders

32572055

I have long harboured a dream to move to France, though Brexit may well scupper that. Italy or Portugal are next on the list, even though my own experience of driving in Italy was utterly terrifying (they literally have no rules – at least not any that anyone follows). So I was very interested to read the story of a couple relocating to Italy, especially as they bought a house that needed renovation and which has now been turned into a holiday rental (I am so tempted to book!).

Well, I now know that I will have to buy something that needs no work at all – I know I couldn’t bear the stress and upheaval that Stef and Nico went through. If you thought stories about unscrupulous tradesmen, a lackadaisical attitude to working times and deadlines, and a system where everything is done through a friend of a friend were exaggerated, then you should read this book. Everything you think and fear is true.

Stef and Nico come across as endlessly patient, hugely pragmatic and very nice indeed! The stories included here are so interesting and so funny at times. The portrayals of neighbours and friends, tradesman, agents and architects are delivered with a wry humour and a real eye for the little details that sum someone up in a few words or actions.

The only let down for me was that the translation isn’t great, which sometimes made things a bit hard-going. That isn’t really the fault of the author, but it does mean a lower rating than I would have given otherwise. If you can overlook that, and read it with an open-mind, then you’ll really enjoy it.

Three and a half out of five stars.

Book description

Would you dare to follow your dream and move or retire to Italy?

Stef & Nico did, although their dog Sara had her doubts. Now from your comfortable armchair you can share in the hilarious & horrendous adventures they experienced when they moved to Italy to start a bed and breakfast.

 

For lovers of amusing travelogue memoirs who like a good laugh. And for those interested in practical advice on how to buy a house in Italy there is useful information along the way, pleasantly presented within the short stories.

.

Stef Smulders

Dutchman who moved to Italy in 2008 to live the good life with his husband and dog, welcoming guests in their Villa I Due Padroni B&B in the beautiful wine region Oltrepò Pavese, south of Milan.

Author of the Award winning book “Living in Italy: the Real Deal” with hilarious expat adventures.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Advertisements

My review of #contemporary Let Me Be Like Water by @_sarah_perry @NikkiTGriffiths #TuesdayBookBlog

Let Me Be Like WaterLet Me Be Like Water by S. K. Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let Me Feel Like Water is a contemporary novel that celebrates friendship found after a young woman reaches great depths of despair.

Holly escapes her life in London to live in Brighton. She is surviving hour by hour, wracked by grief over the death of her boyfriend.

Seventy year old Frank is an ex-magician and a collector of broken people. He befriends Holly, gives her something else to think about, offers an easy friendship and invites her to his book club. Here she meets the other members, each with their own story to tell.

This is Holly’s journey; some days she’s lonely, other days she prefers solitude. Sometimes she can’t stay still, running to the point of exhaustion. Another day she swims in the cold sea where she considers ending it all. Life in Brighton offers escape, anonymity and time to heal. The narrative is raw and, at times, haunting and sad.

This is a captivating story. The author does a good job drip-feeding information in the beginning, reeling in her audience. As the story continues, we’re given just enough information to form our own pictures, but it kept me guessing and wanting to turn the pages; the technique is clever and works well. When I think back I have loads of questions about the secondary characters, but this is Holly’s story. She has experienced much tragedy; for her there is no happy-ever-after but perhaps a distant glow of hope.

A book about the gritty side of real life, this book may leave you with questions, but it gave me a lot to think about.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Holly moved to Brighton to escape her grief over the death of her boyfriend, Sam. But now she is here, sitting on a bench, listening to the sea sway… what is supposed to happen next?

She had thought she d want to be on her own. Wrecked. Stranded. But after she meets Frank, the tide begins to shift. Frank, a retired magician who has experienced his own loss but manages to be there for everyone else. Gradually, as he introduces Holly to a circle of new friends, young and old, all with their own stories of love and grief to share, she begins to learn to live again.

A moving and powerful debut which combines the emotional pull of Maggie O’Farrell with the lyrical beauty of Sarah Perry, Let Me Be Like Water is a book simultaneously about nothing and everything: about the humdrum yet extraordinariness of everyday life; of lost and new connections; of loneliness and friendship.

About the author

S.K. PERRY was shortlisted for the Mslexia Award and longlisted for London’s Young Poet Laureate, and was a resident artist at the Roundhouse in Camden and a Cityread Young Writer in Residence. She runs creative writing projects that develop emotional literacy, and explore mental health, memory, and healing from violence and she set up the Great Men project, which trains men to talk to teenage boys about gender equality and healthy relationships inschool workshops. She lives in Brixton, London. This is her debut novel.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Cultural #HistFic My #Bookreview of The Green Phoenix by @alicepoon1 #TuesdayBookBlog

The Green Phoenix: A Novel of the Woman Who Re-Made Asia, Empress XiaozhuangThe Green Phoenix: A Novel of the Woman Who Re-Made Asia, Empress Xiaozhuang by Alice Poon

3.5 stars

The Green Phoenix is historical fiction set in China during the 1600s. The book tells the story of Mongolian Princess Bumbutai, who became a concubine to the Chinese emperor Hong Taiji, and how, over her life-time, she became influential in many decisions taken by those who ruled the Qing dynasty. An empire which ruled from 1644 to 1912, the Qing dynasty was preceded by the Ming empire.

Bumbutai was married to Hong Taiji when she was just twelve years old, a political marriage; it was the emperor’s brother Dorgan who always held her heart. But Bumbutai understood the importance of her role and with it the need to produce male heirs. A natural linguist and eager scholar, Bumbutai was allowed to continue to study religion and Chinese history.

Life in the Chinese courts was perilous with mass corruption, constant rebellion and the complex, ever-changing hierarchy within the concubine households. Through this Bumbutai rose and fell, but when Hong Taiji died she was forced to use political ties to ensure her own son became the next Emperor against a strong opposition. She played an advisory role to her son, and then her grandson, in her remaining years.

This was a challenging book to read. I knew nothing of this period of history and struggled with the unfamiliar names, especially when many of the main characters had several names and titles bestowed upon them. The author’s research shines through, but I felt, on several occasions, that Bumbutai’s story became lost under the weight of the battles and corruption. I understand that the historical evidence was important to the building of the empire, but, at times, the book fell heavily towards a non-fiction account of the period rather than historical fiction.

Overall, a good window into an important historical period, but, for me, it needed more to make Bumbutai’s story outshine the facts.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

With the fate of East Asia hanging in the balance, one Mongolian woman manipulated her lovers, sons and grandsons through war and upheaval to create an empire that lasted for 250 years. The Green Phoenix tells the story of the Empress Dowager Xiaozhuang, born a Mongolian princess who became a consort in the Manchu court and then the Qing Dynasty’s first matriarch. She lived through harrowing threats, endless political crises, personal heartaches and painful losses to lead a shaky Empire out of a dead end. The story is set against a turbulent canvas as the Chinese Ming Dynasty is replaced by the Qing. Xiaozhuang guides her husband, her lover, her son and her grandson – all emperors and supreme leaders of the Qing Empire – to success against the odds.

About the author

Alice is an avid reader of world historical fiction. Born and educated in Hong Kong, she grew up devouring Jin Yong’s martial arts and chivalry novels, all set in China’s distant past. That sparked her life-long interest in Chinese history. Writing historical novels set in Old China has been her long cherished dream.

Her new historical novel The Green Phoenix set in 17th century China was released in September 2017 by Earnshaw Books.

She is the author of the bestselling Chinese Edition of Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong, which won the 2011 Hong Kong Book Prize . Canadian Book Review Annual selected the original English Edition as Editor’s Choice (Scholarly) in 2007.

She currently lives in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, and is working on her next Old China novel.

Alice Poon

AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Madam Tulip And The Bones Of Chance by @DaveAhernWriter

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

#RBRT Review Team

Jessie has been reading Madam Tulip And The Bones Of Chance by Dave Ahern

39109077

I’m the kind of girl who gets totally, embarrassingly, nerdily excited when they see that another book by a favorite author is getting released. When the book is something off the best seller list, I often have another book lover to gush about the up coming book with. When the book is less well known I instead kick into overzealous-crazy-book-lover-who-insists-you-must-read-this-book mode. I’m not interested in asking what my friends and family think about this behavior of mine but I like to imagine they find it useful and charming.

And look everybody, Madam Tulip is back!

Just in case you haven’t yet had time to read the first books (because I know after my recommendations they must be on your “to read” list)  Madam Tulip and Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts, I certainly recommend you start there. If, like me and my Granny, you’ve been waiting for the next installment it’s here. You should probably just go ahead and order it now. The same great cast of characters are again unwittingly getting themselves into hot water. And it is again the best kind of page turning mystery with enough laughs to keep it lighthearted and fun.

But instead of waxing on about the third book in a series I’ll trust you’ll start with the first and keep on reading.

In the meantime David Ahern himself agreed to answer a few questions!  

1) First things first. Does daily life begin with caffeinated beverage of choice?

Three caffeinated beverages of choice. And nothing fancy, either. Straight from the jar. Milk no sugar. I might, just might, stumble into life midway through #2.

2)  In the Madam Tulip books the main character Derry’s dad often seems to be the one who sees  “signs” in what his daughter says. How about you? Do you have any sure signs your day is going  to be fantastic… or not….

As a writer, never a clue. Sometimes you think a day is going to be like pulling teeth, and then for no discernible reason you find yourself on a roll. Other days you breeze to your desk feeling mighty clever, to find your brain instantly turns to mush and you wouldn’t trust yourself to write a shopping list.    

3) They say pictures are worth a thousand words. Could you describe Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance using nothing but emojis? (And no, I don’t think emojis are worth a thousand words but I’m curious anyway. ??)

Haven’t a clue. I’m from the emoticon age :).

4) Having lived in both Scotland and Ireland it’s possible you may be qualified to tell us who has the best whiskey. If that’s too controversial of a question, is there something about Scotland (where much of this book takes place) that you wish you could take with you where ever you live?

Scotch whisky is the hands down winner, and frankly we Irish don’t even put up a fight about that. On the other hand, we invented Scotland, but don’t tell anyone I said it. As for what I wish I could take with me, the hospitality of the people of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland is something very, very special.    

5)  During Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance Derry is acting for a movie that she doesn’t seem to think will be the next blockbuster, or even close. What “awful” movie do you love despite itself.

Zardoz, a wonderful Sean Connery turkey directed by John Boorman. And I’m not saying why.

6) In my own little world I prefer for everything to end with dessert. What’s your favorite treat to end things with?

A laugh.

Thank you David for being willing to do a little Q & A with us!

And as for the book…

Would I recommend it? Without a doubt! These books should be on the best seller lists!

Book description

A surprise role in a movie takes actress Derry O’Donnell to a romantic castle in the Scottish Highlands. But romance soon turns to fear and suspicion. Someone means to kill, and Derry, moonlighting as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip, is snared in a net of greed, conspiracy and betrayal.

A millionaire banker, a film producer with a mysterious past, a gun-loving wife, a PA with her eyes on Hollywood, a handsome and charming estate manager—each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip.
As Derry and her friend Bruce race to prevent a murder, she learns to her dismay that the one future Tulip can’t predict is her own.

Madame Tulip is the third in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.

About the author

David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate but soon absconded to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series and winning numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs.

Madame Tulip wasn’t David Ahern’s first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’d ever had with a computer. He is now writing the fourth Madam Tulip adventure and enjoys pretending this is actual work.

David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #UrbanFantasy Shrouds Of Darkness by @BrockDeskins

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

#RBRT Review Team

Barb has been reading Shrouds Of Darkness by Brock Deskins

13447942

 

 

My Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars for Shrouds of Darkness by Brock E. Deskins

“Don’t be too sure I’m as crooked as I’m supposed to be. That sort of reputation might be good business, bringing high price jobs and making it easier to deal with the enemy.”—Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon, 1942 based on Dashiell Hammett’s 1929 novel)

Leo Malone is a private investigator, a knight in dubiously-rusty armor who is ten times as antisocial and unfriendly as his hardboiled detective models—and a lot more dead, or at least undead. Told mostly in the first person from Leo’s POV, we soon realize his private eye monologue about how detached he is and how little he cares about people doesn’t exactly match up to his actions. When we meet him, in fact, the first two items on his to-do list are to stop an abusive father and a rapist. But just in case we miss that point, Leo muses, “It’s possible, and this is a stretch, the pretense is me not giving a shit. Maybe I am pretending to be a heartless bastard so I can go on doing what I do without becoming a complete basket case.”

Author Brock E. Deskins goes on to check off most of the remaining hardboiled detective tropes:

  • TrenchcoatYou just know Leo is a spiritual descendant of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe because he wears a trenchcoat. (Although Leo’s is one of a dozen identical three-thousand dollar coats, each a “custom-made Miguel Caballero bullet resistant trench coat.”)
  • Femme fatale: we all know about her—she’s called a “dame” and she has “gams” that defy nature when she appears in our gloomy detective’s even gloomier office with a job for him. In this case, the blonde bombshell comes in the form of Katherine Goldstein, whose father is missing. “Her long golden hair cascades over her shoulders better than halfway to her narrow waist and seems to glow with a light all of its own.”
  • Set up to take the fall: Leo knows he’s probably going down, and has a pretty good idea of who is behind it, but just doesn’t know how to be the kind of person who behaves any differently. What he is, though, is pragmatic about how to face the coming doom. “Fortunately, being a pain in the ass is what I do best, and the more I’m a pain in the ass, the more overt they’ll have to get to deal with me.”
  • Friendly villain: the real monsters are of course, the ones most like Leo. But in true homage to his film noir roots, Leo works as contract bodyguard for Yuri, a good(ish) bad guy who models himself on The Godfather and stays bought. Leo muses, “I don’t know if I would go so far as to say I like Yuri, but we have a mutual sort of respect for each other. I’m not real quick to judge the lifestyles of others.”
  • Girl Friday: For most hard-boiled detectives, an assistant is out of the question. A lucky few like Maltese Falcon’s Sam Spade, though, do have the “office wife” to shelter, mother, and cater to their every whim. Leo? Not so much. His occasional assistant is Marvin, a computer genius and would-be badass hampered by the unfortunate circumstances of having a father who is dean of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and a mother who is a world-renowned biologist and Nobel nominee.” [NOTE: Leo must have used his vampire mojo to find out that one, since the Nobel committees do not divulge the names of nominees.]
  • MacGuffin: This could be anything—Jason’s Golden Fleece, the LOTR rings, Indiana Jones’ Arc of the Covenant, and especially hard-boiled detective Marlow’s Maltese Falcon statue—an object that moves the story along without actually being important in itself. In this case, the macguffin comes in the person of mild-mannered Martin, accountant to the mob, and missing father of blonde bombshell Katherine. Oh, and… a werewolf.
  • Bittersweet ending? Don’t be ridiculous. This is just the first of a series which already stretches to three volumes.

Although this book got off to a slow start with a fairly massive info dump about the flavor of vampires and werewolves in Leo’s world, it did pick up with plenty of fast-paced and bloody action, accompanied by lots of suitably snarky observations from Leo. I just had a few problems with some of it. For one thing, there was the racism. Some of Leo’s comments about “squints” (Asians) he attempts to dismiss by playing the age card, claiming that’s what they called them when he was growing up. But he clearly knows better, and in fact refers to the rapist he stops as “black” (instead of the term we all know he would have heard those eighty years past)—although, he doesn’t ever bother to name the races of (presumably) white characters. Women seem to fall into the angel or whore categories, usually by haircolor. In fact, the vampiress who turns him has black hair, while the golden-haired Katherine is a smart and beautiful and willing to sleep with him without any of that annoying wooing or foreplay.

But for me, the missing pieces that usually make all this genre-mashing palatable are humor and a little humility. If the protagonist isn’t just so unstoppably able to defeat every single threat with literally superhuman acts of strength, I might legitimately feel more tension over the outcome. And if there’s a sense that everyone tacitly accepts their whole preposterous world is built on the fluffiest of fantasy, and is thus willing to laugh at themselves and their situations, the reader is so much more likely to willingly suspend disbelief and go along with the fun. At least, this reader is.

Still, if you’re looking for a fast-paced action story with plenty of blood, a clever plot, standard tropes, and comfortably-familiar characters, then Shrouds of Darkness might be for you.  It’s certainly those features which will have me round up my three and a half star rating to four stars for online reviews.

Book description

Leo Malone: Vampire, body guard, Private detective, and all around pain in the ass is hired to find a client’s father who has gone missing, but not only is the missing man an accountant for the mob, he is a full-blooded werewolf.
What seems to be a simple case of a werewolf run amok turns into a massive conspiracy that threatens to reveal the existence of both species as the brutally dismembered bodies of humans begin turning up all around Brooklyn.
Leo quickly finds himself embroiled in fights between werewolves, vampires, the mafia, and the local police. Luckily, violence is what Leo knows best.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #WomensFiction The Women Of Heachley Hall by @RachelJWalkley

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

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading The Women Of Heachley Hall by Rachel Walkley

38910952

When book illustrator, Miriam Chambers, inherits Great Aunt Felicity’s Victorian mansion in the Norfolk countryside, she discovers it is a poisoned chalice.  Either she must live in the run-down cold building for a year and a day or it will be auctioned for charity.  Since she is able to work at home she decides to accept the challenge and she employs some local tradesmen to improve the facilities a little.  But it is a lonely house set in overgrown woodland and Miriam is grateful when a strange-looking young man comes to the door offering to chop wood and do odd jobs.  As the creaks and bangs around the house alarm her, she is pleased when Charles, the reticent young man, provides company.

Increasingly Miriam tries to find the reason for the conditions imposed in her Great Aunt’s will.  Was there foul play when she had her accident and what happened years before when part of the house burnt down?  This beautifully written mystery weaves a spell around the house and the people connected to it.  It is easy to empathise with Miriam but there is a surprising conclusion which you are unlikely to predict.  Reminding me of the books of Kate Morton, this is a story for lovers of ghost stories, history and romance.  The introductory quote.

“One lives in hope of becoming a memory”

Is an apt description of this haunting story, about the nature of love.

Book description

Miriam has one year to uncover Heachley Hall’s unimaginable past and a secret that only women can discover.

The life of a freelance illustrator will never rake in the millions so when twenty-eight year old Miriam discovers she’s the sole surviving heir to her great-aunt’s fortune, she can’t believe her luck. She dreams of selling her poky city flat and buying a studio.
But great fortune comes with an unbreakable contract. To earn her inheritance, Miriam must live a year and a day in the decaying Heachley Hall.
The fond memories of visiting the once grand Victorian mansion are all she has left of her parents and the million pound inheritance is enough of a temptation to encourage her to live there alone.
After all, a year’s not that long. So with the help of a local handyman, she begins to transform the house.
But the mystery remains. Why would loving Aunt Felicity do this to her?
Alone in the hall with her old life miles away, Miriam is desperate to discover the truth behind Felicity’s terms. Miriam believes the answer is hiding in her aunt’s last possession: a lost box. But delving into Felicity and Heachley’s long past is going to turn Miriam’s view of the world upside down.

Does she dare keep searching, and if she does, what if she finds something she wasn’t seeking?

Has something tragic happened at Heachley Hall?

About the author

Born in the Midlands, I grew up in East Anglia and am now firmly lodged in the North West of England. My first writing achievement was my Brownie badge and after that I’ve never let go of the dream of becoming of an author. Once a librarian and caretaker of books, I’m now a teller of tales and want to share with you the secrets that hide in the pages of my books.

Rachel Walkley

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #YA #fantasy Refugees by R. A. Denny

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

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Refugees by R.A. Denny

34853614

My Opinion

This book introduces you to Baskrod and the three young people who have to fulfill the prophecy.

With Refugees, R. A. Denny has created a captivating, sometimes a little gory story with plot lines for Amanki, Moshoi, and Brina. It took a few chapters to get into the story, to get used to the different characters and their plot lines. After ‘meeting’ all of them, I was drawn into the story as a close invisible companion. R. A. Denny created a quite intriguing adventure with individual plot lines – certainly meant to introduce the main characters and how their quests began. The characters develop nicely; I am looking forward to learn more about them.

This is a book for you if you like young adult fantasy series, intriguing suspense, believable characters, and young heroes-to-be on a quest.

Recommended.

Book description

“An epic journey of a lifetime.” That’s what three young individuals from three different corners of the world have dreamed about. They were destined for greatness since the moment they were born. But what if they don’t want it? What if they’re not ready? What if their desires no longer align with the prophecy?

The problem is, they have no choice. The star has appeared. Their destiny has already begun to unfold.

It’s not the send-off that they’ve been dreaming of. Forced out. Banished. Raided. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Now they must discover who they really are while embarking on the most exciting journey of their lives. One star. One impossible task. One chance to save the world they love.

About the author

R.A. Denny is an ancient history buff with a law degree from Duke University. While working as a criminal prosecutor by day, she escaped by night to create the fantasy world of her Mud, Rocks, and Trees series.

R.A. Denny loves adventure, animals and history. She has travelled to the ancient rock city of Petra on horseback, flown through the jungles of Costa Rica on zip lines and visited the Great Pyramid on a camel. She lives in Delaware. As a child, she had two pet flying squirrels.

R.A. Denny

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #scifi Intraterrestrial by @NicholasConley1

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

#RBRT Review Team

Judith has been reading Intraterrestrial by Nicholas Conley

36097383

Intraterrestrial is about Adam Helios, a bullied teenager who hears a voice claiming to come from the stars and fears he’s going mad. Following a terrible car crash, Adam is left seriously injured and his consciousness is abducted by the alien presence contacting him for months.

Intraterrestrial was decently written, although there were some frustrating uses of synonyms. As well as using the word ‘finger’, ‘appendages’ and ‘digits’ also get thrown around and this was just unnecessary. Synonyms can provide variation if you’re afraid of repetition, but sometimes the repetition of simple words is fine. No one says “I have hurt my appendages”.

Adam was a well-developed character; he felt very much like an ordinary kid – a sympathetic loser, if you will.

However, I wasn’t sure how to interpret Adam’s adopted status; the book makes it clear Adam was adopted as an orphan from India and Adam himself struggles at times to feel as if he belongs with his American parents. On the one hand, this is fair enough, and gives Adam some interesting background. On the other hand, the book also hints he may be abhuman or other-worldly in some way, and is thus contacted by aliens. Yet stressing Adam’s differences too much, and making Adam both “other” and Indian could be problematic for some.

I liked the open rebuttal of the “chosen one” stereotype and Adam’s genuine surprise that he is not The Chosen One; the way in which the expectations of Adam, and the reader, were challenged made it quite a witty scene.

I’m not a huge reader of science-fiction, so I preferred the chapters describing Adam’s mother, waiting for her son to recover in the hospital. These scenes helped provide some reality, in the midst of Adam’s alien experiences, and were easier to picture and understand.

I also couldn’t work out who Conley’s target audience is.

Concepts such as imagination-powered aliens, the importance of creativity, and Adam discovering more about his special identity, seem as if they would be best suited in a novel for children. Yet some the book contained explicit swear-words and gory, bloody details, suggesting Conley had an older audience in mind.

I did like the idea of being drawn into an alternative world inspired by your own mind – for example, the alternative world of Labyrinth is taken from Sarah’s childhood toys and stories – but I found the execution of this in Intraterrestrial slightly too abstract. I have a pretty active imagination, but I really struggled to visualise the aliens and worlds I was being told to imagine.

On a more positive note, Intraterrestrial has a proper ending! I’ll explain.

I find that often, especially in books sent for review, the narrative ends with a cliffhanger designed to make you buy their trilogy. Sometimes this is done well and other times, it isn’t. However, Conley doesn’t do this; instead he wraps up his story well by the end of the book and this was great to see.

Ultimately, I thought Intraterrestrial was okay, but probably not the book for me. If you’re a die-hard science-fiction fan though, you might want to consider giving this a go.

Star Rating: 3/5 Stars

Intraterrestrial is available to buy as a paperback or an e-book from Amazon UK or Amazon.com.

– Judith

Book description

Adam Helios is a bully magnet without many friends. When he starts hearing a voice that claims to come from the stars, he fears he’s losing his mind, so he withdraws even further. On the way home from a meeting at the school, he and his parents are involved in a horrible car crash. With his skull cracked open, Adam’s consciousness is abducted by the alien who has been speaking to him for months.

After surviving the wreck with only minor scratches, Camille Helios must deal with her guilt over the accident that left her husband badly injured and her son in a coma. When the doctor suggests letting Adam go, Camille refuses to stop fighting for her son’s life.

Lost among galaxies, Adam must use his imagination to forge a path home before his body dies on the operating table. But even if he does return to Earth, he may end up locked inside a damaged brain forever.

About the author

Nicholas Conley is a novelist, world traveler, playwright, and coffee vigilante. His passion for storytelling began at an early age, prompted by a love of science fiction novels, comic books, and horror movies. His award-winning novel Pale Highway was influenced by his real life experience working with Alzheimer’s patients in a nursing home, and his work in healthcare also inspired his essays for Vox and The Huffington Post, as well as his radio play Something in the Nothing, which was performed live on WSCA 106.1 FM in 2016.

Nicholas Conley

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #childrensfiction The Yellow Bills by @MichelleMcKenna

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

#RBRT Review Team

Chris has been reading The Yellow Bills by Michelle McKenna

Mis-matched friendship – check. Strong female lead – check. Adventure – check. General fun – check, check, check.

Mya wants to be a pilot when she grows up. So when she comes across a school of talking ducklings that are learning to fly, she decides to join in. Only it is not as simple as she had thought it might be, what with an instructor that doesn’t want her there and the small problem of her not being a duck…

Sweet, fun, pacy, and inspiring, this is a lovely story about following your dreams, however difficult achieving them may seem. Recommended.

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

Book description

Mya loves planes and wants to be a pilot when she grows up. As luck would have it she comes across a flying school run by lieutenant Drake who awards his pupils splendid pilot hats when they graduate. Mya wants to join the class but there’s just one problem. She’s not a duck! Could Goose the little duckling with big flying ambitions be the key to Mya getting her pilot’s hat? Or will Mr Sour the teacher who never quite made the grade have other ideas…Inspired by authors such as Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl and Angela Sommer-Bodenburg, Michelle weaves a story with the humour and invention of Nick Ward’s ‘Charlie Small’ series meets Dick King Smith’s wonder of the animal world.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS | Twitter

#HistFic My #Bookreview of early aviation tale The Wild Air by @rebeccamascull #TuesdayBookBlog

The Wild AirThe Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

4.5 stars

Wild Air is historical fiction. It begins in 1909 in the English coastal town of Cleethorpes, with the story woven around the early aviators and, in particular, the first women to take to the skies.

Della Dobbes has always enjoyed working with her hands and fixing things. A great aunt returns from Kitty Hawk, the beach in North Carolina where the Wright brothers tested their flying machines. She fills Della’s head with dreams of flight, then supports Della to make them come true. Faced with ridicule, sabotage and refusals to allow women to fly, Della perseveres and makes her way as a pioneering aviatrix.

I did enjoy this book, especially learning about the first female aviators. Most people have heard of Amelia Earhart and Amy Johnson, but in this book the author has cameo roles for lesser known, real-life ladies of the skies. The story takes the reader on a journey which includes Edwardian and WWI era aeroplanes. There’s romance too, but is doesn’t dominate the tale; I enjoyed the love-story for the support act it provided. The author also provided some interesting notes at the end of the book, showing how close she tried to keep her writing to true events.  I thought these were fascinating and well worth the extra read. Ideal for those who like WW1 novels or who want to know more about daring early flyers.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

In Edwardian England, aeroplanes are a new, magical invention, while female pilots are rare indeed.
When shy Della Dobbs meets her mother’s aunt, her life changes forever. Great Auntie Betty has come home from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, across whose windswept dunes the Wright Brothers tested their historic flying machines. Della develops a burning ambition to fly and Betty is determined to help her.
But the Great War is coming and it threatens to destroy everything – and everyone – Della loves.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS | Twitter