Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Spirit Of Lost Angels by @LizaPerrat French Revolution #HistFic

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

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Spirit Of Lost Angels by Liza Perrat

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After reading reviews of The Silent Kookaburra by some of Rosie Amber’s book review team, I decided to read Spirit of Lost Angels by the same author. This book is the first in this author’s French historical trilogy, The Bone Angel series.

The Spirit of Lost Angels is the story of Victoire Charpentier, who lives with her parents and siblings in a rural village in the years before The French Revolution. The family is poor but happy, until a series of devastating tragedies occurs. First, her young twin siblings die in a house fire that destroys their home, then her father is run over and killed by an aristocrat. Finally, her mentally distressed mother, a midwife and a herbalist, is killed by the villagers for being a witch. During this time, the old king dies and Louis XIV marries Marie Antoinette, and the country sinks even deeper into poverty with new taxes.

The village priest arranges for Victoire to become a servant in the home of the Marquise de Barberon in Paris, where the nobleman repeatedly rapes her; she becomes pregnant. She manages to hide her pregnancy with the help of the Marquise’s cook, Claudine, and after she gives birth, she leaves the baby on the steps of a church. There the baby is picked up by Matron, the head of a large, state-run orphanage.

Victoire’s experiences leave her with a deep and abiding hatred of royalty and the aristocracy (no surprise). As whispers of revolution run rampant through Paris, Victoire returns to her village to marry a kind and good man, many years her senior, who is willing to overlook the fact she is no longer a virgin. For a period of time she is happy. But it isn’t to last…

I have to admit, while this book is a barn burner, at this point, the unending tragedies in Victoire’s life were wearing me down. And there are more to come. Here I will stop and allow potential readers to find out what happens next, but I will tell you that Victoire returns to revolutionary Paris, and actual historical figures, one of them Thomas Jefferson, make an appearance in the book.

The author is a meticulous historian who describes village life, Paris, and the Revolution in colorful and compelling detail – the sounds, the smells, the colors – with an unsparing introduction to the mores of the time. I think that, more than anything, kept me reading. There is plenty of politics once the idea of revolution takes hold in Paris as more than just an intellectual concept, and the danger of living there at the time is very real. My one other less than positive comment concerns the amount of the book devoted to the Revolution. After the breathless pace of Victoire’s life, once she returns to Paris, her story slows to a sedate pace, which I found distracting. Too much of politics and the Revolution frustrated me.

There are many, many characters,, but with rare exception they are well drawn and realistic. To mention just three: Victoire can be frustratingly indecisive one minute and a strong and determined the next. The cook, Claudine, is a flour-sprinkled tower of strength, and the Marquise, although brief in appearance is suitably ignorant and evil.

I strongly recommend this book – it is a great summer read. For any reader with a love for historical fiction, especially about women at the time of the French Revolution, this is the book for you!

Book Description

Her mother executed for witchcraft, her father dead at the hand of a noble, Victoire Charpentier vows to rise above her impoverished peasant roots.
Forced to leave her village of Lucie-sur-Vionne for domestic work in Paris, Victoire suffers gruesome abuse under the 18th century old regime.
Imprisoned in France’s most pitiless madhouse, La Salpêtrière asylum, the desperate Victoire begins a romance with fellow prisoner Jeanne de Valois, infamous conwoman of the diamond necklace affair. With the help of the ruthless and charismatic countess, Victoire carves out a new life for herself.
Enmeshed in the fever of pre-revolutionary France, Victoire must find the strength to join the revolutionary force storming the Bastille. Is she brave enough to help overthrow the diabolical aristocracy?
As this historical fiction adventure traces Victoire’s journey, it follows too, the journey of an angel talisman through generations of the Charpentier family.
Amidst the intrigue and drama of the French revolution, the women of Spirit of Lost Angels face tragedy and betrayal in a world where their gift can be their curse.

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 family for twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist.
Since completing a creative writing course ten years ago, 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, France Today and The Good Life France.

Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in the French 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 Nazi Occupation of France, was published in October, 2013. The third, Blood Rose Angel, set during the 14th century Black Plague years was published in November, 2015.
Friends, Family and Other Strangers is a collection of humorous, horrific and entertaining short stories set in Australia.
Liza is a founding member of the Author Collective, Triskele Books and regularly reviews books for Bookmuse.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice by Mark Barry @GreenWizard62

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice by Mark Barry

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When Carol Prentice left her home town of Wheatley Fields for Manchester University she had no plans to return. Her father’s death precipitates a change in her and the subsequent return to Wheatley Fields, along with the resolve to address those intimated demons which have blighted her life and made her believe herself to be less than. She had A Plan.

After successfully applying for a job at a local bookstore, Carol and Steve, the manager, become firm friends. It’s an unlikely friendship, but they are both compelling characters, well defined with depth and relatability, even as we see their flaws. Steve, despite his previous failures and tendency to drink too much, becomes Carol’s source of strength, the foundation on which she can build, her rock.

However, it’s not very long before Carol’s demons appear and events are set in motion which spiral into disaster. Whatever happened to Carol prior to her leaving Wheatley Fields has defined her life up to date and is the catalyst that drives everything towards a riveting, and touching, conclusion.

Carol is a complex character, hiding behind a Goth exterior, emotionally damaged and with her feelings under such strict control, she perceives and registers rather than feels. The narrative is written informally in the first person from Carol’s point of view, giving a comprehensive insight into her psyche, and how deeply past events impacted on her. Although her subjective views could cast doubt on her credibility as a narrator, it doesn’t detract from believability and the vividness of her observations. Carol is real, fully developed, so much so that I felt like a spectator and completely forgot this was a man writing from a young woman’s perspective, it was so convincing.

This is the totally unpredictable and powerful story of a dramatic revenge planned down to the last detail. As more of the story is revealed, the more intriguing it becomes. How does Toby fit into Carol’s story and why is he so antagonistic? The disclosure, and learning the meaning behind the shiny coin, is appalling.

Mark Barry is a gifted storyteller with a knack for making this reader feel she’s been put though an emotional wringer (in a good way) every time. The writing is real, gritty and sometimes violent, but always eminently readable. Engaging characters are vividly portrayed and display a realistic range of emotions and reactions. Loved the Carla reference and the small but significant cameo of the author.

Book Description

“I swore that I would never go home,  but in the end, I had no choice.  I had to confront what happened.  And them too.  It was going be icky. And totally scary.” Carol Prentice left Wheatley Fields to attend university in Manchester and not once did she return in four years. Her beloved father visited her whenever he could, but then he passed away and it was up to her to sort his affairs.  She could have done this from a distance, but a woman can run to the far corners of the earth, but, in the end, she can never escape herself She had to come home: There was no other choice. Taking a job at a bookshop for the duration, she befriends Steve – an older man who looks like a wizard and who knows everything in the world.  Carol quickly encounters the demons that forced her to leave in the first place – including Toby, the raffish local villain, with whom she shares the most horrifying of secrets and whose very existence means evil and mayhem for everyone around. Especially the lovable Steve.  Carol finds herself in the middle of a war between the two men:  A war which can only have one victor.  Soon, she wishes she had never come home.  But by then it was too late.  Much too late.

Biography

Mark Barry

Bio: Mark Barry is a multi-genre writer and novelist. His work includes the minor cult hit Ultra Violence about football hooligans at a small Midlands football club and Carla, a quirky, dark, acclaimed romance with shades of Wuthering Heights.  He is the co-designer of the innovative Brilliant Books project aimed at engaging the many, many reluctant readers amongst young people… He has one son, Matt, on the brink of University, with whom he shares a passion for Notts County Football Club.  Fast food, comics, music, reading, his friends on the Independent scene, and horse racing keep him interested and he detests the English Premier League, selfish, narcissistic people and bullies of all kinds.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Whispers In The Alders by @HA_Callum #fridayreads #litfic

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Whispers In The Alders by H A Callum

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WHISPERS IN THE ALDERS by H A Callum

4.5 out of 5 stars

I received a review copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

This book was submitted to Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team, of which I am a member.  Interestingly, I didn’t initially choose it as the genre and blurb didn’t particularly appeal, but then I got talking to the author on Twitter (about something else entirely) and he asked me if I would take a review copy.  I’m glad I did.

Lesson for readers: don’t bypass books just because they don’t immediately appeal; you never know what gems you might find behind that quiet cover.

Lesson for writers: talk to people on social media!

Whispers in the Alders is set in the small east US town of Alder Ferry, where young teenagers Aubrey (female) and Tommy both suffer loveless, cold childhoods.  Aubrey’s family are wealthy, whereas Tommy’s are poorer, and his life is quite brutal.  They meet in a wooded area behind Aubrey’s family home, amongst the alders, a place that both of them feel is ‘home’.

The book starts in the present, with Aubrey in Portland, Maine, as an adult; she has left her family and the prejudices of the small town long behind.  It then goes back to her early teens, and the loneliness she feels.  The books spans the period of this time until early adulthood, and follows the tragedies of her and Tommy’s lives.

I’d class this book as literary fiction, as well as a contemporary ‘coming of age’ story.  Much of the writing is beautiful; I read that Mr Callum is a poet, too, and this is evident, but it’s not wordy for the sake of it.  It’s quite a dense sort of novel, with much description, and on occasion I felt it could have been trimmed down just a little, but that’s just personal preference, and I certainly appreciated every line.  The plot itself develops slowly, with some shocking outcomes (child abuse and homophobia, but nothing graphic), and it’s perfectly plotted.  It’s a heartrending, lonely sort of book; I longed for Aubrey and Tommy to find happiness.

A hidden gem by an extremely talented writer, very American (which I liked), and one I definitely recommend ~ I hope some other members of Rosie’s team pick it up, or that anyone who reads this takes the plunge and clicks ‘buy’!

Book Description

Alder Ferry would have been just another nondescript suburb living in the shadow of its urban parent if not for one detail: the mysterious stand of alder trees anchoring the town to its past and standing as a reminder to the wilderness that once stood in its place.

In the shadows of the alders a boy named Tommy found refuge. There, an eclectic book collection was his only companion through a tumultuous childhood, serving as his escape from the brutal realities of his life. That was, until Aubrey appeared.

Born of different worlds, the alders become their escape while their unlikely friendship blossoms into a love that few people ever come to understand or enjoy—proving that true friendship is a romantic pursuit in its purest form.

Together they come of age in a town hostile to their friendship—a friendship that challenges the intersecting boundaries of class, gender and sexuality. Prejudice and privilege masquerade to destroy their dreams while class, gender and faith collide. All are tested as Tommy and Aubrey carry each other through their teen years and into adulthood.

Whispers in the Alders is an impassioned experience that will test the emotions and is a story that will linger with the reader long after the last page is turned.

About the author

H.A. Callum

Of all the hats I have worn, the only one that has truly defined me is that of the writer. Whatever has happened, and wherever I have been, writing has always been my guidepost.

Writing has been the best way to examine life while contrasting it to the “what ifs” and “why nots” that surround the marquis events of our existence. This is also why we read: to give us a greater understanding of our own lives through the lens of characters that face similar challenges as we do.

I’m glad you stopped in to visit. I hope you enjoy what you read here and take some of it along with you to share. As always, I am most interested in what you – my readers – have to say.

The light is always on and the keyboard endlessly humming along, through late nights and endless cups of coffee. It’s a writer’s life!

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT @barbtaub reviews Fat Girl Begone by @dehaggerty #Romance

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

#RBRT Review Team

Barb has been reading Fat Girl Begone by D. E Haggerty

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How many times do you plan a vacation where you have no idea of your destination? Not that often, I’d bet. We may SAY it’s the journey that matters…but a mountain climber doesn’t want their journey to end up in an art museum any more than an opera buff wants to end up on a surfer beach.  It’s the same with the romance genre. Sure, we expect that the two main characters will end up together. But the paths taken to reach that point are literally infinite in number. Just ask Elizabeth Bennett (Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen), Claire Randall (Outlander by Diana Gabaldon), Kate Daniels (Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews) or any of the literally millions of romance heroines how they arrived at their HEAs. Some of those paths are so well-travelled that the scenery is boring and the tour has become a cliche. Others, though familiar, still offer plenty of exciting, gorgeous, and just plain romantic views along the way. Take Fat Girl Begone as an excellent example where the destination might be a given, but the fun is all in how author D.E. Haggerty gets us there.

It might seem like Everly Rawlins has it all—handsome and successful boyfriend, partnership-track at her accounting firm, secret savings account to fund her dream wedding. But her self-image tells her she’s fat, her boyfriend tells her he’s leaving because he can’t take any more of her obsession with diet instead of him, her best friend tells her that tequila-fuelled decision to pre-pay for a private trainer is non-negotiable, and her employer tells her security will be escorting her from their premises. And that’s just the beginning, as author D. E. Haggerty keeps the romance tropes flying so fast we barely register the meet-cute with Mr. Yummy, the obligatory ensuing love triangle, and all four types of what the Greeks called the four loves:

  • STORGE (Affection/family love): Everly builds a new family-of-choice in her supportive, profane, but well-dressed new friends from the gym.
  • PHILIA (Friendship love): Her best friends steadfastly refuse to accept Everly’s body image issues, seeing her as both intelligent and beautiful.
  • EROS (Romantic love): Rejected by her long-time boyfriend, Everly tries to keep new suitors firmly in the friend-zone, telling herself that she is not up to their league.
  • AGAPE (Unconditional love): With her former boyfriend as the poster boy for how to undermine self-image, Everly is suspicious of unconditional love when it’s offered.

There are so many things I liked about Everly. The snarky banter with her friends, the humor that shines through even when she’s at her lowest points, the secret core of strength she has no idea is there, and way we start to see her intelligence and beauty as reflected in her friends’ love and admiration—these all combine in beautifully orchestrated character development.

There were a few things I found a little harder to swallow. There’s the billionaire who seems to work about an hour a week, the new business that springs into life and instant success, the will-they/won’t-they (they will) suspense, the expanding triangle as every guy she meets falls in lust with Everly, and especially the mind-boggling perfection of a suitor whose like hasn’t been seen outside the pages of Porn for Women. (Sexy Shirtless Guy: “As soon as I finish the laundry, I’ll do the grocery shopping. And I’ll take the kids with me.”)

Does any of that matter? Not if what you’re looking for is a funny, entertaining, and ultimately charming journey to a destination you knew about right from the start. If that’s what you’re hoping for, then Fat Girl Begone is exactly the right ticket.

Book Description

I’m a total mess. My boyfriend dumped me – get this – because I diet too much. Not because I’m fat, mind you. Of course, this spurs me into the diet-fitness-revenge-plan of the century, which leads me to the gym and a scorching hot personal trainer. I even manage to make some cool new friends, including a millionaire if you can believe it. Things are looking up! Naturally, that’s the moment my ex decides he wants me back, the personal trainer asks me out, and my millionaire male buddy decides to throw his hat in the ring. But that’s not enough drama. No, not for me. Because I’ve also lost my job and decided to start my own business. Just call me Ms. Drama.

Warning: Bad language, bumpy roads, and embarrassing moments ahead. But there’s also more than a bit of romance and even, if we’re lucky, love. Fingers crossed.

Not endorsed by or affiliated with any brand of tequila.

About the author


I grew-up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances, to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before deciding to follow the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.
Fat girl Begone! is my eleventh book.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT The Planck Factor by @debbimack #TechnoThriller

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

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading The Planck Factor by Debbi Mack

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My review:

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and thank Rosie Amber and the author for providing me with an ARC copy of this book that I freely decided to review.

This thriller (technothriller according to Amazon) tells a complex story, or rather, tells several not so complex stories in a format that can make readers’ minds spin. A thriller about a student who decides, on a dare, to write a genre book (a thriller) and whose life becomes itself another thriller, one that seems to mix spies, conspiracies, terrorism, the possibility of the end of the world, and it all relates to quantum physics. (Or, as she describes it in the book: “…a suspense story with a hint of science fiction and a touch of espionage at its heart.”) The parallelisms between the story of Jessica Evans (the protagonist) and that of her fictional character, Alexis, become more convoluted and puzzling as the book progresses and the astounding coincidences will ring some alarm bells until we get to the end and… It is a bit difficult to talk about the book in depth without giving away any spoilers, but I’ll try my hardest.

This book will be particularly interesting for writers, not only because of its storytelling technique (talk about metafiction) but also because of the way the main protagonist (a concept difficult to define but Jessica is the one who occupies the most pages in the book and her story is told in the first person) keeps talking (and typing) about books and writing. No matter how difficult and tough things get, she has to keep writing, as it helps her think and it also seems to have a therapeutic effect on her. It is full of insider jokes and comments familiar to all of us who write and read about writing, as it mentions and pokes fun at rules (“Show, don’t tell. Weave in backstory. Truisms, guides, rules, pointers—call them what you will… And adverbs. Never use an adverb.”) and also follows and at the same time subverts genre rules (we have a reluctant heroine, well, two, varied MacGuffins and red herrings, mysteries, secrets, traitors and unexpected villains… and, oh yes, that final twist).

Each one of the chapters starts with the name of the person whose point of view that chapter is told about —apart from Alexis’s story, told in the third person, written in different typography, and usually clearly introduced, there are chapters from the point of view of two men who follow Jessica, so we know more than her, another rule to maintain suspense, and also from the point of view of somebody called Kevin, who sounds pretty suspicious— and apart from Jessica’s, all the rest are in the third person, so although the structure is somewhat complex and the stories have similarities and a certain degree of crossover, there is signposting, although one needs to pay attention. Overall, the book’s structure brought to my mind Heart of Darkness (where several frames envelop the main story) or the Cabinet of Dr Caligary (although it is less dark than either of those).

As you read the story, you’ll probably wonder about things that might not fit in, plot holes, or events that will make you wonder (the usual trope of the amateur who finds information much easier than several highly specialised government agencies is taken to its extremes, and some of the characteristics of the writing can be amusing or annoying at times, although, whose story are we reading?) but the ending will make you reconsider the whole thing. (I noticed how the characters never walked, they: “slid out”, “shimmied out”, “pounded”, “bounded down the steps”, “clamored down”…) As for the final twist, I suspected it, but I had read several reviews by other members of the team and kept a watchful eye on the proceedings. I don’t think it will be evident to anybody reading the story totally afresh.

The novel is too short for us to get more than a passing understanding and connection with the main character, especially as a big part of it is devoted to her fictional novel, (although the first person helps) and there are so many twists, secrets and agents and double-agents that we do not truly know any of the secondary characters well enough to care. Action takes precedence over psychological depth and although we might wonder about alliances, betrayals and truths and lies, there are no complex motivations or traumas at play.

Due to the nature of the mystery, the novel will also be of interest to those who enjoy stories with a scientific background, particularly Physics (although I don’t know enough about quantum physics to comment on its accuracy). A detailed knowledge of the subject is not necessary to follow the book but I suspect it will be particularly amusing to those who have a better understanding of the theory behind it. (The author does not claim expertise and thanks those who helped her with the research in her acknowledgements). The book also touches on serious subjects, including moral and ethical issues behind scientific research and the responsibility of individuals versus that of the state regarding public safety. But do not let that put you off. The book is a short, fast and action-driven story that requires a good attention span and will be particularly enjoyed by writers and readers who enjoy complex, puzzle-like mysteries, or more accurately, those who like stories that are like Russian dolls or Chinese boxes.

I enjoyed this book that is clever and knowing, and I’d recommend in particular to readers who are also writers or enjoy books about writers, to those who like conspiracies, spies and mysteries, especially those with a backstory of science and physics, and to people who prefer plot-driven books and who love Hitchcock, Highsmith and Murder She Wrote.

Book Description

On a dare, grad student Jessica Evans writes a thriller, creating a nightmare scenario based upon the theory that the speed of light is not a constant—one that has a dark application. Her protagonist (the fiancé of a scientist killed in a car crash) is pursued by those who want to use the theory to create the world’s most powerful weapon.
Jessica’s research into the science stirs up concern from an extremist group intending to use it for evil. Before long, Jessica’s life mimics that of her protagonist, as she runs from terrorist conspirators who suspect she may try to stop them from causing a major disaster. As the clock ticks down, Jessica must put the pieces together and avert a global catastrophe.

About the author

Debbi Mack

Debbi Mack is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sam McRae Mystery Series. She’s also published one young novel. In addition, she’s a Derringer-nominated short story writer, whose work has been published in various anthologies.

Debbi is also a screenwriter and aspiring indie filmmaker. Her first screenplay, The Enemy Within, made the Second Round in the 2014 Austin Film Festival screenplay contest and semifinals in the 2016 Scriptapalooza contest.

A former attorney, Debbi has also worked as a journalist, librarian, and freelance writer/researcher. She enjoys walking, cats, travel, movies and espresso.

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Her Last Breath by @TracyBuchanan #Suspense Family Saga #BookReview @AvonBooksUK

Her Last BreathHer Last Breath by Tracy Buchanan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Her Last Breath is a suspense thriller and revolves around Estelle, a nutritionist who is about to launch her first book.

The book opens with a prologue from 1994 which contains a social worker’s report for seven year old Estelle, recommending the child’s removal from her drug addicted parents.

A little over twenty years later, Estelle is preparing to launch a book focusing on healthy ‘pure’ recipes. Her rags to riches story has risen via social media and a blogging series, where she helped a friend with diabetes improve her health with diet changes. Then, in a heady rise to fame, she was asked to be the nutritionist for the GB Rio Olympic rowing team; her success kept flowing.

During an interview with a reporter, renowned for routing out dark secrets, Estelle is asked about her years in the care system. Uncomfortable about her past, this is only the start of trouble for her, as ancient secrets are brought to the surface and she doesn’t know who to trust.

This is a well written story, with plenty of red herrings for those who like to guess the outcome as they read along. There are enough twists and turns to have me changing my mind several times about the identity of one particularly sinister character. The Lilysands coastal setting, with its sub-plot about coastal landslides, is believable as is the small town atmosphere, where everyone knows everyone else’s business.

I did feel that Estelle’s character was sometimes unrealistically childlike, with constant arguing and storming off from encounters, and, particularly, rushing from too many important responsibilities. I would have warmed to her more if she had been portrayed with more mature thoughts and responses. There was also a bit of rather clichéd DIY sleuthing about a childhood friend’s suicide which left me confused at the big reveal. I would define this book as a family saga with suspenseful elements rather than an edge of your seat high-end thriller.

For fans of Tracy Buchanan and readers who like gentler suspense. Contains some violence.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

A fifteen-year-old girl has gone missing. They say Poppy O’Farrell has run away from her celebrity parents, and the media is in a frenzy. But none of this has anything to do with successful lifestyle blogger Estelle Forster . . . So why would someone send her a picture of the missing girl – and a note, claiming to know Estelle’s secrets?

One small photograph will push Estelle’s pristine life to the brink of disaster. To find out who is threatening her, Estelle must return to her coastal hometown and the shameful past she thought was long behind her.

Estelle knows there’s more to Poppy’s disappearance than teenage rebellion. A dangerous game is being played, and the answers lie in the impenetrable community she once called her own.

But how will anyone believe her, if she can’t tell them the truth?

Her Last Breath is an addictive, twisting and emotionally powerful book that will have you hooked until the very last page.

About the author

Tracy Buchanan

Tracy Buchanan is a full-time author who lives in Buckinghamshire in the UK with her husband, their little girl and their puppy, Bronte. Tracy travelled extensively while working as a travel magazine editor, sating the wanderlust she developed while listening to her Sri Lankan grandparents’ childhood stories – the same wanderlust that now inspires her writing.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire @Compelled_Books

Today’s team review is from Jenny.

#RBRT Review Team

Jenny has been reading The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire

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Review by Jenny Reeve

I give this book 4 stars

The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire

Fiction

It took me a little while to get into the story. I felt that the feel and pace was somewhat slow to start with, but, once the characters began to unfold and their lives started to unravel before me, I relaxed more into the style of the authors writing and began to enjoy it more.

Not knowing much about yoga styles and its effects myself, a lot of the descriptive dialogue and explanations were hard to imagine and understand, but I tried and took it slowly trying to involve myself completely in the way that Kundalini yoga works and feels.  I think it helps to get to grips with the story if you know something about yoga.

Luna loves her husband Tyler, but feels she needs more in her life….but what is missing, why does she feel so lost? All the women in the story fall completely for Nico Romero. I cannot believe that these women come back time and time again after the way that this yoga guru treats them all, even if he is devastatingly beautiful and a sex god.  He definitely has issues, these are apparent quite soon into the story. Nico quickly turns from a likeable, charming, sexy man who is expert in his field, to nasty, manipulative and violent person at times.  Quite disturbing too, the way that he ‘cords’ his victims is compelling to say the least.

A lot of the book is erotically written and very descriptive sexually, so you will need to be quite open to reading this style.

I would recommend the book, especially if you are into your yoga and can really understand all the ‘ins and outs’ of what it all means.  It will keep you reading, you feel that strong urge to find out what happens and need to keep picking it up and read ‘just hat little more’.

I would have given the book 5 stars if I understood all the texts on yoga and its history.

Book Description

Whether by free will or fate, Luna’s encounter with Nico provokes a storm that shatters her perceptions of identity, duty, morality, and self-worth. The storm didn’t blow in from the outside. She was the storm. Its turbulence within her, forcing her to confront the darkness, uncovers her secrets and her pain.

Luna Saint Claire has a loving husband and an enviable career as a Hollywood costume designer. Still, something is gnawing at her. Bored with her conventional and circumscribed existence, she feels herself becoming invisible. When she meets Nico Romero, a charismatic yoga guru, his attentions awaken her passions and desires. Dangerous, but not in a way that frightens her, he makes her feel as if anything is possible. Infatuated, she becomes entangled in Nico’s life as he uses his mesmerizing sexuality to manipulate everyone around him in his pursuit of women, wealth, and celebrity.

Immensely erotic and psychologically captivating, The Sleeping Serpent is the compelling story of a woman’s obsession with a spellbinding guru and the struggle to reclaim her life. At its heart, it is a painfully beautiful exposition of unconditional love that causes us to question what we truly want.

About the author

Luna Saint Claire is a costume designer and author residing in Los Angeles with her husband, a philosophy professor. She loves blues rock and Indie music, often setting her Pandora station to Damien Rice. Her personal style can best be described as eclectic bohemian. Though she now enjoys running and yoga, she spent years of her youth in the ballet studio. Her part Native American heritage informs her work as a designer and influences her storytelling.

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The Sleeping Serpent – a Compelled Novel

 

 

 

Cinderella and the Duke (the Beauchamp Betrothals #1) by @JaniceGPreston @HarlequinBooks

Cinderella and the Duke (The Beauchamp Betrothals #1)Cinderella and the Duke by Janice Preston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four point five stars.

Cinderella And The Duke is a Regency romance from Mills & Boon / Harlequin. The book is set in 1812, with dual locations of Buckinghamshire and London.

Thirty year old Rosalind Allen has complicated family relations. She has run away, with her crippled brother, to the safety of a house on the Foxbourne Manor estate, and sent her step-sister, Nell, to London to prepare for her first social season, hopefully in time to find a husband before Nell’s obnoxious guardian, Sir Peter Tadlow, can marry her off in a deal to pay off his gambling debts. Forever the ‘poor relatives’, Ros and Freddie lack the social standing to prevent Tadlow taking advantage of his guardian role.

Ros meets Antony Lascelles, the new owner of neighbouring Halsdon Manor, and Leo Beauchamp, the widowed Duke of Cheriton, who is visiting his cousin with friends who wish to buy horses from Ros’ family friend and landlord.

To protect herself and her siblings, Ros calls herself Mrs Pryce and makes it known that she is a widow. Leo too, prefers some anonymity whilst in the shires, using the name of one of his lesser titles. This way he hopes to prevent endless introductions to marriageable young ladies.

Ros and Leo meet at first by accident and then again when they rescue a young runaway child. Ros becomes quite attached to the child, who becomes an excuse for the pair to continue meeting and their friendship grows.

Messages from London have both Ros and Leo urgently heading to the capital. Ros must take the place of Nell’s chaperone for the season and Leo must attend to his family. But when they meet in society, long kept secrets come to the fore. Will they be able to trust each other? Will the gap in their social standing keep them apart?

A very well written story which I enjoyed, both settings worked well and the characters were easy to fall in love with. I enjoyed the part played by Hector the Wolfhound too. Definitely a book I would recommend for readers of this genre.

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Book Description

Falling for a duke in disguise!

Never welcomed into society circles, Rosalind Allen gave up her marriage prospects long ago–life has taught her she’ll only get hurt. So she’s shocked when an encounter with a mysterious stranger makes her long to reconsider…

Little does Rosalind know that her mystery man is Leo Beauchamp, Duke of Cheriton, traveling in disguise to evade the ladies of the ton! Impoverished Rosalind is the first woman to captivate Leo–but can he persuade this wary Cinderella to trust him with her heart?

About the author

Janice Preston

I grew up in Wembley, North London, with a love of reading, writing stories and animals. After leaving school at eighteen, I moved to Devon and any thoughts of writing became lost in the hectic rush of life as a farmer’s wife, with two children and many animals to care for. When my children left home for university, I discovered a love of history and of the Regency period in particular and began to write seriously for the first time since my teens.
Real life then got in the way and I didn’t write again until 2009. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association in 2012 and my first Regency romance was accepted for publication by Harlequin Mills & Boon in late 2013.
I now live in the West Midlands with my second husband and two cats and I continue to write Regency romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT The Last Meridian by @HefferonJoe #Noir #Crime

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Last Meridian by Joe Hefferon

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Lynn Killian left Chicago in 1948. She wanted a new life in a new place with a new name. With no particular plan in mind she headed west. Who she left behind would never really leave her. She would always wonder.

Fast forward sixteen years and Jimmy Filkins, a reporter captivated and preoccupied by the thought of his ongoing project. A story he desperately wants to write based on his interviews with Nina Ferrer, interior designer to Hollywood’s elite. Nina’s story, as she recounts it to Filkins, begins with murder and a telegram. That telegram changes her life forever. Her now teenaged son, who she left behind in Chicago all those years ago is in desperate trouble. The events set in motion culminated with Nina being incarcerated and the interviews with Filkins taking place in what was known locally as the LA County lock up.

Alongside Nina’s account and the flashbacks leading to her present situation, are the activities of several other key players and how they all converge. Nina’s husband, Arturo, and his shady contact, Morris Canfield. CS, the private investigator hired by Nina to help Steven, the boy accused of murder and, of course, Jimmy Filkins. Recounting the previous months helps Nina to come to terms with what her life has become.

Initially the structure threw me a little. Not sure why because I normally quite like flashbacks driving a story. Maybe because the sections were mostly short, the timeline seemed disjointed and I wasn’t able to engage enough. Anyway, I reread the first 10% or so and it became much clearer and easier to follow. The narrative continued to swing back and forth between past and present, timelines and characters, but I’m glad to say it wasn’t confusing any longer. I was more at ease with the writing style and could settle in to the story.

The setting is 1960s Hollywood and, along with the associated superficiality, the time and place is evident. Once I was over that first hurdle I enjoyed the story and the way Nina’s background unfolded. Her desperation to vindicate her son served to open her eyes to the people around her, who she thought she could trust, and made her realise how futile her life had become. Perhaps it could also become her salvation.

Nina grew on me, she’s strong and forthright. The supporting characters are also well-rounded. The prose tends towards the lyrical (if that’s the right word), with snappy dialogue, which seems in keeping with the narrative.

 

Book Description

A telegram sets off a chain of events that destroys five lives, throwing Hollywood insider Nina Ferrer’s life into turmoil. The infant boy she gave up for adoption in Chicago sixteen years earlier has been arrested for murder. A plea from the boy’s adoptive mother pushes her to act, but Nina has a big problem—she never told her husband about the boy.

Nina must come to terms with her guilt, while accepting the reality of her fragile life and her cheating husband, who’s embroiled in another deadly plot. As her life unravels, the boy’s fate grows ominous. Set against the backdrop of the Hollywood heyday of the early 1960s, the quick-witted, smart-talking Nina, a designer for the well-heeled of Los Angeles, hires a private detective to uncover the facts about what happened back in Chicago, and save her boy. Maybe… just maybe… he can save her, too.

Or perhaps Nina will have to save herself, the most frightening prospect of all. To do that, she must cross The Last Meridian, the place beyond which life as she knows it will no longer exist.

About the author

Joe Hefferon

Retired law enforcement. Enjoying the process of creating a second career as a writer

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That Darkest Place by @MarciaMeara Romantic #Suspense book #3 Riverbend series set in #Florida

That Darkest Place: Riverbend Book 3That Darkest Place: Riverbend Book 3 by Marcia Meara
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

That Darkest Place is book #3 of The Riverbend romantic suspense series set in Florida. It is the story of Forrest and Jackson Painter, and continues from where we left off in book #2, Finding Hunter.

Jackson is the eldest brother of three, and the book opens with a hospital scene. Left with severe memory loss and an amputated leg, it will take a long time for Jackson to recover.

Forrest is the brother who keeps the family together, and runs the family hardware store. He’s supportive to Hunter, from Book #2, in the past—now he needs Hunter’s support as they pull Jackson through his rehabilitation.

As the book title suggests, this novel deals with its characters’ psychologically darkest moments. I thought the author did a great job describing Jackson—his roller-coaster of recovery followed by deep periods of depression. We see the picture from his point of view and from Forrest’s, who becomes his prime carer once he comes home. Both go through periods of guilt, doubt and discomfort, but with the help of family and counsellors they make progress.

The sinister element built the tension well and I didn’t guess the person behind the threats. This series also has an element of romance in each book and the author writes the intimate scenes with grace and care, using enough description for the reader to use their imagination without it being explicit, so will suit readers who prefer their romance with lower heat levels.

I enjoy this author’s writing style and shall look forward to her next book.

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Book Description

“There are dark places in every heart, in every head. Some you turn away from. Some you light a candle within. But there is one place so black, it consumes all light. It will pull you in and swallow you whole. You don’t leave your brother stranded in that darkest place.”
~Hunter Painter~

The new year is a chance for new beginnings—usually hopeful, positive ones. But when Jackson Painter plows his car into a tree shortly after midnight on January 1, his new beginnings are tragic. His brothers, Forrest and Hunter, take up a grim bedside vigil at the hospital, waiting for Jackson to regain consciousness and anxious over how he’ll take the news that he’s lost a leg and his fiancée is dead. After all, the accident was all his fault.

As the shocking truth emerges, one thing becomes obvious—Jackson will need unconditional love and support from both of his brothers if he is to survive.

Just as he begins the long road to recovery, danger, in the form of a sinister, unsigned note, plunges him back into bleak despair. Scrawled in blood red letters, the accusation—and the threat—is clear. “MURDERER!”

Will the long, harrowing ordeal that lies ahead draw the Painter brothers closer together, or drive them apart forever?

Suspenseful and often heartbreaking, this small-town tale is a testimonial to the redemptive power of love and paints a story filled with humor, romance, and fierce family loyalty.

About the author

Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara is a native Floridian, living in the Orlando area with her husband of 30 years, two silly little dachshunds and four big, lazy cats. She’s fond of reading, gardening, hiking, canoeing, painting, and writing, not necessarily in that order.

At age 69, Marcia wrote “Wake-Robin Ridge,” her first novel, and “Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love.” Nine months later, she published her second novel, “Swamp Ghosts,” set alongside the wild and scenic rivers of central Florida. Since then, she’s published, “A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2”, “Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2,” and is hard at work on “Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3.”

Marcia also has work published in five poetry anthologies published by Silver Birch Press: Silver, Green, Summer, Noir Erasure Poetry, and the May Poetry Anthology.

Her philosophy? It’s never too late to follow your dream. Just take that first step, and never look back.

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