Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT ECHOES OF TIME by @AnneAllen21 #WW2 #HistFic Occupied #Guernsey

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

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Echoes of Time by Anne Allen

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I fell in love with books about the Guernsey Isles when I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows. Until then I had known nothing of the Channel Islands and what their inhabitants had endured during WWII. This book returned me there and had the added attraction of being a time slip novel, alternating between the present time and the time during that war.

In 1940, Olive Falla, a fairly independent young woman, who works as a farmhand on her father’s far, married Bill Falla. Falla owns his own farm, and Olive thinks this is the best future for her. She soon discovers she’s made a horrible mistake – Falla is a harsh, unloving, and demanding husband, who sees his wife as a slave to work the farm, take care of him, and give him children. Soon he finds any excuse to beat her. By chance, when collecting sticks for scarce firewood on an estate taken over by the German occupation, Olive meets Major Wolfgang Brecht, a veterinarian. She falls in love with the gentle and caring Wolfgang, who makes excuses to visit the farm to inspect the cows.

Flash forward to 2010, when Natalie Ogier returns to her homeland of Guernsey to escape her stalker, a man with whom she had a relationship but who turned abusive. She buys a beautiful cottage, built on the site of a secluded and burned out farmhouse. Her immediate neighbor is Stuart, the grandson of the original owners, Olive and Bill. His mother, their child, has lived off the island since she was old enough to be on her own, leaving her mother and her life there behind.  Stuart knows nothing of his grandparents because his mother is silent on her past.  When strange and eerie things begin to happen in the cottage, accompanied by a threatening voice, Natalie initially tries to tough it out on her own. Eventually she confides in Stuart and her parents.

Natalie wonders whose spirit is inhabiting her cottage, and after meeting Stuart’s mother, she becomes convinced that it has something to do with his grandparents. What happened to Olive, Bill and Wolfgang? What spirit inhabits Natalie’s cottage? Is it malevolent and how can it be banished? What links Stuart and his mother to that place? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It has several compelling threads and the jumps back and forth in time left me hanging and wanting to read on. The only problem was the prolonged diversion to France, where Natalie is invited to attend Stuart’s mother’s marriage to a gentle and understanding man. It went on far too long, and added virtually nothing to the progress of the story, so I skipped through it. I think it could have been omitted or vastly shortened.

Other than that, the author has created believable characters, lovely descriptions of Guernsey, and lots of tension, along with a healthy dose of history.  It is clear why she is a popular author. Well worth the read!

Book Description

Betrayal, injustice and revenge echo down the years… 

1940. Olive marries farmer Bill Falla. The Germans occupy Guernsey. 
All too soon Olive realises she’s made a mistake. 
Her life changes when she meets Wolfgang, a German officer- 
but there’s a price to pay. . . 

2010. Natalie Ogier returns to Guernsey to escape an abusive relationship – only to be plagued by odd happenings in her beautiful cottage on the site of a derelict and secluded farm. Disturbing dreams, disembodied voices and uncanny visions from the past. She becomes increasingly ill at ease as someone else’s past catches up with her own… 
Her only immediate neighbour, Stuart, is the grandson of the original owners, Bill and Olive. 

Thrown together in a bid to find out what really happened to Olive, can they each survive the repercussions of the past and move on? 

About the author

Anne Allen

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

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT SELF SERVE MURDER by @denaehaggerty cosy #Mystery #wwwblogs

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Self Serve Murder by Dena Haggerty

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As well as being a grad student and working part time at the local youth centre, Kristie Larson helps out as a barista at Callie’s Cakes. When she finds herself in bed one morning with a man she doesn’t know, and soon realises is dead, dazed and shocked she calls her best friend Anna. Kristie has no memory of the previous night, the man or how he ended up at her house, much less in her bed. She and her two friends, Callie and Anna, and their police detective boyfriends, Logan and Ben, begin to unravel the mystery and find out more than they bargained for.

Kristie is cleared of involvement in the death; tests prove she had been drugged and hers wasn’t the first case of this happening. There has been a string of date rapes on the college campus, all with the same approach, and although Kristie comes across as quite diffident and unassuming she’s determined to root out the perpetrator. After accessing a forum dedicated to assault victims and connecting with an online member, she’s in for quite a shock when she finally meets ‘Alex’.

Kristie has depth, tact and is a coffee addict. She’s also keeping a secret from her friends. I enjoyed learning about her life and connection and commitment to the Youth Centre. The three women have a great relationship and are always there for each other. Kristie is easy to like and not as over the top as the other two – Anna, the pink haired pixie and know it all Callie, aka the troublesome twosome.

Reading the previous books would probably have given me a deeper understanding of, and the dynamics between, the characters but having said that I did get a good idea of the personalities. Self-Serve Murder can definitely be read as a standalone. The storyline is emotional given the subject matter, written well and sympathetically, the humour in the appropriate places, and with a suitably creepy and repellent villain.

Told in the first person from Kristie’s perspective, Self-Serve Murder is entertaining, with likeable, sometimes ditzy, female protagonists. I wasn’t too sure about the men. I found Tyler irritating with his continual use of ‘baby’ when talking to Kristie and the insta-love aspect was too much too soon. All three men were a bit too alpha for me….shades of quite assertive cavemen types.

Self-Serve Murder is a cozy mystery with a dark undercurrent which is shockingly all too true. The figure of over 11% of college students subjected to rape on college campuses is correct. And although this is a fun, lighthearted tale the subject of rape is treated very seriously.

Book Description
Book 3 in the Death by Cupcake series. Can be read as a standalone.

Kristie is kind with a capital K, so it’s quite the surprise when she wakes up next to a dead man with no recollection of the previous night. Even worse? She’s naked. Kristie may be a sweetheart out to save the world, but sticking her nose into an investigation of rapes across campus makes her the target of a murderer. Before she knows it, Callie is smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation with her colleagues Callie and Anna. If that’s not enough to drive a sane person up the wall, a friend has decided he’s going to keep her safe whether she wants him to or not. And, oh yeah, he’s her man and that’s that. 

Come join us at Callie’s Cakes, where murder investigations are on the menu. You are most welcome, but you may need to serve yourself as our barista Kristie is busy trying to save the world. 

Warning: Although there are plenty of moments that will make you shake your head and laugh at the antics of the ladies of Callie’s Cakes, the subject matter – rape on college campuses – is very real and somewhat darker than your usual cozy mystery.

About the author
D.E. Haggerty
I grew up reading everything I could get my 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 I did manage, every once in a while, 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 decided to follow the husband to Istanbul for a few years where I managed to churn out book after book. But ten years was too many to stay away from ‘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. 

STEAL ME by @TheIndiaRAdams #NA #Romance Book #1 Haunted Roads Series #TuesdayBookBlog

Steal Me (Haunted Roads #1)Steal Me by India R. Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four Point Five Stars.

Steal Me is book #1 of The Haunted Roads series, in the new adult genre, and a deeply emotional story of teenage friendship and resilience. There are subtle messages of respect, loyalty and safety, important themes for teenagers to read about, and this book was a joy to read.

So what is this story about? It’s split in half; firstly Maverick, then Tucker’s tale, the book is mainly set in a small town in Georgia. Maverick is sixteen and has it all: he’s a keen sportsman who has a college scholarship, a hot girlfriend and a great family. All this ends on the night his father is killed in a road accident. When his mother breaks down with grief, Maverick is forced to step into the parental role for his five year old sister, Bailey. He shuts down his own feelings and bravely takes over leadership of his family.

At school, Maverick’s friends don’t know how to support or talk to him, and he becomes an outcast as he focuses on making Bailey’s life normal. Then a decision to move away from the old memories offers hope, and Maverick steps up once again as he finds the family a new home and sets up monetary funds for the future.

It’s here, whilst putting Bailey’s needs first, that Maverick meets Hu and Cole. Instead of being in their own teenage bubble, they reach out to Maverick and invite him to meet their friends. This includes Bailey, and the pair are welcomed by a compelling, diverse crowd. Tucker is like Maverick, fiercely protective of his sister and determined to do the right thing for others too. Viola throws out sharp retorts but there’s also a soft side; she is wise beyond her years and was one of my favourite characters.

There’s much for Maverick to learn about his new friends, but they offer him support and the chance to just be a teenager. There’s pain too; Delilah is reeling from the death of her boyfriend, Viola’s had her own family losses and Tucker vowed to protect those he could. Maverick is drawn to Delilah and is determined to peel away her layers of hurt. He becomes the key to her recovery and the group of friends do all they can to bring the couple together. Their story takes them through the end of high-school, college and to their early twenties.

Part two is Tucker’s story: the loss of his own mother, the role he took in standing up for Delilah and Viola, his best friend Kenny’s tale and Tucker’s own sense of failure when he ran away from his perceived responsibilities. It’s about how events shaped, moulded and taught a hot-headed boy about life. Beginning when he was still a child, it takes us through to his life after college. I easily felt empathy for Tucker as I did for Maverick as each story unfolded; however, soon after Tucker began talking I lost Maverick from my head. I put this down to both of their dialogue styles being similar. They are both great characters, but I would have enjoyed a sharper distinction between the two.

Warning! There is a cliff-hanger ending, but I didn’t mind. Yes, I was itching to find out what happened next, but I can see that it was a good time to break from the intense story, allowing the reader to breathe and mull over all they have read. The characters and this story are here with me in my head as I write this. I was very taken with the themes of abuse, loss and suffering which these teenagers turned into strength, resilience and support. But don’t roll your eyes, thinking that the next book will give a happy ever after ending; these people feel too real for the standard, neat HEA. Instead, I think they’ll stay with you and haunt you for a little while.

View all my reviews On Goodreads

Book Description

“Some relationships have hidden truths that few can survive. Only us strong ones can dare listen to, and have the balls to stay and bear witness to, the result of irrevocable damages. So tell me, Maverick, are you one of the strong?”

Maverick, unfortunately, is well aware of Tucker’s meaning. Mav has recently lost his father, his mother is slipping into a depression, and his little sister is in desperate need of a parental figure. But now he’s losing his heart to Tucker’s mysterious sister, Delilah. As Maverick squints into the sun, looking at the beauty standing in front of the lake, he wonders if his heart is crazy for begging him to take on yet another tragedy. 

About The Author

India R. Adams

India R. Adams is an author/singer/songwriter who has written YA and NA novels, and the music for the Forever series.

Being a survivor of abuse, has inspired India to let others know they have nothing to be ashamed of. She put her many years of professional theater background to the test and has written fictional stories with a shadow of her personal experiences. She says, “I’m simply finding ways to empower perfect imperfections.”

Another cause India feels needs change, is Sexual Slavery. She has joined forces with jewelers to design beautiful ways to raise money for non-profit organizations. 

Even though India writes about serious subjects such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, and Human Trafficking, she has a magnificent sense of humor, as do the characters she creates. Perfectly balanced between laughter and tears, her readers see how to empower their own perfect imperfections.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

For a limited time e-copies of all of India’s books can be downloaded between March 31st and April 2nd at the following event

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT ECHOES OF TIME by @AnneAllen21 #TuesdayBookBlog #WW2 #HistFic

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

#RBRT Review Team

Judith has been reading Echoes of Time by Anne Allen

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My Review;

A quick word on the cover. I loved both the evocative image and the title

And I love books that give a sense of place; of an era.  Anne Allen’s  writing in Echoes of Time certainly does that. Her descriptions use all five senses to create a setting; there are some wonderful portrayals that instantly took me into the characters’ world.

But, sometimes, I felt that they slowed the action down and add nothing to the story.

Although well written, the plot itself is a little predictable: boy meets girl next door; Natalie and Stuart  And I would have appreciated knowing much more about Natalie’s previous relationship with her old boyfriend. His appearance and then disappearance felt a little contrived and there only to show Stuart’s ‘knight in shining armour’ side. Yet this glimpse into Natalie’s past did  parallel the historic tragedy in Stuart’s family, which I thought clever.  I liked the idea of a dark past coming back to haunt the present. And these sections  did make me stop and think about how the walls of old buildings are steeped with their history.

It is this past, this history that makes up the  secondary plot-line; that of Olive (Stuart’s grandmother), Bill and Wolfgang. And I really do love these characters, multi- layered and believable, their  story is poignant and credible. I wanted so much more of  their  story. And, for me, the way Wolfgang went out of the story was disappointing; it felt too prosaic.

Overall it was the author’s writing style that persuaded me to give Echoes of Time four stars; the way the story is told from the alternate point of view of the main characters (I always love this; it gives different aspects to a narrative), the descriptions, the pace of the sub-plot, the presentation and dialogue of the characters, all make for a good read. I’d recommend this novel..

Book Description

Betrayal, injustice and revenge echo down the years… 

1940. Olive marries farmer Bill Falla. The Germans occupy Guernsey. 
All too soon Olive realises she’s made a mistake. 
Her life changes when she meets Wolfgang, a German officer- 
but there’s a price to pay. . . 

2010. Natalie Ogier returns to Guernsey to escape an abusive relationship – only to be plagued by odd happenings in her beautiful cottage on the site of a derelict and secluded farm. Disturbing dreams, disembodied voices and uncanny visions from the past. She becomes increasingly ill at ease as someone else’s past catches up with her own… 
Her only immediate neighbour, Stuart, is the grandson of the original owners, Bill and Olive. 

Thrown together in a bid to find out what really happened to Olive, can they each survive the repercussions of the past and move on? 

About the author

Anne Allen

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

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT SERENGETI by @Rockwell_JB #SciFi Artificial Intelligence

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

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Serengeti by JB Rockwell

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This book is not your usual sci-fi outing. For those who were anticipating something hard-core, it will disappoint. For me, the humanity of the main character (an Artificial Intelligence or AI) and her two sidekick robots were the compelling draw.

The Meridian Alliance battle fleet is tasked with finding and destroying the ship of the Dark Star Revolution, which have been attacking Alliance members and with whom they have had a decades-long war. The ships constituting the Meridian Alliance fleet are varied, from the humongous and stubborn battle group commander Brutus to Serengeti, the Valkyrie-class warship and her sisters, who are equipped with the latest iteration and most highly developed AI. The star ships themselves are the bodies of these AIs, but ships still have a human crew, ostensibly for their ability to solve problems intuitively. It is clear from the outset that the human crews are subservient to the AIs, and while some captains have difficulty accepting their roles, Hendrickson, Serengeti’s captain, has a solid working relationship with her. Serengeti admires many of Hendrickson’s qualities, which she comes to emulate.

Underestimating the strength of the Dark Star fleet, the Meridian Alliance ships are decimated and the decision is made by Central Control to withdraw. As the ships leave one by one via hyperspace jumps, a booby-trapped vessel explodes near Serengeti just as she makes her jump, and she is forced to drop out of hyperspace in an unknown and empty location – her body wrecked and most of her crew dead. She herds the remaining crew, including Captain Hendrickson, into an escape pod, where they are cryogenically frozen so they can be slung into space. The escape pod is unfortunately stuck within the ship, and over the next decades, we follow Serengeti as she and TIG-442, a worker robot whose body she can inhabit, work to free the pod and save her humans. Confounding her efforts are the loss of the ship’s energy cells and the appearance of a ship reclaiming space junk, with the threat to take her apart.

The character of Serengeti is all too human, as her devotion to the remaining crew and her robot sidekick demonstrate and the relationships evolve. That is what drew me to the book. There are some drawbacks: TIG creates a mate, then grows a family with the addition of a third smaller version of itself – this and perhaps their mannerisms are a bit too cute. The initial battle sequence continued too long, frustrating me (as well as Serengeti) and the repeated descriptions of the wreckage of Serengeti became a little monotonous. However, the concept of the book and the good storytelling kept me reading and the drawbacks are minor compared to my reading enjoyment!

I think there are many readers, both sci-fi fans and not, who will like this book!

Book Description

It was supposed to be an easy job: find the Dark Star Revolution Starships, destroy them, and go home. But a booby-trapped vessel decimates the Meridian Alliance fleet, leaving Serengeti-a Valkyrie class warship with a sentient AI brain-on her own; wrecked and abandoned in an empty expanse of space. On the edge of total failure, Serengeti thinks only of her crew. She herds the survivors into a lifeboat, intending to sling them into space. But the escape pod sticks in her belly, locking the cryogenically frozen crew inside. Then a scavenger ship arrives to pick Serengeti’s bones clean. Her engines dead, her guns long silenced, Serengeti and her last two robots must find a way to fight the scavengers off and save the crew trapped inside her.

About the author

J.B. Rockwell

J.B. Rockwell is a New Englander, which is important to note because it means she’s (a) hard headed, (b) frequently stubborn, and (c) prone to fits of snarky sarcasticness. As a kid she subsisted on a steady diet of fairy tales, folklore, mythology augmented by generous helpings of science fiction and fantasy. As a quasi-adult she dreamed of being the next Indiana Jones and even pursued (and earned!) a degree in anthropology. Unfortunately, those dreams of being an archaeologist didn’t quite work out. Through a series of twists and turns (involving cats, a marriage, and a SCUBA certification, amongst other things) she ended up working in IT for the U.S. Coast Guard and now writes the types of books she used to read. Not a bad ending for an Indiana Jones wannabe…

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT SELF SERVE MURDER by @denaehaggerty #SundayBlogShare

Today’s team review is from Suzanne, she blogs at https://suzannerogersonfantasyauthor.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Suzanne has been reading Self Serve Murder by Dena E Haggerty

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First of all I love the colour of the cover! I like the design as well.

I had no idea what to expect with this book as I’ve never read a cosy mystery before (watched plenty of TV shows though). It was clear from the start that this was not a serious mystery book, and once this is established it’s easy to sit back and enjoy the escape from reality.
I hadn’t read the previous two books in the series, but wasn’t worried as it stated this could be read as a standalone. The crime itself was resolved in this book, but because the characters are so settled in their world and relationships well established, I found myself wishing I had read the previous books first.
The constant reference to coffee was clever and inventive, but at times when the situations were more serious I found it distracting.
I thought I’d guessed the culprit early on, but a few red herrings along the way had me second guessing myself.
 
My only hang-up with this novel was the way the men treated ‘their’ women. The men were very bossy and macho all the time. I also found the way Kristie’s love interest literally forced his way into her life while she did little to stop it, very unrealistic.
Apart from that it was a fun, easy read and should appeal to people who enjoy cosy mysteries like Agatha Raisin, Murder She Wrote and Rosemary and Thyme (opinion based on tv viewing).
 
Note – I reviewed an ebook copy supplied by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Book Description

Book 3 in the Death by Cupcake series. Can be read as a standalone.

Kristie is kind with a capital K, so it’s quite the surprise when she wakes up next to a dead man with no recollection of the previous night. Even worse? She’s naked. Kristie may be a sweetheart out to save the world, but sticking her nose into an investigation of rapes across campus makes her the target of a murderer. Before she knows it, Callie is smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation with her colleagues Callie and Anna. If that’s not enough to drive a sane person up the wall, a friend has decided he’s going to keep her safe whether she wants him to or not. And, oh yeah, he’s her man and that’s that. 

Come join us at Callie’s Cakes, where murder investigations are on the menu. You are most welcome, but you may need to serve yourself as our barista Kristie is busy trying to save the world. 

Warning: Although there are plenty of moments that will make you shake your head and laugh at the antics of the ladies of Callie’s Cakes, the subject matter – rape on college campuses – is very real and somewhat darker than your usual cozy mystery.

About the author
D.E. Haggerty
I grew up reading everything I could get my 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 I did manage, every once in a while, 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 decided to follow the husband to Istanbul for a few years where I managed to churn out book after book. But ten years was too many to stay away from ‘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. 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE LUCKY HAT MINE by @jvlbell #Western #HistFic #Romance

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

#RBRT Review Team

Jessie has been reading The Lucky Hat Mine by J.V.L. Bell

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“Ahhhhhhh”  (That’s the sigh of a contented reader who just found a book that was exactly what she hoped it would be.)

The Lucky Hat Mine is a classic old west tale complete with miners, murder and mail order brides.

But… the mail order bride’s husband-to-be was the murder victim and all the miners are lining up to propose.

Literally.

And repeatedly.

Fortunately, our heroine is made of stern stuff and despite the fact that she spouts off rules of etiquette at every occasion and constantly reminds the men to watch their language, she gets along just fine, and even thrives, in the Colorado mining town she has landed in.

Would I recommend it? There is a goat in this book! A fainting goat. So, clearly, yes. Also there is a great strong female lead, humor, a smidgen of romance, a murder mystery all wrapped up in a western. What’s not to love!?!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Book Description

A recipe for true love or murder? Ingredients: one Southern belle, one Colorado gold miner, a wife wanted classified, and a fainting goat. Let simmer.

What’s a Southern belle to do in 1863? Wife-wanted ads are always risky business, but Millie Virginia never imagined she’d survive the perilous trip across the Great Plains to find her intended husband in a pine box. Was he killed in an accident? Or murdered for his gold mine? Stuck in the mining town of Idaho Springs, Colorado territory, without friends or means, Millie is beleaguered by undesirable suitors and threatened by an unknown assailant. Her troubles escalate when the brother of her dead fiancE, Dominic Drouillard, unexpectedly turns up.

Dom is an ill-mannered mountain man who invades Millie’s log cabin, insists that his brother was murdered, and refuses to leave until he finds the killer. Compelled to join forces with her erstwhile brother-in-law, Millie discovers the search for Colorado gold is perilous, especially with a murderer on their trail.

The Lucky Hat Mine interlaces the tale of a feisty heroine with frontier legend and lore making for an arousing historical murder mystery.

About the author

J.V.L. Bell

Author J.v.L. Bell is a Colorado native who grew up climbing 14,000 ft. mountains, exploring old ghost towns, and backpacking through the back country. She and her family love to hike, raft, and cross-country ski together.

She loves reading and researching frontier history and incorporating these facts into her novels. Her historic mysteries are interwoven with amusing historical stories and lore, interesting characters, and historic events.

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THE HERETIC (Templar Chronicles #1) by @Jnassise #Paranormal #Thriller #fridayreads

The Heretic (Templar Chronicles, #1)The Heretic by Joseph Nassise
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Heretic is book #1 of The Templar Chronicles, a paranormal urban fantasy series.

The Knights Templar have long been documented throughout history and many stories woven about their survival in the modern world.

In this book, a Templar stronghold in Connecticut is mysteriously attacked. There are no visible signs of; entry, skirmish or attack, but all the Knights are killed.

Cade Williams and his elite team are called in; a Templar Knight known as the “Heretic”, Cade has the power of sight which he has used on many occasions during military operations. To his trusted team he adds Sean Duncan.

More Templar strongholds are attacked. Cade can read spiritually from recent people or places, but his team find few clues until Cade visits the “beyond”, a place where spirits dwell. He asks the shade of a Knight for help.

Duncan’s eyes are opened to a whole new form of combat—this new enemy employs paranormal entities as soldiers. Cade has been fighting these beings for some time; his wife was taken from him during a violent attack by a supernatural being. Cade was left with deep permanent scars, his psychic powers woken and revenge driving him forward.

Cade’s team discover that a secret group of Knights are protectors of precious relics owned by the Vatican. The Necromancer leading these attacks is after a spear renowned for the power it gives to its master. With the target known, an exciting battle unfolds for the reader.

I’m always interested in stories involving the Knights Templar; throw in a good paranormal mix of ghosts, demons and psychometry to the thriller storyline and it works for me. The military battle scenes were of less interest to me, but I can see their use in opening the book to a wider audience. There are plenty of loose ends for the series to continue, and I shall look forward to more visits to the “beyond” and more adventures against The Adversary.

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Book Description

Boston SWAT officer Cade Williams didn’t believe in the supernatural until a chance meeting with a fallen angel left his wife dead and him hanging on to life by the thinnest of margins. When he was discharged from the hospital he discovered that not only was he scarred, body and soul, but that the encounter had left him with a few otherworldly talents of his own.

Now, several years later, Knight Commander Cade Williams runs the elite Templar combat unit known as the Echo Team, which puts him in the perfect position to search for the creature that so viciously attacked him and his family that night. His efforts yield little success, however, until a cabal of necromancers attempts to seize an ancient Templar artifact for their own nefarious purposes and gives him the first real lead he’s had in ages. Cade sets out to find the necromancers and, through them, the Adversary, only to encounter something much worse…

About the author

Joseph Nassise

Joseph Nassise is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than a twenty-five novels, including the Templar Chronicles series, the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy, and the Great Undead War series. He has also written several books in the Rogue Angel action/adventure series from Gold Eagle. He is a former president of the Horror Writers Association, the world’s largest organization of professional horror writers, and a multiple Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Award nominee. 

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT DCI Jones Casebook: CRYER’S VIEW by @KerryJDonovan #Crime @CathyRy

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading DCI Jones Casebook: Cryer’s View by Kerry J Donovan

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Detective Sergeant Phil Cryer is recuperating from a serious knee injury sustained in a rooftop chase during a previous investigation. He’s feeling frustrated and helpless at being on sick leave, so when he has a visit from Chief Superintendent Knightly from the National Crime Agency who has reasons to suspect corruption, Cryer jumps at the chance to go undercover.

When Detective Sergeant Richie Juno is killed in a hit and run while tailing a suspect, just after he arranged to meet with CS Knightly on an urgent matter, questions are raised. Was DS Juno targeted and murdered and, if so, why? Unable to place his trust with anyone in the NCA until the double-dealing is exposed, Knightly contacts his old friend DCI David Jones, Cryer’s boss. Jones believes Phil Cryer has the perfect talents for undercover work – incredible IT skills and an eidetic memory.

This is number four in the DCI Jones series and an excellent addition. The story begins in the third person with Ritchie Juno, then moves to the first person from Phil’s perspective as he takes centre stage. The covert operation gets off to a bad start with an antagonistic attitude directed at Phil from one of the members of the NCA team. Added to that he has to downplay his skills while keeping his cover intact. With no immediate back up, Phil faces a difficult and dangerous task.

I’ve enjoyed all the books in the DCI Jones series and this is no exception. The story unfolds with a timeline heading each chapter, giving an awareness of the increasing tension and suspense. Kerry Donovan creates a very credible and convincing picture of the procedures within a specialist police unit.

I liked Phil Cryer from the start and enjoyed getting to know him, and David Jones, more. It’s a refreshing change to have a well-adjusted, easy-going and easy to relate to family man as the protagonist. And one who is able to voice his feelings, whether they are for his wife and children, or apprehension and concerns about the situation he’s in. He and DCI Jones compliment each other, both are engaging in their own ways and are developed skilfully, creating an attachment with this reader. I also very much enjoyed the addition of the ‘villain’ from the first book.

The storyline is written and structured extremely well, character driven with lots of action offset by Phil’s surreptitious desk investigations into the team members using his formidable skills via the internet. The explosive culmination was a complete surprise. A really strong addition to the series.

Book Description

The explosive fourth instalment in the DCI Jones Casebook series of crime thrillers—this is CRYER’S VIEW. 

For more than five years police operations in the southeast of England have been failing. Chief Superintendent Knightly, a senior member of the National Crime Agency, suspects that someone is selling police intelligence. When one of his junior officers dies before he can attend clandestine meeting with him, Knightly is certain—there’s a dirty cop inside his organisation.
Unable to trust anyone under his command, Knightly turns to an old friend for help—Detective Chief Inspector David Jones.
When Detective Sergeant Phil Cryer, answers his doorbell to find CS Knightly and DCI Jones on his doorstep, he knows things are about to get interesting—and dangerous. 
Phil Cryer, on sick leave after suffering an injury in the line of duty, soon finds himself deep undercover inside the NCA hunting the dirty cop, codename Alpine. He faces his most difficult and dangerous assignment. 
Alone, injured, and armed only with his phenomenal memory, Phil must identify the rogue cop before he escapes … or kills again. 

About the author

Kerry J. Donovan

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

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

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

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GYRE by @JessGunnAuthor #YA / #NA #SciFic Ancient Atlantis and Lemuria travellers #wwwblogs

Gyre (Atlas Link, #1)Gyre by Jessica Gunn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gyre is Young Adult/ New Adult Scifi and book #1 of the Atlas Link series. The book opens in Boston, but most of the action takes place aboard a top secret Navy vessel known as SeaSatellite5.

Chelsea, an archaeology student and rock singer, meets Trevor Bancore one evening. He stops Chelsea being assaulted. Trevor is on the run; for him, there is no escaping a war over time travel, fought between two ancient races.

Three months later Chelsea is confronted by her cheating boyfriend, and her anger unleashes a hidden power within her. She teleports to a top secret naval vessel, where a serious security breach occurs and she is rescued by the intervention of Dr Helen Gordon.

Helen believes Chelsea has an ancient Atlantean gene. However, Chelsea knows nothing of such an ancestry link. Seasatellite5 is currently searching the oceans for ancient artefacts; to keep Chelsea safe and train her, she is offered an internship, helping with the archaeology finds. Chelsea has few choices and is also strongly attracted to Trevor, who works on the vessel, so accepts the post.

The team discover an ancient outpost, but news of the discovery draws interest from others. Trevor has not been totally honest with Chelsea about his own background; when the sub is hijacked by a group of Lemurians, Chelsea discovers just who the enemy is.

As with the start of any series, there is a lot of background information to digest. I enjoyed the theme of Atlantis and the war with Lemuria being documented in history books with connections to lost cities. The association with ancient artefacts becoming travel portals is good, and I can see this leading into the next books in the series.

There is a large cast of characters; I wanted the secondary significant players to be easier to picture, especially for later scenes involving fast action and multiple characters. Currently these were weaker areas of the book, and I found it hardest to picture scenes featuring Lemurian powers.

The scifi fantasy genre allows for creativity of both characters and new worlds. Chelsea is transformed from student to super soldier. Trevor creates and plays computer games like many teenagers, but holds down a top engineering job. I don’t think we’ve seen his real strength yet; in this book he holds much of the storyline together, but has a far lesser role than Chelsea. Were they believable? On the whole I think they were; a few times I would have liked to see their dialogue tightened, and some of the high emotion scenes didn’t work for me. The strength of the book, however, is the possibility of Atlantis and Lemuria being real, and how the author will develop this throughout the series.

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Book Description

Chelsea didn’t try to teleport. All she wanted was to play the Battle of the Bands show. But after accidentally teleporting onto classified Navy vessel SeaSatellite5, all she’s rocking is the boat. 

Once it’s sorted out that Chelsea’s not a threat, SeaSat5’s top scientist offers Chelsea a position on the crew as an archaeology intern. Dr. Gordon studies people with powers, believing them to be descendants of Atlantean refugees, except Chelsea’s powers are beyond anything on previous record. 

While great for everyone else onboard, the miracle of Chelsea is Trevor’s worst nightmare. The same girl who’d given him a brief lifeline to sanity three months ago literally fell from the sky, under a mile of ocean, and onto the very station where he’s employed. Making matters worse, Trevor’s family are Lemurians, Atlantis’s enemy, and Chelsea’s presence is unpredicted—a wrench in an already unstable situation. But Trevor wants no part of his family’s war. The only thing he wants is Chelsea, Atlantean or not. 

Days into Chelsea’s sudden appearance, SeaSatellite5 uncovers Atlantean ruins and a massive artifact cache, placing its entire, hundred-man crew in the crosshairs of an ancient war. There are those who want the Atlantean relics inside the ruins destroyed, and only Trevor knows the treasures for what they really are: Link Pieces, tools used by the ancient civilizations for their time-travel war. 

With lies and shifting alliances abound, Chelsea and Trevor will have to think fast in order to save the station. If they don’t, the Lemurians will seize the artifacts and Atlantis will be destroyed forever.

About the author

Jessica Gunn

Jessica Gunn is a New Adult author and avid science-fiction and fantasy fan. Her favorite stories are those that transport the reader to other, more exciting worlds. When not working or writing, she can be found binge-watching Firefly and Stargate, or feeding her fascination of the ancient world’s many mysteries. Jessica also holds a degree in Anthropology.

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