Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT REDEMPTION SONG by Laura Wilkinson @ScorpioScribble #WeekendBlogHop

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

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Terry has been reading Redemption Song by Laura Wilkinson

Redemption Song Final

Redemption Song by Laura Wilkinson

3.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s review team

Redemption Song starts off on a lonely track in wintry North Wales when Saffron de Lacy’s car breaks down and the mysterious Joe comes to her aid. He learns she is a Baptist minister’s daughter; when he drives her home she invites him in, and he meets her mother, Rain.

The story tells of three people’s road back from emotional trauma, and alternates between the points of view of Saffron, Joe and Rain. This is done very well, with each character’s section revealing their hidden side without overdoing it, each ‘voice’ different enough to be convincing. A quick mention for the amusing surprise at the end of Chapter Three – like Joe, I didn’t see it coming at all!

Rain is very real, and likable, but I found it hard to connect with either Joe or Saffron at first, as Saffron is an twenty-five year old, qualified doctor who behaves like a stroppy teenager, and Joe is a slightly rough and ready carpenter with the vocabulary of one much more educated; however, it soon becomes clear that there are many secrets to come out, about all three main characters, and these explain the incongruities; it was the slow drip of information that kept me turning the pages. I found myself particularly fascinated by the truth about Joe, who I definitely started to fancy as the book went on!

The minor characters are more immediately appealing. I could see Saffron’s friend Ceri (the ‘Welsh Vicky Pollard’) straight away, and also her lovely father, and Saffron’s nit-picking boss at Wynne’s ‘department store’; I’ve lived in small town Norfolk, and Wynne’s sounded just like Cromer Indoor Market ~ very well drawn.

I chose this to review because I adored Laura Wilkinson’s debut, ‘Public Battles, Private Wars’, set during the 1980s miners’ strike.  It’s equally well written, but it’s a very different sort of book, a slow paced, gradual unfolding with lots of detail, rather than a down-to-earth, events orientated drama.  It’s about the journey rather than the destination….

A nicely structured drama for readers who enjoy curling up and getting to know their characters in an in-depth fashion.

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

 

#FridayFiveChallenge Would You BUY or PASS? SPRING by Skye Gyngell #CookBook

This fun feature is a mini workshop. We look at book covers just from their thumbnail pictures at online selling book sites and make quick fire buying decisions. We look from a READERS Point of View and this exercise is very EYE OPENING.

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From the book cover we will browse the book description, price and some of the reviews BUT we only have 5 MINUTES.

WE PLAY POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS

Join in and see where it leads.

Grab a coffee and spend 5 Minutes on this exercise.

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

My Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

(then write a little analysis about your decision)

Share your post, use #FridayFiveChallenge @rosieamber1 and I’ll help share all relevant posts.

As we moved into February this week my search term was “Spring” I’m not a winter lover so I always look early for signs of Spring and the promise of Summer. This book caught my eye straight away for it’s book cover.

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Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Book Description

Published to celebrate Skye Gyngell’s groundbreaking new restaurant in the heart of London, Spring presents a collection of mouthwatering original recipes from the new restaurant’s menu – beautiful breads and pasta dishes, exquisite seafood and meat dishes, colourful salads and vegetables, enticing ice cream and desserts, original preserves and refreshing non-alcoholic drinks. Crab salad with chilli, pumpkin, curry leaves and lime, Pappardalle with oxtail ragu, Guinea fowl with faro and parsley, Kimchi and Warm chocolate and espresso puddings are just a few of the delectable recipes on offer.

But Spring is much more than a collection of new recipes from this talented chef. It also provides a fascinating insight into the creation of the restaurant itself, from Skye’s first visit to the space at Somerset House, through the design and development of the site to the opening of the restaurant. She describes how the menu evolved, from the early days testing recipes in her kitchen at home to the opening in October 2014. She also reveals details about the other aspects that give the restaurant its unique character: the decor, art, staff uniforms, table settings etc.

Beautifully illustrated throughout with Andy Sewell’s evocative photographs, which capture the essence of Skye’s inspirational food as well as the dazzling atmosphere of the restaurant, Spring is set to become a classic.

Price; £19.24 Hardcover only $89.65 Hardback (used copies from $16.46

Number of reviews; 3 on Amazon.co.uk

This from one reviewer;

“I recently had a fantastic meal in Spring and was eager to buy the book. It is, like the restaurant, beautiful, and worth buying for the photography and background to the restaurant development – very interesting. I have also enjoyed Skye’s previous books.

However, I’ve only cooked one recipe,bitter chocolate and espresso cake, and discovered too late that the butter listed in ingredients had been missed from the method. The result ended up on the birdtable, as I frantically made something else before my guests arrived. Pretty poor editing, and doesn’t leave me with confidence for the rest of the recipes. ”

Will I BUY or PASS?…..PASS

Analysis

The book cover spoke “Spring” to me straight away, but it certainly didn’t shout cookbook, I thought more along the lines of dance. The review about the recipe edit, added to my decision as did the very hefty price tag, although it may compare with other recipe books and the photos will add to printing costs. Still I’m not a big cook book fan, I haven’t heard of the chef or the restaurant, so a PASS from me.

Here are links to other bloggers taking part in today’s challenge.

Barb has the results of last weeks US versus UK book cover Poll

Cathy has the 2015 Costa Book Awards winner The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Shelley has a mystery The Exclusives by Rebecca Thornton

Liz went in search of a genealogical mystery and found Blood Tied by Wendy Percival

Paula’s found a book for picky eaters You Have To F**king Eat by Adam Mansbach

The Dean Machine by @DylanLeePeters #Dystopia #Bookreview @VikkiPatis

The Dean MachineThe Dean Machine by Dylan Lee Peters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Dean Machine is an interesting mix of a book, the preface is the story of a rescue dog called Dean who is the inspiration for the dog which runs through the book. The Dean Machine itself is a dystopian dark fantasy with themes of human and animal rights, there is harsh torture and deep love and best of all money from sales of the book go to rescue dogs.

The book opens with Dan Delacor, who lives in Yellow City, this book is set in a futuristic time and place, everything in Yellow City has a yellow theme. Dan has anger issues, he also has only one arm. Very soon Dan spots a red dog, very unusual in this yellow city. Another time the dog leads Dan to a broken bridge and suddenly he has a flash of a memory, Dan can only remember his life back to just a few months but something is stirring deep inside of him. The red dog is called Dean and he’s with Wendy who approaches Dan, tells him he’s been brainwashed and helps him escape Yellow City.

There are lots of layers to this tale, which get peeled back added to plenty of twists just when you think you know where the storyline is taking you. Dan’s accident is revealed as is the fact he is a superb engineer who has created a Heart Bond piece of engineering. Plenty of bad guys and an interesting revelation from The Source.

This book would suit Dystopia / Sci-Fi fans, especially those who love dogs too.

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

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT SEARCHING FOR SUMMER by Christine Campbell @Campbama @FeedARead

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

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Liz has been reading Searching For Summer by Christine Campbell

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Searching for Summer by Christine Campbell

 

Searching for Summer confounded all my preconceived ideas of what a book about a missing teenager would be like. Of course there is despair and self-blame, but Summer’s mother Mirabelle is such a large, intense personality that I was instantly involved with her search around the streets of Edinburgh, longing to find Summer and fully understanding Mirabelle’s obsession with discovering what had happened.

 

Interwoven with the search for Summer are Mirabelle’s memories of the way her Jamaican father had also disappeared when she was a small child, leaving behind his clothes and brand new shoes. Her dysfunctional mother had not provided Mirabelle with a role model so perhaps it is not surprising that she felt so inadequate as a mother to her capable daughter, Summer. But she has friends to help her, including Detective Inspector Sam Burns, with whom she has recently rekindled a relationship, and her supportive younger sister Yvonne.

 

As time goes by, hope of finding Summer fades and yet there are clues which she clings on to, even if they involve petty criminal Dermot, who pushes drugs and acts as a pimp. Mirabelle refuses to look after her own health but she begins to help others who have also lost children in the Edinburgh area. Will there be a happy ending? Will Mirabelle pick up her life again and give Sam a chance? One thing is certain, I shall be reading the continuing story in Traces of Read, the second book in The Reluctant Detective series.

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

THE HOUSE AT THE END OF HOPE STREET by @meenavanpraag #WomensFiction

The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I rushed to buy this book after reading about it on Liz Lloyd’s #FridayFiveChallenge post and am so pleased I did. The House At The End Of Hope Street is women’s fiction, the book is set in Cambridge, UK. Oh I so didn’t want this book to end, it was truly delicious! My feelings about the book were a mix; I was a gown-up in Alice-in-Wonderland and I felt like Harry Potter seeing the Weasley house for the first time all rolled into one. The shear delight of Number 11 Hope Street, I want to go there now, I want to spend 99 nights and you will too.

Alba Ashley is 19, intelligent beyond her years she is already at Cambridge University doing a PHD in modern history, she sees spirits, ghosts, auras and more, yet she is alone, lost and currently in deep shock. Her footsteps take her to the doorstep of number 11 Hope Street and Peggy Abbot. Alba is invited in, the walls are filled with photos of old residents; Daphne Du Maurier, Virginia Woolf and Caroline Herschel to name but a few.

Peggy offers Alba a room for 99 nights, no rent, no bills to pay, just take care of the house and the house will take care of you. The house is a refuge for women who lose hope. But it’s much, much more than that, the house is alive, magical, it nurtures, soothes and inspires the residents.

There are two other ladies living in the house at this time, Carmen a Spanish singer with a secret and Greer a broken hearted actress. The storyline evolves around the healing power of the house on all four of the characters as the author slowly peels away the layers of their lives allowing us to be there with all the women. Peggy has her own tower room as caretaker of the house where she has delightful tea cups painted with tarot cards which read the future of whoever drinks from them and crockery with moving characters from fiction.

Alba makes her first friend, a ghost called Stella, who lives in the kitchen and is there for her when she has news that her mother has died. This is a possible set back for Alba in her recovery however where one door closes another opens. The house sends paper messages which often take a little work to understand.

I want to tell you so much more, but it would spoil your own enjoyment of this book, I loved Peggy and her chocolate cake eating habit, I loved Alba for who she discovered she could be and Greer and Carmen and I loved the fact that after the author had finished this book she found out that there really is a Hope Street in Cambridge, but no number 11 – spooky!

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

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s Avid Readers #RBRT CALEB’S CROSSING by Geraldine Brooks #HistFic

Rosie's Avid Readers

Rosie’s Avid readers are people who like reading and have a book to tell us about, they are the voice of a friend who says ” I just read this book….”

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Avid Reader’s thoughts

A super read.  This book is about how the early settlers mixed with and tolerated, or not, with the native Indians. There was an amazing classical education for the favoured few and some special scholarships for the natives. The story tells of hardships, segregation, and tolerance seen through the eyes of Bethia a protestant Minister`s daughter.  Mainly set on the island now called Martha`s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Book description

Geraldine Brooks takes a remarkable shard of history and brings it to vivid life. In 1665, a young man from Martha’s Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Upon this slender factual scaffold, Brooks has created a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure.

The narrator of Caleb’s Crossing is Bethia Mayfield, growing up in the tiny settlement of Great Harbor amid a small band of pioneers and Puritans. Restless and curious, she yearns after an education that is closed to her by her sex. As often as she can, she slips away to explore the island’s glistening beaches and observe its native Wampanoag inhabitants. At twelve, she encounters Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a tentative secret friendship that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia’s minister father tries to convert the Wampanoag, awakening the wrath of the tribe’s shaman, against whose magic he must test his own beliefs. One of his projects becomes the education of Caleb, and a year later, Caleb is in Cambridge, studying Latin and Greek among the colonial elite. There, Bethia finds herself reluctantly indentured as a housekeeper and can closely observe Caleb’s crossing of cultures.

Like Brooks’s beloved narrator Anna in Year of Wonders, Bethia proves an emotionally irresistible guide to the wilds of Martha’s Vineyard and the intimate spaces of the human heart. Evocative and utterly absorbing, Caleb’s Crossing further establishes Brooks’s place as one of our most acclaimed novelists.

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

We welcome recommendations especially from non-authors for this feature, and would love to hear from anyone who would like to leave a comment and follow the blog.

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT AN UGLY WAY TO GO by Iain Pattison @AuthorIain

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Georgia has been reading An Ugly Way to Go by Iain Pattison

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#Bookreview for An Ugly Way To Go by Iain Pattison

I have always enjoyed short stories and this collection is no exception. There is something about being able to read a whole tale in that space of time before sleep claims you that is calming, it gives a sense of completion, if you like.

So, firstly the good – it’s tricky to know where to start because I don’t want to give a rundown of each story but there is a wide spread of different tales here so something to suit all. Although I found in my case that was pretty much everything. The writing was excellent throughout with each story being tight and to the point. There were some great twists as well as some re-imaginings of old favourites such as in Once Upon a Crime and Christopher Robin Went Down – With Malice. While there were many stories here that I really liked if I started listing them out then I would never stop so I shall just give you my absolute favourite which was the piraty yarn, Rum Tale.

I should also mention that there is an excellent guest story included written by Chloe Banks, Missing Signs and Wonders, which is such a great idea and very enjoyably written.

And the bad? Well there’s not much of that actually. I’m not saying a loved every tale, there were a couple that didn’t light my candle as it were but that is purely personal taste and I certainly shan’t mark them out as there will be others who will love them.

I have often sung the praises of the short story for those times when you don’t have the capacity to sink into a longer piece and this is a collection that comes highly recommended.

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

Wednesday Wing…Getting the most out of #Twitter Share days #wwwblogs

Welcome to my new feature called Wednesday Wing where I’ll be passing on observations, tips and information to readers I’ve made a note of.

Rosie's Notebook

Today I’m passing on a tip about Twitter Share Days given to me by @TerryTyler4

Most people who use Twitter as part of their marketing platform know about the Twitter Hashtag Share Days

BUT DO YOU USE THEM EFFECTIVELY?

Twitter is all about THE RE-TWEET / SHARING. The further you can get a tweet to go in the Twittersphere the better it is for you. Twitter Impressions measure how far your tweets spread to the Twitter audience. Check out yours under Twitter Analytics.

On a Twitter Share Day use the Hashtag for all your appropriate tweets, DON’T just use the Hashtag because it is popular and spam it on any tweet. Many share days ask you tweet about a BLOG post relevant to the Hashtag and creators of the Hashtag have guidelines for its use. #MondayBlogs, #TuesdayBookBlog #wwwblogs #SundayBlogShare #WeekendBlogHop should all be used to promote a BLOG post with your subject in it.

Then you need to help SHARE other tweets for that Hashtag day. To do this search the Hashtag in the Twitter search bar, this will show a list of all your followers who have posted a relevant tweet. BUT to get to the wider audience go to the “More Options” at the top of the Hashtag tweet list, tick “Tweets” and ALL the Tweets on Twitter using that Hashtag appear, get sharing these and your profile will start to get picked up by other users. If you have one of your Tweets pinned to your own profile for that Hashtag day it encourages others to share your tweets too.

Happy Tweeting!

TWIN REFLECTIONS by Elizabeth Joseph #Bookreview #Fantasy #wwwblogs @ElizabookJoseph

Twin Reflections (The Maze of Mirrors #1)Twin Reflections by Elizabeth R. Joseph
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Twin Reflections is a #YA #Fantasy with a magical element. Two children Vera and Mark live in a children’s shelter and have been looked after by Karrie. However Karrie has recently disappeared and Vera feels duty bound to find her.

Vera discovers a magical portal and her and Mark find themselves in a secret maze where mirrors reflect their inner thoughts and desires. The author has chosen to write the maze storyline with twists, turns and sudden scene changes aligning the action with that of travel through a maze.

The maze poses magical illusions for Vera and Mark to work through, Vera herself possess a magical gene and must use this to help them find their way out. There are other characters Queen Missena who owns a model of the intricate maze, one which has developed and changed over time. She wants to be tied to the maze and so the storyline unfolds.

There is room the tighten the language and writing style this young author uses which will come with experience. With the saturated #YA #Fantasy market this book needs to “Pop” a little more with the characters and the vivid descriptive passages to truly engage the reader. A good start to a writing career.

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

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT WHEN DOVES FLY by @mslaurengregory #wwwblogs #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Alison, she blogs at alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com

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Alison has been reading When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory

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When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory

I love well-researched and realistic historical fiction, portraying the world as it would have been and the people as they were. I particularly love well-written historical fiction that tells the story of women, and that pulls no punches. That’s certainly what you get with this novel.

At first, I have to admit I was a little wary. I was worried that Lily was going to be one of those historical women that I hate – the type that people describe as ‘feisty’, who manage to live lives that are completely unrealistic and who emerge from life-changing, catastrophic events unscathed, having snared the handsome hero, won battles single-handed, carved out an independent existence, made their voice heard etc. etc. etc.

But this book doesn’t shy away from the realities of life for women, particularly women alone, in the wild west of the nineteenth century. This is not a light romantic historical – this is gritty, realistic, hard-hitting and at times hard to read. There are no easy solutions for Lily, no fairy-tale rescues. She fights for herself, she has to rely on herself, but she fails as well as succeeds, she suffers, she’s frightened at times, she messes up. In short, Lauren Gregory tells the truth, and tells it well. Life for Lily in the boom town of Clear Springs is hard – she makes enemies as well as friends, and those relationships have dreadful consequences.

I do feel that the early parts of Lily’s story are rather glossed over, not given enough detail. I would have liked to have got to know her better, to have understood her motivations more clearly. More time spent on this would have added a depth to Lily’s character and would have made me feel more invested in her story. Aside from this though, the writing is well-crafted, the sense of time and place extremely well-executed, and the story line is gripping, dramatic and involving. A very good read indeed – I look forward to reading more from Lauren Gregory.

Four out of five stars

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