Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Amie: African Adventure by @LucindaEClarke #Africa

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

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading Amie: African Adventure by Lucinda E Clarke

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I was slightly apprehensive about reading this book as I have traveled to a number of African countries for leisure and work purposes. I have also written a series of non-fiction publications about investment in Africa. I was worried that this book would not jell with my knowledge and experience of Africa. That turned out to be an unnecessary concern. Lucinda E Clarke has a sound knowledge of life for expatriates and the locals in certain war-torn, “least developed” African countries and does an excellent job of setting the scene for this story.

I enjoyed her balanced approach to describing the life styles of both the expatriate community and the locals and the detail that was provided about the schooling, hospitalisation, politics, corruption and difficulties with business dealings in this fictional country of Togodo. The descriptions of Aime and her husband’s visit to a game farm and the African countryside are beautiful and the author shares some interesting facts about survival in the bush.

The story of Aime’s adventure is fast paced and entertaining. My only criticism is that there were to many fortunate coincident and lucky breaks for Aime and her husband that were a bit unbelievable but this did not detract overly from a jolly good story.

I would recommend this book for people who like the idea of an entertaining adventure in a realistic African setting.

I rated this book four out of five stars.

Book description

Amie was just an average girl, living in her home town close to friends and family. She was happily married and she had her future all planned out. They would have two adorable children, while she made award winning programmes for television. Until the day her husband announced he was being sent to live and work in an African country she had never heard of. When she came to the notice of a Colonel in the Government, it made life very complicated, and from there things started to escalate from bad to worse. If Amie could have seen that one day she would be totally lost, fighting for her life, and enduring untold horrors, she would never have stepped foot on that plane.

About the author

Born in Dublin, matured in England, wanted to follow grandfather into Fleet Street, family not wildly enthusiastic – unfeminine, unreliable and dangerous. Went to dockland Liverpool – safe, respectable and pensionable. Returned south with teaching qualifications, extremely good at self defence. Went crofting in Scotland, bred Cairn Terriers among other things. Moved to Kenya with 7 week old daughter, abandoned in the bush. On to Libya, surviving riots, public hangings, imprisoned husband and eventual deportation. Queued with the unemployed millions in UK. Moved to Botswana – still teaching – opened and ran the worst riding school in the world,- with ‘How to…’ book in hand.
Moved south to South Africa taught for four years, then in 1986 became a full time freelance writer, for major corporations, UNESCO, UNICEF and the South African Broadcasting Corporation for both radio and television. Moving into video production in 1986, received over 20 awards, specializing in education, documentaries, municipal and government, one script for National Geographic.
Returned UK Jan 1994, back to SA before April elections.
Taught in 7 countries, including Britain, Kenya, France, Libya, Botswana, Swaziland and South Africa. Also found time to breed animals for pet shops, write a newspaper column, publish two books, Heinneman & Macmillan, and work for several years as a radio announcer. Married with two daughters, a stepson and stepdaughter, moved to Spain in 2008. I now write a monthly column and have published two more books, a memoir and an adventure story set in Africa.

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A Biography of Story, A Brief History of Humanity by @TrishaNicholson #SundayBlogShare

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

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading A Biography of Story, A Brief History of Humanity by Trisha Nicholson

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Dedicated, “to all who love Story whoever you are,” this book encompasses storytelling since communication began and covers most corners of the globe.  Story is personified, weaving through history, influencing events, and what happens affects the nature of stories.

From early Creation stories of Africa and Australia, we move through legend, myth, saga and fable.  As words begin to be written down, words confer authority and as we all know, history is written by the victors.  Common themes of the wisdom of animals, of good versus evil, of disguise and mistaken identity recur but there are also specific features only present in one era.

Trish Nicholson gives us tantalising details of the lives of so many tellers of tales, but as she says, “Teasing out strands of the old storytellers’ lives is like following a thread through the Cretan labyrinth; the “Minotaur” we discover at the other end may turn out to be a goat rather than a bull.”  The lives of Chaucer and Boccaccio are compared and the similarities and differences in their work marked.  Similarly, she shows us how Sir Walter Scott and James Fennimore Cooper reflected their era and their environment in using the tales told by the indigenous people of their countries.

My favourite chapter tells us about Marguerite, Queen of Navarre, the talented sister of the King of France.  Her life was varied and eventful, surrounded by poets and writers. A politically astute woman, she was widely respected and a skilled mediator. She spent time translating parts of the New Testament and more relevantly, writing stories. When her collection of tales was published posthumously in 1558, some of her humorous stories were considered of an unsuitable bawdy nature for a woman so some were edited and credited to a man.

“A Biography of Story” is no boring book of literary criticism, since the author is herself a storyteller.  She narrates significant stories to her readers, highlighting the essential strands of each literary era so that the book can be dipped into, using the clear descriptive chapter summaries or the comprehensive index.  But perhaps, like me, you would rather start at the beginning and enjoy reading the entire delightful text.

Book description

Trish Nicholson brings us a unique interweaving of literature and history seen through the eyes of storytellers, making a fascinating journey for general readers and students alike. From tales of the Bedouin, to Homer, Aesop and Valmiki, and from Celtic bards and Icelandic skalds to Chaucer, Rabelais, Shakespeare, Scott and Chekhov, some of the many storytellers featured will be familiar to you; others from Africa, Asia and the Pacific may be fresh discoveries.

Beginning with oral tales of our foraging ancestors, the emergence of writing, the great migrations, the age of exploration and the invention of printing through to the industrial revolution and the digital age, Nicholson brings us voices from all corners of the world. Combining this extraordinary breadth with telling myths, epics, fables, fairy tales and legends, she reveals their story-power in the comedy and tragedy of human affairs. And what of Story’s future..?

A Biography of Story, A Brief History of Humanity is our own human epic, thoroughly researched and referenced, and told with the imaginative flair of an accomplished storyteller. This is a book-lover’s book, illustrated and handsomely presented in hardback and paperback volumes designed ‘to have and to hold’.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #dystopia action adventure The Yak Guy Project by C.S. Boyack @virgilante

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

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading The Yak Guy by C.S. Boyack

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My Opinion

This book introduces you to a man who gets a second chance and to a yak.

With The Yak Guy Project, C. S. Boyack presents us with an entertaining and sometimes pretty funny dystopian story. The story is skillfully elaborated and has a great flow. Ernest Hemingway once stated “When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” C. S. Boyack shows this masterly with this story – he created living people (and an amazing yak) instead of mere characters; even if the yak is not human – it has personality. I was drawn into the story right away, very close to the man and – the yak. The protagonists’ personalities are complex, the others of sufficient depth according to their relevance. Protagonists who grow with their tasks and a yak as a moral guide will take you on an unforgettable journey. I could easily envision the characters and locations. I had a wonderful time reading The Yak Guy Project; it is a highly entertaining read.

This is for you if you like great story-telling, dystopian stories, interesting personalities to cheer on, as well as thought-provoking, and fun moments.

This is a book to read again. Highly recommended!

Book description

Imagine waking up in the desert with no idea what happened to you. You have clear memories of situations and places, but a complete loss in personal matters… like your own name. This situation is bad, and you have no idea how to get home.

When you’re rescued by a talking yak, the situation gets exponentially worse. You’ve obviously lost your mind. The immediate needs of a ride off the salt pan and searing heat, along with a drink of water, outweigh the concerns about your mental state.

This is exactly what happened to the Yak Guy. In fact he’s been placed in an alternate world and given a chance to start over in life.

Can this selfish, almost parasitic, young man learn to start over in a world where charity is hard to find? Life is brutal and short here, but he’s going to have to adapt or perish.

The Yak Guy Project is loosely based around The Fool’s Journey from the Tarot. Those with experience in Tarot will spot people and situations from the Major Arcana.

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#Paranormal #Romcom My #Bookreview of The Afterlife of Walter Augustus by @HMLynnauthor ‏

The Afterlife of Walter AugustusThe Afterlife of Walter Augustus by Hannah M. Lynn

4 stars

The Afterlife of Walter Augustus is a romantic comedy with a paranormal theme.

Walter Augustus has been stuck in the after-life for well over a century. Held there by the memories of well-meaning relatives, he’s rather excited that his great, great, great, great granddaughter will soon pass over. Then, perhaps, he can move on and be re-united with his wife.

Walter was once a shy, hard-working farrier in the 1800s, who wrote poetry. A client kindly turned his poems into a book.

In current times, the one remaining copy has just been given to Letty, a shoe-shop manager and cake baker. While Letty reads Walter’s poems and thinks about the author, Walter is kept earthbound once more. Desperate to change this situation, Walter and some ghostly acquaintances try all that they can to rid the house of the book and to eradicate all thoughts of it from Letty’s mind.

This was a fun read, and I particularly enjoyed all the ghosts and antics of those stuck in the after-life. I easily empathised with Letty and chuckled at the fears had by those stuck in the after-life, for the internet. With its vast banks of information, some worried that it may prevent more souls from passing on fully, as mighty search-engines continue to find more snippets of information about everyone. Recommended to those who enjoy a light-side to paranormal stories.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Walter Augustus is dead. His current state of existence has become a monotony of sweet tea and lonely strolls and after decades stuck in the Interim — a posthumous waiting room for those still remembered on Earth — he is ready to move on. Only when he is forgotten by every living person will he be able to pass over and join his family in the next stage of the afterlife. At last the end is tantalizingly close, but bad luck and a few rash decisions may see him trapped in the Interim for all eternity.

Letty Ferguson is not dead. Letty Ferguson is a middle-aged shoe saleswoman who leads a pleasant and wholly unextraordinary life, barring the secret fortune she seems unable to tell her husband about. However, when she takes possession of an unassuming poetry anthology, life takes on a rather more extraordinary dimension.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS | Twitter

Hannah Lynn

Hannah Lynn was born in 1984 and grew up in the Cotswolds, UK. After graduating from university, she spent ten years as a teacher of physics, first in the UK and then around Asia. It was during this time, inspired by the imaginations of the young people she taught, she began writing short stories for children, and later adult fiction. Her first novel, Amendments, was published in 2015, her latest novel, The Afterlife of Walter Augustus, is out July 2018. Now as a teacher, writer, wife and mother, she is currently living in the Austrian Alps.

Hannah M. Lynn

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/HMLynnauthor

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/HannahLynnAuthor

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13830772.Hannah_M_Lynn

Books

Amazon.co.uk – Amendments

Amazon.com – Amendments

Amazon.co.uk – The Afterlife of Walter Augustus

Amazon.com – The Afterlife of Walter Augustus

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Giveaway –  5 signed paperbacks of Walter and a Kindle Paperwhite. Enter below.
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#NewRelease #HistFic set in #Iceland #My #Bookreview of Smile Of The Wolf by @TimLeachWriter @HoZ_Books

Smile of the WolfSmile of the Wolf by Tim Leach

4 stars

Smile Of The Wolf is historical fiction set in eleventh century Iceland written in the style of a story handed down through the generations, told as a winter past-time.

This is the tale of two men: Kjaran a poet, singer or skald, who sings in exchange for food and shelter, and Gunnar, an ex-warrior, now a father and farmer. One night the pair set out to hunt a ghost. Instead, they kill a man. Under Icelandic law they should pay the man’s family a blood-price, but instead they try to hide the murder.

Gunnar’s guilt gnaws away at him and the pair are exposed at the annual Althing gathering. Kjaran takes the blame for the murder and is made an outlaw for three years. Now he can be legally hunted down by the victim’s family to avenge the man’s death. He took the blame in an attempt to keep Gunnar and his family safe, but three years is a long time to be on the run.

This is a tale of cold and darkness in a desolate setting. The laws of the land revolve around honour and feuds. With their Viking backgrounds, the inhabitants fled old homelands in search of a new start. They wanted to leave behind Norway and a king who drove them from their homes. They hoped for a land where every man was equal. But keeping the peace amongst men who come from warring backgrounds is hard and blood-feuds are accepted practices. The problem is, where do they end?

I would describe this as slow-paced, reflecting the story-telling style. It is also quite cold and harsh with just the odd hint of warmth and hope, rather like the landscape of the wintry isle. A book which made me yearn for a soft blanket, a roaring fire and a cup of hot-chocolate to chase away my chilly feelings.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Eleventh-century Iceland. One night in the darkness of winter, two friends set out on an adventure but end up killing a man. Kjaran, a traveling poet who trades songs for food and shelter, and Gunnar, a feared warrior, must make a choice: conceal the deed or confess to the crime and pay the blood price to the family. But their decision leads to a brutal feud: one man is outlawed, free to be killed by anyone without consequence; the other remorselessly hunted by the dead man’s kin. Set in a world of ice and snow, this is an epic story of exile and revenge, of duels and betrayals, and two friends struggling to survive in a desolate landscape, where honor is the only code that men abide by.

About the author

Writer, climber, whisky drinker, chess dabbler and general purpose layabout. London exile currently encamped in the North and loving it. I’ve studied and taught creative writing at the University of Warwick and worked in bookshops in London and Greece.

If you’d like to know any more about me or my books, just ping me a message. Thanks for stopping by!

Tim Leach

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT @OlgaNM7 reviews #thriller JUST by @jmortonpotts

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

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading Just by Jenny Morton Potts

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I had read great reviews of the author’s previous book Hiding and when I saw that her new novel was available, I knew I had to read it. I’ve been lucky with most of the books I’ve reviewed so far. I’ve read many good books in recent times. Some have been well-written and entertaining genre books (and I love a good genre book. There is something reassuring and satisfying about reading a book in a genre we like. We know what to expect, and we can be pleasantly surprised when the book pushes the boundaries of the genre or is an excellent example of it), some I would count among some of the best books I’ve read on a topic or genre, some have managed to mix different genres, sometimes even genres that seemed hardly compatible and have pulled it off beautifully, and there are some books that have surprised me, because they seemed to keep wrong-footing the readers, challenging them, and demanding their attention. They are not for easy consumption and they do not reassure. But they can be very rewarding. Just is one of these books.

This novel is told in the third person from a variety of points of view. We have women who cannot move on and let go (of past relationships, or their past and their families), and can at times seem pathetic and self-pitying, whilst at others, they will not hesitate to sacrifice themselves for those their love (at a great cost). We have men who are ridiculously devoted to women (a close friend they’ve known forever, or somebody they’ve worked with but hardly know anything about), hopelessly romantic, and willing to go to any lengths to “save” or “help” this women (who might or might not need saving).  There are friends and relatives who will keep secrets that will cost them dearly. All the characters have very distinct voices, and the reader needs to pay attention at all times, as the dialogues are dynamic, and the author rarely uses tags, so it can be a challenge to know who is talking at times, especially when new characters are introduced.

I’ve seen some comments about the book that mention that none of the characters are sympathetic. Leaving to one side personal preferences and the fact that unsympathetic or downright unlikeable characters can be protagonists as well, as long as they engage our curiosity (why are they as they are?, can we connect with them at some level, even if we don’t like what they do?), in this case it is clear that the author has carefully chosen how to tell the story, and this contributes to the way we feel.  Although the book is written in the third person (and that puts us in the role of the observer), we do see things from inside the heads of these characters, and, as we all are, they can be mean, cruel, egotistical, and truly annoying at times. Personally, I wanted to slap some of the characters sometimes, but there were some I quite liked, and by the end of the book, I definitely felt I had gained an understanding of most of them. As the book evolves we discover that we don’t know as much as we thought about all of these people, and only then do we realise how carefully constructed the novel is, and how its structure creates a whole that is much more than its parts.

The book touches upon important, controversial and difficult themes, both at a general, societal level (terrorism, emigration, wars, international aid and charities, adoption, indoctrination…) and at a more individual one (new models of family, friendship and love, letting go, romantic love, parenthood, family bonds…) and  I doubt any readers will remain indifferent to the plight of the protagonists. When I finished the book, I felt I had gained insight into subjects I had read about or seen in the news often, but the novel managed to make them feel much more personal and immediate.

There are wonderful settings (from Cambridgeshire to Libya), and scenes (beautiful and poignant) that I won’t forget. (I don’t think I’ll be able to look at shoes again the same way). The book is not evenly paced, and there are some contemplative moments, and some when we are taken from one scene to the next and left hanging on, trying to make sense of what just happened. A lot of the book deals in serious subjects but there are some light moments and plenty of humour, some witty, some dark, that bring some relief while underscoring the gravity of the issues at hand.  If some of the scenes might stretch the imagination and require suspension of disbelief (too romantic or contrived, or so I thought when I first read them), we are later obliged to re-evaluate them, we come to see them in a new light and they make sense.

I highlighted many sentences, but I thought I’d share a few:

Muduj had a weak stomach behind her strong heart.

Where once there were honey bees, now the metal drones buzz. Everything good has been replaced by manufactured evil.

Her body now was a foreign attachment to her head. Her heart was beating in her gums. Her eyes felt like transplants.

And so you don’t think it’s all very serious:

I always think it’s a worrying sign, when someone starts to read poetry.

I always recommend that prospective readers check a sample of the book to see if they feel it suits their taste, and this is especially true in this case. As I have warned, this novel treats in serious themes and is not a feel-good book (I will not discuss the ending, that I loved, but is not traditional, as it pertains such a book) for somebody looking for a light read. But if you are interested in discovering new talents and don’t mind harsh content (some sexual scenes as well) and are up for a challenge, this is a treat.

Book description

On golden Mediterranean sands, maverick doctor Scott Langbrook falls wrecklessly in love with his team leader, Fiyori Maziq. If only that was the extent of his falling, but Scott descends into the hellish clutches of someone much more sinister.

‘Just’ is a story of love and loss, of terror and triumph. Set in idyllic Cambridge and on the shores of the Med and Cornwall, our characters fight for their very lives on land and at sea.

An unforgettable novel which goes to the heart of our catastrophic times, and seeks salvation.

About the author

Jenny Morton Potts was born in a smart, dull suburb of Glasgow where the only regular excitement was burglary. Attended a smart, dull school where the only regular excitement was the strap. Worked in smart, dull sales and marketing jobs until realising she was living someone else’s life.

Escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon who wanted to talk about The Da Vinci Code, wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England – and unlikely ever to leave again – Jenny, with assistance from loyal hound, walked and swam her way back to manageable health.

Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, partnered for 28 years, she ought to mention, and living with inspirational child in Derbyshire.

Jenny Morton Potts

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #WomensFiction A Single Journey by Frankie McGowan

Today’s team review is from Jenny.

#RBRT Review Team

Jenny has been reading A Single Journey by Frankie McGowan

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3 1/2 Stars

The characters in this book are all completely different to one another, which makes the story interesting.  I enjoyed the way that the book begins in Berlin 1933 with a rather complex story that you need to take your time over, really get the feel of what the story is about…. its beginning.  Then it moves on to modern day Pimlico and Harriet with her jewelry stall.

This is a slow paced read; you need to concentrate on what is going on to fully digest the feel and importance of how the past merges with the present. The story was a little confusing at times for me, and I found myself reading some paragraphs over and over to realize fully what was happening in the story.  I did not like that aspect of the read.

The story itself though, is very good and has twists and turns, excitement and fear with a little romance thrown in for good measure. I think that the relationship between Harriet and Neil could have moved at a better pace and had more substance, especially in the final chapter. The author has done a lot of research to get her history and facts right for the story, that shows, and works well making the book quite compelling at times.

There is a lot going on in the book. If you were looking for a complex read, then I would recommend this, but if you want an easy read, then it would not be for you.

Book description

Harriet has begun to despair of her life.

With a failed relationship behind her, a business on the rocks and a flat that’s falling apart around her ears, she could really use some luck.

Elena Banbury, née Guseva, an elderly but imposing Russian woman who is Harriet’s neighbour and landlady, frequently entertains the punters at Harriet’s jewellery stall with tales of the palaces of St. Petersburg and the treasures of Fabergé. But Harriet sometimes feels, guiltily, that she could do without the endless errands that seem to fall to her as Elena’s friend.

Then, unexpectedly, when Elena dies, she leaves all her worldly goods to a grateful Harriet. In time, however, it becomes clear that others are shocked by Harriet’s good luck, too. Shocked… and very, very unhappy.

Challenged in court by Elena’s family who live in Berlin, Harriet is forced to give up her inheritance and long-dreamed-of plans for a new business, and start her life again. But with her reputation in tatters and the memory of Elena tainted, Harriet knows a great injustice has been done.

Against the advice of her friends, family and lawyers, Harriet sets off on her own, very singular journey to Berlin.

In the weeks that follow she meets rich and poor, the glamorous and the criminal, the honest and the secretive, and begins to see that perhaps she has something to learn from them all. Something to learn about herself, and something to learn about her priorities.

She knows she has to fight for justice. But, when she meets the scholarly, perceptive Neil, who generously tries to help Harriet in her mission, but who is struggling with a complicated marriage, she must also decide if she’ll fight for love, too.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Psychological Suspense SICK by @christawojo #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Sick by Christa Wojciechowski

SICK Part I (The Sick Series Book 1) by [Wojciechowski, Christa]

4 out of 5 stars

This is a short novella that I read in just two hours, and possibly the most peculiar book I’ve ever read.  John Branch is an impoverished aristocrat who lives in squalor with his wife, a podiatric nurse called Susan; the book is written from Susan’s first person point of view.  Throughout their marriage he has suffered one illness after another, and terrible accidents; many of his maladies baffle the doctors.  Suzie lives on frazzled nerves and chocolate bars, but they love each other, and exist in their own little world of their house and his illnesses.  Their relationship is odd in the extreme, with their baby talk, and the way she refers to him, and he acts, as if he is a child.  She is a plain woman who had little in her life before they met; he is everything to her.

At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish it; I wondered if English was the author’s first language as Susan talks about singing John his favourite ‘lullaby’ when he is ill, and describes him as having ‘pretty lips’; there are several other odd word choices, and I couldn’t work out if they were part of the peculiarity of the couple, or if they were just ill-chosen.  Also, a hyphen is used instead of an em dash throughout, which is confusing when the hyphen is used for two different purposes in the same sentence.  Thirdly, the book is graphic in its descriptions of blood, puss and worse; I can do gory violence, but not bodily functions/secretions.  But at the same time it’s very well-written; it’s dark, vivid and horribly depressing.  As it went on, I thought, yes, I do want to read it, but perhaps it’ll be one of those ‘3*, good but not my cup of tea’ books.

Then I got to appreciating it more and more, and I understood how clever it is.

It becomes clear that all is not what it seems in the dingy servants’ house where they live, on the estate that once belonged to John’s family, but Suzie is too tired, undernourished and concerned for John to investigate the irregularities.  When the truth about John’s illnesses comes out, the whole story is turned on its head.

So I ended up giving it 4* because I liked it ~ I would recommend it to anyone who is not squeamish and likes something a bit out of the ordinary.  And I think I might pick up the sequel at some point, too; I am most intrigued to see what happens next!

Book description

John Branch is a brilliant-minded aristocrat, bereft of his family’s wealth, ravaged by a terrible and as yet unidentified disease. Susan is a hard-working nurse at the end of her tether. Years of caring for her charming yet debilitated husband have begun to take their toll. Living in squalor, in the very shadow of a mansion that John and his family used to own, she is plagued by the intrusive groundskeeper Pete, ever-increasing bills, and the constant threat of John’s physical collapse.

John’s illness has always baffled doctors, and there are times when she wishes that he would just slip away. But John’s mind is very much alive, and she can’t help but cling onto the dream he will recover.

As pressures mount, Susan resorts to one desperate act after another to keep John alive and manage his pain, all the while haunted by a creeping sense that something isn’t right with her world…

SICK is a Gothic novel in the true sense: brimming with atmosphere and suspense, rich with style and psychological insight. This seemingly simple tale of two psyches will take you to the heart of the human condition, and show you just how twisted the relationships with those closest to us can be.

About the author

Christa (Wojo) Wojciechowski is the author of The Wrong David, The Sick Series, and is working on a series called The Sculptor of New Hope. Her characters explore existential turmoil, mental illness, and the complexity of romantic love. She uses her stories to compare the dark, carnal nature of humanity with its higher qualities of creative expression and intellectualism.

Christa currently resides in the mountains of Panama with her husband and a house full of pets. She works as a freelance digital marketer and helps thought leaders, podcasters, and fellow writers develop their marketing platforms. Christa enjoys foreign movies, yoga, wine, and rambling around in the cloud forests near her home. Most of all, she’s passionate about books and writers, and loves discussing them on social media.

Christa Wojciechowski

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Second century #Ireland My #Bookreview of Liath Luachra: The Swallowed by @ImbasInfo #TuesdayBookBlog

Liath Luachra: The Swallowed (Irish Woman Warrior, #2)Liath Luachra: The Swallowed by Brian O’Sullivan

4 stars

Liath Luachra: The Swallowed is a historical fantasy set in second century Ireland. It is book two of the Irish Woman Warrior series.

Liath is the leader of a band of warriors. They are engaged by local tribe leaders to take on dangerous tasks. This book opens with them pursuing raiders to retrieve a kidnapped woman. However, the job isn’t quite what it seems and Liath now has a blood-price on her head from an aggrieved brother.

She’s encouraged to take on a new task, and thus avoid the wrath of Dubba Carne, by going in search of missing settlers in a wild region known as the Lonely Land, a place where few willingly go as stories abound of mythical beasts and strange disappearances. Her motley band consists of warriors, a spy and a gifted seer. They eventually find a partly built settlement, but no sign of the people who built it. However, danger lurks; a dark entity sweeps through the settlement and that night they are attacked by creatures who are no ordinary wolves.

This is the second book I’ve read by this author, and I do enjoy his descriptive passages about the landscapes in this era of Ireland. Liath is a brave warrior, but although she leads a team, she’s also a loner, preferring her own company. The storyline is based loosely around Iron Age myths, and I thought the author did a good job of making the fantasy elements believable. My one complaint is that, at times, there was an overuse of adverbs at the beginning of sentences, which made the writing style a little dated.

Suitable for those who enjoy fantasy, or who have an interest in early Irish historical tales.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Ireland: Second century.

Osraighe: Ireland’s shadowy centre, a desolate region of forest, marshes and mountainous terrain where unwary travellers are ‘swallowed’ and never seen again.

Caught up in an intra-tribal conflict when her latest mission turns sour, the woman warrior Liath Luachra finds herself coerced into a new undertaking.
Dispatched to Osraighe to find a colony of missing settlers, she must lead a mismatched group of warriors, spies, and druids through a land of spectral forest, mysterious stone structures, and strange forces that contradict everything she knows of the Great Wild.

Haunted by a dead woman, struggling to hold her war-band together, Liath Luachra must confront her own internal demons while predators prowl the shadow between the trees …

Awaiting their moment to feed.

About the author

Brian O’Sullivan was born in county Cork, Ireland. On completing a degree at University College Cork, he went on to travel extensively. He is now based in New Zealand with his family but returns to Ireland on a regular basis.

Brian writes fiction that incorporates strong elements of Irish culture, language, history and mythology. These include literary short stories (The Irish Muse collection), mystery thrillers (The Beara Trilogy) and a contemporary version of the Fionn mac Cumhaill/ Fenian legends (The Fionn mac Cumhaill Series). Brian also edits and writes non-fiction through the ‘Celtic Mythology Collection’ series published by Irish Imbas Books,

Although he writes predominantly for an Irish audience, Brian’s unique style and humour has meant that his books have become firm favorites of readers all around the world.

Brian   O'Sullivan

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT @CathyRy reviews #crimefiction Brand New Friend by @k8vane

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Brand New Friend by Kate Vane

39963730

BBC journalist/reporter Paolo Bennet was recording a report when his phone rang. The caller was Mark, an old friend from his student days, with an urgent appeal for him to come to Leeds. Scenting a story and curious, Paolo agrees. On the train journey north Paolo scours the internet for anything he can find out about Mark. He wants to find out the truth—about Mark, his handler and about who caused a fire and unexplained death on campus back in the 80s. Paolo knew Mark Benson as an animal rights activist but he has now been exposed as undercover policeman Mark Swift. Paolo is conflicted after learning the truth about Mark and is unsure about his one time friend’s motives. Nevertheless, he travels to Leeds and meets Mark, only to learn Mark’s former police handler, Sid, has been murdered.

‘Paolo had so many questions he didn’t know where to start. On the train he had started to make notes, like he was preparing for an interview, structuring questions to establish a narrative arc — the political context, how Mark got involved, why he didn’t go back.

What it felt like to betray his friends.’

The narrative alternates between Paolo’s time at university and the present and it wasn’t quite what I was expecting and that threw me a bit. I’d assumed it would be primarily a murder mystery, but that aspect was very much in the background. The story’s main focus is the characters, their pasts and present and how everything connects. That made it quite a slow starter for me and I found some of the passages were a little too dialogue heavy. Once I’d changed mindset from a murder mystery to a character driven story I was able to get into it more.

Paolo has obvious doubts about someone who had influenced him so much as a young man but the promise of a story spurs him on to chase leads and look up his old university friends. Could Mark have killed Sid? If so, why? Paolo knows now Mark is a liar but does he really believe Mark could be a killer. And what, if anything, has any of this to do with what happened on campus.

It was interesting to witness the perceptively described and played out dynamics between the diverse group of students. How the characters and their attitudes and principles, seemingly all but Mark’s, had changed in the years between university and present day. And as it happens, Mark wasn’t the only one who was sparing with the truth. Paolo started life as the more ordinary Paul Bennett. Some serious issues were tackled in the story, including animal testing and fracking, without being prejudicial either way. I would have enjoyed a little more exploration into the murder case but that’s just my personal preference. What makes this stand out are the extremely good character studies.

Book description

Friend. Liar. Killer?

BBC foreign correspondent Paolo Bennett is exiled to a London desk – and the Breakfast sofa – when he gets a call from Mark, a friend from university in eighties Leeds. Paolo knew Mark as a dedicated animal rights activist but now a news blog has exposed him as an undercover police officer. Then Mark’s former police handler is murdered.

Paolo was never a committed campaigner. He was more interested in women, bands and dreaming of a life abroad. Now he wonders if Mark’s exposure and his handler’s murder might be linked to an unexplained death on campus back when they were friends. What did he miss?

Paolo wants the truth – and the story. He chases up new leads and old friends. From benefit gigs and peace protests, to Whatsapp groups and mocktail bars, the world has changed, but Mark still seems the same.

Is Mark the spy who never went back – who liked his undercover life better than his own? Or is he lying now? Is Paolo’s friend a murderer?

About the author

I’m an author of (mostly) crime and suspense, living in Devon.

My crime novel, Brand New Friend, will be published on 5 June 2018.

I have written for BBC drama Doctors and have had short stories and articles published in various publications and anthologies, including Mslexia and Scotland on Sunday.

I mainly read crime and literary fiction with some non-fiction and am a recent convert to audiobooks.

Kate Vane

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