Letter R April A to Z Challenge #AtoZChallenge

 

Day 18 April A to Z Challenge my theme is characters from books I’ve read plus some audience participation.

Letter R is for Rhe Brewster from Death In A Dacron Sail by Noelle Granger.

Death In A Dacron Sail by Noelle Granger

Death In A Dacron Sail by Noelle Granger

Death In A Dacron Sail is a Rhe Brewster mystery set in Maine. Rhe is a consultant for the Pequod police and a part-time nurse in the ER unit of the local hospital. The book opens with Rhe and her brother-in-law Chief of Police Sam Brewster being called to a local lobster boat where a finger has been pulled up with the lobster pots. Hospital pathologist Marsh Adams identifies it as a child’s finger and when a body is washed up a few days later an investigation opens up. Rhe is asked to go over old cases of missing children which have never been solved and with the help of the FBI the finger and body are a match to one unsolved mystery.

Trouble follows Rhe, she’s pregnant with her second child, but her relationship with her husband is taking a down turn. Add to this an assault by a drunk whilst she’s at work and a hospital boss who takes a dislike to her, and you have a lot of cross-fire as well as the missing children. A good mystery with more to come from Rhe Brewster in the next book.

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

For my audience participation I’m asking readers to create book titles using the letter R for the picture below.

A book title and cover picture can often make or break a book sale. Is a book cover eye-catching? Does the book title appeal to the reader?

Have fun creating book titles from my own pictures, you might even think about a genre they could fit.

Rocks

Leave your answers in the comments below and I’ll be choosing my favourites.

Today’s randomly chosen challengers for you to visit

https://northofandover.wordpress.com/

http://nothyacinthbouquet.blogspot.co.uk/

http://lifefaithincaneyhead.blogspot.co.uk/

https://kaygetscrafty.wordpress.com/kay-gets-crafty/

http://www.albomadventures.com/

Throughout the challenge we are asking readers to leave a comment, thank you.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Alison reviews Carla by Mark Barry

Today we have a review from team member Alison, she blogs at http://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/

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Alison chose to read and review Carla by Mark Barry

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Carla by Mark Barry

This intriguing novel tells the story of John Dexter, a man with severe mental health issues. John falls in love far too easily and far too quickly, his feelings too intense both for him and for the women who find themselves at the receiving end of his affections. John is a complex character; the glimpses we are given of his past account for his thirst for reciprocated attention and add a real depth to the novel. The first person viewpoint draws you in, and you find yourself alternately rooting for John and then feeling so frustrated by him that you want to reach into the book and shake him – all the while knowing that it isn’t his fault and that he can’t help himself.

John has Borderline Personality Disorder – a disorder that causes sufferers to have difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships, with an extremely heightened fear of abandonment. This aspect was handled very sensitively but realistically. John is well aware of his issues, but this self-awareness doesn’t mean he has control, and part of the skill of the writing is that it conveys so well John’s own frustration at his inability to change how he knows things will end, while putting the reader through those same frustrations. His pursuit of young student and barmaid Carla is alternately touching and terrifying.

The narrative is, on the whole, believable and compelling and Mark Barry can definitely write and write well. However, there were a couple of issues with the book that prevented me from loving it.

It might sound pedantic to some, but the author consistently capitalises the ‘he’ or ‘she’ following a closing speech mark after question marks and exclamation marks as in:

“Who?” She replied.

“Can you have a look at those stats for me?” She asked optimistically.

Trivial? Possibly, but for me this became distracting, detracting from the text and spoiling my enjoyment of the novel. For me at least, attention to detail is vital.

I also felt that a couple of scenes weren’t realistic – I won’t go into too much detail for fear of spoiling the plot, but I didn’t really understand John dressing as a woman for the open day. I can understand that his disorder might have driven him to do this, but would he really have got away with it? I also felt the final scenes at Carla’s house were rushed and could have used more detail.

Does this mean the book is bad? No, on the contrary, this is a very good book. Does this prevent me from recommending it? Not at all, I absolutely recommend it. But these things are enough to prevent me giving ‘Carla’ five stars, which is a shame.

Four out of five stars.

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

 

 

 

Letter Q April A to Z Challenge #AtoZChallenge

Day 17 April A to Z Challenge, my theme is characters from books I’ve read plus some audience participation.

Letter Q is for Quetzalcoatl from The Obsidian Mirror by K.D Keenan

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The Obsidian Mirror is a fantasy surrounding Native American mythology and mixing it with modern day environmental issues. Sierra Carter has just been fired from her job in PR at Black Diamond a company who make silicon conductors.

She then finds herself chosen by mythical Gods to help save the planet. Given magical feathers, a guide called Chaco who can morph into a coyote and befriended by a creature called a Mannegishi, Sierra is taken to meet an ancient God known as Quetzalcoatl. He sends her on a mission to wipe out the evil that Black Diamond is spreading around the world.

I enjoyed learning about the Native American mythology and the healers who helped Sierra.

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

For my audience participation I’m asking readers to create book titles using the letter Q for the picture below.

A book title and cover picture can often make or break a book sale. Is a book cover eye-catching? Does the book title appeal to the reader?

Have fun creating book titles from my own pictures, you might even think about a genre they could fit.

Steam Engine

Leave your answers in the comments below and I’ll choose my favourites.

Here are today’s randomly chosen fellow challengers for you to visit.

http://www.jaynoel.com/

http://nickwilford.blogspot.co.uk/

http://spbwriting.blogspot.co.uk/

http://rolandyeomans.blogspot.co.uk/

http://didyoueverkissafrog.typepad.com/

As part of the tour we are asking readers to leave comments, thank you.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Georgia reviews Last Child by Terry Tyler

Today we have a review from Georgia, she blogs at http://www.georgiarosebooks.com/

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Georgia chose to read and review Last Child by Terry Tyler

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I loved ‘Kings and Queens’ and have been looking forward to ‘Last Child’, the sequel, coming out, and eagerly bought it the minute it landed on Amazon.

Although this could be read as a standalone I would hugely recommend reading ‘Kings and Queens’ first not only because it is a joy to read but you will also understand the background to the legacy of Harry Lanchester, his heirs, on who this book is based much better. There is however a comprehensive introduction at the beginning of ‘Last Child’ which brings you up to speed and gives you all you need to know about the setting for this story.

This book is hugely entertaining and has made me laugh, cry and everything in between those extremes. Hannah, the nanny and one of my favourite characters from ‘Kings and Queens’ takes a big lead role in narrating much of this story but others also take their turn and the different points of view are very well handled.

There is so much to say about so many fabulous characters both the good ones as well as the bad but without giving anything away about who, what, when and why I also loved many of the relationships in this sequel. Many that I perhaps shouldn’t have done but did, Jim Dudley who grew on me, Raine Grey – utterly heartbreaking… Robert Dudley firm but with the patience of a saint and Erin who I enjoyed watching develop from doing something truly horrible as a teenager into…well…I’ll leave you to find that out.

The characters Tyler creates are as real, sumptuous and lavish as the Lanchester Estates Headquarters and she gets all the voices spot on from Jaz as a teenager to those more mature in years as well as touching on mental illness and dementia.

I don’t have much time to read at the moment but I put aside time to savour this one and finished it in tears. However with the way this ended and with some delicious little teasers of what’s to come (Letty, as just one example!) I am daring to hold out a glimmer of hope that there may just be another book in this terrific series and if there is I shall be first in line for a copy.

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

 

A to Z Challenge Week 3 Sunday Round-up #AtoZChallenge

During week 3 of the April A to Z Challenge we’ve passed the half way mark in the alphabet.

A-Z

My theme is characters from books I’ve read plus book title audience participation pieces.

If you are just catching up here are links to this week’s posts.

Letter K http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-6sQ

Letter L http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-6sS

Letter M http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-6sU

Letter N http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-6sW

Letter O http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-6sY

Letter P http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-6t0

Good Deeds Challenge Year 2, Week 52

This will be my last Good Deeds post, I’ve completed a 2 year challenge, enough to make Good Deeds a regular part of my day for the rest of my life.

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year, now I almost finished my second year.

New Good DeedsThis week I’ve been doing the following;

April 12th – Had a big afternoon setting my Mum up with spreadsheets and a Facebook account. Am reading Fallen On Good Times by Rewan Tremethick.

April 13th – It’s still the school holidays so no volunteering at school this morning, had a lunchtime walk and picked up litter instead. Washed loads of crockery and chinaware ready to take to the charity shop.

April 14th – We are into the third week of the A to Z Challenge, made a big effort to visit lots of bloggers today and give my support.

April 15th – Delivered 3 boxes of items to the charity shop. Read Going Through The Change by Samantha Bryant

April 16th – Picked up loads of litter on a morning walk. Today I’m reading Cupids’ Way by Joanne Phillips.

April 17th – We have friends coming over this afternoon, so I’ve baked a cake and nagged the kids to help with housework. In fact while I nipped into town and pocked up litter on the way home, they’d cleaned and tidied the lounge. Am reading Catching Cassidy by Melissa Foster, book one in a new NA series.

April 18th – My friend asked me to help out with a book review and I read James Bone and the Italian Job by Frank Bell a children’s book about secret agent animals. Began reading The Family Trap by Joanne Phillips last evening.

This is it, my final post to end my challenge, which began two years ago as a two week test to see it I could take up the challenge, then it moved to a year and then two years. It’s been an amazing experience and opened my eyes to wonderful everyday opportunities to make my world a better place to live in and to send out ripples into the lives of others who touch mine with friendship or as strangers.

Letter P April A to Z Challenge #AtoZChallenge

Day 16 April A to Z Challenge, my theme is characters from books I’ve read plus some audience participation.

Letter P is for Mrs Parish from Motherlove by Thorne Moore

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Motherlove is contemporary fiction and a heart-wrenching tale of three mothers and their love for their children. Mrs Parish haunts a local park everyday searching for any clues which would lead her to find her baby who was snatched twenty-two years ago. She is a shell barely surviving, constantly facing those who accuse her of murdering her baby, even after so many years.

Kelly Sheldon arrives home to find her Mum seriously ill. Roz has always shied away from doctors and authority but now she needs help, diagnosed with Diabetes, she’s damaged her kidneys. The vegetarian diet they eat will help her recovery and Roz still insists on her herbal remedies, but Kelly goes behind her back to have tests to see if she can donate a kidney for a Mother’s survival.

Gillain walks on eggshells around her angry daughter never knowing the right way to deal with her and always feeling guilty about never finding the right time to tell her she is adopted. That is until the evil Joan blabs in yet another bought of hatred towards her family. Grasping for details Vicky digs up news reports from twenty-two years ago which fuel her anger at the world.

As the story unfolds we read of women who were victims of strong emotions surrounding their babies and life experiences which shaped their futures. There’s no right or wrong definition of a mother’s love in the constant flux of life but it still exists.

A very good tale which kept me enthralled until the end.

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

For my audience participation I’m asking readers to create book titles using the letter P for the picture below.

A book title and cover picture can often make or break a book sale. Is a book cover eye-catching? Does the book title appeal to the reader?

Have fun creating book titles from my own pictures, you might even think about a genre they could fit.

Beaver Pond

Leave your answers in the comments below and I’ll be choosing my favourites.

Here are some randomly chosen challengers for you to visit today

https://afullcupoftea.wordpress.com/

http://thetexascountrywife.blogspot.co.uk/

https://wtfaioa.wordpress.com/

https://mrsmsmeanderings.wordpress.com/

http://entrepreneurialgoddess.blogspot.co.uk/

As part of the tour challenge we are asking readers to leave comments on blogs, thank you.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Chris reviews My Grandfather’s Eyes by Bev Spicer

 

Today we have a review from team member Chris,

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Chris chose to read and review My Grandfather’s Eyes by Bev Spicer

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My Grandfather’s Eyes is an interesting read, drawing you into the life of an extremely unlikeable protagonist and her equally unlikeable family and friends.

Alex Crane is scheming, uncaring and lacking a conscience. The moles on her face are cited as the reason for her disdain for almost everyone and everything, but her self-centred and calculating nature have a deeper cause. When faced with news of her husband’s death, all Alex worries about is what he told the doctors. When faced with the past, all Alex cares about is the elusive Lizzy. And when faced with her family, all Alex cares about is uncovering the family secret that has laid buried, regardless of the consequences.

The book juxtaposes two strands of Alex’s life, so that her childhood days are weaved into the story set in the present. The language is rich, the point of view intimate, the characters intriguing and the plot wholesome. The author has managed to create an obnoxious, selfish character that’s both believable and engaging. Unfortunately, the pacing of the story was too slow for me, which made my reading experience less enjoyable than I would have hoped and so I can only give it a 3* rating. But if you enjoy slow-burners, please don’t let me put you off.

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

Letter O April A to Z Challenge #AtoZChallenge

Day 15 April A to Z Challenge, my theme is characters from books I’ve read, plus some audience participation.

Letter O is for Rose O’Carroll from I Listened To My Heart by Rosemary Gallagher.

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Rose O’Carroll lives in Australia, she comes form a large family. We meet her just before her fortieth birthday when she decides she’s going to spread her wings and move to London. Rose believes in Angels, Spirit Guides and Guardian Angels. She’s always spoken to her Angels and firmly believes that everything happens for a reason.

The book is narrated by Rose in a chatty format which made me feel like one of her girlfriends, I was there with her through all the trauma and the love. This book is about faith, love and friendship. Rose has yet to be seriously in love and over the next ten years of her life we are taken on a spiritual roller-coaster as Rose finds her twin soul and her soul mate. She pushes her own boundaries of self discovery and becomes a better person for it.

I can’t wait to read the next book. This book is for all those who believe in their Angels and those who love a good love story.

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

For my audience participation I’m asking reader to create book titles using the letter O from the picture below.

A book title and cover picture can often make or break a book sale. Is a book cover eye-catching? Does the book title appeal to the reader?

Have fun creating book titles from my own pictures, you might even think about a genre they could fit.

River Boats

Leave your answers in the comments below and I’ll choose my favourites.

Some randomly chosen blogging challenger for you to visit today.

http://smidgensbitsandsnippets.blogspot.co.uk/

http://evegaal.blogspot.co.uk/

http://towerofthearchmage.blogspot.co.uk/

https://seezooeyrun.wordpress.com/

http://gettingupagainforthe8thtime.blogspot.co.uk/

As an ongoing part of the challenge we are asking readers to leave comments on posts, thank you.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Noelle reviews Stranded In The Seychelles by Bev Spicer @BevSpicer

Today we have a review from Noelle, she blogs at https://saylingaway.wordpress.com/

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Noelle chose to read and review Stranded In The Seychelles by Bev Spicer.

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Stranded in the Seychelles is a fun, frothy memoir of two young women looking for adventure before they have to make a life decision about settling down. It is written by Bev Spicer, who has written several humorous memoirs of her life, including Bunny on a Bike, telling of the time she was a Playboy croupier in London.

Bev and Carol, her bosom buddy, have come to a fork in the road. Carol has just returned from teaching English to monks in Tibet, while Bev has held a series of uninspiring jobs, including typing out legal contracts and folding and labelling bin bags to send off with a quote to possible customers (that one really impressed me!). She finally gets a postgraduate teaching certificate from Cambridge and, at the time of this story, has been teaching English to uninterested secondary school students for a year. When Bev comes across an ad for qualified English teachers for the National Youth Service of the Seychelles, they both bite. I had to look up the Seychelles: the Seychelles Islands are an archipelago in the Indian Ocean off the eat coast of Africa, in the same general region as Zanzibar, Madagascar and Mauritius. The two friends fly out to their new island home, picturing a luxury villa on a beach, tropical fruit and air-conditioned class rooms. They should have been alarmed by the lack of information or even a syllabus for the classes they were to teach. By this time the reader is thinking too good to be true, don’t do it!

They step off their plane into the climate of a convection oven, peopled by native and mixed raced individuals who speak mainly Creole, with strange customs and even stranger food. Eventually they are given their own house, with a steady breeze from the ocean and electricity. Also lizards and a wondrous variety of spiders, which spin webs like nets overnight.

Their school is on another island, which they reach by landing craft each morning, together with other recruited teachers. The voyage is spent gagging on the acrid black smoke from the engine. Their classrooms are outside under tin roofs, which heat the air beneath to baking levels by the end of each day, and have poisonous centipedes dropping in from time to time. Teachers at the school come from various European countries as well as Sri Lanka and Mauritius, making a colourful, multilingual lot. The students, by contrast, are perpetually sleepy and unengaged in learning, despite Bev and Carol’s best efforts.

This memoir is filled with eclectic characters, surprising and humorous adventures, lots of local beer, and experiences on and with an ancient Kawasaki 250 cc motorbike they purchase for getting around. Along the way, the reader is nicely schooled in the sometimes harsh realities of life in a poor, politically unstable country. A concatenation of events lead to Sue and Carol’s long and eventually successful attempt to terminate their contract after the first school term: most significantly to them was the ban on traveling anywhere during their breaks except within the Seychelles and Mauritius. Not to mention the lack of eligible men.

This was a fun read, written with a sharp wit and keen sense of humour, with an eye to the ridiculous and candour with the politics. It’s a great memoir. It made me want to be young again, carefree and open to any adventure.

Bev Spicer was born in a small market town in the Midlands of England and educated at Queens’ College, Cambridge. She was a lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University before moving to live in France with her husband and two of her children; there she writes full-time. Along the way, she has been a teacher, blackjack dealer for Playboy, examiner, secretary (various sorts – most boringly ‘legal’) and Sunday checkout girl at Tescos. As well as France, she has lived in Bridgnoth, Cambridge, Rethymnon (Crete), and Mahe (Seychelles). The next place she has said she wants to explore is probably Spain. She reports that her husband is very tolerant.

She loves people, reading, writing, speaking French, astronomy (quantum theory addict), gardening, traveling, and hates housework, cooking, drizzle and honey.

Sounds like my kind of author!

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