Smallbrook by Gary Cann

SmallbrookSmallbrook by Gary Cann

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Smallbrook is a historical novel set in a small fictional village in Britain during World War 1. It’s May 1916 and Nathan Holt is returning to the village of Dalton Combe, a place he once ran away from to join the army. He’s searching for some peace of mind after the horrific trauma of the trenches and he’s nursing a leg wound.

He used to live with his Aunt and Uncle but they’ve both died since he left. He finds a village with no young or old men, few healthy horses left to do any work, yet farms need help with the harvest and everyday chores.

First Nathan finds work when welsh carter John Evans falls ill, but then he moves on to help Jenny Tiley from Smallbrook farm, with the hay crop and stays on to help with the farm. A sweet romance follows, Jenny is a widow, her husband died in the war. The pair face the village gossips as they work well together, but all this stops when Jenny hears that her husband is actually in a hospital in Hereford and not dead at all.

She travels to Hereford to find Edward Tiley with severe injuries and not the man he once was. He insists on returning home but he is now an invalid and will need much care and nursing. He’s bitter and angry and jealousy of Nathan begins upon first sighting.

The book ends with a couple of twists showing that the repercussions of war reach far and wide with their ripple effect.

I found the book interesting but it had a very slow start, it didn’t pick up for me until we started to see some emotions between Jenny and Nathan, it was then that I began to engage with the book, but I drifted apart again after the drama with Edward.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Karen reviews Bells On Her Toes by Diana J Febry

Today we have a review from team member Karen, she blogs at


Karen chose to read and review Bells On Her Toes by Diana J Febry.


The book introduces you to DCI Peter Hatherall and DI Fiona Williams. They are called to Elmsgrove Farm where human remains are discovered after a suspicious barn fire.

With Bells On Her Toes, Diana J. Febry has created an intriguing story of a relatively easy seeming case that is just the beginning of a strange series of events. Bells On Her Toes is a very gripping read with lovingly elaborated characters; I learned a lot about the characters, more details than usual – yet not too many details. Diana J. Febry gives the reader time to get acquainted with the characters and the case and it gets more and more thrilling as the story proceeds. I was drawn into the story right away, was really close to Peter, Fiona and all events. Bells On Her Toes is a great British mystery. You will enjoy it even if you usually prefer fast-paced reads.

This a book to read again. Highly recommended.

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Loved and Lost by Allison Christie

Loved and LostLoved and Lost by Allison Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Loved and Lost is a memoir narrated by eighty-six year old Abigail Milan. Abby tells Carrie, her carer, about the few years of her teenage life when she experienced a great first love to a boy she believed was her soul mate, we as the reader are like a fly on the wall listening in to the tale.

Full of teenage hormones and attitude we meet Abby and Allen in 1994, they quickly become inseparable in the intense first love of teenagers and go through many highs and lows with several break-ups. Abby is jealous of Al’s girl friends and he in turn doesn’t like her mixing with other boys. Throw in underage drinking, a sex life that leads to an unplanned pregnancy, plus and a social life that many teenagers follow.

Abby tells Carrie about these couple of years in infinite detail remembering all the arguments, phone calls, anxiety and accusations as if it were yesterday. For these teenagers it was the be all and end all of life, yet Abby went on to live another seventy years. She’ll not forget Al and the love she had for him.

This book hovers across the YA and NA genres, at sixteen the characters are a little young for the new adult genre, yet the underage drinking and sex scenes are not really for the young adult market. The story ended a little abruptly for me and didn’t return to Abby and her carer for any summary or reason for the whole memoir storyline.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Judith reviews Bound by Blood by Margo Collins

Today’s review is from team member Judith, she blogs at


Judith chose to read and review Bound by Blood by Margo Bond Collins


My Rating 3 out of 5 stars

The cover of this novella is creepy; it says all that the reader needs to know about the genre. This is a horror story – vampires and all. I need to be honest here and admit this is not my kind of book but I chose to review it and so have read it as I would any other kind of genre.

I felt the story was more plot driven than character revealing. Although the protagonist, Lili,a doctor who works for the CDC, was portrayed as courageous and determined to do everything to save humanity, I still felt there was something lacking. Something that didn’t quite make her into a rounded character for me.

The descriptions of the virus in each scene were vivid. But I struggled to get a sense of place – of the hospital the story is set in.

The book’s strength is the dialogue. Sharp and to the point,  much of the back story of all three main characters, Lili,  Will, the doctor – colleague and ex lover, Harry Iverson – uncle of one of the children at the hospital and a detective, is revealed through their speech. And the internal dialogue of the protagonist shows the struggle she is experiencing against the virus.

When I finished my review I looked back on other reviews of BOUND by Blood, just to make sure I was being as fair as I could be. I have to say I am in the minority; there are readers who thoroughly enjoyed this novella. In one of them I read this sentence -“There are graphically violent situations in this book that involve children, so sensitive readers should steer clear”. So there we are – proof that I’m a sensitive soul.

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Destroyed – Book 2 in the Soul-Keeper Series by L.A Starkey

Destroyed (Soul Keeper, #2)Destroyed by L.A. Starkey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Destroyed is book 2 in the Soul Keeper fantasy series, it’s a YA read but very suitable for adults too. In the first book we met Sam an adopted teenager. She’s had dreams with a couple of love interests who have recently appeared at her local school. Her best friend has just died in a traffic accident and she’s finding it really hard to come to terms with this, whilst she’s been given an interesting book about a prophecy and the Greek Gods. It all seems rather vaguely familiar to her but Sam can’t quite put her finger on it and she has a lot of questions.

In book 2 the story continues, Sam accepts Marcus and Nicholas into her life, she has been told that she is their Soul Keeper and that they are all about to live out the prophecy which looks like it may have a tragic ending unless they can find an alternative. There may just be one spark of hope as the teenagers head off on a trail to find a lost exit clause.

The author does a really good job of helping the reader get their heads around all the complicated relationships between the Greek Gods, all the sons, daughters, half sisters, cousins, nephews etc that Greek history has thrown at us. I like the pace of the book and the love triangle is intense and tantalising. This book ends on a cliff hanger which will have fans screaming NO!!! But book 3 is now available so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Amanda reviews S.C.A.R.S. by Julia Ibbotson

Today we have a review from Amanda, she blogs at


Amanda chose to read and review S.C.A.R.S by Julia Ibbotson in conjunction with Brook Cottage Books


PLEASE NOTE: This is a children’s novel.

Julia wrote this book as a young girl and it so good you would never know that . i like Julia writhing style it so easy to read and just flows so well you just get caught up in this wonderful fantasy story
I would say the book aim at children in their teens but i am a adult and i really did enjoy it so i say anyone could read

Gavin a lovely boy but he seem to be having a hard time at school as he getting bullied
He seem to love king Arthur and he alway reading about all things medieval this is his escape i felt he did enjoy it so much

Sometimes at night he hears voices calling him one night he followed the voice into this wonderful fantasy world of Unor
Here they call him Gawain he so powerful and so happy here trying to save the land can the good overpower the evil
This world is full of knights , dragons and kings, The king set him on a quest .Did he do the quest ?

The book will just captures your imagination you will want to read more to see what going to happen next

Julia Descriptions just instantly transport you into this world you can see it all in your mind you are there with them all

As i said before Julia Writhing style just flowed seamlessly and just draw me into this fascinating story .
I want to tell you more about the plot but i want you all to read

The book shows you want friendship all about and what evil all around us in one way or another .i loved that Gavin escape into this world i enjoy reading about his two life’s
Can he save the people of Unor ?
Can he defect the evil enemy ?
Just a wonderful book that will hook you into this wonderful world
You will love all the characters you feel part of this book it so good


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Septembers by Christopher Prendergast

Product DetailsSeptembers is a tale of Noir fiction the protagonist Mark is a victim, a suspect and a perpetrator in the activities of his life. He also shows self-destructive qualities as events spiral downwards and inwards on himself.
The book opens with Matt travelling with Annabel, she parks the car on the side of the motorway and we are left asking why she might get out and walk dangerously close to the fast moving cars.
Then the story turns back two years and we see Matt as a failing history school teacher having a relationship with Annabel who works in the school reception. Annabel shows a need to live dangerously on the edge.Their relationship breaks up and Matt moves on to teach at a college where he soon discovers funding for the history department is being cut.
At a conference Matt meets the eccentric Jaroslaw who takes him under his wing and introduces him to his set of friends. Whilst travelling to a school to run a workshop they are viciously attacked and later Matt finds a hooligan and hands out his own punishment. His guilt over many things he’s recently done comes back to haunt him as we come full circle and find Matt and Annabel driving off to escape any consequences.
This style of fiction can be both clever and confusing, the twists and turns and eloquent use of words show a depth of writing which at times is hard to follow. It’s not an easy read and one that suits a niche market of followers.
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Rosie’s Book review Team #RBRT Liz Reviews Six Months To Get A Life by Ben Adams

Today we have a review from team member Liz, she blogs at


Liz chose to read and review Six Months To Get A Life by Ben Adams


Six Months to Get a Life by Ben Adams

At the beginning of Six Months to Get a Life I found Ben Adams’ novel a relaxed easy read, of the type you might find in a Women’s magazine, except that this story is told from the point of view of a man. A man in the middle of a mid-life crisis, his marriage is over, he is living with his parents and spending weekends looking after his sons.

Graham Hope works in a boring office, earns barely enough to fund the maintenance of his ex-wife and sons, and longs for a new relationship. Writing in the form of a diary, he decides to take a positive attitude, intending that on his 43rd birthday in exactly 6 months he will have a more interesting job, his own place to live, a social life and a good relationship with Sean and Jack.

At first we are forced to despair of Graham. He lacks confidence, relies on others and is indecisive. A blind date introduces him to “Miss Putney” but is this the promise of sexual satisfaction and companionship that he seeks? He may be forced to find another job quicker than he intended and increasing tension in his parent’s house, partly caused by his amiable but messy dog Albus, means an alternative residence is becoming urgent.

I enjoyed the fact that the novel is rooted in the present day with detailed references to last year’s football World Cup and mention of current events. Jack & Sean are charming, yet normal, boys at the outset of their teenage years. Although it is not easy to empathise with “the Ex” wife, Graham does allow us to understand her point of view. There is a delightful, very British, ironic humour running through the story.

As soon as things begin to improve for Graham, disaster strikes and he is forced to face up to his feelings and intentions for the future. The book takes a more serious turn, and I found myself reading well into the night to reach the denouement. This would make such a good TV serial but in the meantime I recommend that you read the book!

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Rosie’s Avid Reader’s #RBRT Private London by James Paterson

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….”


Avid Reader’s Thoughts

A very fast moving thriller. Jack Morgan and his detective agency that has never ending resources!!

Book Description


For Hannah Shapiro, a beautiful young American student, this particular nightmare began eight years ago in Los Angeles, when Jack Morgan, owner of Private – the world’s most exclusive detective agency – saved her from a horrific death. She has fled her country, but can’t flee her past. The terror has followed her to London, and now it is down to former Royal Military Police Sergeant Dan Carter, head of Private London, to save her all over again.

In central London, young women are being abducted off the street. When the bodies are found, some days later, they have been mutilated in a particularly mysterious way. Dan Carter’s ex-wife, DI Kirsty Webb, is involved in the investigation and it looks likely that the two cases are gruesomely linked.

Dan Carter draws on the whole resources of Private International in a desperate race against the odds. But the clock is ticking… Private may be the largest and most technologically advanced detection agency in the world, but the only thing they don’t have is the one thing they need – time.

James Patterson’s white-knuckle rollercoaster has just reached London. Buckle up, it’s one hell of a ride!

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How To Complain by Helen Dewdney

How to Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and RESULTS!How to Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and RESULTS! by Helen Dewdney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How to complain: The essential consumer guide to getting refunds, redress and results is a non-fiction book most suitable for UK readers. Here in Britain we are famous for complaining about the weather. But what about if you had a genuine need to complain? Helen Dewdney has put together a very comprehensive collection of advice from your consumer rights to noisy neighbours, she looks at holidays, Ebay, public transport, council parking tickets and even what to do in a small claims court.

I liked the addition of templates to use when writing to the supplier or the service provider whom you wish to make a complaint to, plus there are useful contact information for various bodies of authority.

Helen is an advocate of writing your complaint rather than making a phone call. One thing she does emphasis and that is the need to be an effective complainer, someone who knows their rights, acts politely and doesn’t get fobbed off.

This is a book to dip in and out of as issues occur and one to keep on the book-shelf for future reference.

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