Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistFic #Mystery A SICKNESS OF THE SOUL by @penandpension

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading A Sickness Of The Soul by William Savage

This book was purchased for review.

I will admit I am a fan of William Savage’s mysteries. He has two series, one about Adam Bascomb, MD, and the other about Ashmole Foxe, bookseller, stylish dresser and man about town. Both are set in or around Norwich, England in the period between 1760 and 1800, a period of great turmoil in the country.  I enjoy both, but Ashmole Foxe is a favorite character of mine.

Although Ashmole Foxe is not of the nobility, he is a tradesman of the highest order and has a friend in Alderman Halloran. Halloran serves as a link between Foxe and the mayor of the city and its wealthy merchants, who frequently employ his investigative talents and logical mind in solving the murders of noblemen and women, merchants, and tradesmen. Mr. Foxe has developed nicely through the series (each book of which is stand-alone) with the gradual creation of an extended family that assists him in his pursuit of murderers: Mrs. Susannah Crombie, a widow who runs his bookshop; Charlie, a street urchin whom Foxe is grooming to be a bookbinder and who interacts with street urchins in pursuing clues for Foxe; and Miss Tabitha Studwell, a Cunning Woman (wise woman), herbalist and healer.

In this outing, Foxe finds himself with three murders to solve, and they each present him with different challenges. The first, and most important to the mayor, is the stabbing death of the son of Lord Frederick Aylestone, son of Viscount Penngrove, at a masquerade. The second is the death of an elderly collector of books of the occult, found stabbed in his library following an interview with a rare visitor. The third, and the one which Foxe is most emotionally involved, is the stabbing death of a man the street urchins called ‘Uncle’ – a poor person who lived on the streets but who was good and kind to them and whose body was discovered to have a valuable pendant around the neck, bearing the crest of a local semi-noble family.

The various paths Foxe chooses takes in solving each mystery are intertwined but are taken slowly and deliberately – after all, this is a historical period when life proceeds at a slow pace and within the confines of social norms. I enjoyed the challenge of seeing if I could keep up with, or ahead of, Foxe in his thinking. This only happened with the first murder but was enjoyable nonetheless. The twists and turns of each path keeps readers on their toes and second-guessing.

The author is a past master of the history of the times and manages to include a wealth of detail – the city and its underbelly of crime, the people, and the social strata, not to mention the clothes, the food, manners and the décor. All of this makes the reader feel they are living there with Ashemole Foxe. Each character is well-drawn and compelling for their sins, foibles, or goodness. The mysteries are always drawn to a suitable conclusion, and there is always a teaser at the end. In the last book, Foxe, a heretofore confirmed bachelor who satisfied his needs in elite brothels, proposed to Lady Arabella Cockerham. Her response led him to believe he had been rejected. Or had he? This time around we learn more about Lady Arabella.

This was a thoroughly satisfying book and for fans of William Savage and for those who have not yet had the pleasure of being introduced to his two sleuths, I highly recommend this as a great read.

Book description

“Many people wear masks. Some to hide their feelings; some to conceal their identity; and some to hide that most hideous plague of mankind: a sickness in the soul.”

Ashmole Foxe, Norwich bookseller, man-about-town and solver of mysteries will encounter all of these in this tangled drama of hatred, obsession and redemption.

This is a story set in the England of the 1760s, a time of rigid class distinctions, where the rich idle their days away in magnificent mansions, while hungry children beg, steal and prostitute themselves on the streets. An era on the cusp of revolution in America and France; a land where outward wealth and display hide simmering political and social tensions; a country which had faced intermittent war for the past fifty years and would need to survive a series of world-wide conflicts in the fifty years ahead.

Faced with no less than three murders, occurring from the aristocracy to the seeming senseless professional assassination of a homeless vagrant, Ashmole Foxe must call on all his skill and intelligence to uncover the sickness which is appears to be infecting his city’s very soul.

Can Foxe uncover the truth which lies behind a series of baffling deaths, from an aristocrat attending a ball to a vagrant murdered where he slept in a filthy back-alley?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #YA #Dystopia THE UNADJUSTEDS by Marisa Noelle

The UnadjustedsThe Unadjusteds by Marisa Noelle

3 stars

The Unadjusters is a young adult dystopian novel.

Silver Melody lives in a world where people are genetically altered with enhanced skills or abilities. Silver accepts her school acquaintances who might have wings or bulked muscles, or who have incredible speed.

The modifications arrive via the ingestion of nanite pills, originally made to cure diseases like cancer until greed, power and money influenced the direction of their development. Now around eighty per cent of the population have an altered DNA.

Although Silver’s parents helped create the nanites, Silver is against them because she has seen some horrific deaths from people taking the pills . She’s not alone; her mother was imprisoned after speaking out against the newer genetic changes.  When the President declares that everyone must take the pills, Silver flees her home and joins a group of renegades. As the world spirals into nanite-related chaos, Silver’s hopes lie with her still imprisoned parents who might be able to help reverse the genetic alterations.

I’ve read other books in this genre where people choose to alter the way they look, so I was interested to see where the author took this storyline. I liked the array of skills and abilities that were introduced. The story was fast paced with plenty of action and lots of characters. At times I felt there were too many characters as it became hard to picture them all. I enjoyed some of their background stories but I thought the sheer number of characters meant that the author missed out on making the main characters fully rounded and really memorable.

My biggest disappointment was that too often there was a lack of explanation or believable narrative. For instance, teenage characters might know a detail or were assigned actions that made me question the plausibility of the plot. I understand that much of this book is fantasy, but it still needs to be believable within the fiction.

Overall, a promising storyline, but it needed more attention to the details for it to work for me.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Sixteen-year-old Silver Melody lives in a world where 80% of the population has modified their DNA. Known as the altereds, those people now possess enhancements like wings, tails, and increased strength or intelligence. Although Silver’s parents created the nanite pill used to deliver these genetic modifications, Silver is proud of her unadjusted state.

However, when the president declares all unadjusteds must take a nanite, Silver has no choice but to flee the city with her father and some friends to prevent the extinction of the unadjusteds.

With Silver’s mother in prison for treason, Silver’s father is the unadjusteds’ only hope at finding a cure. But time is running out as Silver’s father is captured by the president’s almost immortal army. Vicious hellhounds are on Silver’s trail, and her only chance to recover her father involves teaming up with a new group of unlikely friends before all humanity is lost.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistoricalRomance A CONVENIENT FICTION by @MimiMatthewsEsq

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading A Convenient Fiction by Mimi Matthews

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 “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife,” but for Alex Archer the opposite is true. He has come to Surrey in search of an heiress. Such a man doesn’t sound like a hero, but Alex has hidden depths. He is one of a group of boys from an orphanage who grew up to achieve success but in his case his life has not given him happiness.

Laura had a happy childhood but after her father’s death, she and her sickly brother have a limited income, maintaining respectability while submitting to the patronising charity of local heiress, Henrietta.  Laura is a capable, determined woman.  She does her best to extricate the family’s once successful perfume business from a wily solicitor but her position as a single woman means she has little power.

The tumultuous relationship which develops between Alex and Laura promises no happy ending, since each aim for a different conclusion to their problems but their conversation and interaction is fascinating to read.  We come to realise that such independent thinkers are well matched, but fate seems to be against them.

For those who have read the previous books in this series, there is an interesting meeting with the other parish orphans, but it is not necessary to have read those books first.  The books of Mimi Matthews are unique. Although historical romances they do not follow the usual template.  With a nod to Jane Austen, these frank, determined heroines break down their heroes’ reserve causing the men to admit their true feelings. There is an immediacy about this story which makes easy reading for a modern reader.  Another delightful book by this talented, knowledgeable author.

Book description

She Needed a Husband…

It’s been three years since Laura Hayes’s father died, leaving her and her invalid brother to subsist on the income from the family’s failing perfume business. But time is swiftly running out. What she needs is a husband, and fast. A noble gentleman who can rescue them all from penury. When a mysterious stranger arrives in the village, he seems a perfect candidate. But Alex Archer is no hero. In fact, he just might be the opposite.

He Wanted a Fortune…

Alex has no tolerance for sentiment. He’s returned to England for one reason only: to find a wealthy wife. A country-bred heiress in Surrey seems the perfect target. But somewhere between the village railway station and the manor house his mercenary plan begins to unravel. And it’s all the fault of Laura Hayes—a lady as unsuitable as she is enchanting.

From the beaches of Margate to the lavender fields of Provence, a grudging friendship slowly blossoms into something more. But when scandal threatens, can a man who has spent his entire life playing the villain, finally become a hero? Or will the lure of easy riches once again outweigh the demands of his heart?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Historical #Mystery AN ECHO OF SCANDAL by @LauraMadeleine #TuesdayBookBlog

An Echo of ScandalAn Echo of Scandal by Laura Madeleine

4.5 stars

An Echo Of Scandal is a dual time novel set mainly in Tangier.

It is 1978 and Sam is a destitute American who has been drifting through Western Europe and is now in Tangier. He plays at writing but he cannot find his muse, until he buys an old writing case. It leads him on a colourful journey through Tangier, both past and present as the reader is beguiled by the mysticism of the city that is a gateway between continents.

The second story, from 1928, begins in Spain. Ale is an orphan who lives in a brothel where she is taught how to make wonderful dishes from meagre ingredients. When she is accused of murder, though, no one helps her and she is forced to run away. Disguising herself as a man, to make travelling safer, she makes her way to Tangier, a multinational city, in the hope of re-inventing her life.

I really enjoyed the clear images of the people and the settings in this book. I could feel the heat, smell the food and see the bright colours in Tangier. Both stories drew me in to the plight of the characters and I liked how the two stories came together. The pace suited the lifestyle as Sam teased out Ale’s story with all its twists and turns, while I thought the ending left just enough questions which kept me thinking about it for several days.

Overall a good atmospheric mystery, especially for anyone with an interest in this era or in Tangier.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

In the dead of night, with blood on her hands, she made her escape.

Accused of murder, Alejandra flees her home, escaping to the southern edge of Spain, where she faces a life of poverty and destitution.

Seduced by the power of the rich and the anonymity that waits across the water in Tangier, Ale makes a bid for a new start. But it will come at a cost: a life of deception. Because Ale’s new friends want to know what she is running from, they want to know who she is and whether they can trust her.

Fifty years later, a young American writer wanders the streets of Tangier, searching for inspiration. When he stumbles across a trace of Ale’s life, he finds himself tangled in a story of scandal, love and danger that has not yet reached its end.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Christmas Themed #HistoricalRomance INVITATION TO A CORNISH CHRISTMAS by @MargueriteKaye and @Bronwynscott

Invitation to a Cornish ChristmasInvitation to a Cornish Christmas by Marguerite Kaye

4 stars

Invitation To A Cornish Christmas is a book containing two short Regency romance stories.

Both are set in a Cornish fishing village. The first story is The Captain’s Christmas Proposal. It is the story of silversmith Emily Faulkner and Captain Penhaligon, a gentleman who has recently inherited the Karrek estates. Both of them are outsiders to the community―can they find peace and acceptance here?

The second story is Unwrapping His Festive Temptation. Cador Kitto is a celebrated composer who has returned to Porth Karrek, the place of his birth, at the request of Captain Penhaligon, to compose a Christmas cantata. Rosenwyn Treleven believes that Cador is a devilish rake and she will do anything to protect her sisters from him. Both are running from their haunted pasts.

I enjoyed the settings of these stories and the second flowed easily on from the first allowing the reader to be further charmed by the rugged landscape and the call of the sea. The Christmas theme gave the stories direction, but I would be happy to read these at any time of the year.

Overall, two Christmas romances which are ideal for those who enjoy this historical period.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Welcome to a Regency Christmas…

…in these two festive short stories!

Captain Treeve Penhaligon must return to Cornwall when he inherits his family’s grand estate. But could his meeting with Emily Faulkner on the wild beaches be even more life changing? Find out in Marguerite Kaye’s The Captain’s Christmas Proposal. Then, discover what happens when Treeve invites composer Cador Kitto to complete the celebrations, and Cade clashes with local girl Rosenwyn Treleven in Unwrapping His Festive Temptation by Bronwyn Scott…

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #Mystery MURDER AT THE COLUMBARIUM by @TheEmilyGallo @ImChrisBarboza

Murder at the ColumbariumMurder at the Columbarium by Emily Gallo

4 stars

Murder At The Columbarium is a relaxed paced contemporary mystery which is set in San Francisco.

Jed is the caretaker of the Columbarium which is a building with niches where funeral urns are stored. One morning he finds the body of a Pakistani woman inside the gates, and beside her a baby.

While the police investigate the murder, Jed takes it upon himself to also do some sleuthing.

The reader is easily enveloped into Jed’s multi-racial world and the story smoothly incorporates HIV, racialism, Parkinson’s disease, and several elements from the LGBTQ community lifestyle. The author wrote these parts without preaching to her audience, which I appreciated.

I liked Jed’s dedication to his caretaking job, especially the moments when he took time to sing to the ‘occupants’ during his daily rounds. He was a very likeable character and went out of his way to help others.

I understand that this book has some characters from a previous book, but I didn’t feel that I missed anything by not reading it.

Overall a pleasant amateur sleuth style mystery which expressed the current multi-culture of the American city in a natural and very readable format.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Jed’s quiet life as caretaker of the San Francisco Columbarium is turned upside down when he comes upon a dead woman’s body and a crying baby just inside the gate. His search for answers thrusts him into a world of corruption, bigotry and drug trafficking and he becomes one of the principal suspects.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #HistoricalRomance THE TRUTH BEHIND THEIR PRACTICAL MARRIAGE by @MargueriteKaye

The Truth Behind Their Practical MarriageThe Truth Behind Their Practical Marriage by Marguerite Kaye

4 stars

The Truth Behind Their Practical Marriage is book three in the Penniless Brides Of Convenience series of historical romances.

This is Estelle’s story―so far she has seen both of her sisters settled in happy marriages, while she is still searching for her calling. While travelling alone on the Continent, a rarity for a woman in the 1800s, Estelle meets Aidan. He is a mathematician from Ireland who is studying in Florence. They spend idyllic days together away from the outside world.

They agree to marry for a number of practical reasons rather than love and soon head to Aidan’s home in Ireland. However, here the hidden past catches up with Aidan and it threatens to destroy all the happiness he has found with Estelle.

I enjoyed this story, particularly the parts set in Florence. I was also interested to read the author’s note that this story was influenced by Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. I read a copy of that book so many years ago that I can no longer recall its storyline, so I was unable to compare the two, but this detail may be of interest to others.

Overall, a good addition to this series.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

A marriage hiding secrets

…but forged by passion!

Penniless Brides of Convenience story. Miss Estelle Brannagh has never met a man who’s tempted her to renounce her hard-won independence—until an encounter with Irish landowner Aidan Malahide blossoms into spine-tingling attraction. He’s carefree and charismatic; accepting his proposal seems practical and shockingly desirable! Yet Aidan is hiding a dark secret, and it will take all of Estelle’s courage to ensure it doesn’t tear them apart…

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #RomCom HATE THE GAME by @hollyhallbooks

Today’s team review is from Wendy, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Wendy has been reading Hate The Game by Holly Hall

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Hate the Game is a story about Ava, a relationship consultant by day,  single woman by night, who puts her heart into finding love for others. Ava, like all of us, has been hurt from a previous relationship and isn’t quite ready for love. So, you know what they say…..


Sometimes when you least expect it, love comes right to your front door. It has never happened to me but I also do not live in an apartment building like Ava. Side note: one of things that made this book come to life for me is that it is set in the heart of Chicago. Coincidentally, I was actually in Chicago when I was reading this book, but lets get back to Ava…..Ava coincidentally runs into Theo in her apartment building one night after coming home from work.


Ava is given an assignment at work that Theo’s career makes for an ideal opportunity for them to spend more time together and their relationship starts to bloom. However, nothing is as it seems……does love conquer all? You will have to read the book!


This book is very well written and the story line is very exciting. I really enjoyed reading this book as it had a plot twist I didn’t see coming. I give this book four stars.

Book description

My official title: Relationship Consultant. A modern-day, one-sided matchmaker. When I approach relationships like a formula, it’s simple really. If only I had the same success in my personal life.

My gorgeous neighbor turns me into a fumbling mess, and I don’t exactly match the leggy, model-types I’ve seen him with. Despite the fact that we’re total opposites, our chemistry is almost hot enough to convince me to give the dating game another shot. (Not to mention, it’s totally off-brand to be a relationship skeptic.)

What could it hurt to practice what I preach? After all, Theo Hartley would be a fun specimen to practice with. And if things go south—which is my luck—I just have to remember what I tell my clients:

don’t hate the player…

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #CrimeFiction THE PAPERBOY by @DianaJFebry

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Paperboy by Diane J. Febry

The Paperboy: A rural detective mystery (Peter Hatherall Mystery Book 6) by [Febry, Diana J]

This is a murder mystery with its roots in the past. Amanda Beresford is a single mother with a young son, Freddie. She is struggling to make ends meet and Freddie’s father is no help. While walking in the park one day with Freddie, in a seemingly random attack she is stabbed twice and her attacker flees without being caught.

In the 1990s Peter Hatherall was a young inexperienced police constable who, together with another constable, was sent to investigate the report of a missing boy. Jeff Powell had a paper round which he completed each morning before school, but on that particular morning the school telephoned his mother to say Jeff had failed to arrive. The two young officers were not prepared for what they found at a seemingly deserted and isolated farm near the village of Mickleburgh.

Back in the present, as Peter and his partner DCI Fiona Williams investigate the murder of Amanda Beresford, an old photograph is found at Amanda’s house which raises concerns for Peter. Despite the tragedy in his life at the time and the concerns he raised about the case, which resulted in his suspension, Peter has never completely forgotten his first major case. The doubts he had at the time about the validity of the conviction began to surface. The time has come for Peter to delve deeper into how the case was conducted all those years ago and find the connections between Jeff’s death and the murder of Amanda Beresford.

The look back at the young Peter added to his character development and both his and Fiona’s personal lives have changed over the course of the series. Reviewing the earlier case brings back bad memories for Peter. It also makes Fiona doubt Peter and question the reasons for his decisions. Her trust in him is tested almost to the limit.

A well crafted and intricate plot is written in the third person and comes from various perspectives, introducing several potential suspects, all who had motive. The two threads are woven together well as the investigation begins to uncover evidence and information that was either overlooked or discounted from the original murder. The only thing that didn’t quite gel for me was the later thought processes of the perpetrator, but other than that The Paperboy was another enjoyable addition to the series and I hope there’ll be more with Peter and Fiona.

Book description

A stand-alone murder mystery featuring DCI Peter Hatherall.
A young mother brutally stabbed in a busy park in front of her son.
A paperboy shot in an isolated farmhouse twenty-four years previously.
DI Fiona Williams is baffled when her senior officer, DCI Peter Hatherall makes a connection between the two cases.
As details of Hatherall’s involvement in the old case emerge, her loyalty is tested to breaking point and she starts to question his decisions.
When the murdered woman’s son does missing the time for hesitating is over.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistoricalFiction THE CONFESSOR’S WIFE by Kelly Evans

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Confessor’s Wife by Kelly Evans

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As more and more historical novels hit the virtual shelves, authors of the genre are digging deeper to find the lesser known characters to write about.  Edith was, as the title suggests, the wife of Edward the Confessor, one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England.  Edward was succeeded by Harold Godwinson, who was famously defeated by William of Normandy in 1066.

I enjoyed this – it’s a light sort of historical fiction that flows well, an ‘easy read’.  I don’t know much about the factual details of this time, but I did have a brief look online and it appears to be well-researched.  Also, the domestic details are presented well, with just enough information—I liked that there was none of the endless descriptive passages straight from the research notes that is present in some histfic; I never felt that I was reading the author’s research at all, which is always a plus.

On the slight downside there were times when I felt the dialogue was too modern, with the odd mild Americanism such as ‘snuck’ instead of ‘sneaked’, though they weren’t bad enough to make me stop reading.  My only other negative was problems with punctuation; either the author or her proofreader, or preferably both, need to learn about run-on sentences/comma splices; there were quite a lot of these, and the odd missing comma.  But, again, this was only mildly irritating.

This isn’t a book for the historical fiction purist or buff, but for those who are only after an enjoyable, light novel with some well-drawn characters and an interesting look back in time, I’d say it’s just the thing.

Book description

In the 11th Century, when barren wives are customarily cast aside, how does Edith of Wessex not only manage to stay married to King Edward the Confessor, but also become his closest advisor, promote her family to the highest offices in the land, AND help raise her brother to the throne? And why is her story only told in the footnotes of Edward’s history?

Not everyone approves of Edward’s choice of bride. Even the king’s mother, Emma of Normandy, detests her daughter-in-law and Edith is soon on the receiving end of her displeasure. Balancing her sense of family obligation with her duty to her husband, Edith must also prove herself to her detractors.

Edward’s and Edith’s relationship is respectful and caring, but when Edith’s enemies engineer her family’s fall from grace, the king is forced to send her away. She vows to do anything to protect her family’s interests if she returns, at any cost. Can Edith navigate the dangerous path fate has set her, while still remaining loyal to both her husband and her family?

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