Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The Warrior Princess of Deheubarth by @laurelworlds #TuesdayBooklog

Today’s team review is from Brittany, she blogs here https://brittthereader.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading The Warrior Princess Of Deheubarth by Laurel A Rockefeller

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Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd: The Warrior Princess of Deheubarth by Laurel Rockefeller

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars

Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd: The Warrior Princess of Deheubarth is the sixth installment in Laurel Rockefeller’s The Legendary Women of World History series. It is a brief novelization about the life, legacy and fighting spirit of a Welsh princess (Gwenllian frech Gruffydd) who led her people into battle against the Normans. I have long been an avid reader of historical fiction, and this story is a welcome addition to the genre.

The story excels in portraying the world of Wales during the 1100’s. Simple descriptions about the daily life, the surrounding regions and annual celebrations ground the reader in the time period. Rockefeller also keeps the reader grounded in understanding how the shifting politics throughout the region and in London in particular impacted the Welsh. The most shocking part of the story was the betrayal Gwenllian faced.

Rockefeller’s love of the Welsh language is evident throughout the book. The use of the Welsh names and locations added to the authenticity of the story. However, beyond names and locations, the use of the old language caused confusion for me. Gwenllian frech Gruffydd’s native tongue is frequently interspersed throughout conversations. At one point Gwenllian sings a song while playing the harp, and the song is written entirely in her native language. A typical reader will find this incomprehensible.

The story is brief and lingers longest on the battle and events leading up to Gwenllian frech Gruffydd’s death. She was a heroic fighter and through Rockefeller’s portrayal is it easy to see why the Welsh cried her name into battle for centuries to follow. The ending of the story beautifully nods to the lineage that followed Gwenllian frech Gruffydd and muses what her option on it must be. “Surely in some place beyond this physical world, Princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, the warrior princess of Deheubarth watched the coronation of Queen Elizabeth Tudor, a woman born of her blood and legacy, and smiled.”

After the story there is a timeline of Welsh history from 844 to 1282 and an extensive suggested reading bibliography that provides a wealth of information for those looking to research the topic further. The timeline was thorough and interesting. In future installments in this series, I would love to see the selected events spaced along a horizontal line. Images of Wales and any remaining structures from the story, as well as artistic renderings of the individuals discussed would also be a most welcome addition to the story.

I received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team

Book Description

Princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd’s fascinating and tragic true story comes to life in this special bi-lingual Welsh-English edition!
Born in 1097 in Aberffraw Castle, Princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd ap Cynan was always destined for great things. Beautiful, kind, and one of the finest archers in all of Wales, Gwenllian’s courage against the Norman Conquest of Wales has inspired generations of Welsh for nearly one thousand years.

About the author

Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA Laurel A. Rockefeller is author of over twenty books published and self-published since August, 2012. A dedicated scholar and biographical historian, Ms. Rockefeller is passionate about education and improving history literacy worldwide. 
With her easy to understand fireside storytelling style, Laurel A. Rockefeller is the historian for people who do not like history. 
In her spare time, Laurel enjoys spending time with her cockatiels, attending living history activities, travelling to historic places in both the United States and United Kingdom, and watching classic motion pictures and television series.

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Rosie’s Team #RBRT A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice by Mark Barry @GreenWizard62 #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Barb has been reading A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice by Mark Barry

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gold starMy Review: 5 out of 5 stars for A Shiny Coin for Carol Prentice by Mark Barry

According to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Narcissus was a youth of such surpassing beauty that he spurned admirers, including the infatuated nymph Echo. His only love was given to his beautiful face, causing the heartbroken Echo to fade away until only her voice was left. But the impossibility of his reflection ever returning his passion eventually led to Narcissus’ destruction, and he wasted away as well.

Carol admits that she may well be an unreliable narrator—”I was probably lying to myself, even then.” But even so, her descriptions of everything from her fabulous vintage/goth outfits to the English spring weather help to set the scene. “For late spring, it was cool, and rainy, an unbroken, ironed graphite sheet above, a breeze pregnant with moisture.” Forget your gamboling lambs and fluffy clouds—this is the England we all know. Her words paint what should be a picture-perfect English village, the kind the BBC loves to film, full of wealthy, beautiful people. But she shows it from the inside out, a Stepford landscape of assumed right and privilege.But when her father dies unexpectedly, Carol feels compelled to return home. She develops The Plan, a mysterious idea that will allow her revenge on those who hurt her in the past. Carol takes a job in a bookstore managed by Steve, a middle-aged intellectual who becomes first her friend and then her ally in the war which appears to start over a mispriced comic book. As the disagreement between Carol’s old adversary Toby and her new friend Steve escalates into all out war, she realizes two things. First, Toby is probably speaking the truth when he tells Carol, “I can no more stop now than a runaway train can stop itself plummeting over the cliff.” And second, the war is not, and never has been, about the price of a comic book. Instead, it’s something that their parents started.  “It may have been a war that would never end until the circle was squared.”

Even a terrific writer like Mark Berry does, very occasionally, get it wrong. I can’t believe that Carol—either in her deliberately acquired bubblehead voice or as her ironic intelligence shines through—would ever speak a sentence with “women nowadays.”  (“…women nowadays didn’t care about personalities…”) Still, the description that follows is pretty awesome and Carol-like “It was all about looks for them, especially around the town, a narcissistic jamboree fashioned from miles of silvered glass, endless selfies and constant self-reflection.” But wait! So it isn’t just Toby who is Narcissus? Apparently, the whole town is enchanted by their own reflection, and thus they all need to be punished.

Of course, the face of the war and targeting of Steve means the visible enemy on the battlefield actually IS Toby. “…his narcissus face, his reflection in the pool.” Carol realizes that she’s allowed Toby to make her disappear. “I had begun to realize something: my recent life had been all about Toby since that night.” She’s spent four years as a shade who can only repeat what those around her say. But now she needs to wake up. To extract her revenge, Carol needs to be seen.

Carol’s response is to become her old neighbors’ polar opposite. Her blonde hair is religiously dyed as black as possible. Instead of designer tweeds, she wears vintage gothic and biker boots. And instead of their “…cut glass, foppish, ultimately English accent, as smooth as silk and as creamy as expensive soap…”, she deliberately fills her sentences with the jarring one-size-fits-all negative “unawesome” and the incessant brain-fart “like”.

Within Carol’s first-person narration, unreliable as it is, we only meet her ideas about who the other characters really are. Because she needs him to be so, for example, Carol makes Steve—failed writer and musician, frequent drunk, and manager of a used bookshop that could never have survived without the charitable foundation backing it—into her “rock”, the one person she’s allowed to see her as more than a ghost. Even when Steve and her friend Pippa try to hold up other examples of people who’ve had experiences more horrific than hers, Carol ignores any hints that her own past doesn’t make her a special snowflake. After telling about being gang-raped as a teen, Pippa cautions, “Don’t pity me. Just understand. Don’t walk around the bloody world thinking it’s all about little you.”

There have been works of literature where the writing itself provided healing and closure. Long Day’s Journey Into Night was Eugene O’Neil’s attempt to explain the breakdown of his dysfunctional family. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez reveals the forbidden historical reality of the United Fruit Company’s murderous legacy through fictional fantasy. A Shiny Coin for Carol Prentice isn’t one of those stories. Steve has tried writing, and it didn’t work. The author himself, Mark Barry, shows up in a book cameo, tells a somewhat irrelevant anecdote, and wanders off. An unimpressed Carol observes, “We could have used the extra pair of hands.”

Mark Barry, the writer character, had failed Carol. Steve’s lectures about writing failed too, especially when he talked about shades of grey among villains. Toby already knows this truth, that the sides and the outcomes are black and white, no shades of gray in between. Steve doesn’t know, so he can’t win. Carol doesn’t want to know, but in order to win, she becomes someone who believes. That’s the polarization that the concept of War allows, the absolution for any action they may take. “Like, whatever we do to guys as bad as these, they will deserve. There’s going to be no guilt or, like, beating ourselves up afterwards.”

Because she’s made Steve into her rock, because she’s allowed him to SEE her, Carol believes she can communicate with him. Just one person in her universe. But that means she has to accept responsibility for what happens to Steve. If it’s all because of her, then it has to mean everything. Both Toby and Carol are beautiful, but they are still just the reflections of a horrible cycle started by their parents, the truest forms of Narcissus incapable of love. When she unleashes The Plan, Carol needs to make them all SEE her at last, even if only across a battlefield.

But the War isn’t over. Sure, our unreliable narrator Carol intends to declare victory, change her name, and get on with her life. But she’s still trapped, waiting for approval she can never get. Not from her father who’s dead, not from Toby’s father who’s on the other side of the war, and not from Steve, who might never be the rock she needs. Instead Carol has to take victory where she can get it. Toby must become the Old Carol—”Reclusive, friendless and shunned.”  The rest must become a love story. But it’s not so much a love story as a story about how to rewrite history and call it love.

At the end, Carol muses about what writing can and can’t do. Without the war in which he is collateral damage, Carol tells Steve he would “…still be listening to Pink Floyd at night on your sofa with your feet up reading your Martin Amis and all those brilliant writers who don’t give a poo about story because for you, and for them, it’s all about writing as art.”

A Shiny Coin for Carol Prentice is another Mark Barry masterpiece. All the epic themes—love, hatred, war, betrayal, greed, heroism, tragedy, victory, and loss—play out on a small stage in human scale. The beautiful, flawed characters from the tragic Narcissus legend are doomed to play out their mistakes as their reflected images become their realities. Five stars aren’t enough.

Book Description

Carol Prentice left Wheatley Fields to attend university in Manchester and not once did she return in four years. Her beloved father visited her whenever he could, but then he passed away and it was up to her to sort his affairs.

She could have done this from a distance, but a woman can run to the far corners of the earth, but, in the end, she can never escape herself.

She had to come home: There was no other choice.

Taking a job at a bookshop for the duration, she befriends Steve – an older man who looks like a wizard and who knows everything in the world.

Carol quickly encounters the demons that forced her to leave in the first place – including Toby, the raffish local villain, with whom she shares the most horrifying of secrets and whose very existence means evil and mayhem for everyone around. Especially the lovable Steve.

Carol finds herself in the middle of a war between the two men:
A war which can only have one victor.

Soon, she wishes she had never come home.
But by then it was too late.
Much too late.

About the author

Mark Barry is a multi-genre writer and novelist. His work includes the minor cult hit Ultra Violence about football hooligans at a small Midlands football club and Carla, a quirky, dark, acclaimed romance with shades of Wuthering Heights.
He is the co-designer of the innovative Brilliant Books project aimed at engaging the many, many reluctant readers amongst young people.
He has one son, Matt, on the brink of University, with whom he shares a passion for Notts County Football Club. Fast food, comics, music, reading, his friends on the Independent scene, and horse racing keep him interested and he detests the English Premier League, selfish, narcissistic people and bullies of all kinds.
He is based in Nottingham and Southwell, UK, the scene of most of his fiction.n Mark Barry’s retelling of the story, Carol Prentice left her home and her father four years earlier to attend University, but actually to escape from the devastating events of her past, and especially from the deceptively beautiful Toby. The only way she’s been able to cope was to disappear, to focus both physically and emotionally on appearances and details rather than on feeling…anything. “I sometimes think they murdered me and I am a ghost.”

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The One Memory Of Flora Banks by @emily_barr #FloraBanks @PenguinUKBooks #YA

The One Memory of Flora BanksThe One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The One Memory Of Flora Banks is a young adult contemporary novel.

The prologue opens with an abstract scene from a beautiful, cold place. The narrator is running away from a dangerous hut; she can’t remember why.

Chapter one begins in Penzance, Cornwall. Seventeen year old Flora Banks is at a party, observing rather than participating; she’s feeling self-conscious about wearing what she considers the wrong type of clothes. The party is for Drake, her best friend Paige’s boyfriend, who is leaving to study in Svalbord, a Norwegian town in the Arctic circle.

Flora has Anterograde Amnesia left from a brain tumour when she was ten. To aid her ill-functioning memory, Flora writes herself notes: on her hands, on post-it notes and in her notebook. At home, there are notes written all over the house to remind her of family life.
Flora’s only friend is Paige, but they fall out when Paige discovers that Flora kissed Drake at the party. For Flora is was a spark of hope; she remembered the kiss the next day and the day after; it remains with her, precious in her memory.

Circumstances conspire to leave Flora home alone, and she worries how she will cope without the support of her family, but is warmed by her secret feelings for Drake; though miles away, he keeps in touch with her, and she soon realises that her feelings are reciprocated. The hope of happiness and need to see him takes her on a difficult, potentially perilous, journey, through Norway and up to Svalbord

This is such a moving read. Emily Barr has created a great sense of Flora’s world as she writes notes, reads and re-reads them; we’re pulled right in and live life through Flora’s eyes. The courage she shows as she picks herself up from moments of panic and tears to once again “Be Brave” brought tears to my eyes, and I was one hundred percent behind Flora as she made a last decision to take control of her own life. I highly recommend this book to both young and old readers.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

About the author

Emily Barr

Emily Barr worked as a journalist in London, but always hankered after a quiet room and a book to write. She went travelling for a year, writing a column in the Guardian about it as she went, and it was there that she had an idea for a novel set in the world of backpackers in Asia. This became Backpack, which won the WH Smith New Talent Award. She has since written eleven more adult novels published in the UK and around the world, and a novella, Blackout, for the Quick Reads series. Her twelfth novel, The Sleeper, is a psychological thriller set on the London to Cornwall sleeper train.
In 2013 she went to Svalbard with the idea of setting a thriller in the Arctic. The book that came out of it was The One Memory of Flora Banks, a thriller for young adults, which attracted universal interest from publishers before being bought pre-emptively by Penguin earlier this year. It will be published globally in January 2017.
She lives in Cornwall with her partner and their children.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT The Curse Of Arundel Hall by J New @newwrites #mystery

Today’s team review is from Anita, she blogs here http://jenanita01.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Anita has been reading The Curse Of Arundel Hall by J New

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I am always on the lookout for something different and unusual to read, and The Curse of Arundel Hall was not disappointing. A well-written murder mystery set in the 1930s, transporting you back to another time with the old-fashioned language and way of life.

The main character, Isobella Bridges, or Ella, reminds me of the Agatha Christie heroines, although this particular lady is not an old spinster. Young and adventurous, life has not been kind and moving to the fairy tale cottage on Linhay Island was supposed to be a retreat from the world.

After a slow, scene-setting start, Ella discovers that a ghost of a woman haunts the cottage. Undaunted, it turns out she has a flair for such things and sets out to solve the mystery. She finds the skeletal remains of the woman hidden behind a secret panel. A murder soon follows, linking Ella’s cottage to nearby Arundel Hall, the subject of an ancient curse.

She discovers that Arundel Hall has been plagued with bad luck ever since the eleventh Duke of Norfolk built it for his wife Marion who sadly died in childbirth. The next wife went insane, and the third wife nearly drove him to murder, but she vanished, never to be seen again. Shortly after that, the Duke sold the Hall, cursing it as he left.

I really liked Ella, cheerfully determined to get on with her life and solve every problem that life throws at her, something that comes in handy in this adventure, as she figures out how to open various secret passages and hidden rooms.

This story is filled to the brim with exquisite detail and old-fashioned scenarios. The dialogue between the characters is amazing, the vocabulary perfect for the period. I loved the paranormal twist to the story, just enough to give the story an extra depth – although personally, I would have liked more.

I would defy anyone to try to guess who the murderer is, or why it happened. Just when you think you have figured it out, you are led to another possibility.

The “Spartacus” moment towards the end of the book (I won’t add any spoilers) was hilarious and the classic cliff-hanger had me yearning for the next book, but I will read the first book in this series while I am waiting.

Definitely, worth all of five stars…

Book Description

One ghost, one murder, one hundred years apart. But are they connected? 
Ella has discovered a secret room in The Yellow Cottage, but with it comes a ghost. Who was she? And how did she die? Ella needs to find the answers before either of them can find peace. But suddenly things take a nasty turn for the worse. 
Ella Bridges has been living on Linhay Island for several months but still hasn’t discovered the identity of her ghostly guest. Deciding to research the history of her cottage for clues she finds it is connected to Arundel Hall, the large Manor House on the bluff, and when an invitation to dinner arrives realises it is the perfect opportunity to discover more. 
However the evening takes a shocking turn when one of their party is murdered. Is The Curse of Arundel Hall once again rearing its ugly head, or is there a simpler explanation? 
Ella suddenly finds herself involved in two mysteries at once, and again joins forces with Scotland Yard’s Police Commissioner to try and catch a killer. But will they succeed? 
‘Miss Marple meets The Ghost Whisperer’ – Perfect For Fans of Golden Age Murder Mysteries, Cozy Mysteries, Clean Reads and British Amateur Sleuths 

About the author

J. New

J. New is the British author of British Vintage Murder Mysteries, which have been dubbed by readers as ‘Miss Marple meets The Ghost Whisperer’. 
A voracious reader and writer all her life, she took her first foray into Indie publishing in 2013, and has never looked back.
She has an eclectic reading taste, ranging from the Magic of Terry Pratchett, JK Rowling, Tolkien and Neil Gaiman, to Dean Koontz, Eion Colfer, Anne Rice and Agatha Christie. 
A lover of murder mysteries set in past times, where steam trains, afternoon tea and house staff abound. She is convinced she was born in the wrong era as she has a particular aversion to cooking and housework.
She also has an impossible bucket list, which includes travelling on the Orient Express with Hercule Poirot, shopping in Diagon Alley with Sirius Black, lazing around the Shire with Gandalf and Bilbo, exploring Pico Mundo with Odd Thomas and having Tea at the Ritz with Miss Marple.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice by Mark Barry @GreenWizard62

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

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice by Mark Barry

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My review:

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and I was provided with an ARC copy of the novel I freely chose to review.

Although I had heard about the author and read quite a few reviews of his previous books, this is the first of his novels I have read so I can’t compare it to his previous work. I know from his comments in the book that it links to another one of his novels, Carla (I won’t mention how, first, because I haven’t read the other novel, so I can’t comment on how well or badly that works, and second, because I’m going to try very hard not to reveal any spoilers) but I can put at rest the minds of all readers who are in the same circumstances as me. This book can be read as a stand-alone, although I suspect you’ll feel as curious as I am about Carla once you finish reading this novel.

This novel is narrated in the first person by the eponymous Carol Prentice of the title. And yes, we get to know what the shiny coin means, but again, I’m not going to tell you. She’s a young woman; she’s just finished her degree at Manchester University and has to go back to her hometown because her father has passed away. She had avoided the town for several years (for good reasons as you’ll learn when you read the book) but she comes back to renovate the house and because the time has finally arrived to put her plan into practice. Of course, we don’t get to know about the plan until much later in the novel, but we have some hints throughout. She gets a job at a bookshop (so there are some interesting discussions about literature, mostly initiated by her boss, Steve, who is a connoisseur, not only of books but also of ales and many other things) and it’s not long before ghosts from her past come knocking. What at first appears to be a snotty and spoilt young man’s tantrum turns into a black hole sucking in everything and everybody. Almost.

The novel has some meta-fictional aspects. I’ve already mentioned the conversations about literature, psychology concepts (like the halo effect, perceptual closure), Steve was an author years ago back but did not make it and has strong opinions about popular literature and bestsellers (if you love James Patterson or Fifty Shades, look away now), and the author of this novel, Mark Barry, also makes a cameo appearance in it. As I said before, I haven’t read any of his other works but from some of the reviews, I get the sense that he has appeared in some others. He does not have a big part, and it reminded me of Hitchcock’s appearances in his movies (although Barry’s is a bit more significant than that).

As the novel is narrated in the first-person, we get a close look into the functioning of Carol’s mind and we get to know her better than other characters. She seems to focus a lot of her attention on how people smell (and it’s not always pleasant), what clothes they wear, and how they look. She has some annoying speech habits. There are plenty of ‘like’, ‘I so’, ‘totally’… Those appear not only when she’s talking to others but also when she’s thinking, despite the fact that she’s fairly articulate and perceptive in other ways. It might be funny for some readers and perhaps somewhat annoying for others, but it keeps her real and the story will hook everybody in and will make you keep reading no matter what. Carol says quite a few times that she cannot feel, that she observes things but does not feel them, and when we’ve gone over half the novel she eventually tells Steve why. I had my suspicions but the truth is worse. From her description of the events (that of course, I won’t reveal either) it becomes clear that she was experiencing them she tried to focus on anything but what was happening. She concentrated and observed objects, smells, décor, and it seems her current focus on describing things is a defence mechanism to keep events and people at bay, a way of remaining in control of what is happening as she felt powerless at the time. After her confession to Steve, the floodgates open and she starts feeling again, including acknowledging her complex feelings for Steve, that is difficult to know if they are projected from her need to have support as he becomes some sort of a father figure, or are genuine. She herself is not so sure.

Steve is the other character we get to know in detail, although of course always from Carol’s point of view and this is biased. She likes him from the beginning and he seems a genuinely nice man, much older than her, who’s tried many things and seems to have settled into a quiet life. He is not one for talking much about his feelings (he talks about everything else, though) and he is a recognisable and multi-dimensional character, with a strong sense of moral, that gets caught in a situation not of his making, but doesn’t seem willing or able to extricate himself from it.

Other than Carol and Steve, there aren’t many characters we get to know through the novel. There’s Toby, the baddy, a handsome and rich young man and a bully who believes rules and laws don’t apply to him; there’s also his father, and some other characters that only appear briefly (like the chief of police) but they aren’t as well developed. They only play a minor part in the drama and don’t hold that much of the narrator’s attention. By contrast, the town becomes quite a recognisable character in its own right, with its social mores, its politics and its royalty (so to speak).

The novel is written in a very colloquial way as pertains to the character narrating it (I’ve already mentioned the characteristics of Carol’s language) and there are plenty of references and words very local that might be a bit obscure to readers from outside the UK (or even the region) but that is part of what makes it so distinctive and vivid.

The novel offers quite a few surprises and reveals them slowly. I think most readers will have a variety of hypothesis about what’s going to happen, what the baddies will do next and what the plan is. I’m not sure many people will guess right and is an interesting and effective twist. This is a novel of revenge and just deserts that highlights the fact that there is always a price to pay. We might feel we need to exact revenge to be at peace but things are never quite as easy. With regards to what sets off what Carol describes as ‘the war’ it is pretty banal but, as she acknowledges, it’s not really about that and unfortunately other people get in the middle and end up becoming ‘collateral damage’. It did make me think of Hannah Arendt and her concept of ‘the banality of evil’. In this case not only about the evil person but about what sets it all off. It does not take much for some people to ruin a person’s life, just because they can… I’ve already mentioned the ending but I wanted to add that the ending is also a beginning.

I know I’ve been a bit cryptic about this novel but I had to be. I recommend it to those who like stories with psychologically complex characters, where the how is as important as the what, and to readers who’re looking for an author with a distinctive voice and style. (There is some violence, some talk about sex and disturbing content but none of it is extremely explicit or gore. It is more what we feel at the time of reading it than what is on the page.)

Book Description

“I swore that I would never go home,  but in the end, I had no choice.  I had to confront what happened.  And them too.  It was going be icky. And totally scary.” Carol Prentice left Wheatley Fields to attend university in Manchester and not once did she return in four years. Her beloved father visited her whenever he could, but then he passed away and it was up to her to sort his affairs.  She could have done this from a distance, but a woman can run to the far corners of the earth, but, in the end, she can never escape herself She had to come home: There was no other choice. Taking a job at a bookshop for the duration, she befriends Steve – an older man who looks like a wizard and who knows everything in the world.  Carol quickly encounters the demons that forced her to leave in the first place – including Toby, the raffish local villain, with whom she shares the most horrifying of secrets and whose very existence means evil and mayhem for everyone around. Especially the lovable Steve.  Carol finds herself in the middle of a war between the two men:  A war which can only have one victor.  Soon, she wishes she had never come home.  But by then it was too late.  Much too late.

Biography

Mark Barry

Bio: Mark Barry is a multi-genre writer and novelist. His work includes the minor cult hit Ultra Violence about football hooligans at a small Midlands football club and Carla, a quirky, dark, acclaimed romance with shades of Wuthering Heights.  He is the co-designer of the innovative Brilliant Books project aimed at engaging the many, many reluctant readers amongst young people… He has one son, Matt, on the brink of University, with whom he shares a passion for Notts County Football Club.  Fast food, comics, music, reading, his friends on the Independent scene, and horse racing keep him interested and he detests the English Premier League, selfish, narcissistic people and bullies of all kinds.

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2017 Kindness Challenge #RevOfKindness Week #2 Self-Compassion @NikiMeadowsWA

The 2017 Kindness challenge has been created by Niki Meadows Week #2 is all about Self Compassion What is Self Compassion? Self–compassion is extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. Kristin Neff has defined self–compassion as being composed of three … Continue reading

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Blind Side by @Jennie_Ensor Thriller #WeekendBlogShare

Today’s team review is from Judith, she blogs at http://judithbarrowblog.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Judith has been reading Blind Side by Jennie Ensor

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My Review:

I liked this book. Jennie Ensor writes in an easy to read style and, after an initial fairly slow start, the book flows with various story lines interwoven so I was soon absorbed. And, although Blind Side can be seen as a romance novel it is much more than that; the story reveals the darker side of relationships, of life in a contemporary world, of remorse and self-reproach, secrets and lies, of disappointments and  regrets

The author has obviously researched into both the political, societal and historical backgrounds for the fairly recent settings that the characters move in and this is equally dark. And so realistic; I love when there is such a good sense of place.  Here the background reflects some of the underlying themes of racism, terrorism, immigration. Chilling stuff!

And against this there is the personal turmoil of the characters. Well played out, with enough tension and suspense to keep the reader on their toes.

The main characters are well portrayed with many levels to their personalities. I liked the protagonist, Georgie; despite the fact that I first thought her shown to be quite cold. The character is well rounded and the author gives her a history that explains much about her actions in the story; her fears, her suspicions, her obsession, her need to trust in Nikolai.  This character is also well written and given a past life that shocks. Despite not understanding his motives at first (and it took me a while to get used to the way the dialogue is written for him) I liked Nikolai. And then, the character of Julian; initially seemingly naive and harmless (in an obsequious way, I thought) but is ultimately shown to be less than the friend first portrayed.

Told mainly from the point of view of the protagonist it would be easy to see the plot only from her side of things but the author manages to insert enough external detail, away from Georgie, to give more depth to the story.

There were a few parts of the plot that slowed the story (only a few though) and I found it trailed off a little at the end but, as I’ve said, I enjoyed Blind Side.  All in all, it’s a good debut novel from Jennie Ensor and one I would recommend. I look forward, with anticipation, to further offerings from this author..

Book Description

Can you ever truly know someone? And what if you suspect the unthinkable? 
London, five months before 7/7. Georgie, a young woman wary of relationships after previous heartbreak, gives in and agrees to sleep with close friend Julian. She’s shocked when Julian reveals he’s loved her for a long time. 
But Georgie can’t resist her attraction to Nikolai, a Russian former soldier she meets in a pub. While Julian struggles to deal with her rejection, Georgie realises how deeply war-time incidents in Chechnya have affected Nikolai. She begins to suspect that the Russian is hiding something terrible from her. 
Then London is attacked… 
Blind Side explores love and friendship, guilt and betrayal, secrets and obsession. An explosive, debate-provoking thriller that confronts urgent issues of our times and contemplates some of our deepest fears. 

About the author

Jennie Ensor

Jennie Ensor is a Londoner descended from a long line of Irish folk. She has worked as a freelance journalist, covering topics from forced marriages to the fate of Aboriginal Australians living on land contaminated by British nuclear testing. 
Ms E lives in London with her husband and their cuddle-loving, sofa-hogging terrier. When not chasing the dog or dreaming of setting off on an unfeasibly long journey with a Kindleful of books, she writes novels, short stories and poetry (published under another name). Her second novel, to be finished in 2017 with any luck, is a dark and unsettling psychological drama.

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Windstalker series by @KMBaginski #Fantasy books @wildboundpr #WeekendBlogShare

Windstalker: AwarenessWindstalker: Awareness by K.M. Baginski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Windstalker: Awareness is a fantasy and book #1 of a series set around a biblical story, fallen Angels and their descendants.

A very promising prologue sets a scene from 1975. Everett Langan visits a cave near Mount Ararat, Turkey, a place his archaeologist father discovered, before he disappeared. Robert Langan believed he’d found evidence of people, other than Noah, who survived The Great Flood.

2015 introduces us to Mitchell, vice-president of a New York energy company who are looking for alternative sources of electricity. Mitchell is attracted to Chelsea who lives with his sister Gina. Sadly for him, she loves Drew.

Chelsea has had an abusive upbringing and Drew has always been there for her, but he is associated with gangsters. One night he reaches breaking point when his drunk father attacks his mother; killing him, he ends up on death row.

Strange things begin to happen: a new company CEO begins working at Mitchell’s company and introduces plans to move the future energy supplies forward. Mitchell’s sister, Gina, is attacked in her department by a mythical being, and Chelsea believes she sees Drew, who should be dead. Devastating winds are causing havoc in New York. Decomposed bodies are piling up and battle lines are being drawn beyond the veil.

I had hoped that there would have been a good portion of the book dealing with the cave, Robert Langan’s discoveries and lots of details about the descendants of the Grigori, perhaps how they had evolved over the centuries and developing the archaeology theme, but in fact only tit-bits were given and Robert’s son Everett had only a minor role later in the book.

There was room for deeper development of the story lines and main characters. I wanted to get to know the characters better and the see the themes like the cave discovery and the alternative energy threads evolve. I felt these parts were rushed.

I would like to see this book have another run through both editing and proofreading. At times my reading experience was hampered, particularly by missing punctuation, meaning I had to re-read sentences to understand them.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Facing the elevator door in his company’s parking lot, Mitchell Geathers feels compelled to pinch himself for being elevated from the fear of gunfire in his childhood neighborhood. Now that he’s in control of his life, he won’t let anything take him back to the helpless existence of his youth. He approaches his love interest with the same zeal he does his career but isn’t as successful. Her heart belongs to Drew Royce, a bad boy from the same streets he wants to forget. When Drew is executed for patricide, Mitchell sees an opportunity to connect with her, fueling unexpected retaliation from a much more powerful – and undead – Drew. After receiving an eerie message, Mitchell is made to bear witness to a disturbing attack on his youngest sister by a ferocious “wind beast.” When Mitchell learns the source of her infection is a group of invincible, shape shifting Windstalkers, no measure of protection, logic or reason is enough to keep her from slipping further into an inhuman fate. Blind and vulnerable to their attacks, Mitchell must put his own life on the line to track the creatures and discover a weakness – or lose his sister forever.

Fueled by a familiar fear, Mitchell is running out of time in an unending nightmare – one in which he ultimately becomes the hunted.

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Rehumanized Drew: A Windstalker StoryRehumanized Drew: A Windstalker Story by K.M. Baginski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rehumanized Drew is book #2 in the Windstalker series of fantasy novels, I suggest reading book one first to understand the background and be introduced to the characters.

This book focuses on Drew. At the end of book one he’d been turned into a supernatural being with magical abilities, feeding on fellow humans and selfishly infecting Gina, in an act of revenge, and joining the group named Windstalkers.

Now Drew needs to convalesce and go into hiding from his sire, Sam. We learn that Sam is planning to move freely through other time dimensions to locate the Watchers, fallen Angels and brothers of Samyaza, leader of the Grigori Angels.

Drew is given a home by Nathan and his family on a farm in Indiana, where he learns to appreciate living, and falls in love with Amelia, Nathan’s daughter. But when Sam discovers Drew is still alive he comes to take back his protégé.

This is a slow paced book, I felt the story deserved less of the mundane everyday activities and more time spent giving depth and development to the themes, characters and their stories which make up layers of a good story. As with book one I would like to see this book have another run through both editing and proofreading.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Drew Royce was a lot of things he didn’t want to be. A murderer, rapist and ex-Windstalker. His humanity was poorly spent; and all he has after his taste of the supernatural is a battered and ignored soul. The weight of his actions visit him each night as proof he must still be alive. But now, even as an abducted criminal, kept ward by an evolved Nephilim race and used as a weapon against their enemy, he still has to defeat the beast who stole his humanity – himself.

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About the author

When not teaching science to middle-schoolers, K. M. Baginski enjoys reading and writing fiction. It was not always her dream to write but she believes serendipity likes to dwell with dreamers and the hyper-imaginative.

Since childhood, she can remember entertaining helfself and family with tales extended from television or movies. She was also quite the vivid-dreamer, recalling episodes she’d only seen in dreams as if she were present in a different dimension. So when enough of those experiences added up, she decided to commit them to pen and paper.

Windstalker began as a vivid dream she had as a new adult. In it were shapeshifting, wind creatures who, quite beautifully, were filled with expressions of longing, loneliness yet embodied the anger and bitterness that come with condemnation. They were destined to be misshapen, powerful and fearsome, while wishing for the opportunity to become fragile humans. While it may not be a story for everyone, it was certainly one she wanted to share with other hyper-imaginatives, like herself.

If you’ve enjoyed this installment, please check back to read more about the characters and upcoming Windstalker stories on windstalkerbooks.com.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Clay Tongue by @NicholasConley1 #YA #Fantasy #fridayreads

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

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Clay Tongue by Nicholas Conley

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Clay Tongue: A Novelette by Nicholas Conley

Clay Tongue was all too short for this reader. It is described as a short fantasy about the unspoken love between a shy little girl and her grandfather, the secrets of human communication, and discovered bravery, and it more than fulfills this description.

Katie Mirowitz lives in a household with her parents and her grandfather. She is so shy and afraid to speak she can’t even tell her mother she loves her, but her grandfather is her lodestone, the one person with whom she can talk. When he has a stroke leaving him with aphasia – the inability to speak anything other than gibberish – they still communicate, because she has the ability to interpret his facial expressions and meaningless words.

Her anxieties come to a crescendo when she overhears her mother telling the grandfather she is not sure how long they can continue to care for him because of the family’s finances. When Katie finds her grandfather with an old journal, which he doesn’t want her to see, she just has to read what is inside. She sneaks downstairs at night to read it and with it, finds an ancient key. The journal contains a story, written by her grandfather many years earlier, of a mythical being – a golem – who can grant wishes. Summoning all her courage and determined to help her grandfather, she goes in search of the golem, taking the key which will unlock the door to its hiding place.

How Katie finds the golem and what happens when he asks her for her wish is sweet and heart-warming. The story line is predictable, but the writing is superlative and the author creates a read-out loud story for both children and adults with truths about love and selflessness. The characters, especially the grandfather, colorfully and realistically drawn and stayed with this reader long after the end of the story.

I highly recommend Clay Tongue, five stars.

Book Description

From the author of the award-winning Pale Highway and the radio play Something in the Nothing comes a short fantasy of love, shyness, and the secrets of human communication. 
Katie Mirowitz is a small little girl with an even smaller little voice. She possesses a deep love for her grandfather, who suffers from aphasia after a bad stroke cuts loose the part of his brain that processes verbal language. When Katie uncovers a miraculous secret inside the pages of her grandfather’s old journal, as well as an ancient key, she goes out into the woods in search of answers — hoping to uncover a mythical being that, if it exists, may just have the ability to grant wishes.

About the author

Nicholas Conley

Nicholas Conley is a novelist, world traveler, playwright, and coffee vigilante. His passion for storytelling is evident in Clay Tongue as well a Pale Highway, the winner of the 2015 Predators & Editors Award for Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel. He has written for Vox, Truthout, The Huffington Post, SFFWorld, and Alzheimers.net, and his original radio play Something in the Nothing was performed live on the radio station WSCA 106.1 FM in 2016. He is a member of PEN America, the writers organization dedicated to human rights and freedom of expression.

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Murder At The Mystery Bay Hotel by Marcia Spillers @mysterywriter2 @BrookCottageBks

33952647My Review.

Murder At The Mystery Bay Hotel is a light hearted, fast paced, amateur sleuth story and Book One in the Mystery Bay series. Set on a small Florida island, Delphie Beauchamp has been asked to help Mystery Bay police chief Em Lander solve a double murder.

Delphie and her red Dachshund, Huckleberry, return to the bay from their home in Texas. Em reveals that she has recently been named as the murderer by an anonymous caller; unfortunately, her alibi is weak, especially when the murder weapon shows up with Em’s fingerprints all over it.

There is damage to several graves in the local cemetery and Delphie’s skills in historical research are called to solve the case. But she’s made to feel unwelcome by several long standing locals, and is attacked whilst out on a late night walk. Salvage diver Josh Porter comes to her rescue, and ends up helping Delphie with her case, especially after the police chief is kidnapped.

Delphie is a reluctant psychic, and finds herself listening to several ghosts who provide clues and help to solve the mystery.

Recommended for those who really like their cosy mysteries to be lightweight and fun.

 

 

Genre:  Cozy/Amateur Sleuth Mystery

Series: Mystery Bay Series #1

Release Date:  January 18, 2017

Can Delphie Beauchamp, a Texas born research librarian fresh from a break-up with her two-timing boyfriend, help best friend and newly elected Chief of Police Em Landry, solve a double homicide in the old Mystery Bay Cemetery? Chief Landry needs Delphie’s help in solving the murders, along with determining why specific graves from the early eighteen-hundreds have been vandalized. Her canine best friend in tow, a twenty-two-pound dachshund named Huckleberry, Delphie heads for the tropical island of Mystery Bay, Florida where she begins a journey that includes a pinch of gold, a touch or romance, and a wallop of ghosts, in a race to solve the mystery, of the Mystery Bay Hotel.

EXCERPT

The smell of the ocean, crisp and briny like a jar of pickles, held just a hint of murder in the air. I picked up my luggage from the small carousel inside the terminal and opened the glass door of the Mystery Bay International Airport. The sultry, mid-October sunshine hit me all at once, along with the sweet fragrance of the red, frangipani trees that bordered the edges of the sidewalk. Amazing how paradise was just a plane ride away.

“God, what a beautiful day.” I dropped my suitcase on the pink-hued coral sidewalk and pulled out my sunglasses. Before I could slip them on, Huckleberry, my twenty-two pound, red Dachshund whined for me to take off his winter sweater. Poor little guy. The outfit worked great for the chilly October weather in central Texas but not the south Florida humidity.

“Sorry, Huck.” I unhooked his leash and pulled off the sweater. Stretching out his long body, Huckleberry trotted over to the nearest hibiscus bush and hunched over.  Seconds later he sighed in relief.

I coughed and fanned the air. Guess he wasn’t that hot in his sweater after all.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

ABOUT MARCIA SPILLERS

Marcia Spillers has been a Librarian/Archivist for more than twenty years.  Currently a school librarian, she lives in Austin, Texas with her two chows, Bella and Susie Bear.  Marcia spent seventeen years in south Florida perfecting her writing skills, along with completing the Writer’s Program at UCLA.

Blog:  http://www.marciaspillers.com/blog/

Website:  www.Marcia Spillers.com

@mysterywriter2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marcia.spillers.7

Brook Cottage Books

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