Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #SpeculativeFiction TOKYO MAYDAY by Maison Urwin

Today’s team review is from Terry. She blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Tokyo Mayday by Maison Urwin

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4.5*
The human race.  Migrating here and there for centuries, back and forth, whilst objecting to the influx of others.  Like migrating birds.  Like herded sheep.’


I love to read other authors’ view of the near future, and Tokyo Mayday is a clever and inventive slant on the subject.  In the 2050s, climate change, political/civil unrest and technological advancement have turned the US and the European states into third world countries, with poverty and lack of jobs.  The world’s greatest superpower is now Japan.  Outside the cities, economic migrants are kept in holding camps, hoping for work, but now many of these migrants are white Europeans and Americans.  

Jordan May and his family are offered the chance to live in Tokyo, which means a good job for Jordan at Matsucorp, the top car manufacturer in the world.  When they arrive there from England, however, they discover that all is far from utopian.  They are to live in a shared house, and both Jordan and his son, Alfie, immediately become aware of the opposing factions in the country – the far right who want to keep Japan for the Japanese, headed by the mysterious Yamada, and the movement for better treatment of migrants, more equal wages and fairer treatment for all, which grows in popularity amongst idealistic young people and the low-paid workers from the West.  As a skilled worker, Jordan sits between the two.


Manipulating all players is the mysterious Stepson Struthwin, advisor to the owner of Matsucorp.


It’s clear that the author is well-versed in Japanese culture; the detail provided by his insight is an added point of interest while reading this highly original and probably plausible look at the future.  His writing style is spare, which I liked very much, and the characterisation works well, throughout.  The picky might complain about a certain amount of ‘telling not showing’, but my view is that if it works well, who cares – and in Tokyo Mayday, it does.  


The book held my interest all the way through, with some good twists near the end that I hadn’t anticipated.  No complaints; this is a definite ‘buy it’ recommendation, for anyone who loves this genre as much as I do.

Book description

This is Maison Urwin’s debut novel, which follows the ordeal of a family’s economic migration from the Federal Republic of England & Wales to Tokyo.

The power is in the East.

The Federal Republic of England & Wales is in crisis.

Western economic collapse has led to mass economic migration to China, Korea and especially Japan. Jordan May is offered a transfer with Matsucorp and takes wife, Shaylie, and son, Alfie, to a new and bewildering life in the Orient. The book is set in the 2050s when, following the end of capitalism in Europe, the Far East is now considered the developed world. Society in the West has fallen apart and the East Asia is the destination of choice for economic migrants who are prepared to take risks and endure prejudice in the search for a better life.

The May family emigrates from Harwich, England to Japan and husband, wife and son battle discrimination, are embroiled in political activism and forbidden romance, are targeted in racist attacks and are endangered by unwitting gangland involvement. As the climax approaches in a violent political demonstration on the streets of Tokyo, we begin to discover the extent to which a mysterious, wiry Englishman has manipulated each of them.

This work of speculative fiction sees the Mays thrust into industrial politics, illegal unionisation and hostessing. Teenage love and the organisation of a mass demonstration take place against a backdrop of racial tension and the rise of the far right.

Could Shaylie’s life be in danger? Is the mafia involved?

And just who is the Machaivellian Stepson Struthwin who sits on Matsucorp’s board and has such a hold over the lives of those around him?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s#Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistoricalFiction THE SINS OF OTHERS by Florian Schneider

Today’s team review is from Sandra. She blogs here https://www.firthproof.co.uk/index.php/book-reviews

#RBRT Review Team

Sandra has been reading The Sins Of Others by Florian Schneider

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The Sins of Others is described as fiction, however, it reads more like a biography or memoir. Each of the eleven chapters deals with a different episode in the lives of Ingrid Heimlich, a left-wing terrorist in the 1970s, and her son, Ben, a photographer living in Los Angeles. The timeline covers the period from 1945 Berlin where Ingrid’s mother, Marlene, is starving and hiding from the Russians, to 2018 as Ingrid lies dying in a German hospital. The intervening chapters focus on specific events, allowing us to gradually piece together the stories of  Ingrid and Ben’s lives.

Ingrig was a hard character to empathise with as she did not seem to have changed much over the years, and was still using the same tired political arguments at the end of her life as she had in her youth. Ben was a more interesting character who had worked hard to improve his life, and was lucky enough to have found a partner to share it with.

I suspect that English isn’t the author’s first language as often the narrative had a stilted quality, with the word order in some passages reminiscent of German, but maybe this was deliberate? There was also a high number of obscure words used, where a simple one would have easily sufficed.

A much larger hindrance to the smooth flow of the narrative was an overuse of parenthetical dashes. The large sections of text enclosed within these dashes really slowed down and interrupted my reading; I often had to go back and reread whole paragraphs to get the sense of what the author was trying to say.

On a positive note, I thought that the historical background was thoroughly researched, and painted a fascinating picture, particularly of Berlin in the months leading up to the end of WW2.  It was just a shame that the disjointed narrative made it a struggle to read.

Book description

1993. The war-torn Bosnian countryside. Jane Abbott, a seasoned English conflict zone photographer who is no longer easily surprised, is surprised. Stunned, in fact, to’ve come across the son of the notorious Ingrid Heimlich—who, until her traceless disappearance twenty years ago, had been the world’s most infamous leftist terrorist. Ben Heimlich, the stranded German kid and wannabe reporter she has picked up by the roadside, is either fearless or incredibly naïve—though probably naïve—and were it not for the platoon of Serbian partisans who intercept them on their way, she’d pestered him incessantly with questions of his mother’s whereabouts. 1994. Still reeling from the horror he had seen in Bosnia—and, as ever, wondering where in the world his mother is—Ben Heimlich moves to the United States and settles in the sparkling neighborhood and allegory known as Hollywood. As he gets older and, eventually, more affluent, Ben realizes that, no matter how ostensibly successful he’s become, he can’t escape his lingering despair. When he meets Isabel, who’s left her own traumatic early life in Mexico behind to make a new beginning in Los Angeles, his life takes a dramatic upward turn. Chapter after chapter, Ben and his mother’s backgrounds and personae are illuminated from a multitude of angles by, among others, a former student activist aboard a hijacked airplane on a dusty stretch of tarmac in the capital of Libya in 1971; an aging homeless actor in Los Angeles still waiting for his break in 1994; a young girl who stumbles through the smoldering ruins of Berlin in 1945; a US State Department operative who interferes with sovereign states all over South America; the involuntary teenage wife of an imperious Sinaloan drug lord who attempts to flee her gilded cage; and the ninety-something-year-old son of German immigrants who’d fought for the United States against his parents’ onetime countrymen in World War II.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cozy #Mystery SAINT VANDAL’S DAY by D. E. Haggerty

Today’s team review comes from Sherry. She blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Sherry has been reading Saint Vandal’s Day by D. E. Haggerty

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I read this book in about an hour and a half. There was a breeziness about it that was appealing. It had a lot of fun parts and I definitely loved the recipes in the back. The cupcakes all sounded really, really good. 

The main character, Callie, was charming and likeable and I enjoyed her relationship with her friends and her fiancée. Most of the characters seemed to be people you’d actually meet on the street and enjoy a chat with. The mystery of the whodunit wasn’t that hard. I pegged the culprit from the first scene the character appeared in. The reason for the actions wasn’t as easy to figure out, though. I had a different motive in my mind, so credit to the author for that.

I did not care for some of the behavior of the character who owned the bakery with the main protagonist. She was the one who baked the cupcakes and she was very volatile and almost unbelievable as a character—she seemed almost like a caricature instead. She truly became annoying before the end of the story.  Out of control, having to be held back from attacking people, stalking, and threats of violence when anyone criticized her cupcakes seemed over the top to me. The parts where she was trying to help the protagonist not cheat on her pre-wedding diet seemed unkind and almost rude the way she snatched food from her friend’s hand. It may just be me, but that rubbed me the wrong way.

This was the last of the series of seven stories, and while I enjoyed the time I spent reading it, it didn’t appeal enough for me to go back and read the others in the series.  There were a number of allusions to the other stories in this short book, but the references were enough for me to guess at how they unfolded so I don’t find it necessary to read them. And sadly, I’m not sure I could handle that baker in other tales. She was the one part of this book that made me bring this rating down to a 4 rather than a 5.

Book description

St. Valentine’s Day is THE perfect day for a wedding. Unless a vandal is trying to ruin your life that is.

Callie is finally getting her dream wedding. On St. Valentine’s Day no less. Only a vandal is determined to destroy her bakery before the wedding can occur. Anna, self-proclaimed best cupcake baker this side of the Mississippi, is not letting anything happen to the cupcake bakery. No way. Barista extraordinaire Kristie jumps at the chance to help as well. Together the three women launch a mission to find the jerk who thinks it’s okay to attack the bakery.

Will the gals of Callie’s Cakes find the vandal and save the cupcake bakery before Callie’s dream wedding is ruined?

Cupcakes not included, although recipes for all the delicious cupcakes Anna bakes are. 

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Scifi The Rings Of Mars by @RachelFoucar

Today’s team review is from Noelle. She blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading The Rings Of Mars by Rachel Foucar

The Rings of Mars was a pleasant surprise. I do love science fiction (having been groomed to it at my father’s knee) but I all too frequently find modern science fiction lacking the elements of a good read. The Rings of Mars is a good read, even if I disagree with some of the science – or the lack thereof.

The story opens with Jane Parker standing in line, one of five hundred people selected from millions who applied, to board a shuttle to take them to a ship, the Sleipnir, that will carry them to Mars. It seems she doesn’t know why she was selected, and this was a one-way trip for everyone. Although not clearly stated at first, the colonization of Mars is necessary because, according to the group funding it, Earth has become too polluted to sustain life much longer.

During the shuttle trip and her arrival on the Sleipnir, the reader is introduced in separate chapters to the people who will become her friends: Danni, a native American; Pat and Kaitlin, two bona fide astronauts; and Mark. And then Jack, whose alias is Alex, clearly being sent to sabotage the trip.

The ship is huge with a cylindrical center portion around which three rings rotate, creating gravity for the passengers who will live and work there. The description of the ship was interesting, along with the segregation of the passengers into various departments for their work assignments (agriculture, cleaning, cooking, etc).  Food and its supply, entertainment and diversions for the passengers, and the living quarters were nicely described, along with the weightless environment that some would work in.

Tension begins with the explosion and destruction of the space station from which the Sleipnir has just departed and the decision whether to continue on or abort the mission.

The middle of the book slows a bit as Alex inserts himself into the life of the crew with a bent for destruction, but speeds up as Jane reveals herself to be an agent sent on the trip to stop him and whatever he’s planned. Why must the Sleipnir be sabotaged? Will Jane be able to stop Alex or will the ship and its passengers be destroyed?

Some of the characters are drawn well and can be visualized, others are a little fuzzy. Jane is clearly a badass, and that role she fills to perfection. I love that there is a strong female protagonist, especially since many of the other women characters are weak and/or not very perceptive. A few characters die unexpectedly and shockingly and there are plenty of plot twists and turns created to amp the tension. In addition, the descriptions of the ship and the limitations it exerts on the lives of the passengers, along with the drudgery of the day to day work, are compelling.

I wish there had been more discussion amongst the characters as to why they decided to leave Earth forever. There would have been a richness added to them through those conversations. There is really no mystery to Jane’s pursuit of Alex, since it is clear why he is there, only her growing irritation of not being able to catch him in his various acts of sabotage. And I must admit total frustration with the captain of Sleipnir, who seems unaccountably unwilling to accept that a saboteur is on board.

There were a few other minor things that itched due to my interest in space travel. For example, the ship had windows, and I wondered how those, along with the ship’s construction would protect the travelers from cosmic rays and solar activity during the trip.

The Rings of Mars was an enjoyable read and should attract the attention of science fiction fans, especially those who like a strong female in the lead and good tension.

All in all, the author has done a very creditable job for her first novel.  She has a real future as a writer and I hope to read more from her.

Book description

For most people, colonising Mars is the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance for adventure. But for Jane, it’s a chance to escape her old life.

As the Earth grows more inhospitable, humanity’s best hope for survival is to start again on Mars. Jane Parker was lucky enough to be chosen from millions of applicants to join the first ship of colonisers. But before the crew of the Sleipnir can begin taming the red waste, they have to survive the voyage over. And there are those who would rather they didn’t reach their destination.

Trapped on a ship with a deadly saboteur, Jane will be forced to use her unique skills to keep the crew of the Sleipnir and her new friends safe. But will Jane be able to get the ship to its destination and keep her past a secret?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

 

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #ComingOfAge THE BOY AND THE LAKE by Adam Pelzman

Today’s team review is from Noelle. She blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading The Boy And The Lake by Adam Pelzman

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Coming of age, teenage love, adolescence in a Jewish community, the social upheavals of the 1960s, murder mystery – all of these themes are woven together in The Boy and the Lake and set against a luminously described backdrop of life on a lake.

Sixteen-year-old Benjamin Baum is fishing from a dock on his beloved New Jersey lake, feet dangling in the water and the sounds of people having fun echoing across the water, when the bloated body of his next door neighbor Helen floats to the surface. Her loss shakes his world and he stubbornly refuses to believe she died by accident, searching for clues to her death in the insular Jewish middle class community that lives around the lake.

His mother, Lillian, is a narcissistic and emotionally unpredictable woman with a punishing attitude toward both Ben and his long-patient father, Abe. Ben is detached from his mother but clearly understands what makes her tick. He loves his father, who is hardworking and caring physician, practicing in Newark, and an enabler of Lillian’s behavior. These three have all been affected differently by the early death of Ben’s younger sister. They normally come to the lake only in the summer, but with the increasing tension and fear from the Newark riots in 1967, the family decides move to there. Ben continues to infuriate both family and friends, especially one exceptional friend and budding love named Missy, with his unwelcome search to discover how Helen died.

As time passes, fractures and truths appear in the people populating Ben’s world, and he comes to realize that the prosperity and contentment he associates with the lake community is not what is seems to be. The complexity and depth of these relationships, drawn by the author in a compelling way, keeps the reader turning the pages, following as Ben grows in maturity and understanding while maneuvering through a variety of social situations that challenge the gawky teenager. 

The author is a wonderful story teller. Ben comes across as a typical teenager for that time (one which I remember), with his mother alternating between a practical housekeeper and unlikeable shrew. I felt deep sorrow for the long-suffering Abe but also the love Ben’s grandparents have for him and which he reciprocates.  Even the lake develops a personality. He has created in exquisite detail the ambiance of a lake in summer that brought back some memories of my own, the push and pull and occasional pain of Ben’s family, and the darker undercurrents that Ben discovers in the surrounding community. The historical detail is spot on. The reader becomes emotionally invested in Ben, his plans for the future, and his awkward interactions with, and his growing admiration and affection for, Missy.

The twists and turns kept me reading quickly. I will warn potential readers, though, this book is more character-drive than a murder mystery – there are large sections where Helen’s death is not in play – even though a death opens the book and a tragedy ends it.

I recommend this book for what it is and will definitely read more by this author.

Book description

Set against the backdrop of the Newark riots in 1967, a teenage Benjamin Baum leaves the city to spend the summer at an idyllic lake in northern New Jersey. While fishing from his grandparents’ dock, the dead body of a beloved neighbor floats to the water’s surface—a loss that shakes this Jewish community and reveals cracks in what appeared to be a perfect middle-class existence. Haunted by the sight of the woman’s corpse, Ben stubbornly searches for clues to her death, infuriating friends and family who view his unwelcome investigation as a threat to the comfortable lives they’ve built. As Ben’s suspicions mount, he’s forced to confront the terrifying possibility that his close-knit community is not what it seems to be—that, beneath a façade of prosperity and contentment, darker forces may be at work.

In The Boy and the Lake, Adam Pelzman has crafted a riveting coming-of-age story and a mystery rich in historical detail, exploring an insular world where the desperate quest for the American dream threatens to destroy both a family and a way of life.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Of #Memoir BIPOLAR COMEDIAN by Harriet Dyer

Bipolar ComedianBipolar Comedian by Harriet Dyer

3.5 stars

Bipolar Comedian is the memoir of Harriet Dyer. Written in short, easy to read chapters, Dyer talks about her upbringing in a very frank and honest overview.

With a homelife mixed with good memories and shocking events, Dyer’s undiagnosed mental health was further affected by broken friendships, sexual abuse, drinking and drugs. It’s a wonder that Dyer found the strength and perseverance to carry on; in fact more than once she considered ending it all. Comedy was the one theme which gave Dyer hope; I see-sawed between wanting to cry for her or laugh with her as I read this.

While I was humbled by Dyer’s experiences, I think that with the help of a good editor and a thorough proofread this book could be lifted to the level it deserves. At the moment it reflects the memories as they tumble from Dyer’s mind, but the delivery style could be tidied up so that this important book could reach a wider critical audience. 

However, there is a lot to commend about this book. Now a multi-award winning comedian, Dyer uses her mental health experiences to support others who are going through their own challenges. She focuses much of her stage work on mental health, and hopes to be an inspiration to others with her candid approach. Good Job!

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

From dying twice to wanting to be a boy, her Dad leaving her Mum for a man and once doing so many drugs she thought she was Kat Slater from Eastenders… It’s been eventful.

Of course there was the abuse too.

A funnier than it should be, honest tale of a bipolar, working class girl from Cornwall who overcame an awful lot of trauma to become an award winning comedian and mental health advocate.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Biographical #historicalfiction The Other Mrs. Samson by @Ralph_Webster

Today’s team review is from Olga. She blogs here https://www.authortranslatorolga.com

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading The Other Mrs Samson by Ralph Webster

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The description of the book suggests, this is the story of two women, told by them, although somewhat indirectly. This is one of those books (they are also quite a few movies, mostly adaptations of novels), which follow similar plots, or use a similar “frame” to tell a story: somebody finds a book, diary, collection of letters, etc., sometimes belonging to a parent, another relative, a friend, sometimes to somebody they’ve never met, and then, as if in a long flashback, we get to hear (or see) the story of that other person. Most of these stories tend to include some secret or major revelation towards the end, which casts a new light on the characters and their lives. In this book, a couple have inherited a piece of furniture (a lacquered cabinet) from an elderly woman they met through one of their relatives (they had been friends for decades and met regularly to have lunch and share news), and whom they became friendly with after their relative’s passing. By pure chance, they discover a secret drawer in the cabinet and inside there are (with some extra bits) two diaries/documents narrating the stories of two women who’d been married to the same man at very different moments in time (and also at very different historical periods). What makes the book particularly interesting is that in the acknowledgements’ section, the author talks about the process of development of the book, the help he got translating letters, etc., and also the fact that he changed some names, so this is not a work of fiction in its entirety, but rather a fictionalisation of the lives of two women. This makes sense, especially considering that the author (whose work I hadn’t read before) is well known for his work writing/adapting memoirs and biographies. The note doesn’t clarify how much of the content is fictionalised, but I found the category of biographical historical fiction that the book is classed under more than appropriate.

What I most liked about the book is the historical sweep and the amount of detail about the periods it covers, and also the two main characters (or the two narrators, to be more specific), Hilda and Katie. As Hilda’s narration also includes details about her grandparents and her parents, we get treated to a chronicle of life from the early XIX century in Germany —the immigration of her ancestors to the United States (and San Francisco in particular) from old Europe, a description of her own life as a well-off debutante and a young woman —through to the late XIX and early XX century. We hear about the fires, the earthquake, we read about what travelling was like, and also about Hilda’s visits to Germany and her contact with a distant cousin who would become her husband, Josef. She moves to Germany, totally changing her husband’s life, and acknowledges her difficulties adapting to a new place, to living with somebody else, and also, later, describes how their life is affected by WWI. Hilda can be spoilt and whimsical, but she is determined to have her own life and not to simply become a doctor’s wife. Katie, on the other hand, is much younger than her husband, her social circumstances and education are very different to those of Josef (and Hilda) and they first meet while she is looking after his elderly mother. This takes place much later (in the late 1920s-early 1930s), and we follow her through a somewhat odd courting, then she joins him in France (he is Jewish and leaves Germany soon after Hitler comes into power), and she adapts her life to his, following him in his increasingly desperate attempts to leave Europe. The two narratives are in the first person, and Hilda and Katie have pretty different personalities which clearly come across in their parts of the story. While Hilda is more expressive and outgoing, Katie has seen a lot of suffering from a very young age, prefers quiet pursuits, and is happy to try to fit in with others and avoid confrontation.

This is a book full of little details that play important parts in the story, objects that come to symbolise aspects of the relationship of the two women with their husbands and also illustrate their personalities (while Hilda doesn’t get on with Josef’s mother and insists on standing her ground, Katie adapts to Josef’s mother’s somewhat overbearing personality and becomes a beloved companion of the old woman; Hilda dislikes the piano seat Josef can’t bear to part with but only convinces him to reupholster it, while Katie convinces him to get a two-seater piano bench; Katie’s father gives her a clock that becomes a stand-in for the past and for old memories and times). As we read the story we come to realise that Josef’s life has changed little, and we can’t help but wonder about the story of these women and about the man himself. There is a twist at the end, which helps explain some things, but it leaves and many questions unanswered as it solves.

I am not sure there is anything I dislike of the book. By its own nature and the way the story is narrated, there is a lot of telling, but the stories told are so fascinating that I didn’t mind at all, and other than the occasional German word (which is usually translated or explained in the text), the text is easy to read with no sudden jumps in point of view or chronology, apart from the framing story. Katie’s account will, perhaps, be more familiar to readers, as there has been an upsurge in stories about WWII, and I know some readers didn’t feel that part quite matched the intensity of the other, but I was intrigued by the character, her relationship with her husband and her attitude towards life (although I don’t have much, if anything, in common with her). Of course, readers who dislike telling or like elaborate plots that move the story along without a pause might feel frustrated by the story and the style of the narrative, but I liked the way the two stories fitted together and felt the technique used to tell the story is told is well suited to the material.

I recommend this book to readers of historical fiction, especially those interested in XIX and XX century German and American History, to people who enjoy biographies and/or fictionalised biographies, and particularly to those who like to read about women’s lives in the past. If you’re looking for a page-turner full of sensational adventures and larger-than-life characters, on the other hand, this is not the book for you. I look forward to discovering more of the author’s book and will follow his career with interest.

Book description

Surviving two wars, sharing one husband, searching for answers.

A secret compartment in a black lacquer cabinet left in an attic reveals the secrets of two incredible women: Hilda, born and raised in one of the wealthiest Jewish families in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, and Katie, whose early life in Germany is marked by tragedy and death. Their lives are forever entwined by their love of the same man, the brilliant and compassionate Dr. Josef Samson.

From the earliest, rough-and-tumble days of San Francisco, through the devastation of the Great War in Berlin and the terrors of Vichy France, and then to a new yet uncertain life in New York City, their stories span the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century. In the end, one of these women will complete the life of the other and make a startling discovery about the husband they share.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #Memoir Keep Walking And Your Heart Will Catch Up by Cathay O. Reta #TuesdayBookBlog

Keep Walking, Your Heart Will Catch Up: A Camino de Santiago journeyKeep Walking, Your Heart Will Catch Up: A Camino de Santiago journey by Cathay O. Reta

4 stars

Keep Walking And Your Heart Will Catch Up: A Camino de Santiago journey is a memoir and travelogue. Author Cathay O. Reta writes about her experience of walking the 483-mile trail across northern Spain.

This centuries-old pilgrim route is famous for the spiritual experiences that many of its walkers have while travelling. Cathay, a widow in her sixties, set out on a solo journey. She wanted to find a new purpose in life. Single for 30 years, married for 30 years, she now wanted to find some direction for the next 30 years.

I was interested to read the snippets of history about this route and of other roads which are similar to the Camino. Cathay interspersed observations from her daily walks with enough detail about the people she met and the places of interest along the way, to keep the book flowing effortlessly.

Although Cathay had physically prepared for the walk, it still tested her, but she learnt to listen to her body and adapt when needed. I admired her determination to carry on when she could so easily have given up. Cathay’s journey also had a spiritual purpose; it was time to end her mourning for her husband with a final goodbye.

The scenery and the journey both physical and spiritual were very appealing. I’m glad that Cathay shared her experience in this book and I’m glad that she found the answers she was looking for. I like walking and the thought of miles of open space with beautiful views and the camaraderie from fellow walkers on the trail sounds wonderful.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

“Keep Walking” is a modern-day pilgrimage, a spiritual journey, a physical feat. Cathay was in her mid-60s and entering a new phase of life. In phase one she had been single for 29 years. Phase two followed with 33 years of marriage. Now widowed, she was looking for direction for her next 30 years. That’s when she felt called to hike the Camino de Santiago, the centuries old 483-mile trail across northern Spain.

As Cathay began to physically prepare for such a feat by hiking and walking and leaving her sedentary life behind, she became aware that it would also be an inner healing – a rite of passage to the next phase of her life. With trepidation, some fear and a fervent commitment to make the hike as best she could, Cathay traveled alone to Spain and started walking. She kept walking day after day through tears, anger, laughter, sadness and great joy. Every day was a challenge, and she often questioned why she was on the Camino. Why not just go to a nice hotel and think through what to do the next 30 years?

Her question was answered when a fellow sojourner said to her, “You’re here [on the Camino] to learn to fall in love with yourself again.”

After 37 days she reached her destination. “Keep Walking” is her story of self-discovery, of transformation, and of renewal, all set in the magical, mystical field of the stars, the Camino de Santiago.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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7 Items Which Have Got Me Through Lockdown #MondayBlogs

The latest Uk lockdown has been really hard and at times I have had to dig deep to find the will to keep going. Here are 7 items which have saved me when times have been tough.

First my Superpower T-shirt. When I’ve needed motivation to keep going I put this on, after all we all need a superpower!

I bought mine from Amazon

My second item was a bargain that I came across when I needed to top up my online shopping to reach the free delivery spend. Water Jasmine Eau de Toilette 30ml. Just because a girl likes to smell lovely!

This was only £5 from M&S and is light and refreshing, it also comes in 6 other flavours

Third on my list is one square a day of 90% cocoa, dark chocolate. It is my dark secret indulgence.

The fourth is one many of you will have in the back of your cupboard and this one literally does a rescue job when panic sets in and it feels like all your cards have fallen down.

Bach Rescue Remedy.

My Fifth item was a treat for my very dry skin. Dream Cream from Lush. With a light perfume and soothing ingredients it is well worth the investment.

Find it here.

Sixth on my list goes to some Pukka herbal teas, particularity Night time Organic Tea which has helped me to drift off to sleep.

Lastly this Sweet Sleep Magnesium Butter from The Sweet Bee Organics company. This was ideal for my menopausal twitchy legs, a little smoothed onto the feet and calves each night and my fidgety legs have gone.

Shop for it here.

So that’s my list, what items have got you through the Lockdown period?

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Of #RomanticSuspense AN UNLIKELY GRAVE by @reily_garrett

An Unlikely GraveAn Unlikely Grave by Reily Garrett

4 stars

An Unlikely Grave is book four in the Moonlight and Murder romantic suspense series.

Josh Loughlin has plans to create a refuge for fellow military veterans. This was once a shared dream with Mike, his fellow friend and soldier, but after a roadside bombing, Josh has returned home alone.

Local rumours that the Ferndel place is haunted didn’t deter Josh from buying the plot; however, within days of his purchase, a murder victim is found. With military evidence at the site, Josh becomes the first suspect and his situation becomes worse when another body turns up.

Detective Brooke Bengert grew up in the area and knew Josh from school; he once saved her from bullies. Now she is determined to defend him, with the help of her police dog and friends within the force.

Although this is a gruesome murder mystery, it is well-balanced with some light romance. There are several canine characters which are a delight, and the friendship between them and their owners works well. Josh’s sister Darby, who we met in book three, connects him with her friends who provide much needed back-up; they show him just how loyal friendship can be.

Overall, another good story in this series. They can be read as stand-alone tales, but I believe readers would get much more from reading the books in order.

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Book description

It takes a predator to catch one.

Detective Brooke Bengert’s recent promotion includes a sharp learning curve with the discovery of a bizarre murder scene, a skeleton bound to a mountain treetop in her remote small town in Pennsylvania. Fate forces her to match wits with a clever serial killer, a chameleon who has selected his next victim. Brooke.

Josh Loughlin returns home after his overseas tour, having bought property with single-minded purpose, to build a refuge where veterans can rejoin polite society. Within days, a body is found a stone’s throw from his backyard. All evidence points to Josh.

Resisting their growing attraction, Josh and Brooke pool their resources with local detectives and their K9 partners to prove that determination and strength of will bind a family together.

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