Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT FACE VALUE by @IanAndrewAuthor #Thriller #fridayreads

Today’s Team review is from E.L. Lindley, she blogs at

#RBRT Review Team

E.L has been reading Face Value by Ian Andrew

Face Value by Ian Andrew is a crime thriller which introduces readers to the Wright and Tran series. It’s an intriguing novel with lots of action, driven by strong, believable female characters.

Kara Wright and Tien Tran are partners in a private investigation agency. They are also best friends who met whilst serving as part of a special ops’ team within the military. They both have their own skill set, Kara is more outgoing and handles the client side of the business whereas Tien is a technological whizz. Both characters however are tough, intelligent and not the kind of women you would want to cross. In fact the novel opens with Kara making short work of a would-be rapist in a quite spectacular fashion, involving little more than a red stiletto heeled shoe.

I have to confess that Andrew had me at the shoe but he kept my interest throughout with his well crafted mystery. The story begins when the adult children of Chris and Brenda Sterling recruit Kara and Tien to track their parents’ whereabouts. The problem is, to all intents and purposes, the Sterlings have simply taken off on a holiday to Florida. As the plot unfolds, however, it becomes increasingly apparent that this is not the case and Kara and Tien find themselves drawn into the murky world of a Russian criminal.

Andrew makes his novel even more exciting by structuring it so that Kara and Tien’s investigation is interspersed with the investigation of the police who are searching for the killer of the aforementioned would-be rapist. The two storylines collide dramatically towards the end in a very satisfying finale.

There is much to recommend this novel, not least the central characters themselves. Kara is no-nonsense and forthright with a sharp sense of humour and whilst Tien may be quieter and happy take a back seat, she is no less ballsy. We learn that her military career ended when she lost her hand during a daring rescue mission. A mission that saw her awarded the military cross for bravery.

The military is very much present in this book as Kara and Tien draw on the support of other former military personnel. They are presented as a tight network and Andrew captures the banter between them perfectly. The way the characters use jokes to counteract the danger make the relationships seem authentic.

My favourite thing about this novel is the way that Andrew allows women to shine in what is traditionally viewed as a man’s world. In addition to Kara and Tien there are lots of strong female characters making up both military and police roles. Even the toughest of the villains is a Russian woman called Emilia. It is telling that whilst interrogating her, Kara calls to mind a maxim from 1970s anti-terrorism training – “Kill the women fighters first for they are the most vicious, the most hard line, the least likely to surrender.”

The way in which Andrew chooses to conclude his novel places Kara and Tien in a position to move into a new and exciting direction in the future. He has set up his series very effectively with lots of likeable characters who I for one want to see more of. If you like action packed crime with a strong military flavour then you should give Face Value a try.

Find a copy here from or also available free from Kindle Unlimited




Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE LADY ANNE by G Lawrence @TudorTweep #Tudors #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Olga, she blogs at

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading The Lady Anne by Gemma Lawrence

The Lady Anne (Above all Others; The Lady Anne Book 2) by [Lawrence,G.]

I write this review as one of the members of behalf of Rosie’s Books Review Team. I was provided with a free copy of the book as part of the team.

I have read and enjoyed La Petite Boulain, the first book in the Above all Others series and really enjoyed getting to know a bit more about Anne Boleyn’s childhood, and particularly, the way the story was told, in the first person from the point of view of young Anne, or, to be more precise, the young Anne as remembered by the older Anne at the moment of awaiting her death in the Tower.

Here we see Anne return to England after spending part of her childhood and teenage years in courts abroad. She is sad to leave France, as she feels by now more French than English, and the weather and the difficulties of her trip don’t help make her feel at home. Luckily, things take a turn for the better quickly. She meets Thomas Wyatt, a neighbour, accomplished poet, and a childhood friend, and once she joins the court, becoming one of Queen Katherine’s ladies in waiting, she soon meets interesting people, makes new friends, rekindles old friendships, and becomes a fashion icon and very admired for her style, accomplishments, and her personality.

I was curious to see how this novel would portray Anne as a young woman, in an era more familiar to most people than that of her early years. She is presented as an interesting mixture of a clever and intelligent woman, with far wider knowledge and experiences than many of the women her age she meets, but still a young girl at heart, who loves the idea of courting, handsome and romantic knights, and has to admit to being proud of the way men are attracted to her and women copy her dresses and jewels. She changes her mind often and she thinks she is in love with Tom Wyatt one day, although it’s an impossible love, but then decides it’s only friendship. She falls in love with Henry Percy (of much higher standing than her as he’s due to become the Earl of Northumberland) and with her father’s approval pursues a marriage that would have been very advantageous for her family, but when Cardinal Wolsey and Henry’s father forbid the match, her disappointment makes her hate him. And then, there’s King Henry…

I must confess that I enjoyed the discussions about Anne’s ideas and her education in religion and philosophy in the first book, and there were only passing references to it here (partly because she worried about the company she keeps and how they would react if they were aware of her opinions, and partly because there are other things that occupy more of her time), and there is much more about romance and romantic ideas. King Henry seems to notice her following an accident (although perhaps before that) and her behaviour and her refusal to become his mistress seem to spur him on rather than make him forget her and move on. If Henry Percy gave up on her without a fight, this is a man who would risk everything (even the future of his kingdom) for his own enjoyment and to prove himself, and in Anne, he meets a challenge. Not being a big reader of romance, the pull and push of the relationship and the will she/won’t she (especially knowing how things will turn up) part of it was not what interested me the most, although the scenes are well done and I found the fights and disagreements between the couple enjoyable. I became intrigued by King Henry’s portrayal, not so much by what he does and says, but by how others see him. There is a very apt warning her brother George gives her, recalling how King Henry was walking with his arm around a nobleman’s shoulders one afternoon and two days later the said nobleman’s head was topping a pole on the King’s orders.

I was more interested in matters of politics and alliances (confusing as they were), the inner workings of the court, marriages and births, and Anne’s reflections about the roles of women and men in the society of the time, that she struggles against but ultimately feels obliged to follow. I was also intrigued by the depiction of her family, her brother George, always close to her, her sister Mary, who although Anne always saw as too free and easy, she comes to understand and appreciate (and who manages to achieve a happy existence in her own terms, eventually), her mother, who suffers from a strange illness, and her father, who appears to be only interested in the family’s advancement (although claims that it is not for himself, but for those who’ll come after). He seemingly has no respect for morality if it can get in the way of achieving his goals, and at times he treats his daughters as pawns or worse. In the novel, Anne is portrayed as having much of the initiative, at least at the beginning, regarding her relationship with King Henry, but I was very intrigued by the role her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, would come to play, and how much he influenced later events and the rise of Anne to become Queen.

This volume made me wonder, more than the first one, how reliable a narrator is Anne supposed to be. She makes a very interesting comment about wearing masks and the fact that we all perform our roles in public, whatever our feelings or thoughts might really be. After all, this is Anne remembering her life and trying to distract herself from her likely dark fate. Sometimes she does protest too much, when talking about her accomplishments, intelligence and fashion sense, and insists that she does not believe in false modesty. She also talks about Tom Wyatt’s affections and how she had not encouraged him, but she evidently enjoys his attentions. At other times, she describes events and scenes as if she were at the same time protagonist and observer (from telling us what she was feeling and her concerns, she will go on to describe what she looked like or what she was wearing). She does highlight the behaviours she thinks show her in a good light and easily finds ways in which to dismiss some of her more selfish or problematic behaviours, but at a time such as the one she’s living through, after having lost everything and everybody, it’s only understandable. If anything, it shows her as a complex and contradictory individual and makes her appear more real.

The writing is once more fluid and beautifully detailed, bringing to life places, customs and times long past.

Although I know what will happen next, I’m intrigued to read Anne’s version of events and look forward to the next book. I highly recommend this series to anybody interested in Anne Boleyn who enjoys historical fiction, and to anybody who is considering reading about such a fascinating historical figure.

Find a copy here from or also available free from Kindle Unlimited

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE ELIZABETH PAPERS by @JenettaJames #Austenesque #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Jenny, she blogs at

#RBRT Review Team

Jenny has been reading The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James


Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team.

The Elizabeth Papers is an intriguing romantic suspense novel that flashes seamlessly between the lives of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy once they are married, and Evie and Charlie in the present day.

I was drawn to it immediately as Elizabeth Bennet is my favourite Austen heroine. I don’t think it is possible to capture completely the chemistry between Darcy and Elizabeth nor Elizabeth’s brilliantly witty and teasing speech patterns unless your name is Jane Austen, but in my opinion this book stands up with the best of the sequels to Pride and Prejudice and for this reason I have given it five stars.

The attention to detail is faultless, both in the historical settings and in the present day world of art and detection, but the tale really becomes interesting when Evie and Charlie, the present day characters, make a visit to Pemberley and the two worlds collide…but no, I can’t spoil the mystery for you! I thoroughly recommend this book – but make sure you put some unbroken time aside because once you are hooked (in the very first chapter) you will have to read on and on until the mystery is solved.

Find a copy here from or also available free from Kindle Unlimited

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE 45th NAIL by @Ian_Lahey #WW2 #TuesdayBookBlog #HistFic

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

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading The 45th Nail by Michael & Ian Lahey


Book Review: The 45th Nail by Michael Lahey and Ian Lahey


I am torn between describing this book as compelling or interesting. I think I’ll go with the latter. It has been described as a noire drama, but I found the first half of the book quite humorous.

Robert Svenson, a middle-age French teacher from the Midwest, receives a postcard and a Christmas present from his mother’s brother, a man believed to have died at Anzio during WW II. The gift is a valuable Etruscan amulet which Robert sells, ostensibly to pay for a two-month visit to Paris to work on his French. Instead he heads for Italy to find his uncle, lying to his wife, who to my mind is incredibly gullible and pretty laissez faire about his proposed trip.

On his arrival in Rome, Robert has his luggage stolen, followed by his wallet, and is forced to find the means to support himself plus accumulate the funds to search for his uncle. Luckily, the owner of the hotel to which he had been directed from the airport takes him under his wing and gets him a job with a tenuous relative. The relative owns a restaurant and hires Robert, who doesn’t speak Italian and knows nothing about wine, as his wine consultant. Robert acquires other jobs and friends and eventually meets his uncle Jim.

At this point, the novel transitions from humor to darkness, as Jim takes Robert on a tour of his Italy, where he has been living and working for the decades after the war as a sweeper of WW II mines and finder of Etruscan antiquities. The characters are richly drawn and the reader becomes pulled into the journey, discovers Robert’s moral compass, and comes to understand Jim’s convoluted thinking about his troubled past. The book is in part a tour of the history of the west coast of Italy, focusing on Jim’s knowledge of the Etruscans and of WW II, and colorful friends or acquaintances of Jim’s pop in and out of the story, sometimes with meaning, sometimes not. The food, the wine and the Italian language become threads binding the story together.

However, a sense that something terrible is going to happen increases with each step of the journey, as the meaning of the book’s title is revealed, along with the secret buried in Jim’s heart – one he feels he can only reveal to Robert.

There were parts of this book where the exposition and dialogue were overlong or ponderous, but there is also much to appreciate. Like a moth to the flame, I had to read it to the end.

Find a copy here from or



When They Build The Road You Want While You Wait #Travel #MondayBlogs

Last week I explained how there is much excitement in the Amber household as we plan next summer’s road-trip to Canada

Our plan is to fly to Calgary and over two weeks drive to Vancouver here are some of the highlights we’re looking at for our first couple of days: Calgary Tower , Fort Calgary , there is the famous Calgary Stampede which takes place July 7th – 16th and the  Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology near Drumheller

Meanwhile I’ve realised just how many other road trips we’ve done and I’m sharing them with you.

Last week was the 3000 mile trip to LA and back, all on the back of a packet of crisps, read the post here

This week is about the next trip to the west coast of America.

About a year after our trip to LA hubby and I (pre marriage and no kids) wanted to go back and see more of America, this time we flew into San Francisco and home from LA with a road- trip in between. We’re not huge city fans, so we jumped into our hire car and headed straight over the Golden Gate Bridge northwards, we were pleasantly surprised not to have to pay a toll, finding ourselves amongst rush hour traffic heading the right way out of the city.

First stop was the Napa valley region and a spot of wine tasting, interesting but when you’re driving and then flying home you can’t a) do too much tasting and b) bring too much wine home.

Next we drove almost to the Oregon border to the Redwood National Park , had a picture in front of  the giant “General Sherman” tree, but the park was very snowy and we hadn’t packed much cold weather clothing. Heading back down south we took the coastal road route 1 which hugged the rugged coastline, this was late Spring and there had been some ferocious storms, we’d been driving several hours and long past the last turnoff, when we were stopped by workmen. A landslide had knocked the road out and they were making a new one on the side of a very steep cliff, if we’d like to wait a while we could pass or turn around and go back. We decided to wait while they laid the shingle and graded and rolled it, then they waved us through, hubby asked what I could see down the drop off “absolutely nothing! Keep driving!”

We headed back to San Francisco for a spot of sight-seeing, and nearly got arrested for going down a closed road when we were lost, our saving grace was our accent and the fact hubby’s old style driving licence bamboozled the police officer. Think we went on a Twin Peaks trail, but I was still not speaking to hubby over the near arrest. Forgot about this until just now, I was dying for a pee when we were in the Bay area, found the public rest rooms, queued for ages crossing my legs only to discover non of the toilets had doors on them! I was so desperate by then, I had to forgo caring, assuming I was far enough away from home that I wouldn’t see anyone I knew. Then we headed down towards Bakersfield and the Sequoia National Park we do love our trees!

Passing through LA this time we decided to head to San Diego for a bit of sun, it had been snowy up in the Redwoods, the closer we got to the Mexican border the more security checks there were, we stopped just north of the city and next day went to the San Diego Sea World

A quick trip to Palm Springs, with an interesting drive through a dust storm. (Think we were ticking off nearly every weather condition on this trip) Palm Springs was lovely and warm in the city and then we took a cable car up the mountain to Mt San Jacinto State Park where it was snowing and we really hadn’t dressed appropriately again, at least we had booked dinner by the roaring log fire.

Lastly we high-tailed it back to LA, and fitted in The Universal Studio Hollywood Tour we sat in the Knight Rider car and tried to interact but it couldn’t understand our English accent, really enjoyed the studio tour, seeing characters from the latest Bat Man film at the time and seeing a well used pond feature in The Waltons and may more movies and TV series.

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Next week I take off without the Hubster to Australia.

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT A MINGER’S TALE: BEGINNINGS by @rbnbookmark #Memoir

Today’s team review is from Georgia, she blogs at

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading A Minger’s Tale: Beginnings by R.B.N Bookmark



There are many reasons why someone writes a book and for this author it was the death of his father that was the trigger for him to start telling his story which is in the form of a memoir, and this, as the subtitle promises, covers the early days of his life, from the 1960’s to the 1980’s.

I was a little behind on some of things this writer experienced for two reasons. Firstly, I am a few years younger so my terms of reference are a little off, and secondly, we grew up in very different worlds. Ribban, for that is what everyone calls him, was born to strict, hardworking Irish immigrants and was brought up on the harsh council house streets of Manchester, while I was not.

I really enjoyed the reminiscences of his family and of a childhood growing up among the regeneration (or as he calls it disintegration) schemes that gave the local children an unusual playground of empty houses awaiting demolition to play in. Ribban was a naughty child who struggled to settle into school, and later into work, and he was in and out of hospital which set back his education. He talks candidly about the corporal punishment he endured (something seen as perfectly normal at the time) and about being rubbish at maths and with women, although that became more apparent later on. I have to add that I absolutely loved his mother – her defence of him when he started at St Iggy’s was priceless and the time when she went to get a job – I could picture her perfectly.

The things I did not enjoy so much was the author putting himself down all the time by using the term minger. As we are told at the beginning of this book the British slang definition of this term is someone who fell out of the ugly tree at birth and hit every branch on the way down. I suspect some readers will also find some of the one liners a little cheesy. But you know what this is an honest book, telling things like they are so I guess these are pretty true to life.

There is so much to comment on as you read this book, unemployment, riots, the effect the Thatcher era had on the North that it’s well worth a read if only to compare lives and experiences during this time.

Find a copy here from or

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT PHOENIX by @DaccariBuchelli #YA #Fantasy #SundayBlogShare

Today’s Team Review is from Suzanne, she blogs at

#RBRT Review Team

Suzanne has been reading Phoenix by Daccari Buchelli


Phoenix is a fantasy book and book #1 of the Peradon series. It opens with immediate intrigue as a seer tells Emperor Jugan of a future marriage between his eldest son and their enemy. To avoid this fate, the Emperor decides to have Violetta assassinated. This sets in motion events that drive the story and greatly affects Violette’a life.
There are lots of good ideas in this book but several seem rushed and I longed for them to be developed deeper for the reader to understand. I also struggled to get my head around the different kingdoms, I wanted the writing to give me a clearer picture. I’m sure the author has a brilliant image of his fantasy land in his head, I just couldn’t see the pictures he wanted me to see.
There is a large cast of people and places to remember from the start. I’m not sure it was necessary to introduce them all at once, better perhaps to slow down the action and drip the characters into the storyline, so the reader stands a chance of really knowing the main characters from the beginning.
There’s definitely a good story in here, it just needs a bit of a re-write to sort out some of the weaker areas of the plot, head hopping on occasions by the characters and tweaking of punctuation errors. There are also a few minor formatting errors with regard to the unnecessary indenting of first paragraphs of new chapters and scenes, which is easy to resolve and doesn’t detract from the story.
I think another run through edit would vastly improve things from a readers point of view.
With a little more work, I think this is an author to watch out for in the future.
My rating 3 stars
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Rosie’s #Bookreview #Team #RBRT ECLIPSE LAKE by @MaeClair1 #Mystery #WeekendBlogShare

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair


Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair

3.5 out of 5 stars

This is a very readable mystery with a romantic sub-plot, involving the feud between two brothers when bad boy-turned-multi-millionaire-philanthropist Dane Carlisle returns to his small home town and finds that the residents have long memories.  Dane has been widowed for two years; his adopted son, Jesse, arrives with him, and soon becomes interested in clearing his father’s name.  This is all set against the backdrop of Eclipse Lake, where Dane meets dedicated photographer Ellie.

By far the best illustrated character is Jonah Carlisle, who did everything right but ended up with so little in comparison with his brother, and can’t forgive Dane for neglecting their late mother.  The complicated relationship between the brothers comes over well, and Jonah’s bitterness, resentment and loneliness is most convincing.  Other characters, I found less so.  Through meeting a businessman who believed in him, Dane metamorphosed from a juvenile delinquent, convict and hobo into this golden success story with the outlook of a puritan priest, who looks like a Greek god but lives a celibate life (I know he was heartbroken when his wife died, but it still didn’t ring true) and, when he falls in love with Ellie (who adores him too, and is much more real), behaves like a 1950s Mills and Boon hero without the passion.

Then there are the teenagers (aged 16-18) who don’t drink, swear, or even smoke the odd dodgy cigarette, and hang out in ice cream parlours.  Jesse behaves like a truculent 14 year old but the next minute is using the vocabulary, reasoning powers and articulation skills of one much older and more experienced.  I did wonder if this is specifically written for the ‘clean read’ market, in which case I suppose many of these observations would be considered plus points!

Having said all that, it is a well thought out plot, I enjoyed reading it for the most part, and I’ll give full marks for the end twist which I totally didn’t guess – something that always impresses me.  Mae Clair writes well, I just think that more realistic characterisation would make all the difference; for instance, if Dane had just cleaned up his act rather than become a dynamic, super-rich Chris Hemsworth/Josh Holloway lookalike.  Then, I could have believed in him.

Find a copy here from or



Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE SEVEN YEAR DRESS by @MahurinPaulette #WWII #HistFic

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

#RBRT Review Team

Wendy has been reading The Seven Year Dress by Paulette Mahurin


This is a story that involves a Jewish teenager, Helen Stein, and her family who lived through Hitler’s deranged views of annihilating the Jewish population. Helen was born during the early stages of Hitler’s rise to power. As a younger child, Helen was shielded from most of what was happening in her country by her parents. However, Helen had a friend who had joined Hitler’s army as a young man and kept Helen informed of what was going on. As Hitler’s power grew, so did his relentless pursuit against the Jews and Helen’s family has no choice but to face what is happening in their country and to their culture.

Helen was able to evade capture by Hitler’s army for a period of time but was eventually found and taken to Auschwitz. To keep through the early times of Hitler’s reign, Helen learned to sew to help supplement her family’s income. Because of this, she was able to live upon her arrival to Auschwitz, was tattooed, and endured several hours of hard labor every day, was given little edible food, and forced to sleep in unimaginable living conditions.

Although Hitler and his army was able to force Helen and others into these conditions, he couldn’t take away Helen’s will to live and her ability to see the good in others that were also there. This is what helped Helen throughout her time in Auschwitz until she was later freed. Hitler’s army tried to cover up what they had done but it was Helen and other survivors that were a true testimony to what had occurred to them. Thankfully, allowing many of Hitler’s soldiers to be held accountable for their actions. Helen was able to leave Auschwitz and relocated to America. This is just one story of many Jewish survivors of this horrific period in our history.

The story is very well-written and it was as if I was with Helen throughout the story and enduring her pain and heartache along with her. I couldn’t put this book down and read it in one night. I actually had to wait a few days to write a review as the book has really touched me deeply. I would highly recommend this book to others.

Find a copy here from or also available free from Kindle Unlimited


Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT SANDLANDS by @rosy_thornton 16 linked #shortstories

Today’s team review is from Karen, she blogs at

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Sandlands by Rosy Thornton


My Opinion

This book introduces you to the Sandlands – the landscape of the Suffolk coast. 16 charming – and linked – short stories invite you to Blaxhall and its surrounding area.

With Sandlands, Rosy Thornton has created a charming collection of short stories with a good measure of folklore. It is a very enjoyable and varied read, drawing you in as you learn more about coastal Suffolk and its inhabitants. Rosy Thornton paints a clear picture of the characters and landscape while the story evolves. The characters are of sufficient depth, believable with their flaws and virtues; the author’s care for each of them shows. As for the locations, I had a clear vision of the landscape – without having been there myself. The stories are very nicely woven and have a wonderful flow. This calm way of story telling exquisitely matches the stories.

This is a book for you if you like folklore, linked short stories, believable characters, and enjoy excellent writing.


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