Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery Finders, Not Keepers by @dehaggerty

Today’s team review is from Jenny

#RBRT Review Team

Jenny has been reading Finders, Not Keepers by D.E. Haggerty

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This is a lighthearted and fun murder mystery. Terri finds a beautiful diamond necklace which turns out to be worth a pretty penny. Things are not as simple as you may think though, there is a story behind the jewel, an unsolved murder!
Terri’s friend Melanie, never one to let anything remotely exciting pass her by, insists Terri try to solve the mystery. This is not something Terri goes into lightheartedly, especially when there is ‘the mob’ involved.
Of course we cannot have a heroine without a hunk of a neighbour on her tail. Ryder has his eye on Terri and little does she know just how much of her he is looking at. I found Ryder to be quite irritating and overbearing, but all with good intentions.
This book is simple to read, easy to follow and had me giggling quite a bit too. The chapters are just the right length too.
A good book with just enough going on to keep you wanting more.

Book description

What do you do with a diamond no one wants? You can’t keep it. Or can you?

While cleaning her ex-husband’s effects out of the attic, Terri finds an exquisite diamond pendant necklace. She’s determined to return the necklace to its proper owner, but the owner was brutally killed, a murder which remains unsolved, and her heirs want nothing to do with the diamond. Terri embarks upon a journey researching charities to which she can donate the diamond. When her research becomes dangerous, Terri contemplates solving the murder herself. Her best friend, Melanie, jumps feet first into investigating the murder, but her neighbor, Ryder, doesn’t want Terri exposed to any danger. Ryder, to Terri’s surprise, also wants to be more than neighbors with Terri. Luckily, he’s prepared to take any measure necessary to keep her safe because someone is determined to stop her inquiries.

Join Terri on her quest to find a home for the diamond, which may result in the unveiling of a murderer – if she survives long enough.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

 

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #WW2 Resistance #Thriller Night Flight To Paris by @davidgilmanuk

Night Flight to Paris: A World War II thriller from the bestselling author of the Master of War seriesNight Flight to Paris: A World War II thriller from the bestselling author of the Master of War series by David Gilman

4 stars

Night Flight To Paris is a second world war thriller.

The book opens in Paris, as members of the resistance are hunted and captured. Cell members have been working to smuggle an important informer out of France. However, it’s possible that there’s a traitor at work.

Ex-Parisian Harry Mitchell works in Britain as a code-breaker. He doesn’t have a military background, but he knows Paris and he was involved with setting up escape lines for refuges and stranded airmen early in the war. Now he’s asked to go back.  His incentive? The Germans have his daughter.

The British train Harry to be a competent secret agent, then they send him on his dangerous mission: he must find the valuable informant, investigate the Paris cell, flush out the traitor, and then find his daughter.

Books which feature the resistance in the second world war always attract me so I was looking forward to this one. I enjoyed the brief Bletchley Park section, then later I was pleased to see evidence of a number of resistance activities. The story gallops along at a fair pace with plenty of tension and action, another plus point. However, I did struggle with the huge cast of characters and I thought too many of them were given roles which muddied the tightening of the plot. I also wasn’t convinced, at times, with Harry’s military knowledge and how easily he morphed into a top secret agent. I thought he would have been stricter with all the coded messaging, given his background at Bletchley Park, which would have made his character more believable.

Overall a reasonable resistance-themed war story, but with a cast size more suited to the screen where visual recognition is easier than from the written word. Also, my enjoyment was marred by not finding the actions of the lead character, who I wanted to like, entirely believable.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Paris, 1943.

The swastika flies from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Soldiers clad in field grey patrol the streets. Buildings have been renamed, books banned, art stolen and people disappeared. Amongst the missing is an Allied intelligence cell.

Gone to ground? Betrayed? Dead? Britain’s Special Operations Executive need to find out. They recruit ex-Parisian and Bletchley Park codebreaker Harry Mitchell to return to the city he fled two years ago.

Mitchell knows Occupied Paris – a city at war with itself. Informers, gangsters, collaborators and Resistance factions are as ready to slit each other’s throats as they are the Germans’. The occupiers themselves are no better: the Gestapo and the Abwehr – military intelligence – are locked in their own lethal battle for dominance. Mitchell knows the risks: a return to Paris not a mission – it’s a death sentence.

But he has good reason to put his life on the line: the wife and daughter he was forced to leave behind have fallen into the hands of the Gestapo and Michell will do whatever it takes to save them. But with disaster afflicting his mission from the outset, it will take all his ingenuity, all his courage, to even get into Paris… unaware that every step he takes towards the capital is a step closer to a trap well set and baited.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Vintage #Mystery The Riviera Affair by @newwrites #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Riviera Affair by J New

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When Ella Bridges takes a frantic phone call for help from her mother Elspeth, who lives on Cap Ferrat in France, she and her aunt Margaret waste no time in travelling to the French Riviera accompanied by Margaret’s dear but eccentric friend, Pierre DuPont. Pierre is a renowned artist, master forger and, despite his name and French manner, a cockney. It seems Elspeth’s friend, Colonel Summerfield, has gone missing and, because she was the last person to see him, the unpleasant detective in charge has implied she must have something to do with his disappearance. With the threat of prison hanging over her and worry about her friend, Elspeth needs all the help she can get.

Ella was glad of the company, she didn’t relish the idea of travelling to France alone. Pierre could speak fluent French and knew a good number of people and Aunt Margaret saw to all the travel arrangements. Travelling by aeroplane was a first for Ella and she was undeniably nervous, but once on board she pleased to note it was very civilised, similar to a first class train carriage. When they arrived on French soil and left the plane Ella saw a man she’d noticed on board.

[As we pulled away and started out along the coast road I glimpsed a man standing in the shade of a tree opposite, staring at the car. My stomach twisted and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up; it was the stranger from the aeroplane and at his feet was a black cat, my black cat in actual fact. It could only mean one thing; there had been a suspicious death. I only hoped it wasn’t the colonel.]

I’ve enjoyed each book in this period cosy mystery series and The Riviera Affair is no exception. The characters are very well drawn. Ella is extremely likeable, Aunt Margaret and particularly Pierre are unconventional and quirky, and judging by the hints dropped have an intriguing back story. They soon discover there’s more to the disappearance of the colonel than meets the eye and become involved in a dangerous and complex investigation. Ella is without the back up of Detective Sergeant Baxter this time, although she is able to correspond with him, but joins forces with the handsome Captain Jacques Robillard, who isn’t quite what he seems.

The plot is skilfully put together, the narrative well detailed. In this episode we get an idea of what it was like to travel by air when in its infancy, getting weighed before embarking to make sure the aeroplane isn’t too heavy, which makes Ella even more nervous. Aunt Margaret describes it as ‘like having tea at the Ritz only up in the air.’ If only! The Riviera Affair is an excellent addition to the series.

Book description

The glamour of the French Riviera quickly turns sour as Ella is caught up in an investigation which will have repercussions on both sides of the channel. But has she finally met her match?

When her mother telephones from France with news of her imminent arrest, Ella along with her aunt and an eccentric friend rush to her aid. But what starts as a simple disappearance quickly turns to murder and Ella finds herself embroiled in a mystery which is far more complex than she’d anticipated.

In a foreign land where she doesn’t speak the language, has no jurisdiction and doesn’t know who to trust, Ella has to call upon all her usual skills and devise new ones in order to flush out the adversary in their midst.

But will she be in time to save the life of the man she came to find?

‘The Riviera Affair’ is set in 1930’s England, and is the fourth of The Yellow Cottage Vintage Mystery series.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of 1990s emotional drama Love Punked by Nia Lucas @BooksNia

Love PunkedLove Punked by Nia Lucas

4 stars

Love Punked is an emotional drama with light-hearted moments. It is set mainly in the 1990s and features the lives of teenager Erin Roberts and her friends.

The book opens with a prologue from 2003; Erin is on a flight to New Zealand to meet Daniel, the boy she’s had a crush on since the age of seven. But Erin’s life path to reach this point has not been simple. The story then turns the clock back to 1995 when Erin learns that her crush, Daniel McNamara, is leaving for New Zealand. Amidst a humiliating scene, Erin wrongly believes Daniel actually likes her, only to hear herself described as ‘rank, ugly ginger Roberts’.

Erin’s determination to prove this description as inaccurate brings out her wild side. However, by the age of fifteen she’s pregnant. Friends and family rally round, supporting Erin, but it’s hard, especially when many of her school peers are abusive about her situation. When Erin gives birth, her story as a teenage mum and the dramas surrounding it are complex. Her determination to be the best mum she can causes a love triangle; should she work towards a stable family environment, or follow her heart?

Written in a style designed to entertain the reader, this book also deals with the harsher realities which some teenagers face. If you were a teenager in the 90s this story may well hit some nostalgia buttons, making you laugh, cringe or nod with understanding. I did find that once the story got underway I was keen to follow Erin’s journey. One niggle: there is room to tidy the book with another run through from a good proofreader, but overall this is a good debut novel.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

When her life is irrevocably altered by a post-Rave tryst on her mother’s floral patio recliner, Erin Roberts’ long-standing relationship with Humiliation takes her down a path that’s not so much ‘less well trodden’, more ‘perilous descent down sheer cliffs’.

Armed with a fierce devotion to her best friend and the unrequited love for the boy she might have accidentally married at age seven, when Erin falls pregnant at sixteen, life veers off at a most unexpected tangent.

Her journey to adulthood is far from ordinary as Erin learns that protecting the hearts of those most precious to you isn’t balm enough when your Love Punked heart is as sore as your freshly tattooed arse.

Whilst raising football prodigies and trying not to get stuck in lifts with Social Work clients who hate her, Erin discovers that sometimes you have to circumnavigate the globe to find the very thing that was there all along.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Mystery The Golden Orphans by @GaryRaymond_ #Cyprus setting

The Golden OrphansThe Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond

4 stars

The Golden Orphans is a mystery set on Cyprus. It opens with the funeral of Francis Benthem. The one mourner is an English artist, former student and friend of the deceased.

Illy Prostakov has a recurring dream that he wants painting. He generously offers to pay off all the artist’s current debts if he’ll stay and paint, but can this Russian be trusted?

The artist makes enquiries, locally, about Prostakov, but no one has anything positive to say. He learns a little about the recent history of Cyprus, including the Turkish invasion in 1974 which split the island. And he hears the story of The Golden Orphans, babies left parentless on the night of the invasion, who grew up as heroic symbols of survival for the people. There’s a tenuous link; Prostakov is searching for a lost treasure linked to his dream. We discover that he worked in Cyprus before the invasion, but what is he really trying to find?

In an unusual choice we are never told the name of our narrator/artist, but it actually doesn’t matter. The author’s descriptions and writing style allow the reader to created their own pictures without the need of a name. I could easily imagine the summer heat and the various settings. There’s also an underlying theme of lost souls, with many either escaping from life, or searching for something unknown.

In conclusion, this is more of a mystery than a thriller. I’ve never been to Cyprus, but the local history was interesting. And if you do know the island, it will have even more meaning as you read the story.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Francis Benthem is a successful artist; he’s created a new life on an island in the sun. He works all night, painting the dreams of his mysterious Russian benefactor, Illy Prostakov. He writes letters to old friends and students back in cold, far away London. But now Francis Benthem is found dead. The funeral is planned and his old friend from art school arrives to finish what Benthem had started. The painting of dreams on a faraway island. But you can also paint nightmares and Illy has secrets of his own that are not ready for the light. Of promises made and broken, betrayal and murder…

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Contemporary #Fiction You Can’t Go It Alone by Jessie Cahalin

You Can't Go It AloneYou Can’t Go It Alone by Jessie Cahalin

3 stars

You Can’t Go It Alone is contemporary fiction set in Wales. Sophie and Jack have recently moved to a small village. They want a baby, but three years of trying and several failed IVF treatments are testing their relationship. As they settle into their new home they become involved in the lives of new friends and neighbours. Sophie finds she is the one to offer help and support to others, which culminates in bringing more than one family back together.

This book has strong IVF and family themes as well as touches of humour and romance, so I think it would be of particular interest to readers who have been down the road of IVF and fertility problems. The small cast of characters makes the story easy to follow, but other areas weakened the novel. At times I felt that the author had trouble expressing the pictures she could see in her head; some passages failed to be as evocative as they should have been, with flat sentences and the inclusion of unnecessary mundane detail. Some of the dialogue was very good, but in other areas it was a little wooden and unrealistic. In places, I was unconvinced by the range of emotions of the characters.

The overall story had potential, but sometimes it felt rushed, and lacking in authenticity. I would have preferred more expansion and depth of the main theme. I believe this is the author’s debut novel; I feel that she has yet to develop her style, and would perhaps benefit from working with a good content or developmental editor, or manuscript assessor.

View all my reviews On Goodreads

Book description

Love, music and secrets are woven together in this poignant, heart-warming narrative.
Set in a Welsh village, the story explores the contrast in attitudes and opportunities between different generations of women. As the characters confront their secrets and fears, they discover truths about themselves and their relationships.
The reader is invited to laugh and cry, with the characters, and find joy in the simple things in life. Listen to the music and enjoy the food, as you peek inside the world of the inhabitants of Delfryn.
Let Sophie show you that no one can go it alone. Who knows, you may find some friends with big hearts…

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #RomCom Finding Felix by Jo Platt @JoPlattTweets #fridayreads

Finding Felix: The feel-good romantic comedy of the year!Finding Felix: The feel-good romantic comedy of the year! by Jo Platt

4 stars

Finding Felix is a romantic comedy. It opens with two best friends meeting up before they leave home for university. Dot and Felix have been friends since they were seven.

Roll forward eighteen years. Dot’s Grandmother is seriously ill; hoping to make Nanny Flo happy, Dot says that Felix is her current boyfriend. Thankfully Nanny Flo recovers, but Dot is stuck in an awkward lie which escalates when she’s expected to bring Felix to her sister’s wedding.

Rather than tell the truth, Dot vows to find Felix and persuade him to be an accomplice to her lie until the wedding is over. But Felix has dramatically changed in the last eighteen years, and after she’s found him, Dot finds that Felix is distant and cold. What happened to her childhood friend, and can she ever get the lovable Felix back?

This is a fun book, and I found Dot and Felix easy to like. Even Dot’s over-bearing mother was a delight. Of course I was rooting for them to work out their friendship issues. This book is ideal for a feel-good read if you’re in the mood for a bit of light romance.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

A family wedding. A fake boyfriend. A recipe for disaster! A funny, feel-good romantic comedy from bestseller Jo Platt

Singleton Dot Riley’s grandmother, Nanny Flo, is on her deathbed, surrounded by family and distraught at the thought of Dot being all alone in the world.  Desperate to make Flo’s final moments happy ones, Dot invents a boyfriend – plumping in panic for her childhood friend, Felix, a firm favourite of Flo, but whom Dot hasn’t actually seen for 15 years.

But when Flo makes an unexpected recovery a few weeks before a family wedding, Dot is faced with a dilemma.  Should she tell her frail grandmother that she lied and risk causing heartache and a relapse?  Or should she find Felix and take him to the wedding?

Dot opts for finding Felix.  But it’s not long before she discovers that finding him is the easy bit: liking him is the real challenge.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT time-travel novella The Cube by @melissafaye16

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

#RBRT Review Team

Teri has been reading Guardian Of The Present Book 1: The Cube by Melissa Faye

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I’m pretty sure it was the original Planet of the Apes movies that made me a fan of time travel, so every time I see a book on the topic, it’s like a laser beam that draws me in.

I like the idea of June’s story being told in eight novellas – it reminds me of Stephen King’s The Green Mile.  All were quick reads, and each left the reader with a bit of a cliffhanger – the first book in the Guardians of the Present series is no different.  The traveler case June is dealing with wraps up in this novella, but shocking news regarding something from her past turns up at the end.

June is a very likable protagonist, and despite her unusual ‘job’, she’s trying to have a normal college experience – roommates, fraternity parties, and possibly a new love interest.  The clever names she’s given her self-invented weapons made me chuckle, and her understanding of and knack for technology has saved her numerous times in her line of work.  Currently, June’s three roommates aren’t really asking any questions about her mysterious behavior and oddly timed comings and goings, but there’s potential for some conflict in the future, and maybe the possibility of even taking some of them into her confidence.

Something I missed was more information on world-building.  Although it may be included later in the series, I was left wondering how June became a guard at such a young age, and how she met Ridge.  Is there someone over the program?  Are there guards throughout the country?  The world?  June encounters a traveler at Central Park Zoo, obviously a high traffic area, and later even sneaks in after hours, but no mention is made about park goers sighting them, security guards, or cameras.  Is there some gadget that prevents her from being seen?

This well-paced novella can easily be read in one sitting, and BuffyLooper, and Veronica Mars are excellent comp titles.  I’d like to continue with the series, but hope the author fills in some blanks and gives readers a better grasp of June’s world and backstory.

Book description

In the future, time travelers are a reality. In the present, time travelers are a real pain.

June Moore is a normal teenager by day and a vigilante hero by night.

She guards our present day from time travelers from the future. Law enforcement can’t keep up with their futuristic abilities.

But June has an edge.

Her smarts and strength help her fight off these visitors before they can take advantage of our world. She sends those time travelers back where they belong…whether they like it or not.

Now it’s the night before her freshman year of college, and June finds herself face-to-face with a traveler. His motives are unclear, and he’s holding a strange cube.

She has to know what’s inside.

An extra second of hesitation allows the man to escape. June’s left alone. With the box. And with regrets…She should have sent the guy straight home.

If June doesn’t capture the time traveler soon he could really mess up the future for everyone. Who knows what kind of trouble he may cause? And if the cube opens…it might cause even more trouble. Something that would hit closer to home.

To save the future of those close to her, June must hunt the escaped traveler down.

…Before she runs out of time.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery Lily White In Detroit by @CynthiaHarriso1

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

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Lily White In Detroit by Cynthia Harrison

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This book introduces you to Lily White, PI. A rather simple case of observation is ended by a murder. Lily teams up with police detective Derrick Paxton, little do they know what is to come.

With “Lily White in Detroit”, Cynthia Harrison has created an entertaining mystery with more than just a hint of romance. Lily White and Derrick Paxton are very likeable characters, complex; even if they are not always on the same page during the case, they stay focussed. The story comprises a variety of craftily elaborated characters with depth and interesting interactions until the last page. I had a great time reading “Lily White in Detroit” – it is an intriguing and enjoyable read. I was drawn into the story right away, eager to solve the case. For me, it is more mystery than romance which is good for me; the romantic part enhances the story nicely, though. A story to read again.

This is for you if you like mysteries with well-elaborated twists, interesting and complex characters, a touch of romance, and if you think something like “I would not mind reading more of this”.

Recommended.

 

Book description

Private investigator Lily White has a client with a faulty moral compass. When the client is arrested for murdering his wife and her alleged lover, Lily follows her intuition and her own leads. If she’s wrong, she’ll at least know she did her job.

Detroit police detective Derrick Paxton remembers Lily from another case. He understands she suffers from PTSD and thinks her judgment is impaired. He goes after her client and the evidence he needs to close the case. When Lily is kidnapped, the case takes an unexpected turn.

In a sometimes racially divided city, a black cop and a white PI work together to peel back every layer to find the truth. What they find leads them to each other, but do they have enough to bring the true criminals to justice?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Relationship novel The Men by @fannycalder #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Men by Fanny Calder

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5 out of 5 stars

Loved this book!  As a member of Rosie’s review team, I look down the submissions list when it’s time to choose a new one, and I usually go for sci-fi, dystopian or something otherwise nice and dark, rarely anything about love relationships or labelled ‘women’s fiction’, but I’m so glad I stepped out of my box with this one – it’s eons away from mainstream relationship dramas.

The Men is a series of thirteen snapshots, all linked so that it’s a continuing story, about the relationships with the opposite sex that have punctuated the author’s life.  It appears they’re part autobiographical, part fiction:

‘It is a tale of urban human connections crafted with no judgement or deep introspection – a window on the author’s own life at that time that will resonate and stay with you.’

Some of them reminded me of my own younger years, the racketing around and caring only about the moment, which is perhaps why I liked them so much; particularly the first one, The Singer.  The writing style is great – witty, sharp, joyful, but melancholy at times, too.  Some of the relationships are sad, some heartbreaking, and some made me think ‘what the hell was she thinking of’ (Rotting Man!), but those made me sad, too; loneliness can push people into all sorts of bad decisions, and I felt that the author was lonely, sometimes.  Never in a victim or despairing sort of way, though she seems to become more so as the book goes on.

I loved how the book concentrates only on The Men, that she was never tempted to give more background, which would have diluted it.  On occasion the writing is quite beautiful; a section about a party with an eighteenth century theme made me want to stay in it.

One point that intrigued me―earlier in the book she clearly has a high-powered job that involves much travel, though we are never told what it is.  I did a bit of digging and discovered that the author is a fairly well-known environmental campaigner; all that and she can write, too.

Highly recommended; I wanted to carry on reading when I’d finished it.

Book description

A darkly brilliant debut novel by Fanny Calder, and arguably essential reading for the feminist hedonist woman in your life. City life in the 1990s. Anonymous, intense, paradoxical and sometimes lonely. A young, haunted woman falls in love with a singer. She finds she has been consumed by the relationship and when it ends – as it inevitably does – she feels unable to quite rediscover herself. Cities can draw you into even darker places, and she embarks on a series of intense relationships with thirteen men of very different types, from a rough sleeper to a millionaire, and from a transvestite to a leading politician. As she is propelled through a series of extraordinary adventures and wild parties she finds she begins to lose her own identity. Is there a way out? A raw and unflinchingly honest narrative with stripped down language that is liberating and sometimes challenging. It is a tale of urban human connections crafted with no judgement or deep introspection – a window on the author’s own life at that time that will resonate and stay with you.

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