Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #thriller Brand New Friend by @k8vane

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

#RBRT Review Team

Barb has been reading Brand New Friend by Kate Vane

39963730


My Review: 4  stars out of 5

When I was a child, a relative gave me a surprise ball. It was a sphere made of strips of crepe paper, which unravelled to reveal little surprise gifts along the way. I couldn’t wait to unroll all of it, sure the center must contain the best gift of all. But although it took a while and made a mess, at the end there was just…crepe paper. All the surprises and presents had been in the unwrapping, not in the final result.

The book begins with well-known BBC journalist Paolo getting a call from Mark, a friend from his mildly revolutionary student days at Leeds. At first Paolo has no interest in someone he hasn’t seen in over thirty years. Then Mark points him to an emerging story revealing he had actually been an undercover police officer. Sensing an opportunity to get back into field work, journalist Paolo agrees to meet with Mark. “Paolo was thinking radio documentary. Did he want to go with a hard-news angle or more of a personal story? Perhaps a podcast. Should he start recording now?”When I started reading Brand New Friend, I thought from the blurb and the first chapter that it would be a classic whodunnit, with the talented amateur solving the crime that baffled the police. Instead, like the layers of that surprise ball, each piece that was removed only revealed a small reward…and lots more layers to unwind. And the rewards were all in the unwrapping, instead of solving the mystery at the center.

From there the book divides into two stories, one set in the student days in the mid-eighties, and one in contemporary time. At first I was annoyed and confused by the way the narrative time-hopped with no warning, and I considered it a flaw in the writing. Then I noticed something odd. Nobody was particularly interested in actually solving the crimes—certainly not the murder that had been ruled an accident thirty years ago, and not even the murder that’s discovered when Paolo arrives in Leeds. The past and present stories were deliberately intermingled, with each participant focused on their own reality. For some it was the past—the sloppy student house and its mildly amateur student revolutionaries who are going to change the world (when their revolutionary zeal doesn’t get in the way of drugs, sex, and the occasional University lecture). For others it’s the present and the people they’ve become thirty years on. Brand New Friend is a police thriller where the least important part is actually solving the crime.

In many ways, Paolo and Mark are similar. Both assume new identities when they first arrive at Leeds. The teenage Paul seizes the chance to leave his unexciting family and prosaic background behind, reinventing himself as Italian expat and animal rights activist Paolo. Mark is sent by the Special Demonstration Squad (an undercover unit of Greater London’s Metropolitan Police Service) to infiltrate their bumbling group.

Anyone old enough to remember the University scene at the time will recognize the descriptions of the student house teeming with infatuations, drugs, filth, unrequited lust, and sex. Everything is important, the center of their self-involved universes. There’s a sure reality about those scenes that makes each a perfect little jewel in its own time. I particularly loved the moment when Paolo realizes he can be whatever he wants. He’s jealous of a fellow student reading the (liberal) Guardian newspaper.

‘Paolo thought, enviously, why can’t I do that? And then he realised he could. You could go to the newsagent and they wouldn’t ask for ID, or make you list the founder members of the Fabian Society, or visit your parent’s house to ensure they had a stripped-pine kitchen (ideally with an Aga) with a framed poster on the wall of a recent exhibition at the Tate or failing that a guide to rare mushrooms, they would just sell it to you for money.’

I’m not as convinced about the contemporary story. As journalist Paolo struggles with his current identity as a suburban father with a desk job, missing the excitement of international postings, his marriage and life seem toned down and depressing. The revelation of Mark’s secret identity rocks the foundations of Paolo’s carefully constructed world. “All Paolo’s memories were now unreliable. And it somehow heightened the indignity that while he had seen nothing in Mark, Mark had been closely observing him back then, had spotted his secret, like a proper spy.” If the story stopped there, and simply followed the development of those student characters thirty years on, it would have been absolutely riveting. But instead it reached for less convincing ‘ripped from today’s headlines’ connections—from Russian oligarchs to shady international conglomerates based in Dubai to unscrupulous mercenaries.

But the writing itself is beautifully crafted. Characters are introduced, described, and developed as both Paolo and Mark become the characters they’ve invented. Mark is, in truth, the lifelong revolutionary, working for social change. Claire, despite a surface appearance of poise and happiness thirty years on, is still absorbed by Mark. And Isabel, the beautiful, damaged artist Paolo had lusted after from afar, “…Isabel had stood still. Frozen.” Last-minute flatmate Graham, overlooked by everyone at the time and still invisible thirty years later, is the catalyst to all the revelations. Dudley, only interested in his own life back then, has become more of what he always was—richer, fatter, more powerful, and ultimately unconcerned about those around him.  Paolo is the slightly exotic, always interesting journalist he invented for himself. But where Mark is frozen into his adopted role, Paolo never looks back. In fact, to all of their shock, he finds himself putting journalistic ideals ahead of self-preservation. Ultimately, it’s through that act that Paolo saves himself and the identity he’s spent thirty years building.

In Brand New Friend, the writing is terrific, especially the spot-on descriptions of student life. The characters who invent themselves—both those who escape their past and who become frozen in it—are brilliant, especially as we get to see what happens to them over thirty years. The contemporary plot elements could have been pared back with, I think, very little loss. But either way, this is an excellent book and one I’d recommend to anyone who is interested in a thoroughly character-driven story with a side helping of thriller.

**I received this book from the publisher or author to facilitate an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

Book description

Friend. Liar. Killer?

BBC foreign correspondent Paolo Bennett is exiled to a London desk – and the Breakfast sofa – when he gets a call from Mark, a friend from university in eighties Leeds. Paolo knew Mark as a dedicated animal rights activist but now a news blog has exposed him as an undercover police officer. Then Mark’s former police handler is murdered.

Paolo was never a committed campaigner. He was more interested in women, bands and dreaming of a life abroad. Now he wonders if Mark’s exposure and his handler’s murder might be linked to an unexplained death on campus back when they were friends. What did he miss?

Paolo wants the truth – and the story. He chases up new leads and old friends. From benefit gigs and peace protests, to Whatsapp groups and mocktail bars, the world has changed, but Mark still seems the same.

Is Mark the spy who never went back – who liked his undercover life better than his own? Or is he lying now? Is Paolo’s friend a murderer?

About the author

I’m an author of (mostly) crime and suspense, living in Devon.

My crime novel, Brand New Friend, will be published on 5 June 2018.

I have written for BBC drama Doctors and have had short stories and articles published in various publications and anthologies, including Mslexia and Scotland on Sunday.

I mainly read crime and literary fiction with some non-fiction and am a recent convert to audiobooks.

Kate Vane

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

 

Advertisements

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #thriller Finding Max by Darren Jorgensen @authordarren

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

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Finding Max by Darren Jorgensen

39903648

Note: This book was given to me for a fair and honest review through the auspices of Rosie’s Book review Team. Also, I need to give a disclaimer since there are some plot elements revealed in my review.

Finding Max, by Darren Jorgensen, is really the story of Gary, a social worker, who is still struggling, seventeen years later, with the abduction of his five-year-old brother Max from the playground where Gary was supposed to be watching him. It is clear there was nothing eight-year-old Gary could have done to prevent the event, and when the police didn’t believe his story, his alcoholic mother was arrested, tried and found guilty of Max’s murder.

Perhaps because of his profound sense of helplessness, Gary now helps other lost people at a homeless shelter in New York City. One day he interrupts a co-worker interviewing a homeless man for assistance at the shelter and discovered that ‘David’ is really his brother Max. Reintroducing himself and getting to know his brother and what happened to him requires patience, tact and delicacy because Max is a deeply traumatized young man. At the same time, Gary is balancing a new relationship with a young Asian woman, Jean, whom he met when she served him coffee at a local shop. This is Jean’s story, too, since she has been cast out by her father for her modern ways.

Max was abducted by a man who traffics in young boys for pedophiles, and his enforcer, an evil man called Quinn, who has been searching for Max ever since he escaped from the basement in which he’d been held for years while being loaned out. Quinn has an unnatural sexual attraction to Max, which he considers love, and which is why Quinn didn’t kill him when Max reached puberty. Max has been hiding among the homeless in NYC to escape Quinn, who is tracking him.

During the period when Gary, Jean and Max learn to love and trust each other, they become a functional group dedicated to protecting Max from Quinn, who has managed to find him. They must make a choice: to run from Quinn or stand and face him.

My review:

This book is not for the faint of heart. It is very gritty, with graphic sex and violence, which normally I abhor, and it deals with pedophilia and homelessness, two topics that most people find very uncomfortable. Nevertheless, it is written with such brutal honesty that it was difficult for me to put the book down. The relationships were extraordinarily real as were the descriptions of pedophilia and the homeless – so much so that I wondered if the author himself was recounting some aspects of his own life.

The pursuit of Max by Quinn was a thriller, and I didn’t mind the longer passages of exposition since they enriched the story. Quinn’s reappearance, initially as he probed Max’s new relationship with his brother, and later as he pursues Max, Jean and Gary into the homeless underground of the city was absorbing.

The only weakness I found was the nature of Jean’s supposed illness – she is emaciated and gaunt to the point of appearing like a concentration camp survivor – which left me wondering where she found her considerable energy and why she had not sought medical attention. Lack of medical insurance these days is not much of an excuse.

I can recommend the book if the readers are prepared for what it contains. It Is powerful and searing and the characters and their situations stayed with me a long time after I finished it.

Book description

Five-year-old Max is abducted from a playground on a hot summer day while his brother, Gary, has his back turned. Seventeen years later, Max returns to Gary’s life in a serendipitous twist with a disturbing tale to tell. As they learn to love and trust each other, they must outwit and outrun the nefarious Quinn, who seeks to re-abduct Max for his own evil purposes. Killing Gary and his new girlfriend, Jean, to get them out of his way is just part of his plan. Will they escape? And when all is said and done, will Max and Gary ever truly be freed from the shackles of guilt and pain from the past?

Amid the gritty, harsh landscape of New York City, Finding Max explores those areas of society we seldom like to look at—homelessness, hunger and sexual abuse—with profound delicacy, brutal honesty and compassion. This thrilling novel will keep you reading long into the night.

About the author

Darren M. Jorgensen has always fed his passions through book clubs and writing groups. After working at the United Nations and attending Brown University, he eventually found his way back to his first love, writing. He wrote Finding Max, in just 12 days. He now lives in his native Alberta with his extraordinary wife, Ginette, and likes to walk with his dogs, Molly and Dobby—both named for Harry Potter characters—through the golden fields behind his home on a farm with too many snakes slithering through the grass. He was twenty-two when he wrote his first book, The Searing, and states that his occupation is writing, all the time.

Darren M. Jorgensen

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #mystery Fatal Finds In Nuala by @harrietsteel1

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading Fatal Finds in Nuala by Harriet Steel

40614500

In the latest Inspector de Silva mystery, set in the hill country of 1930s Ceylon, it is monsoon season, so travelling about to investigate a murder is particularly difficult.  Although already feeling unwell, Inspector de Silva is determined to brave the treacherous roads and dangerous criminals to solve the murder of an insignificant local villager.  This leads him to find unusual coins and the possibility of valuable artefacts, but on this occasion, it seems that he is mistaken.

In this novel, Shanti’s wife Jane and his boss Archie Clutterbuck take more active participation in the investigation.  Jane and Inspector de Silva have a hair-raising adventure on board a train to Colombo, equal to those of an Agatha Christie novel, while Archie makes the most of his wife’s absence on a cruise to help the Nuala police force, seeking treasure.  There are dastardly villains contributing to the excitement of this drama.

The effects of the monsoon weather and the dense, frightening environment are vividly described, in contrast to the de Silva’s calm homelife.  I am surprised that Shanti does not have more interaction with his servants, who are never named.  During the story, Shanti and Jane discuss going on a cruise one day.  Now that would provide a perfect setting for his detective skills.

Book description

In this fourth instalment of the Inspector de Silva mysteries, it is monsoon season in the Hill Country. One stormy night, a ghostly encounter on a lonely road leads de Silva into a case of murder, and a mystery that stretches back to Ceylon’s distant past. To uncover the truth, he will have to face death and his inner demons.
Fatal Finds in Nuala is another absorbing and colourful mystery in this series that vividly portrays Sri Lanka’s Colonial past.

About the author

Harriet Steel wrote four historical novels before turning to crime with the Inspector de Silva mysteries, inspired by time spent in Sri Lanka (the former Ceylon)). Her work has also appeared in national newspapers and magazines. Visit her blog to sign up to her monthly newsletter for news of new releases and great offers, harrietsteel.blogspot.co.uk/
She’s married with two daughters and lives in Surrey. When she’s not writing, she likes reading, long walks and visiting art galleries and museums.

Harriet Steel

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

Rosie’s Review Team #RBRT @SassyKebkerr reviews #crimefiction SCATHED by @SueColetta1 #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Scathed by Sue Coletta

Scathed

Sue has done it again! I was so happy to receive this book as an ARC and I am very happy to give an honest review of this book. I must say that Sue Coletta is one of those authors that I will purchase her books as soon as I hear that she has a new one out, without reading the blurb, or reviews. Sue is a great author and there is so much of her in her books. For anyone who follows Sue on social media and then reads her books will see her in the story. One of my favorite lines from the book is “We all want to be remembered after we die. Through the power of the written word authors are immortalized.” This is only part of the quote, but the quote really resonated with me and I loved it.

I loved Scathed. It was a story that had me thinking and trying to figure out who the killer was, but Sue doesn’t make it easy to figure out. The twists and turns in this story were intriguing and interesting. I found myself thinking one thing and finding out that I was not on the right trail after all. The characters are so real to me in Sue’s books. I love Niko and Sage, they are such a great couple and they work so well together to figure out the cases. They are so well developed that they feel like my neighbors. Being a Vermonter myself, I felt as if I could see the mountain they were on and the area they live in with no problem.

If you like stories that will draw you in, keep your interest throughout the book. This is a great book to pick up and read. I hated to put it down, and I hated to see it end. I wanted more of Niko and Sage. I love that Frankie is not afraid to be herself with everyone that she meets. She doesn’t hold anything back and that makes her a great character.

I loved the twist at the end and look forward to the next book in the Grafton County Series to see what happens next. I give this book a 5 star review and highly recommend it to anyone who likes crime, thrillers, and suspense stories and characters who will draw you in to their lives.

Book description

On a picturesque fall morning in Grafton County, New Hampshire, a brutal murder rocks the small town of Alexandria. In the backyard of a weekend getaway cabin, a dead woman is posed in red-satin, with two full-bloomed roses in place of eyes.

In her hand, a mysterious envelope addressed to Sheriff Niko Quintano. Inside, Paradox vows to kill again if his riddle isn’t solved within 24 hours.

With so little time and not enough manpower, Niko asks his wife for help. But Crime Writer Sage Quintano is dealing with her own private nightmare. Not only did she find massive amounts of blood on the mountain where she and her family reside, but a phone call from the past threatens her future—the creepy mechanical voice of John Doe, the serial killer who murdered her twin sister.

Together, can Niko and Sage solve the riddle in time to save the next victim? Or will the killer win this deadly game of survival?

About the author

Sue Coletta is a proud member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Kill Zone, an award-winning writing blog where she posts every other Monday. Sue’s a bestselling, award-winning, multi-published crime writer in numerous anthologies and her forensics articles have appeared in InSinC Quarterly. She’s also the communications manager for the Serial Killer Project and Forensic Science, and founder of #ACrimeChat on Twitter.

2017 Award-winner of Feedspot’s Top 50 Crime Blogs (Murder Blog sits at #6), Sue shares crime tips, police jargon, the mind of serial killers, true crime stories, and anything and everything in between at suecoletta.com. If you search her archives, you’ll find posts from guests that work in law enforcement, forensics, coroner, undercover operatives, firearm experts … crime, crime, and more crime.

For readers, she has the Crime Lover’s Lounge, where members will be the first to know about free giveaways, contests, and have inside access to deleted scenes. As an added bonus, members get to play in the lounge. Your secret code will unlock the virtual door.

BONUS: When you join Sue’s community you’ll receive two free killer reads!

Sue lives in northern New Hampshire with her husband, who deals with a crazy crime writer feeding circus peanuts to crows named Poe and Edgar, a squirrel named Shawnee (the Marilyn Monroe of squirrels, with her silky strawberry-blonde tail), and a chipmunk dubbed “Hippy” for his enthusiasm and excited leaps each time he scores a peanut in “Hip, hip, hooray!” fashion.

Sue Coletta

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #anthology SHOAL by Thanet Writer’s Group

Today’s team review is from E.L. Lindley, she blogs here http://lindleyreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

E.L. has been reading Shoal by the Thanet Writer’s Group

Shoal is an anthology of short stories written by the Thanet Writers’ Group and edited by Alice Olivia Scarlett. I’m not normally a reader of short stories but this anthology has left me wanting more.

I love the concept of ‘Shoal’ to convey the idea of lots of individual writers coming together to create a very comprehensive anthology. There are twenty-five stories and each one is very different to the rest. The only thing the stories have in common is the quality of the writing which makes each of them a joy to read. The diverse styles and themes mean that there is something for everyone and I’ve picked out a small sample to focus on.

A couple of the stories focus on the poignancy of old age and the passage of time. The Old Man by Ghillie communicates the sorrow of an old man in the final chapter of his life extremely effectively. The dichotomy of having an abundance of knowledge and wisdom whilst being dismissed as irrelevant in a world that no longer values experience. Lucy by Sarah Tait on the other hand chooses to explore old age through the eyes of a daughter forced to care for a dependent parent. Tait cleverly highlights the resentment caused by the change in dynamic between the mother and daughter.

I also enjoyed the stories which reflect on missed opportunities. In First and Last, 1917, Catherine Law’s protagonist is a woman trapped in an abusive marriage whose only joy comes from the past. A past that sadly remains elusive and out of reach. Similarly in All the Post Cards Never Sent by Rosie Ascott, we are reminded how fleeting our chances of happiness can be and why it’s so important to embrace them.

Some of the stories feel like they have the potential to be developed into novels should the writers have the inclination. Loose Ends by Sam Kaye had me on the edge of my seat as the writer built the tension in a mini-thriller. The story builds around the idea of ‘live by the sword die by the sword’ as the life of a sniper is shown to be very expendable. Likewise The Life and Times of a Zombie is an exciting post-apocalyptic novel that felt like it had more to give.

Some of the stories are very contemporary and rooted in realism, touching on subjects such as homelessness and bullying. Cuke by Luke Edley is a hilarious account of a hapless young man, addicted to porn and desperately trying to lose his virginity. Other stories, however, have a surreal, timeless quality to them. For example, Paint me contemplates the relationship between art and the viewer and sees the viewer sublimated into the artwork. Whilst Chisel by Rebecca Delphine is a story of immortal beings feeding from the “light” of young people.

Shoal is not an easy book to review purely because there are so many stories, all with something to offer the reader. I would recommend that if you enjoy short stories then you choose Shoal and peruse the vast array of genres and writing styles. I guarantee you’ll find lots to enjoy.

Book description

Thanet Writers is honoured to present a handpicked collection of some of the finest short stories by the authors of Thanet, edited by Alice Olivia Scarlett and with a foreword by David Lee Stone. Dealing with family and belonging, outsiders and outcasts, this anthology is the voice of Thanet’s writing community. Some of the stories are mournful. Some are grotesque, some are funny, some are magical. Each one has something to say. Welcome to Shoal.

“By turns amusing, tender, wicked, and smart, the stories in this fine collection prove that Thanet has much to be proud of.”
– Kristen Lepionka, Author of the Roxane Weary Mystery Series

Featuring stories by David Chitty, Rebecca Delphine, Charles Dickens, J A DuMairier, Luke Edley, Rosie Escott, Kirsty Louise Farley, Ghillie, Janet Gogerty, David Grimstone, Maggie Harris, Roger Jefferies, Sam Kaye, Catherine Law, Lannah Marshall, John Mount, Matthew Munson, Seb Reilly, Connor Sansby, Alice Olivia Scarlett, James Souze, Sarah Tait, and Stephanie Upton.

AmazonUK

#Selfhelp 50 Things We All Take Too Seriously by @LukeHarding3

50 Things We All Take Too Seriously50 Things We All Take Too Seriously by Luke Harding

4 stars

50 Things We All Take Too Seriously is a self-help book. At just 74 pages I skipped through this in under thirty minutes. It is a light easy read.

The written pages contain two to three short paragraphs on everyday concerns, for instance:  money, age, illness and time. Each point offers the author’s advice on how to change the way we deal with these in our everyday activities. Certainly the self-help genre has exploded in the last few years, and although this was a pleasurable way to spend a lunch-break, I’m afraid I didn’t think it brought anything new to the table.

What I liked most about the book were the fantastic illustrations, twelve full-page examples of art, beautifully depicting the subject matter of the chapters. Even the pages of writing were written over a back-drop of splattered paint, all set on lovely glossy paper. It really was a joy to look at.

My concern for this book is that the end price might be too high for most buyers; my paperback review copy had a price ticket of £13.99.  I imagine it might be bought as a ‘coffee table book’, or as a gift for people who appreciate the aesthetic and have a mild-to-moderate interest in self-help, rather than those who have a passion for, and read much in, the genre.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Do you find yourself stressing out each and every day? Does it seem like it’s one thing after another? Do you wish things could seem a bit easier and lighter?
Well, look no further! 50 things We All Take Too Seriously will take you on a journey of relief. As you read, you will begin to realise how we make things seem a lot more stressful than they actually are. To put it bluntly, we are all guilty of TAKING THINGS TOO SERIOUSLY! This book will allow you to change the way you perceive stressful situations to make them ‘not so stressful’ after all. If you are looking for a fun, light-hearted, yet thought-provoking read, then this is the book for you.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Clean easy read #Romance My #Bookreview of Coming Home by Audrey Wick

Coming Home (Texas Sisters, #2)Coming Home by Audrey Wick

3.5 stars

Coming Home is a clean easy read romance. A stand-alone novel, this is also book two of the Texas Sisters series.

The book opens with Mallory Fredrick facing a difficult decision about her teaching career, involving a student who previously threatened Mallory on social media, after failing one of Mallory’s classes. Sickened by the threats and fearing for her safety, Mallory takes a six month break and moves state to lodge with her sister.

She uses Four Guys Movers to help her relocate, and Alec O’Donnell takes her first phone call. Although almost Christmas, he agrees to help Mallory with her need to quickly move home.

I liked the opening scene of this book, which kept me guessing as to the rest of the plot. Was it going to be dark and sinister, or would it head in a romantic direction? In this tale, the narrative stayed squeaky clean, as did the action, especially between Mallory and Alec.

I’ve read book one in this series and I thought the author’s writing showed good improvement with the second book. However, it’s still packed with a bit too much mundane detail for my enjoyment. If I’m honest, the story is predictable and misses, I feel, opportunities for twists and layered tension.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

College professor Mallory Fredrick loves her job in a city that feels like home, but after a student attacks her on social media, she loses her peace of mind and confidence. When her college offers a sabbatical, she jumps at the chance to escape to her hometown in Texas.

Entrepreneur Alec O’Donnell specializes in helping people in crisis. He’s built his company and career on packing up lives as people start over. It’s just business until he meets Mallory. Something about the beautiful and fragile woman who still manages to hold on to her sense of humor affects him. As feelings develop, he realizes he’s not ready for her to move out of his life.

Can Mallory find peace, or will a second setback keep her from coming home for good?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Doctor Perry by Kirsten McKenzie

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Doctor Perry by Kirsten McKenzie

39509835

3 out of 5 stars

Doctor Perry is an evil medical man from the pages of an Edwardian horror story, complete with black leather doctor’s bag and a curious potion he asks patients to drink.   The crux of the plot is about what happens when you drink said potion; this came as a surprise to me, and the build-up to it was well done.

Much of the action takes pace in a retirement home, with an abundance of characters.  Some are well-drawn and realistic (Elijah, the main man, was particularly good), others conforming to perceived stereotypes, which I felt was intentional, as this is not a ‘serious’ horror story.  I changed my mindset about what I was reading once I saw that Perry is more a like a dastardly doctor you might see walking out of the mists on an old BBC drama.  Patients drink a ‘tonic’ from Perry (rather than one obtained via a pharmacy) with little questioning about what it contains. Of course this is pure pantomime, in an era when many patients look up even prescribed medication on the internet to make sure it is safe.

The writing is generally good, with wit and understanding of human nature (always a plus) but it needs another go-through with a copy-editor/proofreader who knows how to punctuate/has more of an eagle eye. There was a fair bit of incorrect punctuation, mostly missing commas or commas that should have been semicolons, and many, many run-on sentences/comma splices. The sort of uncorrected punctuation errors present in the book are not of the type that would be noticed by everyone, perhaps only by those they call ‘punctuation Nazis’, but unfortunately I am one!

Book description

“The sound of the man’s screams changed pitch and Doctor Perry looked up from his notes. Ah, the cranium was shrinking…”

Under the Hippocratic Oath, a doctor swears to remember that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

Doctor Perry reassures his elderly patients he can offer warmth, sympathy, and understanding. Doctor Perry is a liar.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Dystopia Adventure The Yak Guy Project by @Virgilante

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading The Yak Guy Project by C.S. Boyack

40109664

I have read a few of Craig Boyack’s books and I really enjoy his writing. I found this story particularly enjoyable.

The nameless hero of the story wakes up in the middle of a desert with a bullet in his head and no memory of what happened to him and how he got there. He is rescued by a talking Yak who is there to help him learn to become a useful part of society. Our unusual hero has lived a life of laziness and has spent his days sponging off his friends and anyone else who comes along.

Our hero sets off on an usual journey in a post apocalyptic world where war has destroyed the sophisticated and technologically advanced societies that lived there previously.  The hero meets a prototype, a human like creature that teaches him a lot about the art of survival such as identifying edible plants and other useful natural resources.  The prototypes salvage food and other recyclable materials from the remains of the destroyed cities, villages, aeroplanes and vehicles that scatter the country side. The prototype also teaches the hero the importance of reflection and thinking about what you want from life and how your individual actions impact on the natural world.

When the hero reaches a point in his emotional development where he is ready to re-join his own kind, the Yak reappears and they set off together to find one or other of the survivals who have formed themselves into rival groups. The hero still has lessons to learn about love, loyalty and teamwork.

I really enjoyed the hero and found his personal journey from a selfish and spoilt man-child to a reliable and resourceful man very interesting. The story was fast paced and entertaining and I enjoyed the fantasy world that the writer created.

I rated this book five out of five stars.

Book description

Imagine waking up in the desert with no idea what happened to you. You have clear memories of situations and places, but a complete loss in personal matters… like your own name. This situation is bad, and you have no idea how to get home.

When you’re rescued by a talking yak, the situation gets exponentially worse. You’ve obviously lost your mind. The immediate needs of a ride off the salt pan and searing heat, along with a drink of water, outweigh the concerns about your mental state.

This is exactly what happened to the Yak Guy. In fact he’s been placed in an alternate world and given a chance to start over in life.

Can this selfish, almost parasitic, young man learn to start over in a world where charity is hard to find? Life is brutal and short here, but he’s going to have to adapt or perish.

The Yak Guy Project is loosely based around The Fool’s Journey from the Tarot. Those with experience in Tarot will spot people and situations from the Major Arcana.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Metaphysical Love-story Remember by @ShervinJamali

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

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading Remember by Shervin Jamali

I chose to read this book as a proud member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team. I had no idea what to expect as the book had not yet been released but I was intrigued by the blurb.

Grace and Daniel met in later life and when she dies, right at the start of the story, he falls off the wagon and descends back into his previous life of alcoholism. He finds he cannot forget Grace’s last words because when he had expressed a wish that he’d known her when he was young, she answers, “But you did, my love. Don’t you remember?”

Daniel meets a hypnotherapist in a bar and eventually turns to him for help in regressing him back through life so he can see where and how he’d met Grace before. 

Jamali has a nice style of flowing writing which makes the read easy and the book is divided into short, sometimes very short, chapters, which means it’s tempting to fit in just another one or two before you turn the light off at night.

I don’t know why but I didn’t expect to enjoy this read as much as I did. There are humorous moments which manage to lift the darker stuff going on, of which there was plenty, and there were great characters but most of all it was interesting, original and those pages kept turning, so it’s a definite recommendation from me.

Book description

As Daniel watches the life ebb from Grace’s body, he wishes they had more time, knew each other when they were young. His wife surprises him by insisting that they did. And then she’s gone. Daniel knows this can’t be true. Can it? They only met later in life, so why would Grace’s departing words hint at a shared youth? Haunted by this notion, Daniel journeys into the past to discover the truth. ‘Remember’ is a unique love story. Find out how it really began… ‘Remember’ is dedicated to the brilliant Scottish author Brendan Gisby and his late wife, Alison.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS