Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery DEATH ON THE DANUBE by @JSAauthor

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading Death On The Danube by Jennifer S. Alderson

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In Death on the Danube, Jennifer S Alderson has turned away from the dangerous adventures of Art Historian Zelda Richardson and turned to cozy mystery with newly divorced Lana Hansen as she takes up a new life as a tour guide with Wanderlust Tours.  I soon adapted to this style of murder mystery as Lana uses her skill with people to take care of a disparate group of wealthy tourists threatened by murder within their midst.  An intelligent former journalist, Lana puts the “Fabulous Five” group of mature women at ease while trying to solve the case.

The book includes vivid descriptions of places of interest in Budapest as settings to the interactions of suspicious characters such as Helen and Tom who own a yacht rental company and Carl, a fellow tour guide, who seems to prefer gambling.  I was kept guessing about the guilt of those guests who seemed most unpleasant or of more likeable old friend, Sally who has been betrayed so badly by the first victim.  I am certainly tempted to visit Budapest myself, now and I am looking forward to following Lana’s investigations next year in A Valentine’s Day Murder in Paris.

Book description

Who knew a New Year’s trip to Budapest could be so deadly? The tour must go on – even with a killer in their midst…

Recent divorcee Lana Hansen needs a break. Her luck has run sour for going on a decade, ever since she got fired from her favorite job as an investigative reporter. When her fresh start in Seattle doesn’t work out as planned, Lana ends up unemployed and penniless on Christmas Eve.

Dotty Thompson, her landlord and the owner of Wanderlust Tours, is also in a tight spot after one of her tour guides ends up in the hospital, leaving her a guide short on Christmas Day.

When Dotty offers her a job leading the tour group through Budapest, Hungary, Lana jumps at the chance. It’s the perfect way to ring in the new year and pay her rent!

What starts off as the adventure of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare when Carl, her fellow tour guide, is found floating in the Danube River. Was it murder or accidental death? Suspects abound when Lana discovers almost everyone on the tour had a bone to pick with Carl.

But Dotty insists the tour must go on, so Lana finds herself trapped with nine murder suspects. When another guest turns up dead, Lana has to figure out who the killer is before she too ends up floating in the Danube…

Introducing Lana Hansen, tour guide, reluctant amateur sleuth, and star of the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series. Join Lana as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that, unfortunately for Lana, often turn deadly.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #WW2 #Historical #Thriller THE HUNTRESS by KATE QUINN #TuesdayBookBlog

The HuntressThe Huntress by Kate Quinn

5 stars

The Huntress is a triple timeline historical fiction set during and just after World War Two; it features an English journalist on the trail of Nazi war criminals, a Russian bomber pilot always looking towards the west and a woman who wants to stop running.

Nina grew up on the harsh shores of Lake Baikal in Siberia, surrounded by tales of evil lake witches. Her one desire is to become a pilot; when Russia enters the Second World War she gets her wish. Nina becomes part of the Night Witches, Stalin’s female bomber pilots who helped drive back the Germans.

By 1950, Nina is living in the West and married to English journalist and Nazi hunter Ian Graham. Together with his partner Tony they head to America in search of The Huntress, a cold blooded murderer who killed children. The hunter now becomes the hunted.

I read this book in just two days becoming fully immersed in the three tales as they wove together. I was fascinated by Nina’s story, especially when she was a pilot. I liked the part she played in all three timelines with her severe Russian upbringing and attitude which even brought moments of delightful lighter humour.

All three timelines were equally compelling, so I was never disappointed when chapters switched back and forth.

Would I recommend this? Definitely for those who enjoy well researched stories that feature the role of women in World War Two.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

From the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novel, The Alice Network, comes another fascinating historical novel about a battle-haunted English journalist and a Russian female bomber pilot who join forces to track the Huntress, a Nazi war criminal gone to ground in America.

In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted…

Bold, reckless Nina Markova grows up on the icy edge of Soviet Russia, dreaming of flight and fearing nothing. When the tide of war sweeps over her homeland, she gambles everything to join the infamous Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on Hitler’s eastern front. But when she is downed behind enemy lines and thrown across the path of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, Nina must use all her wits to survive.

British war correspondent Ian Graham has witnessed the horrors of war from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials. He abandons journalism after the war to become a Nazi hunter, yet one target eludes him: the Huntress. Fierce, disciplined Ian must join forces with brazen, cocksure Nina, the only witness to escape the Huntress alive. But a shared secret could derail their mission, unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.

Seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride grows up in post WWII Boston, determined despite family opposition to become a photographer. At first delighted when her long-widowed father brings home a fiancée, Jordan grows increasingly disquieted by the soft-spoken German widow who seems to be hiding something. Armed only with her camera and her wits, Jordan delves into her new stepmother’s past and slowly realizes there are mysteries buried deep in her family. But Jordan’s search for the truth may threaten all she holds dear.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery CHRISTMAS CUPCAKES & A CAPER by @dehaggerty

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Christmas Cupcakes & A Caper by D.E. Haggerty

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Christmas Cupcakes & a Caper is another humorous adventure in the cozy mystery series starring Callie, Anna and Kristie from Callie’s Cakes. As Kristie went to open the shop she found an elf sat on the floor, leaning against the door. As the door opened the elf fell inside. Assuming he was drunk, Callie tried to wake him up, but to no avail. There was no pulse, so Callie called 911. It turns out the three ladies recognised the man. He’s a student at the university where Callie teaches and they all have a tenuous connection to him. So begins another entertaining edition in the Death by Cupcake series.

Anna is convinced it wasn’t an accidental death and persuades Callie and Kristie that they need to investigate. Callie has her own worries though, about her boyfriend Ben and his secretive behaviour.

‘“You might as well tell her. You know the pink-haired pixie won’t let up until you spill the coffee beans.”

I know Kristie’s right, but I still sigh and take a moment before opening my mouth. “Ben’s acting strange.”’

So now the girls have two mysteries to solve, much to Callie’s dismay. She has her work cut out to restrain Anna in her hunt for the supposed killer, especially when Kristie feels the need to join in. And how did she get roped into shadowing Ben? The murdered student is apparently morally disreputable according an overheard conversation and that is big no-no for Kristie after a date rape case she was involved in previously.

Although Christmas Cupcakes & a Caper is a light, fun read with the three girls and their hunky, (sometimes over) protective other halves, there’s a serious undertone. Each book is told from the differing first person perspectives of each of the likeable and well meaning ladies—it’s Callie’s turn in this one.

I do enjoy a cupcake now and again and, if I was into baking, I’d be trying out all the delicious sounding recipes at the end of the book…but then I’d have to eat them!

Book description

It’s all candy cane cupcakes and peppermint coffee until you find a dead elf on your doorstep.

Only the elf wasn’t a real elf, because elves don’t actually exist – not even at Christmas time. A college student dressed like an elf decided taking a nap on the stoop of Callie’s Cakes in sub-zero winter temps was a good idea. It wasn’t. Anna, the pink-haired baker extraordinaire, is convinced the student’s death was not an accident. She drags Callie and Kristie along with her as she attempts to discover who killed the elf … um… student.

Will the gals of Callie’s Cakes find the killer before Christmas is ruined?

Cupcakes not included, although you’ll find recipes for all the delicious Christmas cupcakes Anna bakes.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS


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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Historical #Mystery A SICKNESS IN THE SOUL by @penandpension

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

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been redaing A Sickness In The Soul by William Savage

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A Sickness in the Soul is part of The Ashmole Foxe Georgian Mysteries, a series of British historical mysteries set between 1760 and around 1800.

This is the first in this series that I have read and I enjoyed getting straight into the story as well as settling into the setting and circle of friends and acquaintances that make up Ashmole Foxe’s world.

Ashmole Foxe is feeling a little bored with life at the start of the story but within a matter of days he has three possible murders brought to him and I thoroughly enjoyed his investigations in his pursuit of the truth in each case as they, together with the characters themselves, are authentically and wonderfully written.

Running alongside the mystery storyline is Ashmole’s private life and he is a pretty lively fellow with the ladies and, I thought, a touch fortuitous with the way things panned out in a certain aspect of his love life at the end, until that final twist. Ah, now that can only make life considerably more complicated for Mr Foxe in the next book methinks.

Highly recommended for anyone who likes historical fiction but also for all those who just enjoy a good, well written story with terrific characters.

Book description

“Many people wear masks. Some to hide their feelings; some to conceal their identity; and some to hide that most hideous plague of mankind: a sickness in the soul.”

Ashmole Foxe, Norwich bookseller, man-about-town and solver of mysteries will encounter all of these in this tangled drama of hatred, obsession and redemption.

This is a story set in the England of the 1760s, a time of rigid class distinctions, where the rich idle their days away in magnificent mansions, while hungry children beg, steal and prostitute themselves on the streets. An era on the cusp of revolution in America and France; a land where outward wealth and display hide simmering political and social tensions; a country which had faced intermittent war for the past fifty years and would need to survive a series of world-wide conflicts in the fifty years ahead.

Faced with no less than three murders, occurring from the aristocracy to the seeming senseless professional assassination of a homeless vagrant, Ashmole Foxe must call on all his skill and intelligence to uncover the sickness which is appears to be infecting his city’s very soul.

Can Foxe uncover the truth which lies behind a series of baffling deaths, from an aristocrat attending a ball to a vagrant murdered where he slept in a filthy back-alley?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #UrbanFantasy CURSED by J.A Cipriano

Cursed (The Thrice Cursed Mage, #1)Cursed by J.A. Cipriano

4 stars

Cursed Is book one of The Thrice Cursed Mage urban fantasy series.

Mac Brennan wakes up in a dustbin which is about to be emptied, knowing little more than his name. One arm is blackened with runes that he didn’t think he had before.

Stinking from other people’s rubbish, Mac goes to a laundrette hoping to steal some clean clothes. However, he gets involved in a fight to protect a woman from two thugs that he later discovers are werewolves.

In his search to find out who he is and why he can only remember wisps of images from his past, Mac joins a vampire and a druid in a daring kidnap rescue.

This is a fast paced action packed story with much fighting and talk of weaponry. The narrative flows smoothly as Mac causes chaos with his often outrageous behaviour towards others in the paranormal world.  I liked Mac and his action hero image. Some of the names of weapons that he used and other references to comic book heroes tended to go over my head, but generally I enjoyed this book.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

My name is Mac Brennan and that’s the only thing I can remember about myself. Not why I woke up in a dumpster. Not why my right arm is as black as pitch and covered in glowing red tattoos, and certainly not why a vicious death cult is after me.

Actually, that last part isn’t true. I know why the death cult is after me. It’s because I saved that damned girl from them. I didn’t know who she was at the time, but I’d have done it anyway. I just don’t like it when girls get beat up, call me old fashioned.

Still, I can tell she’s hiding something behind those devilish eyes, and if I want to find out what it is, I’ll have to help her.

My name is Mac Brennan. I have no memory, and I’m a werewolf-hunting, hellfire-flinging version of Faust himself.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #SciFi #Shortstory BEHIND THE FIRE WALL by @AntonEine

Today’s team review is from Barb, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Barb has been reading Behind The Fire Wall by Anton Eine

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My Review: 5 stars out of 5

“If you’re reading this, I’m either dead or behind bars.”

Author Anton Eine hooked me with that great first line. Then he set that hook and reeled me in. His bait? A tiny little taste, a prequel to his upcoming Programagic Cycle series, that introduces us to a disturbingly familiar magic world.

“You come to some support center and say your crystal ball doesn’t work. The mage at the counter examines your magical masterpiece, only to find all the code written in D-flat, or something even more obscure.”

At least, it’s familiar to any of us who have wandered the aisles of Fry’s or Best Buy, tried to set up our own router, or attempted to understand anything a twelve-year-old child tells us. Or to anyone like me with a basement full of obsolete electronic relics of bygone days, and completely useless knowledge of forgotten programming languages like Basic. (VCR/Walkman/DOS anyone?)

Behind the Fire Wall is a beautifully deceptive little story, one that uses the technology rules we accept but for the most part don’t understand any more than if they were in truth magic. It’s as if the Apple Store had a Genius Bar in Diagon Alley. I love the dry background humor of the created world as much as the locked-room mystery Magister Sajar Randhar is attempting to solve.

Along the way, we meet a handful of surprisingly three-dimensional characters such as Spirit, the experimental and somehow self-aware hologram who owns the final, unexpected twist to the tale.

As with any prequel, this little story has one job—to set in motion the events that will propel the series forward, and most importantly, compel readers to look forward to that tale. Job well done.

Book description

When the Pentagonal Citadel’s Fire Wall is breached as a result of a robbery, giving the perpetrators access to the most dangerous artifacts stored in the Vault, Magister Sajar Randhar finds himself in hot water.

His security clearance is pulled and he’s placed under house arrest for the entire duration of the investigation. But who could have hacked the most impregnable security system in the entire Murican Empire? How did they manage it in the first place? And why remove Sajar from the investigation instead of having him cooperate with the authorities?

The veteran mage is left with no other choice but to take the investigation into his own hands. The case is incredibly complex, but with his great experience and top-notch skills as a magic security specialist, there’s no better man for the job.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #HistoricalFiction REMARKABLE CREATURES by @Tracy_Chevalier #TuesdayBookBlog

Remarkable Creatures Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

4 stars

Remarkable Creatures is historical fiction set around the true life of Mary Anning.

Set in the early 1800s, this story is about an astonishing young woman who discovered dinosaur fossils at Lyme Regis on the Dorset coast in Southern England. At an early age, Mary was taught how to find the fossils by her father, but he died when Mary was quite young, leaving her family to rely on selling Mary’s fossils to tourists as their primary income.

It was when Mary discovered much larger fossilised specimens that men of science really began to take note. However, they refused to acknowledge Mary for her finds. In the end, it was her friend, Elizabeth Philpot, who helped Mary get the recognition and remuneration to which she was entitled.

I love this part of Dorset, which is now known as the Jurassic Coast. I’ve been fossil collecting there myself, so this book really appealed to me. I don’t remember reading about either of these two ladies before, but I shall definitely look out for them in museums and local places when I next visit the area. This was a fascinating piece of fiction.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

In 1810, a sister and brother uncover the fossilized skull of an unknown animal in the cliffs on the south coast of England. With its long snout and prominent teeth, it might be a crocodile – except that it has a huge, bulbous eye.

Remarkable Creatures is the story of Mary Anning, who has a talent for finding fossils, and whose discovery of ancient marine reptiles such as that ichthyosaur shakes the scientific community and leads to new ways of thinking about the creation of the world.

Working in an arena dominated by middle-class men, however, Mary finds herself out of step with her working-class background. In danger of being an outcast in her community, she takes solace in an unlikely friendship with Elizabeth Philpot, a prickly London spinster with her own passion for fossils.

The strong bond between Mary and Elizabeth sees them through struggles with poverty, rivalry and ostracism, as well as the physical dangers of their chosen obsession. It reminds us that friendship can outlast storms and landslides, anger and jealousy.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #HistoricalFiction LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkinson

Life after LifeLife after Life by Kate Atkinson

4 stars

Life After Life is an unusual piece of historical fiction set in England.

I’m very late getting to this book by international best selling Kate Atkinson, which was the winner of the 2013 Costa award, but I’m glad that I finally made it. Actually this book has been on my bookshelf for ages; I don’t even recall where it came from.

Very simply, it is about the ‘what if you could go back and change your life’ question that most people have thought about at some point in their own lives. Ursula Todd is born on a snowy night in 1910; sadly she dies that night―or does she? There follows multiple lives for Ursula, that dip back and forth between rebirth and death; all are parallel worlds that would have come to fruition had certain different decisions been made.  There is a particular focus on the World War Two period, portraying it from both sides.

Did I understand it all? No I didn’t, in fact it took me a good while to understand the format of the book and why we kept reading a different story about Ursula. I even got a little lost by the ending, but I can see that this would make an excellent book to discuss at a book group.

Did I like it? Yes, for the most part. I do like books that can portray the WW2 era without making me feel as if I’m in a history lesson. Overall, a good piece of fiction with an unusual twist on a linear format.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.

What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?

Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, Kate Atkinson finds warmth even in life’s bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here she is at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.

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#NewRelease Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Historical #Romance MISS AMELIA’S MISTLETOE MARQUESS by @JenniAuthor @MillsandBoon

Miss Amelia's Mistletoe Marquess (Mills & Boon Historical) (Secrets of a Victorian Household, Book 2)Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquess (Mills & Boon Historical) by Jenni Fletcher

4 stars

Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquess is book two of the Secrets Of A Victorian Household historical romance series.

Although I have not read book one, this book is easily a stand-alone story.

Millie’s family run The Fairclough Foundation, a safe haven for destitute women in London. This story is set just before Christmas, when Millie and her mother are visiting relatives in the countryside.

When a blizzard forces Millie to seek shelter in a gatehouse, she meets Cassius Whitlock. He cannot turn her out into the night, but in their strict society it is inappropriate for them to be alone together. With the weather as it is, though, he cannot send her away.

The next morning Millie’s footsteps in the snow leave a glaring trail from his door, and gossip quickly spreads. Having put them both in an uncompromising position, Cassius must act quickly to clear up the situation.

Both Millie and Cassius were characters that I immediately liked and their story was delightful to read. The strict Victorian rules of etiquette guided this story but I did enjoy how the couple worked to bend those conventions on more than one occasion.

I was intrigued by The Fairclough Foundation and if I get a chance to read the other books in this series, I’m sure I will be able to read more details about it.

Overall, a lovely new series for fans of this genre.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

The virtuous Miss Fairclough
Now faces ruin!

When Amelia Fairclough had sought refuge in a blizzard, a brooding stranger had given her warmth and shelter. She’d even tried to soothe him of his demons in return. But as she scurried home at dawn she was spotted! Now he’s in the parlour, offering to do the honourable thing. Surely she’d be a fool to turn down the new Marquess of Falconmore!?

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#NewRelease Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #HistoricalRomance CHRISTMAS WITH HIS WALLFLOWER WIFE by @JaniceGPreston @MillsandBoon

Christmas with His Wallflower WifeChristmas with His Wallflower Wife by Janice Preston

4 stars

Christmas With His Wallflower Wife is an historical romance and part of the Beauchamp Heirs miniseries.

Alex Beauchamp cannot believe that he has just asked his childhood friend to be his wife. He did it to save her from a drunken rapist, though he’d never planned on a wife at his age.

Janey has loved Alex from afar all her life, but he has never seen her as more than a friend. But when he rescues her, saving her honour, she accepts his proposal of marriage. She’s the one person who has always understood Alex and his troubled mood swings. However, Alex becomes plagued with nightmares which he refuses to discuss; this severely tests their marriage.

When a smooth-talking relative surfaces, Janey fears she will lose Alex forever.

Fans of the Beauchamp stories will be pleased to read Alex’s story as it brings the series to a grand conclusion. Alex’s mother has hovered in the background of several of the stories and I’m glad that we discovered more about her.

I’m happy to recommend the whole series to fans of historical romance.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

A convenient bride

Can he be the groom she deserves?

Part of The Beauchamp Heirs. Lord Alexander Beauchamp has protected Lady Jane Colebrooke since childhood. So seeing she’s about to be forced to wed, he steps in with a proposal of his own! But Alex underestimated the closeness that taking Jane as his bride demands—something he expected never to give. As Christmas approaches, he knows he must confront the dark secrets that shadow their marriage…

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