My #BookReview of #Contemporary #WomensFiction The Art Of Hiding by @MrsAmandaProwse

The Art of HidingThe Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Art Of Hiding is contemporary women’s fiction set in England. Nina McCarrick’s privileged lifestyle is thrown into turmoil when her husband suddenly dies in a car accident. He ran his own business and dealt with all the family finance, so she is overwhelmed when she discovers his business is bankrupt and she is left owing creditors a huge sum of money. Her home is re-possessed and the Bailiff’s arrive to collect on the debts.

Reeling from shock and angry that Finn had kept it all hidden from her, Nina is forced to take her boys out of their private school and pick over what the Bailiffs left. Distraught, confused and needing to put space between herself and those she thought were friends, the family leave Bath. Nina heads back home to Southampton and rents a small flat, close to her sister, where she desperately tries to secure a stable life for her sons.

I enjoyed this book, the author turned Nina’s life upside down, then lead the reader on a trail of emotion as Nina picked herself up hour by hour, day by day. There were highs and lows, steps forward and stumbles backward. At first I didn’t particularly like Nina, I thought her rather naïve not to have any idea about the family finance, and, in my opinion, she made a big mistake not being open with her children about the situation. But it did add to the drama, and no one knows how we would react ourselves in such a high tension situation. For those who enjoy delving into other people’s lives, there’s lots of everyday situations which will echo with many of the readers; from the stages of grief, to teenage turmoil and the daily grind of life.

This is the first book I’ve read from this author, but I can easily see why readers enjoy her work.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

What would you do if you learned that the life you lived was a lie?

Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.

But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.

Bestselling author Amanda Prowse once again plumbs the depths of human experience in this stirring and empowering tale of one woman’s loss and love.

About the author

Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse was a management consultant for ten years before realising that she was born to write. Amanda lives in the West Country with her husband and their two teenage sons.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Mystery The Bluebell Informant by @NickRBTingley

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

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading The Bluebell Informant by Nick Tingley

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My Opinion

This book introduces you to DS Evelyn Giles; having a day off on Bank Holiday was wonderful – until the phone rang.

With The Bluebell Informant, Nick R. B. Tingley has created the promising first book in a mystery series. It is a nicely elaborated read, taking you close to DS Evelyn Giles. Secondary characters are also relevant; mystery fans will love to check the tiniest details. Even if Nick R. B. Tingley focusses on Evelyn, the story comprises interesting events and memories. I was drawn relatively close to Evelyn – especially as the story evolves; she is vulnerable, she is strong and witty. According to their relevance, the characters are of sufficient depth, believable with their flaws and/or virtues. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

This is a book for you if you like British mystery/suspense series and strong female characters.

Recommended.

Book Description

How do you catch a killer who is already dead?
One year ago, the Bluebell Killer killed his last victim. He was shot and killed, leaving behind a legacy of twenty corpses and a name that people will fear for years to come…
A year later, a man is shot in the back of the head and left in a field of bluebells.
Is it a mugging gone wrong? A copycat killer? Or is the Bluebell Killer still out there, waiting to pounce on his next victim?
For DS Evelyn Giles the solution is simple – it’s just another dirty politician caught committing an unforgiveable crime. But with the evidence stacking up against him, Giles’ suspect has one more surprise in store for her…
And his words will throw everything she knows into question…
‘It’s not over yet.’
The past is coming back to haunt DS Giles. She’s already sacrificed much for the lie. The only question is how much more will she suffer for the truth?
An ingeniously, gripping thriller, The Bluebell Informant is a dark, unexpected and emotionally charged debut.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Mediterranean Summer by @JaneFMackenzie

Today’s second team review is from Alison, she blogs here http://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Alison has been reading Mediterranean Summer by Jane MacKenzie

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I’m a bit of a Francophile. France is definitely my favourite place to visit and I plan to move there permanently one day – Brexit permitting. So I love reading anything set in France and this novel, set just after the civil unrest of Paris in 1968, sounded intriguing.

Art student Laure is returning home to her quiet village after her involvement in the Paris demonstrations. She needs to rest and recover, and she also needs to find a way to resolve the problem hanging over her – a problem that could mean the end of her studies.

At first the peace and solitude are soothing, and Laure enjoys reconnecting with her family and her childhood friends. But her brother-in-law Daniel has a new job at the Nobel factory in Paulilles, and trainee doctor Martin, his brother and Laure’s best friend, is worried about the risks the workers there face from exposure to nitro-glycerine.

The gorgeous summer is clouded by these issues and with Laure’s worries over what has happened in Paris. Then Martin’s cousin Robert, a lawyer from Paris, offers to help. The novel focuses on these relationships – between Laure and Robert, Laure and her family, and Laure and Martin’s family.

There is romance here, and conflict, and at the heart is a girl trying to find her place in a changing world. Laure is a lovely main character, and the interactions between the characters are well-written. There are some beautiful descriptions, of the little towns, the gorgeous countryside, and, of course, the wonderful food, and this part of France is really brought to life through the writing.

It’s a gently-paced read, which works well with the setting. However, it was too slow at times, and, while the descriptions were beautifully done, there were places where they went on for too long, and I did find myself skipping ahead. I do feel that this novel could be quite a bit shorter.

It was also a little difficult to keep track of the many characters and their complicated relationships – though it was worth persevering. The writing was a little too formal at times as well, and came across as a little forced and unnatural. However, on the whole this is a lovely novel, just right for a summer read.

Four out of five stars

Book Description

‘Beautiful artist, beautiful woman, and beautiful lover.’
May 1968 and Paris is hot with rebellion, passion and hope, as protestors clash with the riot police. Brilliant art student Laure stands boldly on the barricades, heady with her new-found defiance, and is swept into romance with Lolo, the fascinating student leader. But youthful rebellion comes at a cost.
Two months later, the excitement is over. Laure heads home for the summer to Vermeilla, her picturesque Mediterranean village. She looks forward to the simplicity of village life, and to a summer in the sun with family and friends, but is aware that the new Laure may shock her little Catalan community.
But even Vermeilla isn’t protected from the forces of change. Shadows hang over both Laure and her village haven. Can she battle the menace that has followed her from Paris? And can she trust Robert, the aloof lawyer who may be the only one who can keep her safe?

About the author

Jane MacKenzie

Jane MacKenzie has lived an exceptionally adventurous life, working in such far-flung corners of the world as the Gambia, Bahrain, and Papua New Guinea, and Switzerland and France nearer to home.
She is as much at home teaching in an African village as organising the research budgets of Nobel scientists, and is a natural linguist, picking up languages wherever she has lived, to complement the fluent French from her first degree in French Language and Literature.
She is an entrepreneur, an international expert in education, and latterly helped transform the UK Government’s Office at CERN in Geneva during two years as its Head. In her fifties Jane turned to writing novels, for a new challenge, and to fulfil a long-held dream.
Jane splits her time now between her homes in the Scottish Highlands, and in her beloved Catalan village in France, the region where her three novels have been set.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Dark Clouds Over Nuala by @HarrietSteel1 #HistFic #Mystery

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Dark Clouds Over Nuala by Harriet Steel

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Inspector Shanti de Silva and his English wife, Jane, were attending Nuala’s very fashionable horse racing event, the Empire Cup, along with the assistant government agent, Archie Clutterbuck and his wife, Florence. William and Lady Caroline Petrie, were also in attendance with visiting family. The Wynne-Talbots, Ralph and Helen, were on their way from Australia, via Ceylon, to England to visit Ralph’s grandfather. Ralph is in line for the title of the 14th Earl of Axford and as his grandfather is not in the best of health, it seems he may inherit the title sooner rather than later.

At William Petrie’s request, Clutterbuck has organised a hunting party at Horton Plains, which included the Wynne-Talbots and several other people. When a death occurs at the most famous spot at Horton Plains, a precipice with a drop of thousands of feet, it’s generally assumed to be suicide. Shanti de Silva, with no head for heights, has to make a hair-raising trip up the mountain.

‘As the road snaked up through low, scrubby forest in a series of alarmingly tight hairpin bends, he averted his eyes from the sheer drop a few yards from the line of ambling ponies. Once, a monkey leapt from a nearby bush and, gibbering furiously, scampered across their path. De Silva’s pony shied and the reins slipped through his sweating palms. He quickly gathered them again and the animal settled but his heart beat faster for several minutes.’

Dark Clouds Over Nuala is set in the exotic and evocative era of genteel 1930s Ceylon and is the second book featuring the courteous and engaging Shanti de Silva, along with a cast of delightfully diverse and wonderfully developed characters. As with the first book in the series, Harriet Steel paints a vivid picture of the area, the food, culture, and societal undertones and attitudes of the time in the small community, giving the story a real sense of time and place.

Another very enjoyable, cosy mystery, faster paced than previously, and de Silva finds himself in rather more danger as well. Alongside the main plot are a couple of side stories involving Constable Nadar, a new father suffering from sleepless nights, and Sergeant Prasanna whose mother keeps trying to marry him off. The narrative is well written and plotted, and flows smoothly as the mystery unfolds. The relationship between Jane and Shanti is lovely and portrayed well with the differing cultures melding together.

Book Description

Set in Ceylon in the 1930s, this second book in the Inspector de Silva Mysteries offers another colourful, relaxing read as the arrival in the hill town of Nuala of the heir to an English earldom signals more trouble for the hapless Inspector de Silva and a new mystery to solve. Throw in a mega-rich Romanian count, his glamorous countess and an enigmatic British army officer and the scene is set for an entertaining mystery.

About the author

Harriet Steel

Harriet Steel is the author of several historical novels including Becoming Lola and Salvation. Her work has appeared in national newspapers and magazines. She is passionate about history and blogs about it at harrietsteel.blogspot.co.uk

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My #BookReview of Magical #Fantasy Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen @SarahAddisonAll

Garden Spells (Waverley Family, #1)Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Garden Spells is a magical fantasy book and is set in North Carolina.

Do you believe in magic? The people of Bascom do. Folklore has grown up around the long family lines in Bascom: all Clark women are proficient in the art of love, Hopkins men always marry older women, and Waverley women know weird things, and have a magical apple tree. Tradition said that if you ate an apple from the tree, you would be provided with a vision of the biggest event in your life.

Claire Waverley now owns the large Queen Anne style family home, where she runs a catering business, creating dishes infused with flowers and ingredients from her garden. Her life is quiet and orderly.

Sydney Waverley rejects her roots; she hates being labelled a Waverley, and fled Bascom as soon as she could.

Everything is about to change. Claire can feel it in the garden, sense it in the air. A new neighbour and the sudden return of Sydney are about to turn Claire’s safe world upside-down.

I loved Evanelle, a seventy-nine year old distant Waverley relative. People are amused and perplexed at the items she gives them. But however curious the gift, they find it to be just what they need, at some point later, be it a spoon, or a brooch, or any other random item.

This is a delightful book to escape into on a lazy summer day. If you enjoy tales of enchantment and romance with a touch of suspense then this book might be for you.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Welcome to Bascom, North Carolina, where it seems that everyone has a story to tell about the Waverley women. The house that’s been in the family for generations, the walled garden that mysteriously blooms year round, the rumours of dangerous loves and tragic passions. Every Waverley woman is somehow touched by magic.

Claire has always clung to the Waverleys’ roots, tending the enchanted soil in the family garden from which she makes her sought-after delicacies – famed and feared for their curious effects. She has everything she thinks she needs – until one day she waked to find a stranger has moved in next door and a vine of ivy has crept into her garden…Claire’s carefully tended life is about to run gloriously out of control.

About the author

Sarah Addison Allen

New York Times Bestselling novelist Sarah Addison Allen brings the full flavor of her southern upbringing to bear on her fiction — a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town sensibility.

Born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Allen grew up with a love of books and an appreciation of good food (she credits her journalist father for the former and her mother, a fabulous cook, for the latter). In college, she majored in literature — because, as she puts it, “I thought it was amazing that I could get a diploma just for reading fiction. It was like being able to major in eating chocolate.”

After graduation, Allen began writing seriously. Her big break occurred in 2007 with the publication of her first mainstream novel, Garden Spells, a modern-day fairy tale about an enchanted apple tree and the family of North Carolina women who tend it. Booklist called Allen’s accomplished debut “spellbindingly charming.” The novel became a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection, and then a New York Times Bestseller.

Allen continues to serve heaping helpings of the fantastic and the familiar in fiction she describes as “Southern-fried magic realism.” Clearly, it’s a recipe readers are happy to eat up as fast as she can dish it out.

Her published books to date are: Garden Spells (2007), The Sugar Queen (2008), The Girl Who Chased the Moon (2010), The Peach Keeper (2011) and Lost Lake (2014) and First Frost (2015).

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The Lover’s Portrait by @JSAauthor #HistFic #Mystery

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

#RBRT Review Team

Barb has been reading The Lover’s Portrait by Jennifer Alderson

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My Review: 3.5  stars out of 5

“Write what you know.” Like most vintage advice, there is a kernel of truth to that, especially if you interpret it as “take what you’ve experienced and use it to inform and color what you write”. Jennifer S. Alderson is certainly one writer who takes that advice to heart. Like her character Zelda, she was working as a website developer in Seattle, Washington, when the travel bug hit. After several international stops, she ended up in the Netherlands, pursuing a graduate program and internship in exhibition design and collection research.

In book two of this series, Alderson’s fictional doppelganger, Zelda, is counting on her internship at the Amsterdam Museum to ensure her admission to the prestigious graduate degree program in Museum Studies. But Zelda is disappointed to discover that she’s really only expected to work as a copyeditor, proofing english translations of the catalog copy. Museum curators and staff have been working for years to prepare for an exhibit of unclaimed art works recovered after Nazi occupation in World War II.

Interleaved with Zelda’s contemporary research are chapters set in 1942. In them, the history of the missing artworks unfolds against a backdrop of war, blackmail, the holocaust, and homophobia.

When Zelda offers to apply her web development skills to enhance the museum’s dreadful online site meant to showcase each work of art, her efforts are mocked and rebuffed by exhibition curator Huub Konijn. But before the new website can be taken down, they get their first hit. An elderly American, Rita Brouwer, whose family had fled Nazi-occupied Amsterdam when she was a child, came forward to claim Irises, one of the lesser-known works.

The museum administrators are delighted, and quick to publicize their first success. All that turns to dismay when another claimant to Irises emerges. Curator Huub is sure the new claim is valid, but Zelda is convinced that the picture belongs with Rita and her elderly sisters. As Zelda and her young friend/admirer Friedrich dig deeper, the stakes go from lies and greed to murder.

There were so many things to like about this book. The premise—Nazi-looted artworks hidden for decades—is both timely and terrific, and the settings were well-drawn and believable. Nazi atrocities against both Jews and homosexuals are well-documented. And we’ve all heard about families who’ve spent years trying to recover property looted by the Nazis, as well as the dramatic discovery of more than 1200 works in the apartment of reclusive German art dealer Cornelius Gurlitt.  And as a thriller, the novel’s pacing unfolds perfectly, slowly at first and then racing to its dark climax.

For me, though, there were a few problems with the book. I can wish for tighter editing for the various typos and edit fails (including the instance where Huub calls someone “Renee”). I can wish that better research/editing could have caught things like the reference to a non-Jew as one of hundreds of guests at a bar mitzvah party, even though such an event would have been more likely to be a family-oriented dinner feast in the days preceding more recent American-style extravaganzas. Or that while there is a definite point made to one character wearing a wig, we never really find out why.

Some things were probably just artistic license taken in order to make a point, such as the unlikely conversation between an art history graduate student and a museum curator where they discuss the meaning of “provenance”—something that should surely have come up on the first day of her first art history class. Or the way that the Nisqually earthquake was moved forward in time…and relocated from Olympia to Seattle.

But my real disappointment with The Lover’s Portrait is with the main characters, especially Zelda. We know that she’s an intrepid woman who has traveled the world. Trying to avoid spoilers, I have to say that she comes across as immature and surprisingly gullible, especially in her romantic relationships. Despite what I would have seen as opportunities for character development and growth, I can’t point to times where Zelda has changed or matured in any way. And—while trying to avoid spoilers here— I can also say that the other “romantic” relationship between the villain and his accomplice is even less believable.

In addition, virulent opposition of curator Huub to giving Irises to its original owner and his almost fawning acceptance of the second claim is vaguely attributed to his own family’s suffering during the war. While the plight of the Netherlands Jews is well documented—of the over 140,000 Jews living in the Netherlands at the beginning of the war, less than 27% survived the holocaust, and those who did almost invariably returned to find their property confiscated and possessions gone—that simply doesn’t explain why he would prefer one claimant over another.

Having said all that, I come back to the fact that this is a well-told story over all, with significant research, great settings, and good pacing. Author Jennifer S. Alderson can definitely write, and I’d look forward to reading her future books.

Book Description

When a Dutch art dealer hides the stock from his gallery – rather than turn it over to his Nazi blackmailer – he pays with his life, leaving a treasure trove of modern masterpieces buried somewhere in Amsterdam, presumably lost forever. That is, until American art history student Zelda Richardson sticks her nose in.

After studying for a year in the Netherlands, Zelda scores an internship at the prestigious Amsterdam Historical Museum, where she works on an exhibition of paintings and sculptures once stolen by the Nazis, lying unclaimed in Dutch museum depots almost seventy years later. When two women claim the same painting, the portrait of a young girl entitled Irises, Zelda is tasked with investigating the painting’s history and soon finds evidence that one of the two women must be lying about her past. Before she can figure out which one and why, Zelda learns about the Dutch art dealer’s concealed collection. And that Irises is the key to finding it.

Her discoveries make her a target of someone willing to steal – and even kill – to find the missing paintings. As the list of suspects grows, Zelda realizes she has to track down the lost collection and unmask a killer if she wants to survive.

The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery draws on the author’s experiences gained while studying art history in the Netherlands and working for several Dutch museums. Before moving to Amsterdam twelve years ago, Jennifer S. Alderson worked as a journalist and website developer in Seattle, Washington.

About the author

Jennifer S. Alderson

Hi! I worked as a journalist and website developer in Seattle, Washington before trading my financial security for a backpack. After traveling extensively around Asia and Central America, I moved to Darwin, Australia, before finally settling in the Netherlands. There I earned degrees in art history and museum studies. Home is now Amsterdam, where I live with my Dutch husband and young son.

My travels and experiences color and inform my internationally-oriented fiction. Down and Out in Kathmandu: adventures in backpacking is a travel fiction adventure through Nepal and Thailand. The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery is a suspenseful ‘whodunit?’ which transports readers to wartime and present day Amsterdam.

Both novels are part of an on-going yet stand-alone series following the adventures of traveler and culture lover, Zelda Richardson. The third installment, another art-related travel thriller (working title: Smuggler’s Deceit) will be released in the fall of 2017.

My travelogue, Notes of a Naive Traveler: Nepal and Thailand, is now available as paperback and eBook. A must-read for those interested in learning more about – or wishing to travel to – Nepal and Thailand.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Inceptio by @alison_morton alternative #Rome fiction

Today’s second team review is from Jessie, she blogs here http://behindthewillows.com

#RBRT Review Team

Jessie has been reading Inceptio by Alison Morton

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If you are looking for insight into what it might be like to live in an alternate reality in a civilization founded by Romans and ruled by women, this book will touch on that.

If you are wondering how it would be to step from a nobody into the top tier of society, this story flirts with that.

If what you really want is to read a book where, when circumstances get scary and difficult, a woman trains hard, becomes awesome and then kicks butt, this is your book.

Would I recommend it? I was almost disappointed there wasn’t more insight into the different culture the main character finds herself in. Almost. But I couldn’t be at all disappointed because I was too busy turning pages. This story had me hooked!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Book Description

New York, present day, alternate reality. Karen Brown, angry and frightened after a kidnap attempt, has a choice – being eliminated by government enforcer Jeffery Renschman or fleeing to mysterious Roma Nova, her dead mother’s homeland in Europe.

Founded sixteen centuries ago by Roman exiles and ruled by women, Roma Nova gives Karen safety, at a price, and a ready-made family. Just as she’s finding her feet, a shocking discovery about her new lover, special forces officer Conrad Tellus, isolates her.

But the enforcer has crossed to Europe to pursue her. Unable to rely on anybody else, she undergoes intensive training, develops fighting skills and becomes an undercover cop. But crazy with bitterness at his past failures, Renschman sets a trap for her, knowing she has no choice but to spring it..

About the author

Alison Morton

Even before she pulled on her first set of combats, Alison Morton was fascinated by the idea of women soldiers. After six years in a special communications regiment, she left as a captain, having done all sorts of interesting and exciting things she can’t talk about, even now…

The mosaics at Ampurias (Spain) and their creation by the complex, power and value-driven Roman civilisation made her wonder what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women.

Now, she writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with tough heroines, tends a Roman herb garden and drinks wine with her husband of 30 years.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Forbidden Fruit by @stangazemba #Africa Life @TheMantle

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Forbidden Fruit by Stanley Gazemba

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FORBIDDEN FRUIT by Stanley Gazemba

4 out of 5 stars

Forbidden Fruit is a novel about life in a Kenyan village, about the vagaries of human nature, but I felt it was more an illustration of the life and times of the people; the plot comes second.  The ‘forbidden fruit’ of the title refers not only to an illicit affair, but other aspects of the story.

The main character is impoverished villager Ombima, who, at the beginning of the novel, is stealing food from the farms owned by his employers, simply because his family do not have enough.  I found the differences between the poor and the wealthy starkly delineated; this interested me and was very well done.  The descriptions of the rural life were quite an education, and even though, by Western standards, the lives of the villagers is harsh, I felt that they were no badly off than we are.  Certainly there was much joy to be found.

I found the dialogue a little strange at times; I don’t know if it was translated from another language or if the author’s first language is not English; there is no author profile on Amazon for me to see.  But it was a mixture of Americanisms and some curious choices of words; I don’t know how Kenyans talk so I can’t say whether or not it is authentic.

If you are interested in every day life in rural Africa I am sure you will love this book; every aspect of life is explored in great detail.

Book Description

Fiction. African and African American Studies. Winner of the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature. Desperate to make ends meet, Ombima commits a “harmless” crime. When he tries to conceal his misdeed, the simple farm laborer becomes a reluctant participant in a sinister affair. If discovered, the consequences could be disastrous for Ombima’s family, friends, and a spate of unwitting, gossipy villagers. A delicious tale of greed, lust, and betrayal, Stanley Gazemba’s FORBIDDEN FRUIT is more than a dramatic tale of rural life in western Kenya. The moral slips and desperate cover-ups–sometimes sad, sometimes farcical–are the stories of time and place beyond the village of Maragoli

About the author

Stanley Gazemba

Stanley Gazemba is an award-winning author and his breakthrough novel, ‘The Stone Hills of Maragoli’, published by Kwani? won the Jomo Kenyatta prize for Kenyan Literature in 2003. He is also the author of two other novels: ‘Callused Hands’ and ‘Khama’, he has written eight children’s books. A prolific writer, Stanley’s articles and stories have appeared in several international publications including the New York Times, ‘A’ is for Ancestors, the Caine Prize Anthology and the East African magazine. Stanley lives in Nairobi and his short story ‘Talking Money’ was recently published in ‘Africa 39’, a Hay Festival publication which was released in 2014. Published by Bloomsbury Publishing Inc, ‘Africa 39’ features a collection of 39 short stories by some of Africa’s leading contemporary authors. Stanley is also in the process of working on an array of creative literary projects.

 

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My #BookReview of #RomanticSuspense Scorpio’s Sting by Trish Jackson @TrishaJAuthor

Scorpio's Sting (Zodiac Series)Scorpio’s Sting by Trish Jackson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three Point Five Stars.

Scorpio’s Sting is a romantic suspense set in San Diego. The story revolves around the fight to stop the trafficking of drugs and humans across the US border from Mexico.

Drew McBain has invented a virtual minefield system to detect drug cartel movements at the border, and repel those who try to enter the US illegally. However, the head of a dangerous cartel sets out to stop the Government from implementing Drew’s system.

Special agent Cornelia ‘Neelie’ Nelson has past links of her own with La Serpiente Coral cartel. But she suspects that she may now be in danger when a strange car follows her home each day.

When the cartel go after Drew’s family, his business and his home, he seeks revenge. A friend tells him about a gang of vigilantes called Escorpio, and reminds him of the scorpion tattoo a stranger once inspired him to have. Drew decides to stop Iglesias one last time.

This is a topical subject and the author has made a good attempt to show the control the cartels have and how hard it is for law enforcement to act. Mixed with the intense subject matter is a hot passion filled romance between Neelie and Drew.

I enjoyed the drug cartel storyline, with the dangers and the passions it flared amongst the victims and others who were in the pay of the drug lord. However, I wasn’t so sure about Drew’s character jumping from a technical inventor to a crime fighter. At times there were too many sloppy words and actions from both Neelie and Drew, regarding safety and security which took the edge off the building of suspense. Both were in roles where they should know that loose talk costs lives, and, as Drew’s friend Dan says: “Everyone has a price.”

Overall an interesting subject matter, I found the romance and the suspense both vying for lead and think the book may have worked better, for me, if the romance had been more a subtle sizzling possibility.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

ICE Agent Neelie Nelson and Drew McBain have a habit of meeting in strange circumstances.
Targeted by la Serpeinte de Coral Cartel and the most powerful and ruthless drug kingpin in Mexico, Drew reels from heartbreak after catastrophic heartbreak. The desire for revenge festers while he fights to rebuild his life and protect what is his.
Neelie has never been able to forgive her deceased husband for his unmitigated betrayal, and for his lack of forethought that has put her and everyone she cares for in mortal danger.
Anger, fear, and a mutual passion for revenge fan the flames of their smoldering desire and then a desperate situation forces them to act against the cartel. But how can they match its power?

About the author

Trish Jackson

Trish Jackson, animal lover and chocolate addict, writes contemporary Romantic Suspense, Romantic Mysteries and Romantic Comedy.
In-your-face, spicy, zany, sassy, suspenseful, terrifying, chilling and definitely in bad taste. Trish identifies her works as ‘Fiction with a Conscience’ because she highlights and educates the reader about multiple social problems through her fiction.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The Darcy Monologues anthology @xtnaboyd @JenettaJames

Today’s team review is from Jessie she blogs here http://behindthewillows.com

#RBRT Review Team

Jessie has been reading The Darcy Monologues anthology by various authors

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I have read Pride and Prejudice, more than once and, while I quite like the book, I have to say (at risk of being stoned by hoards of angry women ) that Mr. Darcy is not my ideal man.  Please, don’t write me off yet because, while I might prefer someone a little more rugged than ballroom ready, I can see why women have pined over Mr. Darcy for over 200 years.

Two hundred years is an impressive amount of time, which mostly makes me wonder why there are still men out there claiming to be confused about what women want. Hello? Guys? Mr. Darcy has been making women sigh for two centuries! If what a woman wants is still confounding you, possibly you should take a lesson from Darcy himself.

Boys, all you have to do is master the combination of wealth, wit, a willingness to address your faults and an all-consuming passion for your woman of choice.  In fact, if you can check all these off your list, all those women will probably let you insult them terribly before giving you a second chance and eventually succumbing to your charm.

All this brings us to the Darcy Monologues. Depending on your preferences you can either read these to further your fantasies of Mr. Darcy in your quest for his real life counter part, or (I’m talking to the confused men out there) you could read these as research if you are still trying to figure out just what will set the women’s hearts aflutter for you.

The Darcy Monologues is a collection of short stories, about the infamous Mr. Darcy himself. The first half, set in the 1800’s Pride and Prejudice era, follow the original story fairly closely, but from Mr. Darcy’s view. Some of them address what happened after the book, some let you know what was going on in Mr. Darcy’s head and some explore the, ahh, steamier side of things… The second half are contemporary versions. Mr. Darcy heads West (now that was my kind of Darcy), runs radio stations, and plays major league baseball all while pursuing the enviable Ms. Bennet.

Would I recommend it? My only issue with this anthology was that I couldn’t just hop from one story to the next. I found early on that too many different Mr. Darcys talking to too many Bingleys muddled my head to no end. Once I realized I had a one story a night limit I enjoyed my daily dose of Darcy completely! An excellent collection for anyone who enjoys a good tale of pride and prejudice.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Book Description

“You must allow me to tell you…”
For over two hundred years, Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy has captivated readers’ imaginations as the ultimate catch. Rich. Powerful. Noble. Handsome. And yet, as Miss Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is established through Elizabeth Bennet’s fine eyes, how are we to know his mind? How does Darcy progress from “She is tolerable: but not handsome enough to tempt me” to “I thought only of you”?
In this romance anthology, fifteen Austenesque authors assemble to sketch Darcy’s character through a series of re-imaginings, set in the Regency through contemporary times—from faithful narratives to the fanciful. Herein “The Darcy Monologues”, the man himself reveals his intimate thoughts, his passionate dreams, and his journey to love—all told with a previously concealed wit and enduring charm.
Stories by: Susan Adriani * Sara Angelini * J. Marie Croft * Karen M Cox * Jan Hahn * Jenetta James * Lory Lilian * KaraLynne Mackrory * Beau North * Ruth Phillips Oakland * Natalie Richards * Sophia Rose * Joana Starnes * Melanie Stanford * Caitlin Williams

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