Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Action adventure Ryan Kaine: On The Rocks by @KerryJDonovan

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

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Ryan Kaine: On The Rocks by Kerry J Donovan

Ryan Kaine: On the Rocks: Book Two in the Ryan Kaine action thriller series by [Donovan, Kerry J]

I was completely mesmerized by Kerry Donovan’s first book in the Ryan Kaine series. It left me panting with the exertion of reading it, so of course I had to read the sequel. I hope this is a long series.

Ryan Kaine on the Rocks was slower paced (but only slightly) from the first book and is a more than worthy continuation, since it picks up where the first left off.

Martin Princeton is trapped on a ledge halfway down a cliff in the wilds of Scotland. He is severely injured, bleeding and, without a heavy jacket, freezing to death. He is preparing himself to die. He was there because he had to get away from the mourning for his brother, who was killed in a plane crash. A  crash that had been orchestrated by Ryan Kaine.

When news of Martin’s disappearance reaches Kaine, he abandons the effort to clear his name and instead, in an act of contrition, heads to the Highlands to find Martin. Still hampered by injuries from his previous confrontation with the people behind the crash, and with an unofficial bounty on his head, Kaine goes to the site of the rescue organization and manages to convince the rescue team of his good intentions without alerting them to his identity. He must first find out everything about Martin’s route in the mountains and the people who were with him, treading a fine line to keep himself anonymous. What he brings with him is an intimate knowledge of the area, mountaineering skills, and special forces training, which allows him to strike out on his own to find Martin.

Kerry Donovan is in his element. He clearly knows the Highlands and its people and has an intimate knowledge of mountain climbing and rescue. His descriptions of the area are compelling – I could feel the wind and the rain – but the author never loses sight of the plot and shoves the story forward at an exhilarating pace. You are never unaware that the clock is ticking, both for the boy and for Kaine, who has to keep his butt out of jail while engaged in the search.

Once again, his characters are fun, even the really bad ones. The clashes between the locals and the English armed response team which arrives to take over the search are both humorous and confrontational. How could you not like a villain named William (Buffalo Bill) Cody? Donovan writes good, tight dialogue for these characters, spartan almost, but smooth.

This is escapism at its best, and once again, my only minor complaint is that at his age, Kaine is nearly superhuman in his strength and ability to endure pain. I will admit I got slightly lost in the descriptions of the mountaineering and climbing gear, but I’m sure aficionados of this sport will have no complaints.

So, I’m again looking forward to the next Kaine outing, and I rate this book up there with the best in its genre. What a fun, breathless read!

Book description

Ryan Kaine is back in the action-packed sequel to the hit adventure thriller, Ryan Kaine: On the Run. 

Fresh from finding evidence that might clear him of terrorism charges and still carrying the scars of battle, Ryan Kaine heads to Scotland to help find missing schoolboy, Martin Princeton.

Facing arrest for shooting down civilian aircraft, Flight BE1555, and killing the 83 people aboard, Kaine is desperate to help find the boy. Why? Martin’s brother was on that plane and Kaine has vowed to protect the families of the victims–The 83.

Hunted by the authorities, can Kaine escape capture long enough to find the boy, or will the police and his more dangerous enemies find him first?

From the pen of Kerry J Donovan, Ryan Kaine: On the Rocks, is a powerful, action-packed novel set in the mountainous highlands of Scotland.

Ryan Kaine is a new addition to the great military action characters in the tradition of Lee Child, Mark Dawson, Chris Ryan, and Matt Rogers.

About the author

Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. Kerry earned a first class honours degree in Human Biology, and has a PhD in Sport and Exercise Sciences. A former scientific advisor to The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, he helped UK emergency first-responders prepare for chemical attacks in the wake of 9/11. This background adds a scientific edge to his writing. He is also a former furniture designer/maker. He is the author of a sci-fi/thriller, The Transition of Johnny Swift, which reached #1 on the Amazon Bestsellers List in December 2014.

A citizen of the world, he now lives in the heart of rural Brittany with his wonderful and patient wife, Jan. They have three children and four grandchildren (so far), all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely grateful for the development of video calling.

Kerry J Donovan

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #YA The Scent Of Rain by Anne Montgomery @amontgomery8

Today’s team review is from Anita, she blogs here http://jenanita01.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Anita has been reading The Scent Of Rain by Anne Montgomery

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It was the cover that first attracted me to this book, and the title intrigued me. I instantly thought of the welcoming smell of the rain, the way the earth responds to it after an arid and depressing time. You can almost hear it breathing a sigh of relief and the scent is unforgettable.

There is a name for this scent, the ancients called it Petrichor, from Petros = stones and Ichor = the fluid in the veins of Gods.

I didn’t know much about the organisations like the one in this book. I had heard of the Amish and their refreshingly simple, although strict way of life. I was expecting this story to be similar, an account of how people live under such restrictive practices. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

This branch of the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is situated in Colorado City, near a small town called Hurricane. Like the Amish, these people subject their followers to a harsh way of life too, but that is where the similarity ends, for these people haven’t abandoned any of their outdated and evil traditions.

Polygamy is considered normal practice, along with the inbreeding of bloodlines between the two main families. This causes terrible deformities, both physical and mental. Children born this way are considered a punishment from God, something to be cared for, but hidden away.

Parents are overly strict with their children, under the direction of the Prophet, their leader Eldon Higbee. As you read this story, you imagine you are reading a true account, so compelling are the characters and the situations they find themselves in.

The Scent of Rain is a brilliantly written story, with a fascinating cast of characters. A mixture of the evil, the helpless and the determined, all struggling to survive under some horrific conditions.

My favourite characters are the redeeming players in this drama. Rose Madsen, a beautiful young girl who is destined to be married to the Prophet, trying desperately to protect her handicapped sister Daisy. Brooke Neal is the newly appointed child protection Officer with her work cut out, and Adan Reyes, a teenage boy who has already escaped from one institution.

The tension gradually rises, almost becoming unbearable. Situations go from bad to worse, but among all the pain and sadness, a love story emerges as the romance between Adan and Rose blossoms and they run away together.

At this point, I was pulling my hair out, expecting all hell to break loose. It did, but you will have to read it yourself to know the ending.

I totally recommend this book with a warning, there are some nasty moments…

Book description

Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away.

Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl–Rose–running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.

With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father’s age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?

About the author

Anne Butler Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. Her first TV job came at WRBL-TV in Columbus, Georgia, and led to positions at WROC-TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP-TV in Phoenix, Arizona, and ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award-winning SportsCenter. She finished her on-camera broadcasting career with a two-year stint as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery was a freelance and/or staff reporter for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces. Her novels include: The Scent of Rain, Nothing But Echoes, and A Light in the Desert. Montgomery teaches journalism at South Mountain High School in Phoenix, is a foster mom to three sons, and is an Arizona Interscholastic Association football referee and crew chief. When she can, she indulges in her passions: rock collecting, football officiating, scuba diving, and playing her guitar.

Anne Montgomery

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Rosie’s Review Team #RBRT #Thriller Nothing Bad Happens Here by @NikkiCAuthor #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Nothing Bad Happens Here by Nikki Crutchley

Nothing Bad Happens Here by [Crutchley, Nikki]

This is Nikki Crutchley’s first book, and for an initial outing, it’s pretty darned good.

The story:

A young tourist disappears from Castle Bay, a small tourist town on the east coast of North Island of New Zealand. When her mangled and mauled body is discovered, news crews and journalists descend on the town. Among them is Miller Hatcher, a young magazine writer battling alcoholism, who is sent there by her editor with the promise of a huge splash in the magazine if she can assemble a strong story for the next month’s edition.

Leading the investigation in Castle Bay is Sgt. Kahu Parata, a Maori and twenty-year member of the local constabulary, at least Detective Nicholson and a team of four arrive. Nicholson pushes Parata aside, leaving him to the day to day running of the station and the odious task of informing the victim’s parents. But Nicholson doesn’t know the town like Parata does. Castle Bay has some dark and well concealed history, but everyone believes nothing bad ever happens there.

Miller finds the only housing available at a wellness retreat a few minutes out of town. It is recommended to her by the wife of the head of the Town Council who herself is going there for a few days’ respite. The wellness center is populated by a small group of women experiencing a variety of crises and has a threatening caretaker who has found needed isolation there after losing his family.  A visitor at the wellness center disappeared from there many years previously, but she was never found, and the town’s residents still believes Castle Bay is safe and welcoming.

***

There are several threads to this mystery, which the author unravels deliberately and with excruciating tension, before wrapping them together tidily in a completely unexpected ending. There are also a couple of ‘gotcha’ moments that gave me a chill. The pacing of the story is excellent and keeps you turning pages (or swiping your Kindle, as the case may be). But the best part of the book are the characters, whom Ms. Crutchley details in such precision that you can easily see them in your mind’s eye. What I particularly liked was that each of them had flaws – their imperfections made them three dimensional and human.

Of the two characters from whose point of view them mystery is seen, I found myself liking Parada, who while caring for a gentle wife with an undisclosed but serious illness, mourns the fact they’ve been unable to have children. Miller is less likeable – her need for alcohol interferes with her investigative journalism and causes her to pull her hairs out one by one in disgusting detail. Nevertheless, she is largely fearless and determined to follow events wherever they lead, even when one of the women at the wellness center subsequently disappears.

The town itself – in an exotic locale for those of us not from that part of the world – becomes a character, full of interesting detail, and darkly looming, surrounded by jungle. As Miller investigates the trails leading into the jungle, the black cloud of evil that seems ever-present for most of the book is cloying, palpable, and ominous.

This is a satisfying read and I recommend it – a great first book for this author.

A quote to tempt you:

“She looked away from his face and took in the clear spring night, full of stars. Her last thoughts were of her mother. Would she finally care, when one day they found her body, and a policeman came knocking at her door?”

Book description

“She looked away from his face and took in the clear spring night, full of stars. Her last thoughts were of her mother. Would she finally care, when one day they found her body, and a policeman came knocking at her door?”

The body of missing tourist Bethany Haliwell is found in the small Coromandel town of Castle Bay, where nothing bad ever happens. News crews and journalists from all over the country descend on the small seaside town as old secrets are dragged up and gossip is taken as gospel.
Among them is Miller Hatcher, a journalist battling her own demons, who arrives intent on gaining a promotion by covering the grisly murder.
Following an anonymous tip, Miller begins to unravel the mystery of the small town. And when another woman goes missing, Miller finds herself getting closer to the truth. But at what cost?

About the author

After seven years of working as a librarian in New Zealand and overseas, Nikki now works as a freelance proofreader and copy editor. She lives in the small Waikato town of Cambridge in New Zealand with her husband and two girls.
Nikki has been writing on and off her whole life and recently has had success in flash fiction. She has been published in Flash Frontier, Flash Fiction Magazine and Mayhem Literary Journal. Crime/thriller/mystery novels are her passion. Nothing Bad Happens Here is her first novel (but hopefully not her last), set on the Coromanadel Coast of New Zealand.

Nikki Crutchley

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Family drama – All The Tomorrows by @nillunasser

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading All The Tomorrows by Nullu Nasser

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ALL THE TOMORROWS by Nillu Nasser

4 out of 5 stars

Set in Bombay, the novel starts when Jaya, one year into an arranged marriage, discovers that her idealist, undemonstrative husband, Akash, has a lover.  Criticised by her parents and feeling uncared for, her torment results in a truly shocking action, so stomach-turning I wondered if I could actually carry on reading the book.  Brave of the writer to include it, and that I reacted so strongly shows that it was well-written; I did continue, anyway.

Akash is knocked sideways by Jaya’s extreme reaction, and his life takes a swift, sharp turn downwards.  In short, this novel is about a falling apart and slow coming together… several of them.

The first twenty per cent is about Jaya and Akash’s younger years and the immediate fall-out of ‘the event’, after which we are moved swiftly on by being told that ‘the years sped by’, and suddenly it’s twenty years later, when we find out how the characters’ lives have fared in the interim, and what happens when they collide once more.

Nillu Nasser is a talented writer, without a doubt.  One of the reasons I chose this is because I like to read about other cultures, and this book taught me stuff I didn’t know, so that’s a tick from me.  Her storytelling ability held my interest, which is good for another big shiny red tick.  On occasion the dialogue felt a little stilted, or a teensy bit Hollywood, and she fell into the debut novelist trap of using dialogue to impart information to the reader rather than keeping it realistic, but I’ll cut her some slack with this; it was not constant, and, as I said, it’s a debut novel, and a good one (nb, this is not her first published work, but her first published novel).  Her characterisation was good; Jaya, her sister Ruhi, and their mother, were real, as were Akash, his friend, Tariq, and his lover, Soraya; Ms Nasser writes them all in clear definition, and even the secondary characters were completely convincing ~ another big tick!

I was, however, less sure about the pacing and structure.  With the younger lives of Akash and Jaya taking up only around the first fifth of the book, I was given little time to care that much about what happened to them before suddenly they were older but nothing much had gone on in the intervening twenty years except more of the same.  How much more effective it would have been to have cut the line about speeding years, and have a couple of interim chapters showing their lives after five, ten or fifteen years, too.  Akash tells Soraya all he has suffered in those years, but I wanted to see it, not just read it in a spoken report.  I loathe clichés, not least of all book reviewing ones, and you can’t play out every scene or the book would be a thousand pages long, but in this case I needed to be shown, not told.  For me (and a review is only ever a personal opinion), a slow build up could have turned this 4* book into a 5* one.

As the rest of the story unravels, Ms Nasser continues to write with authenticity, care and sensitivity, and I’d say that if you like emotional family dramas, you’ll love this.

Book description

Sometimes we can’t escape the webs we are born into. Sometimes we are the architects of our own fall.

Akash Choudry wants a love for all time, not an arranged marriage. Still, under the weight of parental hopes, he agrees to one. He and Jaya marry in a cloud of colour and spice in Bombay. Their marriage has barely begun when Akash embarks on an affair.

Jaya cannot contemplate sharing her husband with another woman, or looking past his indiscretions as her mother suggests. Cornered by sexual politics, she takes her fate into her own hands in the form of a lit match.

Nothing endures fire. As shards of their past threaten their future, will Jaya ever bloom into the woman she can be, and will redemption be within Akash’s reach?

About the author

Nillu Nasser is a writer of literary fiction novels. In March 2017 she signed a three book deal with Evolved Publishing. She also blogs, writes short fiction and poetry.

Nillu’s short story ‘Painted Truths and Prayer Beads’ was published in May 2016 in Mosaics 2: A Collection of Independent Women. Another short story ‘The Tombstone Man and the Coming of the Tigress’ was published in June 2016 in UnCommon Origins, an anthology of short fiction. In 2017, ‘Tombstone Man’ reappeared in UnCommonly Good.

Nillu has a BA in English and German Literature and an MA in European Politics. After graduating she worked in national and regional politics, but eventually reverted to her first love.

She lives in London with her husband, three children, one angelic and one demonic cat, though she secretly yearns for a dog. If you fly into Gatwick and look hard enough, you will see her furiously scribbling in her garden office, where she is working on her next story.

Nillu Nasser

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The book can be purchased for a discounted price until December 12th, when it will return to the full price.

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The Elephant And The Sheep by @PatFurstenberg #KidsLit

Today’s team review is from Brittany, she blogs at https://brittthereader.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Brittany has been reading The Elephant And The Sheep by Patricia Furstenberg

The Elephant and the Sheep takes place in South Africa and is about the friendship of an orphaned elephant named Themba and a sheep named Albert.  The book particularly excels in creating a sense of carefree joy that surrounds Themba and Albert’s friendship.  There is also a strong sense of place throughout the story.  There are charming touches that mention the weather and baobab trees, which help establish the African setting.

The story is written as a poem. The rhyme and meter are a bit inconsistent, but overall they help create a story that is fun to read aloud to children. The illustrations are attractive and colorful. Some of the clip art pieces were a bit blurry, but the four-year old I read the book with did not mind at all.  She very much enjoyed looking at all the bright, cheerful illustrations, especially the colorful suns

The names of the main characters are not mentioned for several pages. The main characters are originally referred to as “two tails”, which could be disorienting for children reading the book alone. The reader learns that Themba sleeps all night under the tree where Albert and Themba play, but it is never directly stated that Themba is an orphan who does not have a home.  Younger children will likely need an adult who can explain Themba’s situation to them. The ending of the book lends itself nicely to further discussion with children about the importance of kindness, family and generosity.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Book description

The story tells of an elephant calf Themba and a lamb called Albert, they meet at a puddle during the big bad thirst. They shared the puddle equally so that neither one would go thirsty. Then from that moment in time they became the best of friends. What follows is a tale of friendship beyond words and a fabulous happy ending. This story will teach children about sharing, caring and most of all what true friendship is really about. A tale of innocence and unconditional love.

Patricia Furstenberg came to writing though reading, her passion for books being something she inherited from her parents.
She won two key legs (chapter six, “Someone is Missing” and chapter nine, “Reconstruction of the Crime”) of the Write Your Own Christie Competition and was runner-up for chapter four.
When she’s not writing Patricia likes to read, read, read, drink coffee and listen to music.
One of the characters portrayed in her children stories is Pete, the yellow toy elephant. Not many know, but Pete exists and lives in Pat’s home.
This Romanian born writer is living happily with her husband, children and dogs in sunny South Africa.

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT @CathyRy reads #Thriller Ryan Kaine: On The Rocks by @KerryJDonovan

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Ryan Kaine: On The Rocks by Kerry J Donovan

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Following on from book one – Ryan Kaine: On the Run – Ryan is making a mad dash up to Scotland to help in the search for sixteen year old Martin Princeton, whose brother was a passenger on the doomed civilian aircraft. The events that transpired in the first book continue to take a heavy toll on Ryan, the guilt he feels is overwhelming at times which is why he’s determined to do all he can to see Martin safe and back with his parents. Martin has gone missing during a school camping trip in the Scottish Highlands and is in a desperate life and death situation.

Hunted by the police and with his picture in the press, Ryan does as much as he can to disguise himself, helped by the fact he had taken a beating which resulted in some facial disfiguration.

Ryan’s vow begins with Martin Princeton. And so, in the guise of Sergeant-Major Peter Sidings, Ryan joins the Lodge Farm Mountain Rescue Centre, hoping there’s no-one there who might recognise him. He’s a moral, considerate man who, although not technically to blame for the disaster that changed his life, still feels the full weight of guilt, responsibility and a need for reparation.

Kerry Donovan’s tightly plotted and twisty narrative is full of tension and action, with everything taking place over a two day period. A couple of characters from the first book make brief appearances but in the main it’s a whole new cast. Siblings Drew and Iona McTay are fabulously well drawn, and add a contrast to the severity of the story line. Both are tough and decent, in their element and sitting well in the rugged landscape. The wonderful highland setting, with its dangerous terrain, adds to the suspense and helped give one character in particular his just deserts. Emotions run high throughout, not least from the loose cannon heading the armed response team. I had no idea how it was all going to play out.

I always enjoy the more rounded picture that a narrative with multiple perspectives gives and, although the majority is from Ryan’s point of view, we do get other characters’ viewpoints. Kerry Donovan continues to impress with engaging writing, great plotting and characterisations. Looking forward to the next adventure with Ryan Kaine.

Book description

Ryan Kaine is back in the action-packed sequel to the hit adventure thriller, Ryan Kaine: On the Run. 

Fresh from finding evidence that might clear him of terrorism charges and still carrying the scars of battle, Ryan Kaine heads to Scotland to help find missing schoolboy, Martin Princeton.

Facing arrest for shooting down civilian aircraft, Flight BE1555, and killing the 83 people aboard, Kaine is desperate to help find the boy. Why? Martin’s brother was on that plane and Kaine has vowed to protect the families of the victims–The 83.

Hunted by the authorities, can Kaine escape capture long enough to find the boy, or will the police and his more dangerous enemies find him first?

From the pen of Kerry J Donovan, Ryan Kaine: On the Rocks, is a powerful, action-packed novel set in the mountainous highlands of Scotland.

Ryan Kaine is a new addition to the great military action characters in the tradition of Lee Child, Mark Dawson, Chris Ryan, and Matt Rogers.

About the author

Internationally bestselling fiction author, Kerry was born in Dublin. He spent most of his life in the UK, and now lives in the heart of rural Brittany with his wonderful and patient wife, Jan. They have three children and four grandchildren (so far), all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the advent of video calling.

The cottage is a pet free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and red squirrels).

Kerry earned a first class honours degree in Human Biology, and has a PhD in Sport and Exercise Sciences. A former scientific advisor to The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, he helped UK emergency first-responders prepare for chemical attacks in the wake of 9/11. This background adds a scientific edge to his writing. He is also a former furniture designer/maker.

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Rosie’s Team #RBRT #KidsLit Ronaldo: The Flying Reindeer Academy by Maxine Sylvester @flyingronaldo

Today’s team review is from Chris, she blogs here http://cphilippou123.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Chris has been reading Ronaldo: The Flying Reindeer Academy by Maxine Sylvester

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Thoughtful, witty, cute, and action-packed, this is a wonderful children’s story.

Ronaldo is not the best cadet at the Reindeer Flying Academy, but hopes to grow up to become one of Santa’s reindeer, like his hero, Vixen. When the day of the Endurance Challenge arrives, Ronaldo and his best friend Rudi gear up to take part and hopefully beat the rather nasty Dasher in the challenge. And so the adventure begins…

With peppy dialogue, wit, and a good dose of action, this is a fun read. The book also does a good job of showcasing the topic of finding one’s inner strength despite the odds. And who can resist a lovely reindeer protagonist? Recommended.

Book description

Ronaldo is the top flying cadet at the prestigious Reindeer Flying Academy. He dreams of getting his flying license, just like his hero, Vixen.
In this first exciting chapter in the ‘Ronaldo’ series, our hero is faced with his toughest flying test ever – The Endurance Challenge!
Can Ronaldo triumph over mean bully, Dasher, and win the ‘Golden Wings’ medal? Spurred on by Rudi, his quirky, loyal best friend and with a belly full of his favourite carrot pancakes, Ronaldo takes on the challenge of his life!

About the author

I was born in Hounslow, Middlesex in the south of England. As a child, I loved drawing and took private art classes with a wonderful teacher called, Pearl Lee. She had an abundance of Disney magazines, and I would paint the characters on wood, card, canvas or anything else I was allowed to use, including walls.

When I was nine, my mum took me on holiday to Majorca. I clearly remember being fascinated by how other people lived outside of England. Travelling became my new obsession.

After Sixth Form College, I intended to go to art school, but my travel bug got the better of me and chose to work as a holiday representative in Greece instead. This was followed by seven years working on cruise ships, two years in Israel and Palestine, and six years in Russia and Armenia. Although I lapped up the different cultures, I found my work over the years very unfulfilling. I decided to dig out my Caran d’Arche pencils, and do something about it!

I enrolled in The College of Cartoon Art and was mentored by the renowned caricaturist, Steve Chadburn. I created a character called Ronaldo and decided to write a short story about him. Before I knew it, my head was spinning with ideas and the first book, The Reindeer Flying Academy, went from a small picture book into a fully blown chapter book … but more importantly, I loved every minute of the writing and illustrating process.

Nowadays, I live in Bali, Indonesia, with my amazing partner, Mark, (Bristol born and bred) and am currently illustrating the third book for the Ronaldo series, Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza.

I am still a self-confessed Disney geek and get excited as a five-year-old whenever a new Disney animated film comes out. I love the Disney theme parks and have visited Orlando, Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo – California and Shanghai are next on my bucket list.

I have an unhealthy fondness for pizza and chocolate but a healthy love of Pilates – I like to think they balance each other out.

And finally, I am a lifelong Arsenal supporter … although sometimes I wish I wasn’t!

Photo of award winning kids books author Maxine Sylvester with friend Ronaldo

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Rosie’s Team #RBRT #Mystery A Tincture Of Secrets And Lies by @penandpension #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading A Tincture Of Secrets by William Savage

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A TINCTURE OF SECRETS AND LIES by William Savage

4.5 stars

An 18th century murder mystery, the 4th in the Adam Bascom series.  Stands alone, but I would suggest reading the earlier books first, to become acquainted with Adam and the other players in his world.

The first 35% or so of this novel takes place in the bedroom of our hero, the Norfolk doctor and crime solver; he is suffering from dire injuries following an accident, and, whilst recovering, is brought news of foul deeds and heinous crimes that deserve his attention.  Anyone who can hold my attention with the first third of a novel set in one room (and I read every word) is worthy of applause ~ indeed, in many ways, this is the best so far of Mr Savage’s novels.  As well as the nicely plotted murder mystery, he has included more scene-setting, more detail about the day-to-day living of the time, and the history of the area; North Norfolk is particularly close to my heart, and the setting of his books is part of their appeal for me.

The story brings to life so well the class hierarchy of the time, and tells how for the inhabitants of coastal villagers, involvement in smuggling was a way of life; I’d love to read another Bascom book based around this.  It also shows how those in power in England were concerned that the rebellion of the French peasantry would influence those in this country to rise up in the same manner.

With Adam housebound, the novel needed to step outside his Aylsham house eventually, to add drama, and I was pleased to see some chapters from other characters’ points of view: Ruth Scudamore, who is absolutely my sort of girl (she has no time for fripperies and society trivia), her brother Charles, who finds himself far outside his life of genteel leisure when he joins in a military attack to stop a scuffle with a group of rebels, and Adam’s groom, William, sent to uncover a mysterious ‘quack’ who sells his elixirs to the gullible public.  I was also very impressed by a chapter written from the point of view of rebel Peter Gort, who sees himself as a swashbuckling hero of the underclasses.

I was slightly underwhelmed by the wrapping up, and would have liked to see the baddies get their comeuppance(s) rather than just hearing about it in reports and letters, and just a bit more drama and impact, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the book ~ and the delightful way in which it ended: will Adam’s romantic life unfold as he wishes, after all his doubt and frustration?  I look forward to the next episode, to find out!

Book description

The night of April 13th, 1793 has proved unlucky for at least two people. Dr Adam Bascom has been thrown from his horse to lie injured, unconscious and alone on a remote country roadway. Barely a mile away, another man is thrusting the body of the young woman he has just murdered as far under a hedge as he can. Thus begins one of Adam Bascom’s most complicated mysteries; one that will end in many more deaths and a fight off the coast of Norfolk between a navy frigate and a French privateer. Trapped at home by his injuries, Adam still finds ways to use his friends and family as his eyes and ears as he uncovers the solution to a series of local murders — and a plot to destabilise the country as it awaits the threatened invasion by the French revolutionary government.

About the author

I started to write fiction as a way of keeping my mind active in retirement. I have read and enjoyed hundreds of detective stories and mystery novels. One of my other loves is history, so it seemed natural to put the two together. Thus began two series of murder mystery books set in Norfolk.
All my books are set between 1760 and around 1800, a period of turmoil in Britain, with constant wars, revolutions in America and France and finally the titanic, 22-year struggle with Napoleon.
The Ashmole Foxe series takes place at the start of this time and is located in Norwich. Mr Foxe is a dandy, a bookseller and, unknown to most around him, the mayor’s immediate choice to deal with anything likely to upset the peace or economic security of the city.
The series featuring Dr Adam Bascom, a young gentleman physician caught up in the beginning of the Napoleonic wars, takes place in a variety of locations nearer the North Norfolk coast. Adam builds a successful medical practice, but his insatiable curiosity and knack for unravelling intrigue constantly involve him in mysteries large and small.
I have spent a good deal of my life travelling in Britain and overseas. Now I am more than content to write stories and run a blog devoted to the world of Georgian England.

William Savage

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Riding Shotgun by Andy Rausch @writerrausch1 @crimewavepress

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties by Andy Rausch

Riding Shotgun: And Other American Cruelties by [Rausch, Andy]

RIDING SHOTGUN and other American Cruelties by Andy Rausch

4 out of 5 stars

This is a collection of three novellas, and I enjoyed them all.  I really liked Andy Rausch’s writing style, it’s right up my street; very current, intelligently witty, sharp and observant.

The first one is Easy-Peezy, set in 1920/30s America, about Emmet Dalton, a former bank robber of the late 19th century who has hung up his boots and holster, but longs to show young guns like John Dillinger how it’s done.  He teams up with a couple of others from the same era and sets off for one last crime spree.  On its own, I’d have given this 4*.

The second, Riding Shotgun, is about a writer who find himself involved in a life of crime after his wife is killed.  I liked this one slightly less, as at times ‘darkly humorous’ crossed the border into ‘just daft’, although it was still well-written.  3*.

The last story, $crilla, is easily the best, I loved it.  Almost totally dialogue, and hilarious, easily 5*.  Two unsuccessful gangsta rappers hatch a plot to extort money from their reluctant producer.

The language, particularly in the last one, would not suit anyone who finds authentic street talk offensive; if you don’t, and can appreciate how well-observed it is, you’ll love it.  I felt the influence of certain TV shows and films, throughout, even in some specific lines, but I quite liked that about it.  It’s a good collection, professionally presented, and worth getting for the last one alone.

Book description

RIDING SHOTGUN AND OTHER AMERICAN CRUELTIES is a unique collection of quirky, Tarantinoesque crime novellas, representing three very different sub-genres. In the first story, “Easy-Peezy,” a band of elderly Old West bank robbers return to their wicked ways robbing banks in the 1930s John Dillinger era. The second story, “Riding Shotgun,” is a bitter tale about a man pushed to the limits of human endurance and forced to take up arms to protect those he loves. The third tale, “$crilla,” is an urban crime fantasy in which a fledgling hip-hop group kidnaps a record mogul in the hopes of finally making the kind of loot they’ve always dreamed of.

About the author

Andy Rausch is a freelance journalist, celebrity interviewer, and film critic. He is the author or co-author of nearly twenty books on the subject of popular culture. These include Making Movies with Orson Welles, The Films of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, and The Wit and Wisdom of Stephen King. He is also the author of the novels Elvis Presley, CIA Assassin, Mad World and Bloodletting: A Tale of Revenge. He has also worked as an actor, film producer, composer, casting director, and as the screenwriter of the cult film Dahmer vs. Gacy. He is a regular contributor to Screem magazine, and his work has appeared in such publications and online journals as Film Threat, Shock Cinema, and Bright Lights Film Journal. He resides in Parsons, Kansas.

Andy Rausch

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT @OlgaNM7 reviews #YA Silhouettes by @ELTenenbaum

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

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading Silhouettes by E.L. Tenenbaum

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Brooke is an 18 year-old-girl who is popular (although not as popular as cheerleaders are), the captain of the dance group, a volunteer at her local hospital (in the children’s ward), a good student, a beloved daughter and sister (to her 14 year-old brother, Aaron), who has very clear plans for the future and a lot of life ahead of her, until she is killed in a car crash. She discovers then that although she is now dead, she is still hanging around, and can follow her friends and family, visit the familiar places where she used to spend her time, but she cannot interact with anybody or make herself known to the living. She meets other silhouettes (as they look like somewhat less solid and more transparent versions of themselves), but they don’t seem to have much in common with her until she meets a young boy her age, Tyler, who used to go to the same school but didn’t cross paths with her. While he knew who she was, she had never noticed him. As there is little to do other than wonder around, and neither has any idea of why they are still there, they spend time together and discover things about each other, and also about themselves.

The story is narrated in the first-person from Brooke’s point of view. Although she is angry and devastated to being with, she is also very concerned about her family and friends and tries to help but does not know how. Her memories of those around her are heart-warming and feel real. What she remembers are the little moments, not the big occasions, and she talks about her friends and family in a loving way. Although she is shocked by some of the things she discovers about others, she also gains an understanding of what is really important. She realises that she was living in a bubble and there were aspects of the town and of its people’s lives she’d never noticed. The language is beautiful and lyrical at times, without being overly complex. Tyler played the guitar and composed songs with his friend Dylan, and the lyrics of these songs are like poems, that give us a moment of pause and sometimes encapsulate and sometimes enhance the rest of the text. Although the interaction between the two characters feels true, and they remain psychologically consistent, they are both fully aware that what they are experiencing is not the same as they did when they were alive, and there is a new sense of detachment and perspective that they have been granted by their situation. Being granted time and distance to think without the pressure of trying to conform to other’s expectations is illuminating.

The relationship between Brooke and Tyler develops slowly and it is clear that they are there to help each other, even if the details are only revealed at the end. Like with some of the other secrets we discover throughout the book, I was not surprised by the revelation, but what is really important is the characters’ reaction to the revelation and that is both understandable and perfect. Although it might seem strange to talk about happy endings in a novel that centres on dead characters, I think most readers enjoy the ending and feel inspired by it.

I highlighted many sentences and paragraphs, as the novel manages to capture many of the questions we all wonder about and provides insights and inspiration without ever becoming preachy or adhering to a particular faith or religion. But here come a few one to give you an idea:

Diamonds hide in a lump of coal.

Here Brooke is talking to Tyler, trying to convince him they should go to school.

“What else are you gonna do?” I asked. “No one will see you anyway. You’re safe. They’ll walk right through you.”

“Great. Just like when I was alive.”

Brooke observes: Words like that should never have reason to be said at all.

“You don’t need to do some momentous thing that changes the world or say things that everyone puts on wooden signs to have made a difference. It’s doing things in your way, the way you laughed, and cried, and hung out, and lived, and just were, that’s what your mark is, even if you can only find it in ten people instead of ten thousand.”

A YA novel that can be read by people of any age (there is no use of swear words, violence or sex), that makes us think (yes, and tear up too) about family, friendship, memories, and life. A positive and inspiring read I’d recommend everybody. I know many readers are wary of reading books about children’s deaths, especially those who have been touched personally by it. Although I cannot offer my personal perspective on the matter, I’d suggest trying a sample of the book before making a decision. The novel put me in mind of The Lovely Bones and I would recommend it to readers who loved Sebold’s novel but were perturbed by the most gruesome aspects of the plot. E. L. Tenenbaum is an author I didn’t know but I’ll be watching closely from now on.

Book description

Brooke was just killed in an accident, but a part of her is still here. Seeking answers, she sets out to retrace her life and soon meets others like herself, among them, Tyler. Tyler remembers Brooke from before, and so she hesitantly gives him the one thing she never bothered to when they were alive; a chance. Together, they visit the people and places in their small beach town that once held meaning to them, developing a mutual, grudging respect as they learn to view life in different and unexpected ways.

Tyler soon decides that they must let go of their pasts if anything is to change, but Brooke can’t bring herself to say goodbye just yet. As she watches the impact of her death on her loved ones, Brooke questions her desperate need to hold onto a life that’s no longer hers. But how can she let go of a life she’s barely begun to live?

A bittersweet story about family, friendship and the impact one life can have on others, no matter how young it is.

About the author

Hi! I am writer who thinks a bookstore (real or online) is the happiest place on earth!
I’m also partial to other things, like baking (cookies), musicals (though I can’t really sing) and superhero graphic novels (though I can’t really fly).
Above those, I love to write in different mediums, especially novels.
Read, share, talk about them.
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