🧙‍♂️’A yummy little booksnack’. Jenni reviews #Fantasy Short Stories by @rogersonsm, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT🧙‍♂️

Today’s team review is from Jenni.

Find out more about Jenni here https://jenniferdebie.com/

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Jenni has been reading Fantasy Short Stories by Suzanne Rogerson

Book cover for Fantasy Short Stories by Suzanne Rogerson, set againsta a picture on an open book form a free photo from Pixabay.
Fantasy Short Stories by Suzanne Rogerson

Suzanne Rogerson offers delicious tastes of her two existing fantasy worlds, and a delectable hint of a third, in her recently released collection Fantasy Short Stories. The name may be a little obvious, but don’t let that fool you as these three original prequel shorts offer backstory for characters from Rogerson’s standalone, Visions of Zaura, her series, The Silent Sea Chronicles, and her yet-to-be-released Starlight Prophesies series.

As someone who has never encountered Rogerson’s work before, I was immediately struck by the accessibility of her fantasy worlds to the uninitiated. Yes, these are incredible lands with their own dense histories, cultures, and magic systems, but one does not need to be familiar with the novel or series from whence these tales sprang to grasp something of the characters and the perils they face. A mysterious assassin on the hunt, a prejudiced sect seeking to exile those born with magic, boatloads of foreign raiders invading a land with no clear motive—each a gripping little slice of what promises to be a gripping web of plots, intrigue, and mystic arts for those who venture on to read Rogerson’s full-length works.

Adding to these slices of original work, Rogerson also includes two full chapters from the openings of Visions of Zaura and The Lost Sentinel (The Silent Sea Chronicles #1) respectively, just to give readers a glimpse of how these short stories continue years, even decades, after the prequel concludes.

All in all, this short collection of Rogerson’s is a yummy little booksnack, sure to delight longtime fans of her work, and entice new readers into the fold.

4/5

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Book description

A collection of stories featuring favourite characters from Visions of Zarua and ‘Silent Sea Chronicles’, plus a glimpse into the new series, ‘Starlight Prophecy’.

The Guardian
With an assassin picking off wizards one-by-one, Kalesh visits Cassima, a former student, hoping to persuade her to re-join the Royal Wizards and use their protection to keep her family safe.
Kalesh’s newest charge, Paddren, has strange visions which link to a past event known only to a select few. The knowledge hidden in Paddren’s visions is invaluable so Kalesh must guard the boy at any cost.
Can Kalesh keep his students off the assassin’s radar long enough for his order to stop the killer?

Garrick the Protector
Fifteen-year-old Garrick is helping at his uncle’s farm when his cousin’s illegal use of magic threatens the family’s safety.
Mara is in immediate danger from the Assembly who deem all magic as a threat. The only safe place for her is the Turrak Mountains where exiled mystics have found sanctuary alongside the island’s Sentinel.
Can Garrick get Mara to safety before the Assembly catch up with them?

War Wounds
Conscripted to fight off invaders, Calder finds the months of bloody battle unleash a sixth sense buried inside him.
Finally released from duty, he travels home and encounters a mysterious woman who insists his life is destined to serve a higher purpose. Calder rejects her claims, wanting only to return to a simple existence with his wife.
But can Calder pick up his old life when the powers within him have been stirred? And why does he feel such misgivings about his return?
All three stories give readers a tantalising glimpse into the fantasy worlds created by Suzanne Rogerson. 

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Links to:

Visions Of Zarua

The Lost Sentinel (Book #1 of The Silent Sea trilogy)

🚗Warning! Keep Driving🚗 @GeorgiaRoseBook reviews #Horror Black Rock by David Odle @DLeroy1970

Today’s team review is from Georgia.

Georgia blogs here https://www.georgiarosebooks.com

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Georgia has been reading Black Rock by David Odle.

Book cover for horror, Black Rock by David Odle, set against a picture of an tarmac road from a free photo from Pixabay.
Black Rock by David Odle

Black Rock launches you into the action right from the start with a family on a road trip needing to find a rest area and unfortunately choosing the small town of Black Rock. One Officer Jack Snider is introduced at this point. Fifteen years later he is Sheriff Jack Snider and as the story starts to unfold, he slowly realises the events of fifteen years before are starting to repeat themselves.

Pastor Thomas Loggins meets with Benjamin Clark believing him to be someone in need of spiritual help but is left not knowing what Benjamin is, or how he knows the things he does. Thomas is also given a terrible decision to make. A decision that someone in the town has had to make before.

Black Rock is atmospheric, gripping and very well written. It also has terrifically well-drawn characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and highly recommend it to all who like the darker stuff and don’t mind a bit of gore.

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Book description

We all possess secrets. We lock them away. We bury them into the deep recesses of our mind. We go about our day and pretend they aren’t there.

That’s exactly what Thomas Loggins was doing. Going about his days. The head pastor of a small church in a small town. A family man, with a loving wife and a wonderful daughter.

Until one day, that all changed. It began as a typical meeting with a new member of the congregation. But Thomas soon realized this was anything but typical. This man knew things. Things that nobody should know. And he was making impossible demands.

Thomas’s simple life in the quaint town of Black Rock crashes into life or death when the stranger utters, “I know your secrets, pastor, and it’s time to pay the price…”

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

🎼Lost are the creatures destined never to be understood.🎼Jenni reviews literary saga The Crooked Little Pieces by Sophia Lambton, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Jenni.

Find out more about Jenni here https://jenniferdebie.com/

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Jenni has been reading The Crooked Little Pieces by Sophia Lambton

Book cover for literary saga The Crooked Little Pieces by Sophie Lambton
The Crooked Little Pieces by Sophie Lambton

3.5/5

Sophia Lambton’s The Crooked Little Pieces follows Isabel and Anneliese van der Holt from the age of six in 1920s Zurich, into their early twenties in Blitz-struck London. Raised by their neurology professor father, each van der Holt twin is exceptional in her own way, with Isabel holding the promise of being a musical prodigy, and Anneliese following her father’s passion for medical sciences. Together they move countries, attend school, nurture and neglect their talents by turns, suffer many of the expected triumphs and heartaches expected in a coming-of-age story and yet… I never quite cheered for these girls.

Protagonists do not have to be good people, and I have certainly taken my own, private glee in following a story through the eyes of some true monsters, but at the end of the day a reader needs a reason to like the people they’re reading about. I never found Anneliese and Isabel likeable. Isabel decides to pursue marriage because being a wife will mean she doesn’t have to keeping trying with her music, and Anneliese becomes obsessed with her therapist to the point that she steals important documents from her, and then attempts to bring them to the attention of the medical community against said therapist’s wishes and best interests. They are both self-destructive, and dismissive of other people as beneath their attention or care.

Don’t get me wrong, Lambton has fully fleshed out both girls. Their characterization is strong, and with the chapters alternating perspective between the twins and their father (until his death) we get a thorough understanding of how they speak, the ways they act in different situations, and why they are the way they are, but that just make their narcissism more blatant and their actions pettier.

Then there is the is the language of the text itself. Lambton has a dreamlike, drifting approach to the story (hence this novel clocks in at over 400 pages), and an approach to sentence structure that does not always lend itself to readability. Take, for example, this sentence from chapter 8, in which a coworker of the twins’ father is propping her elbows up on a counter:

The kitchen top began to hold her weight as she sustained her elbows on it.

It’s not incomprehensible. You and I, dear reader, know what she means about leaning on a countertop, but there is smoother language out there.

All of that said, I should reiterate that this is a 400+ page novel by a young writer who obviously has a grasp on how to create fully-realized characters. She also certainly set up the potential for some interesting scenarios: the push and pull between a flighty, musical twin and her more grounded, scholarly sister. The dynamic of being raised by a scientist father who has, if not a preference, at least a greater understanding of the scholarly daughter as opposed to the musician. The comatose mother who I have not even touched on in this review. The enigmatic, female psychologist who Anneliese begins seeing, bearing in mind that this would be the 1930s and thus the infancy of clinical psychology as we know it today. The universal tensions that came with being in London after one Great War and before the second kicks off. There’s some really good and interesting material to be plumbed there, and I certainly wish Lambton the best luck with her next installment in this series.

However, sadly, to me The Crooked Little Pieces never quite sang.

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Book description

Lost are the creatures destined never to be understood.
1926. Professor Josef van der Holt obtains a post at an all women’s college overseas. Stuffy London suddenly becomes the site for the unseemly exploits of his half-Dutch and half-German daughters Anneliese and Isabel. When tragedy carves out a hollow in their lives, a severed soul sends the sororal twins along a jagged path: while Isabel takes flight in sensual hedonism Anneliese skirts danger in her role as sleuth. Elusive are the sentiments they seek: swift stopovers of fleeting feeling. Lopsided loves and passions scarcely probable veer each away from the predictable.
And when the obvious appears unstoppable the opposite may achingly be true.
Spanning the twentieth century’s five most volatile decades, The Crooked Little Pieces is a series about inextricable entanglements. Perverse relationships pervade a glossary of scenes. Plots criss-cross over a rich tapestry of twists and tension-fuelling characters: some relatable, others opaque and many “crooked”.
It is television drama. Novelised. 

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

🕵️‍♂️Vintage #crimefiction🕵️‍♂️@CathyRy reviews a Shanti de Silva investigation. Break From Nuala by @harrietsteel1, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Cathy.

Cathy blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.com

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Cathy has been reading Break from Nuala by Harriet Steel

Book cover for Break From Nuala by Harriet Steel
Break From Nuala By Harriet Steel

Ceylon hasn’t yet been affected by the war in Europe and Inspector Shanti de Silva and his wife, Jane are taking a short holiday at the luxuriously appointed Cinnamon Lodge in the coastal town of Galle. As always when they were away from Nuala, de Silva was a little concerned how people would view a Ceylonese man and a British woman as a married couple but any worries were soon laid to rest.

What was meant to be a restful break was soon interrupted by a couple of incidents at the hotel — a visit by the local Chief Inspector which de Silva didn’t think was routine and a group of guests, famous diver Elodie Renaud and her party, were taken ill by what appeared to be food poisoning. Seemingly unremarkable, if unfortunate, events initially, but then de Silva couldn’t help but put his policeman’s hat on and investigate surreptitiously when a nightwatchman is found dead and a guest mysteriously disappears.

‘No wonder the manager had looked so uncomfortable, thought de Silva. Were it to come out, a death on the premises, particularly such a grim one, would do the hotel’s reputation no good at all. He shuddered. It sounded like the dead man was the same nightwatchman he’d talked to on the evening he and Jane had arrived at the hotel. He might well have been killed not long after they spoke.’

Break from Nuala is the eleventh outing for Shanti de Silva, and is just as enjoyable as the previous books, although I did miss the regulars. Jane takes a more active role than usual and de Silva treads carefully as he has no jurisdiction in Galle. The cast of characters is diverse with several potential suspects. As the mystery begins to unfold and the investigation gains momentum things edge towards danger.

An enjoyable and well written cosy mystery set in a wonderful location.

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Book description

It is autumn 1940, and Inspector de Silva and his wife Jane are looking forward to a well-earned holiday. But their hopes of a relaxing break in the picturesque city of Galle beside the Indian Ocean are dashed when death, mysterious illnesses, and a missing guest cast a gloomy shadow.
As they’re drawn into the investigation, the mystery deepens. Is there a villain amongst their fellow guests or further afield? The search for answers will lead them into great danger that has repercussions far beyond the island of Ceylon.

AmazonUK AmazonUS

👩‍🍳Caterer Lucinda Green knows something is missing from her life👩‍🍳@LizanneLloyd reviews #contemporaryromance The Only Exception by @ClaraVal, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Liz.

Liz blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Liz has been reading The Only Exception by Claire Huston

Book cover for contemporary romance The Only Exception by Claire Huston, set against a photo of decorated cup cakes from a free photo from Pixabay.
The Only Exception by Claire Huston

Lucinda’s busy professional life running a catering firm has caused her to put her personal life on hold. Still living in the same house as her ex-fiancé, who betrayed her, she doesn’t believe true love exists, so when her mother phones to say she is getting married again Lucinda is confused.  Meanwhile she has a dramatic encounter in a lift with a handsome actor when they jointly revive a lady who has collapsed.

Alex has steady work in a successful TV series, but he still feels insecure renting a house in his 40s with a young actress he likes but does not love. When he meets Lucinda there are sparks and he keeps thinking about her, even though she is amazingly annoying. It is good to see the relationship from the viewpoint of each of them in turn.

Circumstances throw the couple together again and they discover they share similar values and sense of humour. When both experience professional problems they are each able to provide practical help, but their misunderstandings continue.

The characters in The Only Exception, especially in Alex’s family, are so believable and added to my enjoyment of the plot. A delightful story of modern life where work stresses, scandal and social media all play their part. And of course, a delicious sprinkling of romance.

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Book description

Lucinda Green knows something is missing from her life. But what? Her catering business is enjoying modest success and she loves her cosy house, even if she does have to share it with her irritating ex-fiancé.

Whatever’s making her unsettled and edgy, Lucinda’s certain that a lack of romance isn’t the problem. How could it be when she doesn’t believe in true love?

But Lucinda’s beliefs are shaken by a series of electric encounters with Alex Fraser, a newly notorious actor who gradually proves himself to be infuriatingly funny and smart, as well as handsome.

Not that any of that matters. Because Lucinda doesn’t believe in all that ‘The One’ nonsense. That’s the rule.

But doesn’t every rule have an exception?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

🛕A Middle-East Epic Paranormal #Fantasy🛕 Jenni reviews The Seal of Sulayman by @LayaVSmith and @Kyro_Dean @EightMoonsPub

Today’s team review is from Jenni

Find out more about Jenni here https://jenniferdebie.com/

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Rosie’s Book Review team

Jenny has been reading The Seal of Sulayman by Laya V. Smith & Kyro Dean

Book cover for epic paranormal fantasy The Seal Of Sulayman by Kyro Dean and Laya V. Smith, set against a background of a desert from a free photo from Pixabay.
The Seal Of Sulayman by Kyro Dean and Laya V. Smith

Return to the moon-steeped lands of djinn and magic in Kyro Dean and Laya V. Smith’s second entry into The Fires of Qaf series with The Seal of Sulayman. Following the first novel, Prince Jahamil and his human bride, Ayelet have married for love, breaking the societal mores of djinn culture in the process. This may be all very well and good to the heir to Shihala’s throne and his one-day queen, but the other courts of Qaf, including the tempestuous Queen Qadira, Jahmil’s former fiancée, need to be pacified. Enter Sezan, Jahmil’s sister, and Bakr, a half human djinn, and Jahmil’s most trusted adviser. As ambassador and her escort respectively, Sezan and Bakr are dispatched to Qadira’s court, ostensibly to smooth ruffled feathers and maintain diplomatic ties between two of the most powerful countries in all of Qaf.

Appearances are not all they seem though. Sezan and Bakr have a tumultuous history all their own, full of betrayals, secrets, skeletons, and demons – both literal and figurative. Deals have been struck on all sides and nothing can be certain in love and magic as the pair struggle to protect each other, and themselves, when the sum of their myriad mystical debts comes due.

Written with the same lush texture as The Covenant of Shihala, but with fresh characters and new corners of Qaf, its histories and mysteries to explore, The Seal of Sulayman feels like Smith and Dean are “growing up” within this world they have created. The sweeping, breathless romance of the first entry to this series was excellent, but now readers are given a glimpse into the consequences of marrying for love in a society ruled by precedent and the stratification of the royal court. Where do a woman who wants to be more than a political pawn in a marriage game, and a half-human half-djinn warrior fit into a society that wasn’t built for either of them? How can they contribute to their country and protect their friends? And most importantly, how does their inability to stay away from each other (or in their clothes when they’re alone together) throw a wrench into even the best laid plans?

Satisfying in ways that I was not expecting, and just as deliciously twisty as the first, the second Fires of Qaf introduces readers to two, fantastic new personalities to follow and fall in love with in The Seal of Sulayman.  

5/5

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Book description

Rekindling a broken romance is hard when love burns hot and words ruin everything.

A half-human living in Qaf, the world of djinn and magic fire, General Bakr has always felt like an outsider with everyone but his first love. After two grueling years fighting a war that tore him away from his true love, Bakr is anxious to return to Earth and bask in the sunlight among his own kind.

But when he is reunited with his young love, Sheikha Sezan, he realizes his feelings for her still burn hot. But Bakr returned from the war with more than scars. A lilith demon has made him her pet and the last thing she wants is to see him rekindle romance with his old flame.

Sheikha Sezan, dis-enamored by her first love’s abrupt departure and equally sudden return, is forced to come to terms with the terrible deal she made with the demon to keep him alive while at war. The demon, having kept up her side of the bargain, comes for Sezan’s magic djinn fire as payment, but soon makes it clear she had no intention of giving up her love affair with Bakr.

Determined to save herself and Bakr from torment, Sezan sets out to find the Seal of Sulayman, a magical talisman that controls all magic in both the human and djinn worlds.

The demon torments Bakr and Sezan in the meantime, weaving a web of deception to keep their wild love apart. With rival courtiers, love triangles, mystical monsters, a clever sphinx, the flaming Rukh bird of legend, and both of Allah’s worlds working against them, only trust can rescue Bakr and Sezan from the demon’s caprice.

But communicating enough to trust each other is a difficult task when words ruin everything.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

🕵️‍♂️’The seamier side of London is brought to the fore here’🕵️‍♂️@SueBavey reviews supernatural #mystery Eat The Poor by @TomCW99

Today’s team review is from Sue.

Sue blogs here https://suelbavey.wordpress.com/

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Rosie’s Book Review team

Sue has been reading Eat The Poor by Tom Williams

Book cover for supernatural mystery, Eat The Poor by Tom Williams, set against a picture of a gargoyle, from a free photo from Pixabay.
Eat The Poor by Tom Williams

Eat the Poor is the second supernatural detective fantasy featuring the unlikely pairing of Chief Inspector John Galbraith and the vampire, Chief Inspector Pole, following on from Something Wicked which I read and reviewed last year. This time Pole and his mysterious police department “Section S” are on the trail of a creature that has been attacking deer in Richmond Park, dogs and more recently a human. Could the offender be a werewolf?

Once again I enjoyed the unlikely camaraderie of the two main protagonists, thrown together by the unusual nature of the local murder case. They are very different characters, Pole a 500 year old strait-laced vampire with refined tastes and Galbraith a down to Earth middle-aged detective whose waistline is spreading and hair is greying, beginning to consider his next steps within the police force. Seconded to Section S for the duration of this peculiar murder case, he soon finds himself dining with Pole at his abode most nights as they go over the particulars of the case and the body count begins to rise.

In addition to this fantasy series, the author is a writer of historical fiction and he often includes historical details in the story which make it richer and lend authenticity to the world in which the story is set. The seamier side of London is to the fore here, with murder victims coming from the ranks of the serial unemployed, their bodies being unceremoniously dumped in the garbage areas of the tower blocks of the seedier neighbourhoods in which they live.

We are told fairly early on who the perpetrator of the crimes is and are then able to watch the detectives follow clues until they figure it out for themselves and the pace speeds up until the final “edge of the seat” confrontation. What happens after this confrontation, I found to be quite surprising – it was not what I expected in terms of a conclusion to the case at all. This light-hearted police procedural and its surprising ending was a breath of fresh air and since it is a novella and therefore fairly short, it was quick to get into the action of the story and to grip my attention. I particularly liked how odious the Conservative MP Christopher Garold was. Anyone following British politics lately will not find the idea of a murderous werewolf that far-fetched when it comes to the dirty little secrets of those in power:

“…though the staff were good at turning a blind eye to peculiar behaviour from MPs, the sight of a wolf strolling through the corridors of power would, he thought, be too much for them to ignore.”

Anyone who likes a detective story with a little supernatural edge should give this book a try!

Book #1 Something Wicked was previously reviewed on Goodreads by Sue.

Orange rose book description
Book description

A werewolf is on the loose in London.

Chief Inspector Pole, the vampire from the mysterious Section S, teams up once again with his human counterpart to hunt down the beast before the people of the city realise that they are threatened by creatures they have dismissed as myths.

Time is short as the werewolf kills ever more recklessly. Can Galbraith and Pole stop it before panic spreads through London?

Galbraith and Pole start their search in Pole’s extensive library of the arcane, accompanied by a couple of glasses of his excellent malt whisky. All too soon, though, they will have to take to the streets to hunt the monster by the light of the moon.

But the threat is even greater than they think, for in its human form the werewolf is terrifyingly close to the heart of government.

This is Tom Williams’ second tongue-in-cheek take on traditional creatures of darkness. Like the first Galbraith & Pole book, Something Wicked, this will appeal to fans of Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London.

You never know when the forces of darkness may be released and there will be no time for reading then. Buy Eat the Poor before it’s too late.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

🛸’A fine example of the #postapocalyptic genre.’ @TerryTyler4 reviews What Was Once Home by @B_K_Bass, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog🧟‍♂️

Today’s team review is from Terry.

She blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Terry has been reading What Was Once Home by B K Bass.

Book cover for What Was Once Home by B.K. Bass set against an orange sky and a green bridge
What Was Once Home by B.K. Bass

4.5 out of 5 stars

Jace Cox is a young teenager when the ‘twigs’ invade – and after one August day in 2034 his life will never been the same.  Fast forward a few years and he’s part of the militia fighting against them.  A few more years, and the town of Lewisburg has been reclaimed by its inhabitants, with Jace as its the sheriff – but the troubles are far from over.

Although I’m first in line when it comes to a post apocalyptic book, I wasn’t sure I’d like one about an alien invasion, thinking it might be too comic book-like.  But this isn’t.  B K Bass has made the subject totally convincing, and I really enjoyed it.  It’s got a great structure that kept my attention throughout – although the main story is told from Jace’s third person point of view in the early 2040s, there are occasional flashbacks to earlier, and also excerpts from the autobiography he wrote as an old man.  Aside from this, I loved the ‘interludes’ – sections told from other points of view in other areas, for a wider look at the situation.  These diversions from the main story were perfectly placed, and I could see how well thought-out the whole book is.

Bass has an easy writing style, creating good dramatic tension with a feeling of foreboding.  Every aspect of the book feels feasible, from the people who take charge in the new Lewisburg, those who want to be guided and given instructions, the fighting force, to the independent who want to do their own thing outside the walls – and, of course, the opportunity for the power-hungry to take over.

One small aspect I appreciated was how Jace, having been so young when the twigs arrived, knew little about life outside his immediate environment.  At one point an older person referred to a settlement as a ‘hippie commune’, and Jace didn’t know what he meant.  I loved that!

This book gives food for thought about war versus murder, what is ‘right’ when it comes to defending your home and your people, what it takes to live in harmony alongside those who are different from you, and leaves a couple of unanswered questions, which made me think that another book, perhaps after Jace’s time, would be most welcome.  I’d most certainly recommend What Was Once Home as a fine example of the post-apocalyptic genre.

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

When his world is suddenly torn apart, one man must learn to survive in What Once Was Home.

Jace Cox’s life is changed when an overwhelming alien force invades the Earth with no warning or provocation. In the years that follow, he must not only fight to survive, but also learn what it means to be a man and a leader. As the situation grows more dire and the weight of loss bears down on Jace, he realizes his greatest challenge isn’t the alien invaders or even his fellow man.

It is holding onto his own humanity despite living in a world gone mad.

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💕Filled with ‘family love and friendly understanding’. Liz reviews My Corfu Love Story by Effrosyni Moschoudi @FrostieMoss, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT💕

Today’s team review is from Liz.

Liz blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading My Corfu Love Story by Effrosyni Moschoudi

Book cover for My Corfu Love Story by Effrosyni Moschoudi
My Corfu Love Story by Effrosyni Moschoudi

This appealing novella transports you to the beautiful island of Corfu where Spyri has returned to visit her much loved grandmother. She has many wonderful memories of holidays in the village of Moraitika but one summer in her early teens stand out more than others. That had been when she fell for Markos, who was staying with his aunt, but she has never seen him again.

Despite her grandmother’s advancing age, she maintains the same lively spirit and Spyri loves conversations and eating with her. Making the most of the beach she describes the features of the village, bringing it to life for the reader. But when she discovers Markos may be returning for the funeral of his aunt she wonders if he will remember her.

As they rekindle their feelings for each other, they explore the area, increasing our enjoyment of the story. We know there will be a happy ending but there is a spiritual incident which clarifies the future for Spyri. A life-enhancing read for those who enjoy a simple romance without eroticism but with lots of family love and friendly understanding.

Desc 1

Spyri forever lives in the past, haunted by old memories. This summer, she meets a man she once loved, and he is about to change everything…

Spyri, a half-Greek restauranteur in her early thirties, is back on the island of Corfu, staying in her grandmother’s village home for a few days to decompress from her busy life in London. Her nostalgia for the good old summer days hit her upon her return. When she hears that Markos, the one she never forgot, is staying at the village, she becomes excited.

Sparks begin to fly when they meet, but Markos has his own hurts of the past to deal with…

Do you love Greek romances? How about clean love stories about second chances with a happily ever after? This novella will take you straight to Corfu, to experience the warmth of Greek summer, and the sweetness of rekindled love from old summer days of innocence.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

🌻’Recounting the lives of three generations of women in Ukraine’. Noelle reviews #HistoricalFiction Sunflowers Beneath The Snow by @TeriMBrown1, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT🌻

Today’s team review is from Noelle.

Noelle blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading Sunflowers Beneath The Snow by Teri M Brown.

Book cover for Sunflowers Beneath The Snow by Teri M. Brown
Sunflowers Beneath The Snow by Teri M. Brown

Sunflowers Beneath the Snow recounts the lives of three generations of women in Ukraine: grandmother, mother, daughter. This is the author’s first book, and she has created a deeply emotional portrayal of each of these women. ‘Sunflowers beneath the snow’ is phrase spoken by the grandmother, but to me these three women are the sunflowers.

Ivanna, the grandmother, has spent the majority of her life under Communist rule, where everything from food to housing is strictly regulated. She doesn’t know her husband, Luyaksandro, is spying for an anti-Communist group, and when the group informs him he’s been identified, they give him the choice to be sent out of the country or be outed, which would lead to the arrest and possible death of his family by the state police. He chooses to leave without a word to his family.

When her husband disappears, Ivanna is told he is dead at the hand of his lover’s husband, and she feels bitterly betrayed. She now must to try to support herself and her daughter with nothing but a menial job, scarce food, and cold, mean living quarters. She uses ingenuity and determination to ensure their survival, but somehow she never stops believing in necessity and fairness of the Communist government.  Her daughter, Yevtsye, grows up, she develops political, religious and societal opinions different from those of her mother, from whom she becomes estranged. She meets and marries Danya, a teacher of physics at the university, and after years to trying, they have a daughter, Ionna.

Ionna is born into a different world than either her grandmother or her mother, since by that time, Ukraine has been independent from Russian for some years – although the country is still dependent of Russia for virtually everything and is run by corrupt politicians. She proves a to both her mother and grandmother. Ionna dreams of seeing and experiencing the world outside of Ukraine, and her eventual travels lead to a surprising outcome.

The author writes with great realism of living in Ukraine during that period of time. She reaches deep to portray the tenacity, determination, and deeply felt emotions of these women, in the face of the different and continual challenges in their lives. This book should be of particular interest to readers, given the current Russian invasion of Ukraine. The history described by the author explains a great deal of what is happening now.  This reader lived in Czechoslovakia when it was part of the Soviet Union, and the author has hit the nail on the head of what it is like to live in a country under Russia’s control.

The only problem I had with this book were some prolonged descriptions of the women’s emotional states or considerations of Ukrainian politics. This slowed the forward progress of the story and tempted me to read ahead.

This is the author’ first book and, overall, I think she’s written a winner. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys women’s fiction in a historical setting, and especially in the recent history of Eastern Europe.

Desc 1

A Ukrainian rebel. Three generations of women bearing the consequences. A journey that changes everything.

When Ivanna opens the door to uniformed officers, her tranquil life is torn to pieces – leaving behind a broken woman who must learn to endure cold, starvation, and the memories of a man who died in the quintessential act of betrayal. Using her thrift, ingenuity, and a bit of luck, she finds a way to survive in Soviet Ukraine, along with her daughter, Yevtsye. But the question remains, will she be strong enough to withstand her daughter’s deceit and the eventual downfall of the nation she has devoted her life to? Or will the memories of her late husband act as a shadow haunting everyone and everything she loves, including Ionna, the granddaughter that never knew him?

In Sunflowers Beneath the Snow, Teri M. Brown explores the tenacity of women, showing that even in grueling circumstances, they can, and do, experience all the good things life has to offer – compassion, joy, love, faith, and wonder.

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