Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Scifi #Shortstory The Cleansing by @AntonEine

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

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading The Cleansing by Anton Eine

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An outsiders view of our world makes for interesting reading, and this is what this story is all about. Only 18 pages long the story is told from the viewpoint of the occupants of some sort of spacecraft whose mission appears to be to cleanse planets of inhabitants that these occupants consider to be debris.

Much in this tale was of interest to me. The fact that it is entirely written as dialogue between two individuals, with not one dialogue tag. And that I found myself smiling on occasion as I recognised descriptions contained in the data received about our world that clearly perplexed the onlookers. When you look at it from their point of view, yes, it is all a little baffling.

“I don’t even understand the point of them saving all these banal moments from individuals’ day-to-day lives. It seems pointless.”

So true. Anyway, this is an enjoyable, if short, tale and I note it is a translation, from what I’m not sure… maybe not a language currently on this planet? Recommended for a quick read.

Book description

Will beauty save the world? Not this time…
This sci-fi short story gives us a view of our world from perspective of alien invaders that just arrived to destroy any life on Earth. Can we do anything to save our fragile peace, to protect our home and the very existence of the humankind?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #TrueStory Theodore & Eliza by Susan Harvard @Harvasue

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

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading Theodore & Eliza by Susan Harvard

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This true story of the marriage of Theodore Forbes, a rich Scottish merchant, and Eliza Kewark, an Armenian from the city of Surat shines a light on the complex relationships and social niceties of early 19th century British India.  Having fallen passionately in love, the 23-year-old Aberdonian had married his teenage bride rapidly so that he could take up his post as British Resident in Mocha, which at that time was the chief port of the Yemen.  For 3 years the couple lived a happy life there. Responsible for buying and shipping the East India company’s entire annual consignment of coffee, Theodore found his multi-lingual wife a great asset and they rejoiced in the birth of Kitty and her younger brother Aleck.  In 1815 they were ordered to return to Bombay.  While Theodore lodged with friends and attended society parties, Eliza and the children lived in a house in the country, a short ride away, but they were both glad to return to Surat.  Now Eliza lived in one of the grandest houses, a great improvement on her original status in the city. Sadly, when the family returned to Bombay in 1816, Theodore was to discover that society was less liberal than it had been in the past as “respectable” British wives disapproved of “mixed” marriages.  His “dear Betsey” was not accepted at balls or dinner parties.

Many will be fascinated to read that these are the ancestors of Princess Diana and the careful research and detailed descriptions in Susan Harvard’s book reveal the fascinating multi-racial life and the difficulty of balancing ambition against love and duty.  There are stunning pictures from those times included in the book.  The author has followed the history of many of Theodore’s friends, family and colleagues, but at times movement back and forth through time can be confusing.  This is a book for the keen historian, but it will also appeal to those who wonder about the life of those who sought their fortune in the East and left a legacy to the present generation.

Book description

Theodore & Eliza is the first and only account of the eight-year marriage 1812-20 of the mixed-race couple, from whom Princess Diana was directly descended.

The story is threaded through an extensively researched background of places and people in Yemen, Bombay and Scotland during the Napoleonic era. It is an unusually intimate account drawn from a rarely-accessed private archive of the couple’s personal correspondence.

Rapidly changing attitudes to biracial marriages mean that Theodore has to choose between his family and a lucrative career. Though he still loves her, he decides to leave his wife and their three children.

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#ThrowbackThursday Rosie’s #Bookreview Of Early Aviation #Histfic THE WILD AIR by @rebeccamascull

32596231The Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

4.5 stars

Wild Air is historical fiction. It begins in 1909 in the English coastal town of Cleethorpes, with the story woven around the early aviators and, in particular, the first women to take to the skies.

Della Dobbes has always enjoyed working with her hands and fixing things. A great aunt returns from Kitty Hawk, the beach in North Carolina where the Wright brothers tested their flying machines. She fills Della’s head with dreams of flight, then supports Della to make them come true. Faced with ridicule, sabotage and refusals to allow women to fly, Della perseveres and makes her way as a pioneering aviatrix.

I did enjoy this book, especially learning about the first female aviators. Most people have heard of Amelia Earhart and Amy Johnson, but in this book the author has cameo roles for lesser known, real-life ladies of the skies. The story takes the reader on a journey which includes Edwardian and WWI era aeroplanes. There’s romance too, but is doesn’t dominate the tale; I enjoyed the love-story for the support act it provided. The author also provided some interesting notes at the end of the book, showing how close she tried to keep her writing to true events.  I thought these were fascinating and well worth the extra read. Ideal for those who like WW1 novels or who want to know more about daring early flyers.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

In Edwardian England, aeroplanes are a new, magical invention, while female pilots are rare indeed.
When shy Della Dobbs meets her mother’s aunt, her life changes forever. Great Auntie Betty has come home from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, across whose windswept dunes the Wright Brothers tested their historic flying machines. Della develops a burning ambition to fly and Betty is determined to help her.
But the Great War is coming and it threatens to destroy everything – and everyone – Della loves.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Tudor #Histfic BRANDON by @tonyriches

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Brandon by Tony Riches.

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We first meet Charles Brandon as a twenty-one year old, newly appointed to the King’s Spears. His father, who was Henry Tudor’s standard bearer, died during the Battle of Bosworth, and Brandon had been brought up at the court of Henry Vll. He became good friends with the young Prince Harry, who was later crowned Henry VIII, teaching him to joust and was one of his favoured group of courtiers.

Always finding himself lacking funds, Brandon incurred huge debts from borrowing money, primarily from Thomas Wolsey and afterwards Thomas Cromwell. His first marriage was a means to an end—Lady Margaret Mortimer had wealth and much land.

I knew next to nothing about Charles Brandon, really only that he married Mary Tudor. It was interesting to follow his story and the research was obviously detailed. Brandon worked his way up the ranks until he became Duke of Suffolk. He and Mary took a huge risk by getting married before asking Henry’s consent, especially after Brandon had been warned not to unleash his charm upon Mary. Henry had someone in mind for his sister for political reasons. Incurring his wrath was a dangerous thing and could be classed as treason. As it was, Henry made his displeasure felt by excluding them from court and keeping his distance for a while.

Mary’s unwavering and public support of Queen Catherine of Aragon caused friction between Brandon and the Boleyn family, whose fortunes were on the rise, not to mention Henry’s new chief advisor, Thomas Cromwell. Brandon had to keep in mind his responsibilities to his family as well as loyalty to Henry when it became obvious Ann Boleyn would be the next queen.

The story centres around Brandon and I enjoyed the way Tony Riches incorporates details of life at court with all its intrigue and danger into the narrative. Brandon is a well fleshed out character who managed to navigate his way through the unpredictability of court politics. He led a full life and was lucky enough to marry twice for love.

Book description

Handsome, charismatic and a champion jouster, Sir Charles Brandon is the epitome of a Tudor Knight. A favourite of King Henry VIII, Brandon has a secret. He has fallen in love with Henry’s sister, Mary Tudor, the beautiful widowed Queen of France, and risks everything to marry her without the King’s consent.

Brandon becomes Duke of Suffolk, but his loyalty is tested fighting Henry’s wars in France. Mary’s public support for Queen Catherine of Aragon brings Brandon into dangerous conflict with the ambitious Boleyn family and the king’s new right-hand man, Thomas Cromwell.

Torn between duty to his family and loyalty to the king, Brandon faces an impossible decision: can he accept Anne Boleyn as his new queen?

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#NewRelease #NonFiction The Life Of A Smuggler: In Fact And Fiction by @HelenHollick @penswordpub #TuesdayBookBlog

Smuggling: In Fact and FictionSmuggling: In Fact and Fiction by Helen Hollick

4 stars

The Life Of A Smuggler is a non-fiction book mixing fact and fiction in an investigation of primarily eighteenth and nineteenth century men and women known as ‘free traders’.

In this easy to read book; the author provides historical evidence of smugglers from around the coasts of the British Isles, with a smaller section set in the Americas. I particularly enjoyed the sprinkling of ‘little known facts’ throughout the book; they featured interesting snippets.

Having recently read a book that featured convicts, I was fortunately familiar with some of the ways in which the authorities dealt with captured smugglers.

Sections of the book also considered how fiction highlights the life of a smuggler, for instance Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn and the BBC’s popular Poldark series.

This book would be ideal for those wanting to learn more about early British smuggling.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

‘Brandy for the parson, baccy for the clerk…’

We have an image, mostly from movies and novels, of a tall ship riding gently at anchor in a moonlit, secluded bay with the ‘Gentleman’ cheerfully hauling kegs of brandy and tobacco ashore, then disappearing silently into the night shadows to hide their contraband from the excise men in a dark cave or a secret cellar.

But how much of the popular idea is fact and how much is fiction?

Smuggling was big business – it still is – but who were these derring-do rebels of the past who went against paying taxes on the importation of luxury goods? Who purchased the illicit contraband? How did smugglers operate? Where were the most notorious locations? Was it profitable, or just an inevitable path to arrest and the hangman’s noose?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Contemporary Feel-Good Drama Goodbye Ruby Tuesday by @almichael_

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday (The House on Camden Square #1)Goodbye Ruby Tuesday by A.L. Michael

4 stars

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday is contemporary fiction.

Ruby Tuesday was a music star; we are first introduced to her at a funeral. Her three schoolfriends have come to pay their respects to her. When they were teenagers, the friends had big dreams; they talked about opening a community arts centre.

Ten years on and Ruby left them a studio in London and an opportunity to live their dream. But a lot has happened in those years since school; can Evie, Mollie and Chelsea make the centre work?

This is a character driven story with a romantic feel-good theme running below the surface. I liked the image of ‘bad girls’ turning good, and could really imagine each of the characters. They were well-developed and memorable. I was less convinced with the arts centre theme as it all came together too easily. Overall an easy read story and book one of a trilogy.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Four friends have become three. But that’s only the beginning.

Ruby, Evie, Mollie and Chelsea were the bad girls at school. But Ruby was the baddest. Evie fought her anger, Mollie fought her mother and Chelsea…well, Chelsea just fought. But Ruby set her sights on a bigger stage. And together, they dreamed of a future where Ruby could sing, Evie could make art, Mollie could bake, Chelsea could dance – and all of them could finally feel at home.

A decade later, the girls are reunited for the funeral of Ruby, who took the world – and the charts – by storm, before fading too soon. And Evie doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry when she learns that Ruby has left them a house on Camden Square – the perfect place for them to fulfil their dreams. But does she dare take the plunge, and risk it all for one last shot at the stars?

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Goodbye Ruby Tuesday (The House on Camden Square, Book 1) by [Michael, A. L.]

#6Degrees Of Separation Book Challenge From The Arsonist to My Antonia

My March #6Degrees challenge

Hosted by Kate from Books Are My Favourite And Best The idea is to start at the same book as other readers, then find themes that link six books, and see where you end up!

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The starting point this month is The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper, a true crime novel. (I have not read this, but I have read my six books).

I chose fire as my link to my first book.

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Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire. I’m sure I don’t need to tell readers about Harry Potter!

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My next link goes from Goblet of Fire, to The Column Of Burning Spices by P.K. Adams. Book two of the Hildegard of Bingen series. Hildegard is regarded as Germany’s first physician; this book takes place in the twelfth century.

The Burning (Spirit Warriors Book 3)

I chose burning as my link to my third book. The Burning (Spirit Warriors #3) by D.E.L. Connor. This is a #YA series, set in Montana around a group of teenagers and their connections to animal spirits revered by the Native Americans.

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Spirit was my link to book four. Trusting The Currents by Lynnda Pollio. Told through a form of conscious storytelling. It is the story of two women: Lynnda Pollio who reached a point in her life when she was ready for a spiritual journey, and Addie Mae, a Southern African-American woman who chose to speak about her own teenage life through Lynnda.

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My next link is about journeys. The Call Of The Canyon by Zane Grey. A western set in the 1920s. Parts of Arizona, particularly around Sedona, are said to be filled with strong cosmic forces conducive to healing and spiritual experiences. The author’s story of Glenn and Carley highlighted the effect the land can have on people.

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The link to my last book is early settlers. My Ántonia by Willa Cather. Classic American historical fiction set in Nebraska in the 1880s. This story tells of harsh pioneering times, when people spread across America in search of a better future. They tamed the land, withstood the seasons and the hardships that Mother Nature threw at them and many thrived.

If you would like to take part, April’s challenge begins with How To Be Both by Ali Smith. (Posting date is April 6th)

 

This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Shortstory Collection The Sea Was A Fair Master by Calvin Demmer

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Sea Was A Fair Master by Calvin Demmer

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3.5 stars 

As is usual with short story collections, these vary.  I very much liked the first one, On the Seventh Day, set on board ship, and hoped it set the scene for the quality of the rest of them.  

The ideas behind the stories were entertaining; Mr Demmer creates atmosphere well, and has a good sense of suspense and timing, so although there were no dropped-jaw-worthy twists or denouements, I still enjoyed reading most of them.  Some hinted at a larger story, which was artfully carried off.

What weakened the collection, for me, was the dialogue, which was often unrealistic; I kept thinking, ‘but people don’t talk like that’.  Not in all of the stories, just some.  I thought some of them were a little over-written, too, and unnecessarily wordy; sometimes, ‘stink’ works better than ‘pungent aroma’; knowing when to be spare with prose is one of the arts of great storytelling.

Others that stood out were the title story, The Sea was a Fair Master, The Snake, or the Humans?, and the last one, Sea Ate Nine.  

I think if the author spends more time on his dialogue and perhaps thinking up some really good twists in the tale now and again, to make them more memorable, he could do very well in this genre; he certainly has talent.  And if he ever turns his hand to longer fiction, it should definitely be set at sea.

Book description

The world’s fate lies with a comatose young girl; an android wants to remember a human she once knew under Martian skies; men at sea learn that the ocean is a realm far different from land, where an unforgiving god rules; a school security guard discovers extreme English class; and a man understands what the behemoth beneath the sea commands of him.

The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 stories, riding the currents of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. There are tales of murder, death, loss, revenge, greed, and hate. There are also tales of hope, survival, and love.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Medieval Adventure Lord Edward’s Archer by @HoskerGriff @EndeavourQuill

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

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Lord Edward’s Archer by Griff Hosker

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Author Griff Hosker has written 116 books, all centered on warfare, many in the Middle Ages with knights, Vikings, swordsmen, and Saxons, but some set in WWI and WWII. He’s a very popular author, so I decided to read this book, which I purchased for review.

The story is set in the 13th century in Wales, France and England. The main character is a young man named Gruffyd, who has been trained by his father, a famous archer, to follow in his footsteps. His father is retired from his life as a hired soldier and ekes out a meager living, enough to support him and his son. At seventeen, Gruffyd is already a strong, smart and able bowman and is hired by the lord of a nearby castle. The lord is a base and cowardly man, and when the nobleman commits a devastating deed affecting Gruffyd, the young man makes a life-altering decision. For a while he lives as an outlaw living wild in the woods while seeking a passage to France. There are a considerable number of obstacles in his journey but when he reaches France, he is hired as an archer by Lord Edward, heir to the throne of England. Edward is waging war against certain French factors who are a threat to his father’s throne. He quickly becomes captain of Lord Edward’s archers and plays a major role in some of England’s most decisive and ruthless battles, both in France and in England. Gruffyd is very young for such an important post and must continually prove not only his own worth, but also the value and importance of his archers in winning significant battles.

Did I enjoy the book? Yes and no. The author’s style of writing – short sentences, almost staccato in style and with sparse description—took a bit of getting used to. The story itself moves quickly and is true to both the history and battles of the time and the use of the longbow. As a reader, I learned a great deal about archery (long bow, cross bow, and the pros and cons of both), how archers were used to advantage in battle, and the life of an outlaw in England – it’s not all Robin Hood. The battle scenes spared no gruesome detail, but then battles in the Middle Ages were gruesome affairs.

What I found somewhat off-putting were the deaths of most of Gruffyd’s friends, while he himself moved seamlessly and without injury through challenge after challenge, always finding just the right solution and earning a lot of money from his employer in the process. It was a tiny bit too perfect. The name Gruffyd chooses to disguise who he really is – Gerald War Bow – felt an off note, but considering the names of other characters, such as Dickon of Downholme, Matty Strawhair, and Rafe Oak Arms, perhaps not so much. The author has an enormous grasp of warfare in the Middle Ages and the history of the time, so it’s perhaps just the writing style that threw me off.

I was drawn along by the story, despite the drawbacks, and if you like historical novels, you might want to sample one of his books to see if his storytelling appeals to you.

Book description

13th Century, Wales and England.

To young Gruffyd, life has been unkind. Eking out a meagre living with his father, he has learned very quickly how to look after himself in the hostile borderlands. His father, an archer, has taught him well and at seventeen Gruffyd is a keen and able bowman. Young, loyal and skilled, it’s not long before Gruffyd finds himself following in his father’s footsteps, working as an archer in the bordering castle. But tragedy strikes when his lord commits a devastating deed, and Gruffyd is forced to make a life altering decision.

This is the story of a young archer’s riotous journey from avenging outlaw to merchant’s bodyguard to, finally, the captain of archers for the heir to the throne. Gruffyd must prove not only his own worth, but the importance of archery in some of England’s most decisive and ruthless battles.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #Histfic #Romance The Lady Of The Glen by Michelle Deerwester-Dalrymple

The Lady of the Glen: The Glen Highland RomanceThe Lady of the Glen: The Glen Highland Romance by Michelle Deerwester-Dalrymple

3.5 stars

The Lady Of The Glen is an historical romance set in Scotland in the early 1300s.

Elayne is not the usual dutiful daughter of a Laird; she’s loud, opinionated and known as a ‘harpy’. The only child of James MacNally, she has grown up getting her own way.

Declan MacCollough is a supporter of Robert the Bruce. He returns home after ten years fighting for his king. Clan MacCollough has been without the presence of women for too long. Called the Beast Clan, it’s made up of rough men with slovenly habits. Few women want to be part of such a wild family. What it needs, Declan believes, is a wilful woman to turn the situation around, and he has just the women in mind.

This is a sweet romance in a lovely setting. The story moves at a fair pace, especially after Elayne arrives at Castle MacCollough. I would have preferred just a sprinkling of Scottish dialect among the dialogue rather than it being so full-on; I found working my way through all the Scot’s tongue awkward and affected the smooth flow of the narrative. Written for those who enjoy a good dose of cultural nostalgia with their story, this would suit those looking for an easy romantic read.

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Book description

Elayne MacNally knew one thing for certain:  Her reputation as the willful harpy of the highlands was well earned.

As the spoiled daughter of the successful Laird MacNally, Elayne got whatever she wanted, until the man she thought she would wed rejected her.  Dejected and reconsidering her lot in life, her father comes up with an opportunity that could change the course of her life and perhaps her reputation as well.

Declan MacCollough also knew one thing for certain: He did not want to follow in his father’s footsteps as Laird of the reputed “Beast Clan.”

Following his father’s death, Declan had a lot of work ahead of him to reclaim any sense of respect for his people.  Families had fled; fathers would not permit their daughters to wed into the clan. Declan wanted, more than anything, to recreate his clan into one deserving of service to the King. The first step Declan must take is to find a wife with enough backbone to help him tame his clan, help it grow, and gain back respect.

Learning of Elayne and her reputation, Declan offers to wed the lass – an arranged marriage of sorts.  With no other choices open to her, Elayne decides that the Laird of the Beast Clan is her best, if only, option.

What happens when she arrives is a strange and passionate meeting of the minds between herself and Declan.  Playing on each other’s strengths, they maneuver around those who attempt to prevent the marriage as a play for power. However, Declan’s past affiliations with the King are not welcome by all, and the challenges to their marriage become the least of their worries.

Can Declan and Elayne trust each other enough to face the threats to the MacCollough clan and their very lives?

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