Rosie’s #Bookreview of mild #horror The Shadow Beyond by Daniel Reiner

The Shadow Beyond (Shadow Saga)The Shadow Beyond by Daniel Reiner

3.5 stars

The Shadow Beyond is a mild horror set in Massachusetts in the early 1900s. It is the story of Robert Adderly.

While studying mathematics at university, Robert’s professor asked him to help with some complex calculations. They were required by archaeologists, and involved links between the stars and recent discoveries in Egypt.

Robert also fell in love, but on the night of his marriage proposal his fiancée Elizabeth died. She was consumed by unworldly flames; the only remains of her entire body were a pile of ashes.

Horrified by Elizabeth’s death, Robert’s inquisitive mind wants answers. A trail leads him to a curious bookshop and its owner, Andrew. Robert shared a boarding house with Andrew’s grandfather, the same house where Elizabeth died. Andrew’s next revelations make Robert question his religious upbringing as he is introduced to ancient texts and the world of dark magic.

As the story evolves, the author weaves a tale drawing together the science of mathematics and mystic unearthly beings. The element of horror builds slowly alongside Robert’s thirst for knowledge, but where will the path end?

I thought the first half of the book was the best. The second half became complex, reflecting the mass of mixed material about mystical beings and an existence beyond our human understanding. Some parts I questioned: Robert conveniently meets up with Vincent, a childhood friend. In the intervening years, Vincent has travelled abroad and become versed in ancient texts and languages, and plays a large part in the story. I was not convinced that someone of Robert’s age would have the extensive knowledge he has. Overall this book might suit readers who don’t want too much gore from their horror. I believe the Shadow Saga series will continue.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

“I am not dead; nor am I fully alive. The intangibles of thought and memory are nearly all I have in common with the man I once was. Half-consumed, I sit upon the floor, a biblical leper…”

What brought the young Robert Adderly to this wretched point? A graduate student at Miskatonic University during Prohibition, he had led an average life—up to the point when his fiancée, Elizabeth, was reduced to ashes before his very eyes. In his quest to find answers to the riddle of Elizabeth’s demise, Robert is drawn into an alien and dangerous world. A burning need to get to the bottom of the mystery opens his eyes to a reality much larger and more dangerous than he could have ever imagined, where magic is just another science, and his system of beliefs is challenged…and toppled.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Horror #Shortstory CALL DROPS by @john_f_leonard

Today’s team review is from Teri, she blogs here https://teripolen.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Teri has been treading Call Drops by John F Leonard

36569975

This is one grim, twisty short story that filled this horror fan’s heart with glee.  It’s been a while since I’ve read short stories, and I’d forgotten what a pleasure it can be to immediately get down to the business of storytelling  – and this author does it well.  He takes the reader by the hand and gradually reveals Vincent’s life, both in present day and through flashbacks.  All the while, you just know something sinister might be waiting around the corner.  And trust me, it is – you won’t be disappointed.

Don’t expect blood and gore horror – this is more about the dark side of human nature, and what people are capable of doing to each other.  The only negative for me, and this is my personal preference, is the cover – if I saw this book on the shelf, it isn’t something that would immediately grab my attention.  But the contents inside surely did.  Call Drops has a Twilight Zone/Black Mirror feel, and can easily be read in one sitting.

Book description

Vincent likes nothing more than rootling round second-hand shops in search of the interesting and unusual. Items that are lost and forgotten.
Why not? He needs the diversion. Time on his hands and money to burn. His life is affluent and empty. Little on the horizon and memories tinged bittersweet.
That’s all about to change. He’s about to find something that is perhaps better left unfound.

CALL DROPS is a darkly swirling mix of horror and mystery that will stay with you long after the reading is done. It’ll maybe make you think twice about impulse buying, those moments when you simply must have something, even though you don’t need it.
It might cause you to look again at the apparently mundane and everyday …and possibly, just possibly, wonder at what twisted marvels lurk within your mobile phone.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Call Drops: A Horror Story by [Leonard, John F]

#NewRelease Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Histfic Icelandic Saga STORYTELLERS by Bjørn Larssen @bjornlarssen

StorytellersStorytellers by Bjørn Larssen

4 stars

Storytellers is historical fiction written in the style of an Icelandic saga.

The book opens in 1920 with Gunnar, a blacksmith who rescues an injured climber. He takes the man to his home. Gunnar has lived alone for several years; his house is basic and his lifestyle simplistic.

The climber, known as Sigurd, persuades Gunnar to keep his presence a secret from the villagers. He pays Gunnar a large amount of money to let him stay while his ankle mends. It’s March and Spring is yet to show; during the long evenings Sigurd entertains Gunnar with a story. It’s about a young couple: Arnar and Juana, and their life together in a small Icelandic village.

The story alternates between the two threads at a slow pace. We learn of Gunnar’s lonely life. He lives with his dog, horse and his illegally brewed alcohol. He prefers his own company, often desperate to lose himself in the darkness of drink. He does, however, enjoy Sigurd’s story, often urging him to continue with the next instalment.

This is a dark tale. I thought that the author used his own experience as a blacksmith to good effect as I could easily picture the parts that took place in the forge, while the pace reflected the era in which the book was set. When the story reached its denouement it was worth the wait.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

In March 1920 Icelandic days are short and cold, but the nights are long. For most, on those nights, funny, sad, and dramatic stories are told around the fire. But there is nothing dramatic about Gunnar, a hermit blacksmith who barely manages to make ends meet. He knows nobody will remember his existence – they already don’t. All he wants is peace, the company of his animals, and a steady supply of his medication. Sometimes he wonders what it would feel like to have a story of his own. He’s about to find out.

Sigurd – a man with a plan, a broken ankle, and shocking amounts of money – won’t talk about himself, but is happy to tell a story that just might get Gunnar killed. The blacksmith’s other “friends” are just as eager to write him into stories of their own – from Brynhildur who wants to fix Gunnar, then marry him, his doctor who is on the precipice of calling for an intervention, The Conservative Women of Iceland who want to rehabilitate Gunnar’s “heathen ways” – even that wicked elf has plans for the blacksmith.

As his defenses begin to crumble, Gunnar decides that perhaps his life is due for a change – on his own terms. But can he avoid the endings others have in mind for him, and forge his own?

The author is an ex-blacksmith, lover of all things Icelandic, physically located in Amsterdam, mentally living in a log cabin near Akureyri. He has published stories and essays in Polish and American magazines, both online and in print. This is his first novel.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

44153250

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Ya #Fantasy After The Battle by Matthew Moss

Today’s team review is from Shelley, she blogs here https://shelleywilsonauthor.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Shelley has been reading After The Battle by Matthew Moss

40875657

The cover is a great hook for any fan of young adult occult fiction, and the book blurb certainly draws you in for a closer inspection.

After the Last Battle kicks off with a promising Prologue where the author shares the backstory around the Angel and Demon war using Archangel Michael as his muse. I enjoyed this section and could connect to the energy between good and evil.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t then relate to the main characters and found them to be quite stiff and wooden. The dialogue was stilted, and I struggled to keep up with the flow.

There was far too much telling over showing for me.

A promising start with great potential but it didn’t quite hit the mark for me.

Book description

In a post-apocalyptic world, where the Hordes of Hell reign supreme, the only thing anyone could ask for is peace and quiet. Having lived his entire life in a secluded village, Telarious has had exactly that, yet for him it was misery. Bored of his monotonous life as a hunter, Telarious looked for any chance of conflict, so that he might prove himself to be more.

When a band of demons tear through his village in search of an angel in hiding, one of the last of the nearly extinct species, his wish is granted tenfold. This one act reveals Telarious’s hidden potential and sends him and his new angelic counterpart into a neighboring colony, where the struggle for power rages on. In over their heads, the two must learn to work together and with new, powerful allies to defeat the demons that have claimed Earth as their own.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery Tom Wasp And The Seven Deadly Sins by @AmyMyers15 @EndeavourQuill #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Jessie has been reading Tom Wasp And The Seven Deadly Sins by Amy Myers

43887261

A Victorian London murder mystery being solved by a chimney sweep?

You have my attention!

And once my attention was captured, this book kept it!

The characters were rich enough that I thought in the back of my mind that this must not be the first of the Tom Wasp books (Great news, it isn’t!) but wholly contained enough that I didn’t feel I was missing anything. The chimney sweep lifestyle and idioms were so well done I went out and found another book on chimney sweeps just so I could learn more. And the mystery was different enough to keep me flipping pages past bedtime.

Would I recommend it? A page turner that sent me to the library looking for more on the subject? Oh, and did I mention that it made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion? Really, what’s not to love?

Just in case it was unclear the answer to all those questions is, “Yes, get the book!” (Though perhaps you should start with the first one, it wasn’t necessary but it is definitely now on my “to read” list!)

Book description

Tom Wasp scrapes a living as a chimney sweep, aided by his young assistant, Ned. While the gap between rich and poor is unmistakable in Victorian London, Tom carves out a happy enough life and has plenty of friends, including Clara, the comely landlady of Dolly’s Chop House.

So when one of Clara’s patrons is found murdered on her premises, Tom is quick to help, calling on his connections in the police force. Soon it becomes clear that Mr Harcourt’s murder is not merely due to his philandering ways, but is part of something much more literary…

Who are the Tarton Ordinaries and how are they linked to the death at Dolly’s? Who really owns the mystery manuscript? And why are Tom’s friend Phineas and Clara’s beautiful daughter Hetty involved?

It is up to Tom to find out what links an obscure Elizabethan actor with a slew of nineteenth century deaths in this absorbing and whimsical whodunit.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #shortstories Treading The Uneven Road by L.M. Brown @lornakvaternikb

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

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Treading The Uneven Road by L. M. Brown.

This book offers you nine interwoven short stories.

With “Treading the Uneven Road”, L. M. Brown has created a collection of interwoven short stories with incredibly authentic characters. Each story kept me very close to the protagonists, taking me back to that time and region. L. M. Brown presents nine well-elaborated stories which are intriguing and offer food for thought at the same time; even if you do not know the Northwest of Ireland at that time you will get a good idea about it. The protagonists are believable, complemented by the aptly written stories. There are some insights into the human behaviour that will make you wonder. It is a pretty absorbing read with authentic characters, interesting turns, and a good flow.

This is a book for you if you like intriguing contemporary fiction, believable characters, and food for thought.

Recommended.

Book description

The stories in this linked collection are set in a small village in the Northwest of Ireland in the early 1980s and 90s. A by-pass around the village has rid them of their once busy traffic. The residents feel forgotten by the world. The need to reach out and be heard is explored in every story, from the young woman who starts to have phone conversations with her husband’s gay lover, to the dyslexic man who confronts his cruel teacher years later.

The collection is not only about the characters need for salvation but it is about a society that is unraveling. In Amends, we hear about the Bishop who has fathered a child. A priest is beckoned by a dying man to be mocked. The world inside and outside the village is changing. In every story the characters need to make a choice on how they might carry on.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Thriller NOT HERE by Genevieve Nocovo

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Not Here by Genevieve Nocovo

43699755

3 out of 5 stars

Dina Ostica, a 23 year old podcaster living alone in San Francisco, has a troubled background after escaping a difficult relationship. The mystery begins when her friend, an old hippie who is her go-to source for material for her podcasts about life in and the history of the city, disappears.

I thought the atmosphere of the city came across as most authentic; it is clear that the author has a fine knowledge of the place. I liked that the subject matter; Dina’s story was very ‘current’, with issues raised so relevant to this part of the 21st century. The problem I had with the book as a whole, though, was that it felt rather flat. There were too many irrelevancies that were not woven into the story, like what people wore and what they ate, intricate detail about gym sessions and mundane conversational exchanges. Dina is written in the third person, in such a way that we never experience her inner thoughts; we are told how she feels, or what she thinks about something, but I felt I was being supplied with information rather than getting to know a character.

The plot is well put together (aside from the fact that I couldn’t work out how Dina hoped to make enough money to live on from podcasting), the ideas are interesting and the book is professionally presented, but the writing itself needs some work if this series is to become memorable. The information was all there, such as what a place looked like and how someone felt, or what happened after what had happened previously, but I never felt involved.

I believe this is the author’s debut novel. It is competent and the basics are there, with some excellent plotting and slow build of suspense; she just needs to work on really getting inside the head of her characters, seeking ways to make her storytelling more captivating, and her dialogue more realistic, character revealing and interesting.

Book description

Would you surrender your free will to save your life? 
A city in turmoil. A neighbor disappears. When her concerns are written off, Dina investigates on her own — and becomes a target, at the mercy of those in control…
In San Francisco, where the poor are systematically displaced by well-off yuppies, Dina Ostica is part of the problem. The damaged, determined twenty-three-year-old scrambles to make a name for herself in the burgeoning world of podcasting, with the city as her muse. She is hell-bent on professional success, thinking it will mend her broken spirit.
But when her go-to source on local history disappears without warning, she begins to uncover an uncanny pattern that hits too close to home, getting her tied up in the city’s underbelly.
What follows is a gritty tale of exploitation, betrayal, and the strength one needs to survive the whims of those in power.
Will Dina escape or fall victim to the injustice chewing up the city?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery Picture Not Perfect by @dehaggerty

Today’s team review is from Sandra.

#RBRT Review Team

Sandra has been reading Picture Not Perfect by D.E. Haggerty

43665483

This is the second book in the ‘Not So Reluctant Detective’ series set in a high school in Milwaukee.

Melanie is the school guidance counselor and her friend, Terri, is the librarian. Although it can be read as a standalone, I think you would understand more about Mel’s behaviour if you read them in order (first book is Terri’s story).

Mel is accused of the murder of a teacher; although he was creepy, and kept asking her out, he was not stalking her as the police claim. Determined to prove her innocence before they lock her up, Mel‘s impulsive behaviour leads her friends into a lot of hilarious escapades, some more dangerous than others.

One thing that did seem over the top was the reaction of her police officer boyfriend, Owen, when she did something stupid and reckless (Terri’s boyfriend was the same in the first book). Mel’s impulsive behaviour is revealed to be because of ADHD; it is unusual to read about it in an adult though it is handled sensitively.

There is a lot of humour in this book, and we laugh and cringe in equal measure at the antics of Mel, Terri and their new friend, Pru. Although Mel can be exasperating it is hard not to like her.

I enjoyed this short, light-hearted mystery and have already ordered the next one, Hide Not Seek.

Book description

A picture tells a story. But is it the truth?

When the police find pictures of Melanie hanging up at her murdered colleague’s house, they’re convinced he was stalking her. Maybe she even killed him. Melanie was not being stalked! And she certainly didn’t kill her supposed stalker – as if. But Mel – always up for a bit of drama – jumps at the chance to go search for the real killer. When Mel’s ex-boyfriend, Owen, discovers her plans, he pulls out all the stops to ensure she’s safe and to win her back. No matter what happens with the murder investigation, he’s not letting her go. With the police setting their sights on Mel, he may need to jeopardize his own career on the police force to protect her.

Will Mel find the real killer before the detectives arrest her for murder?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

42767307

#NewRelease Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Histfic #Romance The Disgraceful Lord Gray by @VirginiaHeath_

The Disgraceful Lord Gray (The King's Elite #3)The Disgraceful Lord Gray by Virginia Heath

4 stars

The Disgraceful Lord Grey is an historical romance and part of the King’s Elite series. It takes place in Suffolk in 1820.

The King’s Elite are on the trail of The Boss, a notorious leader of a smuggling gang. Lord Graham Chadwick (Gray) and his superior Lord Fennimore have set themselves up as neighbours of Viscount Gislingham, who may just be the elusive Boss.

Whilst swimming in a stream, Gray meets Gisingham’s niece Thea. He uses the chance meeting to secure an introduction to her uncle, but the man he meets seems unlikely to fit the role of a gang leader. Instead the charming Gislingham encourages Gray to pursue his niece.

Romancing Thea might be easy for Gray because he likes her, but he has a scandalous past; one which left him penniless. However Thea is not an easy catch, and Gray finds that he must juggle his job as spy against Thea’s suspicious nature.

I would suggest reading all the books in this series to get the full benefit of the storylines. This book focused heavily on the romance between Gray and Thea more than the smuggling, although I didn’t guess the surprising denouement.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

A spy on a mission…

Until he meets this heiress!

Part of The King’s Elite. Miss Theodora Cranford’s learned to keep her impetuous nature locked away. She won’t be deceived by another man who can’t see past her fortune. She wants an honourable, sensible sort – not a self-assured scoundrel like her new neighbour, Lord Gray. Although she’s sure there’s more to him than meets the eye… But after that first captivating kiss, she’s certainly left wanting more!

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #UrbanFantasy Satan’s Sword (Imp series book #2) by @debra_dunbar

Satan's Sword (Imp Series Book 2) by [Dunbar, Debra]Satan’s Sword by Debra Dunbar

5 stars

Satan’s Sword is book two of the urban fantasy Imp series. (See my review for Book #1 A Demon Bound here)

Samantha Martin (Sam) lived undetected in the human world for forty years, until she was asked to kill a rogue angel. Since then, several rumours have spread about her, which to Sam’s innocent surprise, seem to have raised her profile among the paranormal societies.

In this book, Sam’s foster brother Dar asks her to pick up a demon artefact from a group of vampires, leading to more ups and downs and quandaries for Sam. In a brilliantly comic scenario, Sam tries to make money out of squatters at her new canal side property; I loved this part.

These books are filled with humour as Sam leaves a trail of death and destruction in her path. Her demon powers and lust for blood are counteracted by her passion, loyalty and crazy nature. At one point I had tears of laughter rolling down my face and I chuckled through several other incidents while reading this. I like this series, the author has put a fresh twist on paranormal beings and it works well for me. I can’t wait to see what adventures there are in book three.

View all my reviews  on Goodreads

Book description

Samantha Martin is an imp, bound by an angel who allows her to live among the humans . . . as long as she follows his rules. It’s not easy for an imp to follow the rules, especially when Sam’s brother, Dar, finds himself in hot water. He needs her help to retrieve an artifact from the vampires, or the powerful demon he owes a favor to will enslave and torture him for centuries.

It should be a simple courier job, but with demons nothing is simple. Sam reluctantly attempts to help her brother, trying not antagonize the vampires or the demon gunning for him, all while chafing to comply with the restrictions her angel has placed on her as a bound demon.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Satan's Sword (Imp Series Book 2) by [Dunbar, Debra]