#NewRelease Rosie’s #Bookreview of Historical #Romance The Determined Lord Hadleigh by @VirginiaHeath_

The Determined Lord Hadleigh (The King's Elite #4)The Determined Lord Hadleigh by Virginia Heath

4 stars

The Determined Lord Hadleigh is book four of the King’s Elite series of historical romances.

Although this can be read as a stand-alone, to get the most from the series I would suggest reading them in order.

The story is set in 1820 and opens with a trial at the Old Bailey. Viscount Penhurst was found guilty of being a key part in a large smuggling ring.

Although this was a satisfying result, Lord Hadleigh, the crown prosecutor, was left feeling guilty over the final sentence, because it left Penhurst’s wife and son without a home and penniless.

I enjoyed the mix of themes within this story, particularly the backgrounds of both Penny and Hadleigh. Added to this were the strong secondary characters: Jessamine, the Dowager Baroness Penmor and Harriet. Their banter and delightful attitude lifted Penny when she was unsure of herself. The country house setting was also lovely and Penny’s role there was very suitable for this genre.

Overall a good addition to this series.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

He’s got iron control…

But she might be his undoing!

Part of The King’s Elite: Haunted by Penny Penhurst’s courage on the witness stand, meticulous barrister Lord Hadleigh offers her a housekeeper position at his estate. Despite trying to stay detached, Hadleigh is charmed by her small child and surprised by how much he yearns for this proud woman! Can he break through his own—and Penny’s—barriers to prove he’s a man she can trust…and love?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Middlegrade Junior Paranormal Investigators: The Haunting of Room 909 by @mjwritesagain

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

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading Junior Paranormal Investigators: The Haunting of Room 909

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Hanna and Ben live an unusual life. Their father became a paranormal investigator when their mother disappeared, after a series of paranormal events near their home, three years previously. Hanna and Ben are eager to assist their father with his latest case that involves a haunting at a well-know hotel. Percy, their father, is not keen to let them become involved as he thinks paranormal investigating is to dangerous for children. It seems, however, that there are other forces at play that are quite determined to get the children onto the ninth floor, which is the centre of the mysterious occurrences. The children have no choice in the matter when the elevator takes them directly to the 9th floor, which they have been forbidden to enter, despite the elevator button supposedly having been disconnected.

Hanna is sensitive to the mystical forces around her and has an out of body experience when she can see the ghosts that are haunting the 9th floor. Two of them seem desperate for help and Hanna is determined to assist them with escaping from a murderous previous employee, if she can. Ben is delighted to have an opportunity to investigate a paranormal case and is happy to accompany her on an investigation of various parts of the hotel.

I enjoyed this book and thought children aged 9 to 12 would find it entertaining. It brought the film, Ghostbusters, to my mind as it has the same mixture of scary with a sprinkling of subtle humour and some interesting equipment and events.

Book description

Summer is usually a time of fun and games for most children, but Hanna and Ben Littleton are not your average eleven and twelve-year-old. Their father is Percy Littleton, a famous paranormal investigator, and this summer they are traveling to different locations to investigate unexplained phenomenons. Things are rather boring until they stop at Castleridge Hotel. The hotel is reportedly haunted by more than one ghostly presence and the manager has asked Percy for help.

Though warned by their father not to meddle in his investigation, the brother and sister are convinced they can prove their worth as true investigators. Their eagerness soon turns to terror when Hanna begins having visions about a certain former employee of the hotel, the elevator takes them to the ninth floor on its own, and ghosts interact with them. The building seems to have a mind of its own as Hanna and Ben are forced to figure out what really happened one hundred years ago at Castleridge Hotel, before the spirits trapped inside decide to make them permanent residents.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of Australian #Thriller Force Of Nature by @janeharperautho #TuesdayBookBlog

Force of Nature (Aaron Falk, #2)Force of Nature by Jane Harper

4 stars

Force Of Nature is a thriller set in the fictional Australian Giralang Rainforest Ranges, an area several hours’ drive from Melbourne.

A group of five woman take part in an outward-bound adventure/survival weekend, but they become  lost, and only four find their way back to safety. With dense foliage, Australian wildlife and no phone signal, their situation quickly spirals out of control.

Harper’s writing strength is in descriptions of the settings and well-built characters. I really felt I was there in the dripping rain, feeling the cold and fear of the women as they realised that they were lost.

The chapters alternate between the current rescue operation for the last woman, and scenes that lead up to the moment when only four people found their way out of the forest. As the story evolves, Harper successfully builds the backstory and the tension, with several twists and turns.

After reading both The Dry and The Lost Man this setting was a good contrast to the arid deserts of the other books which I like so much, but the story still worked well. Overall a mild thriller with some wonderful backdrops.

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Book description

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along a muddy track.
Only four come out on the other side.
The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and encourage teamwork and resilience. At least, that’s what the corporate retreat website advertises.
Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker, Alice Russell. Because Alice knew secrets, about the company she worked for and the people she worked with.
The four returning women tell Falk a tale of fear, violence and fractured trust during their days in the remote Australian bushland. And as Falk delves into the disappearance of Alice, he begins to suspect some dangers ran far deeper than anyone knew.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery Hide Not Seek by @dehaggerty

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Hide Not Seek by D. E. Haggerty

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In this third book in The Not So Reluctant Detectives series Terri, Mel and newest member of the trio, mild mannered Prudence Webber, find themselves solving another mystery, this time concerning Pru and a stalker/murderer.

Pru hasn’t shared her experience with stalkers with her friends, or anyone else for that matter. She’s pushed her previous life to the back of her mind, where she thought it would stay. She had been prepared for an isolated life after she had relocated and had no thought of meeting women who would become friends, much less two who would become so close in a relatively short time.

Pru had no intention of pursuing a romantic relationship with a man either, no matter how much she likes Ajax, the gym teacher at the school where she works. Especially now she’s receiving threatening notes. Her past seems to have caught up with her and she needs to leave, find a new place. The thought of bringing trouble to her friends doesn’t bear thinking about. Ajax however, had no intention of letting Pru run away. He was determined to help and protect her. He’d found the girl he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

‘He paused as if to give her a chance to respond. She didn’t. She couldn’t. She wasn’t going to tell him what had happened. She was never telling anyone the story again. She’d been forced to tell the story too many times to count. Fat lot of good it had done’.

Pru hadn’t counted on the determination of her friends to unravel the mystery and the unwavering support they gave her. Terri and Mel having private investigator and police partners respectively doesn’t hurt and goes a long way in helping to straighten things out with the Milwaukee police force. Not wanting to wait for things to go through the proper channels, the three women begin their own investigation.

Another entertaining, fast paced and dialogue driven read in this cozy mystery series. The three women have distinctly different characters and have real issues, such as Mel’s ADD and Pru’s shyness and lack of self confidence. I like the way her character develops in this story. Terri and Pru are the voices of reason and help to keep over the top Mel from getting them into even more trouble. The plot has enough twists to keep the reader engaged and the flashes of humour offset the more serious aspects.

Book description

I know who you really are.

Pru has a secret, which she has no plans to reveal – ever. But after a woman is murdered and all clues point to her, she has no choice but to disclose her true identity. When her revelations thwart the killer’s plan to frame Pru for murder, the killer begins stalking her. With each note he sends, he gets closer. The police are stumped. Pru wants to run away. She really, really wants to run, but Ajax has found the woman of his dreams and he’s not letting her go anywhere. He can be patient. In the meantime, he’ll protect her with his life. Pru isn’t feeling very patient, and her friends, Mel and Terri, are definitely not willing to wait until the police discover who the stalker is. The three friends take matters into their own hands and jump headfirst into the investigation.

Will Pru and her friends uncover her stalker before he turns his violence on Pru?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Historical #Romance Secrets Of A Highland Warrior by @NicoleLockeNews @JaniceGPreston #TuesdayBookBlog

Secrets of a Highland Warrior (The Lochmore Legacy, #4)Secrets of a Highland Warrior by Nicole Locke

4 stars

Secrets Of A Highland Warrior is the final book in the Lockmore series of historical romances.

A set of four books, each steps back into history as clues to a mystery are revealed. Book one began in the Victorian era, book two is set during the Regency years, book three in Tudor times, and the final book is set in the medieval period.

So far we have been introduced to a mystical brooch, an empty crypt and a long standing family feud between two clans.

The final tale, but it could also be called the first, is set in 1293. Rory Lockmore is the only child of the current chief of the clan. He has taken men with him to Castle McCrieff, the home of their long-term enemy, to demand the surrender of land granted to them by the new English king.

Instead of the expected battle, Rory is offered a peace treaty and a marriage proposal. Is it a trap or can Rory put an end to the feud between the families?

This book is an enjoyable historical romance, but, more than that, it also provides the answer to the on-going mystery. Each story in the series has added clues and the mystery is concluded in the epilogue by Janet Preston, author of book one (His Convenient Highland Wedding). I’ve enjoyed each of the romances as I’m a fan of this genre; the mystery theme less so. However, I can see this working well as a box set.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

The key to his past…

…lies with the enemy sharing his bed!

Part of The Lochmore Legacy: a Scottish castle through the ages! Rory Lochmore had expected to wage battle, to claim land and finally secure his standing within his clan… Instead he won a wife. A McCrieff wife. Their convenient marriage could unite the two long-feuding clans forever. But can a political alliance give way to a passion strong enough to stand the secrets of the past?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #WomensFiction Will Rise From Ashes by @JeanGrant05

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

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading Will Rise From Ashes by Jean M. Grant

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This is an ambitious novel. The author has tried to combine a complex set of characters with a gripping plot. AJ, the protagonist of the novel, is a woman in crisis, dealing with grief, having to bring-up two young boys on her own (neither of them the ideal well-behaved easy-child that everybody dreams of, but I suspect doesn’t exist in real life. The oldest, Will, in the autistic spectrum, and Finn, whom we hear plenty about but don’t get to know as well first-hand, sounds pretty overactive and his behaviour can be also challenging at times), suffering from anxiety (and perhaps other mental health difficulties), and experiencing an almost totally crippling fear of driving. We hear her side of the story, narrated in the first person. Being a professional writer, she makes for a compelling narrator, and, although not being a mother and not sharing in her extreme circumstances I do not have much in common with her, I felt the author managed to convey well the doubts, anxieties, hesitations, guilt, and the difficulties the character experienced accepting her situation, moving through the stages of grief, and eventually giving herself (and others) a chance. Her son, Will, loves all things volcano, weather, and geology, and the author offers us his perspective of the situation (this time in the third person) that serves two purposes: on the one hand, we get a more objective outsider’s perspective of how things are (because being inside of AJ’s head all the time means her suspiciousness and paranoia are not always easy to separate from how bad things really are), and we also get an understanding of how things look like and feel for a child with high-functioning autism (although there is less emphasis on that aspect than in other books I’ve read, unsurprising if we take into consideration the many other things going on).

We are later introduced to Reid, who is a combination of knight in shining armour, love interest, and also a man haunted by issues from the past (ex-military, talks about PTSD as if he was very knowledgeable about it, and his behaviour is at times mysterious, to say the least). Although AJ is suspicious about him and it takes her a long time to give him a chance, do not worry, the novel also contains romance and an opportunity for redemption. (I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but the description is quite clear in some aspects, and this is not a mystery novel, even if there are some details about the characters that are only revealed late in the story, and eventually help us understand people and events much better).

The plot keeps the story ticking, ensuring that people who might find the self-questioning and doubts AJ has to confront a bit uncomfortable (or worry that they might slow the story) have plenty to keep them turning the pages. A major disaster is the background of the story, which once AJ decides to go searching for her son, becomes the novel equivalent of a road movie. This is not a post-apocalyptic novel, but there is evidence of research and credible details of the likely scenario and consequences of such an event are interspersed through the narrative. Thanks to Will’s interest in volcanos we get first-hand information about that side of things, and as they approach the affected area, we get an almost physical sense of what it would be like to live the aftermath of a super volcano eruption. Apart from nature, the characters have to confront many other problems: technical difficulties, robberies, attempted assaults, road blocks, lack of supplies, poor telephone lines and a break-up in communication, no running water, no access to prescription medication… A woman with a driving-phobia having to drive across half the country is enough of a challenge, but her resolution keeps getting tested, and despite her reluctance to ask for or accept help, no matter how cautious and well-prepared she thought she was, she discovers that she needs a helping hand. Although the situation is harrowing and there is almost no rest or break from it (other than some dreams of the past AJ experiences, that provide us more background information and a better understanding of where she is coming from, her moments writing the diary, and the odd detour), this is not a book that gets into the gore of the destruction in detail, and, if anything, we are so focused on the here-and-now of the story that the global picture (and the many lives lost) is somewhat diluted.

The ending is satisfying and hopeful, in marked contrast to the difficulties and hindrances experienced during the trip, and in many ways the book can be seen as a metaphor for the process the main character must go through. AJ’s whole world has shattered around her, and she has been put to the test. She realises that she is stronger than she needs, that she can ask for help, and that she is ready to —slowly— move on.

As I mentioned, I did not identify with AJ, and I am not a big fan of romance (there is also a mild and not-too-graphic sex scene, but I thought I’d warn people just in case), but the book captures well the mental processes of the main character, who is a credible and complex woman trying to do her best in very difficult circumstances. The challenges of motherhood are also compellingly told (although I have no personal knowledge of the subject), and I am sure many readers will enjoy that aspect as well. If people are looking for other books focusing on the autism side-of-things, I’d recommend a couple of books as well: the well-known The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, from an older boy’s perspective (and if you can catch the play, it’s well-worth watching), and Keith Stuart’s A Boy Made of Blocks where the father of a child with autism is the main character.

A tour-de-force that combines a gripping plot with strong and complex characters, and a hopeful message. Recommended for readers of women’s fiction.

Book description

Living is more than mere survival.

Young widow AJ Sinclair has persevered through much heartache. Has she met her match when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, leaving her separated from her youngest son and her brother? Tens of thousands are dead or missing in a swath of massive destruction. She and her nine-year-old autistic son, Will, embark on a risky road trip from Maine to the epicenter to find her family. She can’t lose another loved one.

Along the way, they meet Reid Gregory, who travels his own road to perdition looking for his sister. Drawn together by AJ’s fear of driving and Reid’s military and local expertise, their journey to Colorado is fraught with the chaotic aftermath of the eruption. AJ’s anxiety and faith in humanity are put to the test as she heals her past, accepts her family’s present, and embraces uncertainty as Will and Reid show her a world she had almost forgotten.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #FairyTale Retelling The Silent Beauty by @DGDriverAuthor

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

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading The Silent Beauty by D.G. Driver

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I do so love it when you open a book and within the first few lines you know you are in for a treat. The Silent Beauty is just such a read.

Colleeda has been bestowed with not only beauty but also a wonderful voice yet she is a horribly, horribly vain and selfish woman with not one redeeming feature. She treats everyone around her appallingly, her thoughts and manners ugly and breath-takingly arrogant. However, her favourite pursuit of luring men to her, then leave them heartbroken, proves her undoing when she seeks to distract a good man, dismissive of the fact his fiancé is rumoured to be a witch.

The Silent Beauty is book three in a series of fairy tales and contains all the magic of such tales with good and evil, heroes and heroines, and characters brought low by their own weaknesses. Does this one offer the possibility of redemption and send out a moral message? Well, you will have to read it yourself to find out and I highly recommend that you do. At only 80 pages long this is a gem. The writing is excellent, the descriptions rich and the storytelling wonderful.

Book description

If you’re a fan of fairy tales or retellings, D.G. Driver’s delightful, and occasionally dark series checks those boxes quite well, and can be easily read in one sitting.

Colleeda is a beautiful but wickedly vain young woman. Of all her assets, the one she prizes most is the sound of her voice. Her favorite game is to attract young men and then leave them heartbroken. It’s all fun until she chooses to lure one man away from his fiancée—and that woman is rumored to be a witch bent on revenge. Colleeda is cursed to never speak or sing again, except for a couple minutes in the wee hours of the morning when no one can possibly hear her.

For years, Colleeda mourns the loss of her voice, believing she is no longer beautiful or desirable. She lives in solitude as her house falls into disrepair around her.

Is there any way to break the curse? Does she deserve to have it broken?

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#NonFiction Tracing Your Insolvent Ancestors by Paul Blake @penswordpub

Tracing Your Insolvent Ancestors: A Guide for Family HistoriansTracing Your Insolvent Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians by Paul Blake

3.5 stars

Tracing Your Insolvent Ancestors is a non-fiction guide for family and local historians.

Much of the book is about courts, different types of debtors and where they were imprisoned.

I enjoy genealogy so this unusual title caught my eye. However, I don’t actually know if any of my ancestors were insolvent at any point. Therefore, I think this book would suit readers who have struck a dead end with their own enquiries and are seeking new research threads.

There were a couple of interesting snippets: the history of the term ‘sponger’, for someone who could not pay their debts and also the story behind the terms ‘John and Jane Doe’. Originally those names were used to keep someone’s real name private, whereas today they often refer to an unidentified dead person.

As with many non-fiction books I found the lists of address and websites for further research very helpful.

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Book description

Debtors’ prisons are infamous but very little has been written about the records of those confined within them in London or elsewhere in the country. Even less has been written about the trials of those who were often incarcerated following misfortune or mismanagement rather than criminal intent. That is why Paul Blake’s handbook will be so useful for researchers who want to find out about forebears who may have been caught up in the insolvency system.

In a series of information-filled chapters he covers the historical background to the handling of debt and debtors, and bankruptcy and bankrupts. In addition he describes the courts and procedures faced by both creditors and debtors, and the prisons where so many debtors were confined.

Throughout the book details are given of the records that researchers can turn to in order to explore the subject for themselves. Many are held at The National Archives, but others are to be found at local record offices around the country.

Paul Blake’s book will be appreciated by local, social and family historians, as well as those with an interest in debtor crime and punishment, and bankrupts in general.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of Family Drama The Road She Left Behind by Christine Nolfi #TuesdayBookBlog

The Road She Left BehindThe Road She Left Behind by Christine Nolfi

3.5 stars

The Road She Left Behind is a family story about secrets, loves, and losses.

Darcy has been running from her secrets for eight years, but a phone call about her missing nephew brings her back to the family home in Ohio.

Since his mother’s death, Emerson has been raised by his draconian Grandmother (Rosalind), but when he fears she might be due to leave him, he pulls his biggest stunt yet. Darcy’s concerns for her nephew’s disappearance give her the strength to face a mother she hasn’t spoken to since the day she left. As the story evolves, the emotional walls that Darcy and Rosalind have built between them begin to crumble.

I liked the setting for this story and the author provided a range of colourful characters to make the book enjoyable. Once Darcy arrived in Ohio, I eased into the story.  I can’t say I would gush with enthusiasm for it, and I guessed the mystery and foresaw the denouement.  It was well written but ‘safe’ within its genre.

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Book description

Three women. Two families torn apart by secrets.

Crushed by guilt over the car accident that killed her father and sister, and torn apart by her mother’s resentment, Darcy Goodridge fled her family estate eight years ago and hasn’t looked back. Now an unexpected phone call threatens to upend what little serenity she’s found. Her nephew, Emerson, who was just a baby when his mother died, has gone missing. Darcy must return home and face her past in order to save him.

Once back in Ohio, Darcy realizes there’s more to Emerson’s disappearance—and to the sudden retirement of her mother, Rosalind—than meets the eye. As she works to make inroads with Rosalind, Darcy begins to unravel a decades-old secret that devastated her family and forced a wedge between her and Michael Varano, the man she left heartbroken when she vanished after the funeral. After carrying the scars of that fateful night for almost a decade, Darcy is determined to find closure, healing, and maybe even love where she lost them all in the first place—right back home where she belongs.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Middlegrade UNDOERS ONE by D. P. Davies

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

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Undoers One by D. P. Davies

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This book introduces you to Lily who is running away from something invisible and ends up in front of Sam’s home.

With “Undoers One, D.P. Davies has created the first in a series of adventures with an unusual and cute group of kids. It is a very compelling read, inevitably drawing you in as the story proceeds. D.P. Davies paints a clear picture of the main characters’ mindsets – making the readers acquainted with them – while the story evolves. I was drawn very close to Lily and Sam. The main characters are complex and I took to them instantly; the others are of sufficient depth. The story is cleverly elaborated and has a great flow. I had a great time reading “Undoers One”; currently reading “Undoers Two”.

This is a book for you if you like middle-grade adventure, funny moments, and likeable characters.

Highly recommended.

Book description

“I can’t do magic,” said the boy. “That’s impossible.” He paused. “But I can undo it.”

Sam is a nine-year-old boy who can solve anyone’s spooky problems. He knows there are no such things as ghosts, vampires or aliens, only a mysterious energy that gets attached to stuff. People give Sam their “cursed” things, he applies some school science, and their terrors disappear, all without ever having to leave his bedroom (which is the way he likes it).

But then Lily, a girl in the grade above him, arrives outside his house one night surrounded by this strange energy, and it keeps coming back whatever Sam tries to do to help. Can they work together to find out why? And where in the maze of DC’s streets and monuments will it lead them? Together with a best friend who thinks he’s a Russian hacker and a brother who believes he’s the next baseball All-Star, Sam and Lily can’t give up until they figure it out.

If you can prove that monsters don’t exist, what is there to be scared of?

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