Rosie’s Book Review Team (RBRT) – Booklist

Penelope – Tudor Baroness by Tony Riches (336 pages)

A Life of Love and Scandal

Lady Penelope is one of the most beautiful and sought-after women in Elizabethan England. Daughter of the queen’s nemesis, Lady Lettice Knollys, Countess of Essex, she becomes the stepdaughter of Robert Dudley when he marries her mother in secret.

Penelope’s life is full of love and scandal. The inspiration for Sir Philip Sidney’s sonnet Astrophel and Stella, she is inevitably caught up in her brother Robert’s fateful rebellion.

A complex and fascinating woman, her life is a story of love, betrayal, and tragedy. Discover how Penelope charms her way out of serious charges of treason, adultery, and forgery, and becomes one of the last truly great ladies of the Tudor court.

A maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth, Penelope outlives the end of the Tudors with the death of the old queen and the arrival of King James, becoming a favourite lady-in-waiting to the new queen, Anne of Denmark.

“This is the story of a woman who lived life on her own terms, and one that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.”

Genre: Tudor Histfic

Format: Epub

The Hoax by Nikki Rodwell (225 pages) ARC now for June 30th publication)

The Hoax: A Nailbiting Psychological Thriller by [Nikki Rodwell]

Ronnie loves a practical joke. But one day his pranks will go too far…

Successful, rich, a doting wife, a compliant mistress, a beautiful house, the car of his dreams – Ronnie has it all. His family and friends are used to his practical jokes, have learnt to live with them. Even find them funny. At least, that’s what Ronnie thinks.

James has grown up with those jokes, never knowing when his dad will surprise him, scare him, make him look a fool. But now James is with Rachel, planning his future. He’s ready to move on from the fears that have marred his childhood.

When Ronnie plans a party for his wife’s birthday, he thinks he’s the one with all the surprises. He couldn’t be more wrong. And when no one knows if the danger they find themselves in is real, or just another hoax, Ronnie realises that it’s no fun at all when the joke’s on you.

Just who will have the last laugh?

Genre: Thriller 

Format: epub

Fast Cash by J. Gregory Smith (262 pages)

Hustlers Without Borders
Overseas scammers swindle an elderly Philadelphia woman out of her life’s savings. Soon after, the crooks use her stolen information to target her friends and neighbors in a relentless plague of cons. After getting nowhere with the local authorities, she takes her case to Kyle Logan and his crew of misfits who look after the neighborhood by operating outside the law with their own code of justice.
They’ve never gone after criminals outside of the country before and Kyle knows they’ll need to enlist help on the ground if they’re going to have a chance to recover any stolen funds. What he doesn’t realize is that their new allies may be more dangerous than their foes.
Meanwhile, closer to home, Kyle sees a disturbing invasion of cut-rate home contractors who sell themselves with the zeal of a cult. Called Sweat Equity, the business has formed a partnership with the city government amid glowing praise from the media. When Kyle digs deeper, he learns why the group refuses to take no for an answer and that the group is more than willing to add blood to the sweat.

Genre: Thriller

Format: TBC

Stone Soup by E. B. Mann (176 pages) ARC now for July publishing

Stone Soup by [E. B. Mann]

On a dark and dismal morning, Green Eyes awakens to find herself scratching at her mother’s door. She’s had the dream again—the one in which she’s a cat trying to climb a mountain to save a girl in distress. The confusing dream haunts her as she treks to the nearby village to sell the mysterious wooden figurines her mother carves. She lives her life in fear: Will today be the day she earns enough money to please her? Or will she return home to face yet another beating? She never knows what to expect until she walks through the cottage door. Her only hope is that her mother won’t damage the wooden prosthetic she must wear after losing her hand as a baby.

As she’s on her way home, she encounters Arduon and Paduon, a pair of wise-cracking crows who tell her she’s not who she thinks she is. They urge her to go in search of her true self, but Green Eyes resists, afraid of her mother and of the dangers of the world. It’s only when she learns that her mother is in fact a witch who put a spell on her that Green Eyes finds the courage to escape. Armed with the crow’s wisdom—and a magical sword gifted to her by her friends in the village—she sets off on a journey to discover her true identity.

Genre: Fantasy

Format: Epub

Three Shades by J.D. Grubb (336 pages)

We venture forth, adding color to this mysterious, ever-changing world. A Sky Rider, a sage, and a spirit—forced together, they must find a way to navigate barriers of language, race, and time. Each needs the other to succeed. Each has a unique reason for doing so.

Genre: fantasy

Format: Epub

The Workshop:Week One by Matt Mills (167 pages)

Nine writers enter… only one will escape. (Figuratively—the door works fine.)

The Workshop: Week One introduces nine competitive college students who will battle for literary superiority and existential purpose over sixteen weeks of their Creative Writing in Various Media course. Who will find a career? Who’s gonna cry all the way home? Who had garlic for lunch?

Genre: Literary fiction

Format: epub

Jaguar Dreams by Susan MacBryde (328 pages)

An Amazon Village Faces Big Oil.
A conflict could cost lives.
It could also save the Earth.

Deep in Ecuador’s Amazon Basin, seismic waves rock the ground. A new road slices the rainforest. It rushes toward an Indigenous Kichwa village, threatening its land and its people. It is a tendril of oil exploration by corporate giants poised to suck the black gold from the Earth.

Oil spills. Rampant disease. Starving wildlife. Dying villagers. All are imminent. The Kichwa must either confront the oil drillers – or retreat further into the jungle as they did to escape the Spanish colonizers, the Rubber Barons, and the Covid pandemic. The silence of death creeps under the canopy signaling the demise of both their ancient culture and a primary life source for the planet.

The heart of the Kichwa village is one family. The mother is Sacha, emerging as a leader in this patriarchal community. Leading a conflict means facing obstacles set by her shamanic father, her two grown sons, and villagers quarreling between passive resistance or violent confrontation. Forest retreat might be easiest. To decide, villagers listen for messages from the spirit beings of the living forest. Messages they trust … messages they know the world needs to hear.

Outside the forest are friends and deadly foes: U.S. and Chinese oil companies, corrupt Ecuadorian government officials, well-meaning U.S. expatriates, two environmental activists fleeing arrest, a wise prostitute, and whip-wielding women defenders of the rainforest – a melee of action and inspiration.

Genre: Nature conservation fiction

Format: epub

Whispers In The Canyon by Gifford MacShane (302 pages)

A valiant young woman haunted by abuse.
The empathic Irish immigrant determined to help her.
The tragic secret that stands between them.

Shunned by the village for her outlaw brother’s deeds, Jesse Travers is not sorry to hear he’s been killed while robbing a bank. Strangely enough it’s Adam Donovan, the man who shot him, who brings her the news.

Traumatized by years of abuse, Jesse doubts she can trust any man—especially not this one, with his gunfighter’s reputation. But now she’s alone, and he’s offered to help put her bankrupt ranch back on solid footing. A profound love for her canyon home is stronger than her trepidation, and she accepts his assistance.

As they work together to improve her ranch, Jesse begins to see that Adam’s true nature is far removed from his reputation. She feels the first stirrings of love―an emotion she’s never known before. Then, as if to tell her she is unworthy of happiness, her past rises up with a vengeance and she is left with a terrible choice: retreat to a life of solitude and shame, or trust her heart and reveal her secret, in the hope that Adam is the man she believes him to be.

Deceptively simple and poetic, this heartfelt western historical romance will tug at your emotions, make you laugh, cry, and even get a little angry, as it handles difficult topics with a sensitive touch.

Genre: HistFic

Format: Epub

Falling Stars by Julie Rogers (425 pages) ARC now for May 26th Publication.

In Falling Stars (May 16, 2023), a fatally ill nine-year-old boy and his oncologist mom move to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Tommy needs a bone marrow transplant but thinks his disease is a curse on his bloodline and only magic can cure him.
Tommy reads about vampire Claudius Fallon in the fictional pulp magazine Philly’s Argosy; during WWII, Fallon supposedly came to Eureka Springs seeking a cure for his own leukemia. Vampires aren’t real—so what’s the connection between the urban legend Fallon and local artist Callan Masters, who falls in love with Tommy’s mom and may hold the secret to keeping the boy alive?
The inclusion of the pulp fiction serial within this novel adds bonus appeal for genre fiction lovers, and the melding of medical science with vampire mythology and fantastical elements makes for an interesting dichotomy. Readers who enjoy fiction that interweaves real people and places with the fantastical will also enjoy learning about this book.

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Format: Drop box download via a code that I have.

Escape to California: Misadventures in America’s Golden State by Chris Atkin (ARC now publication May 8th – 268 pages)

He wasn’t trying to break America. But would America break him?

Rocked by political turmoil, climate change and a global pandemic, the US was calling out for a hero. Unfortunately, it was travel writer Chris Atkin who turned up.

Over the course of nearly two years living in the Golden State, Chris explores the history and incredible landscapes of western America.

He learns about the unsolved murder of the co-founder of Stanford University and the pioneer family reduced to cannibalism. He also finds the entrepreneurial spirit at the heart of California, which, for all of Silicon Valley’s success stories, is equally central to the tale of how hippies came to benefit when nearly three tonnes of marijuana fell from the skies above Yosemite.

When not living next door to Donkey from Shrek, Chris dodges bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes and Covid-deniers, and discovers there’s more than one way to live the American Dream.

Genre: Travelogue

Format: Epub

Our Stories: Tales of the Jail and Other Uniform Stories by Rae Scott And Amber Allen (269 pages)

Our Stories: Tales From The Jail And Other Uniform Stories by [Rae Scott, Amber Allen]

When you enter the facility, the slamming of the steel door and the hiss of the lock engaging behind you makes you want to cringe. That is the moment when you realize that although you are here to oversee the safety and security of those in the building, you are locked in too. All to quickly you also realize that the only reason you are able to walk out of your own accord after your shift is because the inmates, some of whom are murderers, rapists, and hard-core gang bangers, are allowing you to. It doesn’t take long before you come to know that the general public has no idea what you do every day or even what building you work in since most jails don’t look like the prisons seen on the silver screen.

Corrections officers, deputies, and police officers are often portrayed as cruel authoritarians, crooked, or lazy while the military is seen as heroes, immature, or withdrawn. They are all and none of these. They have two things in common. They are all willing to put their lives on the line to protect others. They are, also, consistently asked questions about their jobs by people wanting to hear stories about the things they have seen or done. Usually, the more thrilling or funnier the better. The stress and difficult situations they face on a day-to-day basis are rarely seen.

Our Stories will, hopefully, shed some light on those members of law enforcement who are often forgotten about until the worst happens by showing you some of the different types of events that happen to them, primarily those who work in corrections, from the funny to the downright nasty. This book has not been separated into chapters that are only good, happy, or sad. Why? The answer is simple; when you’re a first responder or in the military, you don’t get to choose what kind of day you will have. Sometimes situations happen quickly, and you must react based on instinct or training; because of that, you, the reader, will experience the same. Will the next story be funny or sad? Will it make you angry? Will it make you feel good?

Some of you may end up feeling sympathy or anger over what you read on the pages that follow, and because of that, we would like to ask two things from you, dear reader. First, please remember that the individuals telling these stories are not perfect but they, for the most part, try to be. Second, ask yourself this: Would you have been able to handle some of the situations with the detachment that is expected of someone in this profession?

Genre: Non Fiction

Format: epub

Little Bird’s Lullaby by Kameo Monson (ARC now for April 25th publication)

Little Bird's Lullaby

A story of family, hope, and the will to survive.

Sydney likes hiking, but the idea of missing her boyfriend’s party when he has been showing interest in someone else has leadened her pack. Why can’t her family put off their vacation for a day? Now she’s stuck listening to her brother and sister whine while her mom tries to bore into her social life like a woodpecker searching for grubs. Not that Mom ever really cared. . . . Granted, cliff jumping into crystal clear pools does sound fun. But Sydney would rather stay home.

Jen misses the days when her daughter Sydney would listen to stories about lullabies. Now Sydney doesn’t listen at all. Maybe the family backpacking trip into the remote West Clear Creek Wilderness is exactly what the two of them need to reconnect. Still, the notion of frigid water, towering cliffs, and natural disasters make the perils of the canyon hard to ignore. But Blake, her outdoorsman husband, promises the views are worth the risk. . . . If only she could get the stories of difficult and delayed rescues out of her mind.

When disaster strikes, can Jen and Sydney find the strength to lean on each other?

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Format: epub


35 thoughts on “Rosie’s Book Review Team (RBRT) – Booklist

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  11. Hi Rosie,
    I have spotted 2 books that I could review within a week, if you want me to join your team. I filled in a form to apply, an hour ago.
    Titles in mobi or pdf I would be interested in.
    The Last Deception by DV Berkom
    Savage Isle by Beverley Scherberger

    Liked by 1 person

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