Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT E.L. Reviews The Night Porter by Mark Barry

Today we have a review from team member E.L Lindley she blogs at http://lindleyreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

rosie3

E.L chose to read and review The Night Porter by Mark Barry

21476357

My only concern with Mark Barry’s wickedly clever book, The Night Porter, is that I may not be able to fully do it justice in my review. It really is a joy to read and a novel that operates on many different levels.

Superficially it can be enjoyed as an observational take on life in a high-end hotel, as narrated to us by the night porter. It focuses in particular on a short period of time leading up to the Arkwright literary awards, in which the hotel will play a pivotal role, not least because it will become temporary home to four of the writers. The novel develops into something of a mystery as one of the writers is attacked in his room and left for dead.

Barry’s tour de force is about so much more than this though. Throughout the novel, Barry skilfully affords us a playful metaphorical nod to the art of writing and never lets us forget that he is in fact constructing a story. He deftly raises the question of what it means to be a writer and whether one form of writing is any more valid than another. Barry uses the character of Julian Green, an acclaimed indie writer who despises the more commercial writers, to represent the ‘literary’ school of writing. There is the constant reference to the “paradox” within writing, whereby what is popular and successful is not necessarily ‘good literature’.

Barry’s exploration of writing as a craft is made even more effective by his own brave experimentation with the novel form. Julian makes the comment that, to be successful, “footnotes and fancy titles” should be avoided and yet, ironically, Barry makes excellent use of both these devices. They lend the novel both a dry sense of humour and, in the case of the footnotes, a deeper glimpse into the mind of the night porter.

The heart of the novel is of course the eponymous night porter. He is a complex and at times devious character, who captivates the reader with his gloriously prissy and yet sincere account of his life in the hotel. The night porter is a man defined by his job, hence his anonymous status, and in the beginning it would seem he is nothing without it. He subsumes his own identity to the needs of the job and we get the idea of him being like an iceberg, with only ten percent of who he is on show to the public. He seems to have no close friends outside of the hotel and reveals that he has been celibate for six years.

The night porter prides himself on his isolationist stance as a “lone wolf” but, as he becomes more and more infatuated with the writers, we begin to question the impartiality of his view point. He is smitten by the romance writer Amy Cook and hates the “sociable nazi” Martin Sixsmith, who is the bar manager and his nemesis. The night porter may be the “all-seeing eye” of the novel but Barry never lets us forget that he is a human being with all of the flaws and prejudices that are part and parcel of that.

The novel ends in a froth of fun when, like a magician Barry pulls aside the curtain, affording the reader a tiny peek at the mechanisms behind crafting a story. The Night Porter is, without a doubt, indie writing at its best. It is an intelligent, funny and most of all engaging novel and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

The Wannabe Author by Mary Papas

The Wannabe AuthorThe Wannabe Author by Mary Papas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Wannabe Author is just 13 pages long. It is a sad but realistic novel which will make many authors cringe when they think back to their first attempts at writing. It may also open the eyes of many first time authors who are currently writing their own masterpiece.

The main character hates her job and her boss and finds release in writing down scenarios which let her escape her frustrating reality. This gives her a reason to go on and actually opens a door. Beneath the process of amateur book writing and publishing, she has found the strength to resign from her job.

Her whole book process is a huge learning curve which looks depressing at first glance, but underneath she may have learnt lessons which she’ll use if she can get past this experience and her urge to write is stronger than her sense of failure.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews

Guest Author Ian Probert

Today our guest is Ian Probert author of yesterday’s book “Johnny Nothing”, here is a link to the book if you missed the review. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-56g

Ian Probert

Let’s find out more about Ian and his work.

1) Where is your home town?
Burnley in Lancashire. A place where they still point at aeroplanes.
2) How long have you been writing?
When I was a kid I used to bore my English teacher to death by filling up exercise books with stories about vampires. She’s dead now. Professionally I had my first article published in 1987. It was about boxing.
3) Is Johnny Nothing your first humorous children’s book?
It is. Although I’ve written funny stuff before but never thought about publishing it. Well I think it’s funny but humour is so subjective.
4) Have you ever had children read your book like beta readers?
I’m horrible. When my daughter has her friends around for playdates I get them to read Johnny Nothing aloud. It makes them laugh, though, which is amazing to watch. If they refuse to do it I shave all their hair off and tell their parents that they did it.
5) When the family went off around the world on holiday you had fun with some of their feelings about the destinations, can you give the readers some examples of these?
• They went to Amsterdam but found the Dutch tulippy.
• They took a slow boat to China but they were bored to death by the time they got there.
• They went to Coventry but the locals wouldn’t talk to them.
• They flew to Warsaw but found it an eyesore.
• They found Cuba dull (although everyone else seemed to be Havana good time).
• They went to Egypt but the pyramids were like a prism.
• They went to Sao Paulo but thought the Brazilians were nuts.
• They sailed to Costa Rica but it Costa fortune.
• They got hungry in Hungary.
• So they had turkey in Turkey.
• And then chicken in Kiev.
• And crackers in Caracas.
• And visited a Deli in Delhi.
• They got thirsty in Chertsey.
• So they had high tea in Haiti.
• Then drank iced tea in the Black Sea.
• They went for a wander in Rwanda.
• Something went wrong in Hong Kong.
• They weren’t bowled over by Moldova.
• They found Chile too cold.
• They bought perfume in Cologne.
• Mr. MacKenzie had a very painful accident in Bangkok.
6) Can you tell the readers how Johnny stopped his parents from spending any more of his money?
It worries me actually because what Johnny does is hire some bodyguards to kidnap his horrible parents. Then he locks them in their bedroom for months and forces them to do homework. This worries me because it’s the the story I’ve written in which the main character does something really nasty to his parents. Any psychiatrists out there?
7) When Johnny tries to think of ways to raise the money needed to make up £1 million what were the best ideas put forward?
Frankly all the ideas were rubbish but probably the best one was to buy £500,000 worth if lottery tickets. Or course, you have zero chance of winning but this was still the best suggestion that any of the really stupid characters came up with. Personally, I’d kidnap a politician and tickle him until he gave me the code to his debit card.
8) Do you think you try to give readers a message about spending wisely and donating to charity?
I think I probably do. Underneath all the jokes and the vulgarity there is an underlying message, which is: ‘Give Ian Probert all your money!’ Only joking kids. What I’m really trying to say is: ‘Many a mickle makes a muckle…’
9) Tell us about your book called “Internet Spy” and it being made into a film.
I wrote it in 1995 and it became a hit in the US, I think, because it had the word ‘internet’ in the title. Nobody had heard of the internet then and they thought it was a magic creepy thing that would rot your fingers. They were right. A few years ago I was approached by Brad Pitt about making it into a movie. That’s Bradley Pitt, the lesser-known South African plumber. He and his wife Angela Jolly did quite a good job actually. I was paid about 5p, which I thought was a fair price.
10) What are you working on next?
I like dead heroes so my next book is going to be called ‘Dan’s Dead’. I’ve already written the first sentence. It says: ‘Dan was dead.’ It may be the first and last sentence. I’m not sure yet. It’s another book for kids that will hopefully be so funny that they will wee their pants every Thursday.
Johnny Nothing
Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Oh Ian you do make me laugh!  Good Luck with the next book.

REBORN Cover Reveal (23rd Jan)

Today I have a cover reveal for you from author Cherie Reich. A YA fantasy which I will be reviewing later in the year.

print_reborn

Title: Reborn

Series: The Fate Challenges #1

Author: Cherie Reich

Genre: YA Epic Fantasy

Approximate Word Count: 95,000 words

Release Date: May 23, 2014

To save a kingdom, a prophetess must challenge Fate.

On the day of Yssa’s death and rebirth, the god Apenth chose her as the Phoenix Prophetess.

Sea serpents and gods endanger the young prophetess’s journey and sour the omens. Yssa is cursed instead of blessed, and her duties at the Temple of Apenth prove it. She spends her days reading dusty scrolls, which does nothing to help her forget Tym, the boy back home. But the annoying yet gorgeous ferryman’s son Liam proves to be a distraction she can’t predict, even though he rarely leaves her alone for two sand grains.

Her boring temple life screeches to a halt when visions of her parents’ murders consume her. Yssa races across an ocean to stop the future. If she can’t change Fate, she’ll refuse to be the Phoenix Prophetess any longer. Fate, however, has other plans for her and the kingdom.

Yssa must either accept her destiny or fight to change Fate.

Reborn, book one of The Fate Challenges, by Cherie Reich will be released on May 23, 2014. For more information about Cherie Reich and her work, please visit her website or blog. The cover art is created by Laura Sava. To add on Goodreads, click here. If you’d like to be notified when Reborn releases, please sign up for her newsletter here.

CherieReichAuthorPicture

Author Bio: A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer, freelance editor, book blogger, and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her ebooks include the horror series Nightmare, a space fantasy trilogy titled Gravity, and a fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles. She is Vice President of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms.

Good Deeds Week 22nd – 28th December

Welcome to Christmas week of my Good Deeds weekly challenge. My own challenge to do one Good Deed a day based on the book by Judith O’Reilly called “A Year of Doing Good”

17119947

Find your own copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

December 22nd – I’m really excited, Judith O’Reilly the author of “A Year of Doing Good” has been good enough to agree to be our gust author on the blog. Today she has sent me her interview answers and I have scheduled her interview post for Sunday 5th January. The first Sunday in January to coincide with my weekly Good Deeds round-up. On with my own Good deeds, today I’ve finished 2 books and written reviews which I’ve posted on Goodreads and Amazon, they will both appear here on the blog in January.

December 23rd – Donated some money to a local Odiham charity that were collecting whilst I visited the Newlyns Farm Shop it was really busy with everyone collecting their fresh turkeys, but I had time to spread some calm amongst the busy workers while I picked up the paperwork for my work session.

December 24th – Have invited a friend over for a cup of tea, we swopped gifts and caught up on all the news. Remembered how hard others work at Christmas and gave the postman a Christmas present.

December 25th – We are hosting Christmas lunch for my In-Laws today. Good deeds received; Had some wonderful gifts and in return brought happiness to others with my own gifts.

December 26th – Boxing Day here in the UK, a quiet family day, but I’ve made biscuits to take out with us as we go to tea with the In-Laws. Good deeds received; My mother-in-law who doesn’t do computers or social media asked me all about my writing, my blog and my monthly reviews in Fleet Life, she was really interested and supportive, an avid reader herself she surprised me with her enthusiasm. Had a scary moment when she admitted she’d read my book whilst staying with our Aunt (who had it on Kindle) hope she didn’t recognise Sophie’s mother-in-law!

Good deeds

December 27th – Today I posted a book review on Goodreads and Amazon for a dear friend Jade Reyner, who I’ve met over the internet. Jade took part in our Romancing September tour http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2rE and recently took part in the successful “Read Tuesday” event run by Chris McMullen. I’ll be featuring Jades book “Twelve Days” on a post in January. Good Deeds received; Had a lovely e-mail from Jade thanking me for her review.

December 28th – Good Deeds received; Was thrilled to be contacted by author Mac Black who had seen his book “Please Call me Derek” on my Wish List Collection, he has offered to send me a copy which I will lovingly read and review for you all here on the blog. Had a lovely comment about my “Good Read Collections” from another author, I’m glad people are enjoying them. My oldest child is off for a sleepover tonight so I’m sending along bags of popcorn for their movie session.

Wow! I can’t believe I still managed to find Good Deeds during Christmas week, I had worried that opportunities would not show themselves this week, but I’m glad they did.

24 Sleeps ‘Til Xmas Tour Bah, Humbug! by Heather Horrocks (Day 23)

12749487

Bah, Humbug! By Heather Horrocks

Description from Goodreads.

Lexi Anderson is an up-and-coming, Martha Stewart-type TV hostess whose two kids love the Jared Strong adventure novels, which happen to be written by their new neighbour, Kyle Miller.

For the first time in his writing career, Kyle has writer’s block – until he sees the snowman on his lawn and realizes this is the perfect place for his villain to hide the weapon. He digs into the snowman to discover two things: the weapon fits in the body just under the head, and the snowman was supposed to be the back drop for Lexi’s next show.

From this improbable beginning comes friendship. Can there be more for a woman who is afraid to get close again and a man who has shadows from his childhood?

Families join together and hearts are healed as this couple goes walking in a winter wonderland.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com (free on Kindle at time of going to post)

As part of my Year long challenge to do a Good Deed a day, I’m, giving my readers daily suggestions to do their own Good Deeds during this season of Goodwill. Today; Arrange to meet a friend for coffee.

Becoming Anorak Nid by Alix B Macey

Becoming Anorak Nid (Book One)Becoming Anorak Nid by Alix B. Macey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Becoming Anorak Nid was a surprise to me, I envisaged the storyline being about a child, but it was a delight to read about lots of English garden creatures. This children’s book is fun and easy to read and follows the timid character of Nid the spider, in his search for a suitable coat at a garden sale. Nid’s best friend uses sign language and Nid himself suffers at the hand of a garden bully. Nid’s tale has added asides by the narrator and ends with a cliff hanger which leads straight into the second book in the adventure. This book is very suitable for junior school age children or could easily be read to younger children by an adult.

Find a copy of this book here on Amazon.

I am delighted that the author is local to my area and I shall be interviewing Alix tomorrow on the blog, do pop back and check it out.

View all my reviews

Romancing September author Alison Morton (Day 28)

We are nearly at the end of our Romancing September Across the World Tour. It is now day 28 and today we can meet author Alison Morton. She will be talking about writing romance in today’s society over with Stephanie in a few hours time.

Alison Morton authorLet’s find out more about Alison and her book;

First of all thank you so much, Rosie and Stephanie, for asking me to join you on your Romancing September Across The World blog tour.

1) Where is your home town?

Royal Tunbridge Wells, a former spa town in West Kent between London and the Channel coast. It was a gentle, very green and kind place for a child to grow up in.

2) You’ve been writing since the age of 7, is this your first piece with romance?

I scribbled a series of romantic short stories when I was about sixteen or seventeen. When I found them years later I was so appalled that I shredded them. I was really too young to understand the deep emotion and world-changing effect of romance.

3) The title of your book is “INCEPTIO”. Does it have an English translation?

Yes, it means “the beginning” and is the first story in the Roma Nova series as well as the start of Karen’s adventures.

4) This is a fast paced romantic thriller, making use of a historical era which you love, tell us more about that history.

This goes back into my own near-historical past!
I was eleven and fascinated by the mosaics in Ampurias (huge Roman site in Spain).  I asked my father, “What would it be like if Roman women were in charge, instead of the men?” Maybe it was the fierce sun boiling my brain, maybe it was just a precocious kid asking a smartarse question. But clever man and senior ‘Roman nut’, my father replied, “What do you think it would be like?”

Stories with Romans are usually about famous emperors, epic battles, depravity, intrigue, wicked empresses and a lot of sandals, tunics and swords. But imagine the Roman theme projected sixteen hundred years further forward into the 21st century. How different would that world be?

In INCEPTIO, the country of Roma Nova battled its way from a small colony somewhere north of Italy in the late fourth century into a high tech, financial mini-state which has retained and developed Roman Republican values, but with a twist – it’s governed by women. The thriller story then takes place against this background.  Ultimately, alternate history allows your imagination to explore outside the confines of the set timeline and to introduce conflict and challenges to history in your own terms. And that’s a lot of fun!

5) Can you drop a few hints about the love story within the book?

One or two! Karen’s had a lot of upheaval in her life, so has learned to be reserved and self-sufficient. When she meets Conrad, she’s attracted to him, but is wary as he seems a bit too smart, even arrogant. He seems to want to protect her as well as being a messenger from her Roma Novan family, but she feels there’s something secretive about him. She tries to keep an emotional distance, but realises it’s becoming harder. But when he deceives her (because he thinks she wouldn’t understand the reason), she is devastated and cuts the relationship. But after the hurt subsides and she is absorbed in her new mission in Roma Nova she suspects she may have made the biggest mistake of her life…

6) This book successfully makes people believe in an alternative to history that may still exist today. Is there a place in the world that inspired the setting of Roma Nova?

Writing in the real world means getting inside the heads of the characters, imagining what they see in their everyday world, what they smell, eat and touch. If you set your story in a different country, you can visit the places the characters would live in, smell the sea, touch the plants, walk under the hot blue sky, or freeze in a biting wind. But if you invent that country, then your task is doubled.

You have to get the geography and history of your imagined country right as well as the social, economic and political development; that sounds dry, but every living person is a product of their local conditions.

I drew inspiration from several central European countries, picking bits from here and there, but one of the chief places was Slovenia.

7) Karen is running from an assassin, why does she choose Roma Nova?

Karen’s mother was from an old Roma Novan family and her grandmother, Aurelia, has always wanted Karen to visit. Roma Nova offers Karen safety, a ready-made family and, of course, the fascinating Conrad.

8) I believe that Karen finds that love and her new family cannot protect her, how did you use your own life skills to help her?

I served in the military for six years and use some of those experiences to describe how she transforms herself and how she finds purpose in her life.

9) I like the idea of a female character who trains herself. Could she be described as a modern day Amazonian woman?

Ha-ha! Karen is already an outdoorsy type from the start; she revels working as a park volunteer every weekend, she misses her rural New Hampshire childhood, she jogs and goes to the gym in New York. Later, she knows she has to become fit to face her nemesis, and readily adapts to the hard training. Her mother came from a tough family, so maybe it’s in Karen’s genes…

10) I can’t wait to read this book, for those fans who are clamouring for more, do you have a new book for them coming out soon?

Thank you, Rosie. I hope you enjoy INCEPTIO. And yes, number two is on its way. PERFIDITAS (betrayal) is at the final proof stage and is due out mid-October. And I’ve just seen the draft cover…

INCEPTIO_front cover_300dpi_med_smFind “Inceptio” on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Thank you Alison, I shall be reviewing “Inceptio” here on the blog on October 8th. Good Luck with the new book launch. Now pop over to Stephanie for the second half of the interview http://stephanie-hurt.com/

Romancing September author Fay Cunningham (Day 23)

Welcome to Day 23 of Romancing September Across the World Tour. Today our guest is Fay Cunningham. Join her now and again later over with Stephanie for her views on writing romance in today’s society.

Fay Cunningham authorLet’s find out more about Fay and her book;

1) Where is your home town?  
Colchester, England.
2) How long have you been writing? 
Since I was at school. I won a prize for English Language and that started me off.
3) Has you always written romance?
I started with short stories for women’s magazines, then a couple of crime novels, but I got hooked on Nora Roberts writing as JD Robb and decided I liked a mix of both romance and crime.
4) This is a romantic suspense novel where did the inspiration for the storyline come from? 
I wondered what would happen if someone found a mobile phone. Would they look at the messages?
5) When does Police Detective Jack Armstrong arrive on the scene in Serena’s life?
Right near the beginning. He is investigating the injured man Serena found in the ditch.
6) How did you build up the relationship between Jack and Serena?
I wanted him to be sarcastic and quite objectionable at the start of the relationship. He has some really good lines of dialogue.
7) Is Serena’s father the proverbial “Skeleton in the cupboard”? 
You could say that, but he is not a villain. Quite the opposite, in fact.
8) Can you hint how you keep the readers enthralled until the end?
I often don’t know how the book is going to end myself, so it is bound to be a surprise for the reader.
9) What other romances have you written?
Five that were previously My Weekly Pocket Novels, all available on Amazon, and two crime thrillers now published by Harlequin Worldwide Books.
10) Do you have a new book or a sequel to “Forgotten” that you are writing at the moment?
My new book doesn’t have a title yet, but it is another romantic suspense novel. A girl is on the run with her four-year-old son, but the reader will have no idea why. Not to begin with, anyway.

Forgotten 2Find “Forgotten” at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Thank you Fay, this book sounds very intriguing, Good Luck with the new book. Catch up with Stephanie at http://stephanie-hurt.com

Romancing September author Marina de Nadous (Day 17)

Welcome to Day 17 of Romancing September Across the World. Today’s author is Marina de Nadous and her book “The Celestial Sea”. Cross over to Georgia USA in a few hours and read what Marina has to say about writing romance in today’s society with Stephanie.

Marina de Nadous author

Marina has chosen not to reveal her full picture for privacy reasons.

Let’s find out more about Marina;

1) Where is your hometown?

My hometown is Frome in Somerset, UK

2) How long have you been writing?

I began writing 7 years ago

3) Have you always written romance?

No—I never set out to be a writer. I am a novice author launching a series I have been working on since 2006. I consider myself a scribe, recording a story that arrived unexpectedly in my lap. 

4) Your book is written in diary format, why did you choose this?

My above answer goes some way to explain my reason for the diary format. Written as a diary narrative, the story includes the beginnings of my writer’s career and the conception of the series. In a way, the story turns itself inside out as my writer’s journey becomes embroiled in the script.

 5) There is a chalk model of a ship on your book cover. What is the role of the ship in the book?

I shall leave that as a mystery—for now. I don’t want to expose too much of the magic interwoven through the pages of The Celestial Sea Voyages. ‘Lovers’ Metaphor’ is a clue.

6) Much romance is written with characters in the 20-30 year old age bracket, do your characters fit this model?

Move it on ten years—my story will probably resonate more strongly with adults in their 40/50’s. I presumed I had written a romance for women in this age bracket but I have been enormously surprised to find that the men are appreciating the story just as much, if not more, than my female readers!

7) You chose New Zealand as the setting for your book, why?

For one reason only—I just happened to be there when the story appeared. Others would say it was destiny that took me there. My story certainly points to the ‘destiny’ theory.

8) Do the New Zealand Maori traditions play a part in some of the spiritual areas of the book?

Many aspects of Kiwi life are represented throughout the story—seen through the eyes of a domestic housewife and mother new to the Southern hemisphere. I hope I have represented lots of interest in this realm and yes, Maori heritage, culture and spirituality provide evocative elements throughout the tale.

9) Fans have described this as one of the ‘Great Love Stories’, why do you think that is?

This is a hard one to answer because I am both the writer and the protagonist. All I can say is that the romance is totally unique. I have never read anything that compares. Each person takes from it what they will. Readers with a spiritual leaning will gain most from the series. Mix a cocktail of ‘Shakespeare in Love,’ ‘Bridget Jones Diary’, add a nautical, sacred ingredient that can’t be put into words and perhaps—perhaps that might just define the story—sort of!

10) Will any of your work be available to buy on Kindle?

Yes—the series is available in both paperback and Kindle.

11) You’ve just published book 2 in the series, what is it called? How many more books are you planning for fans? Any planned publication dates?

The first book; ‘The Celestial Sea’, was published last August. The second book is called ‘Dry Dock’ and came out at the beginning of this month. There are several volumes planned, but as yet I have no fixed publication dates. It rather depends on the public’s appreciation. Over to you, readers—how much can you take?

15901332

Find “The Celestial Sea” on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

A Big Thank you to Marina for being our guest today, Good Luck with the series.