Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE DROUGHT BY @SteveScaffardi #LadLit #Humour #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Chris, she blogs at http://cphilippou123.wordpress.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Chris has been reading The Drought (Sex, Love & Dating Disasters)

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Any book that starts with a drooling man getting punched by a barmaid has got to be worth a read, as this one is. A lot of silliness, a little romcom, this is effectively an insight into the life of an amiable idiot.

Dan finds himself in, as the title suggests, a sexual drought following his break-up with his long-term girlfriend. Cue a host of disastrous attempts to end said drought, some ‘helpful’ mates, and a sprinkling of potential romance amid the chaos…

The writing was light-hearted (which makes the stereotypes forgivable) and the dialogue realistic. The book is labeled as lad-lit for a reason, and that’s because it’s heavy on male antics, humour, and thought, and it’s worth pointing out that, for that reason, it may not be for all. But if it’s comedy, fun, and some semblance of something akin to romance from a male point of view that you’re after, The Drought is worth a read.

*I received a free copy from the author, via Rosie’s Book Review Team, in exchange for my honest review.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com Steve is running a free download promotion for this book on April 28th/29th

CODE NAME: PAPA: My Extraordinary Life While Hiding In Plain Sight by John Murray @CodeNamePapaBk

Code Name: Papa: My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain SightCode Name: Papa: My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight by John Murray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight is a literary memoir / political thriller / true crime that tells the story of John Murray. He was the head of US covert operations for a large international group. This group, while not connected to the US government, operated with the full blessing of top people in our government.”

Code name Papa is part one of a trilogy, written in first person it is the memoir of a trained assassin and leader of a group of men and women who travelled the world secretly taking down the “Bad Guys”.

The story begins in 1965 when 3 marines meet and become friends. The narrator, Jake and Bill are sent to Vietnam where they are lucky to escape with their lives. Helped home by Jake’s father, the three once more are gathered together and offered a chance to join a secret group of protectors. They undertake strict physical and mental training and are prohibited from telling their families anything about their new jobs.

In 1976 Jake’s father dies and the narrator takes over the code name “Papa” and leads the group on missions which take them across the world, crossing borders, working under the radar with others from opposing political and national countries, these missions are about the rouge agents, the people high up in lines of command who are no longer trustworthy and ridding the world of baddies.

A compelling read spanning the years between 1965 and the 21st Century. I liked the fact that this is a memoir so you know what you are reading is pretty true. There is room to streamline the sentences and dialogue, they are often clumsy and overlong, over-explaining minor details like walking, driving and opening doors, too much use of “she told me… I replied, that…she then told me…” a bit of slimming would make the book flow easier for the reader and make it a 5* read.

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

A free copy of the book was given to me by Book Publicity Services.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

THE HERETIC HEIR by G Lawrence @TudorTweep #Tudor #BookReview #HistFic #WeekendBlogHop

The Heretic Heir (The Elizabeth of England Chronicles #2)The Heretic Heir by G. Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Heretic Heir is a work of Historical Fiction about the life of Queen Elizabeth I as she endured life as a royal half sister to Queen Mary I. Written entirely from Elizabeth’s POV, some chapters are from the end of her life set in 1603 as she looks back at her youthful years. Most chapters are set in the four years between 1554 and 1558.

After the death of their brother Edward VI, a young boy crowned when he was just 9 years old, there was a struggle for the crown which led to Lady Jane Grey ruling for just 9 days before she was thrown in the Tower of London and Mary proclaimed Queen.

England was pulled first one way and then another and Mary brought back the Catholic religion and began a reign of terror for Protestants. Mary faced great opposition, few believed a woman should have such power, she also needed an heir and took Phillip of Spain as her husband. This was another unfavourable move as the English did not want to be ruled by Spain.

As a Protestant, Elizabeth was in danger and spent time in the Tower of London when Mary became suspicious of her true loyalties. Throughout Mary’s reign Elizabeth trod a fine line between support for her sister and maintaining her own safety.

I really enjoyed being immersed in the life and times of Elizabeth, from the fears and dangers to the sights and smells of every day sixteenth century England. The author had me quickly rooting for Elizabeth and wanting to see Mary’s life come to a quick end.

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

View all my reviews on Goodreads

PLAINT FOR PROVENCE by Jean Gill #BookReview #HistFic

Plaint for ProvencePlaint for Provence by Jean Gill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Plaint for Provence is book 3 in the series. It is set in the 12th century when the present day departments of France were not all under one umbrella.
The Red Queen Alienor has had her marriage to the King of Paris annulled and she is now associated with Henri Courtmantel – Duc d’Anjou. Fearing internal reprisals Alienor sends a message to the knight Dranognetz Los Pros requesting his support at her court.
Actions of “France” don’t bother locals in Provence and supporters of the Lady Baux have their own message for Dragonetz. He is needed by Lady Baux who wishes to impress the current overseer of Provence, the Compte de Barcelone, a fearsome ruler who must placate local Lords.
Dragonetz’s lover Estela de Martin, a singer, is also invited to court. Pulled in many directions, Dragonetz struggles with an opium addiction from his time fighting in the Holy Land. His downfall begins when a no-show at the court of Alienor has her declaring him an oath-breaker and his family thus disinherit him.
There are many characters in this book, often with several names and titles which make it hard to follow. The storyline is slow at times, perhaps reflecting the fact that this is part of a series.

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

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

MISS EMILY by Nuala O’Connor #TuesdayBookBlog #HistFic

Miss EmilyMiss Emily by Nuala O’Connor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Nuala O’Connor’s enchanting American debut novel, Miss Emily, reimagines the private life of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most beloved poets, through her own voice and through the eyes of her family’s Irish maid.” Goodreads

Miss Emily is about the poet Emily Dickinson, who lived in the 1800’s in Amherst Massachusetts. A spinster and a recluse, Emily lived with her parents and younger sister. This book is a snapshot of her life and is woven around the events which lead Irish house-maid Ada Concannon to the family doorstep.

Ada becomes a friend to Emily and when Patrick Crohan stalks Ada and then mistreats her, Emily puts others before herself and champions the needy.

This book is filled with rich writing and has a poetic flow to the narrative which was a delight to read.

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

View all my reviews on Goodreads

SOULLESS by Ismael Manzano #NA #UrbanFantasy @FantasyWorksPub #BookReview

Soulless (Soul Broker, #1)Soulless by Ismael Manzano
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Soulless is a New Adult, Urban Fantasy. Charlotte Furio needs time-out from caring for her wheelchair bound father and feels she is always searching for something. Trisha approaches her in a bar asking what her one desire is in return for her soul. Not a question Charlotte feels able to answer as she classes herself as soulless. When she returns home, Trisha follows and before she knows what’s happening Trisha has Charlotte’s father signing away his soul in return for his good health.

Trisha recruits Charlotte as a “Soul Broker” and sets her up with interviews with her bosses, but when Mr White is shot, Charlotte becomes the number one suspect and must set out to prove her own innocence. Add to this a twist connected to her father’s Soul and Charlotte has a new life purpose.

The book is filled with many references to TV shows and films which distracted from the storyline, I would also have liked to see the author show a range of emotions from hthe characters, rather than just anger. The author also used a series of e-mails in the writing to provide vital answers and this was a weak method of moving the storyline along and rather too neat and tidy. The dialogue tags could be improved and there were editing issues around 75% in the version I read, with changes in type size.

ARC given for review.

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

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THEMSELF by James Kemp @greencoatboy #NonFiction

Today’s team review is from Bev, she blogs at http://baspicer.blogspot.fr/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Bev has been reading Themselves by James Kemp

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Themself

 

As a writer myself I enjoyed James Kemp’s experiences of following an OU course in creative writing. Apparently, these were published regularly on his blog and then integrated into a book, which means that there is sometimes repetition. But this doesn’t detract from the interest.

 

There are helpful pointers for inexperienced writers and useful reminders for those who have been writing for years. It was fascinating to follow the processes included on the course and to read how the author structured his various writing assignments, which include a number of different genres.

 

Instructive and entertaining.

 

 

AUTOMATIC WOMAN by Nathan Yocum @CuriosityQuills #BookReview #Steampunk

Automatic WomanAutomatic Woman by Nathan Yocum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Automatic Women is a Steampunk novel set in London in 1888. Jacob Fellows is a thief catcher and works for The Bow Street Firm, which I believe is the author’s take on the original Bow Street runners, the first professional policemen of London.

Known as “Jolly” Fellows, he is called to a theft as a penny theatre by Dr Saxon. Saxon has a set of automated dancing dolls who perform to the music of Swan Lake, but his leading lady, The Swan Princess, has been stolen. Jolly knows little about automated figures and leans on his informers for a name where he can go to begin his enquiries. Jolly meets eccentric Frenchman Jacques Nouveau, who himself owns several life-like automatons. He knows of Saxon and admires the magical qualities of his figures, especially The Swan Princess.

Returning to Saxon’s theatre, Jolly finds Saxon being crushed to death by the Swan Princess, a graveyard of other automated figures and then he is attacked and must fight to save his own life. He is now the number one suspect in a murder case, is forbidden to return to his workplace and has fourteen days to prove himself innocent. The one piece of evidence which might save him is locked in storage back at The Firm.

An intriguing plot follows as someone wants Jolly dead and he becomes a pawn in the long standing game between too theorist rivals of the time. There were some great characters; Conan Doyle, Darwin and Bramstoker mixed with historical components of the era. For me the ending left more questions than answers and the copy I read had a good dozen minor editing errors which just needed tweaking.

This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author via Curiosity Quills.

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

View all my reviews on Goodreads

A CURSE OF ASH & IRON BY @cnorrisauthor @CuriosityQuills #BookReview #Steampunk #wwwblogs

A Curse of Ash and IronA Curse of Ash and Iron by Christine Norris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Curse Of Ash and Iron is a steampunk tale set in the late 1800’s Philadelphia in an era of mass industrial revolution. The book evolves around the Eleanor Banneker and Benjamin Grimm. Childhood friends pulled apart by dramatic family events and then reunited by chance seven years later.

Aged 17 Ben now works as stage crew in a theatre, Ellie has become the victim of her wicked stepmother in a Cinderella style life. However there is a sinister twist as Ellie believes she and her father are under a curse. Desperate for help Ellie turns to Ben.

At the Centennial Exposition the pair are mesmerised by mechanical inventions, but they also meet a fortune-teller who knows more about Ellie than is possible without the sight. She gives Ellie clues about breaking the curse and then vanishes. Ellie and Ben set out to gather items needed, even having a wild adventure in a steam powered “motorcar”, but the curse must be broken before midnight on New Year’s Eve.

A mystery person arranges for Ellie to go to the New Year’s Assembly Ball in true Fairy-Godmother style, with a race against time to break the curse.

This is my first Steampunk read, so I’ve nothing to compare it with, certainly there were mechanical attractions, magic and mystery, did the Cinderella tale add or detract from the genre? I’m not yet sure.

This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author via Curiosity Quills.

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

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT MURDER ON THE LEVELS by @FrancesEvesham #TuesdayBookBlog

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Noelle has been reading Murder On The Levels by Frances Evesham

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Book Review: Murder on the Levels by Frances Evesham

Murder on the Levels is the second in a series of short tales of murder by Frances Evesham. I was looking forward to reading this after I reviewed Murder at the Lighthouse, and I was not disappointed. This is a perfect short, cozy mystery.

Libby Forest was trapped for years in an abusive marriage, and after her husband Trevor dies, she takes some of the money from the sale of their house and buys a cottage in Exham on Sea, a small inbred coastal town. She currently works in a local bakery and hopes to have her own patisserie and chocolate shop eventually. In the meantime, she makes samples of her sweets available at the bakery.

At the beginning of this tale, Libby brings sandwiches and sweets from the bakery to the local cycling club, to the spot where they stop for lunch on one of their outings. Shortly after, everyone becomes sick and two of the bikers die. Libby, who is walking a friend’s dog, runs into the mysterious Max Ramshore, who Libby suspects is a government spy. He is also walking a dog – Bear, his enormous Carpathian sheepdog – and gets a phone call telling him his son, Joe, a detective sergeant in the local police force and one of the cyclists, has become seriously ill and has been taken to the hospital. He and Libby drive out to the wildlife reserve and what is now being treated as a crime scene. On her way home, Libby herself becomes sick. The only thing she ate that the cyclists would have eaten is an Eccles cake. Libby made it, and she knows she didn’t do anything wrong.

A poison, digitalis, is determined to be the source of the sickness. Naturally, suspicion falls on the bakery and its boss, Frank, and of course, Libby.

The book reintroduces the reader to some of the town’s colorful characters: Mandy, the young Goth who rents a room from Libby; Joe Ramshore, who resented Libby’s sleuthing in the previous mystery; Frank the baker; and Fuzzy, Libby’s marmalade cat who has an unusual liking for Bear. New are Steve, Mandy’s boyfriend, and Ali, Libby’s daughter, who comes to take care of her. Ali shocks Libby when she reveals she’s left her studies at the university and is going to build schools in a rain forest with a young man she’s met.

When Ali leaves, she deliberately places an envelope where Libby will find it; in it is a deed to a house in Leeds that Trevor left to Ali. He also deeded a house to their son, Michael. Libby is perplexed as to why her late husband would do this and becomes suspicious, since Trevor emptied all their bank accounts when he left her. Now Libby has two things to investigate, and this becomes three when, for no apparent reason, Steve is run off the rode while riding his motorcycle.

The author does a great job believably weaving together the disparate threads of this story, sending Libby hither and yon through West Country scenery and keeping the reader guessing until the very end. This is an engaging and easy read, and heralds the continuation of a wonderful mystery series. I strongly highly recommend Murder on the Levels, a great cozy to curl up with!

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