Today I’m guesting over with Rachel Poli @RPoli3 chatting about #Bookreviews #TuesdayBookBlog

Guest bloggers visit my website twice a month on Tuesday and Thursday. If you would like to be part of this, feel free to check out Rachel’s Be A Guest Blogger page.

Re-blogged from Rachel Poli

 

This week’s guest post is brought to you by Rosie Amber, where she discussed book reviewing. Thanks, Rosie!

Rosie Book Reviews

Hi Rachel,

Thank you for inviting me to your blog today for a chat about book reviewing.

I’m Rosie Amber and I run a book reviewing blog at https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/

You can also find me on Twitter @rosieamber1.

Why as a reader I think reviews are important

In today’s world the book market is reaching saturation point. Self-publishing and e-book opportunities have opened the doors to publishing which were once held closed by publishing houses. So how can authors connect to their readers? More and more people are buying books online where they look at the book cover, the book description and they check out other reader’s reviews.

I love reading and want to share the books I love with others, so what better way than by writing a review and posting it on various online platforms and book buying sites.

As a reviewer, I post reviews about nearly all the books I read as long as I can rate them 3* or above.

How can reviews help other readers?

I write short reviews. I’ll explain the book genre up front, then if it’s not one a reader likes, they can move on. I’ll usually talk quickly about the main characters and where or when the book is set. I’ll then go on to give a bit of information about the storyline, so that readers can decide themselves if the book sounds enticing. I’ll finish with a summary of what I liked about the book and if necessary what didn’t work for me. If the book needed another run through editing I will mention that and it will reflect in my rating. It’s so important in this competitive market for writers to put out their VERY best piece of work and not rush to publish.

Helping authors by sharing what I love about books

Almost two years ago I filled my blog with all my own reviews, but my request list was getting long and I was being asked to review genres which I didn’t enjoy. So I created a book review team. Members join on a voluntary basis and review books around their own lives. There is no minimum or maximum number of books to read as long as they read and review a book in a month. We post reviews on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Goodreads, reviewer’s blogs and I get a copy of each review which goes out on my own blog.

It is set up so that authors provide several copies of their work and we give them multiple reviews of the book all from one place.

In 2015 we even ran our first ever book awards around the books we had read to help share our news of fabulous books.

We have a strong social media base and if authors interact with us and our readers it really does spread news of their work in the right places. I add new features to the blog to keep it fresh and enjoy searching for new ideas and ways to reach more of the reading public.

Do drop in, say hello, pull up a chair and get comfy with people who LIKE books.

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT The Experimental Notebook by C.S Boyack @Virgilante

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Bev chose to read and review The Experimental Notebook by C.S Boyack

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Review The Experimental Notebook

 

This is a most intriguing collection. Reminiscent of Poe’s ‘Tales of Mystery and Imagination’ with a hint Asimov. The genres range between science fiction, fantasy and paranormal. They are dark for the most part, which I like, but each story is highly individual. There are robots, ghosts, and a fearless little girl who lives near a forest making cabbage soup when she’s not ridding the village of monsters (The Soup Ladle of Destiny is my personal favourite, and the funniest of the stories). All the stories have a twist. Mostly these are unexpected – although you do catch the mindset of the author after reading a few. This didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the stories, though. It just made me wonder what was coming up. In the middle of the collection, the author includes an ‘intermission’, where he addresses the reader in person. I must admit that this is the first time I’ve come across such an approach. But C. S. Boyack (Craig – if you visit his Amazon Author Page) has an engaging style, and I find the personal touch here adds to my enjoyment of the stories. It made me click on his author page!

There is an excerpt from one of his YA novels (Will O’ the Wisp) at the end of the collection. I read this too. Another charismatic set of characters and a glimpse of an intriguing plot.

I recommend this author. He’s a real spinner of yarns.

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

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The A-Z of Normal by @HelenTheWriter

Today’s team book review is from Judith, she blogs at http://judithbarrowblog.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Judith chose to read and review The A-Z of Normal by Helen Barbour

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I give The A-Z of Normal, by Helen Barbour 5*

I loved The A-Z of Normal, by Helen Barbour. Just by looking at the interesting cover I knew this wasn’t going to be a conventional romance when I chose to review this book. And thank you to Rosie and Helen for this great find.

No, this is as much the poignant story of the protagonist, Clare and her struggle with the condition of  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ( OCD) which she has kept secret from her family and friends all her life. Now, with a marriage proposal from Tom, she has to face up to all the issues that living with him will face. Although the subject of OCD is inherently distressing there is plenty of what I would call ‘dark’ humour that lifts the story and makes compulsive yet challenging reading.

As usual I will not give spoilers in my review. What I will do is urge anyone to give this book a go.

Helen Barbour has a wonderfully unique writing style and interweaves the main plot around sub plots with skill and subtlety. The story moves at a satisfying pace with no lapses

Told mainly from the first point of view of Clare, both the internal and the spoken dialogue is so well written that the words echoed in my head – always a sign to me that the speech resonates with the way  that character would talk.

Each of the characters is rounded and individual in their own way. And the interaction between them is loaded with complexity and tension that could only be expected where there is such a destructive secret. Yet it is satisfying to see how, as we gradually learn about her background, the relationship with both her father and her sister evolves

As I said at the beginning of this review, this is a book I loved. It made me think long and hard about a mental issue I hadn’t considered before and how it can ruin the life of so many people. Yet this story lifted me beyond that into admiring the writing, the words on the page. I would thoroughly recommend this book and hope we will see more from this author.

Find a copy here:

Amazon.co.uk

http://amzn.to/1JVEy2G

Amazon.com

http://amzn.to/1N98nlP

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT The Cunning Woman’s Cup by Sue Hewitt @sue9631 #wwwblogs

Today’s review comes from Liz, she blogs at https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Liz chose to read and review The Cunning Woman’s Cup by Sue Hewitt

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The Cunning Woman’s Cup by Sue Hewitt

 

In The Cunning Woman’s Cup, echoes from long ago reverberate in the lives of a small community in Northumberland. The tragic life of Mordwand of the Brigantes is briefly told in episodes at the beginning of each chapter. Events from her life impinge into the modern day lives of the other characters in the narrative and help to clarify the spiritual dimension which they experience.

 

Alice McCleish is a widow, sharing her cottage with her dog Nipper near to the farm of Wyllie and Violet Turnbull, who sadly lost their sons many years before. Alice’s perspective on life is expanded when she makes friends with Margaret Allerton, a professor of anthropology, who is walking in the area. In turn, through meeting Alice, Margaret discovers an empathy for others which she was unaware of in the past.

 

As the story evolves we meet Alice’s son, Michael, a successful but dissatisfied accountant and his irritating wife Penny. We encounter their clever daughter Marsha and practical son Dexter and soon the whole family make life-changing decisions.

 

All these events are triggered by a discovery in Alice’s garden which brings a group of archaeologists to the area, challenging Alice and others in the village to reappraise their beliefs. A new character, Avian Tyler, comes into their lives. She is attuned to the undercurrents engendered from the stone circle which dominates the skyline on Wyllie’s farm and she senses the pain and suffering hidden in the people she meets.

 

The dominantly female cast of characters in the novel undergo changes in their attitudes and lifestyle. For most, this is life-enhancing but there is also suffering. This book shows the love of a family and fellowship of friendship in a mystical setting but it also expresses the trials of modern life and the need for adaptation to the rhythms of our environment.

 

I found myself reading the book slowly so as to get to know the characters properly. With this knowledge the storyline is very rewarding even though Mordwand’s tale is distressing and I wasn’t able to fathom Avian properly. It makes a refreshing read in our hectic modern world.

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

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Back To Creative Writing School by Bridget Whelan @agoodconfession #wwwblogs

Today’s team book review comes from Aurelia

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Aurelia chose to read and review Back To Creative Writing School by Bridget Whelan

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Tired of theory and want more application and practice? Back to Creative Writing School helps you to develop and use intrapersonal skills to build stories. This book pours out prompts and exercises which not only motivate you to start writing but inspire you to continue writing. A few of the exercises could use more explanation and instructions but you definitely won’t be bogged down with too much information.

True to its title, Back to Creative Writing School explains how to use music, dictionaries, nicknames, animals, and more to fuel original writing. This book even shows you how to use simple board games to write  adventure stories. You’ll learn how to take dog-eared clichés and turn them into memorable and blossoming descriptors. Rather than picking character names, you’ll learn how to invent them. Finally, there are over thirty sources for endless writing ideas not commonly found in other books on writing. Without hesitation, I highly recommend this book.

My favorite quote: “The only limit is your imagination and the more you exercise it the more it will stretch.” –Bridget Whelan

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

Stranger At Sunset by Eden Baylee

Stranger at SunsetStranger at Sunset by Eden Baylee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stranger at Sunset is a mystery, Psychological thriller set in Jamaica. It opens with a prologue and a body is thrown from a balcony with a witness to the scene.

The main body of the story then begins, the Pearsons own Sunset Villas in Jamaica and their business has suffered from Hurricane Sandy and a bad review from travel writer Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back to the resort hoping to get him to write a better review or retract the first one. Several friends come to support the Pearsons during this challenging week.

There are quite a few characters in the book to keep you busy and this allows for several red herrings in the storyline. The guests all dine together with the hosts at the villa and several of them dislike reviewer Matthew Kane, which isn’t helping plans to make his stay a pleasant one.

Kate Hampton is one of their guests, a psychologist, she finds herself analysing Mr Kane and tries hard to pacify his negative attitude towards the resort and her friends. There are lots of clues along the way for you to guess your own outcome to the story.
Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

In Praise Of Lilith, Eve And The Serpent In The Garden Of Eden And Other Stories by Susan Scott

In Praise Of Lilith, Eve And The Serpent In The Garden Of Eden And Other StoriesIn Praise Of Lilith, Eve And The Serpent In The Garden Of Eden And Other Stories by Susan Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book comes in the form of a series of essays which look deeply into author Susan Scott’s life and how she feels about herself and the power of womankind. It will take you on the highs and lows of some of the basic meanings of life and even goes beyond the veil in the world of dreams.

I particularly enjoyed the essay about Susan’s garden, finding a new treasure, nurturing the life and finding the reflection on life by clearing away the rubbish. In fact it inspired me to get up and go and clean my own house from top to bottom and then start on my own garden. And yes it felt really good afterwards.

I also liked the story about picking up rubbish on the beach. I too pick up litter and I understood where Susan was coming from in her belief that people have lost their connection to all that is nature.

The Essay about Lilith , Eve and the serpent in the garden taught me much about blame, rejection and repression and how these feelings become banished emotions within us but bubble to the surface in all sorts of illnesses unless we learn to deal with them.

There was also much to ponder and face in the essay about dreams. Looking deeply at the symbols and finding a balance in our lives. The last essay is about a momentous trip to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and we follow Susan and her fellow climbers through pain and hardship as they complete the trip and reflect on what it meant to them.

When reading this book I went though many sets of emotions, I was inspired, lost and humbled. It’s not an easy read at times, but I think it will affect each reader in a very different way.

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

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Susan is our guest author tomorrow, do come back and find out more about her and her writing.

Good Deeds Week January 26th – February 1st

Welcome to my weekly roundup of my year long challenge to do one Good deed a day for a year. This challenge began back in April 2013 and is still going strong. My inspiration came from reading “A Year of Doing Good” by Judith O’Reilly. Here is what I’ve been up to this week.

Good deeds

January 26th – A Good Deed completed and a Good Deed received all in one today. I was invited to write a post for a new feature on Words Unlimited called High Five, where guests talk about their top 5 in any subject. I’ve just sent off a draft all about books I’ve recently read, and of course they get a mention here on the blog. Good Deeds all around.

January 27th – My morning helping out at school today, Good Deed ticked off.

January 28th – Whilst at work this morning a friendly young man came in to the office. He represented an animal feed merchant. He explained he’d been to agricultural college, graduated,this was his first job and he was driving around his patch looking for new business. I gave him the contact details of the relevant farm partners rather that brushing him off because he was one of the lucky ones and had a job, so I wanted to give him a chance.

January 29th – Met a friend for coffee and treated us both. Stopped off at the charity shops on the way home and bought some books.

January 30th – Here in the UK some supermarkets use a system for the trolleys (carts) where you need a £1 coin or similar sized token to release the trolley for use. As I was returning my trolley to the trolley bay I was able to help an elderly gentlemen release his £1 coin which was stuck in the lock, a quick tweak and the coin was released.

Good Deeds received had an amazing write up from John Howell on his blog as a thank you for hosting his new book promotion “My GLR“. Here is a link to his post http://wp.me/p2Qoij-11p

January 31st – The February Issue of Fleet Life is online today with my page of book reviews. This months books and authors are; “The Omega Paradox” by Richard Kellier, “Nine Lives” by Terry Tyler, “The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning” by Hallgrimur Helgason, “The New Granny’s Survival Guide” by Gransnet and “Twelve Days” by Jade Reyner. Go to www.fleetlife.org.uk, click on the online directory and find my reviews on page 26.

February 1st – I can’t believe it’s February already. I have 14 confirmed letters booked in my A to Z Challenge and 2 more that may get booked by the end of the weekend. Many of the harder letters are left to fill. If you know someone who may have a book I could use please get them to contact me. Today I’ve accepted 3 more books to read and review. I shall start on them once I’ve finished my little self indulgent re-read of Twilight.

Today I met up with a lady that I last saw 6 months ago. At that time she had just had a grand-daughter born, who was very ill in hospital undergoing major surgery after just a few days of being born. I didn’t know if the baby had survived, and it was a difficult question to ask, but I’m glad I did. The baby survived.

Bless you all.

Good Deeds week 12th – 18th January

I’m now in to my ninth month of my year of Good Deeds challenge, where I try to do at least one Good Deed a day and I write about them. I find that, for me, this brings their value to the forefront of my thoughts. My inspiration came from reading “A Year of Doing Good” by Judith O’Reilly.

Let’s catch up with my Good deeds for the week.

Good deeds

Sunday 12th – A low profile day today and just 2 book review posts sent out.

Monday 13th – My Good Deed morning at school volunteering didn’t go as planned. I was interrupted by 3 phone calls, now I don’t like to answer my phone in school it’s rude, but since I updated my phone on Saturday the thing hasn’t stopped ringing. (The reason I needed an update being that I got little reception with the old one because it was nearly conked out, I used to have a quiet life, sigh!) Hubby needed me to cut my morning short and race home to sign for a parcel. Then a “Lovely man” from HMRC (Her Majesty’s Customs and Revenue) wanted to arrange a telephone appointment with me to check on my Money Laundering procedures. (Don’t ask! And No! I’m not printing money! It’s because I do a little book keeping.) Agreed he could ring me Wednesday, well I couldn’t actually refuse!

Signed for the parcel. Collected and delivered some farm potatoes for my friend, the ****phone rang again while I was driving to the supermarket. Parked the car and tried to ring the brother-in-law back, played ping pong phoning each other, as his phone kept going to voicemail, finally got through and gave him more computer advice. Did my grocery shopping. Answered the ringing phone again to a little old lady who rang twice, nice to chat to her but I’m not called Barbara! “You’ve go the wrong number, luv”

Posted another book review for Della Connor and her book Spirit Warriors. I’ll be reviewing this on the blog early February along with a lovely guest author post and your chance to win a copy of the book too.

Tuesday 14th- A work morning and I did more than was required because when I spoke to my colleague last evening she was still at work way after her going home time because she had so much to do. (She sounded more stressed than I was. Is that the phone again?) The phone’s ringing again! One of the partners at work rang me twice (Ha! Bad reception and he got cut off) trying to find some paperwork that I’d tidied away, fortunately (Good Deed) I remembered where I’d put it.

The parcel I signed for yesterday turned out to be only one quarter of the full delivery, the parcel tracking service claims it was delivered last Thursday, but to where? Husband set off knocking on doors around the estate last evening to no avail. Then today a lady kindly knocked on our door with a complicated tale about the missing parcels, but we’re still not sure where they are. I’d go and collect the parcels if we knew which house they’d got to.

Good Deeds received, plenty of Good luck wishes for my telephone audit tomorrow, it’s not enjoyable being questioned by Government officials.

Wednesday 15th – Phew! Passed my MLR audit. Have just Okey the proof of February’s edition of my Rosie’s Good Reads for Fleet Life, I always get excited seeing my work in print. 5 more author’s get a bit more publicity, I’ll blog about them when the paper copy arrives through my door in a couple more weeks. finished reading The Dating Game by Susan Buchanan, drafting a post for early February.

Thursday 16th – Gave a money donation to Action for Children, a charity that supports and speaks out for the UK’s most vulnerable and neglected children and young people, for as long as it takes to make a difference in their lives…

Friday 17th – Posted another book review on Goodreads and Amazon for a book which looks like it splits the readers into those that love it and those that hate it. I’ll be posting my own review of Prince of Wolves by Quinn Loftis here on the blog in mid February. Left a tip for my hairdresser in thanks, after she had tamed my wild locks.

Saturday 18th – Made a donation to Helping the Heroes, a UK Military Charity whilst I was in Aldershot, Home of the British Army. Then headed home to do a bit more reading.