Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistoricalFiction THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR by @AilishSinclair

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

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading The Mermaid And The Bear by Ailish Sinclair

48065890. sy475

Scotland in 1597 was not a place to be a woman, especially a woman of faith, opinions or healing gifts.  But Isobell has fled from her London home to avoid marriage to a cruel Englishman and has found kindness and friendship in a Scottish castle.  Hiding her wealthy background, she starts work as a kitchen maid but her clumsy mistakes reveal her lack of experience.  While Bessie, the housekeeper guards her secrets, Isobell must be more cautious with Agnes, the spiteful governess and Christen, the aristocratic lady of the house.

Soon Isobell is captivated by the impressive castle and its fairy tale setting and she finds meeting the Laird is an overwhelming experience. It is a pleasure to read of their growing romance despite misunderstandings but as they grow closer, others gather to cause pain and suffering.

This carefully researched story is based on true events in Aberdeen when cruel men gained power over innocent women by accusing them of witchcraft.  It is a horrifying story from our history, mirrored in other parts of the United Kingdom.  Thankfully in The Mermaid and the Bear the sadness is tempered by love and kinship in a believable and satisfying conclusion.  An enchanting novel.

Book description

Isobell needs to escape. She has to. Her life depends on it.

She has a plan and it’s a well thought-out, well observed plan, to flee her privileged life in London and the cruel man who would marry her, and ruin her, and make a fresh start in Scotland.

She dreams of faery castles, surrounded by ancient woodlands and misty lochs… and maybe even romance, in the dark and haunted eyes of a mysterious Laird.

Despite the superstitious nature of the time and place, her dreams seem to be coming true, as she finds friendship and warmth, love and safety. And the chance for a new beginning…

Until the past catches up with her.

Set in the late sixteenth century, at the height of the Scottish witchcraft accusations, The Mermaid and the Bear is a story of triumph over evil, hope through adversity, faith in humankind and – above all – love.

AmazonUK | AmzonUS

48065890. sy475

Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #RegencyRomance Unlaced By The Highland Duke by @laratemple1 #TuesdayBookBlog

Unlaced by the Highland Duke (The Lochmore Legacy, #2)Unlaced by the Highland Duke by Lara Temple

4.5 stars

Unlaced By The Highland Duke is book two of The Lochmore Legacy 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.

Book two is set in 1815. Duke Benneit Lochmore is a widower. He has a lively young son, Jamie, who dreams of becoming an explorer. The Duke is persuaded to give a temporary home to Jo, a distant relative. She will help care for Jamie while the Duke is running his estate and planning his second marriage.

I loved Jo’s Pied Piper style magic that weaved its way into the hearts of all those who lived and worked in the castle. The stories that she created for Jamie were a delight, and I wanted to go exploring for treasures left by mermaids and giants alongside Jamie on the local beaches.

There is plenty of romance too, and links to book one. I did go back to remind myself of how these characters fitted with the first story as they only have a minor role in the outset of the series. I also thought there might have been a little more about the ongoing mystery than there was. However it is still a very good Regency romance and could easily be read as a stand-alone story. Overall, the settings, story and characters ticked plenty of boxes for this genre.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

A plain Regency governess

In bed with the duke!

Part of The Lochmore Legacy: a Scottish castle through the ages! Unceremoniously packed off to Scotland to care for the Duke of Lochmore’s young son, practical widow Joane Langdale fears she will be ignored as always. But the deep connection and heated passion that develops between her and Benneit is far more dangerous! When Benneit is expected to propose to another, how dare Jo dream of becoming his duchess?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Of Noir #Fiction Moristoun by Kevin McAllion @Moristoun set in #Scotland

MoristounMoristoun by Kevin McAllion

4 stars

Moristoun is a noir fiction novel which is set on a Scottish island and features the subject of suicide.

Public defender Buchan is needed urgently on the mainland. Part of his work includes trying to prevent suicides. His latest case is James McSorely, a thirty-year-old who has a long list of misfortunes, and Buchan hopes that a quick intervention will turn McSorely’s life around. He offers McSorely a job as his assistant on the island of Moristoun with the added bonus of free accommodation.

Most of the inhabitants of Moristoun are stuck in their day-to-day routines. Being cut off from mainland Scotland, there is also very little to occupy them, except for football. This is a favourite topic of conversation in a pub called the Tortured Soul.

But all is not what it seems. Apart from Buchan, the only island inhabitants able to return to the mainland are McSorley and Gail, the pub landlord’s daughter. Secrets are being kept and McSorley discovers that he wants answers.

I would describe this as an intense story, and I found I needed to take breaks from it before continuing. One drawback was that some of the chapters jump back to the past with no warning, so I was not always immediately aware in which era I was reading, and this made the secondary storylines harder to pick up each time. A chapter heading to indicate the time jump would have made the reading flow better.

The suicide theme was woven through the grim setting. The author used a mix of criminal action and seedy characters, which worked well for the genre, and there were also moments of wry humour to lift the bleak future of the island’s inhabitants. A different read for me, not a genre I often choose, but it’s good to shake up reading habits from time-to-time.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

McSorely has had enough. His life has spiralled out of control and nothing has gone his way. There seems to be only one option open to him, one last thing he can do to take control of his fate. All hope is lost.
But far away on the mysterious island of Moristoun, Buchan is charged with the task of dissuading McSorely from this drastic course of action. Moristoun is where people like McSorely might end up, having exchanged one kind of hopelessness for another.
A glimpse of the ‘life’ he might be heading for might change McSorely’s opinion of his own existence, but a glimpse of the entrancing Gail behind the bar in the pub and a hint about Moristoun’s true nature could render all of Buchan’s efforts to rehabilitate the despairing McSorely equally hopeless.

About the author

I was born in Dundee but now live in Glasgow with my wife Thanyalak and daughter Jennifer. I have worked as sports journalist since 1997, when I started out writing football match reports for The Sunday Mail newspaper while still a journalism student.

Since then I’ve written and edited for a wide range of publications, including the Scottish Daily Express, The Big Issue in Scotland, The Herald, The Scottish Standard and The Scottish Daily Mail. I now work full-time as a sub-editor for the Daily Record and Sunday Mail.

When not at work I relax at home with my family and survey my simian empire, rhesuspark.com, which is probably the world’s only spoof monkey park.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s Team The Unrivalled Transcendence of Willem J Gyle by @James_D_Dixon #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Unrivalled Transcendence Of Willem J Gyle

36159053

5 stars

What a find.  This book is seriously good.  I mean, seriously.  I’d recommend it to anyone, whatever your usual genres of choice.

Willem J Gyle is a bit slow.  But he gets by.  He lives with his mother, who takes care of all his needs, including finding him a job on a construction site which suits his size and strength, and where he makes friends.  He loves his mam, his dog, and the football on the telly.  Then, in just a few days, his world comes crashing down, and Willem finds himself homeless.  Having neither verbal skill nor knowledge of how ‘the system’ works, he is unable to find anyone to help him, and drifts into a life on the streets and, inevitably, crime.  Much to my surprise, his darker side comes to the fore, but is this innate psychopathy, anger at the world, an expression of pain for all he has lost, or just a primal instinct for survival?  I thought it was a combination of all those elements.

Winding up in a community of other homeless people, which he considers, at first, to be ‘no more perfect place … outside the law, above the law’, he soon finds out that it’s a reflection of the ‘real’ world, corrupt, with the weaker members suffering.  And on he walks….

Although the blurb appealed to me, I was dubious at first; the book starts off well-written but whimsical, which, coupled with the too-long and pretentious title, made me wonder if it would be slow-going.  But four pages in I was completely hooked, and stayed that way until the end.  J D Dixon has a real gift, the innate sort that cannot be learned from classes, ‘how to write’ books, blog posts, or anything else.  To me, writing talent is all about being able to create characters and worlds that absorb the reader completely, needing no wordy description, and JDD has this in spades.  He writes in a spare fashion, which I like.  He doesn’t explain, or over-emphasise.

The book is raw, rough in places, and sometimes shocking. It’s also immensely sad. It’s just – great. One of the best debut novels I’ve ever read.

Book description

In a Scotland beset with depression, Willem is one victim among many. He loses his job, his mother dies and he is forced out of the flat they shared. Seeing no other option, he takes to the streets of Edinburgh, where he soon learns the cruelty felt outside the confines of his comfortable life. Stories from his past are interwoven with his current strife as he tries to figure out the nature of this new world and the indignities it brings. Determined to live freely, he leaves Edinburgh, hiking into the Scottish Highlands to seek solitude, peace and an unhampered, pure vision of life at nature’s breast.

The Unrivalled Transcendence of Willem J. Gyle is at once a lyrical, haunting novel and a set piece in the rage of an oppressed, forgotten community. J. D. Dixon’s sparse, brutal language captures the energy and isolation of desperation, uniting despondency and untrammelled anger in the person of his protagonist.

About the author

J. D. Dixon was born in London in 1990. He studied English Literature and History at Goldsmiths College, University of London, before pursuing a career as a writer. He currently lives with his wife, the psychologist Dr Lauren Hadley, in Edinburgh.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Girl In The Castle by @lizzie_lamb #Romance with a rich Scottish setting #MenInKilts #Castles

Girl in the Castle: Henriette's Highland HideawayGirl in the Castle: Henriette’s Highland Hideaway by Lizzie Lamb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Girl In The Castle is a romance set in Scotland. Doctor Henriette Bruar (Henri) has run away from a scandal at her university to spend a few months cataloguing the contents of the library at Castle Tèarmannair. She is employed by Laird Malcolm MacKenzie, and hopes to find enough valuable books to help pay off some of the castle’s many debts.

Henri faces a frosty reception from the lecherous laird’s employees and his son, as they all believe she is one more in a long line of useless, money draining floozies. But she isn’t in the mood for romance, and intends to do the work she was employed to do and write her university paper in her free time.

There are few books in the library worth saving, but Henri does find old household accounts which might be of some value, and she shares her find with the Laird’s son, Keir. They agree to keep the find secret from Malcolm until they can get them valued in case he rushes to sell them off. However Henri is convinced that she’s missing something important in her search.

The author paints a great picture of the Scottish landscape and the castle setting adding details about Scottish traditions, legends, tartan and whisky. The dialogue is interlaced with lots of Gaelic and lowland Scottish dialect which, at times, slowed down the book, but this is my own preference in reading; others will find it a great addition.

As always one of the great strengths in this author’s work is her secondary characters, such as outspoken Aunt Alice, chatelaine of the castle, and controversial Lachlan, the Laird’s man. Together they add humour and ground the story when it threatens to take flight, and rumours about Henri and Keir abound.

This book will appeal to readers who love a traditional romance and who enjoy historic Scottish settings.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Her academic career in tatters, Dr Henriette Bruar needs somewhere to lay low, plan her comeback and restore her tarnished reputation. Fate takes her to a remote Scottish castle to auction the contents of an ancient library to pay the laird’s mounting debts. The family are in deep mourning over a tragedy which happened years before, resulting in a toxic relationship between the laird and his son, Keir MacKenzie. Cue a phantom piper, a lost Jacobite treasure, and a cast of characters who – with Henri’s help, encourage the MacKenzies to confront the past and move on. However – will the Girl in the Castle be able to return to university once her task is completed, and leave gorgeous, sexy Keir MacKenzie behind?

About the author

Lizzie Lamb

With Scottish, Irish, and Brazilian blood in her veins, it’s hardly surprising that Lizzie Lamb is a writer. She even wrote extra scenes for the films she watched as a child and acted out in the playground with her friends. She is ashamed to admit that she kept all the good lines for herself. Luckily, she saves them for her readers these days.

Lizzie’s love of writing went on hold while she pursued a successful teaching career, finishing up as a Deputy Head teacher of a large primary school. Since deciding to leave the profession to realise her dream of becoming a published novelist, Lizzie hasn’t looked back. She wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted – which echoes her love of her homeland in every page, not to mention heroes in kilts – and published it. Lizzie loves the quick fire interchange between the hero and heroine – like in old black and white Hollywood movies – and hope this comes over in her writing.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

#HotNews We’ve been nominated for a Best Book Blogger in the 2017 BloggersBash awards and we need your votes. Please vote here (Best Book Blogger)

Thank you.

http://sachablack.co.uk/2017/05/18/2017-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-voting-open-bloggersbash-bloggersbash/