Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Sandra reviews #thriller Hiding by @jmortonpotts

Today’s team review is from Sandra.

#RBRT Review Team

Sandra has been reading Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

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Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts is a well-written and tightly plotted thriller that keeps you guessing right to the very end. Keller Baye’s father is being executed on death row for his involvement in a crime we know nothing about. Rebecca Brown is living on the remote northwest coast of Scotland with her brother, sister and grandparents, overshadowed by the death of her parents in a mysterious accident. Keller and Rebecca are introduced to us in alternate chapters and to begin with their stories have no obvious connection but gradually converge as we learn more of their backstories. The characters are believable if not entirely sympathetic (except perhaps Rebecca’s grandfather); Rebecca is weird and Keller is completely loathsome (in no small part due to their strange childhoods), but you still want to know how it will all work out. Why did Keller target Rebecca (and not one of her siblings) as the cause of his father’s incarceration and death?  This is left to the reader to decide for themselves. The pace is slow to begin with to build up the suspense then rushes towards an ending with even more surprises in store. The cover art is striking and would stand out on a bookshop shelf. This is the first book by Jenny Morton Potts that I have read but it certainly won’t be the last. Thanks to the author for a free copy of this book which I review as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Book description

A gripping psychological thriller with chilling twists, from a unique new voice.

Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.

This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?

About the author

Jenny Morton Potts was born in a smart, dull suburb of Glasgow where the only regular excitement was burglary. Attended a smart, dull school where the only regular excitement was the strap. Worked in smart, dull sales and marketing jobs until realising she was living someone else’s life.

Escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon who wanted to talk about The Da Vinci Code, wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England – and unlikely ever to leave again – Jenny, with assistance from loyal hound, walked and swam her way back to manageable health.

Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, partnered for 28 years, she ought to mention, and living with inspirational child in Derbyshire.

Jenny Morton Potts

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT @SassyKebkerr reviews #NewRelease HIDING by @jmortonpotts

Today’s team review is from Karen B, she blogs here http://sassyredheadbookreviews.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Hiding by Jenny M Potts

A different read for me, with a different twist at the end. Not what I expected at all.

Keller is looking to get pay back for his father’s sentencing after a heist gone wrong with the murder of an ex judge. He wants retribution for his father taking the fall for the disaster that occurred that day in NC.

Rebecca wants answers as to where her parents are and what happened to them. When she begins to dig around in old newspapers she only ends up with more questions.

This book goes back and forth between years with the history of what happened and present day. The story is well written and the back and forth between the years is done well.

This thriller will keep you hoping for the best for both of these young people who are thrown into this predicament because of their parents. This story shows that things aren’t always as they seem and that we may not always have the power to make our lives out to be what we hope for. I give this story a 4.5 star review. Although, the end left me with more questions than answers.

Book description

A gripping psychological thriller with chilling twists, from a unique new voice.

Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.

This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?

About the author

Jenny Morton Potts was born in a smart, dull suburb of Glasgow where the only regular excitement was burglary. Attended a smart, dull school where the only regular excitement was the strap. Worked in smart, dull sales and marketing jobs until realising she was living someone else’s life.

Escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon who wanted to talk about The Da Vinci Code, wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England – and unlikely ever to leave again – Jenny, with assistance from loyal hound, walked and swam her way back to manageable health.

Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, partnered for 28 years, she ought to mention, and living with inspirational child in Derbyshire.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT The Unrivalled Transcendence of Willem J. Gyle by @James_D_Dixon

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

#RBRT Review Team

Judith has been reading The Unrivalled Transcendence of Willem J. Gyle by James Dixon

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My Review:

I finished The Unrivalled Transcendence of Willem J Gyle thinking this has to be made into a film. And I’m ashamed to say I finished the book almost a week ago and have dithered on how to review because the emotion that it has stirred in me prevented a rational and objective/subjective ‘putting down words here’. Which delay does the author, James Dixon, no favours at all, I know.

All I can say is that this is a brilliantly compelling read: the author’s stark but totally gripping style, the twists and turns of the story, the layering of the protagonist’s character and the many other characters that people this book and  the multiplicity of themes, all make The Unrivalled Transcendence of Willem J Gyle a novel that stands out…unrivalled in my opinion, especially as  it is a debut novels. But it also hits home… hard. This is a  harsh indictment of our times, of our country, of our humanity. Over the top? I don’t think so (having worked for a short while among such disadvantaged people – I believe the author has researched well.)

A little slow to begin with, the pace of the story then moves inextricably towards the protagonist’s decline, from bewildered homelessness, which instills pity in the reader to a brutal callousness and a total lack of empathy for and with those around him; his thoughts and actions shock and sicken. And yet, for me, the sympathy still hovers for Willem.

A word on the title: at a time when many titles are of one or two words I found this one intriguing. (I’d maybe suggest cut out the word “Unrivalled”?)

And the cover? Loved the way the protagonist blends in with the brickwork behind him; much as he disappears from the view of those that pass him by.

Would I recommend The Unrivalled Transcendence of Willem J Gyle? You bet!! All I can say to anyone, whatever their usual preferred genre is …  please do read it.

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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