Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT vintage #mystery Fatal Finds In Nuala by @harrietsteel1

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Fatal Finds In Nuala by Harriet Steel

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Inspector Shanti de Silva is already regretting the whim that made him arrange a visit to see his colleague Inspector Singh in Hatton during the monsoon season. A fallen tree had blocked the road since he passed through earlier on, which necessitated de Silva taking the old road back to Nuala. Before he’d gone very far his beloved Morris gave up the ghost and coasted to a stop. De Silva had two choices—walk into town or stay with the car in the jungle. He decided on the first option. After a little while he heard something that stopped him in his tracks.

~~’It came again, fading against the howl of the wind. He squared his shoulders. Perhaps he was imagining things and it was just the wind. Briskly he stepped out once more.
Then his heart started to pound. A pinpoint of white light was emerging from the darkness, dipping and swaying, emitting an inhuman wail that froze his blood.’~~

After his escapade in the jungle de Silva awakened the next morning feeling distinctly under the weather. Jane, his wife, tried to persuade him to take the day off but he didn’t want to miss his regular appointment with Archie Clutterbuck, the assistant government agent in Nuala and de Silva’s superior. On de Silva’s return to the police station there’s a report of a missing man from one of the villages and Sergeant Prasanna asks permission to search the area with Constable Nadar. Recalling the noises he heard the previous night, de Silva joins the search. They find more than they bargained for.

The investigation gains momentum, despite the monsoon making everything much more difficult. Jane and Clutterbuck, who is home alone while his wife is cruising, join in the search for artefacts in the jungle, bringing about what turns out to be a hazardous train journey to Colombo for De Silva and Jane.

It was lovely to be able to have a return visit to colonial 1930s Ceylon and catch up with the colourful, engaging and well-rounded characters peopling this series. It’s written well, incorporating the complexities of the social structure, the local dishes and vividly descriptive prose together with quite a fast moving and well thought through plot. De Silva and Jane moved from Colombo to Nuala for a slower, less fraught lifestyle but in this episode de Silva finds himself in some desperate situations, not helped by the dreadful weather conditions. I think he, and Jane, deserve the holiday they discussed.

Book description

In this fourth instalment of the Inspector de Silva mysteries, it is monsoon season in the Hill Country. One stormy night, a ghostly encounter on a lonely road leads de Silva into a case of murder, and a mystery that stretches back to Ceylon’s distant past. To uncover the truth, he will have to face death and his inner demons.
Fatal Finds in Nuala is another absorbing and colourful mystery in this series that vividly portrays Sri Lanka’s Colonial past.

About the author

Harriet Steel wrote four historical novels before turning to crime with the Inspector de Silva mysteries, inspired by time spent in Sri Lanka (the former Ceylon)). Her work has also appeared in national newspapers and magazines. Visit her blog to sign up to her monthly newsletter for news of new releases and great offers, harrietsteel.blogspot.co.uk/
She’s married with two daughters and lives in Surrey. When she’s not writing, she likes reading, long walks and visiting art galleries and museums.

Harriet Steel

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #crimefiction #TuesdayBookBlog One Step Ahead by @DenverAuthor

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading One Step Ahead (Gamekeeper Turned Poacher #1) by Denver Murphy

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Detective Inspector Jeffrey Brandt retires after a long and very successful career with one aim in mind. He has always been able to understand what drives people to kill and was therefore able to find motives even in cases that didn’t follow a pattern or plan. The more offenders who were found not guilty as the years went by made Brandt wonder what it was all for. He decided to take action in order to make the British public wake up and change their attitude towards the justice system.

‘Over time the crimes he was investigating, the affronts to decency and humanity, now only seemed viewed as unpleasant and inconvenient by-products of the modern age. Society had become so desensitised to violence, be it real or fictional, that what he was doing hardly seemed to matter anymore.’

Detective Chief Inspector Stella Johnson doesn’t believe in the perfect murder. There’s always a clue, you just have to look hard enough. Nobody is infallible. Together with the newest member of the team, her protégé PC McNeil, the team work to uncover the identity of the murderer.

As stated in the description, this takes the classic cat and mouse scenario and flips it on its head. Brandt’s moral decline pitted against Johnson’s single minded sense of purpose makes this a plot based police procedural, which comes from both Brandt’s and Johnson’s perspectives. This works well giving a rounded view of what’s happening.

Brandt is an unusual and quite scary character to say the least, going from a highly regarded police officer to a serial killer who believes he’s doing something for the greater good. What a skewed mindset…. but it definitely gives the story an edge.

I liked that I didn’t know where the plot was taking me….and what a twist at the end. Given that, and the fact there’s a follow on, it’s anyone’s guess where the story will go next.

Book description

Detective Superintendent Brandt has found the perfect murderer.

Himself.

And he will use his unparalleled knowledge of how to escape detection to kill; again and again, because the people of Britain need awakening from their slumber of indifference, having been desensitised by the violence that is gripping the country.

Brandt’s going to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end when you hear footsteps behind you. He’s going to make you look twice at that stranger walking towards you.

He’s going to make you afraid for your own safety and those around you.

Or he’s going to kill you.

But DCI Stella Johnson believes she can catch him. There is no such thing as a perfect murderer; everyone makes mistakes. The crime scenes may be lacking evidence, but each one tells its own story.

Aided by her young protege PC McNeil, and with their personal chemistry growing as fast as their working relationship, can she separate the murders’ facts from Brandt’s fiction to uncover the person behind these killings?

One Step Ahead takes the classic cat and mouse tale and flips it on its head. The intrigue behind Brandt’s dramatic descent into criminality, and Johnson’s determination to change the game, has captivated readers with its fascinating characters and compelling plot.

About the author

I’m an independent author trying to chart my own course in the vast sea of self-published works. My novels cover a variety of genres but one thing links them all: concerns with the humanity. Whether it’s the greed of individuals, happy to risk what they have in the pursuit of more, or people’s indifference to the ills that blight society, so long as they are not directly affected themselves, each of my books has a dark undertone.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Thriller Twisted Truth (Peter Hatherall Mystery) by @DianaJFebry

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Twisted Truth by Diana J Febry

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Megan Roach is a journalist working with her University photographer friend, Rob, for a local newspaper. Not quite what Megan had envisaged as a career. Their present brief is to show care homes in a good light after the recent scandals. While packing up the equipment, Megan’s attention is caught by an elderly man in a wheelchair. She was amazed when the man jumped out of the wheelchair and shut the door, before handing her a package, saying he had evidence of a murder. Megan was skeptical but the man was insistent, and Megan was still searching for her big break. What could she lose by taking a look at the package?

DCI Peter Hatherall is very reluctantly attending a pagan wedding with his wife and partner DI Fiona Williams. The description of the wedding is fabulous and, judging by the one I watched at Glastonbury Abbey, it’s pretty spot on and although there wasn’t a maypole it was a sight to behold. Peter is approached by the groom, who’s worried because two of the guests who apparently possess some disturbing information, hadn’t made it to the wedding. He believes they are in terrible danger and wants Peter to investigate.

As Megan tries to make sense of the contents of the package, she begins asking questions about the evidence contained in the included notes, not realising she is at risk of losing her job…even her life. The deeper she digs the more she loses her grip on reality and the more her life spirals out of control.

Megan is portrayed very well as an unreliable character, her credibility is compromised fairly quickly. An incident outside a shop when an elderly man is being tormented by a group of youths seems to be the catalyst for Megan’s instability. She sometimes appears quite unappealing and quite often I found myself rolling my eyes at her questionable behaviour, sometimes wanting to give her a good shake. Given her upbringing it was understandable up to a point, she is quite vulnerable and seems very immature. I did find myself sympathising with her a little more as the narrative progresses.

Meanwhile Peter and Fiona are investing reports of a runaway, as well as the disappearance of Dick’s friends. The plot is well constructed and told from various perspectives, tying the threads up neatly in the end. I enjoyed learning more about Peter and Fiona’s personal circumstances. Both are having personal issues, and Fiona’s final decision really surprised me. Nevertheless, I enjoyed catching up with them both and look forward to more.

Book description

It’s hard to defend yourself when you have memory lapses, and everyone thinks you are crazy.
Journalist, Megan Roach, is given a story by an old man in a nursing home that could make her famous. When her carefully constructed life starts to unravel, she is forced to confront her childhood demons and the possibility she could be a murderer.
DCI Peter Hatherall uncovers a conspiracy that confronts his own beliefs and goes far deeper than Megan Roach imagined. But can he believe anything she says?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT @CathyRy reviews #crimefiction Brand New Friend by @k8vane

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Brand New Friend by Kate Vane

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BBC journalist/reporter Paolo Bennet was recording a report when his phone rang. The caller was Mark, an old friend from his student days, with an urgent appeal for him to come to Leeds. Scenting a story and curious, Paolo agrees. On the train journey north Paolo scours the internet for anything he can find out about Mark. He wants to find out the truth—about Mark, his handler and about who caused a fire and unexplained death on campus back in the 80s. Paolo knew Mark Benson as an animal rights activist but he has now been exposed as undercover policeman Mark Swift. Paolo is conflicted after learning the truth about Mark and is unsure about his one time friend’s motives. Nevertheless, he travels to Leeds and meets Mark, only to learn Mark’s former police handler, Sid, has been murdered.

‘Paolo had so many questions he didn’t know where to start. On the train he had started to make notes, like he was preparing for an interview, structuring questions to establish a narrative arc — the political context, how Mark got involved, why he didn’t go back.

What it felt like to betray his friends.’

The narrative alternates between Paolo’s time at university and the present and it wasn’t quite what I was expecting and that threw me a bit. I’d assumed it would be primarily a murder mystery, but that aspect was very much in the background. The story’s main focus is the characters, their pasts and present and how everything connects. That made it quite a slow starter for me and I found some of the passages were a little too dialogue heavy. Once I’d changed mindset from a murder mystery to a character driven story I was able to get into it more.

Paolo has obvious doubts about someone who had influenced him so much as a young man but the promise of a story spurs him on to chase leads and look up his old university friends. Could Mark have killed Sid? If so, why? Paolo knows now Mark is a liar but does he really believe Mark could be a killer. And what, if anything, has any of this to do with what happened on campus.

It was interesting to witness the perceptively described and played out dynamics between the diverse group of students. How the characters and their attitudes and principles, seemingly all but Mark’s, had changed in the years between university and present day. And as it happens, Mark wasn’t the only one who was sparing with the truth. Paolo started life as the more ordinary Paul Bennett. Some serious issues were tackled in the story, including animal testing and fracking, without being prejudicial either way. I would have enjoyed a little more exploration into the murder case but that’s just my personal preference. What makes this stand out are the extremely good character studies.

Book description

Friend. Liar. Killer?

BBC foreign correspondent Paolo Bennett is exiled to a London desk – and the Breakfast sofa – when he gets a call from Mark, a friend from university in eighties Leeds. Paolo knew Mark as a dedicated animal rights activist but now a news blog has exposed him as an undercover police officer. Then Mark’s former police handler is murdered.

Paolo was never a committed campaigner. He was more interested in women, bands and dreaming of a life abroad. Now he wonders if Mark’s exposure and his handler’s murder might be linked to an unexplained death on campus back when they were friends. What did he miss?

Paolo wants the truth – and the story. He chases up new leads and old friends. From benefit gigs and peace protests, to Whatsapp groups and mocktail bars, the world has changed, but Mark still seems the same.

Is Mark the spy who never went back – who liked his undercover life better than his own? Or is he lying now? Is Paolo’s friend a murderer?

About the author

I’m an author of (mostly) crime and suspense, living in Devon.

My crime novel, Brand New Friend, will be published on 5 June 2018.

I have written for BBC drama Doctors and have had short stories and articles published in various publications and anthologies, including Mslexia and Scotland on Sunday.

I mainly read crime and literary fiction with some non-fiction and am a recent convert to audiobooks.

Kate Vane

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#familysaga #womensfiction #adoption Connectedness by @SandraDanby #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Connectedness by Sandra Danby

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Beginning with a short, intriguing prologue, we become acquainted with Justine King as she attends her mother’s funeral in Yorkshire. Justine is a very successful artist and her story unfolds through present and past narratives. Justine’s return to her childhood home kindled memories, and thoughts on the path her life had taken after learning of her friend’s betrayal when they were teenagers. Turning emotions into art she created a collage which paved her way into art college and a subsequent year of study in Malaga.

Justine’s time in Spain was difficult, financially and emotionally, made worse by having no support. On her return to England, just as she thought things might work out, she faces a devastating choice. All of Justine’s migraine pain and sorrow are reflected in her art, which brings her acclaim as a best-selling artist.

Eventually Justine contacts Rose Haldane, journalist and identity detective, and asks for her help. So many years of keeping secrets makes it very hard for Justine, she isn’t at all sure she’s strong enough to cope with the distress and uncertainty of laying bare her past and all the hurt that would entail.

A beautifully written story encompassing love, loss, regret, adoption and art, taking place in Yorkshire, London and Spain over three decades. Evocative and description prose brings places to life with sights, sounds and scents. Justine becomes a very sympathetic character as layers are peeled away and more and more of her past is revealed. Her need to know despite the doubts and reservations is realistic, understandable and handled extremely well. Certain sections brought tears to my eyes, the scenes are so well described. The secondary characters are also well defined and the details throughout show the amount of research it must have taken to make the narrative entirely believable. A very engaging read.

Book description

TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALWAYS HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING
Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.
Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?
This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga, Spain.
A family mystery for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore.

About the author

Sandra Danby is a proud Yorkshire woman, tennis nut and tea drinker. She believes a walk on the beach will cure most ills. Unlike Rose Haldane, the identity detective in her two novels, IGNORING GRAVITY and CONNECTEDNESS, Sandra is not adopted.
In the ‘Identity Detective’ series, Rose Haldane, journalist and identity detective, reunites the people lost through adoption. They are the stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever.

Sandra Danby

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #thriller The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne @Abigail_Author

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne

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The story, set out in three parts, beginning in the present day, followed by flashback chapters from the past, before returning again to the present.  Chapters alternate between Billie’s and Adam’s perspectives, with the occasional diary entry from an anonymous, shadowy figure who obviously knows Billie and is stalking her. This approach defines the characters and their innermost feelings, building the suspense. Billie lives alone, with only her cat for company, avoiding contact with other people as much as possible. Something terrible has happened to her in the past which has had huge repercussions on her life.

‘Billie stole down the street avoiding all eye contact and people. Once a week, on Sunday, she braved the world to visit the bookstore not far from her flat. One Upon a Time had thousands of books and a quaint little cafe; it was her haven.’

Adam is a journalist, determined to expose Billie and exact revenge for the lives he believes she ruined. He seizes his chance when an unexpected opportunity arises and sets about trying to win her confidence, using all his charm to break down the barriers and gain her friendship. It’s an uphill struggle, Billie is very vulnerable and terrified of forming any sort of relationship. Very little information is disclosed about either of their backgrounds at this point in the narrative and the reader is kept in the dark for quite a while, which works well. I wondered what on earth Billie had done to cause such a reaction in Adam.

‘As he walked towards her, a plan formulated in his mind. His instinct for a story was awakened and he knew he had the opportunity of a lifetime.This could be his ticket to a better career and, more importantly, he could get justice.’

Billie suffered through a traumatic childhood with little to no support from her family. The lasting effects are her self-imposed isolation and panic attacks. Young Adam was devastated when he lost his mother. His father was unable to cope, neglected Adam and started drinking heavily. Adam was raised by his uncle, who became the young boy’s role model.

This is a story which revolves around the power of manipulation, how the manipulator controls by either friendliness, fear and/or deviousness, and sometimes leading by example. The debilitating effect on Billie and her conflicting emotions as she becomes closer to Adam are portrayed very well. The middle section of the narrative was less engaging and not quite as believable as the beginning, even as it shows how the chilling unscrupulousness of the manipulator breeds fear and repulsion and the reason for Adam’s fixation on Billie begins to become clear. It picks up again towards the end and I enjoyed how it plays out. The lack of suspects, twists and false leads, means it’s not hard to realise who the antagonist is. The book does convey very well how children can be betrayed by those they should be able to trust implicitly and disturbing subjects are covered without being gratuitous. I’ll be interested to see what the author tackles in her next book.

Book description

Manipulated by fear and love…could you cut the strings and take back control?

Billie’s hiding from the world, believing it to be the only way to take control of her life as she lives in fear of the man who nearly destroyed her. But what she doesn’t realise is that she’s exactly where he wants her; isolated and afraid. A chance meeting with budding journalist Adam sparks a relationship that could free her from the terror that controls her. But will Adam be able to see the real Billie buried under her terror and pain?

Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives she ruined. But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him but as unwanted attraction and feelings blossom between them, Adam is forced to realise that all is not as it seems.

Most of their lives have been unknowingly governed by the desires and needs of someone who considers himself their master. He has influenced and shaped them for years, meticulously weaving a web of lies and control around them. Can Billie and Adam survive the betrayals in store and cut the strings that bind them?

One thing is for sure. The master wants his puppets back – and he’ll do anything to keep them.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistFic A House Divided by @MargaretSkea1 #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading A House Divided by Margaret Skea

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Following on from Turn Of The Tide, A House Divided picks up the story of the Munro family several years after they were forced to fake their own deaths in a fire at their home, in order to escape the machinations of William Cunninghame, heir to the Earl of Glencairn. Munro is now fighting with the Scots Gardes in the service of the French King at Amiens, while Kate and the children are living under the protection of Elizabeth and Hugh Mongomerie at Braidstane. Kate has changed her family’s name to Grant as a further safety measure, as her reputation as a healer midwife and wise woman spreads. The Cunninghame/Montgomerie feud, although dormant for the time being, still smoulders and it would take little to fan the flames.

Kate is called to minister to Margaret Maxwell, wife of Patrick, who is a supporter of the Cunninghames and friend to William. Margaret is physically abused by her husband and although it places Kate in danger should Maxwell recognise her, she couldn’t refuse her help. An unlucky chance brings Kate and her daughter, Maggie, into contact with Maxwell, who notices something familiar about them.

When Kate is summoned to Edinburgh at the behest of King James to attend Queen Anne, who has suffered several miscarriages and wants to take all the precautions and advice she can with her latest pregnancy. Unfortunately for Kate, she can’t refuse and the danger of being seen by Maxwell or William is very real. She has allies in John Shaw, Alexander and Hugh Montgomerie and John Cunninghame who, although he is William’s uncle, despises the fact. And certainly not least, she has the ear of the Queen. But will this be enough to keep her safe?

Margaret Skea skilfully weaves fact and fiction together to create a complex, credible and fascinating story, without glossing over the more harrowing aspects of life in the late 16th century. Balancing the cruelty and betrayals, is kindness, courage and loyalty. Nevertheless it’s a dangerous time, rife with intrigue and revenge fuelled by hatred. Plenty twists and enough activity between events in Ayrshire and Edinburgh keep up the tension and suspense in this compelling storyline.

A House Divided is a seamless continuation of a comprehensive saga which includes Scottish history, the Witch Hunt of 1597 and the French Wars of Religion. Very well paced and extremely well written, with settings and lifestyle as vivid as the believable and well defined characters. The final chapters couldn’t be more atmospheric and grim, building to a terrifying and dramatic conclusion. Recommended for those who enjoy an historical fact/fiction mix.

Book description

Eleven years on from the Massacre of Annock, the Cunninghame / Montgomerie truce is fragile.
For the Munro family, living in hiding under assumed names, these are dangerous times.
While Munro risks his life daily in the service of the French King, the spectre of discovery by William Cunninghame haunts his wife Kate. Her fears for their children and her absent husband realized as William’s desire for revenge tears their world apart.
A sweeping tale of compassion and cruelty, treachery and sacrifice, set against the backdrop of feuding clans, the French Wars of Religion, and the Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1597.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #childrensfiction Jimmy The House Spider by Raymond T Davies

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Jimmy The House Spider by Raymond T Davies

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I read Jimmy the House Spider with my five year old grandson, or more accurately he read it to me. There’s quite a lot more to read in this book as opposed to the reading books he brings home from school, but we read it in three short sessions. There are several words that I thought were quite advanced for the target age group, such as instinctively and laboriously, so help was needed with some pronunciations and explanations of the meaning, which isn’t a bad thing. That aside, he was very pleased with himself when he’d finished the book and wanted to take it into school. The teacher read it to the class and I’m told most of the children were entertained by it.

To be honest, I was surprised at how much he enjoyed it, as his reading choice when he’s at our house, at the moment anyway, mostly consists of dinosaurs, dinosaurs and more dinosaurs. Jimmy the House Spider kept his interest and was a welcome change. The fact that a spider lived in Grandpa’s top pocket caused much amusement and Jimmy’s adventures and the dangers he faced added to the enjoyment, which was enhanced by very good illustrations.

It’s a cute story with facts about other insects and animals woven into the narrative, and an underlying message which hopefully will encourage, and help children to lose their fear and/or dislike of spiders. The way it’s written educates in a fun way and shows spiders in a harmless and engaging light.

Book description

‘I have spent a good deal of time teaching my children and grandchildren to respect the other creatures we share our world with. Many children and even many grown-ups, suffer from arachnophobia with unfortunate results for themselves and the spiders; particularly those who inhabit our homes. My hope is this house spider adventure will dispel some of those fears and influence children and their parents to look kindly on these useful and harmless little creatures and indeed, all life forms which make up our world. They all have their part to play in ensuring our unique planet and the life it supports, will continue.’

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Romantic #suspense Cash Valley by Ryan Nelson

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Cash Valley by Ryan Nelson

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Set in 1950s Utah, FBI Agent Alex Travis is assigned to the Cache County bank robbery case. The distinction of hopefully solving a robbery that had eluded his predecessors appeals to him very much. He decides to make the most of the opportunity, especially when he receives an anonymous phone call from someone, on behalf of another party, who apparently has information about the robbery. He’s in two minds whether to believe it but nevertheless the following day he drives to Green Canyon in Logan, the specified meeting place. There he meets Jack Pepper and hears his story.

I think, from a reader’s point of view, the narrative would have flowed better, and added to the suspense and action, had we had Jack and Kate’s story from their perspectives as it happened, rather than be told about it through conversations with Agent Travis. For the first 50% of the book, the story line was built first by Jack and then Kate, each relating the events of the previous two years regarding their encounters with the bank robbers. I must say, like Agent Travis, I was a little sceptical that the leader of a dangerous gang of bank robbers would immediately confess to the crime and relate the whole story of how it was accomplished to two people they happened to stumble across in the woods. The second half of the story, set in the present, picked up the pace and there were some unexpected twists.

The setting and descriptions are interesting, and the feel of the area comes across. I enjoyed the glimpse into the historical aspects too. The three main characters are likable and portrayed well but the language used, particularly the dialogue, was overly detailed and a little unnatural. ‘After a necessary sigh, Agent Travis conceded and reached for the phone. “Agent Travis,” he said, speaking with forced authority’. Unfortunately, I think the book has been let down by the editing and proofreading processes, which is a shame because the basic idea of the story could work well.

Book description

When FBI Agent Alex Travis receives an anonymous phone call on a September morning in 1954 with a tip concerning the now cold case of the Cache County Bank robbery, it has his undivided attention. The tip leads Travis to the top of the secluded Green canyon in Logan, Utah, where a young man named Jack Pepper proceeds to tell a story spanning the two years from the time of the robbery, when he and his girlfriend, Kate Austin, stumbled upon the crime of the century for the Cache valley. Travis must decide if he is dealing with the suspects or the victims of one of the largest bank robberies in U.S. history.

To get the answers, it will take one more trip up the canyon, to the entrance of the Spring Hollow mine, where the daylight ends and the cold dark begins.

About the author

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Ryan now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He released his debut novel, Cash Valley, in 2016 to critical acclaim, including earning a spot as a finalist for a RONE award and making the Shortlist in the Chanticleer International Book Awards.

Ryan K. Nelson

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Modern #fairytale The Royal Deal by @DGDriverAuthor

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Royal Deal by D.G. Driver

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Princess Faith is well aware of the circulating whispers after she turned down an offer of marriage from Prince Jaeger of Aronsite. But she was determined she would marry someone of her choosing, not be forced into a union with a man more concerned with what cloak he should wear while riding than the fate of the people in his kingdom, despite her father’s displeasure. She had counted on marrying the prince’s elder brother, Mikhail, but he has been missing since a battle with the Northerners.

Faith is not a typical, spoiled princess. She’s well aware of her practical shortcomings but in a last ditch attempt to avoid the unwanted marriage, Faith comes up with a plan and decides to try and make a deal with her father.

Faith wasn’t ready to give up, however, and put her idea to her father. If she can survive on her own in the outside world for three months and return without having suffered any ill effects, she can choose her own husband. If she fails, she gives her promise to marry as her father wishes. The King agrees, confident his pampered daughter will be back in no time.

This modern take on a fairy tale was a quick and very pleasant way to while away an hour or two. Faith was a lovely, genuine character, I was willing her to succeed even though it looked very unlikely. She knows she has weaknesses but believes in herself and wants to take control of her own life. Faith is made of strong stuff for someone who has been cosseted all her life, and despite being completely ill-equipped, the hardships, difficulties and failures, she is courageous and doesn’t give up easily. Lessons are learned during her time in the forest, about herself and what is important in life – anything worth having is worth fighting for.

Book description

A pampered princess is told she must marry a prince she doesn’t like, let alone love, on her nineteenth birthday. Desperate to find a way to stop this arranged marriage, she makes a bargain with her father. If she can survive for three months in the forest with no help of any kind and return healthy and unharmed, then she can choose the man she will marry. The King accepts the wager, knowing he can’t possibly lose. Princess Faith knows she must win this deal, but once she ventures into the forest, she has no idea how she can possibly succeed.

About the author

D. G. Driver likes to write about diverse people dealing with social or environmental issues, but she likes to include a touch of fantasy or fun, too. She primarily writes middle grade and young adult fiction. She is the award-winning author of the YA eco-fiction series The Juniper Sawfeather Novels, which includes Cry of the Sea, Whisper of the Woods, and Echo of the Cliffs. She has stories in a variety of anthologies, and her newest book is a middle grade story about bullying and Autism awareness called No One Needed to Know. When she isn’t writing, she is teaching, performing in a local community theater musical, or probably watching TV.

D.G. Driver

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