Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT @CathyRy reviews #Paranormal #Thriller MARKED by B.E. Balfinny

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Marked by B.E. Balfinny

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The short first chapter telling of an old woman gathering items together before leaving the house to complete a task she wasn’t looking forward to, but something that had to be done, is a great hook and gives the immediate sense that something untoward is in the offing.

As the only living relative, Dubliner Kate Murray has inherited her great aunt’s cottage in Westcove, County Kerry. Kate couldn’t believe her luck and she and her husband David were on their way to see what state the old cottage was in. Pleasantly surprised to find it liveable, and with a spectacular backdrop, they set about settling in. Kate wanted to swap city for country living and hoped she could persuade David, then Kate could live her dream.

‘She turned to him and followed his gaze. He had his back to the front of the cottage and was staring out over the front garden to the view beyond. Her breath caught. How had she not noticed that a minute ago? The view was stunning. The hillside plunged out of sight below the end of the front garden but there was an uninterrupted view over the lower land along the coast and out to sea. A shard of sunlight sliced through the cloud-crowded sky and fell on the rock-strewn pasture, the purple crags of the shore and the blue-grey sea.’

Kate’s enthusiasm and feeling for the cottage is clear and it does seem idyllic. Even Dave seems to be coming round to the idea of living there. While exploring their immediate vicinity, they have a strange encounter with the old woman who lives in the last cottage at the end of their lane. She does her best to make sure they keep their distance and stay away from that end of the lane. Kate and Dave learn a little more about the old woman from the proprietress of the village shop when they go to stock up on supplies. Kate’s curiosity is aroused when she learns there’s a stone circle on the hill past the old woman’s cottage. Old Fingal’s Rocks. One evening, as she finds the gap in the hedge leading up the hill to the standing stones, Kate has no idea of the danger and the nightmare that will be unleashed after her visit.

Written in the third person, the narrative flows well and is easy to read. B.E. Balfinny’s descriptive prose certainly conveys Kerry’s ancient and rugged beauty, as well as the atmosphere of an unforgiving, wintry and mystical landscape. The existence of the supernatural seems entirely possible and believable. The feeling of menace and evil is distinct, it gave me goosebumps. As things became more sinister Kate was either very brave or very foolish, I’d have been out of there quick smart…. although it may have already been too late. Great writing and an excellent debut. If you like supernatural horror without the gore this could be for you. I’ll be interested to see what the follow up offers.

Book description

When freelance writer Kate Murray’s Great Aunt bequeaths her a cottage in remote south Kerry, she is overcome with the peace and beauty of the little stone house. Set high up a hillside overlooking the ocean, even David, her architect husband, falls in love with it.

Determined that they should swap city for country, Dubliner Kate decides to try living her dream.

Curiosity draws her to the ancient circle of standing stones at the end of the lane – stones that her elderly neighbour is strangely yet fiercely determined to keep everyone well away from.

Little realising the grave danger she faces, Kate visits the stones at sunset and her life is set on a terrifying course that will bring her face to face with an ancient evil.

As her dream of the country life rapidly turns into a nightmare, events at the cottage become more and more sinister.

Why is the old lady so determined to keep people away?

What does the Parish priest know that he isn’t telling her?

Will Kate discover the secret to her personal haunting before it’s too late?

Set in the ancient and atmospheric surrounds of rural Ireland in the winter time, this paranormal thriller will leave you reluctant to turn out the lights.

About the author

B. E. Balfinny lives and writes in an old stone house in the wilds of southern County Kerry, Ireland, an area steeped in myth and tradition. Here, stories are passed from parent to child and survive centuries intact, connecting the present with a dark and misty past.

Whether walking the narrow lanes at twilight, listening to tales of the unexplained around a peat fire whilst an Atlantic sou’wester rattles the windows, or wandering alone amidst the mystical ringforts and standing stones of the ancient Celts, south Kerry never fails to supply ample chilling material for students of the supernatural.

The Kerry region, its people and its folklore provided the inspiration for Balfinny’s first novel, Marked, set in the fictional south Kerry village of Westcove.

Those who enjoyed Marked should look out for the second instalment of The Kerry Horrors series, scheduled for release on Amazon in Spring 2018.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT @CathyRy reviews MY SWEET FRIEND by @HALeuschel

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading My Sweet Friend by H. A. Leuschel

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Following in a similar vein to Manipulated Lives, My Sweet Friend explores how much first impressions and appearances sometimes count in someone’s favour and the devastation that can be caused by deliberate manipulation of other people. Told from the alternating perspectives of Alexa and Rosie, we see how quickly their friendship develops when Alexa joins the PR firm Rosie works for. It’s mostly down to Alexa’s persuasiveness and outgoing nature that they quickly become best friends. Rosie is more reserved. Aways ready to help and easy to get along with, Rosie is quickly swept up by Alexa’s enthusiasm and friendliness.

As the story unfolds it’s obvious something isn’t quite right between Alexa and Rosie. They both have personal problems, a sick mother and a stalking boyfriend, but it’s only when Alexa takes sick leave that things begin to unravel in earnest and the whole truth becomes known.

‘Here, no one knew me. No one would judge me for skipping my usually elaborate make-up routine. No one would notice that I’d chosen unremarkable outfits on purpose to blend into the crowd, and had donned a pair of comfortable sandals instead of the achingly-high heels that complimented my typically carefully selected office clothes. If I’d learned one thing over the years, it was the fact that both immaculate looks and controlled behaviour could go a long way towards influencing people’s impressions of me.’

This quick but thought provoking read packs a lot in, mainly, I think, because it’s driven by the characters, mostly through their dialogue, with little to no telling of events. We learn, little by little, who is doing the manipulating, as it isn’t obvious to begin with, showing a darker side to friendships and how easy it can be for some people to be drawn in without realising what’s actually happening. Manipulators have a wide-reaching effect, encompassing not only the victim but others in their lives.

I enjoyed the more unusual locations of Paris and Biarritz. The characters are well defined and portrayed extremely well, each individual and realistic with flaws and weaknesses. H.A. Leuschel obviously has a very good understanding of the human psyche in all its complexities, and it just goes to show that people aren’t always what they seem. It’s a little scary to think someone might go to those lengths to keep up a deceit, which is starkly apparent between the work and home personas.

Book description

A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives
A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?
Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships.
But is Alexa all she claims to be?
As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?
In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.

About the author

Helene grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh.
She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga.

H.A. Leuschel

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Mystery Offstage In Nuala by @harrietSteel1 #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Offstage In Nuala by Harriet Steel

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I’m enjoying this very entertaining and colourful series very much and it was lovely to get reacquainted with the engaging and genteel Inspector Shanti de Silva and his charming wife, Jane. Not to mention Sergeant Prasanna and Constable Nadar. De Silva met Jane in Colombo, where he began his career as a police officer, and Jane was a governess. When they married, De Silva was offered and accepted the position of Inspector in the much more pleasant and quieter small hill town of Nuala.
Offstage in Nuala opens with the de Silvas attending a play performed by a visiting professional theatre company. There they meet up with Archie Clutterbuck, the assistant government agent for the area, and his wife, Florence.

It’s not long before there’s another case for de Silva to solve – the murder of Alexander Danforth, actor and head of the theatre company. De Silva needs to harness all his determination and persistence as he feels Archie Clutterbuck is hampering the investigation, giving the impression he may have something to hide. Clutterbuck was not about to share the reasons for his behaviour with de Silva. Nevertheless, de Silva explores every development thoroughly, even if it means climbing to dizzying heights in the theatre, and helped by his always supportive wife.

As with the previous books, Harriet Steel sets the scene and paints a vivid picture of the rich and multi cultural way of life in 1930s Ceylon, with authentic dialogue and expressive prose, which completely captures the feel of a bygone era. A well crafted plot with fascinating historical details and a smoothly flowing narrative. Descriptions of the food are enticing although I’m not quite sure I would be able to eat curry for breakfast. I can’t resist finding pictures of dishes I’m not familiar with.

I also love the descriptions of de Silva’s beloved garden and how much he enjoys it…’Meringues of cloud drifted across the blue sky and a breeze as light as a cream puff cooled him. Hidden among the trees, a golden oriole sang.‘ It sounds delightful.

Book description

In this third instalment of The Inspector de Silva Mysteries, there’s great excitement when a professional theatre company comes to Nuala. However matters take a dark turn when the company’s actor manager is murdered. Inspector de Silva has a new case to solve and he has to consider some very unpalatable motives for the crime. He will need all his persistence, coupled with his wife, Jane’s, invaluable help to unmask the villain of the piece. Set on the exotic island of Ceylon in the 1930s, The Inspector de Silva Mysteries provide a colourful and relaxing read spiced with humour and an engaging cast of characters.

About the author

Harriet Steel published four historical novels before turning to crime with the Inspector de Silva mysteries. Her work has also appeared in national newspapers and magazines.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT @CathyRy reviews Sitting Murder by @awright51 @EndeavourPress

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Sitting Murder by A.J. Wright

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Set in a North-Western English town during the late 19th century, this murder/mystery whodunnit brings the history of the era to life with the terraces of houses, local dialect and a community living in close proximity to one another. The main source of work were the cotton mills and the mines. Alice Goodway, only married a year, has lost her husband, Jack, in a mining accident, which also took the life of her friend’s husband. Since her husband’s death, Alice has become a medium, offering comfort to those who have lost loved ones, through her spiritual contact with Jack.

Jack’s obnoxious aunt Doris has moved in with Alice, supervising the séances and taking payments. When Alice receives a threatening note and her aunt is murdered in her bed, Detective Sergeant Brennan of the Wigan Borough Police Department and his side kick Constable Jaggery are tasked with the investigation.

Although this is the fourth book in the Lancashire Detectives series it works perfectly well as a stand alone and it’s such an enjoyable tale. DS Brennan thinks perhaps Doris wasn’t the intended victim as she was sleeping in the main bedroom. There are several suspects to choose from, including the self-righteous Inspector of Nuisances, who is forcibly against Alice’s séances. As Alice’s notoriety spreads, there are secrets and old wounds to be uncovered in the close knit town, as we follow Brennan’s investigation. Brennan and Jaggery must sift through the clues, information and traumatic memories as they begin to eliminate the suspects one by one.

The writing is accomplished and easy to read, in keeping with the area and time, descriptive and detailed enough to give a real sense of place. The story has the feel of a vintage whodunit with a host of possible culprits and several unexpected twists. A well paced and plotted story line, with believable, diverse and quite rounded characters, although I’ve perhaps missed the greater depth of Brennan and Jaggery from not having read the previous books. Nevertheless, they are both likeable and engaging characters, making me want to go back and find out more.

I enjoyed Sitting Murder very much and was kept guessing until the surprise ending tied everything together nicely.

Book description

With a myriad of motives, the question is who?

Detective Sergeant Michael Brennan of the Wigan Borough Police has no time for tales of ghosts and the afterlife, or of the dead contacting the living.

So, when he finds himself investigating the case of a recently widowed young woman, Alice Goodway, who has suddenly developed ‘the Gift’ of mediumship and has received a threatening letter, he embarks on the inquiry with no small degree of scepticism.

But just as Brennan and his burly colleague, Constable Jaggery, consider how to proceed with the case, something much more sinister takes place… a murder, in Alice’s own home.

Who would commit such a crime?

Could it be one of the seven ‘visitors’ who had been to sittings with Alice and not liked what they had heard?

Or the interfering and sanctimonious Inspector of Nuisances who strongly disapproved of the séances?

There are a lot of old wounds opened and painful memories shared with Brennan and Jaggery as they meticulously gather the information they need to solve the case. The challenge will be narrowing down the suspects, using clues from both the living and the dead…

This devilishly plotted Victorian whodunnit keeps the reader guessing right to the end, with red herrings aplenty scattered along the way.

About the author

In 2009 A. J. Wright won the 2010 Dundee International Fiction Prize for his Victorian murder mystery Act of Murder. His writing is inspired by his two major interests: all things Victorian and classic works from the Golden Age of crime fiction. He lives near Wigan.

A.J. Wright

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT @CathyRy reviews #Guernsey set The Betrayal by @AnneAllen21

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Betrayal by Anne Allen

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A story set in two different time periods, beginning in 1940s Guernsey when Teresa Bichard has been persuaded to leave Guernsey with her baby daughter, due to the expected invasion by the German army. Her husband Leo, is staying to look after the business and valuable items belonging to the family.

In present day Guernsey, twins Fiona and Nigel are the proud new owners of a well established antique shop. They found a hidden trapdoor during the refurbishment which lead to an underground storage room, housing wrapped items which turned out to be paintings of various sizes. One particular painting, showing Moulin Huet Bay, gave them pause for thought. Could it be an unknown, yet signed, Renoir? Fiona is an art historian and takes the painting to London for authentication but, on her way back with the good news, was unable to contact Nigel. Fiona was unaware of Nigel’s plight and was utterly overwhelmed once she discovered what had happened in their shop.

This is a story set in dual time involving several threads, with historical links relating to a contemporary story and including a touch of the supernatural. The story is well crafted, the two time lines connecting seamlessly, with chapters from 1940s Guernsey interspersed between the present day story. I like that characters from previous novels are brought in to the narrative, giving the whole a rounded and continuous feel. And, not least of all, the beautiful descriptions of the island invoke vivid images.

Leo Bichard’s story was particularly poignant as it mirrors true events. People were given up, for differing reasons, to the occupying force to make their lives that bit easier. It’s entirely conceivable some people took the opportunity to use it as way to exact revenge for perceived slights. The islanders’ fear, their sense of isolation after the demilitarisation and the evacuations, are all conveyed in a heartbreakingly realistic way. It’s hard to reconcile the events during the war with the peaceful, idyllic place it is today and the contrast is depicted skilfully. The other underlying truth to the story is that Renoir did spend a summer on the island in the 1880s, painting different aspects of, amongst others, Moulin Huet Bay.

A very enjoyable read and a great addition to the Guernsey Novels.

Book description

Treachery and theft lead to death – and love

1940. Teresa Bichard and her baby are sent by her beloved husband, Leo, to England as the Germans draw closer to Guernsey. Days later they invade…
1942. Leo, of Jewish descent, is betrayed to the Germans and is sent to a concentration camp, never to return.
1945. Teresa returns to find Leo did not survive and the family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, is missing. Heartbroken, she returns to England.
2011. Nigel and his twin Fiona, buy a long-established antique shop in Guernsey and during a refit, find a hidden stash of paintings, including what appears to be a Renoir. Days later, Fiona finds Nigel dead, an apparent suicide. Refusing to accept the verdict, a distraught Fiona employs a detective to help her discover the truth…
Searching for the rightful owner of the painting brings Fiona close to someone who opens a chink in her broken heart. Can she answer some crucial questions before laying her brother’s ghost to rest?
Who betrayed Leo?
Who knew about the stolen Renoir?
And are they prepared to kill – again?

About the author

Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. She was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.
By profession Anne was a psychotherapist but has long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. At the back of her mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now retired from the ‘day job’, there’s more time to write and Anne has now published five books in The Guernsey Novels series (as at August 2016). A sixth will be published in 2017

Anne Allen

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT @CathyRy reads #Thriller Ryan Kaine: On The Rocks by @KerryJDonovan

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Ryan Kaine: On The Rocks by Kerry J Donovan

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Following on from book one – Ryan Kaine: On the Run – Ryan is making a mad dash up to Scotland to help in the search for sixteen year old Martin Princeton, whose brother was a passenger on the doomed civilian aircraft. The events that transpired in the first book continue to take a heavy toll on Ryan, the guilt he feels is overwhelming at times which is why he’s determined to do all he can to see Martin safe and back with his parents. Martin has gone missing during a school camping trip in the Scottish Highlands and is in a desperate life and death situation.

Hunted by the police and with his picture in the press, Ryan does as much as he can to disguise himself, helped by the fact he had taken a beating which resulted in some facial disfiguration.

Ryan’s vow begins with Martin Princeton. And so, in the guise of Sergeant-Major Peter Sidings, Ryan joins the Lodge Farm Mountain Rescue Centre, hoping there’s no-one there who might recognise him. He’s a moral, considerate man who, although not technically to blame for the disaster that changed his life, still feels the full weight of guilt, responsibility and a need for reparation.

Kerry Donovan’s tightly plotted and twisty narrative is full of tension and action, with everything taking place over a two day period. A couple of characters from the first book make brief appearances but in the main it’s a whole new cast. Siblings Drew and Iona McTay are fabulously well drawn, and add a contrast to the severity of the story line. Both are tough and decent, in their element and sitting well in the rugged landscape. The wonderful highland setting, with its dangerous terrain, adds to the suspense and helped give one character in particular his just deserts. Emotions run high throughout, not least from the loose cannon heading the armed response team. I had no idea how it was all going to play out.

I always enjoy the more rounded picture that a narrative with multiple perspectives gives and, although the majority is from Ryan’s point of view, we do get other characters’ viewpoints. Kerry Donovan continues to impress with engaging writing, great plotting and characterisations. Looking forward to the next adventure with Ryan Kaine.

Book description

Ryan Kaine is back in the action-packed sequel to the hit adventure thriller, Ryan Kaine: On the Run. 

Fresh from finding evidence that might clear him of terrorism charges and still carrying the scars of battle, Ryan Kaine heads to Scotland to help find missing schoolboy, Martin Princeton.

Facing arrest for shooting down civilian aircraft, Flight BE1555, and killing the 83 people aboard, Kaine is desperate to help find the boy. Why? Martin’s brother was on that plane and Kaine has vowed to protect the families of the victims–The 83.

Hunted by the authorities, can Kaine escape capture long enough to find the boy, or will the police and his more dangerous enemies find him first?

From the pen of Kerry J Donovan, Ryan Kaine: On the Rocks, is a powerful, action-packed novel set in the mountainous highlands of Scotland.

Ryan Kaine is a new addition to the great military action characters in the tradition of Lee Child, Mark Dawson, Chris Ryan, and Matt Rogers.

About the author

Internationally bestselling fiction author, Kerry was born in Dublin. He spent most of his life in the UK, and now lives in the heart of rural Brittany with his wonderful and patient wife, Jan. They have three children and four grandchildren (so far), all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the advent of video calling.

The cottage is a pet free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and red squirrels).

Kerry earned a first class honours degree in Human Biology, and has a PhD in Sport and Exercise Sciences. A former scientific advisor to The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, he helped UK emergency first-responders prepare for chemical attacks in the wake of 9/11. This background adds a scientific edge to his writing. He is also a former furniture designer/maker.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Psychic #Thriller The Angel Killer by @authAprilTaylor #fridayreads

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Angel Killer by April Taylor

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Deryn Steele’s life had taken an unimaginable path when he rescued a girl from her abusive boyfriend, and a sequence of events resulted in a near death experience, the knowledge that somehow he was now an empath and a prison sentence. He worked hard to obtain a psychology degree and a subsequent teaching qualification, only to find disillusionment in the role he secured as lecturer at Birmingham City University.

DCI Harry Curzon, the arresting officer all those years ago, and Deryn have kept in contact. It was Harry who persuaded Deryn to try for his degree and teaching qualification. When Deryn is suddenly and inexplicably let go from the university he takes the offered opportunity to work with Harry. There’s a killer in Thorpe St David targeting blonde, blue-eyed twelve year old girls, but the last victim, Becky Maddox, survived the attack. Harry’s hoping Deryn can gain some insight or information from Becky.

Given the subject matter, I like the fact there’s no unnecessary violence or description of the crimes. Deryn is an intriguing character and his, and others’, reactions to his ‘gift’ are portrayed realistically and convincingly. He is uncomfortable with being an empath, still not quite used to being able to tune in to others’ feelings and emotions, yet when he can’t read someone involved with the investigation, he’s surprised to find himself shocked. His strong reaction to Terri Fordham, the aunt of the latest victim, is immediate, perhaps a little too much so for me, and unexpected. Running alongside the main plot is the question of why Deryn was inexplicably sacked from his university post when the principal knew all about his background.

There are a number of possible candidates for the killer and April Taylor does a good job with the plot twists. I didn’t guess the correct identity until it was revealed. I think there could be quite a bit of mileage in Deryn and Harry. They make a good team and they’re both likeable characters. Although we get a good sense of who they are, there’s room for more depth.

A psychic, supernatural or paranormal thread in a story is always a hook for me and the psychic aspect is executed well in this story.

 

Book description

Deryn Steele has an unwanted psychic gift leftover from a near-death experience. He can read people just by touching them. His friend, DCI Harry Curzon pulls him into the hunt for the killer of blonde, blue-eyed 12-year-old girls in the Lincolnshire seaside town of Thorpe St David, the Angel Killer..
Deryn meets Terri Fordham, aunt of the latest victim, who has survived an attack. It is a shock when he cannot read Terri, but this feeds his growing feelings for her making him determined to catch the predator. It soon becomes clear, however, that this killer won’t stop and is not only still targeting Terri’s niece, but also Terri. Can Deryn keep the girl and her aunt safe and unmask the murderer?

About the author

Author of The Tudor Enigma series. High Treason in an alternate Tudor universe.

April Taylor

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistFic Blood Rose Angel by @LizaPerrat #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Blood Rose Angel by Liza Perrat

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The story begins in the year 1334 and focuses on Héloïse, growing up in Lucie-sur-Vionne and cared for by her aunt, the village midwife Isa, her dead mother’s twin. She’s taunted mercilessly about being a ‘non-born’ by some of the superstitious village folk. While Isa was at the next village, Héloïse is called to her first birthing, setting her on the path of an apprentice midwife. Several years later Héloïse is accepted by some for her herbalistic and midwifery skills, although there are those who have always been scornful. She is married to Raoul, a stonemason working in Florence, and their daughter Morgane wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps and carry on the family tradition.

When the Black Death is inadvertently brought to the village with Raoul’s return, tragedy descends on the people and Héloïse had her work cut out trying to save as many as she could. Until Raoul demanded she stop and think of the safety of her own family. What was she to do….obey her husband or stay true to her vow? The decision was made for her in the worst possible way.

Liza Perrat has completely captures the emotions, behaviour and superstitious nature of the villagers in the face of this horrifying plague. It’s a harsh and violent time brought vividly to life with, amongst other things, wonderfully diverse characters, their everyday lives and the historical setting. Héloïse is a compelling woman, strong-willed and resolute, ahead of her time and easy to empathise with. She was determined to do whatever it takes to make life healthier and safer for the villagers, despite the treatment meted out to her.

A powerful and well constructed tale by a talented storyteller, the writing realistic and evocative. Historical details are fascinating and must have taken intensive research. From the superstitions, fears and ill-conceived beliefs that abounded in everyday life to the herbal knowledge and the way religion controlled people’s lives. It’s an incredible glimpse into the past where fact and fiction blend seamlessly together.

This is the third book in the series but could easily be read first or as a standalone, although I strongly recommend the series if you enjoy well written, authentic historical fiction.

Book description

1348. A bone-sculpted angel and the woman who wears it––heretic, Devil’s servant, saint.
Midwife Héloïse has always known that her bastard status threatens her standing in the French village of Lucie-sur-Vionne. Yet her midwifery and healing skills have gained the people’s respect, and she has won the heart of the handsome Raoul Stonemason. The future looks hopeful. Until the Black Death sweeps into France.
Fearful that Héloïse will bring the pestilence into their cottage, Raoul forbids her to treat its victims. Amidst the grief and hysteria, the villagers searching for a scapegoat, Héloïse must choose: preserve her marriage, or honour the oath she swore on her dead mother’s soul? And even as she places her faith in the protective powers of her angel talisman, she must prove she’s no Devil’s servant, her talisman no evil charm.

About the author

 

Liza grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years.
When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her family for twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist.
Since completing a creative writing course ten years ago, several of her short stories have won awards, notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004 and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine, France Today and The Good Life France.

Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in the French historical “The Bone Angel” series set against a backdrop of rural France during the French Revolution. The second in the series, Wolfsangel, set during the WWII Nazi Occupation of France, was published in October, 2013. The third, Blood Rose Angel, set during the 14th century Black Plague years was published in November, 2015.
Friends, Family and Other Strangers is a collection of humorous, horrific and entertaining short stories set in Australia.
Liza is a founding member of the Author Collective, Triskele Books and regularly reviews books for Bookmuse.

Liza Perrat

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT @CathyRy reviews #HistFic Wolfsangel by @LizaPerrat

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Wolfsangel by Liza Perrat

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We first meet Céleste Roussel as an elderly lady attending a memorial ceremony with the remaining survivors of their village, along with their families. The atrocities and personal losses of WWII still weigh heavily and as Céleste reads the engraved names she is assaulted by memories, the decisions she made, actions she took, the feelings of guilt and sorrow which never truly leave her. Her granddaughter now wears the bone angel talisman passed down through the women of her family for generations.

This second book in The Bone Angel trilogy tells of Celeste’s life in Occupied France. The story, narrated by the young Céleste, gives a personal account of her experiences, as Lucie-sur-Vionne suffers under the rule of German forces. Her father had been taken to work for the Reich, her mother’s income was supplemented by her herbal remedies and her role as ‘angel maker’. Céleste and her mother have a difficult relationship, both are harbouring dangerous and traumatic secrets.

Céleste’s brother, Patrick, is a Resistance fighter with their friend, Olivier, and her sister, a nun, hides Jewish fugitives at the convent. Headstrong and sometimes reckless, Céleste wants nothing more than to fight for France and after proving herself a worthy candidate, she travels to Lyons to join the Resistance. Her courage is tested to its limits with tension filled exploits driven by anger and revenge. All leave their mark but through it all she grows and develops.

Based on historical fact, this powerful and skilfully written tale depicts the dangers, hardships and turbulence experienced by those who lived through the Occupation. Atmospheric and vividly descriptive, we see what an intense and far reaching effect it has on those subjected to unimaginable callousness and fear. The last horrific atrocity carried out by the Germans as the war comes to a close is the most horrendous and leaves Céleste with the literal and figurative scars that will haunt her throughout her life. A moving and tragic end to the story, made especially so by the author’s note at the end of the book.

Book Description

Seven decades after German troops march into her village, Céleste Roussel is still unable to assuage her guilt.
1943. German soldiers occupy provincial Lucie-sur-Vionne, and as the villagers pursue treacherous schemes to deceive and swindle the enemy, Céleste embarks on her own perilous mission as her passion for a Reich officer flourishes.
When her loved ones are deported to concentration camps, Céleste is drawn into the vortex of this monumental conflict, and the adventure and danger of French Resistance collaboration.
As she confronts the harrowing truths of the Second World War’s darkest years, Céleste is forced to choose: pursue her love for the German officer, or answer General de Gaulle’s call to fight for France.
Her fate suspended on the fraying thread of her will, Celeste gains strength from the angel talisman bequeathed to her through her lineage of healer kinswomen. But the decision she makes will shadow the remainder of her days.
A woman’s unforgettable journey to help liberate Occupied France, Wolfsangel is a stirring portrayal of the courage and resilience of the human mind, body and spirit.

About the author

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Liza grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years.
When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her family for twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist.
Since completing a creative writing course ten years ago, several of her short stories have won awards, notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004 and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine, France Today and The Good Life France.

Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in the French historical “The Bone Angel” series set against a backdrop of rural France during the French Revolution. The second in the series, Wolfsangel, set during the WWII Nazi Occupation of France, was published in October, 2013. The third, Blood Rose Angel, set during the 14th century Black Plague years was published in November, 2015.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT @CathyRy reviews #Thriller Ryan Kaine by @KerryJDonovan

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Ryan Kaine: On The Run by Kerry J Donovan

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Former Royal Marine Captain Ryan Kaine, six miles out to sea in a fishing boat, believes he’s shot down the unmanned drone as per his contract to destroy it, but then he realises the weapon he’d used seems to be on a countdown. With no time to process what was happening he heaved the weapon overboard. As explosions rocked the boat violently he knew his only choice was to swim for his life, before the boat sank and he was caught in the undertow.

Rage at the knowledge he’d been set up, but for what he doesn’t yet know, fuels Ryan’s desperate fight with the ocean and helps him make the shore. Determined to find out what’s going on, he hasn’t travelled very far when he hears a report on the radio that leaves him devastated and wracked with guilt. Now he’s topping the most wanted list – by the police as well as those he trusted, who quite obviously want him dead.

This is a thrilling, action-packed ride from the start. The pace is perfectly managed so the reader is never overwhelmed but always engaged, and the third person narrative, from various perspectives, serves to create a great deal of depth to the characters. Ryan Kaine is an engaging protagonist with a high moral code, driven by guilt and determination to get to the bottom of who and why, and ensure they don’t escape blame and punishment. I enjoyed the cameo appearances of two of my favourites from previous books and the strong female characters Ryan unwittingly finds himself dependent upon. Laura, a vet, becomes involved when she treats Ryan’s wounds and is forced to flee with him. Sabrina is playing a dangerous double game, and such are the intricacies of the plot, I wasn’t sure until towards the end whether or not she could be trusted.

As always, the details in Kerry Donovan’s books, whether it’s the weaponry and military aspects, as in this case, or the police procedural, are all extremely well researched and totally believable. The dialogue is snappy and realistic, particularly between Ryan and his contemporaries, characters have depth and credibility and the storyline is well plotted. A suspenseful and gripping tale from an accomplished writer and storyteller.

Book Description

A passenger plane explodes. Eighty-three people die. One man is responsible.
When a routine operation ends in tragedy, decorated ex-Royal Marine, Ryan Kaine, becomes the target of a nationwide manhunt. The police want him on terrorism charges. A sinister organisation wants him dead.
Kaine is forced to rely on two women he hardly knows: one, a country vet who treats his wounds, the other an IT expert with a secret of her own.
Battling overwhelming guilt, life-threatening injuries, and his own moral code, Kaine hunts the people who turned him into a mass-murderer.
Can Kaine’s combat skills, instincts, and new-found allies lead him to the truth and redemption?
Ryan Kaine: On the Run—a powerful, action-packed novel set against the backdrop of the international arms trade.

About the author

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Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. He spent most of his life in the UK, and now lives in the heart of rural Brittany with his wonderful and patient wife, Jan. They have three children and four grandchildren (so far), all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the advent of video calling.

The cottage is a pet free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and red squirrels).

Kerry earned a first class honours degree in Human Biology, and has a PhD in Sport and Exercise Sciences. A former scientific advisor to The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, he helped UK emergency first-responders prepare for chemical attacks in the wake of 9/11. This background adds a scientific edge to his writing. He is also a former furniture designer/maker.

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