Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Paranormal #Thriller Madam Tulip And The Serpent’s Tree by @DaveAhernWriter #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Madam Tulip And The Serpent’s Tree by Dave Ahern

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Derry O’ Donnell, a talented but at the moment jobless actress, along with her friends, rising TV star Bella and ex Navy SEAL Bruce, have secured a three week run for their fledgling theatre company. Pat Kelly, pub owner and band manager, has offered a room above the pub as a venue. But first Derry was required to grant a favour and become her alter ego, Madam Tulip, for a party. Pat Kelly manages pop group Maramar and is hosting a birthday bash for the lead singer, Aileen.

Madam Tulip was born as a means for Derry to make some cash when jobs were scarce. Not that she was a fraud, she was the daughter of a seventh son of a seventh son and was a skilled tarot and palm reader which she practices withy integrity. However, all too often her other persona had lead her into situations she would rather have avoided. But it seems without Madam Tulip the theatre company would be a no-go.

Almost as soon as she arrives at the retreat in the Dublin mountains, Derry is made aware Pat Kelly wants her to compromise her moral principles.

“Gloom settled on Derry like a cold fog. She felt the energy drain from her body. Why did people always want something you weren’t selling and shouldn’t sell? Predictable. Tedious. Wearying. Too depressing to be merely a bore.”

During the weekend Derry finds herself an unwitting confidante for Aileen’s insecurities which lead her further into the dramas and obsessions that seem inherent with the level of success achieved by Maramar. More problems and suspicions arise when Aileen’s shaman and therapist Kira, who is distrusted and disliked by most, disappears.

Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree is told mainly from Derry’s third person perspective. It’s to David Ahern’s credit that the writing, engaging and enjoyable in itself, is also extremely visual and witty, with a smoothly flowing narrative. Diverse and colourful characters are fabulously realised. My favourites, Derry who is feeling conflicting emotions about her role as Madam Tulip and Bruce…who wouldn’t want a friend like Bruce.

“The sensation of becoming Madam Tulip was familiar but more intense than Derry had ever experienced. She had the strangest feeling that Derry O’Donnell, actress—the person whose body and brain she had inhabited all her life—had evaporated.”

Derry and Bruce are drawn into intrigue and much danger with a very atmospheric and dramatic conclusion that included two of my worst nightmares, fear of heights and claustrophobia, rising to to the surface. Those scenes might just have been described a little too vividly.  Offsetting the drama and adding a comedic element are Derry’s parents, Jacko and Venessa, who are in opposition over the book Jacko is supposedly writing.

An excellent addition to a series that includes mystery and suspense with a touch of romance, and one which I hope will carry on.

Book description

Actress Derry O’Donnell, moonlighting as fortune-teller Madam Tulip, finds herself in a famous pop singer’s entourage. But at the star’s glittering birthday party in the Dublin mountains, Derry finds a band riven by rivalries and feuds. Behind the trouble is a mysterious Russian guru, a shaman hated by everyone but the singer whose life she dominates.

When the shaman mysteriously disappears, suspicion threatens to tear the band apart. Was she victim or poisoner? Guilty or innocent? Dead or alive?

Two brilliant and beautiful musicians; an ambitious band manager with a shady past; a sax player entranced by Vikings–each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #RomCom LOVE, LOOK AWAY by @LisetteBrodey

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Love, Look Away by Lisette Brodey

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Impressively named Godiva Genevieve Jones entered Sage Gordon’s life, and gift shop, at exactly the right time. The fact that Godiva managed to get rid of an angry customer and step into a very recent job opening worked just fine for Sage. Godiva was perfect for the store, calm and professional, totally unlike her predecessor.

Sage has resolved to turn her back on love and concentrate on running her store. Jimmy, the boy she grew up with and her first love, disappeared suddenly and without a word. All her attempts to trace him failed and she struggles to come to terms with not knowing why Jimmy disappeared and where he is. That, combined with the deception by her fiancé and best friend which left her shell shocked has put her off romance. She and Godiva have a lot in common and become fast friends. Sage is content with good friendships, her cats and her dog, Rufus.

““I’m so sorry they both hurt you, honey. And I’m even more sorry you never found Jimmy.”

Sage fiddled with the leather-studded bracelet on her wrist. “It doesn’t seem logical that we can meet people that we love so much, only to find out that it’s not meant to be. It’s happened to me twice. I just don’t understand. I’ve been ‘in like’ several times, but that’s not the same. It doesn’t tear your heart into pieces when you part ways.””

Despite her best efforts to make love look away, two very different men stir up emotions Sage would prefer not to feel. Adam Canoga, an old friend and Australian Benton Bradley, over on business, both make their interest in Sage plain, while she does her best to keep things on a ‘just friends’ level.

Love, Look Away was a lighthearted change from the grittier reads I’m more accustomed to. The town of Swansea, although fictional, was a charming setting. I love shops like Sage Earth Gifts and enjoyed descriptions of the items on sale. The characters are well defined, giving an immediate sense of their personalities and, even if one or two are a little over the top with some not quite realistic dialogue, they were likeable.

The story moved along at a steady pace, with lots of detail which added to the imagery. Love, Look Away is an enjoyable romantic comedy.

Book description

Twenty-nine-year-old Sage Gordon has had it with love. When she’s not busy running her metaphysical gift shop in the old-money town of Swansea, New York, she’s content with the company of her dog and two cats.

Years ago, the boy she thought she’d marry some day disappeared in the middle of the night and was never heard from again. Haunted by the loss of Jimmy, she remains wary about love, until she is set up with a gorgeous NYC marketing executive. Love moves quickly, and she finds herself engaged — but if only he had betrayed her before she sent out the save-the-date cards.

Sage reverts to her former mindset: love, look away. Forever. Despite her best efforts, though, two completely different yet wonderful men enter her life. Still haunted by the past, can she let romance back into her life?

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery DEATH ON THE DANUBE by @JSAauthor

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Death On The Danube by Jennifer S. Alderson

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After losing the job she loved, not to mention her husband leaving her for his new assistant, Lana Hansen’s fresh start in Seattle isn’t working out as planned. Thank goodness for eccentric Dotty Thompson, her landlady and good friend. Dotty persuades Lana to escort a tour group in Budapest, taking the place of an injured tour guide. Along with her property portfolio, Dotty also owned several small businesses, but Wanderlust Tours was her favourite and she wanted to make sure it stayed successful.

Lana really didn’t have a choice as her rent was due and she was broke. This offer of Dotty’s would certainly tide her over and meant that she wouldn’t be home alone over the New Year. Apart from that, it would be a free trip and she knew Dotty’s company specialised in high end travel.

“Lana had originally envisioned Budapest as a city full of gray, Communist-era buildings. But the photos in Dotty’s guidebooks were of beautifully maintained neoclassical, baroque, medieval, Gothic, and rococo buildings. Driving through the heart of the city, Lana was glad to see Dotty’s books didn’t lie. The imposing statues, tiered fountains, captivating monuments, delicate spires, and majestic buildings decorated with snow and sparkly lights made Lana feel as if they were driving through a postcard.”

Lana’s tour group is a mix of colourful, if not always likeable, characters and Lana has to diffuse more than one awkward situation. For Dotty’s sake, she was determined to do her best. The other tour guide, Carl, has troubles of his own and is finding it difficult to focus on his job, leaving Lana to cope much of the time. Then a body is found in the river, but was it an accident or something more sinister…not everyone in the group is who they seem and there are obvious hostilities rising to the surface.

Lana’s efforts to discover the truth throw up more questions than answers and her anticipation for the trip has turned into more of a nightmare. She’s trapped aboard the boat with a murderer and, as we learn more about the passengers, it seems several people might have a motive.

Along with the mystery are vivid descriptions of Budapest, picturesque scenery, wonderful Christmas markets and fascinating landmarks along the way. The mix of travel and murder make for a fun cosy mystery.

 

Book description

Who knew a New Year’s trip to Budapest could be so deadly? The tour must go on – even with a killer in their midst…

Recent divorcee Lana Hansen needs a break. Her luck has run sour for going on a decade, ever since she got fired from her favorite job as an investigative reporter. When her fresh start in Seattle doesn’t work out as planned, Lana ends up unemployed and penniless on Christmas Eve.

Dotty Thompson, her landlord and the owner of Wanderlust Tours, is also in a tight spot after one of her tour guides ends up in the hospital, leaving her a guide short on Christmas Day.

When Dotty offers her a job leading the tour group through Budapest, Hungary, Lana jumps at the chance. It’s the perfect way to ring in the new year and pay her rent!

What starts off as the adventure of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare when Carl, her fellow tour guide, is found floating in the Danube River. Was it murder or accidental death? Suspects abound when Lana discovers almost everyone on the tour had a bone to pick with Carl.

But Dotty insists the tour must go on, so Lana finds herself trapped with nine murder suspects. When another guest turns up dead, Lana has to figure out who the killer is before she too ends up floating in the Danube…

Introducing Lana Hansen, tour guide, reluctant amateur sleuth, and star of the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series. Join Lana as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that, unfortunately for Lana, often turn deadly.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Cosy Vintage #Mystery ROUGH TIME IN NUALA by @harrietsteel1

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been redaing Rough Time In Nuala by Harriet Steel

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Inspector Shanti de Silva and his wife Jane, were looking forward to an evening at the cinema but an unexpected telephone call from Doctor Hebden meant they had to cancel their plans. There had been a murder at the Royal Nuala Golf Club and de Silva’s presence is required immediately. The body of wealthy local business man and tea plantation owner, Bernard Harvey, had been discovered hidden in the rough by Doctor Hebden’s dog. His caddy was nowhere to be found.

The murder turns out to be a complicated case for de Silva, not least because he has to tread carefully in his dealings with the advantaged British. There seems to be no obvious motive and no possessions were taken but where was the caddy? De Silva’s superior, Archie Clutterbuck was entertaining important visitors and didn’t want a scandal. Luckily, de Silva had the help of Charlie Frobisher, a personable junior member of the Colonial staff. And as always, de Silva’s wife Jane is his sounding board, offering her own insightful suggestions.

I had to smile when Charlie Frobisher described the murder as ‘a nasty spot of bother’ and thought it seemed realistically typical of an understatement by an upper class Englishman of the time.

‘The remark demonstrated a notable British quality, thought de Silva: their unerring ability to minimise drama, even when, in most people’s view, the occasion would justifiably merit it.’

I always enjoy catching up with Shanti and Jane de Silva, and Harriet Steel brings 1930s Ceylon and its inhabitants to vibrant life, with descriptions of places, food and their home life.

It was interesting to note in this book that a little more attention was given to the prejudice issue facing the Sinhalese people as a direct result of British dominance. Additions such as this, plus the local customs and the fact the British make investigation that much more difficult, give more authenticity to the story.

‘He was aware that the club’s hallowed portals didn’t welcome locals like himself; the membership was exclusively British. Deep down, de Silva had to admit that even though he had no desire to play golf, he wasn’t entirely immune to feelings of resentment at being shunned in his own country.’

A lovely, easy to read cozy crime series.

Book description

Inspector de Silva’s peaceful evening is disrupted when he is called up to the Royal Nuala Golf Club where a wealthy member has been found brutally murdered.

Is this a bungled robbery, a private feud, or does the killer have another motive that will cause them to strike again?

With the help of his resourceful wife, Jane, and a new and unexpected ally, de Silva must navigate his way into the heart of the privileged British establishment to find the answer, and there’s no time to lose.

Rough Time in Nuala is another colourful and exciting mystery in this series set in the exotic location of 1930s Ceylon.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery CHRISTMAS CUPCAKES & A CAPER by @dehaggerty

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Christmas Cupcakes & A Caper by D.E. Haggerty

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Christmas Cupcakes & a Caper is another humorous adventure in the cozy mystery series starring Callie, Anna and Kristie from Callie’s Cakes. As Kristie went to open the shop she found an elf sat on the floor, leaning against the door. As the door opened the elf fell inside. Assuming he was drunk, Callie tried to wake him up, but to no avail. There was no pulse, so Callie called 911. It turns out the three ladies recognised the man. He’s a student at the university where Callie teaches and they all have a tenuous connection to him. So begins another entertaining edition in the Death by Cupcake series.

Anna is convinced it wasn’t an accidental death and persuades Callie and Kristie that they need to investigate. Callie has her own worries though, about her boyfriend Ben and his secretive behaviour.

‘“You might as well tell her. You know the pink-haired pixie won’t let up until you spill the coffee beans.”

I know Kristie’s right, but I still sigh and take a moment before opening my mouth. “Ben’s acting strange.”’

So now the girls have two mysteries to solve, much to Callie’s dismay. She has her work cut out to restrain Anna in her hunt for the supposed killer, especially when Kristie feels the need to join in. And how did she get roped into shadowing Ben? The murdered student is apparently morally disreputable according an overheard conversation and that is big no-no for Kristie after a date rape case she was involved in previously.

Although Christmas Cupcakes & a Caper is a light, fun read with the three girls and their hunky, (sometimes over) protective other halves, there’s a serious undertone. Each book is told from the differing first person perspectives of each of the likeable and well meaning ladies—it’s Callie’s turn in this one.

I do enjoy a cupcake now and again and, if I was into baking, I’d be trying out all the delicious sounding recipes at the end of the book…but then I’d have to eat them!

Book description

It’s all candy cane cupcakes and peppermint coffee until you find a dead elf on your doorstep.

Only the elf wasn’t a real elf, because elves don’t actually exist – not even at Christmas time. A college student dressed like an elf decided taking a nap on the stoop of Callie’s Cakes in sub-zero winter temps was a good idea. It wasn’t. Anna, the pink-haired baker extraordinaire, is convinced the student’s death was not an accident. She drags Callie and Kristie along with her as she attempts to discover who killed the elf … um… student.

Will the gals of Callie’s Cakes find the killer before Christmas is ruined?

Cupcakes not included, although you’ll find recipes for all the delicious Christmas cupcakes Anna bakes.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

 

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #CrimeFiction THE PAPERBOY by @DianaJFebry

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading The Paperboy by Diane J. Febry

The Paperboy: A rural detective mystery (Peter Hatherall Mystery Book 6) by [Febry, Diana J]

This is a murder mystery with its roots in the past. Amanda Beresford is a single mother with a young son, Freddie. She is struggling to make ends meet and Freddie’s father is no help. While walking in the park one day with Freddie, in a seemingly random attack she is stabbed twice and her attacker flees without being caught.

In the 1990s Peter Hatherall was a young inexperienced police constable who, together with another constable, was sent to investigate the report of a missing boy. Jeff Powell had a paper round which he completed each morning before school, but on that particular morning the school telephoned his mother to say Jeff had failed to arrive. The two young officers were not prepared for what they found at a seemingly deserted and isolated farm near the village of Mickleburgh.

Back in the present, as Peter and his partner DCI Fiona Williams investigate the murder of Amanda Beresford, an old photograph is found at Amanda’s house which raises concerns for Peter. Despite the tragedy in his life at the time and the concerns he raised about the case, which resulted in his suspension, Peter has never completely forgotten his first major case. The doubts he had at the time about the validity of the conviction began to surface. The time has come for Peter to delve deeper into how the case was conducted all those years ago and find the connections between Jeff’s death and the murder of Amanda Beresford.

The look back at the young Peter added to his character development and both his and Fiona’s personal lives have changed over the course of the series. Reviewing the earlier case brings back bad memories for Peter. It also makes Fiona doubt Peter and question the reasons for his decisions. Her trust in him is tested almost to the limit.

A well crafted and intricate plot is written in the third person and comes from various perspectives, introducing several potential suspects, all who had motive. The two threads are woven together well as the investigation begins to uncover evidence and information that was either overlooked or discounted from the original murder. The only thing that didn’t quite gel for me was the later thought processes of the perpetrator, but other than that The Paperboy was another enjoyable addition to the series and I hope there’ll be more with Peter and Fiona.

Book description

A stand-alone murder mystery featuring DCI Peter Hatherall.
A young mother brutally stabbed in a busy park in front of her son.
A paperboy shot in an isolated farmhouse twenty-four years previously.
DI Fiona Williams is baffled when her senior officer, DCI Peter Hatherall makes a connection between the two cases.
As details of Hatherall’s involvement in the old case emerge, her loyalty is tested to breaking point and she starts to question his decisions.
When the murdered woman’s son does missing the time for hesitating is over.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Victorian #Mystery INTRIGUE & INFAMY by @carolJhedges

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Intrigue & Infamy by Carol J Hedges

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Trouble is brewing in the capital as the London Season nears its end. Detective Sergeant Jack Cully and Detective Inspector Lachlan Greig are investigating an outbreak of vandalism attacks on businesses owned by anyone classed as an immigrant. One such arson attack results in a death, soon to be declared a murder. And while Cully and Greig are out and about Detective Inspector Leo Stride, much to his dismay, is stuck at his desk with a mountain of paperwork in front of him.

Elsewhere, in a very upmarket area of the city, Miss Juliana Silverton has secured an excellent catch in the form of young, handsome (and sole heir to his father’s fortune) Harry Haddon, who proposed to her the previous evening. Their engagement will soon be announced in The Times. But if a past indiscretion becomes public knowledge all will be lost.

[Quote] For Fiona Blythe, the engagement of Juliana Silverton means that she alone of their little set is un-matched at the end of the Season. There is also another reason for her discontent, which she cannot divulge to anybody, as it consists of certain embarrassing incidents involving her attempts to attract the man who has now plighted his troth to Juliana. [End Quote]

Also added into the mix is Angelo Bellini, who has travelled from Italy to take up his position as the new tutor for Lord and Lady Haddon’s young son, Danny. Former MP Lord Haddon determines to make sure Danny doesn’t end up like his feckless step brother. However, all is not quite as it seems with Señor Bellini.

The characters are drawn so well that there’s an immediate mental image and sense of their personalities. One aspect I really enjoy about a series is the development and growth of existing characters. The divide between the well to do and the poorer element is detailed in all its grimness, with the evocatively described city of London as the backdrop where prejudice, bullying and cruelty isn’t just confined to the lower classes. There is an appreciable understanding of life at that time, across all levels of society.

I’ve been looking forward to a new mystery with Stride, Cully and Greig, and Intrigue & Infamy certainly doesn’t disappoint. Carol Hedges masterfully weaves several story threads together with engaging, witty, present tense prose, keeping the reader immersed in the story and creating an atmospheric and vividly depicted visit to 19th century London with its colourful inhabitants.

Book description

It is 1866, the end of a long hot summer in Victorian London, and the inhabitants are seething with discontent. Much of it is aimed at the foreign population living in the city. So when a well-reputed Jewish tailoring business is set aflame, and the body of the owner is discovered inside, Detective Inspector Lachlan Grieg suspects a link to various other attacks being carried out across the city, and to a vicious letter campaign being conducted in the newspapers.

Can he discover who is behind the attacks before more people perish?

Elsewhere, Giovanni Bellini arrives in England to tutor the youngest son of Sir Nicholas Haddon, ex-MP and City financier. But what are Bellini’s links to a dangerous Italian radical living in secret exile in London, and to beautiful Juliana Silverton, engaged to Harry Haddon, the heir to the family fortune?

Romance and racism, murder and mishap share centre stage in this seventh exciting book in the Victorian Detectives series.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Teen #Romance ALL THE LOVE YOU WRITE by @DGDriverAuthor

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading All The Love You Write by D.G. Driver

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This is a full length novel incorporating an earlier novella—Passing Notes—which I read, so I’m including my thoughts here. Love Letters, the first part, highlights today’s changing world and how the ways of communication differ from not that many years ago. The art of letter writing is becoming obsolete along with the need for cursive writing, as computers figure largely in education and people use texting and emails to keep in touch. When Mark Dowd finds himself having to use a very old, odd-looking piece of furniture as a desk in his English class he notices a half hidden carving in the wood. A heart with the name Eileen stylishly carved inside. Mark tries to copy the carving, eventually with a marker pen on the back of his hand as he runs out of space on the paper.

‘I pressed my pencil tip into the carving and traced the heart and cursive letters. Some dust came up when I pulled my pencil out. Whoever had done this had carved it pretty deep, probably with a knife not a pencil. I wondered how long ago that could have been because kids got expelled these days for having plastic butter knives in their lunch boxes. We’re supposed to spread mayonnaise with our fingers, I guess. Anyway, I decided the kid with the pocketknife had to have carved this valentine at least a decade ago, if not two.’

Mark has had a crush on Bethany for years. She seems to reciprocate his feelings but his texts and emails don’t seem to be having the desired effect. Ever since Mark drew the heart on his hand he’s been receiving hand written notes from an unknown source, with advice on how to win Bethany back by writing traditional love letters. When he realises who it is, he can hardly believe it but he’s more than grateful for the help.

Mark’s letters to Bethany give his hopes a boost and a tentative relationship begins to bloom. While Bethany is helping Mark to clear out his grandmother’s room after she passes away, they find an old shoebox full of love letters hidden in the back of the closet dating from the war in Vietnam. There are parallels between this couple and Mark and Bethany situation.

Bethany’s future lies in college and Mark has always planned to join the military. Will a long distance relationship work? Bethany has her doubts, which intensify as they near graduation and aren’t helped by spirit interference.

All The Love You Write is a complicated (in the emotional sense) teen romance, written well with sensitivity and some lovely imagery. Teenage uncertainty and self consciousness is captured effectively and the historical aspect was obviously researched. I enjoyed the paranormal thread but was surprised by certain reactions I wasn’t expecting. Including strong messages about love, this is an entertaining read that, for me, could have been tightened up more in the third part. But who wouldn’t love a hand written love letter as opposed to a quick text or email. The story has thought provoking content and it would be an awful shame if this creative skill and expressive method of communication is lost completely.

Book description

A story about young love, first love, true love, timeless love, and the power of love letters.

Mark and Bethany are two mismatched high school seniors in a new relationship.

It’s doomed to fail.

Mark has adored Bethany since middle school, and she’s finally giving him a chance. Only, he’s clumsy at romance and knows he’ll lose her because of it. Bethany thinks Mark is sweet. Only, she’s afraid to commit her whole heart to him because he’s going into the army and she’s headed off to college.

Fifty years earlier, a boy and a girl from the same high school shared an amazing but tragic love story. They have now returned as ghosts and are interfering in Mark and Bethany’s relationship.

Who are they? Why do they care what happens to Mark and Bethany?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery Murder Beyond The Precipice by Penny Goetjen

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Murder Beyond The Precipice by Penny Goetjen

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This is the follow up to Murder on the Precipice but can be read as a standalone. Elizabeth Pennington is building up an interior design business in Connecticut. She’s taking her first holiday since opening—a weekend break in Maine to attend an old school friend’s wedding. I gathered that Elizabeth’s family had an inn on the Maine coast where a tragedy occurred and she hasn’t been back since. So together with her black Lab, Buddy, she sets out on their journey.

Elizabeth has booked The Inn at Boothbay Harbour for her stay. When she arrives she’s dismayed to find the inn is undergoing renovations and also the owner, Lucretia Livingstone, has disappeared. Not only that, the wedding is cancelled due to the groom going missing as well. The inn and grounds are eerie with a sinister vibe. Elizabeth’s natural inquisitiveness lands her and Buddy in more than one spot of bother.

“Now, ma’am, let me give you a piece of friendly advice. You seem like a sweet lady, and I wouldn’t want you to stir up any trouble by digging into something that was meant to be kept private.”

“I…uh…I’m not sure what you mean.” She didn’t really care for his condescending attitude.

He shook his head slightly. “Just be careful where you look and how far you push, okay? Trust me.”

The descriptions of Elizabeth’s journey, although very evocative, slowed the plot a little and personally I would have preferred a more concise account. I must also admit, I didn’t quite see the point of the Rashelle thread as it didn’t go anywhere and didn’t seem relevant to the main storyline (except as a further reason for Elizabeth’s trip.) Rashelle spent the whole story locked in a cellar—accidentally or on purpose wasn’t clear. A couple of other threads were left unresolved, perhaps to be picked up in the next book?

Murder Beyond the Precipice would appeal to readers who prefer a slower paced book. I found the length of some of the descriptive prose and passages of introspection, concerning the events of the first book and Elizabeth’s lack of a love life, took me out of the main story arc. However, there is more than one murder, red herrings and several twists which keep those parts of the plot moving along, plus a nod to the paranormal—always something I enjoy.

Book description

The Livingston family is no stranger to tragedy. Losing both parents at a young age in what authorities ruled an accident, Lucretia Livingston, the sole heir to the estate, is left to pick up the pieces. But many locals question the circumstances surrounding their deaths and if the family’s wealth was an irresistibly seductive motive for crossing the line.

Elizabeth Pennington returns to the coast of Maine after receiving an unexpected wedding invitation. Hoping to surprise her friend, she arrives unannounced at the Livingston Estate-turned-inn, only to discover no one knows her whereabouts. Just as disconcerting is the disappearance of the innkeeper’s young bride, Lucretia. Frantic for answers, Elizabeth becomes tangled in a tortured trail of deception, betrayal, love lost and murder.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #WomensFiction Bella Toscana by Nanette Littlestone

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Bella Toscana by Nanette Littlestone

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Toscana Blake has an organised, if not perfect, life. She’s content in her marriage to Jackson. Acknowledging the fact it may not be a passionate union, Toscana feels a deep affection for her husband and appreciates the life they have. The only stumbling block is the future of Dolcielo, her bakery business. Much is riding on her visit to the Chocolate Festival in Rome and whether it can open doors for her and her delicious sounding chocolate brownies. Regardless of that, she’s looking forward to seeing her much loved aunt and uncle.

Before the trip though, she and Jackson celebrate her fiftieth birthday at a favourite Italian restaurant. That night Toscana has a disturbing and vivid dream of an unknown lover. Then at the last moment Jackson is unable to make the trip to Rome due to work related issues, so after some deliberation and urging from Jackson and her best friend, Toscana decides to go alone.

While wandering through the streets, after checking into her hotel and having a restorative nap, Toscana stops to look at the ruins of the Temple of Vesta. It’s there that the visions start in earnest.

A chance meeting sets Toscana on a path of discovery. Her ordered life is thrown into chaos and uncertainty. Toscana’s struggle between following her head or heart was realistically portrayed—it’s a choice between staying with the familiar and comfortable or taking a leap of faith into the unknown.

The fascinating historical details and wonderful descriptions of a past and present Rome (not to mention the food—lots of it!) conjure vivid imagery and a strong sense of culture and place, added to by the picturesque representation of the Italian countryside. I enjoyed the themes of reincarnation and spirituality and how they were the foundation and heart of the story. The past life flashbacks and present were woven together as Toscana finds herself on an unexpectedly challenging journey, one of serious consideration, possibilities and potential.

I didn’t realise until after I’d read it that this is a sequel, but it can easily be read as a stand alone.

Book description

An explosive yearning that can’t be denied
Disturbing visions from an ancient past
A mysterious stranger that somehow feels familiar

On the night of her fiftieth birthday, the comfortable ride of Toscana’s life takes an alarming plunge. Haunted by seductive visions, she tries to push aside the desire and focus on the husband who adores her. Then she falls for Flynn, a younger man with an eye for adventure and a heart full of romance, who leaves her doubting everything she’s believed about love and passion.

In Atlanta, Rome, and the lush scenery of Tuscany, Toscana searches for answers to the mysteries of her life while she faces her biggest question. If she listens to her feelings will she lose everything she holds dear, or does her heart hold the key to love and joy?

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