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 Cosy #Paranormal #Thriller Madam Tulip And The Serpent’s Tree by @DaveAhernWriter

Today’s team review is from Barb, she blogs here https://barbtaub.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Barb has been reading Madam Tulip And The Serpent’s Tree by David Ahern

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My Review: 5 stars out of 5

She’s baaaack! I can’t binge on the absolutely bingeworthy Madam Tulip series because I obsessively grab each new book the second I can get my hands on it. Then I make a bowl of popcorn, pour my annual Guinness, and head back to Ireland with some of my favorite fiction friends. As I said in my review of Book 3, they include the (attractive of course) young actress, Derry O’Donnell—permanently broke and scratching for the next job in the Dublin theater scene, consistently dating the wrong flavor-of-the-week, while waiting for The Big Break—and her alter ego Madam Tulip, celebrity psychic and fortune-teller. (*That’s Madam without an “e”, because she’s not married to Monsieur Tulip.)

Derry’s supporting cast includes her mother Vanessa—successful American art gallery owner, artist’s agent, and force of nature. Vanessa is divorced from (but still agent to) Derry’s father, Jacko—famous Irish artist whose painting skills are second only to his ability to gamble (and lose) money. Then there are Derry’s acting friends, Bella (black, Belfast-born actress with catch-phrase ‘Say No to Negativity!’), and Bruce (gay ex-Navy Seal, actor, computer expert, and total eye-candy). [note: and in case you didn’t get the gay part, his remarkably prescient parents did, in fact, name him “Bruce”.]

In the team’s latest adventure, Derry is (as usual) caught between her ever-competing parents as her father Jacko prepares his tell-all, career-destroying autobiography while her mother Vanessa bemoans the inevitable loss of his career (and, of course, all those lovely commissions).

But Derry has bigger problems. Her uncomfortable relationship with alter ego Madam Tulip doesn’t stand a chance against her even more troubled bank balance when she accepts a gig as member of a rock star’s entourage. As usual, Madam Tulip has barely started telling her first fortune when murder attempts and accusations begin to pile up.

“Derry wondered if the source of her inspiration wasn’t her years spent in Ireland, where believing anybody’s motives are anything but self-serving, dishonest, and probably criminal was universally viewed as the sign of a half-wit.”

But two things are different this time. First, this is a darker adventure in every way. Events are already set in motion, but Madam Tulip’s very real gift is quick to shed light on a cauldron of seething motives. And second, unlike the past events where Derry was always aware that Madam Tulip was just another character she’s playing as an actor, this time she finds the character taking over. ‘This time, Madam Tulip felt more real than I did. As if she were acting me, like she was the one truly alive. Am I crazy?’

Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree has all the pieces I’ve loved so far. Derry and her friends’ backstory and characters continue to become more complex and rounded. Her parents continue to provide comic relief. The affectionate yet honest descriptions of Dublin and surrounding countryside are beautifully written.

New characters are introduced with author David Ahern’s usual brilliant descriptions, such as Pat Kelly, band manager and aspiring nightclub developer, “He was short and overweight, his pudgy face strongly tanned, like he spent long hours on a sunbed or had just returned from a winter vacation. His hair was black and curly, longer than fashionable. His clothes were youthful, obviously designer, though his socks were white and his shoes were black slip-ons, cheap-looking and too shiny. His shirt gaped over his belly, straining the buttons.” We probably know everything we need from just those white socks and too-shiny shoes.

As Derry has already discovered, interpreting Madam Tulip’s intuition isn’t an exact science. Take the serpent symbol, for example. Is it a warning, as it seems when Derry first sees a mysterious bracelet? Is it a symbol of the end of the world, as her Viking-loving new friend Nils tells her? Perhaps it’s part of the message from the tarot cards, or even an incomprehensible vision beckoning her to safety in her single moment of greatest danger? Derry never decides, and maybe we won’t know either.

For anyone who enjoys plenty of wisecracking banter, a cast of offbeat characters willing to risk their lives for each other—even if not in ways I could have predicted, as when Bruce brings Derry back from brink of hysteria by insisting she recite Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy—and a rollercoaster thriller plot, I can’t recommend this series enough.

And for you lucky ones who are not (yet) addicted, Madam Tulip predicts a treat in store for you: the first three books in her series are now available as a box set at special savings. What could you possibly be waiting for?

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 MADAM TULIP by @DaveAhernWriter cosy #Mystery

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

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Liz has been reading Madam Tulip by David Ahern

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Madam Tulip by David Ahern

 

Derry O’Donnell is a fully qualified out of work actress who lives in Dublin. Her father, Jacko, is a charming artist, fond of gambling, while her mother, Vanessa, is an assertive, successful Gallery owner in New York.

 

Derry’s friend, Bella suggests that Derry uses her psychic talents, as the daughter of a seventh son of a seventh son, to create the persona of a mystic called Madam Tulip. After meeting a friend of Jacko at a race course, Derry is persuaded by supermodel Marlene O’Mara to give Madam Tulip her first performance, giving consultations and predictions to clients at a Charity Bash taking place in a castle, the following weekend. Among the guests are Mojo, a rapper from London and his partner Sonya Dee, an American R n B singer.

 

Derry finds Bruce, an old friend and also a “resting” actor, working at the castle. In addition, he is an ex US navy SEAL with special skills which she will soon need to rely on. Mojo is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Bella is arrested. When it looks as though Derry might also be framed for murder, she decides to find the real culprit, but she is hindered by the lack of co-operation of her old flame, Fitz, an aristocratic policeman from London, who is working incognito.

 

Derry is a brave, likeable heroine, who inspires loyalty from her friends. She relishes danger, although unsure of the advantage of her ability to sense people’s secrets and predict consequences. The second half of the novel is full of drama and adventure. It is clear that Derry or Madam Tulip could continue with other thrilling investigations since you can trust her and enjoy her sardonic humour.

 

This story fits into the cosy mystery genre but there is also a touch of Irish feyness which reminds me of the books of David’s namesake, Cecelia Ahern. A most enjoyable read.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT LOVE IN THE TIME OF MURDER by @denaehaggerty #Mystery

Today’s team review comes from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

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Noelle has been reading Love in the Time of Murder by D. E Haggerty.

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Book Review: Love in the Time of Murder by D.E. Haggerty

Love in the Time of Murder is book three in The Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives series by this author. I will confess I haven’t read the first two, but I didn’t have any trouble getting into the story and understanding the relationships of the characters. I understand this is the last book in the series, and the previous two are also stand-alones.
This is a fun romp of a cozy. Delilah, or Dee as she is known to her friends, is the granddaughter of a group of elderly ladies who get together to knit and solve crimes. Her life is in a bit of a mess. Her husband Brock has become abusive for an unknown reason. Dee finally manages to leave him and move out on her own, but this means moving in with her grandmother, who raised her, with her attendant knitting and busy-body posse. Soon after, Brock shows up to take Dee back, and things get ugly before he finally leaves. For me, this was the most immediate and emotionally tense part of the story. While Dee is trying to figure out how to handle the situation – the Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives insist she get a restraining order – Brock is found murdered and Dee is suspect number one.
Dee’s problems don’t end there, since the ladies see the perfect opportunity to find Dee a new man and put their matchmaking skills to use. Dee is having none of it, except for the fact the man they select – Tommy, introduced in the previous book – is handsome and makes her heart sing. At the same time, the ladies dive into finding the real killer, in order to save Dee.
The grannies are at once nosey, frustrating, overbearing and irritating. I myself got irritated with them, along with Dee’s moving back and forth from her new apartment to her grandmother’s. I think the relationship between Dee’s gay employer and his boyfriend is a little too blatant for my taste – they seem to be snogging in public at every opportunity (really?) – and some of the humor didn’t reach my funny bone. Equally frustrating is Dee’s reluctance to overrule her grandmother and the posse, despite being constantly ambushed by people with the best of intentions but oblivious to her mental distress. I wonder whether this is because the book is told in first person, which means the reader sees and feels everything through Dee’s eyes. Third person would allow the reader to view the characters in a less biased way.
Having said that, the mystery is a good one. The revelations about Brock keep you wondering just who he actually was, and overall, the book is a good story. Some of the wit and sarcasm I liked and there were some one-liners that made me laugh; I just wish the other relationships hadn’t fogged the sleuthing so much.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com