THE WINNERS! #TuesdayBookBlog #RBRT Bookreview team presents: The Gold & Silver 2016 Book Awards

The Winners!#RBRT Rosie’s Book Review Team presents: The Gold & Silver Rose Awards 2016

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*Cough* … On behalf of my team, I’m delighted to announce the winners and runners-up in the #RBRT 2016 book awards!

Books were selected from the several hundred submitted to our team for review over the past year, with the 24 finalists voted for by the reviewing team. These finalists were then offered up to the public for voting. Congratulations to the 8 winners and runners up!

A click of the book’s title will take you to Goodreads, where you can see reviews, and also leads to the Amazon, etc, buy links.

 

Fantasy / SciFi/ Horror

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Winner: The Prince’s Man by Deborah Jay

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Runner-up: Passing Notes by D G Driver

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Historical Fiction

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Winner: The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James

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Runner-Up: Back Home by Tom Williams

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Mystery Thriller

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Winner: On Lucky Shores by Kerry J Donovan

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Runner-Up: Rack & Ruin (previously titled Murder & Mayhem) by Carol Hedges

Contemporary

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Winner: The Disobedient Wife by Annika M Stanley

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Runner-Up: Scotch On The Rocks by Lizzie Lamb

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Congratulations to all the following finalists:

The Black Orchid by Celine Jean-Jean

Blood Of The Sixth by K R Rowe

Flesh by Dylan J Morgan

The Final Virus by Carol Hedges

La Petite Boulain by G Lawrence

When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory

Jasper by Tony Riches

The Code For Killing by William Savage

Trust Me I Lie by Louise Marley

Wings Of Mayhem by Sue Coletta

Murder at the Lighthouse by Frances Evesham

Trust Me by Earl Javorsky

What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes

The Bad Girl by L Donsky-Levine

Silent Water by Jan Ruth

The Brazilian Husband by Rebecca Powell

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT DOWN SOLO by Earl Javorsky #TuesdayBookBlog #Thriller

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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Terry has been reading Down Solo by Earl Javorsky

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DOWN SOLO by Earl Javorsky

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

Another gritty, unusual and often darkly amusing thriller from Earl Javorsky, this time with a clever hint of the supernatural. Charlie Miner is a fast talking, various substance snorting PI involved with many shady characters; the fact that he’s actually dead adds another dimension to his dealings.

He has a drink-crazed ex-wife and a daughter, Mindy, who he loves dearly and who has to deal with the scattered lives of her parents. Among the cast are drug dealers, gang members, a priest, shady investment entrepreneurs, and a particularly perceptive taxi driver, Daniel.

The dialogue in this book is excellent, sharp and realistic, and zips along, with prison visits, road trips, kidnappings, arson, gunfights, from Santa Monica to Mexico. It’s not predictable at all, which I loved, and there’s never a dull moment; aside from this, Earl Javorsky is just a very stylish writer, and Charlie is a great narrator.

I didn’t like it quite as much as his other book, Trust Me, because I would have preferred it if it was just a straight thriller without the supernatural element, and I felt it could do with a little tidying up in places, but the first reason is only personal taste, and I’d certainly say, yes, read this. It’s good!

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

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT DOWN SOLO by Earl Javorsky #Paranormal #Mystery

Today’s Team Review is from Olga, she blogs at http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

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Olga has been reading Down Solo by Earl Javorsky

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My review: Death is no excuse to give up on a case

I am reviewing this novel as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team. Thanks to Rosie Amber for organising this amazing team and to the author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

Dead narrators are not unique. In some cases we know from the beginning (like in the film Sunset Boulevard, that I recommend if you haven’t watched it yet), in others we don’t find out until the very end (The Sixth Sense. Sorry, it’s a big spoiler, but I imagine everybody has watched it by now). I have just read a book where the main characters were dead, or in an in-between state. But still, Charlie Miner, the protagonist of this novel, is no ghost and he does not live in a separate reality. No, he wakes up at the morgue with a bullet in his head and picks himself up, finds another body still wearing some clothes that he borrows (as luck would have it, a skinhead), and, as a good (well, let’s say professional) PI he sets off finding out what has happened to him.

I really like unreliable narrators. They are good to keep readers on their toes and bring very interesting perspectives to the narrative. The story doesn’t stray from Charlie’s first person point of view, but he has a few problems. He’s dead, and it’s difficult to know if his memory problems stem from being dead or from the damage the bullet has caused to his brain; he also had a serious drug habit (developed due to back pain following an accident that would not respond to run of the mill painkillers) and what effect that has had on his memory is open to question. Charlie realises, when trying to pierce things together, that he has big gaps in his memory and, what’s even worse, some of the memories he recalls seem to be incorrect. On the plus side, he soon discovers that death cures drug addiction. Readers share his puzzlement and his attempts at trying to work out what really happened, having to rely on partial information that might be misleading or incomplete.

Charlie is a great narrator, despite (or because of) all those problems. Notwithstanding his situation, he wastes no time in feeling sorry for himself. He’s off to find out what happened. He’s sharp, witty, has a fabulous (if rather dark) sense of humour, and although he has his own sense of morality and of what’s right and wrong, he does not hesitate in using whatever means necessary to get to the truth, especially when his daughter is at risk. He is a friend of his friends, loves his daughter, has a keen sense of justice and, despite his flaws, he’s one of the good guys.

The case is a complex one, involving gold mines (that might or might not have gold in them), shady investment firms, preachers trying to save the world, experts killed for their troubles, hot wives prepared to do anything to get their hands on the money, trustworthy and friendly drug dealers, Mexican gangs, crazed adoptive sons and other complex family relationships, amphetamine labs… There are a number of deaths, explosions, crashes, arson attacks, kidnappings, road trips, visits to prison, and everything in between. There’s also an interesting taxi-driver, Daniel, who seems to have information about the biggest mystery in the book (how come Charlie is a completely unique model of the walking dead) but he keeps his cards very close to his chest. Despite the supernatural elements, once the readers move past the main premise of the book and accept it as Charlie does, they get swept by the adventures, complications, and dangers that pile up. You’re in for the ride and you enjoy it for all it’s worth. The ending… well, it’s open to interpretation.

The dynamic writing, and the quick pace suit the novel’s theme and characters perfectly, and turn it into a must read for people who love unusual thrillers and witty/quirky characters, with plenty of black humour thrown in. A word of warning, there’s swearing, violence, drug use and a bit of sex, so it’s not for the faint hearted. A fantastic read.

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

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT TRUST ME by Earl Javorsky @TheStoryPlant #Thriller #SundayBlogShare

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

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Cathy has been reading Trust Me by Earl Javorsky

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4.5*
A great opening prologue sets the scene for the story as a young woman is pushed to her death from her twelfth floor balcony. Jeff Fenner, on the point of hitting rock bottom due to drugs and alcohol, has nowhere left to go. Finding out about his sister’s death while at the airport waiting for his flight home, through an article reported in the LA Times, leaves Jeff in shock and disbelief. Jeff is convinced his sister did not, would not, commit suicide, as the reporter apparently believes.

Holly Barnes has blocked out her nightmarish past, but is now in a troubled relationship with her abusive musician boyfriend. She desperately wants to turn her life around and make changes for the better. After attending a meeting of Save Our Lives, a group dedicated to helping people rediscover their true selves, she meets the handsome and distinguished looking Art Bradley.

Joe Greiner, a homicide detective, and Ron Pool, a reporter from the LA times and ex-alcoholic, who has attended several meetings of Save Our Lives, are both uneasy and beginning to question the verdict on Marilyn Fenner’s death. They find several very similar cases and so begins an investigation which uncovers depravity, murder and corruption.

I enjoyed this book very much, in particular the view points switching between the prominent characters and the smooth way their stories are woven together. The story threads are fascinating and lead into a dark, inventive and well written narrative, full of tension and suspense. Characters, even secondary ones, are well portrayed and believable, and the dialogue is realistic. There’s a manipulative and twisted antagonist behind the supportive facade he presents. Emotions are described in convincing detail.

The journey into the seedier side of LA society is in stark contrast to the sparkly glamour usually associated with the City of Angels and highlights the disaster people can make of their lives. But there is a way back, if the determination to recover is dominant.

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

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT TRUST ME by Earl Javorsky @The StoryPlant #Crime #Thriller

Today’s Team Review is from E.L. Lindley, she blogs at http://lindleyreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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E.L. has been reading Trust Me by Earl Javorsky

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Trust Me by Earl Javorsky is a crime thriller that snares the reader’s interest from the beginning. The novel opens with a prologue in which a woman named Marilyn Fenner meets an unexplained death and the reader is taken on a white knuckle ride before the mystery is unravelled.

Unlike most crime thrillers, this novel is not driven by a cop protagonist. Instead there are four main characters whose lives are loosely connected and become even more so as the plot develops. Jeff Fenner makes an unlikely hero as the drug dealing, heavy drinking brother of the dead Marilyn. He is helped to sobriety by Ron Pool, a journalist and ex-alcoholic. Ron Pool has rebuilt his life around health regimes and self help groups, much to the amusement of his hard bitten detective friend, Joe Greiner. Holly Barnes is another troubled character whose path crosses with those of Ron and Jeff at a self help group meeting.

It is Ron who first questions the official ruling of suicide on Marilyn’s death. He spots a link between a spate of so-called suicides and the self help group Save Our Lives (SOL). He calls on the help of Joe and there follows an investigation into a sinister world of manipulation and corruption.

At the heart of the group is Art Bradley, a charismatic therapist. His true character is gradually revealed as he gets his hooks into Holly, drawing her deeper and deeper into his world. It is this relationship that provides the novel with much of its tension.

One of the things I like about the novel is the fact that it is set in LA with a backdrop of the seemingly rich and successful party crowd. Javorsky uses his story to dispel our illusions of LA by focusing on a dark seam running through all the surface glamour.

He also explores the theme of mental health problems and the prevalent use of prescription drugs. He uses the characters of Holly and Jeff to demonstrate how easy it is for people to become disconnected from who they are and what they want. The popularity of groups such as SOL reflects the way in which people can become lost in modern society.

I really enjoyed Trust Me and if you’re looking for an exciting but thoughtful read that defies you to put it down then I recommend you give it a try.

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

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT TRUST ME by Earl Javorsky #TuesdayBookBlog @TheStoryPlant

Today’s Team Review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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Terry has been reading Trust Me by Earl Javorsky

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TRUST ME by Earl Javorsky

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

Trust Me is a well written and cleverly plotted crime/murder thriller set in and around Los Angeles. The main character is Jeff Fenner, a heavy drinker and jaded coke/LSD dealer whose life is imploding as his addictions wear him out, and one piece of bad luck follows another. Running alongside is the story of deeply troubled Holly, who gets involved with SOL, the ‘Save Our Life’ organisation that purports to solve problems of addiction and psychological blocks by way of finding one’s ‘inner child’. At an SOL meeting she meets the mysterious Art Bradley.

Ron, a journalist, befriends Jeff; he is helping his cop mate Joe to solve a series of suicides-that-might-be-murders. Soon, the links to all storylines become clear—and there’s a great twist at the beginning of Chapter 27, at 44%; didn’t expect that at all, even though I had my suspicions…

I loved the character of Jeff, and Ron was another favourite; Art Bradley was scarily sinister from the off. Aside from the highly readable story, I liked the way that this book was amusingly scathing about New Age self-help psychobabble, and the comments about the unreliability of the field of mental health, and how doctors and psychiatrists dish out one medication to counteract the side effects of another, and then another, and another.

I haven’t got anything negative to say about this novel; it held my interest throughout, ends well, and isn’t predictable. For me, it just missed the spark that sends a book into the ‘5*, I loved it’ zone, but that’s only personal taste; it’s jolly good, I’d recommend it, and I’d definitely read more by this author.

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