Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Ya #GhostStory The Haunting Of Alice May by Tony Lee Moral

Today’s team review is from Georgia, she blogs here https://www.georgiarosebooks.com

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading The Haunting Of Alice May by Tony Lee Moral

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It’s not giving anything away to say that Alice May gets saved one day while out on a kayak by Henry. They soon become romantically involved which would be fine were it not for the fact that Henry died 100 years ago and is living in some sort of purgatory. And he’s not the only one ‘living’ this way.

I enjoyed the setting with the descriptions of Alice’s life in the town of Pacific Grove where she lives with her dad and sister after her mum died. I also liked her friends Christian and Emily.

The things that jarred with me were that I was confused about whether people could see Henry with Alice, or not, at least at first. Later in the story it was clear he could be seen by everyone and also he seemed as solid as a properly living person.

Strangely at one point Alice is concerned by the fact that Henry is 100 years old and what effect that would have on their relationship, without considering the perplexing issue that he is essentially dead so their future together is not looking that promising anyway.

I am probably not the ideal audience for this book but I’m sure it would appeal to younger readers as they would relate to the age range of the characters better.

Book description

Alice May Parker moves with her family to the sleepy town of Pacific Grove after her Mom dies, but little does she know the strange and terrifying events to come. When she falls into the bay during a kayaking trip, she is rescued from drowning by the mysterious Henry Raphael. Handsome, old fashioned and cordial, he is unlike any other boy she has known before. Intelligent and romantic, he sees straight into her soul. Soon Alice and Henry are swept up in a passionate and decidedly unorthodox romance until she finds out that Henry is not all what he seems. . .

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Horror #ShortStory The Bledbrooke Works by @john_f_leonard

Today’s team review is from Georgia, she blogs here https://www.georgiarosebooks.com

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading The Bledbrooke Works by John F. Leonard

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Donald Hobdike’s title is Manager of Works in the small, somewhat creepy, town of Bledbrooke, and has been for forty years. Over that time his role has become considerably less glamorous than it sounds and now extends to little more than managing the sewage system.

He is also, on occasion, sent community service young offenders to accompany him on his day’s work. Which is why when a blockage is reported in a posh part of town Hobdike has the surly Mikey in tow as they disappear into the depths of the sewers.

But they are not alone.

This story is written from the differing points of view of Hobdike and Mikey and these were my favourite parts. The characterisation of each is excellent, their thoughts about the other right on the nail. But there is a third character. An unknown quantity. Gone to earth.

Like I said, they are not alone, and as if the revolting setting of the claustrophobic sewage system was not enough suspense builds because you know, you just know, something is waiting for them.

I loved the twist, the horror of the finale, and having appreciated Leonard’s writing for a while now I thoroughly enjoyed this short story and highly recommend it to all those seeking something different and interesting to read.

Book description

THE BLEDBROOKE WORKS is a tale of everyday unpleasantness and cosmic horror. A short novella of subterranean terror seen through the eyes of an ageing engineer and a young hoodlum. One a pillar of the local community, the other an outsider who wouldn’t know communal spirit if it ran up and bit him on the bottom.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #FairyTale Retelling The Silent Beauty by @DGDriverAuthor

Today’s team review is from Georgia, she blogs here https://www.georgiarosebooks.com

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading The Silent Beauty by D.G. Driver

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I do so love it when you open a book and within the first few lines you know you are in for a treat. The Silent Beauty is just such a read.

Colleeda has been bestowed with not only beauty but also a wonderful voice yet she is a horribly, horribly vain and selfish woman with not one redeeming feature. She treats everyone around her appallingly, her thoughts and manners ugly and breath-takingly arrogant. However, her favourite pursuit of luring men to her, then leave them heartbroken, proves her undoing when she seeks to distract a good man, dismissive of the fact his fiancé is rumoured to be a witch.

The Silent Beauty is book three in a series of fairy tales and contains all the magic of such tales with good and evil, heroes and heroines, and characters brought low by their own weaknesses. Does this one offer the possibility of redemption and send out a moral message? Well, you will have to read it yourself to find out and I highly recommend that you do. At only 80 pages long this is a gem. The writing is excellent, the descriptions rich and the storytelling wonderful.

Book description

If you’re a fan of fairy tales or retellings, D.G. Driver’s delightful, and occasionally dark series checks those boxes quite well, and can be easily read in one sitting.

Colleeda is a beautiful but wickedly vain young woman. Of all her assets, the one she prizes most is the sound of her voice. Her favorite game is to attract young men and then leave them heartbroken. It’s all fun until she chooses to lure one man away from his fiancée—and that woman is rumored to be a witch bent on revenge. Colleeda is cursed to never speak or sing again, except for a couple minutes in the wee hours of the morning when no one can possibly hear her.

For years, Colleeda mourns the loss of her voice, believing she is no longer beautiful or desirable. She lives in solitude as her house falls into disrepair around her.

Is there any way to break the curse? Does she deserve to have it broken?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #YA #ShortStory Let’s Be Legends by Sean Fesko

Today’s team review is from Georgia, she blogs here https://www.georgiarosebooks.com

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading Let’s Be Legends by Sean Fesko

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I enjoyed reading this short story. Right from the beginning we know Kara Olecki is on trial over the death of her boyfriend. The storyline hops between the proceedings in the court and from two years previously when we get to see the build up of the relationship between Kara and Matt and what actually happened to land Kara in the court room.

We all have a side we show to the world and one we prefer to keep hidden but Kara takes this to another level having her Internal Kara and External Kara, and I’m not sure that helped her mental state because when things went bad Internal Kara took over, and was out of control.

I think what I liked most about the story was Kara’s voice. I don’t read a lot of young adult novels but I could completely ‘see’ Kara, and I enjoyed her life as a teenager venturing into her first romance and this was very well done.

Book description

Kara Olecki didn’t mean to kill her boyfriend Matt. But she did—and she’s paying the price. As she waits for the jury’s decision, she has nothing but time to recap all the important moments, both good and bad, that led up to her sentencing. Told in dual timelines, experience Kara’s thoughts in the courtroom and musings from the previous two years: From the first time she laid eyes on Matt and their ski trip to Colorado, to their squabbles and individual tribulations. It was the kind of first relationship that Kara had imagined. Right up until the end.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #horror novella A Plague Of Pages by @john_f_leonard #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Georgia, she blogs here https://www.georgiarosebooks.com

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading A Plague Of Pages by John F Leonard

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If anyone follows my reviews they will have noticed I am something of a fan of Leonard’s work by now. This can prove problematic when you then read something not quite on a par with the previous work by that author, which could have been the case here as A Plague of Pages is considerably longer than the previous short stories. However fortunately A Plague of Pages does not disappoint. In fact, quite the opposite, given the longer format Leonard has greater opportunity to hook the reader in with his excellent writing and to develop the storyline into something that keeps those pages turning.

The story starts with the police attending a rather bizarre death in a library and I enjoyed the relationship, or rather the lack thereof, between Detective Sergeant Adi Shadwell and the decidedly charmless constable, Ricky Douglas.

We then go back a little in time to meet Anthony Eames who has been brought low, from being married and having a successful estate agency, by those who should have been there to support him. He has turned his back on all that and in a bid to start over has decided to write instead. He chooses to do this with a pen left to him by his father. It is only when the consequences of doing so start to be revealed that the true horror of what he has unleashed comes home to him. Or does it? Maybe he is just having a breakdown? There is only one way to find out. Write something where he can check the outcome.

I won’t say anything further for fear of spoiling this excellent read for someone else, suffice to say there is plenty to frighten you and Anthony has to revisit his family history to uncover the provenance of the pen while protecting it from those who view it with green-eyed envy.

Not for the squeamish perhaps but otherwise it’s an excellent story I’d recommend to all.

Book description

Ah, the perils of writing …it can bring out the worst in you.
Anthony’s world has fallen apart. The good times have gone, the things he treasures have been torn away. Life in tatters, he needs to press the reset button and begin again. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
He’s going to pursue his dream of becoming a writer.
Trouble is, some dreams turn into nightmares.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Scifi #Shortstory The Cleansing by @AntonEine

Today’s team review is from Georgia, she blogs here https://www.georgiarosebooks.com

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading The Cleansing by Anton Eine

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An outsiders view of our world makes for interesting reading, and this is what this story is all about. Only 18 pages long the story is told from the viewpoint of the occupants of some sort of spacecraft whose mission appears to be to cleanse planets of inhabitants that these occupants consider to be debris.

Much in this tale was of interest to me. The fact that it is entirely written as dialogue between two individuals, with not one dialogue tag. And that I found myself smiling on occasion as I recognised descriptions contained in the data received about our world that clearly perplexed the onlookers. When you look at it from their point of view, yes, it is all a little baffling.

“I don’t even understand the point of them saving all these banal moments from individuals’ day-to-day lives. It seems pointless.”

So true. Anyway, this is an enjoyable, if short, tale and I note it is a translation, from what I’m not sure… maybe not a language currently on this planet? Recommended for a quick read.

Book description

Will beauty save the world? Not this time…
This sci-fi short story gives us a view of our world from perspective of alien invaders that just arrived to destroy any life on Earth. Can we do anything to save our fragile peace, to protect our home and the very existence of the humankind?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Shortstory Mild #Horror CALL DROPS by @john_f_leonard #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Georgia, she blogs here https://www.georgiarosebooks.com

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading Call Drops by John F Leonard

Call Drops is the story of Vincent Preece, a self-made man, who now in retirement has everything he could want for materially but is bored and lonely, his wife and daughter having left him long ago.

Vincent loves browsing for second-hand stuff and one day at a car boot sale he finds a mobile phone, a very special one and one like nothing Vincent has ever seen before. And he knows his phones, they were how he made his fortune.

Thinking it had nothing more than an aesthetic beauty to offer he bought it and took it home. Shocked when first it rang. Trilling like an antique. The message he received was equally shocking but essentially good news, or would be eventually, for Vincent at least. The second call… well, that was something entirely different…

I love the way Leonard writes, it’s as simple as that. Although in shorter form it reminds me of one of my favourite authors, Mark Barry. Descriptions are sparse and yet luscious, Vincent, and his life, captured in every carefully chosen word. I’m a fan of short stories anyway and at the moment they are mostly all I can read so if you’re a fan too, and even if you’re not, give this a go, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Book description

Vincent likes nothing more than rootling round second-hand shops in search of the interesting and unusual. Items that are lost and forgotten.
Why not? He needs the diversion. Time on his hands and money to burn. His life is affluent and empty. Little on the horizon and memories tinged bittersweet.
That’s all about to change. He’s about to find something that is perhaps better left unfound.

CALL DROPS is a darkly swirling mix of horror and mystery that will stay with you long after the reading is done. It’ll maybe make you think twice about impulse buying, those moments when you simply must have something, even though you don’t need it.
It might cause you to look again at the apparently mundane and everyday …and possibly, just possibly, wonder at what twisted marvels lurk within your mobile phone.

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Call Drops: A Horror Story by [Leonard, John F]

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Horror #Shortstory DOGGEM by @john_f_leonard

Today’s team review is from Georgia, she blogs here https://www.georgiarosebooks.com

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading Doggem by John F. Leonard

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Doggem, is a short story from John F Leonard and is a tale of a toy dog and dark deeds. I chose to read this as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and received a copy from the author but that has not effected my review in any way.

In a bid to encourage literacy Mrs Snady encourages the pupils in her primary class to take the class toy dog, uninspiringly called Doggem, home for a week at a time. The child who has him in their possession is meant to document his time in their care. George Gould, age 5, is chosen to take him home for the whole of the summer holidays.

George’s parents, Cath and Tom, are taking him, and Doggem, to stay with his grandmother in her cottage in Jordemain Wood. However, it is clear that all is not well with the relationship between his parents and the grandmother, but she has asked to see her grandchild so the trip is on.

And this is where the story takes a darker turn as while Cath and Tom cook up a plan, a level of perception has been brought to Doggem by George’s abilities which, while hidden from his parents, have been spotted from afar by his grandmother.

Doggem gets to see and hear things he probably shouldn’t because no one suspects a toy dog and after what happens in the holidays things take an even more sinister turn when Doggem returns to school and life gets creepy for Mrs Snady as his powers increase.

This short story is very well written, thoroughly enjoyable and I’d highly recommend it to everyone who wants a fairly quick read. Excellent!

Book description

All the kids adore Doggem, the class cuddly toy.
They each get to take him home. Hug him and love him and show him their world outside of school.
All they have to do in return is write his diary.
It’s George Gould’s turn and he’s going to introduce Doggem to a rather unusual family.
Before we go any further, it’s worth pointing out that both the stuffed toy and little boy are far from ordinary.
Doggem is no longer your run-of-the-mill snuggle doggy. Designed to fall apart after a few years. Perfect for squishing and squashing into a comfort blanket.
He’s a million miles from that now. Doggem has just become a living creature. Thinking and reasoning. Trying to make sense of an unexpected existence.
Strange places and scary experiences are in store during this sojourn with his latest custodian. Things no respectable fluffy dog should ever have to witness. It might end up in deadly territory.
Make no mistake, there is magic here. Some of it as black as a starless night.
And George?
Well, George is descended from decidedly dicey stock. There are folk in delightful George’s lineage who have indulged in practices of a somewhat shadowy nature. The ramifications of which aren’t ready to be consigned to history. They want to spill out of the past and have their say in the future.

DOGGEM is a spooky little tale about toy dogs and dark doings. A gently disturbing horror story. But beware, this charming cocktail of witchcraft, imagined folklore and paranormal fantasy might just bewitch you.
Not easy to pin down genre. Without doubt it has a certain heart-breaking beauty to it. Maybe it’s a modern fairytale. A scary one, flavoured with a dash of the occult, written for an adult audience. After all, fairy tales feature the supernatural and have a magical aspect to them.
They often have old cottages and eerie, unnerving woodland settings.
Wickedly enchanting women and innocent children.
Ancient evil and everyday greed.

Doggem is a short story, one in a series of sinister tales from the Dead Boxes Archive.
The Dead Boxes?
Some objects are frightening things and the Dead Boxes definitely fall into that category.
They can be easily overlooked. Ordinary on the surface. At first glance anyway. A mobile phone, a piece of art …a child’s plaything.
Take a closer look. You’ll see something unique.
You could very easily have one and not know it.
Exercise caution.
They hold miracle and mystery. Horror and salvation.
None are the same. Except in one regard.
You don’t need one.
You might think you do, but you really don’t.
Believe me.

A Short Story.
From the Dead Boxes Archive.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #shortstories The Christmas Ghosts by G. Lawrence @TudorTweep

Today’s team review is from Georgia, she blogs here https://www.georgiarosebooks.com

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading The Christmas Ghosts by G. Lawrence

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Guardian – Henry is on his way to stay in a cottage with his fiancée, Billie, when he gets lost on Bodmin Moor in the snow. Help arrives unexpectedly but Henry is even more surprised when he finds out who his rescuer was.

Hot Toddy – This was a lovely story of an elderly woman’s special tradition at Christmas. She has all her family staying with her, or at least nearly all, and this ritual is all about that missing element. Thoughtful and wonderfully written and I really enjoyed this one.

Rodger Reed and the Road Kill Rabbit – Rodger is a horrible, horrible man. He is on his way home for Christmas, not because he wants to see his family but because he wants to make sure his father is leaving him exactly what he wants in his will, as he should. He kills a rabbit on the way with little remorse but lives to regret his lack of care.

Old Man Symmonds – Hayley is having a horrendous time under her new boss, Carol. She leaves and gets a temporary job in retail. Given the task of locking up one night she gets some overtime to clear up the stock room on the strict understanding she is to leave by 7pm. However, Hayley loses track of time, something she soon bitterly regrets.

The Christmas Ghosts – Eloise has made a career out of housesitting and is booked to look after a wonderful Victorian, very large cottage on the Cornish coast. She is a writer working on her first novel and is planning on getting a lot done on it during that month. It sounds idyllic to me – a writers’ retreat, you get paid to go to? What’s not to love!

Eloise was planning to spend Christmas Day with her family but after a row with her mother she returns to the cottage, and is astonished by what she finds going on there.

These stories are all very well written and are an entertaining and enjoyable read I’d highly recommend.

Book description

Have a Very Merry, Ghostly Christmas!
G. Lawrence presents a collection of five short ghost stories, all based in Cornwall and Devon for Christmas. Spooky, amusing, and touching by turns, these ghost stories are a great seasonal buy!

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #shortstory Christmas Once Again by @dk_deters

Today’s team review is from Georgia, she blogs here https://www.georgiarosebooks.com

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading Christmas Once Again by D.K. Deters

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I didn’t do any investigations so had no idea what this story was about, other than Christmas, until I read it. Actually it is not a particularly Christmassy story at all, although it does take place on Christmas Eve.

Madison Knight is broke and working for Once Again Antiques when she gets a call from a Zachary Murdock because his grandmother’s painting has been sold to the shop by mistake and he wants to buy it back.

That initially appears to be no problem until Madison discovers that the painting has already been sold on. The weather is atrocious with heavy snow but Madison goes above and beyond the call of duty to get the painting back.

This is a well-written story with a time travel twist, which I always struggle to get my head around, but it worked well and delivered a nice ending which is just what you want in a Christmas story.

Book description

She’s dead broke. And eviction looms. On Christmas Eve antique consultant Madison Knight takes a phone call from local rancher Zach Murdock. Through a mix-up at an estate sale, Madison’s company purchased his grandmother’s beloved painting. He offers double the money for its return.

Madison risks her job to track down the artwork, but success falls short when she’s stuck in a blizzard. Stranded, she seeks help from a frontier family. Are they living off the grid, or did she somehow travel through time?

Zach’s the only person who knows her plan. He also knows a secret about his gran’s painting. It’s up to him to rescue Madison, but maybe he’s not cut out to be a hero.

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