Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE 45th NAIL by @ian_lahey #WWII #HistFic #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s Team Review is from Terry, she blogs at

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The 45th Nail by Ian & Michael Lahey


The 45th Nail by Michael Lahey and Ian Lahey

4 out of 5 stars

The basics: Bob, a middle-aged French teacher from middle America, receives a strange communication from his long-lost Uncle Jim who he believed to have gone MIA during World War II.  The contents of this communication are sufficient to send Bob off to Italy to find him.

From the blurb I was expecting an adventure type thriller, but the beginning is more like dark comedy, as Bob tells wife Beth untruths about where he is going (the portrayal of Beth was hilarious, I’d like to have read more about her), has his luggage and wallet stolen by a con artist/pickpocket gang as soon as he arrives in Italy, then takes a series of part-time jobs in order to clothe, feed and house himself before he can even think of travelling to Anzio to seek out the mysterious Uncle Jim.  His experience ‘winging it’ as a sommelier is very funny indeed, and some of the characterisation of the people he meets is first class (I particularly liked Edigio, the hotelier who helps him along the way).

As for the plot itself, I wasn’t really convinced by it at first; it seemed to be more of a story about this funny guy who has all sorts of accidental adventures in Italy.  Then, at about twenty per cent, a well plotted twist made it all clear, and the tone changed.

The book shows the legacy left by the war, a love of Italy, the language, archaeology and social culture; I didn’t know what some of the dialogue meant and had to do a certain amount of ‘winging it’ myself, but this wasn’t a problem.  The last fifteen per cent of the book provides the terrible truth about Uncle Jim and the 45th nail – I was engrossed, and found it sad and moving.  The end is excellent.

I thought the story rambled a fair bit and gave more detail in many places where a more succinct account/stream of conversation would have had better effect, but the writing itself is great.  If it was trimmed down a bit it would be worthy of at least another half star, as far as I’m concerned.

An unusual book, and a good one.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Bev reviews The Song Of The Cypress by Tonia Parronchi

Today’s book review comes from team member Bev, she blogs at


Bev chose to read and review The Song Of The Cypress by Tonia Parronchi


Review of The Song of The Cypress by Tonia Parronchi
I won’t give a summary here, as other reviewers have already very efficiently done so.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Tonia Parronchi’s practically flawless prose flows beautifully and is at times poetic.  The story itself is a mix of fairytale romance and mystical folklore, which I haven’t come across before.  I must say that the enchanted Cypress did not appeal to me much to start with, but as I progressed with the story, I understood that it added an interesting dimension to Annie’s new life in Italy.
I generally read two or three books at a time, and The Song of the Cypress was the one I wanted to settle down with an hour or so before bedtime because it is so uplifting and positive.  Rural Italy comes alive, with fabulous descriptions, traditional anecdotes and a welcome helping of local produce served up at sunny picnics, village feasts, or cosy meals for two in front of the fire.  Everything is rather perfect, but I enjoyed this indulgence – it was refreshingly uplifting and a great way to de-stress at the end of the day.
If I had to mention something negative, I’d say that the pace did stall from time to time, where there was occasional repetition, verbosity or inaction.  However, if you’re looking for a nice dose of romantic escapism, coupled with an authentic overview of life in a Tuscan village, written by an author who knows how to write, this book definitely fits the bill.
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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Vanessa reviews The Song Of The Cypress by Tonia Parronchi

Toady we have a review from team member Vanessa, she blogs at


Vanessa chose to read and review The Song Of The Cypress by Tonia Parronchi


“It’s hard to even begin to explain what I thought of “The Song of the Cypress”. This novel is so unique and beautifully written that I feel inept at writing down my own views about it.
Ultimately, the story is about the self-discovery of Ann (or Annie). A woman who needs to find herself as a person, spiritual soul, lover and member of a community. Until she dreams of the “Cypress” her life has been depressed. Following the needs of her mother, she has no time for herself. When her mother dies, she finally gets the freedom she desires and leaves everything she has in England to start a new life in a remote cottage set on the mountains in Italy.
Once here, she explores her spiritual side through an eccentric old woman, or local “witch”, who guides her in finding out about a connection with the Cypress tree that spans many centuries. The ability of the spirit or soul in this book is interesting and it beckons us (the reader) to seek out our true instinct as human beings and the role we have play with nature.
Her relationship with Joe is interesting and cleverly done, although it did have a ring of perfection that at times felt unbelievable. Every relationship has some trauma. This had barely any. Annie also seems too content in her own skin towards the end. It certainly is something for us all to strive towards.
Without giving any more away, this is a book you can taste (I got hungers pangs from some of the descriptions), smell, feel and almost touch.
My own upbringing in Gibraltar came to mind as the author described the traditions and mannerisms of Italians. My distant relatives were of mixed origin, but many descendants of Gibraltar come from Genoa. We definitely like our food!
I have rated it a 4 because as much as I loved it at times the pace slowed too much for me and I needed more than excellent descriptive writing. But, this is a personal preference.
I highly recommend this and think it should be studied as part of an English course on how to write creatively. I certainly don’t think I could ever achieve this level!”
*~I got this book in exchange for a review via Rosie’s Book Review Team~*
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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Alison reviews The Song Of The Cypress by Tonia Parronchi

Today we have a review from team member Alison, she blogs at


Alison chose to read and review The Song Of The Cypress by Tonia Parronchi


The Song of the Cypress by Tonia Parronchi

Ann is a woman who is only half alive, caring for a mother who has sunk into depression and illness since the death of her husband, leaving Ann to a lonely childhood and a miserable adulthood. Her mother’s death offers the chance of a fresh start and Ann dreams of the cypress on the night before her mother’s funeral.

Ann travels to Tuscany, and in a small village finds the cypress. She begins her transformation, embracing her new life and her neighbours, the chatty Lucia and Pietro, Lucia’s quiet husband, hard-working put upon Rita and, of course, gentle, handsome Joe.

She also encounters the strange, wild, carefree old woman Fiammetta, the white witch, who teaches Ann about herbal remedies and healing, and shows her how to connect fully with the cypress and its song.

This is a beautifully written story. The sense of place is wonderful; I felt as though I was there in the Tuscan countryside as the seasons changed. The descriptions of the scenery, the seasons and the people are extremely well done and Ann is an interesting and well-drawn main character. I wanted her to be happy and to find the life and love she deserved. I also wanted to be in the warm sun of Tuscany, with its beautiful scents and scenery, all of which were brought beautifully to life.

I did feel that Ann’s out of body experiences were rather drawn out and repetitive at times – but this is my only criticism. This is a lovely book, and one I definitely recommend.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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Dreaming Of Love by Melissa Foster

Dreaming of Love (Love in Bloom, #19; The Bradens, #11)Dreaming of Love by Melissa Foster

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dreaming of Love is a great stand alone book, but if you love Melissa’s books then know that it is also 11th in the Braden book series and 19th in the Love In Bloom series. I’ve now read several books in both series and love how the characters all intertwine.

This book is about Emily Braden, she’s watched 4 of her 5 strong character brothers be knocked over with love for some amazing women and Emily wants to find someone for herself. She’s always fought her corner for a rightful place amongst her brothers and she loves them all. She’s an architect from Trusty, Colorado, she works hard and now it’s time for a rest. Her brother Wes has given her a ticket to Tuscany for a well deserved break in an area of beauty, she arrives clutching, as always her hopes of love.

She’s staying in a villa near Florence, the home of Adelina and her family. With just two rooms available, Emily soon meets the other guest and just one smouldering look has her pulse racing. Dae Dray is here for a work project, to assess a house for demolition, but it looks like he’s going to work some demolition in the romance department too.

A local villa, Casa Dei Desideri, the House of Wishes draws local women to it’s ancient olive tree who share their secret wishes. Myth has it that the tree has mysterious powers. Conflict occurs when Emily’s need to preserve family bonds of love go against Dae’s work project.

Melissa’s writing is full of passion and emotion, she has strong characters who reach out to the reader’s own emotions and take you on a roller-coaster ride.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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Emily Braden is a leader in architectural preservation, a pillar in her small hometown, and successful in everything she does—with the exception of finding true love. She’s watched several of her brothers fall in love, and she needs this trip to Tuscany to get away from it all and to stop focusing on what she doesn’t have.

Dae Bray doesn’t do flings, and he never stays in one place for very long. As a demolitionist, he goes where jobs take him, and the more often he travels, the better. His trip to Tuscany is all work—until he meets smart and sexy Emily, who makes him reconsider his fear of settling down, his no-fling rule—and just about everything else he’s ever believed about himself.

Passion sizzles as Dae and Emily explore the history and beauty of Tuscany. Their romance moves beyond tourist attractions to the bedroom, blossoming into a deep connection neither can deny. But their worlds collide when Emily wants to preserve the property that Dae is there to demolish. Can a woman who sees the beauty in preservation and a man whose life is spent tearing things down find a solid foundation for their love?

Buy Links to be included in the post


About the Author

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Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Café. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on  Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.


Visit Melissa on The Women’s NestFostering Success, or World Lit Cafe. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

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The giveaway on tour is 3 x ecopies of Flirting with Love (the previous novel in the series).

22538933Elisabeth Nash has spent years dreaming of returning to the small town of Trusty, Colorado, where she spent summers with her favorite aunt. When she inherits her aunt’s farmette, she closes her Los Angeles pet bakery and pampering business, sure that life in Trusty will be as peaceful and as welcoming as she remembers. But being an outsider in the close-knit town proves to be very different from the happy summers she remembers from her childhood—and falling for Trusty’s hot, wealthy, and sinfully irresistible veterinarian, Ross Braden, sends the rumor mill into a frenzy.

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In My Lady’s Shadow by Siobhan Daiko

In My Lady's ShadowIn My Lady’s Shadow by Siobhan Daiko

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In My Lady’s Shadow is set in Italy near the town of Asolo. It is a time-slip novel, present day 1989 and past date of 1504. Fern is holidaying with her aunt when she begins to have dreams of another time. They become more frequent and begin to take the format of visions.

Cecilia was a lady’s maid to Queen Caterina Cornaro. She enjoyed art and fell in love with a young artist called Zorzo, but she was destined to marry another. It seems that Cecilia is a restless spirit who has an unknown purpose by making contact with Fern.

Fern becomes friends with Luca, a local architect and his mother Contessa Goredon. While the Contessa researches her family, Luca takes delight in showing Fern the local sights and tries to help her solve the mystery behind her visions.

The time-slips back to 1504 work really well, I enjoyed meeting Cecilia in her own time and getting a little more of her story with each time-slip. However I didn’t connect with the present day characters. I particularly wanted Luca to be more Italian in his manner, more suave and a deeper romantic. With their English connections through marriage, education or birth, all the present day main characters were out-siders to the area and didn’t quite fit for me.

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Alchemist Gift by Mark Giglio

Alchemist GiftAlchemist Gift by Mark Giglio

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Alchemist Gift gives the reader good value for their money at approximately 450 pages long. The story is primarily set in Renaissance Italy and Bavaria with a secondary minor setting of current day San Diego.

The book has a large cast of characters who are all introduced in fine flowing detail, many of who appear in several different time scales as the stories jump back and forth during proceedings.

A dream scene opens the book with a piazza full of people gathering for a town event. We then meet Roland Hughes in present day San Diego, a twenty-eight year old perpetual student drifting through life unsure of his true role. Supported by life-long friend Liz, Roland fails to see that his lethargy to life and love is losing him a future with Liz.

Back in medieval Italy several innocent girls are being accused of witch-craft, until a storm saves them from burning and a miracle occurs. The story then follows many of the characters in tales of their lives, struggles and loves. A special cabinet is made from wood which is believed to have magical qualities. Approximately 600 years later in San Diego Roland finds an alchemist cabinet which transports him in time to the Renaissance era where he is coerced into the life of an alchemist and the ultimate prize to turn lead into Gold.

I enjoyed reading the alchemy parts in the book, but I didn’t connect with Roland’s character. I also found myself struggling to keep pace with all the characters and the level of their importance to the storylines. The book does offer family trees at the back which could perhaps be placed earlier for an e-version.

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The Immortal Greek by Monica La Porta

The Immortal Greek (The Immortals, #2)The Immortal Greek by Monica La Porta

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Immortal Greek is a sophisticated and sexy paranormal romance set in the Eternal City of Rome. It is the second book in the Immortal Series, but easily stands on it’s own. Alexander Drako is an Immortal with a reputation as a millionaire playboy, his parties are the talk of the town and he is always being featured in the gossip magazines.

This year his famous party has had to move its date due to the Immortal Council’s annual Gala, but the fun of the party ends when a young Immortal commits suicide. The Council call in The Enforcer, Ravenna Del Sarto to investigate the suicide and it appears he is a victim of The Immortal Death.

When several more bodies turn up Alexander and Ravenna must work together to find the person or persons behind the deaths.

This book entwines high class luxuries, fast cars, beautiful characters and deep passions in a wonderful setting. If you like your romance strong with a shot of heat like a favourite cup of Italian coffee, then this is for you.

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Romancing September #RomancingSeptember – Day 17


Welcome to Day 17 of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Today our guest is Monica La Porta. Catch up with more from Monica in a few hours with the second part of our tour when Stephanie chats to her.

The Lost Centurion_new design

Where is your home town?

I am from Rome, Italy, but I moved to Washington State in the summer of 2000.

How long have you been writing romance?

I’ve been writing love stories since I was a kid, but I started writing professionally five years ago.

What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?

I have several favourites, among them paranormal, urban fantasy, and science fiction romance.

Tell us who Marcus is?

Marcus is the main character in The Lost Centurion. Once a proud commander in the Imperial Roman Army with hundreds of men under his lead, Marcus is now a lonely renegade whose life is powered by a thirst for revenge consuming him.

Who has he been searching centuries for?

As an immortal, Marcus has spent the last two thousand years looking for a vampire.

What does he think of Vampires?

He hates vampires, because one of them killed his wife, Aurelia.

How does he meet Diana?

After years of fruitless search for Aurelia’s killer, Marcus has finally a lead. An informant has promised him information about the vampire he’s looking for. The rendezvous is at the Roman Forum, but when Marcus arrives he finds his informant is being attacked. Marcus can’t save the man, but he ends up having to care for the informant’s vampling—a new-born vampire—Diana.

What locations have you used to mix Old and New Italy?

I took a virtual tour through Rome, mixing places I used to frequent when I was living there, and Marcus’s memories of the same places in Roman times. The Forums first and foremost, where the majority of Roman daily life happened, but also the modern neighbourhoods built on top of the ancient city. Marcus travels south to Amalfi to hide with Diana in his friend’s villa perched atop the rugged coast, and takes her to the Blue Grotto for a romantic evening. Finally, he must follow her to Castel Gandolfo, the medieval city where the Pope retires for his summer vacation, where the vampires keep Diana prisoner.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

I have just released the second title in The Immortals series, The Immortal Greek. My editor has finished her corrections on The Broken Angel, which should be out in October. And I am writing the fourth in the series, The Hidden Demon.

Where can readers find out more about you?

Monica La Porta

I have a blog and an author page on Facebook where I talk about my writing, my hobbies, my outlandish gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free recipes, and my love for beagles. I welcome questions from my readers, because interacting with them gives me great joy.




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