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

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT WILD WATER series by @JanRuthAuthor #TuesdayBookBlog

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

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Cathy has been reading The Wild Water series by Jan Ruth.

Wild Water Box Set

Wild Water begins the story of Jack Redman who works in the Cheshire branch of his family’s very successful estate agency business. To all outward appearances he has it all, the up market car, the big house, a beautiful, if high maintenance, wife and three lovely children. But Jack’s life is thrown into turmoil when Patsy, his selfish and materialistic wife, admits to an affair and leaves the family home with their younger daughter. Jack has felt something was amiss for a while but certainly wasn’t expecting the train wreck which was now his life. And things were getting worse. His father has had a health scare leaving Jack to run both the Cheshire and North Wales branches. Jack is run ragged and very unhappy. Meeting up with Anna, his first love, in Wales, when she lists her farm for sale is the only thing keeping him sane.

In Dark Water Jack and Anna seem poised on the brink of a life together, and Anna’s artistic talent is about to be recognised. But then the past rears its ugly head in the shape of Simon Banks, Patsy’s ex-lover and the father of her first child. He is unstable and a danger to everyone’s peace of mind, determined to be a part of his daughter’s life, regardless of how it impacts on the rest of the extended Redman family.

Anna is feeling overwhelmed and unsure in the aftermath of Jack’s decisions, and their lives become ever more complicated. As the strain intensifies they both make mistakes which causes uncertainty and misunderstandings between them, culminating in a disastrous incident which comes back to haunt them and add to the confusion and turmoil of their lives.

Silent Water sees Jack’s impulsiveness and, mostly unwise, ways of dealing with the ongoing crises continue to threaten his and Anna’s lives together, despite his good intentions. The spectre of Simon Banks is never far away and Jack’s future looks bleak and uncertain. Anna isn’t content to let Jack deal with everything anymore, and takes more control over her life and career. As Patsy’s misery deepens into depression she becomes more calculating than ever, causing havoc without a second thought. It’s seeming less and less likely that Jack and Anna will be able to achieve a happy ever after ending to their turbulent lives.

A story driven by characters who are all very well drawn and real, with deep and complex issues. Their lives are interwoven seamlessly and full of emotional ups and downs. Funny, loveable Jack, who I couldn’t help but sympathise with, while at the same time wanting to shake some sense into him. He cares about those people who matter to him above all else, and wants to do what he believes is best for them. More often than not though, it backfires and makes the situation even worse. Anna, likeable, independent and warm-hearted, never really got over her feelings for Jack, and seeing him again brings back long buried emotions. I was particularly moved reading the scene with Anna and Benson, the labrador. On the other side of the coin is Patsy, manipulative and selfish with no regard for others’ feelings, even her own children. She will go to any lengths to get what she wants. Lottie, and the humorous back and forth dialogue between her and Jack, is brilliant especially as she approaches puberty.

I love the North Wales setting, which Jan Ruth describes in rich and beautifully evocative detail, with a vivid and visual writing style.

An excellent plot which veers into darker territory, giving it an extra layer of tension, depth and drama. The complicated relationships between a great and diverse mix of characters, are credible and feel true to life, portrayed in such a way as to provide an opportunity to experience emotions from the individual’s point of view. The pacing is perfect, allowing the narrative to become continuously more gripping. A wonderfully compelling trilogy, told with humour, compassion and an understanding of the complexities of life and relationships. Great twist at the end too.

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

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT SILENT WATER by @JanRuthAuthor #FamilySaga

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

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Liz has been reading Silent Water by Jan Ruth

Silent Water Cover LARGE EBOOK copy

Silent Water by Jan Ruth

 

The Wild Water series includes everything I desire for a perfect read. It describes contemporary life in all its complexities; love, passion, family connections, humour and tragedy. After the changes in family circumstances brought about by the blossoming romance between Jack Redman and his childhood sweetheart, Anna, when they reconnect in Wild Water, the plot grew menacing in Dark Water leaving readers on a cliff-hanger. Silent Water delivers everything I had hoped for. Events catch up with Jack and Anna and they must decide whether to reveal their secret.

 

Jack Redman can be embarrassing and foolish, but his passion and commitment to those he loves make him irresistible. Anna is quieter and more thoughtful, she takes longer to decide on her actions. The other main characters are also fascinating. Ex-wife Patsy is miserable in her new life in Chester and her depression leads her to be more manipulative than ever, but does she really deserve our sympathy? Jack’s daughter Lottie is hilarious as she enters puberty, acting outrageously to cope with her need for a stable home.

 

In Silent Water Anna matures. She takes responsibility and doesn’t rely on Jack to take care of her. When she realises that he has been keeping secrets from her, she has to decide whether their love is strong enough to survive. And as the storyline winds the threads together, there is a delicious twist at the end.

 

If I worked for a TV company, I would be commissioning this trilogy for a serial. Against the backdrop of stunning scenery in Snowdonia, dramatic events, family misunderstandings, tears and laughter fill the plot. If you haven’t tried it yet, you really must read all three books as soon as possible.

Find a copy of the trilogy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT PALOMINO SKY by @JanRuthAuthor

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

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Liz has been reading Palomino Sky by Jan Ruth

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Palomino Sky by Jan Ruth

 

Palomino Sky continues the story of Laura and James who met in Midnight Sky. Now they are looking forward to a happy life together as Laura plans their wedding and tries to set up a new home design company. James wishes to start anew by selling the farm and the equestrian business and looking for another home, but Laura has reservations.

 

In this book, Laura’s sister, Maggie, gains strength as a character and in practical ways. She is faced with increased problems form her wayward daughter, Jess, but she takes constructive action to help Laura and James as their lives take a tragic turn. Towards the end of the book we lose touch with Laura, but this is because she needs to step back from events, feeling lost herself.

 

The bleak winter landscape of Snowdonia is beautifully described by the author and the awe inspiring sight of the gathering ponies is starkly contrasted by subsequent events.

“A miraculous sight came out of the mist; a long ribbon of ponies on the skyline cantering, leaping and whinnying to each other across the heather…….They were the colours of bracken and stone, rainclouds and earth.”

 

As the horses are sold or returned to their owners, the healing hope of the mare, Palomino Sky, whom Laura calls Song and the dependable sturdiness of O’Malley, show a light at the end of the tunnel which might bring James and Laura back onto the path to happiness and give solutions to those affected by the closure of the stables.

 

This is an emotional story which grips the reader from page one. I really cared about the characters and read late into the night to discover their fate.

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

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Palomino Sky by @JanRuthAuthor

Today’s team review is from Luccia, she blogs at http://lucciagray.wordpress.com

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Luccia has been reading Palomino Sky by Jan Ruth

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Review Palomino Sky by Jan Ruth

Palomino Sky is the sequel to Midnight Sky, both novels are named after horses on the farm where James lives and carries out his equestrian business.

Palomino Sky is named after another new horse. Liz (James’ bossy and independent sister) calls a ‘showy palomino’. I know very little about horses, and one of the joys of reading these two novels is learning more about them, like discovering that palomino is a coat color in horses, consisting of a gold coat and white mane and tail. Rhian, one of the staff says ‘Jamie reckons she’s a natural at hooking up, a joiner.’ James, the horse whisperer, needs horses like that to help recover the horses he heals from trauma and injury. Palomino is also a metaphor for Laura’s role in the novel. She will have to heal, or ‘join’ James in the second part of the novel.

Palomino Sky moves the story started in Midnight Sky in a much darker way, because there are various dramatic and violent events, which will seriously change the course of all their lives, especially in the case of Laura and James.

In book one, James helped Laura during a traumatic moment in her life, including her break up with Simon, but in book two, it’s Laura who will have to heal James from real physical injury and trauma. I can say no more without including a spoiler.

Maggie and Pete have set up a bed and breakfast to supplement their meagre income at Hafod House, the running of which brings some humorous relief to the dramatic action. I liked the way Maggie’s role as older and wiser sister is heightened, and she actually takes some very important and risky steps to help Laura with her personal issues with the men in her life.

On the other hand, Jess’s role as troublesome teenager, develops into a dangerous troublemaker. A violent boyfriend, and a new crush on James’s twenty-year-old American son, will lead to many unfortunate incidents throughout the novel, including an almost tragic event, which will rock their lives.

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

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT PALOMINO SKY by @JanRuthAuthor #WeekendBlogHop

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

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Cathy has been reading Palomino Sky by Jan Ruth

Palomino Sky is the sequel to the wonderful Midnight Sky, where we first meet Laura and James and their siblings, and are drawn into their complicated family lives. James and Laura, both recovering from momentous and traumatic life events, are finding solace in each other, although they are not helped by Laura’s wilful and temperamental teenage niece causing no end of trouble.

This story opens with Laura and James engaged and about to be married. James is in the process of the selling the farmhouse, cottages and land as well as dissolving his equestrian business. He is hoping a move to somewhere new, without memories, will finally lay the ghost of his late wife to rest, allowing him to fully move on with his life and finally let go of Carys. For all his issues and his dark moodiness, James is just as appealing and irresistible as in the previous book.

Maggie, Laura’s sister, who now runs a B&B with her husband is trying to get used to having her eldest daughter, Jess, back home under less than encouraging circumstances. After Jess’s unhealthy crush on James had caused numerous difficulties, Laura helped her find a house share in Chester for which she stood guarantor. Not only is Jess close-mouthed about her reasons for returning home, she is affecting her parents’ business with her challenging behaviour and attitude. Jess is in a deeply troubling situation which eventually impacts on everyone, devastatingly so on James and by default, Laura.

This is a brilliant, if heart breaking, sequel. The characterisation, writing and dramatic descriptions of Snowdonia are excellent and evocative. There are several well paced threads running through which present unexpected twists and for some, a terrible tragedy to get to grips with and attempt to overcome.

As with all Jan Ruth’s books, the ones I’ve read anyway, the narrative is full of emotion and very moving. The characters, their relationships, the ups and downs and different aspects are finely drawn and realistic, the dialogue easy and believable. The protagonists, both male and female, are attractive and charismatic with underlying personal difficulties so that nothing is straightforward, which makes for a strong and compelling read.

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

Our #Bookreviews featured in January editions of Fleet Life and Elvetham Heath Directory #TuesdayBookBlog

This month the review team and I have several of our book reviews featured in the following magazines,

Fleet Life is featuring the following books, for the online version go to http://www.fleetlife.org.uk, click on the online directory and load the magazine, turn to page 40 for this month’s book review page.

FL Jan

The House Of York by Terry Tyler

The Executioner by Ana Calin

Any Man Joe by Robert Leigh

The Sickness by Dylan J Morgan

Murder at the Lighthouse by Frances Evesham

Elvetham Heath Directory is featuring the following books, for the online version go to http://www.ehd.org.uk, click on the online directory and load the magazine, turn to page 32 for this month’s book reviews.

EHD Jan

The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur

Moon Bayou by J.R Rain

Grimnirs by Ednah Walters

Owen by Tony Riches

Silver Rain by Jan Ruth

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Silver Rain by Jan Ruth @JanRuthAuthor #bookreview #Romance

Today’s team review comes from Joanne, she blogs at http://joannegphillips.wordpress.com

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Joanne read and reviewed Silver Rain by Jan Ruth

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Alastair Black has revealed a secret to his wife in a last ditch attempt to save his marriage. A return to his childhood family home at Chathill Farm is his only respite, although he is far from welcomed back by brother George. Kate, recently widowed and increasingly put upon by her daughter, sister, and mother, feels her life is over at fifty – until she meets Alastair. He’s everything she isn’t, but he’s a troubled soul with a dark past. When his famous mother leaves an unexpected inheritance, Kate is caught up in the unravelling of his life as Al comes to terms with who he really is.

 

This is an absolutely stunning read, and that is a level of praise I reserve for only the very best books. First of all you have the main characters, Al and Kate, both of whom positively jump off the page and grab you by the hand, demanding you come along with them on their respective journeys. The writing is beautiful and evocative, but never dull; the plot is tight and paced just right; the dialogue is so believable you almost forget you are reading fiction and not merely listening to conversations. I loved Al, he is a flawed character – flawed in all the right ways, the interesting ways – and from the outset I was rooting for him. Kate is so identifiable, complex and conflicted – the perfect foil for Al.

 

The story – gripping and satisfying all the way – plays out against the backdrop of a beautiful but unforgiving landscape, one that is always present but never takes over from the characters. What is so outstanding about Jan Ruth’s writing, however, is the depth of emotion contained within these pages. Every single character, even walk-on parts, seemed real to me. Every twist and turn of events, while surprising, felt natural and right for the story. As an author myself I felt humbled reading this book, and also glad that Jan has so many other books for me to get my hands on. Highly recommended – 5 stars. (If I could give it 6 stars I would!)

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

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Silver Rain by @JanRuthAuthor #bookreview @AccentPress

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

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Cathy chose to read and review Silver Rain by Jan Ruth

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Alistair Black, fifty, divorced and homeless since the house he and his ex-wife had shared has been sold, is rapidly sinking into a state of despair. His only option is to descend on his brother and sister-in-law at their farmhouse, Chathill, where he grew up. Chathill is actually half his by right even though the brothers are not related by blood. Al and George, have been estranged for the last fifteen years and Al’s edited explanation of why sealed the demise of his marriage. So, along with his two dogs, Butter and Marge, and Jo, his new girlfriend, in a camper van stuffed with all his worldly goods, he sets off for North Wales.

Kate Roberts has been widowed for a year and is feeling guilty, about lots of things, not only because she’s packing up her dead husband’s stuff for the charity shop. She’s been invited to Fran’s, Greg’s sister’s, and is looking forward to the break from being at the beck and call of her elderly mother, self-centred daughter and selfish sister. Kate has run round after her sister, Annemarie, for years picking up the pieces and looking after her kids, and has had enough. Kate needs to look after herself for a change. However, it’s not quite the peaceful break Kate was anticipating. The angry vibe emanating from George is palpable and unnerving. Fran and her daughter, Becca, are kept busy looking after their rescued animals, leaving Kate to deal with the domestic chores.

Kate and Al’s introduction is an unconventional one. Kate, deciding to freshen up after arriving at Greg and Fran’s chaotic and run down farm, makes her way to the bathroom and pushes open the door…

**Once inside, she was confronted by a naked man. Starkers! Well, he would be, since it seemed he’d been in the shower cubicle. She was too old to be embarrassed by nudity, but it was still a shock. The little wooden sign swinging on the handle outside had clearly said “vacant”, and there was a distinct absence of any noisy, running water. He was glistening, though, and his hair was dripping. Kate kept her eyes on his, although it was difficult not to glance down – almost impossible in fact – but he was watching her every movement, so she felt not only trapped, but compelled to keep eye contact…….’Hi,’ he said, and extended a hand towards her, ‘I’m Al.’**

I love that Jan Ruth’s novels are real life romances without being overly sentimental and cutesy. Al and Kate are older, interesting and complex, facing realistic situations and issues; dealing with grief, divorce, elderly parents and annoying siblings. I like Kate, and especially Al, very much and felt drawn to them both. Kate is good-natured and kind-hearted, Al charismatic and attractive. But as tensions mount and secrets threaten relationships, the emotional fallout could be devastating for them all.

Clever twists in the well structured storyline, non-communication, challenging and uncertain relationships make this a compelling family drama. The setting is wonderful and the characters are credible, fully fleshed out and well portrayed. Chapters alternating from Kate and Al’s points of view move the story along smoothly.

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

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Silver Rain by @JanRuthAuthor @AccentPress #bookreview

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Liz chose to read Silver Rain by Jan Ruth

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Silver Rain by Jan Ruth

 

I knew on opening Silver Rain that I would be engaged by a complex family drama set in the beautiful countryside of North Wales but I hadn’t expected to have so much empathy with the two main characters Al and Kate.

 

Kate is a warm-hearted, mature woman with flame red hair, trying to release herself from guilt, a year after the death of her husband Greg. She is encumbered by a dysfunctional sister, Annemarie, and a frail elderly mother. Her relationship with daughter Tia is in crisis so she is looking forward to a peaceful break, staying with her sister-in-law Fran at Chathill, a ramshackle farmhouse.

 

Unbeknown to Kate, Fran’s brother-in-law, Al, is also coming to stay, with his young girlfriend Jo, even though he has been estranged from his brother George, Fran’s husband, for 15 years. After the break-up of his marriage, the sale of his house has made Al homeless. There will be no peace for Kate while Fran and daughter Becca care for a menagerie of rescue animals and George fumes at the effrontery of Al coming to stay at Chathill after their disagreement many years earlier.

 

But what did happen between the two brothers? The underlying theme is secrets. As Kate is drawn closer to Al by his charisma and humanity she needs to know how his close relationship with his brother was destroyed, but increasingly she also finds herself keeping secrets which could destroy their developing relationship.

 

Interwoven with the main storyline are humour, mystery and passionate romance. Yet the characters, of every age, deal with the problems and joys encountered by us all today. As a reader, you long for a happy ending for Al and Kate but there are also so many other sub-plots that could lead to other interesting tales, especially the back story of Al’s mother.

 

To meet Al’s dogs Butter and Marge, Becca’s horses Pumpkin Pie and Candy Floss and see Al in wig, baggy trousers and clown make-up I recommend you begin reading Silver Rain as soon as possible.

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