#WW2 Children’s Book. @LizanneLloyd Reviews The Blitz Bus by @gblackwellbooks, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading The Blitz Bus by Glen Blackwell

The Blitz Bus: A children's time travel adventure by [Glen Blackwell]

If I could have taken my class back in time when I was teaching history to Key Stage 2 children, how useful it would have been! Jack and Emmie are learning about the Second World War and their teachers expect them to have empathy for the children who were alive in 1940. On the way home from school on a double decker bus driving through east London they spot a mannequin in a shop window with a gas mask. When they leave the bus, everything is slightly different. Stumbling into Bethnal Green Underground station with crowds of others, they believe a film is being made, but the bombs are real and they can’t find their way home to their families.

This is an exciting story which would be great as a class reader or as an adventurous read by fluent readers. Most of the first chapter is unnecessary and could put off some from continuing with the story, but once Jack and Emma meet Jan, a likeable Polish refugee, and start to investigate a mysterious figure they think might be a spy the adventure gains momentum. Will they solve the mystery without being arrested by the police, can they ever get home to present day London?

An authentic picture of events during the Blitz shown through the eyes of young people who explore the city observing the devastation. I enjoyed reading this story and I am sure many middle grade children would find it a worthwhile read.

4 stars

Desc 1

Emmie let out a huge sob – “It’s not a film set”, she cried. She held onto Jack for a moment, then took a step back, closed her eyes and shouted – “WHERE AM I?”

When Jack and Emmie suddenly find themselves transported back to London in 1940, they find a world both familiar, yet very different. As they dodge falling bombs and over-zealous policemen, they befriend Jan – a lonely Polish refugee. Together, they must work out if the shadowy figure they keep seeing is a spy and unlock the secret of getting home again…

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

The Blitz Bus: A children's time travel adventure by [Glen Blackwell]

A #middlegrade Adventure. @LizanneLloyd Reviews The Dark Side Of Midnight by @carolJhedges, For Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading The Dark Side Of Midnight by Carol Hedges

In a changed world of the near future, Jazmin Dawson and her mother Assia are growing apart. Assia’s job with an International Security organisation often takes her away from her daughter on important missions. Jaz dreams of being a secret agent too but she also wishes her Mum would spend more time with her. But Assia has to travel abroad again following up a worrying crime. This time Jaz has to go to stay in one of the new Tower cities with her uncle’s family. Uncle Ian & his wife Dee are a wealthy couple who work long hours so that they can spend plenty of money on their children. 16-year-old Clea is supposed to be looking after Jaz, but the spoilt girl is alternatively sarcastic or ignoring her.

As Assia finds herself a captive of a dangerous couple, Jaz’s life improves. She meets Tonda, a handsome, kind, young entertainer, whose friends welcome Jaz into their company. Sadly, he will soon be leaving England, but Jaz is also summoned to Prague by her mother’s colleagues hoping that she can help them to find Assia.

The story shows Jaz gradually developing skills as a crime fighter in an increasingly frightening scenario. Both Clea and Tonda have unexpected parts to play in the terrifying events and the conclusion draws the reader into seeking out the next book in the series. A recommended read for a middle grade reader who enjoys adventure with a smart, likeable heroine.

Desc 1

Jazmin Dawson is a super-cool secret agent with hi-tech kit and a hi-octane life of crime-busting … in her dreams! In reality, Jazmin Dawson is a fourteen year old teenager, whose biggest battles are with her homework and her addiction to snacks.
But suddenly, everything changes. Jazmin’s mother works for the London branch of GID (Global Intelligence Department) an organisation responsible for tracking down individuals and groups that threaten world security. Tasked with locating a stolen dead body, she goes missing in action, and Jazmin is sent to find her.
Stepping off a plane in Prague, Jazmin finds herself at the centre of an international mystery, and with a dangerous mission: to infiltrate a rogue scientific institute.

“Jazmin Dawson’s first assignment is a thrilling read, full of fast-paced action and put-downs as deadly as an assassin’s bullet.”

AmazonUk | Amazon US

A Cosy #Mystery. @LizanneLloyd Reviews Bells, Tails And Murder by @KathyManosPenn

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading Bells, Tails And Murder by Kathy Manos Penn.

58695567. sy475

Leta Parker has long been an Anglophile, so after the tragic death of her husband she decides to leave Atlanta, taking her dog and cat to start a new life in a Cotswold village. It’s the perfect setting for a cosy mystery and Leta’s inquiring mind and interest in people make her an ideal detective. But when Leta finds a body in suspicious circumstances, she has trouble convincing local policewoman, Gemma, that she is not just an interfering American with too much time on her hands.

There are many possible villagers who have motives for the murder but they are Leta’s friends so she searches for clues. In an added twist Leta discusses her investigation with dog, Dickens, and cat, Christie. Not only do they understand her, but she can also interpret everything they say. Suspension of disbelief is necessary, but it adds to the fun! At times I had problems remembering who was who, so a list of characters at the beginning of the book would have been helpful.*

Readers on both sides of the pond will appreciate the descriptions of a visit to Oxford and of the charming imaginary Cotswold village. The setting reminded me of the adventures of Agatha Raisin with a little bit of Midsummer Murder and it is a good choice appealing to both a British and an American audience. If you fancy a light read with a mystery to solve its great escapism.

*Whoops There was a helpful summary of the characters at the beginning of the book but somehow I missed it (Remember to go to the very beginning of a book on Kindle!)

Desc 1

She crossed an ocean to start her life over. Can she nab a killer before her quaint village becomes a graveyard?


Recently widowed Leta Parker desperately needs a change of scenery. Pursuing her lifelong dream of retiring to the Cotswolds, she leaves her soulless corporate hustle in Atlanta and moves to England with her talking dog and cat companions—Dickens and Christie. But she’s barely begun making new friends when she stumbles across her housekeeper’s body …


With several villagers pegged for the crime, Leta teams up with a retired English teacher and her sharp-as-a-tack octogenarian mother to track the killer before the trail goes cold. As the not-so-friendly local policewoman elbows them out and scandalous rumours plague the tight-knit community, it’s left to the ladies and their pets to sleuth for the truth.


Can Leta, Dickens, and Christie sniff out the culprit before the cute little town loses more than its charm?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

58695567. sy475

‘Warmth And Humour In A Country Divided By Brexit’ @LizanneLloyd Reviews This Much Huxley Knows by @gailaldwin

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading This Much Huxley Knows by Gail Aldwin

56958593

This is a story of a family and their friends in pre-pandemic England. It’s very easy to empathise with 7-year-old Huxley because we see the world through his eyes. He doesn’t conform to the norm that his classmates expect so he’s often lonely, but Huxley has a great sense of humour defined by his particular “word wangles”. We teach children to read using sounds, so it’s no wonder that he calls pneumonia, new-moan-ear and sarcastic, star-cast-stick. Huxley’s parents, Kirsty and Jed, love and care for him greatly, but he thinks they worry too much. He has made friends with Leonard, an old man who uses a mobility scooter and who offers him chocolate. As a reader, I was on the fence. Leonard is probably innocently misguided but is there more to his behaviour?

This is generally a story of warmth and humour of everyday life in a country divided by Brexit. One kindly grandmother shows racist prejudice while another trusting old lady is teased by young people. This tale of a contemporary community makes you think of how being self-centred and jumping to conclusions can be so destructive. Huxley takes everyone at face value and doesn’t judge others. Eventually he discovers a friend at school, his parents make an exciting decision, and the book ends on a positive wave. I would recommend this novel to anyone who needs a feel-good read in depressing times.

4 stars

Desc 1

I’m seven years old and I’ve never had a best mate. Trouble is, no one gets my jokes. And Breaks-it isn’t helping. Ha! You get it, don’t you? Brexit means everyone’s falling out and breaking up.

Huxley is growing up in the suburbs of London at a time of community tensions. To make matters worse, a gang of youths is targeting isolated residents. When Leonard, an elderly newcomer chats with Huxley, his parents are suspicious. But Huxley is lonely and thinks Leonard is too. Can they become friends?

Funny and compassionate, this contemporary novel for adults explores issues of belonging, friendship and what it means to trust.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

56958593

‘Superb plotting and characterisation’. Victorian #Mystery Desire and Deceit by @carolJhedges #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading Desire And Deceit by Carol Hedges

58621177. sx318

Once again Carol Hedges’ Victorian Detective mysteries reflect the progress, poverty and cunning of the second half of the 19th century. While brothers Arthur and Sherborne lurk in the vicinity of their elderly aunt Euphemia Harbinger like a couple of vultures intent on inheriting her fortune, a cautious replacement clerk observes the suspicious activities of his new boss, the Honourable Thomas Langland MP.  As police detectives Cully and Stride do their best to discover why a body was stolen from the mortuary, their lack of evidence means they may have to rely on natural justice.

In contrast, it is refreshing to share the investigations of successful author, Lucy Landseer, as she engages in her first case as a private investigator. In her imaginative help for wronged women, she is a forerunner of the sisterhood of suffragists. Meanwhile music hall entertainer, Micky Mokey, keeps an eye on Sherborne Harbinger; what secret does he conceal?

The corruption and arrogance of many of the characters parallel some in our own society today but the humour of the talking parrot and the delightful 10-year-old Harriet Harbinger give the reader cheer and hope for a better future.  The superb plotting and characterisation of this novel is further enhanced by Miss Hedges wonderful vocabulary perfectly expressing the mood and atmosphere of each scene for our delectation.

Desc 1

It is 1868, and the body of a young man has gone missing from the police mortuary at Scotland Yard, an event that has never happened before. Who was the mysterious corpse, and why was he spirited away in the night? These are the questions baffling Detective Inspector Stride and Detective Sergeant Cully as they set out to uncover the truth.
Meanwhile, two greedy, unscrupulous, inheritance-seeking brothers, Arthur and Sherborne Harbinger, descend upon London and their very rich dying aunt, each determined to get whatever they can out of her, and prepared to use whatever methods they can to win her favour. And over in her newly rented rooms in Baker Street, Miss Lucy Landseer, consulting private detective, has been presented with her first ever proper case to investigate ~ and finds it is one that will defy even her imaginative and inventive mind.
Set against the hottest summer on record, Desire & Deceit, the ninth outing for this popular Victorian Detectives series, explores how the love of money really is the root of all evil. Once again, Victorian London is brought to life in all its sights, its sounds, its sordid and gas-lit splendour. Another must-read book, teeming with memorable Dickensian-style characters.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

58621177. sx318

Love And Life In The Cotswolds. @LizanneLloyd reviews #Romance Elle’s A to Z Of Love by @ClaraVal, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading Elle’s A to Z Of Love by Claire Huston

58299860. sy475

If you enjoy spending time in an idyllic but realistic English village you will love this novel. When Elle Bea returns from University she is welcomed home to Haileybrook by her rather odd family and close friends. Her love life is non-existent but she will soon be travelling to Europe with her lively friend, Serena.  However, memories and old ties are entangling her. She cares deeply for old friend, Toby, who took care of her when she was a shy schoolgirl, but she still can’t stop thinking about Adam, the handsome publican’s son she had briefly dated.

I found Elle’s attitude rather irritating. Her dynamic mother has sapped her confidence and her life seems to be permanently on hold. The redeeming feature is the series of emails she exchanges with Zach, a charming young man she met briefly in the University Library, who is now living with his girlfriend in the States. Their frank remarks tell us a great deal about their personalities and interests. The events in Haileybrook such as a wedding and a country fayre are recoded by Elle as part of her job as a local journalist and we encounter a number of interesting characters such as the elderly Mrs Cooper who tries to provide Elle with guidance.

The usual misunderstandings and foolish mistakes are delightful resolved in an exciting conclusion.

Desc 1

Haileybrook, a beautiful village in the peaceful Cotswolds countryside, is most people’s idea of heaven on earth.

Born and raised in this small slice of paradise, Elle Bea can’t wait to leave.  It should be easy, but every time she packs her bags for exotic adventures, old loves and loyalties pull her back.

Will Elle be forced to forget her dreams of far-flung places and epic romance, or can she grab one last chance to have it all?

An uplifting, romantic story about friends, family and the relationships that make a place a home.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

58299860. sy475

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #HistoricalFiction His Castilian Hawk by @abelfrageauthor

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading His Castilian Hawk by Anna Belfrage

His Castilian Hawk (The Castilian Saga Book 1) by [Anna Belfrage]

Noor is a teenager living in the countryside with her dog and her horses, far away from the political challenges of life under the rule of Edward I.  Bravely accepting marriage to Robert FitzStephan, the bastard son of a Lord, she rapidly matures both physically and mentally.  She should detest the man responsible for the death of her father but finding him an honourable man who treats her with respect she develops a passion for him.

This is a novel which shows us the brutality and hardships of medieval life in a well-researched account of Edward Longshanks determination to finally subdue the Welsh by murdering their Prince and capturing his children, but it is also a sensual love story with the complication of an evil spurned woman.  In addition to the threat of Edith’s revenge, Noor cannot abandon her family links with Welsh cousins, putting loyalty before diplomacy. Can she trust Robert to stand by her after years of faithful service to the King?

Noor’s life is further complicated by her kinship with Queen Eleanor. At first, she is shown kindness and given help with her relationship with Robert but soon she realises that life is not straight-forward and is difficult to know who to trust.  The conclusion of this book is a surprise but the promise of a new adventure for Noor and Robert is very exciting.

Desc 1

For bastard-born Robert FitzStephan, being given Eleanor d’Outremer in marriage is an honour. For Eleanor, this forced wedding is anything but a fairy tale.
Robert FitzStephan has served Edward Longshanks loyally since the age of twelve. Now he is riding with his king to once and for all bring Wales under English control.
Eleanor d’Outremer—Noor to family—lost her Castilian mother as a child and is left entirely alone when her father and brother are killed. When ordered to wed the unknown Robert FitzStephan, she has no choice but to comply.
Two strangers in a marriage bed is not easy. Things are further complicated by Noor’s blood-ties to the Welsh princes and by covetous Edith who has warmed Robert’s bed for years.
Robert’s new wife may be young and innocent, but he is soon to discover that not only is she spirited and proud, she is also brave. Because when Wales lies gasping and Edward I exacts terrible justice on the last prince and his children, Noor is determined to save at least one member of the House of Aberffraw from the English king.
Will years of ingrained service have Robert standing with his king or will he follow his heart and protect his wife, his beautiful and fierce Castilian hawk?

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

His Castilian Hawk (The Castilian Saga Book 1) by [Anna Belfrage]

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #LoveStory Buried Treasure by @gilliallan

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading Buried Treasure by Gilli Allan

54648262. sy475

This unusual love story breaks the usual pattern. Although initial conflict between two personalities might be expected, the hang ups both events organiser, Jane, and university lecturer, Theo, have seem too great for anything, even friendship, to develop. Both have dysfunctional relationships in their past, from which they have not fully recovered. Alternating between their back stories the author builds up a picture of two flawed personalities who do not see happiness in their future.  Theo, brought up by a demanding single mother, is the easiest to identify with while Jane’s feelings of inferiority due to her lack of education have given her an obsession with achieving perfection in her working life.

But Jane and Theo are linked by their interest in archaeology and a mystery from Jane’s family is an intriguing part of the plot. There are also serious issues addressed in the way men and women respect each other and how healing can be achieved from mutual respect. Intriguing portraits of two minor characters add humour and relieve the tension. At times I wished for less detail of all the complex tasks involved in running a conference but overall, I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys reading about a realistic partnership firmly set in the present day.

Desc 1

Their backgrounds could hardly be further apart, their expectations in life more different. And there is nothing in the first meeting between the conference planner and the university lecturer which suggests they should expect or even want to connect again. But they have more in common than they could ever have imagined. Both have unresolved issues from the past which have marked them; both have an archaeological puzzle they want to solve. Their stories intertwine and they discover together that treasure isn’t always what it seems.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

54648262. sy475

Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #MurderMystery WHEN MURDER COMES HOME by Shana Frost

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading When Murder Comes Home by Shana Frost.

When Murder Comes Home: A suspenseful murder mystery with a hint of romance (Aileen and Callan Murder Mysteries Book 1) by [Shana Frost]

3 stars

Reopening her grandmother’s neglected inn set in a Highland village in Scotland proves much harder work than she expects for accountant Aileen McKinnon, but the locals remembering her from her childhood are keen to join in. Aileen soon becomes close to Bakery owner, Isla, who helps her with the cooking, but soon they are also working together to solve murder and theft.

As soon as ten guests arrive to the newly opened hotel, a gruesome murder occurs, and Det. Insp. Callan Cameron is certain he can solve the case without assistance. He and Aileen clash, seemingly unaware of an underlying attraction between them.  The case becomes increasingly complex as a valuable item is stolen from the safe and then another guest is murdered. Cameron agrees to involve Aileen in the investigation and they gradually discover secrets about every one of the guests.

This is an interesting cosy mystery, and the two main characters show promise for further adventures; the storyline makes it an enjoyable novel. However, it does need a good tidy up as there were too many spelling errors and incorrect word usages for me to ignore. Added to which there was also an overuse of adjectives, idioms and clichés which was a shame; it just needs a good polish to lift the writing to the level of the crime script.

Book description

An adventure she’d asked for, being a murder suspect? Not really.

A solitary inn in the Scottish Highlands welcomes ten new guests. But when one is murdered in his own bed and the other dangles over the windowsill, all hell breaks loose. Then a mysterious heirloom goes missing. Who is responsible?

Introverted yet brilliant (former) accountant Aileen Mackinnon needs to figure out whodunnit and save her grandmother’s inn from ruin. But when someone steals a family heirloom from the safe and her guests start to drop dead, her mission gets tougher by the minute. 

One-man-show Detective Inspector Callan Cameron finally has a murder to solve, but these ten new guests are not who they seem to be. Can he join forces with the new innkeeper and stay sane?

Aileen and Callan venture into a world of bloody murders, deception, and heists. The tension is high, so is the heat. They might not always see eye to eye, but can they agree: whodunnit?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

When Murder Comes Home: A suspenseful murder mystery with a hint of romance (Aileen and Callan Murder Mysteries Book 1) by [Shana Frost]

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Memoir Living the Dream: in the Algarve by @AlysonSheldrake

Today’s team review is from Liz. She blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading Living The Dream: in the Algarve by Alyson Sheldrake

52940532. sy475

Living the Dream describes the experiences of Alyson and David Sheldrake as they began a new life in Portugal. It includes amusing anecdotes, useful information for prospective residents and delightful descriptions of this beautiful locality. At this point I should declare my personal interest. We have a holiday home in the Algarve and we seriously considered becoming permanent residents. Eventually we rejected the idea for family reasons, but I still yearn to be there now.

So why Portugal? Alyson tells her readers how a short holiday captured their imagination and after returning several times they couldn’t resist buying a property in Ferragudo in the western Algarve. Of course the weather is a plus, not just the sunshine, but also the fact that there are seasons with spring flowers and cool damp winters. As well as the tourist resorts there are quaint villages with beautiful old churches and traditional customs and best of all, the warmth and friendliness of the Portuguese people.

The practicalities of their permanent move abroad were time consuming but achievable and they soon settled into the mainly Portuguese community. Alyson’s efforts with this difficult language were appreciated even though she sometimes made some amusing mistakes. We share her experience in adopting the abandoned dog called Kat and laugh with her over the eccentric driving in the area.  Those who need more information about day-to-day life will appreciate the details on healthcare, cost of living and entertainment and even if you just go there for a holiday, the chapter highlighting some of the best beaches is superb.

You will find this an easy to read book, in the style of a friendly blog, which is enjoyable even when you are locked down in an English winter!

Book description

The story of one couple’s move from the UK to live in the sun.
From propositioning a builder, to battling bureaucracy, and adapting to a slower pace of life in the sunshine; this is the refreshingly honest and often hilarious account of one couple’s move from the rainy UK to the sunny Algarve in Portugal.
Alyson and Dave Sheldrake were determined to realise their dream of living abroad; so they ended their jobs, packed up everything they owned and moved to the Algarve to start a new life. Follow them as they battle with the Portuguese language, set up their own businesses, adopt a rescue dog and navigate the ‘expat’ world.
Part guidebook, mostly memoir; this book is for anyone who has ever wondered what moving abroad is really like; and is essential reading for anyone considering moving to Portugal.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

52940532. sy475