Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Speed Bump Himalayas by @mark_mgiblin #Travel #Memoir

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Speed Bump Himalayas by Mark Giblin

32887384

The reader knows there will be some fun in this book from the introduction by Sean Lock, a well-known British comedian who just happened to share a part of this travel adventure with the author. However, this is definitely not your average travelogue: it is gritty and horrifying for much of the time.

I will admit I was not entertained – except by the humor – for the first third or so of the book, which was basically the wanderings of a 20- something young man and his friends on a drug-infused trip through India and Nepal in the late 1980s. However, I was drawn in to Giblin’s gruesome story of survival, trekking out of the Himalayas, and his equally disturbing and unpredicted recovery from the undiagnosed illness that drove him home. Quite a contrast. The dry jocularity made it all palatable and ultimately, a page-turner.

Mark’s adventure begins at a time when young Englishmen were drawn to India and Nepal with the promise of cheap drugs, free love and high adventure. He is traveling solo in Nepal and in a dumb and dumber move, decides to cross a glacier with only his slick-soled shoes and no other equipment. He nearly loses his life escaping the glacier, but his adventures in India and Nepal send him home to earn enough money to return. He talks his friend Sean Lock into accompanying him, but they choose the wrong time of year for their trip. Sean becomes nearly unhinged when they arrive in a steamy, humid, pre-monsoon Dehli. When the two go looking for fellow travelers, liquor and drugs, all they find is boredom, mosquitoes, and snakes with nothing but humor, getting high and/or drunk and the occasional book to keep them occupied. Until they reach Katmandu…

Once there, with Sean healed from a bout with what is nicely described as arse-boils, they decide to try a four-week trek into the mountains, even though Mark is not feeling quite right. By the time they are halfway to their destination, Mark is feeling bad enough to send Sean to continue on his own. What began as ‘not feeling right’ turns into monumental pain and frightening, continuous loss of body fluids. At this point, it became a book not to be put down, even though you know the author survives.

I had my suspicions about what he suffered from, but that’s because of my medical background. Turns out I was close, but not quite on spot.

I was awed by Mark’s bravery, humor and determination to survive despite the increasing odds that he wouldn’t. The story of how he managed to get back to England in incredible pain, with no sleep, no food and little water, and most especially without any treatment (there were no MDs qualified to treat him) is unbelievable. His ability to make interesting observations, find kindness in strangers and even make fun of his situation may have helped him survive and definitely helps the reader! Even after getting to a hospital at home did not guarantee his survival, as his treatment threatens to kill him.

This book begins as a series of travel misadventures, but quickly morphs into a remarkable journey, seasoned with dry humor, and a testament to the human spirit, which runs strong and true in the author.

Book Description

It’s 1986. Mark Giblin discovers the ideal escape from the brawling pubs and concrete towers of Thatcher’s Britain.
India. Its vast scope for travelling mayhem suits Mark perfectly. His mate – a young Sean Lock – joins him after a carefully plotted eviction from acting school.
Once Sean regains his senses from landing in steaming hot, pre-monsoonal Delhi, the pair stumble aimlessly through Kashmir and Nepal. But on a remote mountain track, Mark discovers something far worse than the terrifying boredom of English suburbia, and is thrown headlong into a journey few could survive.
Speed Bump Himalayas will have you in stitches and tears as Mark charts the true tale of his remarkable journey, and his is fight to stay alive.

About the author

Mark Giblin

Mark Giblin is a cartoon making, song writing, guitar playing, banjo twanging English man. He also makes classic motorbike and car art for his company Revs And Threads.

Sean Lock is successful British comedian and TV personality. His TV appearances include QI, 8 Out of 10 Cats, TV Heaven, Telly Hell, Live at the Apollo, 15 Stories High. He also won the Perrier Comedy Award.

Speed Bump Himalayas has a forward by the English comedian Sean Lock. I had to check him out on You Tube, and he IS hilarious. It seems he shared this adventure with the author Mark Giblin, and I am glad he survived to write about it!

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

 

Advertisements

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Noelle reviews #YA Nondula by @AnaSalote #KidsLit #wwwblogs

Today’s second team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Nondula by Ana Solote

Nondula is a YA book, the second in the Waifs of Duldred series by Ana Salote. I reviewed Oy Yew, the first in the series, and was totally enchanted with the story. Nondula follows the adventures of the children who at the end of Oy Yew have escaped on a raft from their slavery in Duldred: Oy, Alas, Gritty, Gertie and Linnet.

Nondula opens with the children awaking in a haystack in the country of that name, having been picked up and blown there by a tornado. The children view this peaceful land and its gentle inhabitants as a land of milk and honey, but they soon learn that Nondula’s neighbors, the cruel and primitive Felluns, are in the process of destroying it in the search for a healer who can treat their queen, Fellona.

Each child is assigned a duty: Gerties and Gritty become assistants to the librarian in the Sajistry, a large, underground complex; Linnet, who is pale and colorless is assigned to the weaving barn to make dyes for their yarns; Alas is to be a jack of all trades, and Oy is left to find his way. Eventually he becomes an apprentice healer.

Linnet, Oy’s closet friend, falls deathly ill, and Oy works feverishly to find something to restore her color, trying to find a source of the correct yellow color that will make her well. When all the healers of Nondula have been captured by the Felluns, the half-trained Oy is the only one left. Oy decides to go to their land to look for the yellow herb but is captured and thrown into the pits where the animals are kept – the animals being the only source of Fellun food. He is trapped there, cleaning out the pits. Gertie goes after him, joining a dancing company in the hopes of finding him.

More than this I don’t want to say; I’d hate to give the story completely away.

There are many magical things in Nondula – how could there not be, since the author’s imagination is complex, colorful, and enthralling? She is talented at creating new names from words that we recognize: Sajistry – Sacristy; husbeaus, husbinds, and husbeens, for future, currents and past husbands, for example. Those made me smile. Her five waifs are fully developed into complex individuals in this book, and she limns the other characters so well as to develop the reader’s emotional attachment…or revulsion.

Salote has an extraordinary and wondrous voice, painting color and wonders and worlds in lyrical and compelling words. Like the last one, Nondula is a children’s classic for adults, too. It tickles the brain as a fairy tale and an adventure story with ogres. The Felluns are definitely its dark side, but the adventure of it all keeps you reading. Like Oy Yew, I will probably read it again.

Because this book focused on the five children, rather than primarily on Oy Yew, as the first one did, I found it very, very, slightly less enjoyable. On the other hand, having the development of all of them will expand the possibilities for the third book, which I anxiously await. I recommend this book highly for anyone from 10 to 100. It takes you on a journey to a wondrous place.

Book Description

Oy and his friends cannot believe their luck when their escape from Duldred leads them to Nondula, a land of sweet air and gentle people. All seems well till Oy’s dear friend, Linnet, falls seriously ill. With his newly found healing skills Oy works desperately to save her. But when Nondula’s cruel neighbours, the Felluns, come to visit, Oy discovers that a healer is a very dangerous thing to be. Soon both Linnet’s life and the future of Nondula come to rest on his small shoulders.

About the author

An image posted by the author.

I love all things wild. I forage and grow anything that will survive the wild haven that is my allotment. I gave up on surplus some years ago to do what I love, roam the Mendips and write.

I am currently working on The Waifs of Duldred fantasy trilogy. Book 1, Oy Yew, and book 2, Nondula, are published by Mother’s Milk Books. Book 3 is due for release in 2018. The books are suitable for all ages from 9 to 90.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Thriller Ryan Kaine by @KerryJDonovan #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Ryan Kaine: On The Run by Kerry J Donovan

35117357

Book Review – Ryan Kaine: On the Run @JKerryJDonovan #RBRT #thriller #suspense

This is the second book by Kerry Donovan I’ve read, the first being a DCI Cryer. That book didn’t disappoint and this one didn’t either, even though it is a far cry from the police procedural and mystery of the first one.

Off the coast of England, Ryan Kaine balances himself in the swells rocking the boat he hired, trying to establish a lock on his target. Information comes in, and he programs the SAM missile and sends it on its way. Moments later there is an orange explosion in the night sky. Then Kaine notices there is another timer on the targeting display, one indicating an explosion about to occur on the boat. The force of the blast throws him and he hits his head and shoulder but manages to get himself off the boat before it sinks. It’s a six-mile swim in the dark to shore. Is that not a great start? From there it is non-stop action.

The target of the SAM turns out to be a passenger plane. Eighty-three people die, and Kaine is responsible, even though he was told by the people who hired him he was only testing the SAM on a drone. As a result, Kaine, a decorated ex-Royal Marine, becomes the target of a nationwide manhunt. While the police want him on terrorism charges, he is in far more danger from the ruthless organization that hired him. They want him dead to cover their tracks and misdirect the media from the one person on board that plane they wanted to eliminate.

Kaine has his eyes on finding the men who set him up and exacting revenge, while proving his innocence. He must rely on two women to do that: a country vet who treats his wounds, the other an IT expert working in that organization who has a secret of her own.

The story is a barn-burning page-turner, with more twists and turns than a maze. Kaine battles overwhelming guilt and life-threatening injuries, and his hunt for the people who turned him into a mass-murderer is complicated by his own, inflexible moral code. Romance, conspiracy, treachery, danger around every corner – this book has it all.

If I had any quibble with this book, it was the larger than life abilities and healing powers of the protagonist. Time and again, I thought he’d reached his end, but he bounced back in amazing form. After a while, I thought Kaine was Superman. But then Jack Reacher is much the same, and I love his character as well.  The author does a good job of drawing the characters in the book – not too much detail, spare prose, and crisp dialogue. It’s a man’s book, for sure, but women who like non-stop action will also enjoy it.

The ending leads directly to the next book, which I’ve already pre-ordered.

Book Description

A passenger plane explodes. Eighty-three people die. One man is responsible.
When a routine operation ends in tragedy, decorated ex-Royal Marine, Ryan Kaine, becomes the target of a nationwide manhunt. The police want him on terrorism charges. A sinister organisation wants him dead.
Kaine is forced to rely on two women he hardly knows: one, a country vet who treats his wounds, the other an IT expert with a secret of her own.
Battling overwhelming guilt, life-threatening injuries, and his own moral code, Kaine hunts the people who turned him into a mass-murderer.
Can Kaine’s combat skills, instincts, and new-found allies lead him to the truth and redemption?
Ryan Kaine: On the Run—a powerful, action-packed novel set against the backdrop of the international arms trade.

About the author

Kerry_J_Donovan

Kerry J Donovan was born in Dublin. He spent most of his life in the UK, and now lives in the heart of rural Brittany with his wonderful and patient wife, Jan. They have three children and four grandchildren (so far), all of whom live in England. An absentee granddad, Kerry is hugely thankful for the advent of video calling.

The cottage is a pet free zone (apart from the field mice, moles, and red squirrels).

Kerry earned a first class honours degree in Human Biology, and has a PhD in Sport and Exercise Sciences. A former scientific advisor to The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, he helped UK emergency first-responders prepare for chemical attacks in the wake of 9/11. This background adds a scientific edge to his writing. He is also a former furniture designer/maker.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #crime The Last Meridian by @HefferonJoe

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading The Last Meridian by Joe Hefferon

34937717

The Last Meridian begins with a great sentence: “The coroner’s wagon had a flat tire.” It was a good hook for this noir detective novel, the author’s first. Unfortunately, for me, it went downhill for a quarter of the book. However, I persevered and eventually became drawn into the story. In the end, it was an enjoyable read.

Hefferon has a good eye for the mid-60s in Los Angeles and Chicago. He sets the scenes in these two cities with just enough detail to let the reader feel the atmosphere and he writes with sparse prose but dialogue varying from snappy to rich, like an overstuffed éclair – reminiscent of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and even Elmore Leonard. I grew up on old detective movies, and this one just moved me twenty years from the 40’s.

The story begins in Chicago with a murder, then jumps back seventeen years to the exodus of Lynn Killian, who wants to leave her life there behind and embarks on a cross country trip to LA. There she reinvents herself as Nina Ferrer and becomes the interior designer to the rich and famous. The wall she erected around her new life is breached by a telegram from the mother of the boy Nina gave up for adoption sixteen years earlier. No one knows about the boy, not even Nina’s cigar-smuggling, unfaithful husband. Her son is in trouble, and to maintain her façade, Nina hires an out-of-town, wise-cracking,  private detective to find out the circumstances of her son’s arrest and murder charge. His dialogue with Nina reminded me of Bogie and Bacall. Nina’s life unravels further when she discovers a friend (a Hollywood-style friendship) and customer, shot in the head and lying on a divan in her Nina-decorated living room. Nina’s character is described through the eyes and experience of an author, who wants to find fame in the story of her life. She is sitting in jail, charged with the murder of her friend, as she tells it.

The author does a good job creating all these various threads and then tying them together, clearly influenced by his 25 years in law enforcement in Newark, New Jersey. The characters are gritty, as is the scenery, but are well drawn.

My difficulty getting into the book was the back and forth in time and place at the beginning. The content of these first chapters only falls into place later, and I ended up re-reading them before I went on. Once I figured out where everyone fit in, the plot carried me forward. There were times when the dialogue became long and unbelievable, but I enjoyed the forays into the minds of the characters.

I strongly recommend this book for readers who like this genre.

Book Description

A telegram sets off a chain of events that destroys five lives, throwing Hollywood insider Nina Ferrer’s life into turmoil. The infant boy she gave up for adoption in Chicago sixteen years earlier has been arrested for murder. A plea from the boy’s adoptive mother pushes her to act, but Nina has a big problem—she never told her husband about the boy.

Nina must come to terms with her guilt, while accepting the reality of her fragile life and her cheating husband, who’s embroiled in another deadly plot. As her life unravels, the boy’s fate grows ominous. Set against the backdrop of the Hollywood heyday of the early 1960s, the quick-witted, smart-talking Nina, a designer for the well-heeled of Los Angeles, hires a private detective to uncover the facts about what happened back in Chicago, and save her boy. Maybe… just maybe… he can save her, too.

Or perhaps Nina will have to save herself, the most frightening prospect of all. To do that, she must cross The Last Meridian, the place beyond which life as she knows it will no longer exist.

About the author

Joe Hefferon

Retired law enforcement. Enjoying the process of creating a second career as a writer

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Spirit Of Lost Angels by @LizaPerrat French Revolution #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Spirit Of Lost Angels by Liza Perrat

13793138

After reading reviews of The Silent Kookaburra by some of Rosie Amber’s book review team, I decided to read Spirit of Lost Angels by the same author. This book is the first in this author’s French historical trilogy, The Bone Angel series.

The Spirit of Lost Angels is the story of Victoire Charpentier, who lives with her parents and siblings in a rural village in the years before The French Revolution. The family is poor but happy, until a series of devastating tragedies occurs. First, her young twin siblings die in a house fire that destroys their home, then her father is run over and killed by an aristocrat. Finally, her mentally distressed mother, a midwife and a herbalist, is killed by the villagers for being a witch. During this time, the old king dies and Louis XIV marries Marie Antoinette, and the country sinks even deeper into poverty with new taxes.

The village priest arranges for Victoire to become a servant in the home of the Marquise de Barberon in Paris, where the nobleman repeatedly rapes her; she becomes pregnant. She manages to hide her pregnancy with the help of the Marquise’s cook, Claudine, and after she gives birth, she leaves the baby on the steps of a church. There the baby is picked up by Matron, the head of a large, state-run orphanage.

Victoire’s experiences leave her with a deep and abiding hatred of royalty and the aristocracy (no surprise). As whispers of revolution run rampant through Paris, Victoire returns to her village to marry a kind and good man, many years her senior, who is willing to overlook the fact she is no longer a virgin. For a period of time she is happy. But it isn’t to last…

I have to admit, while this book is a barn burner, at this point, the unending tragedies in Victoire’s life were wearing me down. And there are more to come. Here I will stop and allow potential readers to find out what happens next, but I will tell you that Victoire returns to revolutionary Paris, and actual historical figures, one of them Thomas Jefferson, make an appearance in the book.

The author is a meticulous historian who describes village life, Paris, and the Revolution in colorful and compelling detail – the sounds, the smells, the colors – with an unsparing introduction to the mores of the time. I think that, more than anything, kept me reading. There is plenty of politics once the idea of revolution takes hold in Paris as more than just an intellectual concept, and the danger of living there at the time is very real. My one other less than positive comment concerns the amount of the book devoted to the Revolution. After the breathless pace of Victoire’s life, once she returns to Paris, her story slows to a sedate pace, which I found distracting. Too much of politics and the Revolution frustrated me.

There are many, many characters,, but with rare exception they are well drawn and realistic. To mention just three: Victoire can be frustratingly indecisive one minute and a strong and determined the next. The cook, Claudine, is a flour-sprinkled tower of strength, and the Marquise, although brief in appearance is suitably ignorant and evil.

I strongly recommend this book – it is a great summer read. For any reader with a love for historical fiction, especially about women at the time of the French Revolution, this is the book for you!

Book Description

Her mother executed for witchcraft, her father dead at the hand of a noble, Victoire Charpentier vows to rise above her impoverished peasant roots.
Forced to leave her village of Lucie-sur-Vionne for domestic work in Paris, Victoire suffers gruesome abuse under the 18th century old regime.
Imprisoned in France’s most pitiless madhouse, La Salpêtrière asylum, the desperate Victoire begins a romance with fellow prisoner Jeanne de Valois, infamous conwoman of the diamond necklace affair. With the help of the ruthless and charismatic countess, Victoire carves out a new life for herself.
Enmeshed in the fever of pre-revolutionary France, Victoire must find the strength to join the revolutionary force storming the Bastille. Is she brave enough to help overthrow the diabolical aristocracy?
As this historical fiction adventure traces Victoire’s journey, it follows too, the journey of an angel talisman through generations of the Charpentier family.
Amidst the intrigue and drama of the French revolution, the women of Spirit of Lost Angels face tragedy and betrayal in a world where their gift can be their curse.

About the author

An image posted by the author.

Liza grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years.
When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her family for twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist.
Since completing a creative writing course ten years ago, several of her short stories have won awards, notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004 and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine, France Today and The Good Life France.

Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in the French historical “The Bone Angel” series set against a backdrop of rural France during the French Revolution. The second in the series, Wolfsangel, set during the WWII Nazi Occupation of France, was published in October, 2013. The third, Blood Rose Angel, set during the 14th century Black Plague years was published in November, 2015.
Friends, Family and Other Strangers is a collection of humorous, horrific and entertaining short stories set in Australia.
Liza is a founding member of the Author Collective, Triskele Books and regularly reviews books for Bookmuse.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s Team #RBRT Clash Of Empires- The Mallory Saga by Paul Bennett #HistFic @hooverbkreview

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Clash of Empires – The Mallory Saga by Paul Bennett

33143407

I chose to read this book for Rosie’s book review team because my knowledge of the French and Indian Wars is limited to what I learned reading The Last of the Mohegans by James Fennimore Cooper and Northwest Passage by a Maine author I revere: Kenneth Roberts. I hoped to increase my knowledge with Clash of Empires and the book did not disappoint.

This first book, The Mallory Saga, is modestly described as follows: “In 1750, the Mallory family moved to the western Pennsylvania frontier, seeking a home and a future. Clash of Empires reveals the harrowing experiences of a colonial family drawn into the seven-year conflict between the British and French for control of the continent – the French and Indian War.”

What an understatement this blurb is! The book is so much more, populated by three-dimensional characters, embedded in a story that has you on the edge of your seat wondering when the next tomahawk will fall, and stimulating me to do a little more reading on the various historical events.

By 1754, both the British and the French were well established in the ‘New World,’ and families from England were encouraged to go there for a better life, with the promise of land. Both France and Britain ignored the fact this land was already inhabited by many Native American tribes, treating them more or less like wayward children, plying them with gifts or promises never kept to pay them for their land. The Mallory family from Ireland is already established in Eastern Pennsylvania, when Thomas decided to move his family to the western frontier. At this time, the frontier is just west of the Allegheny mountains and in French- controlled territory. They establish a trading post on the Kiskiminetas River, a tributary of the Allegheny River in western Pennsylvania. Hard to think of western Pennsylvania as wilderness!

Mallory brings friends with him, all of them interesting, and the author draws the reader into the harshness of life on the frontier, especially with rumors swirling of raids by the French and their allies, the Shawnee, to destroy British forts and English settlements. The Mallory family – daughter Liza and sons Daniel and Liam – each have a story line that winds in and out of strategic events that marked this period. There are losses of people along the way to the brutality of war at that time, and I found myself grieving right along with the other characters. The main story line concerns Liam, a wanderer by nature, who is adopted by a Mohawk tribe and marries the chief’s daughter. He acquires two mortal enemies amongst the Shawnee, much like Hawkeye’s deadly enemy Magua in The Last of the Mohegans, and his story is one of anger and revenge.

From this novel comes a comprehension of the vast and different tribes of Native Americans and one can’t help but wonder how different the story might have been if there had been any respect and understanding of their cultures. The reader also gets the sense of the early beginnings of this country, and the courage of settlers to put their lives on the line for the promise of a better life for their families.

The history is excellent, weaving in the events of the war and historical figures – such as the young George Washington, Daniel Boone, and the British Generals Braddock and Munro – to create a real world, worth visiting.

I very much look forward to the next novel in this series.

Book Description

In 1756, Britain and France are on a collision course for control of the North American continent. The eventual result can be described as the first world war, known as the Seven Year’s War in Europe and the French and Indian War in the colonies. The Mallory family uproots from eastern Pennsylvania, and moves to the western frontier, where they find themselves in the middle of war. Daniel, Liam, and Liza (the three Mallory siblings) become involved in the conflict in ways that lead to emotional trauma for each. The story focuses on historical events and includes historical characters. Clash of Empires is an exciting look at the developments leading to the events of July 1776, which are chronicled in the sequel as we follow the exploits and fate of the Mallory clan.

About the author

IMG_20141025_094813

Paul Bennett focused more on his interest in history during his education, not just the rote version of names and dates but the causes. He studied Classical Civilization at Wayne State University with a smattering of Physical Anthropology thrown in for good measure. He spent four decades working in large, multi-platform data centers, and is considered in the industry as a bona fide IBM Mainframe dinosaur heading for extinction. He currently resides in the quaint New England town of Salem, Massachusetts with his wife, Daryl. The three children have all grown, in the process turning Paul’s beard gray, and have now provided four grandchildren; the author is now going bald.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT This Parody Of Death by William Savage @penandpension #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading This Parody Of Death by William Savage

34521660

Book Review: This Parody of Death by William Savage @penandpension #RBRT #Georgian Mystery

This is the third book in the Ashmole Foxe series, about a Georgian dandy, bookseller, and occasional unofficial investigator. I reviewed both of the previous books and like this character. Of the three, this book is my favorite.

Ashmole Foxe, a man about town and known for his foppish ways, moves easily through Georgian Norwich because of his ownership of a popular bookstore. He has also developed something of a nose for investigation. When a miserly, curmudgeonly undertaker and bell ringer is found with his throat cut, Foxe is sought out by the local grocer, Foxe’s friend Captain Brock, and Alderman Halloran to find the killer. There are more tracks to follow in the investigation than a dog has fleas: a group committed to a secret heresy, a son who betrayed his father, a house with deep and deadly secrets, a woman determined to protect the great passion of her life, a daughter scorned, and a group of bell ringers with axes to grind. Foxe has to unwind a web of lies, false leads, and decades-old deceits to find the killer.

There were no giveaway hints in this book, and I was kept guessing almost to the end. The characters are wonderfully individual, from the urchin whom Foxe befriended, with his own army of street minions, the widow who runs his store, to the seafaring Captain Brock, who may soon be landlocked by a woman. The Georgian world created by the author is authentic to minuscule details, and the reader is immediately immersed in its colorful activity. What I liked most about This Parody of Death was the growth of Foxe. He engages in serious self-examination about the nature of his life, his over-the-top fashion, and possible goals for the future. This character is truly three dimensional and real.

There are a few drawbacks I have noted before: some repetition, over-long discussions between characters and Foxe’s lengthy considerations. However, these are minor compared to the enjoyment of this read. Who knew I would learn about the mathematical patterns of the change-ringing of church bells?

I recommend this book as a great read, as are all of William Savage’s books.

Book Description

Eighteenth-century Norwich bookseller and dandy, Ashmole Foxe, is asked by the local bellringers to look into the death of their Tower Captain, who has been found in the ringing chamber with his throat cut. Since the victim had a foul temper, as well as being a notorious miser, killjoy and recluse, there’s no shortage of suspects. Yet with everyone lying about themselves and their relationships with the dead man, Foxe knows it will take even more cunning than usual to dig out the truth. When, on top of all that, he discovers nothing about the victim is what it seems, he realises he must dig into the man’s past as well as his present. Can he ever separate truth from pretence and the genuine from the fake?  

On the track of the killer, Foxe encounters many of his city’s 18th-century inhabitants along the way, including a sharp young whore, several frightened tradesmen, a reclusive miser, an unlucky attorney, a desperate Ship’s Mate and a woman who gets the better of him nearly every time they meet. Bit by bit, Mr Foxe reveals a tale of greed, bitter family strife and unexpected love. A tale that ended in the church tower in an explosion of anger and death.

About the author

William Savage

William Savage grew up in Hereford, on the border with Wales and too his degree at Cambridge. After a career in various managerial and executive roles, he retired to Norfolk, where he volunteers at a National Trust property. His life-long interest has been history, which led to research and writing about the eighteenth century.  But his is not just a superficial interest in history, but a real desire to understand and transmit the daily experience of living in turbulent times.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

 

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Sinclair by @juliaherdman Georgian #HistFic #fridayreads

Today’s Second Team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Sinclair by Julia Herdman

34620379

Sinclair, Tales of Tooley Street Vol. 1 by Julia Herdman is historical fiction and a twisting love story set in Georgian England, a setting I’ve come to enjoy from the mysteries written by William Savage. The author did not disappoint with this first outing, and I look forward to more from her.

Sinclair begins with two disparate story lines. Edinburgh surgeon, James Sinclair, is leaving England as well as his beloved, a woman he feels is out of his reach in society, to make his fortune with the East India Company. As a surgeon, Sinclair was educated in a medical school in Edinburgh, learning to perform surgeries, and trained in obstetrics. The ship on which he sails runs into a ferocious storm and founders on the English coast. Only he and Captain Frank Greenwood, who is overseeing a company of British soldiers deployed to India, survive the shipwreck. Both return to London shaken and adrift in their lives, both needing to find a way to support themselves.

The second story line begins in a Yorkshire farmhouse, where John Leadam and his mother, Charlotte, are mourning the sudden death of Christopher Leadam, a surgeon at Guy’s Hospital in London who, together with his wife, ran an apothecary on Tooley Street. Apothecaries at that time were not legal practitioners of medicine but had the drugs to treat people who could not afford a physician. Charlotte, as a woman, could not continue to run the apothecary without the onsite presence of a physician. John was his father’s apprentice, hoping to follow in his father’s footsteps. Now their lives are also adrift. Charlotte has no idea how she will support herself and her son, other than moving back into her parents’ upper class home. She dreads being married off by her mother, who disapproves of her deceased husband, to a wealthy, older man.

Gradually the lives of Charlotte, John, and Sinclair begin to interweave, brought together by Charlotte’s brother-in-law, who happens to be Sinclair’s lawyer. The book is interesting on many different levels: the plight of women and their utter dependence on men in Georgian society; the practice of medicine at the time; social customs; and the growing attraction between Charlotte and Sinclair and their off-again, on-again relationship. The author does not shirk from some of the more distasteful details of Sinclair’s dalliances nor the results of typically unprotected sex: disease, pregnancy and death.

There are many colorful characters to draw the reader, and the author does a perfect job making them memorable. The historical background is wonderfully detailed, as is the medical scene in London, evidence of the author’s interest in the medicine of the time. There are love affairs with twists and turns, villains and saviors, passion and politics – in short, everything needed for a great read.

The author was inspired to begin writing The Tales of Tooley Street series by a real family of apothecary surgeons, the Leadams, who lived and worked in London there from the late 18th century to the mid- 19th century.

I highly recommend this book: five stars.

Book Description

Edinburgh surgeon, James Sinclair is prepared to give up his family and the woman he loves to make his fortune with East India Company but when things don’t go to plan he is forced to start his life anew. Returning to London Sinclair finds himself torn between the love of two women – the young and attractive widow Charlotte Leadam the owner of the Tooley Street apothecary shop and the vivacious and clever Iona McNeal.
Thus begins the Tales of Tooley Street, a heart-warming and gripping saga about a family of apothecary surgeons in 18th century London. Set against the corruption and greed of the East India Company and the development of the medical profession in Georgian London this story of love and friendship has a cast of characters that will imprint themselves onto your heart forever.

About the author

Julia Herdman

Julia Herdman studied history at the University of Kent in Canterbury where she focused on medieval and early modern history reading the Roman classics, Norse sagas and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Now her interest and inspiration is the development of the urban middle class in Georgian Britain, particularly the development of the medical profession in Edinburgh and London. Writing about the things nice girls shouldn’t mention in polite conversation – politics, religion, sex and money is her passion. Her books are steeped in period detail and focus on family, friendship and love. At the heart of every story there is always a powerful and compelling romance.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

#Last Day To Vote We’ve been nominated for a Best Book Blogger in the 2017 BloggersBash awards and we need your votes. Please vote here (Best Book Blogger)

Thank you.

http://sachablack.co.uk/2017/05/18/2017-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-voting-open-bloggersbash-bloggersbash/

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Scarborough Fair by @MargaritaMorris #YA #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Scarborough Fair by Margarita Morris

29587617

Book Review: Scarborough Fair by Margarita Morris  #YA fiction #Historical fiction #time shift mystery

I love time shift fiction and am quite content to read a book classified as YA – there is a basic simplicity to these books that appeals to me. I think Scarborough Fair will appeal to adults, too. This is a smashing historical mystery, alternating with a modern day detective story with young sleuths.

In 1899, Alice comes with her personal maid Mary to the seaside tourist town of Scarborough to find freedom and relaxation. She is escaping for short time from her older, demanding and overbearing fiancé, Henry Blackwood, who has been forced on her by her family because of he is an aristocrat. Alice does not love him and does not want to marry him, but she has a large inheritance that Henry wants and needs. While in Scarborough, Alice meets a young painter and they fall in love. Henry will do anything to own Alice, including sending a man to follow her and report back to him. The prologue of the book recounts the hospitalization of Alice by Henry in a horror of an insane asylum, to keep her isolated until she is old enough for them to marry.

In 2016, Rose comes to Scarborough to spend the summer with her mother and grandmother. She is not happy to be there, since all of her friends are spending their summers in exotic locations and her boyfriend has apparently dropped her. Then she meets Dan, who comes to apologize to her when his father, driving his red Ferrari too fast, nearly runs her over. She and Dan hit if off right away and make a date to go to the Scarborough Fair together. Dan’s father is mixed up with a drug dealer to make money to keep his failing arcade business going, and Dan comes face to face with two menacing men looking for his father. Dan is determined to find out who they are and drags Rose along as he follows them.

The author does a fantastic job linking these two stories, with lots of tension and well-drawn, interesting characters. Even the two thugs looking for Dan’s father are carefully and distinctively limned. There is enough description for the reader to feel at home in Scarborough in both eras, and the relationship between Rose and her grandmother tugs at the heart. The huge building, once a manor house that was an insane asylum, looms menacingly as a character in itself in both story lines.

The only real drawback I noted was the jumping back and forth between eras in the same chapter, without warning; I would have preferred these two story lines to be separate chapters. And Dan’s apparently willingness to drag Rose into danger with him, leaving her behind when they are being chased, seemed a little forced, especially since he didn’t know her all that well.

Those considerations aside, this book is a page-turner and I read it straight through. I highly recommend it and have a few YAs in my family who will get a copy. There is a sequel to this book in the works, and I plan to grab it.

Book Description

1899: Seeking sanctuary in the seaside resort of Scarborough, Alice discovers she is not safe from her fiancé’s jealous clutches. She jumps at the chance to run away with a man she truly loves, but when a plot to help Alice escape goes dreadfully wrong, she finds herself in terrible danger.
2016: Forced to spend the summer in Scarborough with her mother and grandmother, Rose doesn’t think her holiday is going to be much fun. Especially when she’s almost killed by a Ferrari driver on the first day. Things start to look up when she meets Dan and he asks her to go to the fair with him. But Dan’s father is mixed up with a criminal gang and Rose and Dan find themselves drawn into a life and death situation.
For both Alice and Rose, the fun of Scarborough Fair soon turns into the nightmare of a Victorian lunatic asylum. They must both escape if they are going to survive.

About the author

Margarita Morris

Margarita Morris was born in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, in 1968. She studied Modern Languages at Jesus College, Oxford and worked in computing for eleven years before leaving to work with her husband on their internet business. Ms. Morris particularly likes writing novels set in historically interesting places, and she has published three other novels, Scarborough Ball and The Sleeping Angel, both time slip stories, and Oranges for Christmas, set in Berlin in 1961. When she is not writing, she enjoys singing in an Oxford chamber choir and gardening. She lives in Oxfordshire with her husband and two sons.

Goodreads | AmazonUk | AmazonUS | Twitter

#HotNews We’ve been nominated for a Best Book Blogger in the 2017 BloggersBash awards and we need your votes. Please vote here (Best Book Blogger)

Thank you.

http://sachablack.co.uk/2017/05/18/2017-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-voting-open-bloggersbash-bloggersbash/

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Clay Tongue by @NicholasConley1 #YA #Fantasy #fridayreads

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Clay Tongue by Nicholas Conley

33286147

Clay Tongue: A Novelette by Nicholas Conley

Clay Tongue was all too short for this reader. It is described as a short fantasy about the unspoken love between a shy little girl and her grandfather, the secrets of human communication, and discovered bravery, and it more than fulfills this description.

Katie Mirowitz lives in a household with her parents and her grandfather. She is so shy and afraid to speak she can’t even tell her mother she loves her, but her grandfather is her lodestone, the one person with whom she can talk. When he has a stroke leaving him with aphasia – the inability to speak anything other than gibberish – they still communicate, because she has the ability to interpret his facial expressions and meaningless words.

Her anxieties come to a crescendo when she overhears her mother telling the grandfather she is not sure how long they can continue to care for him because of the family’s finances. When Katie finds her grandfather with an old journal, which he doesn’t want her to see, she just has to read what is inside. She sneaks downstairs at night to read it and with it, finds an ancient key. The journal contains a story, written by her grandfather many years earlier, of a mythical being – a golem – who can grant wishes. Summoning all her courage and determined to help her grandfather, she goes in search of the golem, taking the key which will unlock the door to its hiding place.

How Katie finds the golem and what happens when he asks her for her wish is sweet and heart-warming. The story line is predictable, but the writing is superlative and the author creates a read-out loud story for both children and adults with truths about love and selflessness. The characters, especially the grandfather, colorfully and realistically drawn and stayed with this reader long after the end of the story.

I highly recommend Clay Tongue, five stars.

Book Description

From the author of the award-winning Pale Highway and the radio play Something in the Nothing comes a short fantasy of love, shyness, and the secrets of human communication. 
Katie Mirowitz is a small little girl with an even smaller little voice. She possesses a deep love for her grandfather, who suffers from aphasia after a bad stroke cuts loose the part of his brain that processes verbal language. When Katie uncovers a miraculous secret inside the pages of her grandfather’s old journal, as well as an ancient key, she goes out into the woods in search of answers — hoping to uncover a mythical being that, if it exists, may just have the ability to grant wishes.

About the author

Nicholas Conley

Nicholas Conley is a novelist, world traveler, playwright, and coffee vigilante. His passion for storytelling is evident in Clay Tongue as well a Pale Highway, the winner of the 2015 Predators & Editors Award for Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel. He has written for Vox, Truthout, The Huffington Post, SFFWorld, and Alzheimers.net, and his original radio play Something in the Nothing was performed live on the radio station WSCA 106.1 FM in 2016. He is a member of PEN America, the writers organization dedicated to human rights and freedom of expression.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

#HotNews We’ve been nominated for a Best Book Blogger in the 2017 BloggersBash awards and we need your votes. Please vote here (Best Book Blogger)

Thank you.

http://sachablack.co.uk/2017/05/18/2017-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-voting-open-bloggersbash-bloggersbash/