Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT OCTOBER RAIN by @dylanjmorgan #Dystopia #SciFi #Novella

Today’s team review is from Terry , she blogs at

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Terry has been reading October Rain by Dylan J Morgan

2016-120 October Rain eBook Cover

5 stars

I liked this novella a lot! It takes place many, many years in the future, after Mars has been colonised by the dying Earth, and thousands have moved to artificially constructed cities on the inhospitable red planet. But now life on Mars is coming to an end, too, and the lucky ones are moving out to Titan, a satellite of Saturn.

Government agent Steele has one last mission, before he can join his wife and daughter on the journey to Titan—a dangerous and terrifying one…

I’ve read quite a few of Dylan Morgan’s books, and this one reminded me of The Dead Lands, my favourite, with all its expertly orchestrated suspense and bleak atmosphere. This writer knows how to do ‘bleak’! The pace is perfect, the plot unpredictable, the characterisation spot on. It’s not for the faint-hearted, or those who want to be assured that everything will turn out all right in the end.

My only complaint is that it’s so short, even though it fits perfectly into the length of a novella – I think it could have been a novel, though, or maybe the first in the series – come on, Dylan, surely this can’t be all there is? It’s a great idea; made me want to know what happened before, and what will happen after. One of those books that made me want to keep clicking the page turner on my iPad, hoping for more.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Rosetta by Simon Cornish @UnforgivingMuse #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review comes from Terry, she blogs at

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Terry chose to read and review Rosetta by Simon Cornish


Rosetta by Simon Cornish

3.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team

I quite liked this; it’s a terrific plot. Following the unexpected death of his old university professor, Graham Chandlers travels to Exeter for the funeral. He is bewildered by the strange ritual performed by the professor’s adopted daughter at the funeral service, a ritual delivered in an ancient language that only a handful of paleolinguists, Graham included, would have a hope of understanding. He is drawn in further when he studies the professor’s private journals that hint at a cover-up concerning the professor’s last dig.

This short novella is intelligently written and unusual. It’s a shame, though, that it wasn’t a bit longer with a less abrupt resolution; the story lends itself more to a full length novel, or at least a longer novella. I felt that it needed another redraft and perhaps a closer edit. Example: ‘they ate sitting at the table by the double sash windows’. Why ‘double sash’? Just ‘window’ would have been enough, or even ‘they ate at a table by the window’ (most people sit when eating, it’s not necessary to state it). I know that’s a little nit-picking, but it’s just one that jumped out at me. Novellas work best when they contain absolutely no superfluous information; some of it seemed to come directly from the research notes. Had the story been longer, such sections might have fitted in more smoothly. It could do with another proofread; there are a fair few punctuation errors.

I thought the characterisation of Tinkerbell, the jovial and hard drinking Dr Timothy Bell, was excellent, the exchanges between him and Graham spot on. I liked some of the observations very much: ‘there was a stillness to the place that was both restful and lonely’ (that gave possibly the best impression of the house), also: ‘Funerals are never nice, people say they are nice or that the service was lovely, but mostly funerals are just uncomfortable’, and the one with which the story begins: ‘There is a denial of finality that comes with the arrogance of youth.’

To sum up: a great idea, nicely written, needs a bit of tidying up and perhaps a tad more punch. Graham Chandlers is a quietly appealing character who could be taken further, I think, and I am sure that people who enjoy stories of cover-ups and mysteries will like it.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT ROSETTA by Simon Cornish @UnforgivingMuse #Bookreview

Today’s team review comes from Liz, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Liz chose to read and review Rosetta by Simon Cornish


Simon Cornish’s novella is about the mysterious Rosetta whom we first encounter at the funeral of her father, Professor of archaeology, Alan Hargreaves.  The other protagonist in the story, Dr Graham Chandlers has been invited to give the eulogy, due to their shared professional background and he is fascinated by Alan’s adopted daughter whom he has never met before.

Rosetta is a beautiful woman, who needs a stick to help her walk and has “a rough silk” voice with an accent impossible to place.  Graham has been left Alan’s notes about his last “dig” in Turkey, many years ago, where Professor Hargreaves adopted Rosetta.  Unfortunately, another former colleague, bearded Tinkerbell (Dr Tim Bell) also tags along, acting rather strangely.

Graham is a specialist in ancient writing and he is intrigued to discover that Rosetta can speak and write the language of Hattic.  He returns to Cambridge, determined to discover all he can about Alan’s time in Turkey.  The notes reveal that an exciting discovery had been made during the dig, but it had suddenly terminated and Alan retired.  To find out more, Graham arranges to meet another ex-colleague who had been present at the time.  Meanwhile, Rosetta has disappeared.

The mystery is built up in an intriguing manner so I was looking forward to his discoveries but I was slightly disappointed that the story ended so quickly.  I believe this could have been a full length novel with an extended denouement including more tension and complications.  At times the vocabulary is a little contrived.  Graham receives “an ursine hug” from Tinkerbell when a bear hug would have been quite sufficient.  But more natural comments such as, “Graham’s alarm went off at the usual time, but after trying out consciousness, he decided it wasn’t a good idea and slept in late,” are more endearing.

There is potential for further stories about Dr Graham Chandlers, with or without Rosetta, and this is a promising first novella.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Karen reviews Bound By Blood by Margo Bond Collins

Today’s review is from team member Karen, she blogs at


Karen chose to read and review Bound By Blood by Margo Bond Collins


My Opinion

This book introduces you to Dr. Lili Banta, working for the CDC.

With Bound by Blood, Margo Bond Collins has created a thrilling scenario, raising questions like ‘What if viruses and parasites collaborate?’ or ‘Is it the same epidemic as last time?’ Bound by Blood focuses more on the plot than on the characters. You do not get to know the characters in too much detail; this doesn’t keep you from bonding, though. I was drawn into the story – thankfully more like a ghost or I might have been too close for comfort. This is for you if you like the combination of paranormal fantasy and horror in novella length.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Terry Reviews The Killing Knife by Scott Marlowe

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


Terry chose to read and review The Killing Knife by Scott Marlowe.


THE KILLING KNIFE (Tales of the Assassin without a name) by Scott Marlowe

4 out of 5 stars

This is a novelette sized book, rather than full length.

The nameless assassin lives in a fantasy world that reminded me a little of those described in Game of Thrones, particularly the lands of Pentos, Bravos, etc, over the seas. This is not to say it is in any way a copy of such; I mention this just to give an indication of the type of location. For those unfamiliar with Game of Thrones, think a combination of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves mixed with ancient Rome, perhaps!

I liked the structure of this book. The Killing Knife is actually three stories in one, all linked, as are other installments in the series, also available. I thought the beginning was excellent, and liked the first, short story the best, though they are all well written, intelligent and amusing. The nameless assassin is an oddly endearing sociopath, I suppose; the way in which he considers himself apart from and superior to most other beings is artfully illustrated. The only time he shows a little emotional connection and vulnerability is when he is in the vicinity of Liz, his former lover and some time partner in crime.

Marlow is a talented writer who clearly understands how to hold the reader’s attention, and I would recommend this to anyone who likes tales of fearless, alpha male type adventurers told with a smooth wit.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Noelle reviews Raven’s Choice by Harper Swan

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


Noelle chose to read and review Raven’s Choice by Harper Swan


Raven’s Choice: The Replacement Chronicles Part I but Harper Swan

Review by: Noelle Granger


I like books that travel back and forth in time, and this novella didn’t disappoint. The author uses the recent discovery that Neanderthal and Homo sapiens interbred and weaves just such a story. It begins in the present when Mark Hayek finds out from a company called Genetics and Me – which he had hoped would help him with Parkinson’s research – had actually tested his genome for Neanderthal DNA. And found it.

The book then drops back in time to the Late Pleistocene era in western Asia, where a band of early modern humans, led by Bear and including Raven, a healer and sister to his wife, come upon a group of Neanderthals hunting bison. They drive off the Neanderthals and take the bison the group had killed for meat, but also take one who was injured in the attack as a prisoner. Raven takes a deep interest in the man, watching him closely.

Bear throughout treats Raven, the new member of his family, with disdain, but nevertheless takes her as his mate, once the hunters have returned to their tribal home. Raven then uses what little hold she has over Bear to be allowed to reset the prisoner’s dislocated shoulder. As a former EMT, I found the description of this process to be spot on.

Two things occur to confound Raven: her sister treats her coldly in response to Bear’s absence from the tent at night, and suddenly the prisoner is gone, freed to return to his own tribe. Intermingled with Raven’s adventure are details of early human life in tribal groups and wonderful descriptions of the tribal hierarchy, food, and hunting, creating a rich palette against which the story is told.

You absolutely need to read this book to find out how Raven will handle her sister’s rebuke and whether Raven cares enough about the Neanderthal to follow him when he leaves. And what about Mark’s Neanderthal genes?

This story is, to my untrained eyes, meticulously researched, and has a great premise. I am hooked and looking forward to the next novella.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Alison reviews Twilight’s Indian Princess by Margaret Langstaff

Our review today comes from Book Review Team Member Alison, she blogs at


Alison has been reading Twilight’s Indian Princess by Margaret Langstaff

Twilight's Indian Princess

Here is her review.

Twilight’s Indian Princess

This is a well-written novella with moments of stunning prose and an intriguing central character. Busy teacher and mum Sarah is looking forward to some well-deserved time to herself – time that is marked by an empty block on a calendar that is normally chock-a-block with responsibilities, appointments and promises. She is a woman that most of us will see some of ourselves in – spreading our time too thinly, making promises that we wish we hadn’t, loading ourselves up with commitments that leave us rushing around craving a few moments of silence and solitude. But Sarah’s planned ‘me time’ doesn’t pan out how she, or we, imagined.

I must admit that I was left feeling a little confused. I’m not entirely convinced by the length of this story. The characters and situation would lend themselves really well to an engaging short story. Alternatively, with some development of character, this could unfold into a great novel, but as a novella, I was left feeling a bit unsatisfied. I wanted to know more about Sarah, her children, her husband and what happened after the potatoes J.

That said, I do recommend this – it’s a great story to while away some precious time for yourself.

4 stars

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Rosie’s Book Review Team – The Road To Yesterday – Reviewed by Dani

Here is the very first book review from Rosie’s Book Review Team.

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Dani blogs at and she has reviewed “The Road To Yesterday” by Randy Mixter

The road to yesterday

This little novella was an absolute heart-breaker.

A contemporary with an edging of what I would call magic realism, we follow our protagonist, Dave Burke, who is living with not only terrible loss but the guilt that he did nothing to prevent it.

This very much character-oriented story is told sensitively with graceful flashbacks and an accessible writing style. That said, what really makes this story is the characters.

Mixter’s characters feel so credible despite the short space into which they’re written – it’s a real treat to become so invested in Dave’s life that you begin to view even the more minor characters as real.

My main issue was that I wanted a little more background information; I’d have loved to hear more about how Tom and Dave became close, and I desperately wanted to know more about his relationship with his family. Not that it wasn’t poignant as it was; I just wanted to understand their interaction on a slightly deeper level. In all fairness though, when the only criticism is a request for more, you know you’re doing something right!

This story is surprising and original – a real ‘think-outside-of-the-box’ piece of literature that both moved me to tears and had me grinning from ear to ear.

Four stars, Mr Mixter, and I plan on reading more of your work.

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The Spanner by P.A. Fenton

The Spanner: A NovellaThe Spanner: A Novella by P.A. Fenton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very cleverly written humourous book. The plot became complex but absurd and I did wonder why I was reading it at times. Stan is the ultimate spanner in the works and the character names do make you laugh. Chaos increases as more people get involved in a project that the reader it still left questioning when it all ends with one big final explosion. Where’s Stan now?

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Bah, Humbug! by Heather Horrocks

Bah, Humbug! A Romantic Comedy NovellaBah, Humbug! A Romantic Comedy Novella by Heather Horrocks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a lovely read for Christmas time, Lexi could come and arrange my Christmas for me any time!I wanted more than the events of just 7 days that the book has. I liked the author part, if you are a writer you can understand the character. A Good read.

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