Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT TILL LIFE DO US PART by @Carmen_Books #Paranormal #Romance

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Till Life Do Us Part by Carmen Stefanescu


The book description was promising and the paranormal aspect intriguing, coupled with the fact the story explores reincarnation and past lives, all of which fascinate me. And I love the cover image.

Barbara Heyer is able to talk to spirits and help their families come to terms with the loss of their loved ones. She was ten when she had her first experience, a visit from her dead grandfather. Since then it’s been a regular occurrence. Barbara is driving home when she gets an interrupted message from someone called Kathleen, mentioning her brother, Colin, and the fact someone has murdered her. A visit from Detective Patrick Fischer, who Barbara feels an instant connection to, confirms Barbara’s worst fears. Her brother is the prime suspect in Kathleen’s murder.

Barbara has a terrible fear of fire and experiences vivid dreams about someone called Emma. She agrees to agrees to a past life regression with her new friend, Amanda. The time slip section of the book shows life as it was, with no recourse for women who find themselves at the mercy of men, especially men with no scruples.

It started off all right but unfortunately the book as a whole fell flat for me. There were a few issues – the characters lacked depth and charisma and I couldn’t connect with them. Some of the narrative and dialogue didn’t flow, seeming exaggerated and unnatural. The romance between Barbara and Patrick wasn’t convincing enough and the reason for the break didn’t make any sense.

It’s a good premise with a great choice of subject matter, some vividly descriptive passages and the potential is there. A thorough edit and proofread would iron out the irregularities in the turn of phrase and word choices, and correct the punctuation and grammar where needed, making it a smoother, easier read.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview team #RBRT TO SWIM BENEATH THE EARTH by Ginger Bensman #Inca #fridayreads

Today’s team review is from E.L. Lindley, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

E.L has been reading To Swim Beneath The Earth by Ginger Bensman


To Swim Beneath the Earth by Ginger Bensman is both an original and compelling novel that cleverly combines 1970’s US culture with that of South America in the 1500s. Not only is the story impeccably written, it also displays an impressive historical knowledge.


The book begins in Colorado in 1973 when the protagonist Megan Kimsey has just lost her father. Megan has always been regarded by her family as highly strung due to her random spates of clairvoyance and an inexplicable knowledge of the Inca Empire and its people. Only Megan’s father understands her and before his death purchased a ticket for her to travel to South America in a quest for answers about her troubling mental state.


Megan is a great character and I loved Bensman’s depiction of her family life. Her mother is a cold, unloving woman and her relationship with Megan is toxic and damaging. Bensman presents us with the dynamics of the dysfunctional Kimsey family in a way that is both heart rending and darkly funny.


The structure of the novel is complex and extremely effective which is indicative of Bensman’s strong writing skills. Once Megan travels to South America, she increasingly becomes connected to the past. We are given flashbacks to the time of the Incas where Megan takes on the identity of a man called Illapa. As Megan becomes consumed by the past and starts to resent the intrusion of the present, Bensman cleverly recreates that sense of tension for her readers. At crucial points in the narrative, she drags us back to 1973 as Megan’s consciousness returns to her, piquing our curiosity and leaving us desperate to find out what is going to happen.


Bensman’s particular strength, in my opinion, is her characterisation. Megan is a wonderfully prickly character who disappears at the first sign of conflict. She describes herself as a “social coward”. Bensman also creates excellent potential villains such as the obnoxious therapist, Dr Vickers, who Megan’s mother engages to work with Megan. He is constantly looming in the wings ready to perform an intervention which provides both humour and horror in equal measure.


There is also a really strong sense of place particularly once Megan travels to South America. Even in the 1974 sections, Bensman conveys a society that is steeped in ancient ways and wisdoms as personified by Megan’s friend Koyam, a medicine woman. Bensman’s knowledge of the Inca civilisation is such that it brings the period alive for the reader and makes us feel as though we are actually there.

There are so many heart breaking events in the story which are genuinely moving. As a child, Megan babysits for a little girl who suffers a misfortune that almost brought me to tears. Likewise Megan’s relationship with her young son when she is in the role of Illapa is emotionally charged and poignant.


I really loved this novel and found it entertaining, intelligent and thought provoking. It raises questions of reincarnation and a spirit world which I enjoyed exploring. Ultimately Megan is unable to find her place in the world until she has lain the past to rest.


This is not a novel that fits easily into any one genre but I believe there is something to captivate everyone. If you’re looking for a new read and fancy something a little bit different then I wholeheartedly recommend To Swim Beneath the Earth.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Terry Reviews A Cry From The Deep by Diana Stevan

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


Terry chose to read and review A Cry From The Deep by Diana Stevan


3 out of 5 stars

I was looking forward to this book, as it deals with the subjects of reincarnation and time slips between the 19th century and the present. When Catherine Fitzgerald, an underwater photographer, buys an antique Claddagh ring, she is troubled by nightmares that set her on a path to fulfil a promise of love made centuries before. As she begins to unravel the mystery of the woman who haunts her dreams, she has to come to grips with her own struggle to find true love. Will it be her ex, psychiatrist Richard Egan, who still loves her, or Daniel Costello, the handsome but unavailable marine archaeologist on the dive team?

It’s a very good story idea, it’s well thought out, feasible, and there are no plot holes or errors of continuity. The (American) English is perfect, and the proofreading was virtually faultless, which is always a big plus. The subject matter of diving for historical artefacts is extremely well researched; I read in the back of the book about how much work the author had done on this and was impressed; it will probably appeal to anyone who is interested in this subject.

So why only three stars?

I found the narrative rather old fashioned. The romantic side of it is a bit Mills and Boon, with the occasional throwing in of something more ‘earthy’ that seemed a little incongruous. Also, I found the delivery and dialogue a tad wooden throughout; aside from Hennessey, the brutish head of the diving team, one character’s dialogue was indistinguishable from another’s, with a relaying of information as opposed to painting a portrait of the person. Ms Stevan has used accurate regional dialect cleverly, but I never had the feeling of different ‘voices’, and could not see any of the people in my mind’s eye.

The point of view changed to another character, Daniel, on a few occasions, and this new outlook made the story perk up. My attention was also renewed when Catherine began to unravel the mystery, in Ireland; I thought the Irish section was the best, and I imagine well researched too (I’ve never been to Ireland, so can’t say). However, I felt this could have been done in a much more intriguing way, perhaps with alternating between past and present so that we knew more about Margaret and James; the piece set in the 19th century is so brief that I had all but forgotten about it by about a third of the way through. The mystery would have been far more compelling if it had been unleashed gradually, rather than the reader being told more or less everything at the very beginning. Throughout the book there was too much exposition (dialogue used to give necessary background information, executed in an contrived manner) and ‘telling, not showing’ (delivering statements to tell the reader what a character is like, rather than allowing a picture to build up via his/her speech and behaviour, and others’ reactions to them).

To sum up – it’s a competent debut novel, a really good idea, but it wasn’t for me. However, a review can only ever be one person’s opinion, and readers who like a more conservative approach to dialogue and romantic developments might well enjoy it very much; I see that it has other, more positive reviews and I imagine the author’s style will develop. I’d like to thank Ms Stevan for supplying a review copy of this book, and wish her luck in her writing career.

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