Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Dystopia THE VATICAN GAMES by Alejandra Guibert

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here 

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading The Vatican Games by Alejandra Guibert

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The Vatican Games is an unusual dystopian read. Dystopia is one of my favourite genres and I read a lot of it. Right up front I must say that I did not find this book an easy read. There is a lot of telling instead of showing and this, combined with a complicated story line, made it difficult to follow the story in some places. I found that this improved as the story progressed and I became more familiar with the premise and the characters. The writing was also a little unnatural and stilted for me.

This being said, I found this book to be a clever and entertaining story. Vera, the main character, is born into a new world where a huge apocalypse has occurred, resulting in the deaths of five billion people throughout the world. The nature of the catastrophe, a poisoning of water resources in primarily the USA which impacts on their exports of soft drinks, thereby impacting many other countries in the world, results in the USA becoming virtually uninhabitable. Immediately after this event, war breaks out in numerous third world countries resulting in further death and destruction.

The survivors find themselves in a new world which a better form of communism or possibly socialism is achieved. The remaining populations of the world are uplifted and educated so that they can take their places in the new world. The entire population of the world is run on an extreme capitalistic formula in that companies need to generate profits, but these profits are shared equally by all in the manner of a communist regime. The new world government steps in very quickly and seemingly seamlessly to achieve this new world status which does require some suspension of belief, especially if you look around the current capitalistic and communistic countries of the world.

All religion is dispensed with and people are entertained and educated using technology, and in particular computer games. The religious orders of the old world embrace the development of these computer games as their only means of survival and recruit intelligent and innovative people from within their organisations to develop new games on an on-going basis.

Vera, who has been brought up in a Catholic convent following the death of her mother, is chosen to enter the Vatican as a games developer. She quickly becomes embroiled in a plan by select members of the church to use their games for illicit purposes. Can she unravel the plot and prevent another catastrophe? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I must also point out that there are some scenes involving suicide with might be disturbing or triggers for sensitive readers.

Book description

Vera is born on the day an apocalyptic revenge is unleashed, annihilating half of the world’s population.

Her birth marks the beginning of a new world order run by powerful gaming corporations.

A warless existence with no poverty has been secured, until this fine balance becomes once more under threat.

Vera is the female David to beat Goliath and prevent further devastation.

The future lies in her hands. It’s a game that she needs to win.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Contemporary #Romance ART & SOUL by Claire Huston @ClaraVal

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading Art & Soul by Claire Huston

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Art and Soul is a lovely romance by author, Claire Huston. Becky Watson has recently returned to work following a long maternity leave and is finding it isn’t that easy to re-establish her connections as a life coach. She has taken some jobs as an assistant at various upmarket weddings where she helps ensure that any potential people created problems are prevented or smoothed over. These jobs don’t pay particularly well and her finances are not in a good state.

Charlie is a well-known painter whose life unraveled badly after his wife left him and their young daughter several years before. His daughter and his sister are worried about his behaviour which has become more and more reclusive. He is also drinking more and is unable to paint at all. His recent painting have been harshly criticized by the art world who believe he has lost his inspiration.

Charlie’s sister contacts Claire and asks her to speak to her brother with a view to her helping him rekindle his enthusiasm for life and painting. Claire desperately needs the money so she agrees to try and help him, but knows it will be difficult due to Charlie’s uncooperative attitude. After a difficult start to their relationship, Charlie eventually agrees to try out Becky’s proposal and to re-launch himself and his work at an exhibition in only six months time. She also plans to help him rekindle a romance with a woman he fancied a while back.

I really liked Claire who was straightforward and forthright most of the time. Her only area of failure was in expressing her own emotions and feelings but that was understandable given that the father of her child had lied to her and devastated her trust. Claire has Charlie’s best interests at heart and will put her own welfare aside to help him move forward with his goals.

I like Charlie on the whole although he demonstrated a few spiteful and selfish characteristics that spoiled him a bit for me. I felt that he was a bit unpredictable and would have like Becky to have been interested in a more understanding man who didn’t lash out at her from time to time. Charlie also didn’t always come across as sufficiently supportive of his teenage daughter who really needed him.

The art aspects of this book were really interesting and I enjoyed reading about Charlie’s style of artwork compared to some of the very famous names. I also liked reading about Becky’s friend, a baker of the most delectable sounding cakes and who owned a cake shop. I am a big baker myself and I enjoyed the appearance of the odd amazing cake or two.

This was a sweet and uplifting romance baring a few occasions when Charlie fell from grace in my opinion. It will leave you routing for a good outcome for Claire and her cute son and even grumpy Charlie who has a lot of goodness about him.

Book description

There’s no problem Becky Watson can’t fix. Except her own love life…

Struggling single mother Becky Watson longs to revive her career as a life-fixer, working miracles to solve her clients’ problems, no matter how big or small. Since the birth of her two-year-old son she has been stuck preventing wedding fiascos for the richest and rudest residents of the Comptons, a charming, leafy area of southern England known for its artistic heritage.

So when semi-reclusive local artist Charlie Handren reluctantly hires Becky to fix his six-year creative slump, she’s delighted to set him up with a come-back exhibition and Rachel Stone, the woman of his dreams.

Though they get off to a rocky start, Becky and Charlie soon become close. But as the beautiful Rachel becomes Charlie’s muse, Becky is forced to wonder: will giving Charlie everything he wants mean giving up her own happily ever after?

A heart-warming, uplifting romance served with a generous slice of cake.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Celebrating 6 Years Of Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT With Team Member Robbie @bakeandwrite

Recently we celebrated our review team’s six year anniversary by revealing fourteen of the team’s favourite books.

You can find out which books they were in part one and part two.

I invited some of my team members to tell us more about being part of the book reviewing team.

Welcome to Robbie Cheadle, who also writes book reviews at Robbie’s Inspiration Blog

I have always been a reader. I read books at such a fast rate when I was a young girl that my own four library cards were not enough. I used to use my younger sister’s three library cards as well as my own [Cath was not a big reader back then and preferred to visit her friends down the road than read] and I still had to make two trips a week to the local library. That mean I read at least fourteen books a week. I used to ride to the library on my bicycle which my dad fitted wit a basket for my books.

Even back then, I never read the same books as my friends. I read strange books like Fattipuffs and Thinifers by André Maurois, Helter Skelter, the Charles Manson story by Susan Atkins and all the Eva Ibbotson books, which I didn’t think were unusual, but my friends definitely did. I lived in a Catholic community and books about witches, wizards, dark magic, banshees, and other magical creatures were not encouraged. When I was ten, I ran out of books to read in the children’s section of the library, so I resorted to reading my mom’s books behind the couch. My reads included The Shining and Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. My peer group were not reading these books in the fifth and sixth grade.

The result of my unusual and advanced reading tastes was that I never participated in reading groups at school. I was a “lone wolf” reader and was never interested enough in popular peer group reads to change this position.

As an adult I never belonged to book clubs as they seemed to involve more socializing and drinking of wine that discussion of the books I like to read. As a result, I never joined one, so I don’t know if my views are actually fact or not.

When I started to blog, I quickly saw that a lot of readers shared their reviews on-line. There were all sorts of book reviewing groups among blogging groups and on Goodreads where people read the same book and discussed their opinions of the books and the writing style. This interested me and I started following lots of book bloggers and reading lots and lots of book reviews. One book blogger that particularly interested me with her detailed reviews was Olga Nunez. I realized that Olga belonged to an on-line book reviewing club called Rosie’s Book Reviews and was sufficiently interested to find Rosie’s wonderful blog and follow many of her reviewers.

Often, more than one reviewer would read the same book offered to the club and I loved reading the different viewpoints. All the reviewers have a different reviewing style and I learned to look for, and appreciate, different things in books. This has helped my own writing as well as my own book reviewing process. I decided to ask Rosie if I could join her book reviewing team and she graciously added me to her group. I still have rather different tastes in books and read and review a lot of classics, but I do like to read at last one book a month from Rosie’s lovely list. I always look for other reviews of the same book by other team members as I am fascinated to learn what they enjoyed about a book I have read and what they did not enjoy. I have found that certain of the team members share similar tastes to me, so I look out for books they have reviewed and sometimes request them from Rosie.

Some of the recent books and authors I have read and enjoyed during my time as a Rosie’s book reviewer are as follows:

I enjoy being part of Rosie’s team and have discovered some great new authors this way. She had a splendid team of reviewers whose opinions on books I value, including Rosie’s own reviews. If you like to read a wide variety of different genres and authors and like the idea of being part of a book reviewing team, then I would recommend this lovely group.

Thank you Robbie, I enjoy seeing all the different books that team members enjoy.

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Art #Mystery THE VERMEER DECEPTION by @JSAauthor

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading The Vermeer Deception by Jennifer S. Alderson

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The Vermeer Deception is another great read by Jennifer S. Alderson. Zelda is working for private investigator, Vincent de Graaf, who specialises in the recovery of missing artworks. Vincent has opened an additional office in Croatia and the new business is not taking off as quickly or as successfully as he had hoped. His frequent travelling is also putting stress and strain on his marriage.

Zelda is finding her job with Vincent less engaging than she had expected and is considering looking for another position in an art museum. In order to keep her occupied, Vincent assigns her a query about a missing Vermeer which is thought to have been looted by the Nazi’s. Zelda is due to go on holiday with her parents, who have come out form the USA, and Jacob, her boyfriend. She should put her Vermeer investigation on hold until the end of the two week holiday, but she can’t resist a little bit of probing which results in her being pulled into the mysterious death of a well know art dealer and a ring of Nazi looted artworks traders called the Network.

Zelda’s preoccupation with her investigation causes her a lot of grief from her parents and Jacob. I didn’t like Jacob’s sulky and childish behavior in this book and really went off him as a character. I though his attitude towards Zelda and her aspirations and career were rather shameful and I wanted her to get rid of him. I much prefer the character of her friend, Fredrick. This aspect of the book did impact on my enjoyment of the story because I found myself so irritated with Jacob.

Zelda’s character ran true to form in all aspects, except for her relationship with Jacob. She is independent and high spirited and this is what I most admire about her and one of my chief pleasures in reading this series. I love her spunk and determination. It is a pity her choices in men are so poor. Of course, that is my personal opinion, other readers may not be remotely disturbed by this aspect of the story.

The author’s understanding of art and excellent research come to the for once more in this book and I really enjoyed the descriptions of the various artworks and the mystery surrounding the dealers and the Network. The author explains where her inspiration for this story came from at the end of this book and that was also very interesting and added value to my enjoyment of this story.

Book description

An art historian finds – then loses – a portrait by Johannes Vermeer in this thrilling art mystery set in Munich, Heidelberg, and Amsterdam.

When Zelda Richardson investigates a new lead about a missing portrait by Johannes Vermeer, no one expects her to actually find the painting in a retired art dealer’s home in Munich, Germany. Not her parents visiting from America; her boss, private detective Vincent de Graaf; or the rightful owner of the Nazi-looted artwork.

However, Zelda’s jubilation turns to horror when she arrives to pick up the portrait and finds the art dealer dead and several frames smoldering in his fireplace.

Was the Vermeer a fake and its ‘discovery’ a cruel joke played on a Nazi victim? The Munich police, Zelda’s family, and Vincent certainly think so.

Yet the art dealer’s best friend believes he was murdered and the real Vermeer stolen by an underground network of art looters, one established during World War II and still active today. The problem is, no one believes him – except Zelda.

Zelda soon finds herself in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with immoral art collectors, corrupt dealers, and an all-to-real killer who wants her to stop searching.

Can Zelda uncover the truth about the Vermeer before she is painted out of the picture permanently?

The Vermeer Deception is Book 4 in the Zelda Richardson Mystery Series. The novels in this series can be read in any order.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Football #horror novella BURNTBRIDGE BOYS by @john_f_leonard

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading Burntbridge Boys by John. F. Leonard

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I enjoy the way John Leonard writes. He uses short, sharp sentence that perfectly suit the length of his novella’s and their dark and terse story lines. The introductory paragraphs into this author’s books have a way of immediately pulling the reader into the story and setting the scene very efficiently.
The opening lines to Burntbridge boys are as follows:
“He stamped at the brake and missed.
Swore vehemently. Cursed to himself and the world in general. At times, both seemed to conspire against him.”
After reading these few short sentences, I immediately knew I was dealing with a main character who feels he has been ill-treated by the world, has a bad temper and is generally looking for trouble. My expectation was also that the main character, Samuel Rafferty, did not see himself as the guilty party in the sorry story of his life, he rather as the victim.

My expectations with regards to Samuel proved to be correct and the author did a terrific job of creating a man who is selfish, self absorbed and greedy. Despite some horrible revelations about Samuel’s past and abusive father, and the fact that he successfully exploits his talent as a footballer to pull himself out of poverty, I was not able to feel anything but dislike for this character. As the story progresses and his womanizing ways and easily corruptible nature become more and more obvious, the author brought me to a point where I felt that the situation that Samuel ends up in is of his own making and the outcome almost seems like poetic justice.

I have read other books by this author and, by comparison, this one is not as obviously bloody or frightening. The supernatural elements creep up on you slowly and subtly and I found this to be disturbing and incredibly chilling. I will hazard a comparison and say that parts of this book were as harrowing for me as The Shining by Stephen King. Some things are far more scary than blood and guts.

I suppose I should point out that this book has an underlying theme about football, but this facilitated the story rather than became the point of it. I am not a soccer or sports fan and, while I appreciated that the author must know a bit about football, I did not feel bored or overwhelmed by sporty facts and information. There was just enough to feed the flow of the story and make it work. A great read for lovers of chilling supernatural fantasy.

Book description

It’s 1979 and Sammy Rafferty is on the run. From the past. From the police. And, perhaps more importantly, from some rather unfriendly criminal types.
He thinks his football dreams are over, but that might not be the case. He’s run to Burntbridge Lye. A place where dreams don’t always die.

Sammy “the butcher” Rafferty has long since kissed his playing days goodbye. Never kicking a competitive ball again was a hard pill to swallow and he’s not ready for his managerial career to come to an untimely end. The thought of forever being shut out of football makes his heart sink and feet itch.

There isn’t any choice. The cards have been dealt and you have to play the hand you’re given. Sammy grits his teeth and gets on with it. Life settles into monotony and offers only boredom and frustration …until he comes across an old football ground nestled in the back of beyond.

He can almost hear the roar of the crowd as he parks at the gates of the deserted Burntbridge Palmers, a decaying stadium on the outskirts of Bledbrooke Town.
The club that won’t die could be just the place for a man who still has a gleam in his eye. After all, they’re both ghosts that won’t go away.

Burntbridge Boys is about a lot of things.
Horror, for sure. No doubt there. Old school horror, with a twist. A ghost story where the ghosts aren’t really dead.
A fond reminiscence of football, back before football became completely commercialised? Yes, definitely, soccer plays its part. Although, it has to be said, the beautiful game is sometimes less than beautiful in Burntbridge Boys. It can be somewhat ugly and …disturbing. And often more than a game.
Deceit and double-dealing? Yeah, there’s a fair-sized chunk of that.

It might also be about power passed into hands too fragile for the holding. The darkness hidden in human hearts which is best kept hidden and secrets that are better not revealed. Society and its cruel attitudes, before society became an equally dreadful click-driven social media experiment.
You’ll draw your conclusions – that’s one of the joys of reading.

On a more prosaic level, is there such a thing as a football horror story? Let alone one set in the past which wallows in a darkly imagined history of the game.
Who knows? When the Dead Boxes are involved, anything is possible. Such items have always been scary things.
Even in the swinging Sixties and glam-shock punk revolution of the Seventies, they contained a terrifying mix of horror and salvation. Throw the Scaeth Mythos into the mix and stuff gets decidedly multi-dimensional.

There are different realities and the walls which separate them can be paper thin. The tiniest tear can allow horror and madness to bleed through.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Burntbridge Boys: A Football Horror Story by [John F Leonard]

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery SECRETS OF THE GALAPAGOS by @SLMarchisello

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading Secrets Of The Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello

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This is an entertaining murder mystery with a large dollop of romance. The story is set on a cruise ship which is travelling around the idyllic islands of the Galapogos. The author weaves some lovely and interesting information about these island, the conservation programmes they have in place as well as the amazing wildlife that is found there, into the story which I really enjoyed.

Giovanna has recently had some bad experiences. She lost all the money raised from investors to build her dream non-profit veterinary clinic to a clever con artist and, as a result, her fiancee and business partner, Tim, has broken off their engagement. To make matters even worse, her best friend, Connie, is married to the conman, and helped entice her into his trap. Giovanna’s youthful looking grandmother, Michelle, talks her into going on a cruise to help her recover from these losses and move on with her life. Giavanna decides on the Galapagos as a destination because she has learned, via Facebook, that this is where Connie and the conman have gone and she hopes to somehow get an opportunity to confront him and get the stolen money back.

Giovanna is in for some more hard knocks. While snorkeling with her new friend, Laurel, the pair get separated from the group and Giovanna is nearly left behind by the boat. Laurel disappears and no-one will acknowledge it except for Michelle and a few other guests who notice she is missing. Other unusual things are also happening on board the ship: Michelle gets hit over the head in the ship’s library, a memory stick with photographs of animals on it belonging to Laurel goes missing and one of the guides turns up dead in the swimming pool. Giavanna is determined to get to the bottom of it all and also to confront the conman if the opportunity presents itself.

Into this whole mix enters a gorgeous local policeman, Victor, who is investigating the murder, the disappearance of Laurel and who is interested in Giavanna.

This is a fast paced book with lots of action and some romance. I found it a bit hard to follow in a few parts because there was just so much happening and so many different sub-plots but on the whole this is an entertaining and interesting read.

Book description

Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.

At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.

While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.

When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.

Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview #Team #RBRT #Horror Novella NIGHT SERVICE by @john_f_leonard

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading Night Service by John F. Leonard

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I love the way this author writes. He uses short and sharp sentences and paragraphs which make you become part of the action and the horror. He also uses marvelously descriptive verbiage to bring his scenes alive and it definitely works for me. Some examples from the first page of what I mean in this regard are as follows:
“A few steps and everything changed.” – the first sentence. “They left the main drag and the night unfurled.” I love these short and punchy lines.
“The sort of place where getting hurt was to be expected, just an unavoidable consequence of being there.” and “There was nothing but a lonely field of darkness, fragranced with the unsweet smell of desertion.” For me, I had the chills just from reading the first page and a clear expectation of what was coming.

Luke and Jessica have been on a date which he expects to progress to an overnighter, but they need to get to her place. They decide to take the night bus as neither want to waste money and, after all, public transport is reliable and easy to use, barring the trawl through the neighbourhood to get to the bus stop and the wait.

Luke finds himself having some misgivings about using the bus and nearly decides to call a taxi, but Jessica convinces him that the bus is fine for their purposes. He agrees and that turns out to be a very bad decision.

His feelings of unease increase as other travelers gather at the bus station. A strange young woman with a baby, who seems quite out of context in the circumstances, a heavy-weight who appears drunk and disorderly, three tough-looking members of a band and a most annoyingly chatty elderly gentleman, who, on reflection, is also out of context in the setting. Luke has misgivings, but the bus arrives and he gets on. His journey to hell begins.

This book is not long so the author has limited time to build his world and bring the plot to its culmination. I thought he did a great job of creating this alter and creepy world which exists in parallel to the human world and which is real, but somehow not real.

The descriptions and world building gave me the same creepy and eerie feeling as The Langoliers by Stephen King, a short story I read as a young teenager, but which I have never forgotten. The monsters reminded me of H.G. Well’s morlocks, with the horrible tainted feeling you get when you read about them in The Time Machine. They is a disgustingly slimy suggestion to their looks and behaviour which gave me the shivers.

I really enjoyed this book and its interesting and unusual, but highly appropriate style, and think lovers of clever horror will enjoy this book.

Book description

It’s been a great night, but it’s getting late. You need to make tracks and cash isn’t king.

No worries… all aboard the Night Service. It could be the last bus you ever catch.

Every journey is a journey into the unknown, but this trip is an eye-opener, unlike anything that Luke and Jessica have ever experienced. They’re going to learn a few important lessons. Being young and in love doesn’t grant immunity from the everyday awful… or the less ordinary evil that lurks in the shadows.

There’s no inoculation from the horror of the world – it’s real and it’s waiting to touch you.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #PostApocalypse UPON US by Blakely Chorpenning

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading Upon Us by Blakely Chorpenning

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I thought this book was a thoroughly entertaining read. The idea of having a forced ending to the technological advancement of our modern world is a unique and clever take on dystopia and one I really appreciated. I have read a huge number of books and I have never come across a premise quite like this and that made this book stand out for me as a five-star read.

The story starts with a young woman who is clearly an social outsider, holding up two men who are changing guard at a utility building in a remote and hidden spot. She quickly overcomes them even though she is described as being hungry and cold and it is immediately clear that she is unprivileged and lives a life of hardship.

A third man appears unexpectedly on the scene who is described as being someone who enjoys three meals a day and a shower on demand. He is a contrast to the woman and is referred to by her as a villager or a Privileged, someone who lives behind the safety of walls. The nameless woman manages to overcome this privileged man, who we later find out is called Ren, and kidnaps him.

The opening chapter is extremely well done and the reader ends it knowing that there are two kinds of people in this world, the Privileged, who have everything and live behind protective walls, and everyone else who live in clans and struggle for survival. It is also disclosed that the world has undergone some sort of new beginning and a lot of lives had been lost due to a lack of medicine and medical interventions, it is also indicated that some sort of devastating plague has taken hold which is spreading rapidly and has devastating consequences for those living outside the protection of the villages.

As the story unravels, the reader gradually learns about the woman’s life and what her objectives are in kidnapping Ren. The activity doesn’t go as planned for her due to her attraction to Ren and her lack of knowledge about the retention of certain technological equipment by the villagers. Unbeknownst to both the woman and Ren, there are greater powers at work in their world and even the villagers are not safe from them.

I enjoyed the character of the woman, who thinks her name is Jolee, and who is a strong and innovative female character, but still having the hormones that frequently impact on decisions making by women. Jolee ends up making certain allowances and decisions due to her growing attachment to Ren.

Ren was an interesting character as he turns out not to be the strong alpha-male man he initially seems to be. He has a fatal flaw which has moulded his character and attitude to life. He is loyal and devoted to his friends, including Jolee, and will put his life on the line for them.

I enjoyed the way the story developed and the intriguing details about the plague, the villagers and the clans people that revealed themselves as the story unfolds.

Book description

What if the apocalypse was manufactured to save mankind?

Threatened by an ailing planet and insatiable human advancement, world governments agreed to ban the modern way of life, cutting off electricity, technology, and medical services, dismantling the global economy for one hundred years.

Twenty-five years have passed in this self-imposed darkness known as the New Beginning. Crops are dying and the sickness -a zombie-like plague of rotting flesh and fractured minds- is ravishing the East Coast of the United States.

One woman has been entrusted by the clans to remedy their food shortage. Breaking the rules is nothing new, but She -a nameless nomad- must abduct a privileged villager named Ren, bringing her too close for comfort with his entitled world. Together, they discover the root of the plague as their desire for one another grows, even as the differences in their two worlds collide.

Through deception and the horrors of an expanding pandemic, love thrives where a world chose to die.

UPON US is a New Adult post-apocalyptic love story with adult content and gory imagery (because -zombies).

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT A New Year’s Cosy #Mystery DEATH ON THE DANUBE by @JSAauthor

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading Death On The Danube by Jennifer S. Alderson.

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I am a great fan of Jennifer S. Alderson’s Adventures of Zelda Richardson books as I really enjoy the fast pace and wonderfully exotic locations that feature in this series. When this first book in Ms Alderson’s new cozy mystery series became available, I quickly snatched it up to see what this versatile author can do in this slightly different genre. I have recently visited Budapest, so I was also keen to see how this amazing city is featured in this book.

I was not disappointed, either with regards to the genre or the setting of Death on the Danube. As a cozy mystery, this book is shorter than the Zelda books and, as a result, the characters are not as fleshed out. this was not a problem for me as I still got a good feel for Lana, the recently divorced heroine, who finds herself unexpectedly dealing with a murder investigation instead of just assuming the new role of tour guide to a party of wealthy tourists. Lana was previously an investigative journalist and this experience comes in handy when Carl, her fellow tour guide, is found floating in the Danube.

This book reminded me of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express as it had lots of interesting characters. The story dips into each potential suspects life and reveals enough tantalizing details about a few of them to make them a likely suspect and Lana must do some hard work to unravel their stories and how they fit into Carl’s messy life.

Carl was an interesting chap with his involved history of womanizing, gambling and misleading people in order to gain their financial support. He was likable enough for me to not entirely hate him and I felt rather bad about his untimely death even though he was a bit of a rotter.

The introduction of the travel element and virtual tour the author gives her readers separates this book from others in this genre and made it a really interesting read. The depictions of the tourist destinations were interesting and the descriptions of the food, tantalizing.

I would strongly recommend this book to lovers of cozy mysteries and short murder mystery stories.


Book description

Who knew a New Year’s trip to Budapest could be so deadly? The tour must go on – even with a killer in their midst…

Recent divorcee Lana Hansen needs a break. Her luck has run sour for going on a decade, ever since she got fired from her favorite job as an investigative reporter. When her fresh start in Seattle doesn’t work out as planned, Lana ends up unemployed and penniless on Christmas Eve.

Dotty Thompson, her landlord and the owner of Wanderlust Tours, is also in a tight spot after one of her tour guides ends up in the hospital, leaving her a guide short on Christmas Day.

When Dotty offers her a job leading the tour group through Budapest, Hungary, Lana jumps at the chance. It’s the perfect way to ring in the new year and pay her rent!

What starts off as the adventure of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare when Carl, her fellow tour guide, is found floating in the Danube River. Was it murder or accidental death? Suspects abound when Lana discovers almost everyone on the tour had a bone to pick with Carl.

But Dotty insists the tour must go on, so Lana finds herself trapped with nine murder suspects. When another guest turns up dead, Lana has to figure out who the killer is before she too ends up floating in the Danube…

Introducing Lana Hansen, tour guide, reluctant amateur sleuth, and star of the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series. Join Lana as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that, unfortunately for Lana, often turn deadly.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery CHRISTMAS CUPCAKES AND A CAPER by D.E. Haggerty

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading Christmas Cupcakes and A Caper by D.E. Haggerty

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Christmas Cupcakes and a Caper is a short murder mystery starring three friends Anna, Callie and Kristie who discover a dead body on the doorstep of the bakery Callie and Anna co-own one evening in the run-up to Christmas. The ladies call the police and all three of the ladies boyfriends, two of whom are involved in law enforcement and one of whom is a firefighter, arrive on the scene to assist their girlfriends in dealing with the situation.

Callie, a lecturer at the local university, as well as being a co-owner of the bakery, knows the victim, Donald Griffin, who was a student there. Kristie, who is involved at the local youth centre which is frequented by troubled teens, quickly discovers that Donald was not popular with her protegees. Anna, the baker of the cupcakes sold at the bakery, is the only one of the three who doesn’t know him other than as a customer of the bakery. The three women become drawn into the murder investigation as a few odd occurrences and co-incidences come to their attention in relation to the young man’s death and relationships with his fellow students.

This story is short and light, with a simple, straight forward plot, a bit of fun romance and lots of conversation and comments about delicious cupcakes of all kinds. The recipes for these lovely sounding cupcakes appear at the end of the book.

Book description

It’s all candy cane cupcakes and peppermint coffee until you find a dead elf on your doorstep.

Only the elf wasn’t a real elf, because elves don’t actually exist – not even at Christmas time. A college student dressed like an elf decided taking a nap on the stoop of Callie’s Cakes in sub-zero winter temps was a good idea. It wasn’t. Anna, the pink-haired baker extraordinaire, is convinced the student’s death was not an accident. She drags Callie and Kristie along with her as she attempts to discover who killed the elf … um… student.

Will the gals of Callie’s Cakes find the killer before Christmas is ruined?

Cupcakes not included, although you’ll find recipes for all the delicious Christmas cupcakes Anna bakes.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS


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