‘Full Of Mystery And Imagination.’ Robbie Reviews #Ya #Fantasy Bloodstone by @Marjorie_Mallon #TuesdayBookBlog

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Robbie has been reading Bloodstone by MJ Mallon

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Bloodstone is a fascinating book, beautifully written and full of mystery and imagination.

Amelina is a sixteen year old girl who is caught in a cycle of unhappiness. Her happy family life changed on her thirteen birthday. She can’t remember the details but “[her] mind, resurrecting buried memories from [her] thirteenth birthday: an imprint on glass, a charades card, and a young man’s beguiling voice bewitching [her].” Since that dreadful night when her father disappeared and returned months later an altered man, whose youth had been stolen, Amelina has been sad. Her mother changed on that day and became a harridan who works all the time and who cannot ever be pleased.

Amelina’s only ‘friends’ in her own home are self-harming Esme, an ex-school colleague who seemed to have the perfect life but is now trapped behind the mirrors in Amalina’s family home, and Shadow, her creepy black cat. Amelina does have some strong friendships outside of her home which are her saving grace.

The story starts with Amelina receiving a strange invitation to visit the mythical Crystal Cottage. On the same day, while out for a walk to think about this unusual invitation, she meets the mysterious and handsome Ryder to whom she is instantly attracted.

These two events trigger an unusual adventure where Amelina must take certain actions in order to save her father and restore the happiness of her family.

I enjoyed the character of Amelina. She had a troubled and difficult life with her disapproving mother and elderly and convalescent father. She just want’s her life to return to how it was before and she knows that her lot in life is poor compared to her best friends. I admired Amelina for being sensible and seeing the reality of her relationship with Ryder, despite her anguished state of mind and intense attraction to the man. I think this shows great strength of character and sends an excellent message to YA female readers of this book. I also liked the fact that Amelina looked for solutions to her problems and actively sought happiness. These are all positive characteristics.

Amelina has a gift for art and is given a magic art set by her aunt. The scenes involving Amelina painting with this gift are among my favorite in the book.

The following extract demonstrates the energy and mystery of the painting:

“As I dipped the brush into the paint, a gripping sensation overcame me. I painted in haste with a multitude of dissolving crystal paint flecks staring back at me from the canvas. A dark grey, bluish black, sinister tinge blemished the artwork. Shares of varying hues moved across the painting, competing for supremacy in a powerful duality of light and darkness.”

Ryder was a dark character and that was evident form his first encounter with Amelina. It was satisfyingly for me that Amelina did not succumb to his charms in a completely thoughtless and silly way. She kept her head and assessed Ryder’s behaviour even though it hurt her to do so.

The self harm references could be a trigger for some young readers, but they are skillfully and carefully handled so I think it is unlikely to cause distress. They are more likely to provide comfort, but that is just my opinion and I haven’t had any dealings with the victims of self harming.

An excellent and engrossing read and one I recommend to young adult and adult readers alike. 

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I didn’t think my life could get weirder, but I was wrong…

Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who is imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house.

When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden path where she encounters Ryder: a charismatic, perplexing stranger.

With the help of a magical paint set and some crystal wizard stones, can Amelina discover the truth about her family?

A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology or the world of the paranormal.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Loss Of A Loved One. @bakeandwrite reviews Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance by @LGauffreau

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Robbie has been reading Grief Songs: Poems Of Remembrance by Elizabeth Gauffreau

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Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance is an emotional depiction of the poet’s family and life told mainly through tanka poems linked to a specific family photograph. The collections starts with a poignant and beautiful trilogy of poems dedicated to the poet’s father and mother, both of whom have passed from this mortal life.

For me, the first poem was particularly striking as it demonstrated so much insight into the human understanding of death and the difference between a child’s perception of its permanence and that of an adult.

Each of the tanka poem takes a small step forward in the lives of the poet’s direct family and tells a story of love, life, and experience. Although, as the name of the collection suggests, each poem is tinged with the sadness of loss, they are also coloured with the joy of lives well spent.

This book is a quick read, approximately an hour, but it will leave you viewing grief differently and reflecting for a long time afterwards.

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When a loved one dies, the family will often turn to the photograph albums as an act of solace, to keep their loved one with them just a little while longer, Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance arose from that experience. The collection opens with three free verse expressions of raw grief, followed by a series of photographs from the author’s family album, each paired with a poem written in tanka. Taken together, they tell the story of a loving family lost.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #RomanticSuspence The SEAL’s Temptation by @JacqBiggar

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Robbie has been reading The SEAL’s Tempation by Jacquie Biggar

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I have read and enjoyed other books by Jacquie Biggar but this is the first book I’ve read in this series. I did not find it difficult to become engaged in this story despite not having read the previous books. Sufficient detail was skilfully woven into this story to provide the background I needed to enjoy this book.

DEA agent, Maggie Holt, is trying to recover from the trauma of being held captive and suffering on-going abuse in the hands of a Mexican drug cartel. Maggie had gone underground in an attempt to crack the case without the blessing of her boss when she was captured. She is now struggling to recover from anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder combined with guilt at her own perceived failure and the danger she’d unintentionally placed her colleagues in when they had to rescue her. She is on paid leave and is recuperating with the rest of her team at the ranch of Frank Stein, one of her rescuers. Frank is retired but had joined the mission to help rescue Maggie.

It is not peaceful in the area where the ranch is located. Shot up signs and dead livestock point to the existence of a gang of troublemakers.

This book is more of a thriller, in my view, than a romance although it has a few strong romantic threads which make the characters more real and interesting. There is lots of action intertwined with Maggie and Frank’s growing attraction and interest in each other and Adam’s, Maggie’s partner’s, interest in their good looking boss, Amanda.

I liked Frank Stein very much, he was a determined and strong personality with a heart of gold. Maggie is also a strong woman and is able to control her PTSD symptoms and help her team when the need arises.

This book will appeal to readers who like an interesting plot, engaging characters, and emotion which is real and convincing.

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DEA agent Maggie Holt has been through hell and back.

After eighteen months undercover in a Mexican cartel, Maggie is broken. The kickass agent she once was, is gone, leaving her riddled with guilt and nightmares. Forced to take paid leave, Maggie accepts the offer of a vacation on the ranch of the man who’d rescued her from an almost certain death.

Frank Stein knows the signs of PTSD, he’d suffered the symptoms himself as Chief Petty Officer of SEAL Team Five. Honorably retired from duty, Frank has found peace at the family ranch and hopes it will do the same for Magdalena. Ever since he’d first met her when she was interrogating his buddy, Jared, Frank has been fascinated by the raven-haired beauty and wants the chance to see where their relationship could go.

Adam O’Connor is Maggie’s partner. He knows her. He loved her once and could again, if she’d let him in. But he’s also angry she took the chances she did by going undercover against orders. And now, things are different. She’s different.

When a right-wing group infiltrates the area, will Maggie, Adam, and Frank be able to set aside their differences to stop them before someone dies? And who will Maggie choose, the handsome cowboy, or her charismatic DEA partner?

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Art #Mystery LOST CHILDREN by Willa Bergman

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Robbie has been reading Lost Children by Willa Bergman

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This book is quite an interesting tale about a young woman, Eloise Witcham who works for an international firm that specialises in auctioning famous artworks. Eloise, or Elle, works in the smaller branch of private sales which is not doing particularly well under its current leadership. There is anxiety among the employees as they are concerned about retrenchments. Elle is the only one who is meeting her sales targets and she has also managed to build the start of a reputation as an investigator into missing artworks on behalf of selected private clients. Among her peers, Elle is the odd person out as she does not come from a well-off background and has to stand on her own two feet financially while caring for her mother who has dementia and her brother who is not able to hold down a job.

Elle is engaged by the representative of a trust to look for an artwork called the Lost Child which went missing fifteen years previously. Elle takes the commission for her own reasons and runs into a lot of problems while searching for this piece. All sorts of secrets and surprises come to the fore during her investigation which takes her from London to New York.

The storyline of this book was interesting, and I do enjoy novels that centre around artworks, especially stolen artworks. The telling of the story was not as good for me as the plot. The writing was quite flat in many parts and some of the behaviour’s demonstrated by Elle felt a bit unrealistic and unconvincing. Her character is portrayed as being someone who has secrets in her past and terrors as a result, so her erratic behaviour could potentially be attributed to mental instability due to her past circumstances and current stress. The behaviour of her competitor, Geoffrey Webb, also seemed a bit extreme, but art works are worth a lot of money so that could explain it. It just didn’t work that well for me and left me questioning certain aspects of the story.

I did enjoy the office politics and intrigue relating to the world of art auctions and sales and appreciated the insecurity and competitiveness among employees in this field. Readers can form their own opinion about whether desperation to earn commissions and a fear of dismissal would be grounds for corporate espionage and even murder in this world.

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A celebrated painting, the Portrait of the Lost Child, has been missing for over a decade. Eloise Witcham is commissioned to find it, but if she does she will have to confront a past she thought long behind her and face up to the dark fears that still haunt her dreams.

A stylish, intelligent, contemporary thriller set in the secretive world of high end art.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Anthology THIS IS LOCKDOWN by @Marjorie_Mallon

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

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading This Is Lockdown by M.J. Mallon

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This is lockdown is an unusual collection of diary entries, discussions, poems, and a few short stories written by a variety of people from different countries and backgrounds and recording their experiences and emotions during the 2020 lockdown.

The book is divided into three sections: Family Diaries of the author MJ Mallon, No More which contains poems and pieces from a number of different contributors, and Part 2 which comprises of short stories by MJ Mallon.

The Family Diaries is just what is says, a collection of diary entries from 28 February 2020 to 1 June 2020, setting out the author’s emotions and experiences during the first three months of lockdown. The author was in lockdown with your two daughters and her husband and her entries extend to cover some of their feelings and reactions to being confined to home for an extended period. I enjoyed the family’s attempts to stay cheerful and to make the most of their time through exercising, walking, and reading. Simple joys like cooking and finding a new statuette on a walk are highlights of this period, as is the pervasive underlying anxiety about the illness and the future. The author has also recorded some of the politics of the time and how the actions of leadership impacted on the psychology of the nation.

The contributions from other authors were equally interesting as the contributors were from all over the world. Some of the contributors are known to me through my blog and I really sympathized with their circumstances and anxieties. Some were new to me, but their stories were no less interesting. I found the contribution by Beaton Mabaso from Zimbabwe of particular interest as I live in neighbouring South Africa. Beaton’s experiences and anxieties about food supply, medical treatment, the ability to social distance in crowded communities and a government with limited ability to financial aid its citizens are similar to the circumstances of the vast majority of people in my country. The different impact of the lockdown and pandemic on developed countries where people fight the psychological battle of loneliness and fear, and developing countries were people face poverty and physical deprivation were highlighted for me. There are also beautiful poetic contributions from Sally Cronin, Debby Gies, and Frank Prem. Willow Withers wrote a powerful and overarching poem about the impact of “the plague” on society and the economy of Britain.

Part 2 set out some excellent short stories by MJ Mallon, my favourite of which was The Poet’s Club Fictional Short Story. This story illustrated the diverse impact of coronavirus and lockdown on teenagers and how it impacts on their socializing, learning, and ability to cope. If found this story to be insightful and realistic.

This is Lockdown is and excellent and well-rounded depiction of lockdown and the pandemic of 2020.

Book description

An anthology and compilation of diaries, short stories, flash fiction, contributions from the ‘isolation writers,’ plus poetry written during the time of lockdown in the UK. This Is Lockdown is written from a writer’s perspective highlighting the simple pleasures of day-to-day life during such an uncertain and frightening time. It also gives a glimpse of the blogging, writing world. The book showcases several authors and their thoughts on what it is like to experience ‘isolation’ as a writer. I also discuss the handling of the pandemic and my thoughts on what might happen next. In the final part of the book I include my latest short story idea: a YA romance and various short pieces of poetry, and flash fiction inspired by the pandemic.

The full list of authors are: Richard Dee, (Sci Fi , Steampunk, Amateur Detective author,) Catherine Fearns, (Amazon Bestselling Author of Police Procedural/Mysteries and Music Journalist,) Lynn Fraser, (Author,) Jackie Carreira, (Writer, musician, designer and aspiring philosopher,) Willow Willers, (Poet and Writer,) Sharon Marchisello, (Murder Mystery, Financial non-fiction author,) Fi Phillips ,(Author, Copy Editor,) Jeannie Wycherley, (Dark stories, Suspense, Horror,) Chantelle Atkins, (Urban Fiction, Teen/YA,) Tracie Barton-Barrett, (Speaker/Author,) Peter Taylor-Gooby, (Crime, Love Stories, Political Fiction,) Ritu Bhathal, (Chick Lit, Romance, Poet,) Alice May , (Author, Artist and Speaker,) Miriam Owen, (Blogger, Doctoral Researcher,) Drew Neary and Ceri Williams (Ghost Horror, Supernatural,) Katherine Mezzacappa, (Historical Fiction/Romance,) Sally Cronin, (Huge supporter of indie community/Blogger/Author) D G Kaye, (Memoirist/NonFiction,) Adele Marie Park, (Fantasy, Horror, Urban fantasy,) Marian Wood, (Blogger, Poet and Writer.) Samantha Murdoch, (Writer, Blogger,) Beaton Mabaso (Blogger, African storyteller,) Frank Prem (Poet, Author) Anne Goodwin (Author, Book Blogger) Sherri Matthews (Writer, Photographer, Blogger,) Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val – Community Masks for The NHS .

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Anthology Writedown: Lockdown in the Galloway Glens at the Time of Covid by Margaret Elphinstone et al @marysmithwriter

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading Writedown: Lockdown in the Galloway Glens at the Time of Covid by Margaret Elphinstone et al

Last year, my family visited Scotland for a holiday. I remember Scotland as being beautiful, peaceful, and fairly sparsely populated compared to England. I also remembered that it rained a good deal. It was a wonderful experience. When I saw this book about a group of 22 writers living in the Galloway Glens during lockdown, I was curious to read how life had changed in Scotland as a result of Covid-19 and the accompanying lockdown. Living in South Africa during our lockdown period from 27 March to approximately the end of August, I was also interested to know how life in Scotland during lockdown differed from life here in South Africa.

The diary posts of all of the contributors were fascinating, they told tales of active and busy lives disrupted by the lockdown. Mixed feelings of relief at getting a welcome, but unexpected, reprieve from our ‘hamster in a ball’ style lives and frustration at the loss of freedom. I was quite surprised to read just how busy the majority of the contributors are in the daily lives compared to my elderly parents who are retired and live life at quite a slow and relaxed pace.

There is a great sense of loneliness expressed in the words of those who were living alone during this time, very different from my own experience where everyone in my family was schooling and working from home and I felt like I never got a minute to myself. On reflection, I was a bit ungrateful for the companionship and fellowship my family offered. One of the most compelling messages in this book for me were the following words shared by Lynne: “”Language … has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.” I craved solitude, but never experienced loneliness. Loneliness can be soul destroying.

There are also many expressions of anxiety conveyed in these diary entries. Anxiety about many things including the writers own health and that of their families, as well as the health of friends and other members of the community, including front-line workers in the medical profession. There were also expressions of anxiety about the economic implications of the pandemic as well as concern about the future and how long the pandemic would last.

The strongest message for me, in reading this book, is the difference between in a lockdown in a third world country, where jobs and money are scarce at the best of times, and lockdown in a first world country where people have more financial security.

In South Africa, economic concerns generally outweighed concerns about health. The lock down resulted in millions of people being put on unpaid leave in the hospitality, tourism and entertainment sectors. These sectors have still not recovered and a significant number of people have lost their jobs. There are less benefits available here and only select people received government aid. The poverty we are seeing in the aftermath of the lockdown is overwhelming and frightening. People are going hungry and are begging for food on the streets. Our crimes rates have also rocketed.

The major impacts of the lockdown in the UK revolve around the psychological effects of isolation, loneliness and depression. In other words, mental health effects rather than the physical effects I see on a daily basis. Having read this book, I am of the view that the mental health issues are just as significant and concerning as the physical effects, and could potentially receive less recognition because they are less visible.

I found this book to be incredibly thought provoking and relevant, and I believe that would be the case for all readers regardless of their personal lockdown experience.

Book description

Writedown provides a unique record of life in Galloway, south west Scotland during lockdown through the work of 22 writers in a collection of lyrical poetry, desperate rants, humour and quiet endurance. They tell the story of a community encountering unprecedented times.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #TrueCrime #NonFiction PRETTY EVIL NEW ENGLAND by @SueColetta1

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading Pretty Evil New England: True Stories of Violent Vixens and Murderous Matriarchs by Sue Coletta

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I have always been interested in true stories about people behind ghost stories. Most myths and legends about ghostly sightings involve a person who has died badly at the hands of a third party, although a few are suicides. It seem that people who die as a result of murder are generally believed to become vengeful and become trapped in the spirit world due to a desire for revenge on their murderer.

Recently, I have turned my attention from the murdered to the murderer and I have been reading a few true story style books about serial killers and child murderers. I am particularly interested in the psychology of people who kill.

When I saw this book, Pretty Evil New England, it fitted exactly into latest reading craze and I was most interested to read the histories of these five women who all murdered continuously and without any remorse.

All of the stories in this book were detailed and well researched and I thought there were a couple of very interesting revelations about the nature of female serial killers crimes. All of them murdered their nearest and dearest including husbands and children. The unmarried women and those without children killed relatives and close friends. I thought that was very intriguing. What kind of a woman kills her own child or son-in-law?

Another interesting fact was that they all used some sort of poison, mainly arsenic, which causes a painful and horrible death. Imagine watching your own daughter suffering from cramps, vomiting and dehydrations as they suffer a horrible death. It was also amazing that none of the attending doctors initially realised the deaths of the victims were due to poisoning. It does seems rather unobservant and surprising, even in those days. I wondered if men’s erroneous concept of all women as homemakers and caregivers was responsible for this lack of vision.

As I read the book, the similarities in the illnesses of the victims became very apparent. Many of the women killed a number of people living in the same house or within the same family, which increased their risk of being caught significantly. If your husband or husbands and your children all die, that is bound to raise suspicion. I can only assume that having got away with murder a few times, these women became over confident and this led to their down falls.

This book covered information that interested me greatly, but it is a non-fiction book and some of the content is a bit dry, especially the detail around the court scenes. The last story also jumped between two different cases which, although there were some similarities, were not connected in any way. Moving between the cases made following the two separate stories confusing for me and, as there was no connecting thread at the end, I didn’t understand why the author chose to write this section in that manner.

Book description

Nineteenth century New England was the hunting ground of five female serial killers: Jane Toppan, Lydia Sherman, Nellie Webb, Harriet E. Nason, and Sarah Jane Robinson. Pretty Evil New England tells the story of these five women, from their humble origins through the circumstances that led to their heinous crimes.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistoricalFiction About Child Migration to Australia THE LOST BLACKBIRD by @LizaPerrat

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading The Lost Blackbird by Liza Perrat

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The Lost Blackbird is an intriguing novel about a group of child migrants who are taken from a shelter for children in England and shipped to Australia. The children are misled about a number of things including that siblings would stay together and that their lives would be better in Australia. This story is based on true facts about the English child migrants to a number of British colonies and was particularly shocking for me as this story took place in the 1960s.

Sisters, Charley, aged 5, and Lucy Rivers, aged 10, agree to go to Australia following the death of their abusive father and subsequent arrest of their mother who is accused of manslaughter. Easthaven children’s home is run by sour and unkind spinsters who have no sympathy for the children in their care. Charley is not thriving and Lucy hopes that she will rally a bit in the warm climate in Australia. Lucy’s best friend, Vinnie Armstrong, also gets selected for the relocation as well as Jane Baxter, whose face is disfigured due to a cleft palate which has been badly repaired, and twins, Patty and Sara, who both wear thick glasses. Lucy is a bit suspicious as she can see that it’s the children with physical imperfections and troublemakers, like herself and Vinnie, who are selected to go to Australia. She goes ahead with it because she hopes it will be better for Charley.

This book is well researched and insightful about the hardships and abuse faced by many of these child migrants who are sent to farms and treated as slave labour. A few of the fortunate younger children are adopted.

The character of Lucy is well developed and it was sad to read her story of years of physical abuse at the hands of Milton Yates, who takes a group of older migrants on their to help him run his farm. It was disconcerting and poignant to watch Lucy’s self esteem and confidence being eroded away to nothing. Lucy eventually loses the fight and becomes a victim of her circumstances.

Charley, on the other hand, has a different life as the adopted child of a wealthy couple who have no children of their own. Charley’s life seems idyllic but nothing in her life is as it seems.

The two girls live in the same part of Australia and their paths are destined to cross again later in their lives with some surprising outcomes.

This is a well written and enjoyable read and will appeal to readers who enjoy historical novels with a good outcome.

Book description

A powerful story of sisters cruelly torn apart by a shameful event in British-Australian history. Clare Flynn, author of The Pearl of Penang
London 1962. A strict and loveless English children’s home, or the promise of Australian sunshine, sandy beaches and eating fruit straight from the tree. Which would you choose?
Ten-year-old Lucy Rivers and her five-year-old sister Charly are thrilled when a child migrant scheme offers them the chance to escape their miserable past.
But on arrival in Sydney, the girls discover their fantasy future is more nightmare than dream.
Lucy’s lot is near-slavery at Seabreeze Farm where living conditions are inhuman, the flies and heat unbearable and the owner a sadistic bully. What must she do to survive?
Meanwhile Charly, adopted by the nurturing and privileged Ashwood family, gradually senses that her new parents are hiding something. When the truth emerges, the whole family crumbles. Can Charly recover from this bittersweet deception?
Will the sisters, stranded miles apart in a strange country, ever find each other again?
A poignant testament to child migrants who suffered unforgivable evil, The Lost Blackbird explores the power of family bonds and our desire to know who we are.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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

Today’s team review is from Robbie, she blogs here https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ 

#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 https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

#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.

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