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

#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

#RBRT Review Team

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


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.

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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

#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 

#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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