14 Extra-Special Books Celebrating 6 Years of Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT: Part 1

RBRT Gold:

My Review Team’s Favourite Books

#RBRT Review Team

How time flies – Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team has now been up and running for six years!  During that time we have done our best to spread the word about novels, novellas, short stories and non-fiction from self-published authors and independent publishers – to showcase talent found outside the mainstream publishing world.

Each month we are inundated with review requests from authors and publishers alike.  Every book that I accept is passed on to my team of twenty readers, which is made up of book bloggers, writers, editors, creative writing tutors and people who just love reading.  Most gain just one or two reviews, but once in a while a gem comes along that piques the interest of several team members, and receives highly favourable reviews across the board.

Welcome to Part One of #RBRT Gold: seven extra-special books that were greatly enjoyed by three or more team members.

Under the title of each book, you can read its team reviews, which include Amazon links.  Enjoy!

Fred’s Funeral by Sandy Day

WW1 Historical Fiction novella

Fred's Funeral by [Sandy Day]

Click the picture to see the book on Goodreads

 Excerpt from blurb:A Novella Based on True Events

His family said he was shell-shocked.

The asylum’s doctors disagreed.

It’s 1986 and Fred Sadler has just died of old age. It’s seventy years since he marched off to the war in France, young and raring to go. He put everything on the line for his country and family, but when he came home, they rejected him.

This is why Fred can’t rest in peace.

Reviewed by:

Olga Miret

Terry Tyler

Judith Barrow

Robbie Cheadle

Noelle Granger

 

The Silent Kookaburra by Liza Perrat

Dark Family Drama

The Silent Kookaburra: Australian Psychological Suspense by [Liza Perrat]

Click the picture to see the book on Goodreads

 

Excerpt from blurb:

All eleven-year-old Tanya Randall wants is a happy family. But Mum does nothing besides housework, Dad’s always down the pub and Nanna Purvis moans at everyone except her dog. Then Shelley arrives –– the miracle baby.Tanya’s life gets even better when she meets an uncle she didn’t know she had.

Then one blistering summer day tragedy strikes, and the surrounding mystery and suspicion tear apart this fragile family web. Embracing the social changes of 1970s Australia, against a backdrop of native fauna and flora, The Silent Kookaburra is a haunting exploration of the blessings, curses and tyranny of memory.

Reviewed by:

Alison Williams

E.L. Lindley

Terry Tyler

Jenny Reeve

Olga Miret

 

The Women Of Heachley Hall by Rachel Walkley

Romantic mystery

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Click the picture to see the book on Goodreads

 

Excerpt from blurb:

Miriam has one year to uncover Heachley Hall’s unimaginable past and a secret that only women can discover.

The life of a freelance illustrator will never rake in the millions so when twenty-eight year old Miriam discovers she’s the sole surviving heir to her great-aunt’s fortune, she can’t believe her luck. She dreams of selling her poky city flat and buying a studio.

But great fortune comes with an unbreakable contract. To earn her inheritance, Miriam must live a year and a day in the decaying Heachley Hall.

Reviewed by: 

Olga Miret

Liz Lloyd

Jenny Reeve

Noelle Granger

 

That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by Adrienne Vaughan

Romantic Suspense

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Click the picture to see the book on Goodreads

 

Excerpt from blurb:

Mia Flanagan has never been told who her father is and aged ten, stopped asking. Haunted by this, she remains a dutiful daughter who would never do anything to bring scandal or shame on her beautiful and famously single mother. So when Archie Fitzgerald, one of Hollywood’s favourite actors, decides to leave Mia his Irish estate she asks herself – is he her father after all?

That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is a tale of passion, jealousy and betrayal – and the ghost of a secret love that binds this colourful cast yet still threatens, after all these years, to tear each of them apart.

Reviewed by: 

Cathy Ryan

Judith Barrow

Chris Philippou

Georgia Rose

 

La Petite Boulain by Gemma Lawrence

Tudor Historical fiction

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Click the picture to see the book on Goodreads

 

Excerpt from blurb:

May 1536, London… a fallen queen sits waiting in the Tower of London, condemned to death by her husband. As Death looms before her, Anne Boleyn, second queen of Henry VIII looks back on her life…from the very beginning.

Daughter of a courtier, servant to queens… she rose higher than any thought possible, and fell lower than any could imagine.

Following the path of the young Mistress Boleyn, or La Petite Boulain, through the events of the first years of the reign of Henry VIII, to the glittering courts of Burgundy and France, Book One of “Above All Others; The Lady Anne” tracks the life of the young Lady Anne, showing how she became the scintillating woman who eventually, would capture the heart of a king.

Reviewed by:

Olga Miret

Noelle Granger

Cathy Ryan

 

Ghost Variations by Jessica Duchen

Historical mystery

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Click the picture to see the book on Goodreads

Excerpt from blurb:

The strangest detective story in the history of music – inspired by a true incident. A world spiralling towards war. A composer descending into madness. And a devoted woman struggling to keep her faith in art and love against all the odds. 1933. Dabbling in the fashionable “Glass Game” – a Ouija board – the famous Hungarian violinist Jelly d’Aranyi, one-time muse to composers such as Bartok, Ravel and Elgar, encounters a startling dilemma. A message arrives ostensibly from the spirit of the composer Robert Schumann, begging her to find and perform his long-suppressed violin concerto. She tries to ignore it, wanting to concentrate instead on charity concerts. But against the background of the 1930s depression in London and the rise of the Nazis in Germany, a struggle ensues as the “spirit messengers” do not want her to forget.

Reviewed by:

Olga Miret

Alison Williams

Liz lloyd

Cathy Ryan

 

Season Of Second Chances by Aimee Alexander

Contemporary family saga

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Click the picture to see the book on Goodreads

 

Excerpt from blurb:

When leaving is just the beginning… The long-awaited novel of family, love and learning to be kind to yourself by award-winning, bestselling Irish author, Aimee Alexander.

Grace Sullivan flees Dublin with her two teenage children, returning to the sleepy West Cork village where she grew up. No one in Killrowan knows what Grace is running from – or even that she’s running. She’d like to keep it that way.

Season of Second Chances is Grace’s story. It’s also the story of a community that chooses the title “Young Doctor Sullivan” for her before she even arrives. It’s the story of Des who served the villagers all his life and now feels a failure for developing Parkinson’s disease. And it’s the story of struggling teens, an intimidating receptionist, a handsome American novelist escaping his past, and a dog called Benji who needs a fresh start of his own.

Reviewed by:

Sandra Firth

Liz Lloyd

Olga Miret

Judith Barrow

 

For a book review team, there is little more satisfying than a reader discovering a new favourite book through a review you’ve written – I hope one or more of these appeals to you.  If not, look out for Part 2, tomorrow, in which we go a little darker; I have a nautical thriller for you, a dystopian scifi novella, murder and mystery!

 

Rosie’s Review Team #RBRT #Romance That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by @adrienneauthor

Today’s team review is from Georgia, she blogs here http://www.georgiarosebooks.com

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by Adrienne Vaughan

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The romance in this novel is not only in the plotline or between the characters but for me it was in the fabulous setting. A crumbling estate on the dramatic coast of Ireland, what’s not to love.

Mia is a dresser on film sets (I thoroughly enjoyed the attention given to the detail of her work) and is the favourite of an aging film star, Archie Fitz, who has been great friends with Mia’s mother, Fenella, another film star, for many years. Sadly, Archie is dying and as friends and family gather around him at Galty House, once known as The Seahorse Hotel, the dynamics in the relationships come to light along with the truth as secrets from the past are at long last revealed.

Adrienne Vaughan’s characterisations are very good. Mia was terrific and I particularly liked Archie, I’d loved to have known him he was such fun. I was curiously drawn to the green-eyed cat that arrived towards the end of the book too but shall say no more on that.

There was a lot that happened in the storyline, which I won’t go over, and Mia faced betrayal along with her grief at losing Archie. I was pleased the estate went where it should have done and with the plans eventually made for it. As for the romance, well that was nicely done. Realistic and not slushy, just the way I like it!

Book description

Mia Flanagan has never been told who her father is and aged ten, stopped asking.

Haunted by this, she remains a dutiful daughter who would never do anything to bring scandal or shame on her beautiful and famously single mother.

So when Archie Fitzgerald, one of Hollywood’s favourite actors, decides to leave Mia his Irish estate, she asks herself – is he her father after all?

That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is a tale of passion, jealousy and betrayal – and the ghost of a secret love that binds this colourful cast yet still threatens, after all these years, to tear each of them apart.

About the author

Adrienne Vaughan has been making up stories since she could speak; primarily to entertain her sister Reta, who from a very early age never allowed a plot or character to be repeated – tough audience. As soon as she could pick up a pen, she started writing them down. It was no surprise she wanted to be a journalist; ideally the editor of a glossy music and fashion magazine, so she could meet and marry a pop star – some of that came true – and in common with so many, still holds the burning ambition to be a ‘Bond Girl’! She now runs a busy PR practice and writes poems, short stories and ideas for books, in her spare time. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a founder member of the indie publishing group The New Romantics4. Adrienne lives in Leicestershire with her husband, two cocker spaniels and a retired dressage horse called Marco.

Adrienne Vaughan

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s Review Team #RBRT Irish #Romance That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by @adrienneauthor

Today’ team review is from Chris, she blogs here http://cphilippou123.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Chris has been reading That Summer AT The Seahorse Hotel by Adrienne Vaughan

Intrigue, mystery, tension, and some romance all woven together in this tale of love, betrayal, and, errr more betrayal…

Mia is the daughter of a famous actress but has never known who her father is. So when her mother’s old friend Archie decides to leave Mia his estate, the mystery might finally be solved. But Mia has no idea what is coming her way emotionally, both bad and good, in her journey to discover the identity of her father and to heal wounds…

The plot was more twisty (in a good way) than anticipated, the writing tight, and the characters believable, although some of the secondary ones weren’t as well-rounded as could have been. But the pace fluctuated in a way that kept my attention, and the suspense and intrigue was peppered throughout the novel. Recommended.

Book description

Mia Flanagan has never been told who her father is and aged ten, stopped asking.

Haunted by this, she remains a dutiful daughter who would never do anything to bring scandal or shame on her beautiful and famously single mother.

So when Archie Fitzgerald, one of Hollywood’s favourite actors, decides to leave Mia his Irish estate, she asks herself – is he her father after all?

That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is a tale of passion, jealousy and betrayal – and the ghost of a secret love that binds this colourful cast yet still threatens, after all these years, to tear each of them apart.

About the author

Adrienne Vaughan has been making up stories since she could speak; primarily to entertain her sister Reta, who from a very early age never allowed a plot or character to be repeated – tough audience. As soon as she could pick up a pen, she started writing them down. It was no surprise she wanted to be a journalist; ideally the editor of a glossy music and fashion magazine, so she could meet and marry a pop star – some of that came true – and in common with so many, still holds the burning ambition to be a ‘Bond Girl’! She now runs a busy PR practice and writes poems, short stories and ideas for books, in her spare time. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a founder member of the indie publishing group The New Romantics4. Adrienne lives in Leicestershire with her husband, two cocker spaniels and a retired dressage horse called Marco.

Adrienne Vaughan

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s Review Team #RBRT #Romance That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by @AdrienneAuthor

Today’s team review is from Judith, she blogs here http://judithbarrowblog.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Judith has been reading That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by Adrienne Vaughan

I did enjoy That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel, I really did. Whether it was the actual story, the way the narrative flows, the many differing characters, the sense of place that is so evocative throughout by the descriptions… I’m not sure. The reason I’m hesitant to say why I enjoyed this book is that the narrative actually goes into all the characters’ heads; we hear all their points of view, even the minor characters, sometimes only for a sentence or two. It’s odd, this usually irritates me. But the way this story is written it fits somehow

It’s a well worn plot in many ways; girl let down by boyfriend, handsome stranger on the sidelines; love finds a way, despite so many obstacles. But there are numerous other threads woven throughout that add depth and  intrigue (including one very large and intriguing mystery – see the hint in the book description; I’m not the one who will give away spoilers! )

There are some great rounded characters; quirky, poignant, funny, slightly wicked antagonists, and a great child character. Mostly I liked the way the protagonist grew in strength as the story progressed.

And each character is unmistakable in their dialogue; no dialogue tags needed a lot of the time, which, I think keeps the narrative moving well, especially at important section of the plot

There are wonderful descriptions of the scenery and the  settings, although sometimes these (mostly of the sea and sky) were a little too drawn out and repetitive  and took me out of the story

This was a different read for me. I usually enjoy novels where I can follow and empathise with one, maybe two, characters but, as I said before, this time it works (mostly).

There is one point where I would have liked to have more of a build up, more detail, more atmosphere. It’s a scene where one character threatens Mia. Already portrayed as obnoxious,yet not threatening, here he is menacing. Yet I felt that it didn’t quite work and the protagonist wasn’t shown to be really afraid. We are told she is but I didn’t really get any sense of real fear and the scene is quickly glossed over. Though it is actually a pivotal romantic point in the plot.

But, all in all this  book worked for me and I have no hesitation in recommending That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel  to readers who enjoy  contemporary women’s fiction with a hint or two of mystery.

Book description

Mia Flanagan has never been told who her father is and aged ten, stopped asking.

Haunted by this, she remains a dutiful daughter who would never do anything to bring scandal or shame on her beautiful and famously single mother.

So when Archie Fitzgerald, one of Hollywood’s favourite actors, decides to leave Mia his Irish estate, she asks herself – is he her father after all?

That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is a tale of passion, jealousy and betrayal – and the ghost of a secret love that binds this colourful cast yet still threatens, after all these years, to tear each of them apart.

About the author

Adrienne Vaughan has been making up stories since she could speak; primarily to entertain her sister Reta, who from a very early age never allowed a plot or character to be repeated – tough audience. As soon as she could pick up a pen, she started writing them down. It was no surprise she wanted to be a journalist; ideally the editor of a glossy music and fashion magazine, so she could meet and marry a pop star – some of that came true – and in common with so many, still holds the burning ambition to be a ‘Bond Girl’! She now runs a busy PR practice and writes poems, short stories and ideas for books, in her spare time. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a founder member of the indie publishing group The New Romantics4. Adrienne lives in Leicestershire with her husband, two cocker spaniels and a retired dressage horse called Marco.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s review Team #RBRT That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by @adrienneauthor #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by Adrienne Vaughan

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With a cast of wonderfully realised characters, this story transported me to Ireland and Galty House, set in the beautifully described coastal location of Rosshaven. Archie Fitzgerald, legendary actor, is dying, but determined to depart on his own terms. He wants Mia, the daughter of his close friend and fellow actor, Fenella Flanagan, to come home to Galty House for what will be their last summer together.

I love the almost ethereal quality of the cover image which compliments the theme of the book perfectly. Reminders of a past long gone, reminiscences and repercussions play a big part in the story. Whatever happened all those years ago has been a closely guarded secret, long buried and never spoken of. But now things are changing. Fenella is terrified Archie will feel compelled to break his promise and Bernice, Archie’s sister, wants to know what’s going to happen to Galty House when Archie is no longer there. Added to that is the mystery of the small island in the bay, with its atmosphere of secrecy and darkness.

Mia has only ever wanted to know who her father was, and why her mother would never say, but she gave up asking years ago and was content with the people she loves and who love her–her mother, Archie, Bernice and unconventional housekeeper Leela. But now, the desire to know has reasserted itself. When Archie lets her know she will inherit his estate, it makes her wonder if he is her father.

Newcomers to Rosshaven, Ross Power, Chief Executive of the new Harbour Spa Hotel in the village, and his niece, Pearl, quickly become involved with the family, and the stage is set for a very eventful summer of joy, heartbreak, tragedy, romance and surfacing revelations. Secrets are exposed, as is the greed and selfishness of certain people.

Sections from the past are scattered tantalizingly throughout the narrative and, as the small group spend time together, layers are uncovered, feelings laid bare and several threads are woven into the storyline. As with her previous books, Adrienne Vaughan’s knack of creating engaging and compelling characters who completely captivate, in a fabulous setting, is evident. Archie is outwardly theatrical and colourful, wanting to make the most of the time he has left, but understandably frailty shows through. I love Mia, the bond between her and Archie and the developing one with Pearl, another wonderful character.

Written with confidence, delightfully authentic dialogue and style, this was a joy to read.

Book description

Mia Flanagan has never been told who her father is and aged ten, stopped asking.

Haunted by this, she remains a dutiful daughter who would never do anything to bring scandal or shame on her beautiful and famously single mother.

So when Archie Fitzgerald, one of Hollywood’s favourite actors, decides to leave Mia his Irish estate, she asks herself – is he her father after all?

That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is a tale of passion, jealousy and betrayal – and the ghost of a secret love that binds this colourful cast yet still threatens, after all these years, to tear each of them apart.

About the author

Adrienne Vaughan has been making up stories since she could speak; primarily to entertain her sister Reta, who from a very early age never allowed a plot or character to be repeated – tough audience. As soon as she could pick up a pen, she started writing them down. It was no surprise she wanted to be a journalist; ideally the editor of a glossy music and fashion magazine, so she could meet and marry a pop star – some of that came true – and in common with so many, still holds the burning ambition to be a ‘Bond Girl’! She now runs a busy PR practice and writes poems, short stories and ideas for books, in her spare time. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a founder member of the indie publishing group The New Romantics4. Adrienne lives in Leicestershire with her husband, two cocker spaniels and a retired dressage horse called Marco.

Adrienne Vaughan

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

My #Bookreview of #Romance That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by @adrienneauthor

That Summer at the Seahorse HotelThat Summer at the Seahorse Hotel by Adrienne Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel is a romance set in Ireland.

It began with a summer of love for a group of five teenagers; one summer filled with carefree fun, friendship and forbidden love. Years later, world famous actor Archie Fitzgerald is dying, and he requests the return of Mia, the daughter of his best friend Fenella Flanagan, to Galty House, so he may put his life in order before it ends.

Mia has always loved Galty, spending her childhood here with Archie, his sister and the eccentric housekeeper, while her mother worked away. She arrives to find Archie upbeat, spending his money freely and refusing to go down quietly. However, there are undercurrents of tension; too many people want to know what Archie’s will contains.

There is a lot to keep Mia preoccupied: trouble back on the film set she works at, thoughts about her wedding, and the inquisitive ten year old niece of American Ross Power from the new Harbour Spa Hotel.

As the story unravels Archie reveals his desire to make amends for the past and to leave those he loves with opportunities for the future. But it’s not going to be easy; he made promises and kept secrets. There are those who can’t be trusted; the promise of an inheritance is making people greedy.

Vaughan has the ability to create characters you’ll love: wild, flamboyant, eccentric, they get under your skin and they move the story forward at a delightful pace. Sprinkled with just enough Irish dialect and mannerisms, the coastal setting, like Vaughan’s previous trilogy, will have fans clamouring to visit this fictional place. This is a lovely story delivered by its characters with the touches of romance adding the final icing on the cake.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Mia Flanagan has never been told who her father is and aged ten, stopped asking.

Haunted by this, she remains a dutiful daughter who would never do anything to bring scandal or shame on her beautiful and famously single mother.

So when Archie Fitzgerald, one of Hollywood’s favourite actors, decides to leave Mia his Irish estate, she asks herself – is he her father after all?

That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is a tale of passion, jealousy and betrayal – and the ghost of a secret love that binds this colourful cast yet still threatens, after all these years, to tear each of them apart.

About the author

Adrienne Vaughan has been making up stories since she could speak; primarily to entertain her sister Reta, who from a very early age never allowed a plot or character to be repeated – tough audience. As soon as she could pick up a pen, she started writing them down. It was no surprise she wanted to be a journalist; ideally the editor of a glossy music and fashion magazine, so she could meet and marry a pop star – some of that came true – and in common with so many, still holds the burning ambition to be a ‘Bond Girl’! She now runs a busy PR practice and writes poems, short stories and ideas for books, in her spare time. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a founder member of the indie publishing group The New Romantics4. Adrienne lives in Leicestershire with her husband, two cocker spaniels and a retired dressage horse called Marco.

Adrienne Vaughan

AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter