Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery Hide Not Seek by @dehaggerty

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Hide Not Seek by D. E. Haggerty

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In this third book in The Not So Reluctant Detectives series Terri, Mel and newest member of the trio, mild mannered Prudence Webber, find themselves solving another mystery, this time concerning Pru and a stalker/murderer.

Pru hasn’t shared her experience with stalkers with her friends, or anyone else for that matter. She’s pushed her previous life to the back of her mind, where she thought it would stay. She had been prepared for an isolated life after she had relocated and had no thought of meeting women who would become friends, much less two who would become so close in a relatively short time.

Pru had no intention of pursuing a romantic relationship with a man either, no matter how much she likes Ajax, the gym teacher at the school where she works. Especially now she’s receiving threatening notes. Her past seems to have caught up with her and she needs to leave, find a new place. The thought of bringing trouble to her friends doesn’t bear thinking about. Ajax however, had no intention of letting Pru run away. He was determined to help and protect her. He’d found the girl he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

‘He paused as if to give her a chance to respond. She didn’t. She couldn’t. She wasn’t going to tell him what had happened. She was never telling anyone the story again. She’d been forced to tell the story too many times to count. Fat lot of good it had done’.

Pru hadn’t counted on the determination of her friends to unravel the mystery and the unwavering support they gave her. Terri and Mel having private investigator and police partners respectively doesn’t hurt and goes a long way in helping to straighten things out with the Milwaukee police force. Not wanting to wait for things to go through the proper channels, the three women begin their own investigation.

Another entertaining, fast paced and dialogue driven read in this cozy mystery series. The three women have distinctly different characters and have real issues, such as Mel’s ADD and Pru’s shyness and lack of self confidence. I like the way her character develops in this story. Terri and Pru are the voices of reason and help to keep over the top Mel from getting them into even more trouble. The plot has enough twists to keep the reader engaged and the flashes of humour offset the more serious aspects.

Book description

I know who you really are.

Pru has a secret, which she has no plans to reveal – ever. But after a woman is murdered and all clues point to her, she has no choice but to disclose her true identity. When her revelations thwart the killer’s plan to frame Pru for murder, the killer begins stalking her. With each note he sends, he gets closer. The police are stumped. Pru wants to run away. She really, really wants to run, but Ajax has found the woman of his dreams and he’s not letting her go anywhere. He can be patient. In the meantime, he’ll protect her with his life. Pru isn’t feeling very patient, and her friends, Mel and Terri, are definitely not willing to wait until the police discover who the stalker is. The three friends take matters into their own hands and jump headfirst into the investigation.

Will Pru and her friends uncover her stalker before he turns his violence on Pru?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #WomensFiction Will Rise From Ashes by @JeanGrant05

Today’s team review is from Olga, she blogs here https://www.authortranslatorolga.com

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading Will Rise From Ashes by Jean M. Grant

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This is an ambitious novel. The author has tried to combine a complex set of characters with a gripping plot. AJ, the protagonist of the novel, is a woman in crisis, dealing with grief, having to bring-up two young boys on her own (neither of them the ideal well-behaved easy-child that everybody dreams of, but I suspect doesn’t exist in real life. The oldest, Will, in the autistic spectrum, and Finn, whom we hear plenty about but don’t get to know as well first-hand, sounds pretty overactive and his behaviour can be also challenging at times), suffering from anxiety (and perhaps other mental health difficulties), and experiencing an almost totally crippling fear of driving. We hear her side of the story, narrated in the first person. Being a professional writer, she makes for a compelling narrator, and, although not being a mother and not sharing in her extreme circumstances I do not have much in common with her, I felt the author managed to convey well the doubts, anxieties, hesitations, guilt, and the difficulties the character experienced accepting her situation, moving through the stages of grief, and eventually giving herself (and others) a chance. Her son, Will, loves all things volcano, weather, and geology, and the author offers us his perspective of the situation (this time in the third person) that serves two purposes: on the one hand, we get a more objective outsider’s perspective of how things are (because being inside of AJ’s head all the time means her suspiciousness and paranoia are not always easy to separate from how bad things really are), and we also get an understanding of how things look like and feel for a child with high-functioning autism (although there is less emphasis on that aspect than in other books I’ve read, unsurprising if we take into consideration the many other things going on).

We are later introduced to Reid, who is a combination of knight in shining armour, love interest, and also a man haunted by issues from the past (ex-military, talks about PTSD as if he was very knowledgeable about it, and his behaviour is at times mysterious, to say the least). Although AJ is suspicious about him and it takes her a long time to give him a chance, do not worry, the novel also contains romance and an opportunity for redemption. (I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but the description is quite clear in some aspects, and this is not a mystery novel, even if there are some details about the characters that are only revealed late in the story, and eventually help us understand people and events much better).

The plot keeps the story ticking, ensuring that people who might find the self-questioning and doubts AJ has to confront a bit uncomfortable (or worry that they might slow the story) have plenty to keep them turning the pages. A major disaster is the background of the story, which once AJ decides to go searching for her son, becomes the novel equivalent of a road movie. This is not a post-apocalyptic novel, but there is evidence of research and credible details of the likely scenario and consequences of such an event are interspersed through the narrative. Thanks to Will’s interest in volcanos we get first-hand information about that side of things, and as they approach the affected area, we get an almost physical sense of what it would be like to live the aftermath of a super volcano eruption. Apart from nature, the characters have to confront many other problems: technical difficulties, robberies, attempted assaults, road blocks, lack of supplies, poor telephone lines and a break-up in communication, no running water, no access to prescription medication… A woman with a driving-phobia having to drive across half the country is enough of a challenge, but her resolution keeps getting tested, and despite her reluctance to ask for or accept help, no matter how cautious and well-prepared she thought she was, she discovers that she needs a helping hand. Although the situation is harrowing and there is almost no rest or break from it (other than some dreams of the past AJ experiences, that provide us more background information and a better understanding of where she is coming from, her moments writing the diary, and the odd detour), this is not a book that gets into the gore of the destruction in detail, and, if anything, we are so focused on the here-and-now of the story that the global picture (and the many lives lost) is somewhat diluted.

The ending is satisfying and hopeful, in marked contrast to the difficulties and hindrances experienced during the trip, and in many ways the book can be seen as a metaphor for the process the main character must go through. AJ’s whole world has shattered around her, and she has been put to the test. She realises that she is stronger than she needs, that she can ask for help, and that she is ready to —slowly— move on.

As I mentioned, I did not identify with AJ, and I am not a big fan of romance (there is also a mild and not-too-graphic sex scene, but I thought I’d warn people just in case), but the book captures well the mental processes of the main character, who is a credible and complex woman trying to do her best in very difficult circumstances. The challenges of motherhood are also compellingly told (although I have no personal knowledge of the subject), and I am sure many readers will enjoy that aspect as well. If people are looking for other books focusing on the autism side-of-things, I’d recommend a couple of books as well: the well-known The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, from an older boy’s perspective (and if you can catch the play, it’s well-worth watching), and Keith Stuart’s A Boy Made of Blocks where the father of a child with autism is the main character.

A tour-de-force that combines a gripping plot with strong and complex characters, and a hopeful message. Recommended for readers of women’s fiction.

Book description

Living is more than mere survival.

Young widow AJ Sinclair has persevered through much heartache. Has she met her match when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, leaving her separated from her youngest son and her brother? Tens of thousands are dead or missing in a swath of massive destruction. She and her nine-year-old autistic son, Will, embark on a risky road trip from Maine to the epicenter to find her family. She can’t lose another loved one.

Along the way, they meet Reid Gregory, who travels his own road to perdition looking for his sister. Drawn together by AJ’s fear of driving and Reid’s military and local expertise, their journey to Colorado is fraught with the chaotic aftermath of the eruption. AJ’s anxiety and faith in humanity are put to the test as she heals her past, accepts her family’s present, and embraces uncertainty as Will and Reid show her a world she had almost forgotten.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #FairyTale Retelling The Silent Beauty by @DGDriverAuthor

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

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading The Silent Beauty by D.G. Driver

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I do so love it when you open a book and within the first few lines you know you are in for a treat. The Silent Beauty is just such a read.

Colleeda has been bestowed with not only beauty but also a wonderful voice yet she is a horribly, horribly vain and selfish woman with not one redeeming feature. She treats everyone around her appallingly, her thoughts and manners ugly and breath-takingly arrogant. However, her favourite pursuit of luring men to her, then leave them heartbroken, proves her undoing when she seeks to distract a good man, dismissive of the fact his fiancé is rumoured to be a witch.

The Silent Beauty is book three in a series of fairy tales and contains all the magic of such tales with good and evil, heroes and heroines, and characters brought low by their own weaknesses. Does this one offer the possibility of redemption and send out a moral message? Well, you will have to read it yourself to find out and I highly recommend that you do. At only 80 pages long this is a gem. The writing is excellent, the descriptions rich and the storytelling wonderful.

Book description

If you’re a fan of fairy tales or retellings, D.G. Driver’s delightful, and occasionally dark series checks those boxes quite well, and can be easily read in one sitting.

Colleeda is a beautiful but wickedly vain young woman. Of all her assets, the one she prizes most is the sound of her voice. Her favorite game is to attract young men and then leave them heartbroken. It’s all fun until she chooses to lure one man away from his fiancée—and that woman is rumored to be a witch bent on revenge. Colleeda is cursed to never speak or sing again, except for a couple minutes in the wee hours of the morning when no one can possibly hear her.

For years, Colleeda mourns the loss of her voice, believing she is no longer beautiful or desirable. She lives in solitude as her house falls into disrepair around her.

Is there any way to break the curse? Does she deserve to have it broken?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Middlegrade UNDOERS ONE by D. P. Davies

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

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Undoers One by D. P. Davies

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This book introduces you to Lily who is running away from something invisible and ends up in front of Sam’s home.

With “Undoers One, D.P. Davies has created the first in a series of adventures with an unusual and cute group of kids. It is a very compelling read, inevitably drawing you in as the story proceeds. D.P. Davies paints a clear picture of the main characters’ mindsets – making the readers acquainted with them – while the story evolves. I was drawn very close to Lily and Sam. The main characters are complex and I took to them instantly; the others are of sufficient depth. The story is cleverly elaborated and has a great flow. I had a great time reading “Undoers One”; currently reading “Undoers Two”.

This is a book for you if you like middle-grade adventure, funny moments, and likeable characters.

Highly recommended.

Book description

“I can’t do magic,” said the boy. “That’s impossible.” He paused. “But I can undo it.”

Sam is a nine-year-old boy who can solve anyone’s spooky problems. He knows there are no such things as ghosts, vampires or aliens, only a mysterious energy that gets attached to stuff. People give Sam their “cursed” things, he applies some school science, and their terrors disappear, all without ever having to leave his bedroom (which is the way he likes it).

But then Lily, a girl in the grade above him, arrives outside his house one night surrounded by this strange energy, and it keeps coming back whatever Sam tries to do to help. Can they work together to find out why? And where in the maze of DC’s streets and monuments will it lead them? Together with a best friend who thinks he’s a Russian hacker and a brother who believes he’s the next baseball All-Star, Sam and Lily can’t give up until they figure it out.

If you can prove that monsters don’t exist, what is there to be scared of?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery The Head In The Ice by @RichardNJames

Today’s team review is from Olga, she blogs here https://www.authortranslatorolga.com

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading The Head In The Ice by Richard James

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From the moment I read the description of this novel, a few weeks before its publication, I knew I’d end up reading it. I love mysteries, have been reading historical fiction in recent times and with my background in criminology, a mysterious murder set in the Victorian era ticked many boxes. To top it all, the main character, and the protagonist of the series, Inspector Bowman, had been in a lunatic asylum. As I’m also a psychiatrist and have read and enjoyed books looking back at the history of psychiatry, this was a further inducement, if I needed one. Of course, the title and the cover of the book worked in its favour.

I’ll try not to dwell too much on the story and the plot itself, to avoid spoilers, but I can tell you the book is a fine mystery that lived up to my expectations, and even surpassed them in many ways.

The style of the story and the way is told put me in mind of watching a movie (or a play, which I know is a genre the author is very familiar with, although here we have many more settings than in a standard play). The author uses an omniscient point of view, and that means that readers get to see scenes and events from a variety of characters’ perspectives (and not only the good guys either), and sometimes also from a neutral observer’s point of view (that works particularly well to set the scene and also to keep the mystery going, while at the same time offering readers some snippets of information that Bowman and his team do not have). That is an excellent method to avoid revealing too much while offering the readers great insights into the characters’ thoughts and motivations, but I know not everybody likes stories told this way, and I’d advise people to check a sample of the book to see if it is a good fit, in case of doubt. Personally, I did not find the way the story was told at all confusing, although due to the nature of the case and to the many characters, it is necessary to pay close attention and make sure not to miss any details. (Perhaps adding a cast of characters might help readers get their bearings quickly).

In some books that type of point of view might result in difficulty getting attached to any of the characters, but I did not think that was the case here. Although we get many points of view, the main one we follow is that of the Bowman, and because the inspector is the first character we meet, and in pretty difficult circumstances (he is a resident at a lunatic asylum just about to go in front of the board that must decide if he’s ready for his release), we quickly establish a connection with him. He is a sympathetic and intelligent character, who has suffered a personal tragedy that has resulted in mental health difficulties (nowadays, I’d say he would be diagnosed, most likely, with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), and who tries hard to get on with his life, despite his anxiety, flashbacks, and the complex and emotionally challenging nature of his work. He is not the perfect and flawless here, but a human being with flaws and weaknesses. His flashbacks, the physical symptoms he experiences, and his fragile mental state are well drawn and are, for me, one of the strongest points of the book. I also enjoyed the depiction of the asylum and its therapies, far from the ones we often see and read about in popular media that seem right out of a horror movie. There are other characters to root for as well, although not quite as fleshed out as Bowman, and even some of the baddies are individualised enough for readers to get a fair idea of who they are.

The novel also succeeds at creating a picture of the London of the era, the atmosphere of the different neighbourhoods, the asylum, Scotland Yard, the underworld, without going overboard with descriptions and details or slowing the action. It is a compelling and historically accurate portrayal of a time, and one that goes beyond the anecdotal to dig deeper into some of the unsavoury aspects of the era.

The plot is gripping, and we visit upper-middle-class locations, pubs, sewers, cemeteries, bridges, a lunatic asylum, a ship, Bengal, and we get to learn about laudanum, poisons, laws, Victorian trade, weapons, the criminal underworld of the era (including murders, robberies, prostitution…), and although we learn enough information to get suspicious about the guilty party (or parties) fairly early on, there are quite a few twists and turns, strange goings on, and we don’t get to understand how it all fits together until close to the end (we might have our suspicions but…). There are some red herrings thrown in, and even a suggestion of the supernatural. All in all, the atmosphere, the characters, and the plot, work well to create a solid story, a great opening to a new series of Victorian mysteries, and one that allows us to examine the laws, mores and morality of the era.

If I had to take issue with anything, other than the point of view that I think works well but some readers might not feel comfortable with, I felt that, at times, some of the experiences, tics, and behaviours characters engage in (clearing one’s throat, blowing smoke into someone’s face, etc.) are repeated fairly often, and that put me in mind of stage directions or business that actors have to engage in to indicate certain traits of a character, which might not be as relevant or necessary when we can share in their thoughts directly. I did not find it distracting and, like some of the side stories, I felt they helped readers catch their breath and regroup, but those who prefer stripped down and action-led plots might feel they could be slimmed down.

In sum, this is a great story that I’d recommend to those who enjoy mysteries within a historical setting (Victorian in this case), with a complex story full of compelling characters and plenty of atmosphere. I look forward to the next adventure of Inspector Bowman, and I’m sure I won’t be the only one.

Book description

Who would send a madman to solve a murder?

Just released from a Lunatic Asylum, Inspector George Bowman is in no shape to lead an investigation, but the discovery of a severed head in the frozen waters of the River Thames sees him back in service at Scotland Yard. As he delves into the dark heart of the city in search of answers, the memory of the death of his wife threatens to derail his investigation and place his very sanity in peril.

Bowman must confront his demons and the part he played in her demise before he can solve the case; a case that leads him across Victorian London in pursuit of a killer.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Cosy #Mystery HIDE NOT SEEK by @dehaggerty

Today’s team review is from Sandra.

#RBRT Review Team

Sandra has been reading Hide Not Seek by D.E. Haggerty

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Hide Not Seek is the third volume in The Not So Reluctant Detectives series and completes the trilogy with Pru’s story.

Although she has not lived in Milwaukee for very long, Pru has formed a strong bond with Mel and Terri whose stories were told in the first two books. She thought she had left the past behind her, and when she starts getting threatening notes we finally find out what Pru has been hiding from the others, but she does not give up her secret until absolutely forced to.

There are lots of twists and turns and a great surprise ending. You can read this on its own, but it will make a lot more sense if you read the books in order. I really like the relationship between the three women and how they complement each other. Their escapades are not so wild in this book, with Owen and Ryder more aware of what is going on, but that is good as Mel’s more extreme behaviour is kept in check. As Pru is an English teacher, the chapters begin with cryptic quotes from poems and novels (they are listed at the end).

Hide Not Seek is an enjoyable resolution to the series, and I am looking forward to reading DE Haggerty’s next book.

Book description

I know who you really are.

Pru has a secret, which she has no plans to reveal – ever. But after a woman is murdered and all clues point to her, she has no choice but to disclose her true identity. When her revelations thwart the killer’s plan to frame Pru for murder, the killer begins stalking her. With each note he sends, he gets closer. The police are stumped. Pru wants to run away. She really, really wants to run, but Ajax has found the woman of his dreams and he’s not letting her go anywhere. He can be patient. In the meantime, he’ll protect her with his life. Pru isn’t feeling very patient, and her friends, Mel and Terri, are definitely not willing to wait until the police discover who the stalker is. The three friends take matters into their own hands and jump headfirst into the investigation.

Will Pru and her friends uncover her stalker before he turns his violence on Pru?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Nostalgic #Fiction MONKEY TEMPLE by Peter Gelfan @ryderswriters

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Monkey Temple by Peter Gelfan

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4 out of 5 stars

An unusual and entertaining book, mostly based around a short period during the twilight years of protagonist Jules, his wife, Ritz, and their mixed bunch of ageing hippie friends from the old days—mostly the complicated and high-maintenance Ralston, who is determined not to see Jules go gently into that good, comfortable retirement.  Mostly, it’s about Jules’ relationship with Ralston.

Deciding that the time has come to leave New York, he and Ralston go on a road trip to look for a house for Jules and Ritz.  When they find a possibility, Ralston has plans for it other than simply being his friends’ last home.

Interspersed with present events are Jules’s memories of their past, chaotic life; the travelling, the experiences and the sex, drugs and rock and roll of the 1960s and 70s.  For this reason I’d say it would be appreciated mostly by the over fifty-fives, those who have experienced the backpacking type of travelling or are familiar with, shall we say, a more erratic lifestyle; I think some of the references might go over the heads of anyone who ticks none of those boxes.  Maybe it’s a book about old hippies for old hippies.

Much of the narrative and dialogue is centred around the subject of the characters’ ageing processes, rubbish that is talked about ‘alternative’ philosophies, and also Jules’s observations about the writing world.  I found myself smiling a lot, and highlighting passages I agreed with or enjoyed.  Alas, I forgot to highlight many, but here are a few.

(about Jules’s client, who is writing novel based on her life)

‘Problem is,” I said, ‘her life’s not a story.’

…’Everyone’s life is a story.’

‘No it isn’t.  Things happen, but that doesn’t make it a story…A story is about something.  A particular struggle.  With a beginning and an end’.

‘You can learn something by studying its opposite.  Like, who the hell knows how to be happy?  So instead, think about what makes you unhappy, and avoid it.’

‘Doesn’t it ever occur to you that … when you don’t like someone, it’s because there’s something very wrong with them?’

‘Of course…and then I try to distinguish the subjective from the objective’.

‘What a bunch of pseudo-intellectual bullshit. Nothing’s objective…it’s just a cop-out’

‘The truth hit me.  The journey to transcend ego is an ego trip’ 

Yes, I enjoyed this book, and would definitely recommend.  My only criticisms are practical ones; at £6.13/$7.97 for the Kindle version it’s priced a bit high for the market, and the rather dull cover doesn’t do the book justice, or give any indication that this is a dryly amusing, entertaining and poignant story about artists, writers and other colourful people who have spent their lives living and thinking outside the box.  I’d have chosen a sunset streaked road with a back view of Jules and Ralston driving over the horizon, corny though that may be—or a few of them sitting on the dilapidated porch of the Monkey Temple.

Book description

Monkey Temple is a coming-of-old-age adventure about two longtime best friends and rivals who, determined to “not go gentle into that good night,” set off on a final road trip. Their efforts to face past failures and give meaning to their dwindling futures change their lives forever but not at all as they had envisioned. It’s a buddy story with strong female characters and plenty of dark humor.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Art #Mystery Marked For Revenge by @JSAauthor #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading Marked For Revenge by Jennifer Alderson

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This is the third of Zelda Richardson’s adventures in the art world. While working on her Master’s thesis she had been an unpaid intern. Now in her first paid job as a museum researcher she is anxious to make her mark, but little does she realise that she will soon be a suspect in a daring multiple art theft. This thrilling tale also allows us to view the situation from the viewpoint of the thieves and observe a bitter feud between Luka, a Croatian gangster and Ivan an embittered ex-collaborator, determined to get revenge for the tragic death of his daughter.

While Zelda’s boyfriend, Jacob, is working in Cologne, she spends her free time in Amsterdam, socialising with colleagues at the Amstel Modern Museum and getting to know her neighbour, Gabriella, a talented artist. Shortly after three sketches by famous artists are stolen from the Amstel Museum, Zelda stumbles into trouble when she inadvertently sees a copy of one of the sketches in Gabriella’s studio.  After Gabriella disappears, Zelda’s admission that she has seen a copied painting puts her under suspicion. Zelda is desperate to find Gabriella and clear her name, so she is relieved when noted art recovery investigator, Vincent de Graaf, takes on the case, allowing Zelda to assist him.

This series of daring art thefts are especially intriguing because at each location a card is left by “Robber Hood,” criticising the gallery for lack of fool proof security.  I took great pleasure in the delightful chapter titles, such as, “Balkan Bandits Strike Again”  and “The Audacity of Art Thieves,”  The authors descriptions of action and adventure in Venice and Marmaris bring each site vividly to life and made me keep turning the pages long after I should have turned off the light.

Book description

An adrenaline-fueled adventure set in the Netherlands, Croatia, Italy, and Turkey about stolen art, the mafia, and a father’s vengeance.

When researcher Zelda Richardson begins working at a local museum, she doesn’t expect to get entangled with an art theft, knocked unconscious by a forger, threatened by the mob, or stalked by drug dealers.

To make matters worse, a Croatian gangster is convinced Zelda knows where a cache of recently pilfered paintings is. She must track down an international gang of art thieves and recover the stolen artwork in order to save those she loves most.

The trouble is, Zelda doesn’t know where to look. Teaming up with art detective Vincent de Graaf may be her only hope at salvation.

The trail of clues leads Zelda and Vincent on a pulse-pounding race across Europe to a dramatic showdown in Turkey that may cost them their lives.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #YA #ShortStory Let’s Be Legends by Sean Fesko

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

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading Let’s Be Legends by Sean Fesko

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I enjoyed reading this short story. Right from the beginning we know Kara Olecki is on trial over the death of her boyfriend. The storyline hops between the proceedings in the court and from two years previously when we get to see the build up of the relationship between Kara and Matt and what actually happened to land Kara in the court room.

We all have a side we show to the world and one we prefer to keep hidden but Kara takes this to another level having her Internal Kara and External Kara, and I’m not sure that helped her mental state because when things went bad Internal Kara took over, and was out of control.

I think what I liked most about the story was Kara’s voice. I don’t read a lot of young adult novels but I could completely ‘see’ Kara, and I enjoyed her life as a teenager venturing into her first romance and this was very well done.

Book description

Kara Olecki didn’t mean to kill her boyfriend Matt. But she did—and she’s paying the price. As she waits for the jury’s decision, she has nothing but time to recap all the important moments, both good and bad, that led up to her sentencing. Told in dual timelines, experience Kara’s thoughts in the courtroom and musings from the previous two years: From the first time she laid eyes on Matt and their ski trip to Colorado, to their squabbles and individual tribulations. It was the kind of first relationship that Kara had imagined. Right up until the end.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery set in #Ireland A Bittersweet Garden by Caren J Werlinger

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

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading A Bittersweet Garden by Caren J Werlinger.

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A Bittersweet Garden is a mystery story set in Ireland, which also describes a romance between American Librarian, Nora McNeil and Briana Devlin, a groom and horse trainer in the village of Cong in County Mayo.  After a failed relationship and the death of her long-loved cat, Nora has come to see the home village of her grandparents. Intending to stay for several weeks she has rented Sióg cottage, a run-down property in the woods, reputed to be haunted.  After a disastrous first meeting with Briana, Nora begins to come closer to this reserved young woman and she enjoys helping her cousin, Sheila in her garden nursery.  She is even able to start writing a novel, but the subject matter is dark. Frequent dreams of a tragic family, who once lived in the cottage, begin to obsess her and she sleep walks into the woods in search of Rowan, a young girl who disappeared mysteriously in the 1840s.

Nora needs to value her own worth and a relationship with Briana might give her happiness, but she must return to Virginia.  The sad story of Móirin and Donell, who once lived in the cottage, needs resolution but this may endanger Nora’s life. The warm community in this picturesque Irish village rally round but only Nora and Brianna can solve the past in order to give themselves a future.

Caren J Werlinger has created two complex characters with whom the reader can identify and I was intrigued to discover what had happened to the little girl in the yellow dress over 170 years earlier.

Book description

Nora McNeill has always dreamed of exploring her Irish roots. When she finally gets the opportunity to spend a summer in the village where her grandparents grew up, the experience promises to live up to her very high expectations. Except for the ghost that is haunting her rented cottage and is soon invading her dreams.

Briana Devlin has arranged her life the way she likes it: a good dog, good mates, and work with horses. There’s no room in her life for a relationship. Especially with an annoyingly clumsy—and attractive—American who is only going to be around for a few months.

The weeks fly by, and Nora’s ghost becomes more demanding, seeking her help in solving the mystery surrounding her death. Briana watches as Nora becomes more wrapped up in the past, seeming to fade away before her eyes.

Past and present are on a collision course, leaving Nora and Briana caught in a ghostly intrigue that could cost them not only their chance of a future together, but their very lives.

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