‘It’s healthy to have an enemy. It brings people together.’ @TerryTyler4 reviews #dystopia Cromby’s Axiom by Gary J Kirchner.

Today’s team review is from Terry. She blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Terry has been reading Cromby’s Axiom by Gary J Kirchner.

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There are so many good dystopian books around now, and I love reading the many, wildly different versions of what might await us in decades to come. I enjoyed this, the debut novel by Gary J Kirchner.


In the future, the people are crowded together in cities and connected by the Hive mind; all thoughts are connected, all information just a micro-second away.  Tommy is a world famous athlete who finds himself lost in the ‘Fallowlands’ of Switzerland – and, worse than this, he has somehow become unconnected, as he discovers when he searches for the information he needs about where to go and what to do.  Eventually he meets up with members of the Ketchen: rebels who live outside the cities and the Hive mind.
The differences between life inside the Hive and the old world of the Ketchen give one a lot to think about, especially if one is of a certain age and grew up without the technology that exists now. The sinister truth about Tommy’s world unfolds gradually, and is no less shocking for being almost expected. Several times, one of the people who controls Tommy offers some depressing reflections of our real world:


‘…from the days of metal electronics and hand-held interfaces to skin graft technology and visual implants and finally to seamless thought communication, the same pattern was followed: technology is developed, a vanguard establishes its use, meek voices raise issues of privacy and ethics, which simply get swamped in the global rush to embrace this newest step…’
And about why the Ketchen are allowed to exist:


‘It’s healthy to have an enemy. It brings people together… the idea that ‘out there’ are outlaws, bad guys who want to do your side in. If the Ketchen didn’t exist, we’d probably invent them’.


Tommy is a likable character and, despite my feeling that some of the explanations could have been edited down to be more reader-friendly, the story held my interest throughout. The exciting events of the last ten per cent of the book, and the ultimate end, are particularly good. I’d definitely like to read more books set in this world.

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Before we were all connected, before we were The Hive, there was individualism, privacy, ‘personal space’ . . . so quaint, so unnecessary . . . so dangerous . . .

TOMMY PIERRE ANTIKAGAMAC, a star quarterback, is the most followed player in the world’s most popular sport: American football. While off-season training in the unpopulated European Fallowlands, he abruptly finds himself detached from the Hive. Agonizingly alone in his head for the first time in his life, he panics, becomes hopelessly lost, and then is captured by a fringe group of anti-Hive saboteurs. The Freemen, as they call themselves, have concocted an audacious plan to “cataclysmically disrupt the brain of the Hive,” and Tommy may just be the key they need to make it successful.

But Tommy’s arrival among the Freemen is not as serendipitous as it may appear. Neither he nor his captors suspect that it is not the terrorists, but Tommy, who is the threat to the Hive. And the Hive has ways of protecting itself….

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Book one of a new crime series set in Wales. Noelle reviews A Final Regret by @JeffreyJWarren, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading A Final Regret by Jeff Warren

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A Final Regret: A Pembrokeshire Murder Mystery is the first in a planned series featuring Sergeant Alys Carey and Detective Inspector Matt Vincent. It is set along the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast in England, which the author has described very evocatively.

The story: A sergeant in the neighborhood police force of Madoc’s Haven, Alys Carey, is reunited after many years with a childhood friend, Matt Vincent, who is now a Detective Inspector and brought in to investigate the disappearance of a young mother. The reader learns just how Rianna Hughes disappeared in a tension and action-filled prologue.

After her body is discovered, there are no shortage of suspects in the story: the husband Dylan is an immediate suspect because they are separated. She was awarded custody of their baby daughter and also the home where they lived and he is bitter. There are also the people she is blackmailing, the men with whom she had affairs or who wanted to have an affair with her, the women scorned by these men, even the local vicar. Red herrings abound.

Matt Vincent had left Madoc’s Haven after the tragic death of his girlfriend, which he witnessed. Alys Carey, while somewhat younger at the time, liked him, His return creates an awkward relationship between them, not improved by their immediate attraction to each other or by the attitude of Vincent’s embittered sergeant, Beth Francis, who harbors animosity toward Vincent since she wanted his promotion to DI.

The relationships in this book are incredibly complex, so readers have to stay on their toes, especially after another murder occurs.

I greatly enjoyed this mystery and, bouncing between suspects, I wasn’t sure until the end who the murderer was. The dialogue was spot on and smooth and the descriptions of the countryside and coast were stunning. Readers can easily place themselves in the scenes. 

The prologue adds additional tension to the unfolding investigation since the reader is made to ask: When are they going to find Rianna?

The novel is written in third person omniscient, so it shifts between scenes and characters. This approach can be confusing (and occasionally is) but it also enables the reader to be introduced to various untidy aspects of Rianna’s life.

My one complaint is that some of the female characters could not be distinguished.  They seemed to run to a common type (except for Sergeant Beth Francis, who was spiteful and headstrong) and could have used more distinguishing features. Matt Vincent, despite being a DI, seems a little less than forthcoming when it comes to dealing with the women in his life. Hopefully he will find a clear path ahead in the next book!

There is romance (but no sex) and humor but no graphic violence, so this qualifies as a true cozy. It should appeal to everyone from YA to adult readers. I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

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A missing mother, her baby’s father a suspect

Young single mother Rianna fails to return from her cliff-top run. Did she have an accident, or did someone want her dead?

Neighbourhood Sergeant Alys Carey and Detective Inspector Matt Vincent are thrown back together when Matt returns to Pembrokeshire and takes on the case. There’s no shortage of suspects: Rianna’s blackmail victims; the men she beguiled; the women who loved them; the father of little baby Meg.

Can Alys and Matt unravel the complex web of relationships within the local community and ensure that justice prevails? Will Matt’s embittered detective sergeant, Beth Francis, derail the investigation? And what will become of Rianna’s baby daughter, Meg?

A Final Regret is a murder mystery set on the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast, with romance, humour and no graphic violence, sex or swearing.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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‘A mixture of police procedural, psychology, and close-to-home story-telling.’ Karen reviews #crimefiction Dark Is The Grave by @tgreidbooks #TuesdayBookBlog

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Karen has been reading Dark Is The Grave by T G Reid

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The story starts in darkness; PC Hazel Garvey is bound and gagged, trying to remember what might have gotten her into this situation.

With Dark is the Grave”, TG Reid has created an expertly woven plot, an intriguing story of  a damaged (not broken!) investigator and his team chasing a copycat killer. “Dark is the Grave” comprises authentic main characters with sufficient depth – they gain complexity throughout the story. I had a great time reading – this is a very compelling read; I was drawn into the story right away, close to Duncan Bone, freshly reinstated to chase a copycat killer. The plot offers clues, investigative progress and throwbacks, and it is a true edge-of-your-seat read. I liked Bone’s thoroughness and stubbornness, the teamwork, and the determination to stop the killer. I consider “Dark is the Grave” a remarkable mixture of police procedural, psychology, and close-to-home story-telling. It is good to know that the next book in the series is on its way – I know that I have to read it!

This is for you if you like thrilling police procedurals, occasional insights into the mental abyss, and authentic characters.

A remarkable story that requires reading the next in the series as well.

Highly recommended.

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A dead cop. A damaged detective. A copycat killer on the loose.

When the chief suspect in the notorious Peek-a-boo cop killer case blew himself up, almost taking lead investigator DCI Duncan Bone with him, the psychologically damaged detective thought his days on the force were over. But when another PC is abducted and murdered in the same deranged Peek-a-boo fashion, Bone is persuaded to return to lead the new investigation. But as Bone and his team hunt a copycat killer, and with time running out before yet another cop is slain, Bone’s terrifying past returns to tear open old wounds and push him to very edge of the abyss.

Can DCI Bone end the killing before the killing ends him?

Set among the dramatic hills and glens of Scotland’s Campsie Fells, Dark is the Grave is the first in a series of edge-of-your-seat crime thrillers that will keep you guessing right up to the nail-biting, heart-stopping climax.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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‘An entertaining way to learn more about this time period.’ Robbie reviews Spanish Civil War adventure The Exhumation by @nfpadron for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Robbie has been reading The Exhumation by Nick Padron

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The Exhumation is an exciting adventure, overlaid with a romance, set in war torn Spain during the civil war of 1937. This is not a period of history I know a lot about so I was keen to read this book and learn more.

Three Americans, an ex-military ‘hired gun’ nicknamed The Major, his interpreter and ‘right hand man’ who goes by the pseudonym of John and an older individual, Mr Jordan, travel to Spain to bring back the body of a young American, Robert Jordan, who has been killed in the fighting. His wealthy parents are prepared to pay a great deal of money for the return of their son’s body and have sent his uncle along to make any necessary payments to ensure it happens. The information the three men have to work with is scanty, but meetings have been arranged with people who know him to enable their investigation.

John is concerned that they will run into trouble going behind the enemy lines in Spain, but The Major is confident that with the help of a few locals, he and John can successfully find the corpse and bring it back to Madrid, and from there back to the US.

During their brief stay in Madrid, prior to the expedition into enemy territory, John meets a lovely young woman called Maripaz. He spends two evening with her and becomes emotionally attached. He resolves to persuade her to leave Spain and return with him to the US after the job is done.

The pursuit of the body and John’s romance entwine beautiful to create and interesting and exciting storyline.

The Major is a strong character who, despite being unorthodox and quite brutal in his methods, is able to put on a good show of being an amiable and likeable personality. He is driven by personal gain and is prepared to go to extreme lengths to obtain the money he has been promised for the return of Robert Jordan’s body. He is exposed as being unethical and ruthless in his behaviour with little consideration for consequences or respect for the lives of others. Despite his character flaws, he is held in high regard by John whom he saved from a difficult and life threatening situation.

John is a conflicted person who has become attached to The Major whom he treats like a replacement father. He comes across as a person who is searching for love and affection and quite easily falls under the spell of Maripaz, a nice woman from a good family. He quickly escalates their brief affair into the great love of his life and becomes quite obsessed with her. The romance is a branch of the main adventure, but it is important to the way the entire novel plays out.

The history is nicely woven into the novel and this book is an entertaining way to learn more about this time period. All in, an interesting and entertaining read.

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In the fall of 1937, besieged Madrid lies in near ruins, its people struggling under nightly bombardments. Into this uncertain world, enter three Americans assigned with the task to find and exhume the remains of Robert Jordan – a member of the International Brigade killed in action –and bring him home for proper burial in the States. They are Jordan’s uncle and the two-man team hired for the job: the amoral but winsome Major Williamson and their interpreter, John, who tells us the story of how one man’s greed-driven final act becomes another man’s shot at redemption.

Set over the course of three days, amid vivid depictions of wartime Madrid, we follow the team through the violent drama that surrounds Robert Jordan’s exhumation, the human cost of the undertaking, and then John’s Maripaz’s, the beautiful piano teacher he meets during an artillery attack, fateful escape from Madrid. More than a tale of action and suspense set in a world at war, THE EXHUMATION is a story about the meaning of loyalty, of love and loss and, finally, the unending search for a lasting ideal.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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‘Reading is always a subjective and personal experience’. @OlgaNM7 reviews #ShortStory collection The Shivering Ground And Other Stories by Sara Barkat @tspoetry

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Olga has been reading The Shivering Ground And Other Stories by Sara Barkat

I enjoy short stories, but I rarely read anthologies or collections of them, other than those of authors I already know and whose writing I love. However, although I had never read this author’s work before, there was something compelling and utterly different about this book, and the cover and the title added to the appeal.

Although I’m not sure what I was expecting to read, the stories were surprising and extremely varied. Some seemed to be set in the present (or an alternative version of the present), some in the past (or a possible past), some in a dystopian future, some in parallel universes, and the characters varied from very young children to adults, and from human beings to a variety of “Others”. Some of the stories are very brief, some are long enough to be novellas (or almost), and they are written from all possible points of view: first person, third person (in some cases identified as “they”), and even second person. I usually would try to give an overview of themes and subjects making an appearance in the stories, but that is notably difficult here. The description accompanying the book gives a good indication of what to expect, and if I had to highlight some commonalities between the stories, I would mention, perhaps, the desire and need to connect and communicate with others, in whatever form possible, and to create and express one’s feelings and thoughts, through any medium (music, painting, writing, sewing…),

These short stories are not what many readers have come to expect from the form: a fully developed narrative, with a beginning, a middle, and an end, although usually providing fewer details and not so much character development as we would find in a novel, and often with a surprising twist at the end that can make us reconsider all we have read up to that point. Barkat’s stories are not like that. They rarely have a conventional ending (even when they do, it is open to readers’ interpretations), sometimes there are descriptive passages that we aren’t used to seeing in short narratives, and the plot isn’t always the most important part of the story (if at all). The way the story is told, the style and beauty of the writing, and the impressions and feelings they cause on the reader make them akin to artworks. If reading is always a subjective and personal experience, this is, even more, the case here, and no description can do full justice to this creation.

Despite that, I decided to try to share a few thoughts on each one of the stories, in case it might encourage or help other readers make their own minds up. I’d usually add here that I’ve tried to avoid spoilers, but these are not that kind of stories either.

1. The Door at the End of the Path. A wonderful story full of vivid descriptions of a young girl’s imagination, her internal life, and a reflection of the heavy toll the difficult relationship of the parents can have on their children.

2. Conditions. A glimpse into the relationship between a brother and a sister, where the best intentions can have the worst results, set in a world that is half-dystopia, half an alternative present, with more than a slight touch of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

3. The Eternal In-Between. A dystopia set during a pandemic, with plenty of steampunk-like fancies, and an ode to the power of imagination.

4. The Mannequin. A dystopian world epitomized by the willingness of its subjects to undergo quite an extreme and symbolic procedure to keep the status quo in place.

5. Brianna. A very special retelling of a fairy-tale story that digs dip into the psychological aspects and the effects such events would have over real people, especially if it was a fate repeated generation after generation. One of my favourites.

6. Noticing. A story with a strong ecological theme, a generous dose of fantasy, some beautiful illustrations and eerie pictures, an endorsement of the power of stories, and a strong warning we should heed. Both terrifying and breathtakingly beautiful. Another favourite.

7. Entanglement. A short but compelling story/metaphor of a love affair, and/or the possibility of one.

8. The Day Before Tomorrow. Although set in a very strange and dystopic society, it is a Young Adult story of sorts, and the relationship between the two main characters feels totally natural and everyday, despite the extremely unusual surroundings. Perhaps our stories never change, no matter what might be happening around us. A hopeful story I really enjoyed.

9. It’s Already Too Late. Very brief, very compelling vignette with a very strong ecological message. A call to forget about our excuses and the reasons to carry on doing nothing.

10. The Shivering Ground. A sci-fiction/fantasy/dystopian story that might seem utterly sad and pessimistic, but it is also moving and (I think) hopeful.

11. A Universe Akilter. A wonderful story that kept wrong-footing me, as if the ground the story was set on kept shifting. A Universe Akilter indeed! It starts as the story of the breakup of a romance, seemingly because the man has been caught up cheating, set some time in the past (many of the details and the way the characters behave sound Victorian, but there are small incongruous details that pop up every so often and others that seem to shift), but as the story progresses, it becomes the story of a (possible?) love affair in parallel universes (the universe of our dreams, perhaps), that influences and changes the life of the protagonist, making him discover things about himself and his creativity he would never have considered otherwise. This is the longest story in the book and one that might especially appeal to readers of dual-time or time-travel stories (although it is not that at all).

As usual, I recommend those thinking about reading this collection check a sample of it. The stories are quite different from each other, but it should suffice to provide future readers with a good feel for the writing style.

I could not help but share a few paragraphs from the book, although as I have read an ARC copy, there might be some small changes to the final version.

All the wreckage, all the ruin, and the ground was brilliant red. Every morning, he would wake to more of the world ending, and the earth laid out a scarlet cloak as though waiting for an emperor to arrive.

He wishes, desperately, that he could remember the sound of her voice hen she still knew innocence; that he had thought to fold it in his pocket with the mementos of another life.

Perhaps being a mis-turned wheel in a spinning globe is only as it should be after all, when in the spring, the scent of mint and apple blossoms fills the acres behind you.

But, surely, I wondered, interpretability only goes so far. To go further would be to strike out onto one’s own adventure, breaking the mass of the art’s finished illusion.

I wouldn’t say I “understood” all the stories, or I got the meaning the author intended (if she had a specific design for each one of her stories), but I don’t think that is what this collection is about. Like in an exhibition of artworks, the important thing is what each one of them makes us feel, what thoughts and reflections they set in motion, and how much of an impression they leave on us.

I don’t recommend this book to readers looking for traditionally told short stories, with a clear beginning and end, and a satisfying conclusion. On the other hand, readers seeking for something outside the norm and happy to: explore new worlds, try new experiences, ponder about meanings and possibilities, and get lost in the beauty of the writing and the magic of the words, should read this collection. It’s too beautiful to miss.

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The Shivering Ground blends future and past, earth and otherworldliness, in a magnetic collection that shimmers with art, philosophy, dance, film, and music at its heart.

A haunting medieval song in the mouth of a guard, an 1800s greatcoat on the shoulders of a playwright experiencing a quantum love affair, alien worlds both elsewhere and in the ruined water at our feet: these stories startle us with the richness and emptiness of what we absolutely know and simultaneously cannot pin into place.

In the tender emotions, hidden ecological or relational choices, and the sheer weight of a compelling voice, readers “hear” each story, endlessly together and apart.

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‘A fairy tale version of Old Russia’. @deBieJennifer Reviews Vasilisa by @FarbMl, For Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Jenni. She blogs here https://jenniferdebie.com/

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Jenni has been reading Vasilisa by M L Farb

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It seems that I have accidentally read M.L. Farb’s Hearth and Bard Tales novels from back to front – and so we arrive at the third reviewed, and the first in the series, and what a glorious first it is. Intrinsically different from its sister-tales, but filled with the same wonder and beauty, Vasilisa follows (fittingly) a girl named Vasilisa in Ruska, or Russia of old. Born in the forest and raised as a serf, Vasilisa lives her life as an outcast because of her supernatural strength and the secret of her father’s heritage, a secret assiduously kept by her mother. Vasilisa’s only friend is Staver, the son of her master, and her only wish is to return to the serenity of the forest from whence she came.

As with all her other Hearth and Bard Tales, Farb weaves multiple threads from old fairy tale and myth to create the fabric of this novel. Likewise, as with the others, there is care and craft shown on every page. Vasilisa was not Farb’s first novel, but it is her first in this series, and even here, her skill in turning old threads into new tapestries shows. Where less practiced novelists might still be working out the kinks in their new series, the style of the Hearth and Bard Tales is already set and strong in Vasilisa.

As different from Fourth Sister and Heartless Hette as they are from each other, Vasilisa’s Ruska is a landscape all its own, full of forest groves, brutal winters, and wide plains. The balalaikas sing sweetly, the otters play freely, and the Tsar is (refreshingly, given the reality of Russian history) not so bad a guy. It is a fairytale version of a world, but certainly not without risk – bears and ogres lurk in the forest, a cruel mistress waits in the manor house, and far worse threatens beyond Ruska’s borders. This is a story about courage, and tests, and acceptance, even when revelations from the past threaten long-held convictions. It takes more than brute strength to win these battles, and more than pure wit to outsmart these enemies. Lucky then that we have a courageous heroin, as determined and strong as she is tricksy, to walk us through this first, spectacular entry into Farb’s Hearth and Bard Tales.

5/5

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“Forest born! Ogre child! You’re nothing but a demon wild!”

Vasilisa has always been strong. She’s strong enough to break the arm of the bully that daily taunts her. She won’t because she and her mother are servants at the Orlov manor, and her mother would be punished for her retaliation. Instead Vasilisa bides her time until she is sixteen and can return to the forest.

Only Staver, the master’s son, shows her kindness. His friendship pulls as strong as the forest, but their classes are divided forever by law. She is a forest born, fatherless servant and her future at the manor holds mockery filled drudgery.

War threatens. The forest calls. Will she stay to protect the one who can never be more than a friend, or flee to the peace that the forest offers?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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‘A beautifully written and emotional story’ @CathyRy Reviews In This Small Spot by Caren Werlinger

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Cathy has been reading In This Small Spot by Caren Werlinger

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In This Small Spot is a beautifully written and emotional story following the life choices, ups and downs, and introspections of Dr Michele Stewart, a renowned oncology surgeon. Several years after losing her much loved partner, Alice, to cancer, she questions her role as a doctor and her place in the medical profession.

After leaving school Michele (Mickey) toyed with the idea of becoming a nun but decided to go to university and later met Alice. Now, needing something to give her life some meaning she again contemplates the life of a nun. Many conversations with Mother Theodora later, Mickey decides to enter St Bridget’s Abbey as a postulant.

‘Several seconds passed as Mother Theodora searched Mickey’s eyes. “I know you mean that, Mickey. But remember that an abbey is not a place where you can run away from yourself. Quite the contrary. Having stripped away the disguises and distractions of the outside world: clothes, career, material possessions, the true you is most often magnified, for better or for worse.”’

The story is multi-layered, very atmospheric, written with depth and told in the present with flashbacks to Mickey’s life with Alice, showing the kind of woman she was before shock and grief began to chip away at her confidence and belief in her work. She feels the need to re-assess, to try and work out where she belongs, hoping this spiritual journey will help to clarify what is important and the right path to take, even though she’s aware it’s likely to be a struggle.

The characters are wonderfully drawn, complex and in the main sympathetic, finding themselves at St Bridget’s Abbey for various reasons and not all of them, including Mickey, finding it easy. There are questions and sometimes doubts arise. Human emotions are evident — homophobia, envy and intolerance, to name a few — although in some cases tightly controlled. There is drama, bonds formed, humour, love and unexpected and shocking events, along with the structured everyday life of the nuns, which is fascinating.

Mickey is a realistic and relatable character, struggling with her emotions and choices. As time passes she becomes more adaptable and aware, and always ready to help others as the sense of community deepens. But the world outside the abbey creeps in, testing Mickey and forcing her to make choices she wouldn’t have imagined.

I had to sit with this story for a while and it’s one that will stay with me for a good while. I’ve only read one of Caren Werlinger’s books before this one, but it’s something I’ll be rectifying as soon as I can.

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“Here, the true you is most often magnified, for better or for worse.” Abbess Theodora

In a world increasingly connected to computers and machines but disconnected to self and others, Dr. Michele Stewart finds herself drowning in a life that no longer holds meaning. Searching for a deeper connection after losing her partner, Alice, she enters a contemplative monastery, living a life dedicated to prayer, to faith in things unseen. Though most of her family and friends are convinced that she has become a nun to run away from her life, she finds herself more attuned to life than she has been in years. Stripped of the things that define most people in the outside world – career, clothing, possessions – she rediscovers a long forgotten part of herself. But sooner than she expects, the outside world intrudes, forcing her to confront doubts and demons she thought she had left behind. The ultimate test of her vocation comes from the unlikeliest source when she finds herself falling in love again. As she struggles to discern where she belongs, she discovers the terrifying truth of Abbess Theodora’s warning. For better or for worse.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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‘There are amusing anecdotes as well as terrifying moments.’ @LizanneLloyd reviews #CrimeFiction A Final Regret by @JeffreyJWarren

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Liz has been reading A Final Regret by Jeff Warren

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It is always good to find a new murder mystery story which is well plotted and intriguing. Set in a beautiful part of Wales it begins with a nail-biting account of the murder. You naturally empathise with the victim, a young mother running along the clifftop to keep fit, but later we discover that her scheming nature had made her rather unpopular.

The investigation brings together one time school friends, Alys and Matt. Alys is the neighbourhood police sergeant while Matt has just transferred to the local police as a Detective Inspector. Events in the past make their relationship difficult while Matt’s detective sergeant, Beth, does her best to undermine Alys.

After another local is killed in suspicious circumstances the police are under pressure to find the killer and to stop a spate of theft of farm vehicles. Alys makes a foolish mistake but also puts herself in danger. She is keen to become a detective and to prove her abilities to Matt, while he begins to have feelings for her despite his determination to remain professional.

There are amusing anecdotes as well as terrifying moments in an entertaining story with no gratuitous violence. I am looking forward to further investigations involving Matt, Alys and Beth.

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A missing mother, her baby’s father a suspect

Young single mother Rianna fails to return from her cliff-top run. Did she have an accident, or did someone want her dead?

Neighbourhood Sergeant Alys Carey and Detective Inspector Matt Vincent are thrown back together when Matt returns to Pembrokeshire and takes on the case. There’s no shortage of suspects: Rianna’s blackmail victims; the men she beguiled; the women who loved them; the father of little baby Meg.

Can Alys and Matt unravel the complex web of relationships within the local community and ensure that justice prevails? Will Matt’s embittered detective sergeant, Beth Francis, derail the investigation? And what will become of Rianna’s baby daughter, Meg?

A Final Regret is a murder mystery set on the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast, with romance, humour and no graphic violence, sex or swearing.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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‘Gods in a place that as yet has nothing’. @GeorgiaRoseBook Reviews Creation by Bjørn Larssen @bjornlarssen, For Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Georgia has been reading Creation by Bjørn Larssen

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This book tells the tale of Odin waking up along with his two brothers, Vili and Vé, to find themselves Gods in a place that as yet has nothing. It should be a terrific opportunity to create loads of cool stuff, you’d think. However, Odin, and his brothers, have no idea what they are doing and come up with random things such as celery and mosquitoes instead. (I mean, who would ever choose to invent either of those!)

When Odin does manage to create something useful, a cow. They have no idea how to get milk out of it and the cow doesn’t hang around for long.

Creation is a short book and a pacey read. I enjoyed the humour and Larssen’s writing throughout and look forward to seeing what comes next.

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In the beginning there was confusion.

Ever woken up being a God, but not knowing how to God properly? Your brothers keep creating mosquitoes and celery and other, more threatening weapons. What can your ultimate answer be – the one that will make you THE All-Father and them, at best, the All-Those-Uncles-We-Don’t-Talk-About?

“FML! That answer’s why I drink!” – Odin

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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‘For fans of shojo manga and fairytale alike.’ @deBieJennifer reviews The Fourth Sister by @FarbMl #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review comes from Jenni. She blogs here https://jenniferdebie.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Jenni has been reading The Fourth Sister by M.L. Farb

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Return to the magical world of the Hearth and Bard Tales for M.L. Farb’s second entry in the series with Fourth Sister. Set in Nihon, or a Japan of myth and mystery, Fourth Sister is a completely different creature from the Russian fable of Farb’s first Hearth and Bard novel, or the Germanic fairytale of her third.

Fourth Sister follows Shisei, the titular fourth sister of a family of seven, as she struggles to come to terms with the curse and fox that have stalked her throughout her life. Over the course of the novel Shisei leaves home, returns home, learns a trade, practices her poetry, and learns to accept herself because of her unique gifts, rather than in spite of them.

Unlike other fairytale-esque novels, probably the most refreshing thing about Fourth Sister is that this isn’t a romantic story. There is no quest for a prince or hunger for a husband here. If anything, the closest thing to a handsome prince we have in Fourth Sister is the antagonist, far from the romantic ideal. Yet, this is a love story, very much so. A familial love story. A sisterly story.

This is a novel about sacrifice and cleverness and the lengths a family of sisters will go to save one of their own, and the way Shisei, with seemingly nothing but bad luck and a curse, can offer her siblings. This is also a novel about misconceptions, fears, and the strength that comes with understanding—and what incredible things can be accomplished through it.

Delicately rendered with stunning details and the kind of attention that comes with love and care, Farb’s Nihon never feels like a caricature of Japanese history or culture. As with her other Hearth and Bard Tales, copious research obviously went into this novel, and I suspect consultations with a cultural expert, and that shows in every page.

Engaging, heartbreaking, and delightfully ticklish in places, this is a story for fans of shojo manga and fairy-tale alike. Farb is a born tale-spinner and with her Hearth and Bard Tales has given herself the latitude to explore a world of inspiration. Fourth Sister stands a testament to her talent, her ingenuity, and her heart for the worlds she creates.

5/5

Desc 1

Shi, shi, fourth and death.
Fourth sister and twin to death.
Brother born silent.

Blamed for her twin brother’s death, Shisei, the outcast fourth of seven sisters, apprentices herself to a mask maker; but when the local Kazoku accuses the youngest sister of killing his son, Shisei must lead her sisters in a deception that will either save the youngest or condemn them all.

Fourth Sister is a Japanese fairy tale retelling with sparse poetry and gold-mended brokenness. A Studio Ghibli type story which invokes reflection.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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