📚’I felt perfectly at home, as if I was visiting some old friends.’ @OlgaNM7 reviews The New Shore by Caren Werlinger for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Olga.

Olga blogs here https://www.authortranslatorolga.com

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Olga has been reading The New Shore by Caren Werlinger

Book cover for The New Shore by Caren Werlinger set against a free photo of an island from Pixabay.
The New Shore by Caren Werlinger

I only have to tell you that this is the seventh novel I read by Caren Werlinger for you to guess that I like her writing and her stories. This is also the third novel in the Little Island series, and I discovered the author thanks to the first novel in this series, When the Stars Sang, which introduced me to the special world of Little Sister and its inhabitants.

Little Sister is an island only connected to a bigger island —Big Sister, of course— through a ferry that only runs once a month in the winter, although much more often in the summer, with no mobile phone connectivity, which relies mostly on renewable energies for its everyday needs, and where only members of the original families and their descendants can own property and become permanent residents. They are furiously independent and treasure and preserve their traditions, a combination of old Irish (Celtic) customs and those of the original Native American inhabitants. Their ceremonies (and there are many for all kinds of occasions) are described lovingly, as are the lives and adventures of the inhabitants of the island. And those of us who have been following this choral story are always happy to catch up with them again.

One of the things I like best about this series is the fact that the author keeps adding onto the previous stories, and not just coming up with a new set of characters and leaving the old ones to make a small appearance as a secondary characters in somebody else’s book. Although we do not know the ins and outs of the lives of all of the characters of the island in detail, over these three volumes we have got to learn a lot of things about many of the people living there. Among them: the owner of the shop, the owner of the hotel and her husband, the retired teacher, and her sister, as well as the characters who played major parts in the previous two stories, Kathleen and Molly, who met and fell in love in the first book, and the new arrivals on the second novel, Meredith, and her parents, Irene and Roy. We also know Molly’s parents, her brothers, and her aunt, Rebecca, who is the Keeper and librarian (two tasks that go well together), tasked with keeping the records and the story of the community living in Little Sister. And a few more things.

This time we get to learn more details about Rebecca’s past and some more secrets about her role; Kathleen has to face the difficult relationship with her parents, discovers that there is more to her family than she realised, and her connection to the island is put to the test; and Meredith and her parents, who are happy to live in Little Island, are confronted with some unexpected challenges. All of those characters have to face questions about themselves, their identities, and their priorities. How important is life in Little Island and how much are they prepared to sacrifice or give up to continue living there?

I have mentioned the choral and community elements of this series, and that means that there are many themes explored in this book. The close connection of the island with the natural world and the seasons is reflected in the way the story is structured and how it follows a chronological order, with the passing of time and the changes in weather marking and dictating what life is like. Much can happen in a year. We have a variety of ceremonies and events (marriages, bondings), deaths and births, we have new projects coming to fruition, we have health scares, we have secrets uncovered and secrets kept, we have people moving away and others coming back, and although all the characters have their role, the women’s connection to the island and the bonds and mutual support is what keeps the community alive and full of positive energy.

As usual, the writing is gorgeous. There are some beautiful descriptions of the landscape, the weather, and the ceremonies that have something magical about them. The third-person narrative alternates between quite a few of the characters, and that gives more depth and closeness to the story, as we get to understand how the different individuals feel, and also see what the people around them think and what worries them. The changes in perspective are clearly signalled, and each one of the characters is so different in outlook from the rest that it is impossible to get them confused. There are very touching and moving moments, some tough and hurtful ones that would test anybody’s goodness and kindness (because not all the characters are likeable, and some are anything but), some funny events, but also some sad ones. We might agree or disagree with some of the decisions taken, but the author makes sure we get to follow the mental process of the people involved, and we even experience the struggle and doubts they have to face. As is the case in real life, there are no easy answers, and that is one of the things that make us love the island and its people even more because nobody on it is perfect, but they all work hard, help each other, and try to keep their community alive, and these days, that is something most of us can only dream of.

As a warning, I would mention, as I have done in the past, that there are some sex scenes in the book. These are not many, and they are not excessively detailed or over the top (and that is coming from somebody who doesn’t enjoy these kinds of scenes), but I know that is something down to personal taste, so I thought I’d mention it.

On the other hand, those who enjoy diversity in literature will find plenty here. One of the many joys of the book is to see a community steeped in tradition but open to all kinds of roles for all kinds of people, happy to have a woman as a sheriff, to embrace LGBT relationships, to accept behaviours that seem, at the very least, peculiar and eccentric, to welcome with open arms strangers (as long as they don’t try to impose on them or change their way of life) and willing to accept supernatural and magic events without blinking an eye. And those who love dogs (and cats) have some stars to make them smile as well. I so love Blossom!

The ending is as it should be, in my opinion. Life goes on, and we are not left with a cliffhanger, although there are many more stories to tell, and much more to come. If there will be or not, will depend on the author. Fingers crossed!

So, yes, of course, I recommend this novel. Please, make sure to read the other two novels in the series first. If you have, you don’t need to worry if it’s been a while since you read them, though, because there are enough hints and references to previous events to refresh your memory, and I had no difficulty recalling all the relevant information. In fact, after reading a few pages, I felt perfectly at home, as if I was visiting some old friends. And that is what Little Sister and its characters have become for the readers of the series: a refuge, a magical place we can visit when we need a break from our everyday lives, and one where we are all welcome, no matter where we come from or what our issues might be. I enjoyed it enormously, I recommend it to readers of the previous two novels and to anybody who enjoys beautiful language, great characters, a magical setting, and needs a bit of a boost. Don’t ask me which of the three novels is my favourite, because they all make up an organic whole, and one I hope the author will keep adding to.

Orange rose book description
Book description

Life on Little Sister Island is idyllic. Until it isn’t.
Now that the island will have its own teacher for the first time in decades, Rebecca Ahearn is tasked with making financial arrangements to build a new school room. While on the mainland, she barges straight into her first—and only—love, a woman she hasn’t seen in over forty years. Suddenly, the choices she has made for her life seem empty, and she begins to wonder if it was worth the sacrifice.
For Kathleen Halloran, distance and limited communication have been the keys to maintaining a tolerable relationship with her parents. She’d like to keep it that way, but when her father needs her help to take care of her mother—the woman she knows never loved her—she’s forced to confront the pain and resentment she can’t seem to let go of.
Kathleen’s mate, Molly Cooper, galvanizes the islanders to pitch in and help Kathleen and Rebecca weather the stormy seas ahead. The question is, can wounds that deep ever truly heal? Perhaps the magic of Little Sister Island can do what humans cannot—and make the impossible possible after all.
The New Shore is the third book in the Little Sister Island series.

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📚Time For Some #Horror. Terry Reviews Black Rock by David Odle, For Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Terry.

Terry blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.com/

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Terry has been reading Black Rock by David Odle

Book cover for horror, Black Rock by David Odle, set against a picture of an tarmac road from a free photo from Pixabay.
Black Rock by David Odle

4 out of 5 stars

The story starts in a classic fashion for this sort of tale – a family en route to somewhere else turns off the road to find a toilet and anything that might ease their journey on a dark and lonely night.  The scene is filled with foreboding, and sets the stage nicely for what comes next.
A curious fellow called Benjamin Clark is threatening the town’s Pastor Thomas Loggins – he knows a secret from Loggins’ past, and will reveal it unless the Pastor pays a terrible price.  Thing is, Clark has done this before.  More than once.  Going back many years…
Some don’t agree with my theory that writing talent is something you need to be born with – you can hone it, develop it or ignore it, but if the talent is not innate, you will have a hard time delivering a story in such a way that makes people want to keep turning the pages.  Which is what it’s all about.  David Odle certainly has this talent – the suspense worked so well, and I was totally invested in the story.  Just two aspects let it down, for me, was that it wasn’t very well edited.  I felt it could have done with another draft or two, and a more eagle-eyed proofreader.  The other disappointment was the lack of resolution about Benjamin.  It’s hard to explain this without giving the plot away, but I needed to know more about his history and motivation than I was told.

All in all, though, it’s a good book, and I’d recommend it for the storytelling quality alone.

Orange rose book description
Book description

We all possess secrets. We lock them away. We bury them into the deep recesses of our mind. We go about our day and pretend they aren’t there.

That’s exactly what Thomas Loggins was doing. Going about his days. The head pastor of a small church in a small town. A family man, with a loving wife and a wonderful daughter.

Until one day, that all changed. It began as a typical meeting with a new member of the congregation. But Thomas soon realized this was anything but typical. This man knew things. Things that nobody should know. And he was making impossible demands.

Thomas’s simple life in the quaint town of Black Rock crashes into life or death when the stranger utters, “I know your secrets, pastor, and it’s time to pay the price…”

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📚Set in 1st century Northern Scotland. @LizanneLloyd reviews #HistoricalRomance Sisters At The Edge Of The World by @AilishSinclair for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Liz.

Liz blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Liz has been reading Sisters At The Edge Of The World by Ailish Sinclair

Sisters At The Edge Of The World by Ailish Sinclair

In the same part of Aberdeenshire that is the setting for the earlier books written by Ailish Sinclair, the reader returns to the stone circle but in much earlier times, circa AD 83, when the Romans attempted to stretch the boundaries of their Empire, marching to the far north of Scotland. There lived the Taezali, a Caledonian tribe living simple, satisfying lives. Our heroine, Morragh, an orphan, is a seer, believed to know the future, even though she does not speak. Cared for her by her strong sister, Onnagh, Morragh has visions, believing she can communicate with the Goddess, but in a surprising introduction, her life changes forever.

As she travels to Cullakhan Bay with her tribe, Morragh finds herself to be a bridge between the Men of Mars and her own people. She meets the Calgach, a Celtic leader who will lead them into battle against the Romans. She likes and admires him but knows that he will not survive.

Are they not magnificent?” asks the Calgach, striding towards me through the camp, his hair loose and flowing back in the breeze today. He looks like the God of this sea, this great ocean, strong and invulnerable and beautiful.

This is a complex mystical tale of bloody conflict between two disparate civilisations, but also about sisterhood, romantic love and dramatic choices. Morragh is not like most of us. Her actions are instinctive and passionate, but her certainty is persuasive. A thought-provoking story seated in the traditions and superstitions of the past.

Orange rose book description
Book description

When Morragh speaks to another person for the very first time, she has no idea that he is an invader in her land.

What she does next constitutes a huge betrayal of her people, threatening her closest relationships and even her way of life itself.

As the conflict between the Caledonian tribes and the Roman Sons of Mars intensifies, can she use her high status in the community to lessen the coming death toll or even prevent outright war?

Set in 1st century Northern Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD is a story of chosen sisters, fierce warriors, divided loyalties and, ultimately, love.

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📚Based On A Real Event. Robbie reviews #WW2 #HistoricalFiction The Peaceful Village by @MahurinPaulette for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Robbie.

Find out more about Robbie here https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Robbie has been reading The Peaceful Village by Paulette Mahurin

Book cover for World War Two story The Peaceful Village by Paulette Mahurin
The Peaceful Village by Paulette Mahurin

I enjoy reading books about World War II and I’ve read and enjoyed another book by this author, so when I saw The Peaceful Village, I knew I had to read it. I knew it would be a tough read before I started but I must admit that this particular event shocked me to my core. It seems beyond comprehension that any normal human being with a soul can behave in such a callous and brutal way towards civilians.

This book is historical fiction and based on a real event so I knew the ending before I began. Reading a couple of paragraphs about a tragedy of this nature is, however, quite a different experience to reading a fictionalized account of it. The author’s great strength with this book is the detailed manner in which she depicted the main characters and the specifics of their lives and how she made the reader care about them. Even the supporting characters feel like neighbours and friends.

Francoise is one of the main characters. The wife of a French carrot farmer, she is worn down from years of working the land and her spirit is ailing due to the German occupation. Francoise is given an opportunity of a job at the local church in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, which leads to her becoming involved in a small way with the French resistance and their efforts to hide Jewish families. Francoise blossoms in her new role and becomes the reader’s measure of normality and representation of the comfortable and peaceful lifestyles of the villagers.

The story moves between life in the village, largely told through the eyes of Francoise, and the activities of the French resistance who are using terrorist tactics to fight the occupying German forces. This tactic works well as the reader knows more about what is happening with the French resistance and the Nazi occupiers than the villagers of Oradour. It creates a lot of tension as the reader can see how the events are likely to unfold as the villagers go about their daily lives.

This is a beautifully written and heart rending book which has been well researched and presented. Anyone who is interested in WW2 and the effect of the Nazi regime on the local population in France will appreciate this book. 

Orange rose book description
Book description

During the German occupation of France, nestled in the lush, verdant countryside in the Haute-Vienne department of central France was the peaceful village of Oradour-sur-Glane. It was a community where villagers woke to the medley of nature’s songs, roosters crowing, birds chirping, cats purring, and cows plodding on their way out to pasture. The people who lived there loved the tranquil nature of their beautiful home, a tranquility that existed year-round. Even with the German occupation, Oradour-sur-Glane – the village with cafés, shops, and a commuter tram to Limoges – remained relatively untouched by the stress of the occupation.

While Oradour-sur-Glane enjoyed the lack of German presence, twenty-two kilometers to the northwest in Limoges, the Germans were reacting with increasing cruelty to organized attacks on their soldiers by the armed resistance organization Francs-Tireurs et Partisans (FTP). Headed by Amédé Fauré, the Limoges FTP was considered the most effective of the French Resistance groups. Fauré’s missions prompted the German military to kill and incarcerate in concentration camps anyone perceived as supporters or sympathizers of the Resistance.

Up until the middle of 1944, the German anti-partisan actions in France never rose to the level of brutality or number of civilian casualties that had occurred in eastern Europe. A little before the Allies landed in Normandy, all that changed, when German troops, and in particular the Waffen-SS, stationed on the Eastern Front were transferred to France. It was then that FTP’s increasing efforts to disrupt German communications and supply lines were met with disproportionate counter attacks, involving civilians. Fauré’s response was to target German officers. When he set his sights on two particular German officers, all hell broke loose.

Based on actual events as told by survivors, The Peaceful Village is the fictionalized story of the unfolding of the events that led up to one of the biggest World War II massacres on French soil. Much more than an account of Nazi brutality and the futility of war, this is a story of love.The love of family. The love of neighbor. The love of country. Compassion and courage burn from the pages as the villagers’ stories come alive. Written by the international bestselling author of The Seven Year Dress, Paulette Mahurin, this book pays homage to the villagers who lived and loved in Oradour-sur-Glane.

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📚Book #1 of a #YoungAdult #Scifi Series. @SueBavey Reviews Shadow House by @arsilverberry for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Sue.

Sue blogs here https://suelbavey.wordpress.com/

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Sue Has been reading Shadow House by A R Silverberry

Book cover for young adult story Shadow House by A R Silverberry
Shadow House by A R Silverberry

Shadow House is a fairly short novel, but it is not lacking in depth of story. I found it sucked me in almost immediately and it was very difficult to put down.

The story is set in the not too distant future on “New Earth”, a dystopian future following the breakdown of society as we know it:

“History, as taught in school, proclaimed that New Earth had sprouted from a chaotic lawless time in human history, when small bands preyed on and slaughtered each other over dwindling resources. Johari believed that part of the account. It was the next part that seemed iffy. All at once, something happened. A mutation—a new species, some people claimed—appeared, like Cro-Magnon beside the Neanderthals. This new “more advanced” group broke away from the old one and traveled to New Earth. How that was done was sketchy at best. But even today people talked about the Freedom, a mass migration of millions to a new world. And the new world they created was, so they said, superior in every way to the one they left. It was a perfect society.”

I would have liked a little more information regarding this migration. I felt the author brushed it aside somewhat, but I am hoping perhaps it will be given more explanation in the next book. Perhaps it is another mystery that the main character, Johari, will need to solve.

The major portion of Shadow House revolves around four teenagers’ time inside the House, a kind of glorified magical escape room filled with monsters and peril, which teens must enter once during their lives. Not everyone comes out again and those who do not escape are never seen again. Once inside, stairways and doors disappear, herding the four main characters to desired destinations, where they have to face their pasts and personalities and be tested in sometimes terrifying situations.

“…he had difficulty shaking off the feeling that the House would be their tomb.“

““People get out; people get out,” he told himself. And some don’t. “

However no one knows what they will discover once inside, as it is forbidden for the survivors to discuss their experiences. The House itself is described really well, it sounds like the kind of building you might cross the street to keep away from:

“The House had a curious tinge, like an early photograph, faded and discolored. It was three stories and old beyond reckoning. The paint had peeled off. The wooden walls were weathered and sun-bleached a mottled gray. He wondered why termites hadn’t consumed the whole thing long ago. The house bulged on the right to accommodate a semi-circular tower rising two stories and culminating in a conical roof. A lower gable above the front porch was ornamented with scrollwork. But it was the upper gable that arrested his attention. The woodwork was much more complex, filling the whole triangular shape of the gable. In the center was a symbol of some sort. It might have been a flaming candle, but it seemed to Johari it was more like a hand held up in warning.”

The four teens had very different characters. Johari is the main point of view character and hero of the book. He is a mixed race orphan with gorgeous features who spent his childhood being tossed from one foster family to another, never really knowing love and suffering bullying. This often ended in his getting blamed and eventually in him being saddled with a criminal record. Despite his horrible childhood, Johari is very likeable, brave, and a team player. He is a natural leader and caring – concerned for Calista’s health. He is also the love interest for another of the characters, Greta. He is determined that if one of them manages to leave then they all must. Greta is observant and makes notes in each of the rooms as they explore the House. She is kindhearted and beautiful and Johari fell in love with her at a recent party where they first met. Due to a misunderstanding caused by Brice, the ridiculously wealthy party host, they are now unsure of each other’s feelings. This leads to expertly written romantic tension between Johari and Greta and typical teen angst which the reader experiences through Johari’s inner monologue. Greta’s friend Calista is also in the House. An asthmatic, she struggles with the dusty House but retains her wit and feisty nature. She proves to be resourceful, having grabbed bread from the kitchen, which they can no longer access once they reach the attic. The fourth main character is the entitled and unlikeable Brice, who was instrumental in Johari being arrested for stealing Brice’s father’s anti-grav car, when Brice actually leant it to him. He also paid Greta’s Mom to keep her grounded at home when she would have been a useful witness in Johari’s court case. He wants Greta to fall in love with him and is jealous of her attraction to Johari.

Sentenced to elimination in his court case, Johari sees the House as the only way out. If he is able to find his way out of the House he expects that his criminal record will be cleared. Society believes that only the very best people are able to survive and in this way it rids the world of evil:

‘It purifies,’ ‘It perfects,’ ‘It protects,’ ‘It eliminates war, disease, and poverty.’

There were elements of the book which reminded me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or the horror movies where one by one the main characters are callously picked off. It was a very enjoyable read and I would recommend it to readers who enjoy YA thrillers or dystopian mysteries.

Orange rose book description
Book description

What Do You Do If You’re Trapped In A Nightmare …

New Earth’s Supreme Council dooms Johari Hightower to Elimination. Never mind that he’s innocent. His only hope is the House, a rite shrouded in mystery. No one says what happens inside. And those who don’t make it out are never seen again.

But what do you do if the girl you love is inside?
What do you do if she’s cozy with the guy who set you up?
What do you do if you’re running for your life?

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🃏’I loved the uniqueness of the playing card theme’. @SueBavey reviews #YA #Fantasy Bloody Spade by @BMWillows for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Sue.

Sue blogs here https://suelbavey.wordpress.com/

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Sue has been reading Bloody Spade by Brittany M Willows.

Book cover for young adult fantasy Bloody Spade by Brittany M Willows, set against a free photo of a woman throwing playing cards from Pixabay.
Bloody Spade by Brittany M Willows

Bloody Spade is Book 1 in the Cardplay Duology, and is a YA urban fantasy. I enjoyed this book immensely! I was initially drawn to the cover of this book, since purple is my favourite colour and I love to play card games. The figure with the cat ears was also intriguing!

The premise of the novel is that seven years ago real, powerful, dangerous magic returned to a world whose inhabitants were used to thinking of magic as cheap tricks and sleight of hand, entertainment for the masses. The new magic which reentered their world was far from tricks, however. Magic users have a varied range of abilities. Some can harness the wind, others can control light, or fire.

I loved the uniqueness of the playing card theme that ran through this novel with Cardplay being the good guys, taking on Blackjack, the shady underground organization, and with each Suit having a Keeper.

I found the world-building in Bloody Spade mostly solid, although in some places there was a little too much information given all at once, which made it hard for me to remember details, and the different levels of the realms were somewhat confusing – I am still not completely clear on the connection between the Void, the Domain, the Dreamscape and the human world and how they relate to one another.

Bloody Spade is a unique take on the age-old good versus evil theme. A fast paced novel with plenty of action, believable characters and relationships, a little romance, teenage angst, fear of rejection, of being different and fear of lack of acceptance by peers. I would recommend it to anyone who loves superhero type stories, or fans of fiction similar to that of Cassandra Clare’s novels or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Orange rose book description
Book description

The era of magic was once thought to be a myth, but after the Reemergence ushered forces both dark and light into the mundane world, it has since become a harsh reality. Now those affected by this strange power—a specialized group of Empowered called Jokers, known collectively as Cardplay—must protect their world from the darkness that threatens to consume it, all the while fighting for equality in a society clinging to normalcy.

But the Reemergence was only the beginning.

When another influx occurs on the seventh anniversary of that fateful event, an unfortunate encounter at ground zero lands Iori Ryone, a teenage boy in possession of a corrupt and legendary magic, in the care of recent Joker graduate Ellen Amelia Jane. From him, she learns the Reemergence may not have been the inevitable natural disaster it first seemed. Someone is trying to tear down the barrier that separates the magical realms from the mundane. The question is, can Cardplay stop them before it’s too late?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

🕵🏻‍♀️’For Anyone Who Likes A Good #Mystery’ Fiona reviews Inhuman Acts by @BrookeLFrench1 for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Fiona.

Find out more about Fiona here https://fionaforsythauthor.co.uk/blog/

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Fiona has been reading Inhuman Acts by Brooke L. French.

Book cover for Inhuman Acts by Brooke L French set against a sculpture of a man from a free photo from Pixabay.
Inhuman Acts by Brooke L. French

I’ve seen arguments over what the word “competent” means in a book review and let me make it clear that in my world it is a compliment. In this book, the plotting, pace and sense of disaster are all more than competent, they work together to result in a read-in-one-go thriller with a hugely attractive hero and an intriguing thread of environmental questioning running through it. The signs are that it is the first in a series and I am very glad of it!

Lettuce Duquesne has friends, and a job she loves, but she also has the tragedy of her sister’s death hanging over her. She is an intelligent and likeable main character, and cleverly, the author lets you see her through other people’s eyes as you are making up your mind about her. And other people like her.
When a case of rabies transmission arises in Chattanooga, Letty sees the potential for a disaster and though she is unable to persuade everyone of the seriousness of the situation,  she handles their skepticism as a scientist should, by collecting and testing the data. She teams up with Andrew, a cop on enforced leave, and Pete a local vet, to track down what could be the worst outbreak of rabies in the USA for decades.

French handles the science extremely well, managing that crucial balance between scientific jargon and readability. She doesn’t hype the fear of the disease any more than the plot demands, so we don’t get overblown panic and doom, but we do feel the tension as Letty discovers more about what is happening in Chattanooga. I found this approach made the book credible and a page-turner. Oh and I didn’t see the end coming until way past I should! French treats her readers fairly in the “working out of the puzzle” part of the book.

Characters are human, realistic and fallible, and I particularly liked the Andrew/Mary dynamic where every serious cop conversation took place against the background of shuttling the kids around or making banana pudding.

A book for anyone who likes a good mystery, intelligently told.

Orange rose book description
Book description

A deadly, incurable disease creeps silent through Chattanooga. And its victims aren’t random.

When inexplicable human rabies cases appear in Tennessee, disease ecologist Letty Duquesne jumps at the chance to trace the virus back to its source. But the closer Letty gets to finding the outbreak’s origin, the further someone will go to stop her.

With an unwanted promotion threatening to take Letty far from the fieldwork she loves, this outbreak feels like her last chance to make a difference. It’s not something she can ignore, especially now. The spillover of zoonotic diseases to the human population is on the rise and violent animal attacks-like the one that killed her sister-are becoming all too common.

Something in nature has gone very wrong.

Local authorities would rather she go home, but Letty can track a source animal like no one else. With the help of disgraced detective Andrew Marsh, Letty follows the virus’s epidemiological trail. But her every move is watched. And the source animal is closer than she thinks.

Inhuman Acts is a pulse-pounding thriller. Gripping and intricately paced, Brooke L. French’s debut novel will keep you on the edge of your seat.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

📚A Light-Hearted Mock-Memoir. @CathyRy reviews Price’s Price by Chris Maden, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Cathy.

Cathy blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Cathy has been reading Price’s Price by Chris Maden

Book cover for historical fiction set in Hong Kong, Price's Price by Chris Maden.

Price’s Price is described as ‘a light-hearted and elegiac mock-memoir’ and I think that sums it up pretty well. Stanley Featherstonehaugh Price spent his childhood in Zimbabwe and his boyhood in English schools. He had dreams of exploration in deepest Africa and beyond just as soon as he came into his inheritance, which he believed would become his when he reached his eighteenth birthday. It came as a huge blow to discover he wouldn’t get anything until he was either twenty-five or married. Stanley tried for the second option but his marriage strategy was scuppered when his intended married someone else.

‘Thus, I formed my creed. What the Fates have in store is beyond the ken of any mortal, but the point is to face their whims with a sense of adventure and fun. Not fatalism, which is an abnegation of life, but rather a vicarious acceptance of all that they threw in my path.’

Stanley decided to join the army, believing they might be persuaded to fund an expedition. After a year at Sandhurst and another in the mountains of Nepal with the Gurkhas, he was asked where he wanted to be stationed. Anywhere but Hong Kong was Stanley’s answer. So Hong Kong it was.

Stanley seemed to drift through life, at the mercy of his desires but lamenting at times the non realisation of his dreams of exploration. His was a louche lifestyle fuelled in large parts by sex, booze and the desire for wealth. With descriptive prose Chris Maden portrays a vivid picture of Stanley’s life in Hong Kong with all its ups and downs, bars, clubs, brief (and longer) encounters, businesses and wealth made then lost.

A very expressive, unusual and at times poignant read, with a memorable protagonist. I enjoyed it.

Orange rose book description
Book description

Stanley Price has dreamt since childhood of exploring the world. But, when the army posts him to Hong Kong in the 1960s, this officer, scoundrel and rake falls for the glamour, the girls and the gung-ho attitude. Swept along and seduced by this free-wheeling city, he is sucked into a delightful vortex of beer, women and bribes. His dreams remain ever-present but out of reach. Until, that is, he falls for a young lady who could be his redemption – or his nemesis.

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📚’Here is a man who takes risks almost as a matter of course’. Fiona reviews Tudor #Histfic Raleigh by @tonyriches for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Fiona.

Find out more about her here https://fionaforsythauthor.co.uk/blog/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Fiona has been reading Raleigh by Tony Riches.

Book cover for Raleigh: Tudor Adventurer by Tony Riches
Raleigh: Tudor Adventurer by Tony Riches

It is particularly important that, as well as telling a good story, an historical novel makes the reader feel comfortable with the era being covered: informative enough to be interesting, entertaining enough to make one want to find out more. It is so easy for a book to turn into an information dump.

Fortunately, within a few pages, I knew I was in expert hands, and settled down to enjoy “Raleigh”, marvelling at the life of a true adventurer. I loved that fact that Riches sets the opening scenes in the London of the theatre, introducing the romantic poetry-writing side of Raleigh which runs through the novel. The reader is reminded of the many facets of a true Elizabethan, the intelligence and fascination with learning, as well as the thirst for war and adventure which is nowadays so alien.

And this is what I take away from this book, that a man like Raleigh was so full of schemes, so outward-looking that he never seems to stay still. I had not been aware of his own many voyages nor of his exploits in Ireland, and it gave me a much better understanding of his willingness to risk his wealth in setting up a colony in Virginia. Here is a man who takes risks almost as a matter of course, for whom the horizon is always thousands of miles in front of him, and nevertheless makes straight for it whenever he can.

Raleigh is narrator in this book, and a straightforward one, though he lets more slip than maybe he realises: notably, his personal relationships, despite the protestations of love for his wife and sons, clearly take second place to his restless spirit. When he is younger, his loyalty to his Queen and his need for her favour seem to be a result of this restlessness and it is an older and wiser Raleigh who, at the end of the book, grieves for his royal mistress and cannot trust her successor.

On reaching the end I did expect that Riches would be continuing Raleigh’s story with the exploits under James 1, surely as fascinating as anything in his earlier life. But this book is the third in a trilogy of Elizabethan characters, and the author’s note indicates that he is heading in another direction. I am hoping there may be a time when Raleigh is called for duty once more.

Orange rose book description
Book description

Tudor adventurer, courtier, explorer and poet, Sir Walter Raleigh has been called the last true Elizabethan.

He didn’t dance or joust, didn’t come from a noble family, or marry into one. So how did an impoverished law student become a favourite of the queen, and Captain of the Guard?

The story which began with the Tudor trilogy follows Walter Raleigh from his first days at the Elizabethan Court to the end of the Tudor dynasty.

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🕵🏻‍♀️#CrimeFiction Noelle Reviews Easy Street – The Reluctant Hustler Book #3 by J Gregory Smith for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Noelle.

Noelle blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Noelle has been reading Easy Street – The Reluctant Hustler Book 3 by J Gregory Smith

Book cover for crime fiction, Easy Street by J Gregory Smith, set against a picture of a street lamp from a free photo from Pixabay.
Easy Street by J Gregory Smith

Although this can be a stand-alone novel, I reread the first chapter trying to make sense of place and past events. I think a clear intro or prologue would have helped my confusion or perhaps a directive to read the previous two books first.

The story, as I perceive it: Kyle Logan is the unwitting inheritor of a dubious business, shady contacts, and a house following the death of his friend Ryan.  Two years later Kyle has divested himself of most of that part of that business involving illegal hustles and is now the head of a company called Global Imported Crafts, a legitimate business run out of the city’s port and managed by Ali. In addition he has become the de facto leader of a band of misfits. Together they work just outside the law to help people who have nowhere else to turn, which means they occasionally work with the city’s Irish mob to get things done. This involves favors. Every favor Kyle calls in results in yet another obligation, at a time when he is trying to rebuild his life and go legit.

The characters are well enough described: Sandy, Kyle’s girlfriend is a physical therapist; Rollie is a retired Marine sniper; and VP is a super hacker. The reader is introduced to how this group works when they are asked by Sandy to do something about crooked lawyer Clark LeSuer, who has been fleecing customers out of their lawsuit settlements, one of whom is her client.  Then Charlie and William O’ Brien enter the scene – two Irish thugs who are being squeezed by arch villain Milosh, head of an Albanian mob that is trying to take over the O’Brien’s territory. Kyle owes the O’Briens, but this time he may be in over his head, trying to help with too few hands on deck.

Caught between the two warring gangs, Kyle and his merry band face seemingly unsurmountable obstacles, and there is lots of lots of action, often violent. Background details are minimal but sufficient and carry the story. The only thing I found a little over the top were the names the gang assumed during an operation. They seemed more childish than integral.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy the read, after I’d parsed the story. It does not lack for action and clever plot twists. This yarn will definitely appeal to men who enjoy the crime genre. I’m not so sure about women.

Orange rose book description
Book description

Walking the Tightrope
Nearly two years after the death of his friend, Ryan, Kyle Logan finds himself the unlikely leader of a group of misfits who operate outside the law as they target crooks and scammers. In the past, Kyle had to rely on his friend’s shady contacts just to survive violent competitors and complete prior deals.
Now he’s starting to realize that these connections earn him power and respect but also drag him deeper into the life. Every favor he receives comes with strings and cutting those strings usually involves fresh obligations.
In order to help others who have nowhere else to turn, Kyle sometimes works with criminals like the Philly Irish Mob but he tries to avoid getting involved with the gangster’s more intense activities.
When not running his hustles, Kyle has taken the opportunity to leverage his connections to finance and acquire a legitimate (if dull) import facility at the Port of Philadelphia. The port represents a great opportunity to rebuild his life but he’s about to learn the hard way that shady friends come with enemies who see Kyle as one more obstacle to be crushed.

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